Debut Album from Savages Justifies All The Noise.

David Bowie.

David Bowie.

The latest nextbigthing from Britain are Savages, and their much vaunted debut album, Silence Yourself has just hit the shelves. And they’re this close to being faintly ridiculous.

They’re a four piece all girl retro post punk combo, and they take themselves terribly seriously.

Perhaps it’s unfair to castigate them for that. All they’re doing is taking their cue from Roxy and Bowie and their attitude at the onset of the 70s.

If you don’t take yourself and what you do seriously how can you expect anyone else to? And not just the music. Everything.

The debut album from Savages.

The debut album from Savages.

But with Bowie and Roxy it was so much more colourful. And fun. Everything’s so black and white with Savages. A bit of rouge could really brighten them up. If it weren’t for the actual music, the whole thing would be ever so slightly risible.

Happily though, Silence Yourself really is an arresting album.

Lead singer Jehnny Beth is openly channelling Patti Smith via Siouxsie Sioux. But although they sound every bit as feral as the Banshees, it’s all produced in a much more planned and practiced way.

They are coming at it from the same place as Canadian noise maestros Metz, reviewed by me earlier here.

Roxy circa '72

Roxy circa ’72

It might initially appear like a wall of industrial noise made up of layers of dissonant feedback, but it soon reveals itself as a carefully crafted and patiently practiced collection of meticulously structured songs.

Which will probably annoy some. Punk wasn’t supposed to be practiced. But all it really means is that Savages and Metz are much better at it than most of those who went before.

The boys from Pitchfork gave them an 8.7 here, and you can see them perform their single Husbands on the Jools Holland Show here.

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5 Best Albums of 2012.

first-aid-kit-lions-roar5. First Aid Kit, The Lion’s Roar. The second album from Swedish sisters Klara and Johanna Söderberg, barely into their 20s, arrived at the beginning of the year. Reviewed by me earlier here, it’s a pitch-perfect concoction of dreamy Americana, draped, carefully, in the cloak of melancholia.

4. Metz, Metz. The talk of the town at this year’s CMJ – see my review earlier here – the trio from Toronto produce a torrent of visceral noise fuelled by the adrenalin of undiluted but carefully channeled youth.

Soar3. Dexys, One Day I’m Going To Soar. News that Kevin Rowland and Dexys were about to resurface with a new album and an accompanying tour was met, understandably, with skepticism and trepidation. Remarkably, as I reported earlier here, both were a minor sensation. A glorious and painfully honest album that continues to glow.

2. Frank Ocean, Channel Orange. In an ever so slightly disappointing year, this is the one album on everyone’s end of year list. Reviewed by me earlier here, this is as lyrically complex as it is musically sophisticated. And its genre-hopping confidence suggests that an heir to the regal Prince might finally have emerged.

Katie Kim "Cover & FLood"1. Katie Kim, Cover & Flood. When this album came out last February it somewhat slipped under the radar. Which is most unfair as, as I wrote in my earlier review here, Katie Kim pulls off the significant feat of being as remarkable in the studio as she is on stage. And this, her second album, is a hauntingly evocative work that conjures up an impressively moody dreamscape.

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Metz’ Debut Album is a Power Punk Hymn to the Art of Noise.

New York’s CMJ Music Marathon is fast becoming this decade’s SXSW. It is in other words where the future sounds of those who have yet to happen are first spotted and duly noted.

Situated around the Lower East side of Manhattan, it inevitably drifts over the bridge and into Brooklyn where so many of today’s most exciting bands seem to be born and bred. And the one that made the biggest noise at this year’s CMJ was Metz, an arresting trio from Toronto.

As the review from the boys from Pitchfork noted, where they got an impressed 8.5 here, the band first surfaced way back in 2007. But it’s only now that they’ve gotten around to releasing their debut album.

And, as their review notes, the time they’ve spent honing their craft and pairing down their sound between then and now is a lesson that all aspiring musos should take heed of. 

Metz deliver raw, undiluted noise. Too disciplined to be called metal, but far too loud to fall into pop, they’ve the ambition and drive of early Nirvana but without any of the latter’s need to please. The result is an explosion of pure adrenalin. 

You can see the suitably angst-ridden video for their hymn to urban alienation “Wet Blanket” here.

And you can hear the All Songs Considered podcast (which you should be listening to every week, and was reviewed by me here) on this year’s CMJ here.

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