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+ Donato Wharton - Body Isolations
+ Svalastog - Woodwork
+ Tim Hecker - Harmony In Ultraviolet
+ Rosy Parlane - Jessamine
+ Jarvis Cocker - The Jarvis Cocker Record
+ Múm - Peel Session
+ Deloris - Ten Lives
+ Minimum Chips - Lady Grey
+ Badly Drawn Boy - Born In The U.K.
+ The Hold Steady - Boys And Girls Together
+ The Blood Brothers - Young Machetes
+ The Places - Songs For Creeps
+ Camille - Le Fil
+ Wolf Eyes - Human Animal
+ Christina Carter - Electrice
+ The Decemberists - The Crane Wife
+ Junior Boys - So This Is Goodbye
+ Various Artists - Musics In The Margin
+ Rafael Toral - Space
+ Bob Dylan - Modern Times
+ Excepter - Alternation
+ Chris Thile - How To Grow A Woman From The Ground
+ Brad Mehldau - Live in Japan
+ M Ward - Post-War
+ Various Artists - Touch 25
+ The Mountain Goats - Get Lonely
+ The White Birch - Come Up For Air
+ Camera Obscura - Let's Get Out of This Country
+ Coachwhips - Double Death
+ Various Artists - Tibetan And Bhutanese Instrumental And Folk Music, Volume 2
+ Giuseppe Ielasi - Giuseppe Ielasi
+ Cex - Actual Fucking
+ Sufjan Stevens - The Avalanche
+ Leafcutter John - The Forest And The Sea
+ Carla Bozulich - Evangelista
+ Barbara Morgenstern - The Grass Is Always Greener
+ Robin Guthrie - Continental
+ Peaches - Impeach My Bush
+ Oakley Hall - Second Guessing
+ Klee - Honeysuckle
+ The Court & Spark - Hearts
+ TV On The Radio - Return To Cookie Mountain
+ Awesome Color - Awesome Color
+ Jenny Wilson - Love And Youth
+ Asobi Seksu - Citrus
+ Marsen Jules - Les Fleurs
+ The Moore Brothers - Murdered By The Moore Brothers
+ Regina Spektor - Begin To Hope
+ The 1900s - Plume Delivery EP
+ Alejandro Escovedo - The Boxing Mirror
+ Function - The Secret Miracle Fountain
+ Sonic Youth - Rather Ripped
+ Loscil - Plume
+ Boris - Pink
+ Deadboy And The Elephantmen - We Are Night Sky
+ Glissandro 70 - Glissandro 70
+ Calexico - Garden Ruin (Review #2)
+ Calexico - Garden Ruin (Review #1)
+ The Flaming Lips - At War With The Mystics
+ The Glass Family - Sleep Inside This Wheel
+ Various Artists - Songs For Sixty Five Roses
+ The Fiery Furnaces - Bitter Tea
+ Motorpsycho - Black Hole/Blank Canvas
+ The Red Krayola - Introduction
+ Metal Hearts - Socialize
+ American Princes - Less And Less
+ Sondre Lerche And The Faces Down Quartet - Duper Sessions
+ Supersilent - 7
+ Band Of Horses - Everything All The Time
+ Dudley Perkins - Expressions
+ Growing - Color Wheel
+ Red Carpet - The Noise Of Red Carpet
+ The Essex Green - Cannibal Sea
+ Espers - II
+ Wilderness - Vessel States

44.1 kHz Archive

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Washington Social Club
Catching Looks

Washington Social Club may hail from, uh, well, Washington D.C., obviously, but their politicko punk-rock roots don't draw from the city's history of mighty-uptighty hardcore heroes. Instead, the combo seems t'have a real Anglo-punk love, their energetic dance-up-a-storm anthems born of a love of The Clash, The Buzzcocks, and New Model Army. Whilst this might make them seem like a bunch of jack-boot'd roughneck tough-nuts ready to gob in yr gob, that kinda misses the mark with what Washington Social Club are about. If I was pressed for any DC comparative with which to tie them to their city's recent musical history, I'd probably have to turn to... Velocity Girl. No, like, really. WSC's own label describes their hip-swiveling, groovy-times punk as "old-style indie," which assumedly means the band hark back to those times when indie-rock bands actually rocked. More than likely, it's a point made to establish the fact that they have absolutely no relationship nor association with that corporatized kiddie-punk machine that churns out bands who all sound like All, something backed up in the combo's touring-buddy associations with the likes of Hot Hot Heat and Ted Leo/The Pharmacists. Musically, Washington Social Club dare to step away from the crutch of distortion, building their tunes on the base of a rhythm section who push the beat into beat-combo territories, WSC knowing nothing if not that the rock is very much about the roll. Over this, frontman Martin Royle punctuates proceedings with his English-accented sneer, never more theatrically vintage-punk than on the band-getting-stoned-on-the-road anthem "Are You High?," where he, along with join-in-the-chorus boy/girl backing-vox, threatens the crowd — "Before we leave this town tonight/ Can I show you fuckheads something?" — whilst, simultaneously, trying to cop the band an invite to a party after the show. Most of the time, such combative frontman shenanigans go with the metronomic staccato guitar-chords typical of this type of gear, but Royle's playbook isn't just three-chords-and-a-cloud-of-dust. Going without fuzz, his strings are clean enough that, occasionally, their ringing clarity even evokes the tone of Roger McGuinn(!), the jangling pop-hooks of "Simple Sound" clocking in close to, uh, The La's. If that sounds confusing, wait 'til you get to "Backed to the Future," where Royle spins some capricious and convoluted tale about time-traveling. Or, then, to the functionally-titled "Dancing Song," a jumped-up cut in which the night's darkness, in anthropomorphic form, tells the combo that it can stop the day from coming if they'd just play it a Danzig record. And, with Washington Social Club's reigning aesthetic, you know the nighttime incarnate just must be referring back to when Glenn was but a teenager from Mars.

by Anthony Carew

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