Before the World Was Big
Girlpool’s influences are obvious: the Breeders, Sleater-Kinney and Liz Phair—but that hardly does justice to their aesthetic vision. In fact, it’d be better to compare Girlpool to the Comedy Central show Broad City, than to another band. Both are irreverent—and even crass at times—yet their dynamic works. The two teenage ladies that make up Girlpool have an artistic symmetry that makes their music both catchy and accessible despite the fact that they’re only backed by a guitar and bass (no drums here). The debut EP’s title track showcases the duo harmonizing about the inherent responsibilities of adulthood, while “Ideal World” is a sparse, introspective ballad about wanting to move past parental value systems. It all sounds very serious, but there’s a snarky sensibility that recalls the slacker rock of the early 90s. Check them out when they play the Music Hall of Williamsburg in Brooklyn on July 7.
To say that Bushwick-based Mackenzie Scott, the one-woman force behind Torres, is wise beyond her 24 years would be a grand understatement. The Georgia-raised singer-songwriter eloquently deals with some heavy topics on her second album, but never comes across as preachy or petulant. Scott has somehow made topics like abandonment, rejection and introversion sound fresh and revelatory. Oh, and she rocks. There’s a reason “Sprinter” and “Strange Hellos” recall the fiery, 90s-era PJ Harvey: Scott recruited Harvey’s rhythm section to back her up on this record. Still, plaintive, heart-wrenching ballads like “A Proper Polish Welcome” and album closer “The Exchange” prove her to be a force on her own. On July 22 she opens for Courtney Barnett (who we wrote about in our last issue) at Terminal 5 in Hell’s Kitchen.
To be fair, Glass Animals are already pretty damn cool. The Oxford, England-based band released their debut album around this time last year and have since developed a devoted following thanks to their electro-accented indie-rock and frontman Dave Bayley’s smooth-as-silk falsetto. The single “Hazey” sports a bouncy, minimalistic beat that’s just begging to be sampled on a hiphop hit and fan favorite “Gooey” is a sweaty seduction anthem that may already be blaring at after-parties. Bayley has said that the album was inspired by mankind’s interaction with nature and he cites everyone from Kanye West and The Velvet Underground to Frances Ford Coppola and Joseph Conrad as influences. Who knew Heart of Darkness could inspire something so sexy? Sing along with the fevered crowd when the band plays the SummerStage series in Central Park on August 9.