In 2003, longtime Friend of the Program Jeremy L. commented that, while he enjoyed the hell out of the Best of ’03 compilation, there was nary a female vocalist in the batch. Ten cycles later, a quarter through 2012, and I’m in love with a half-dozen recordings featuring the fairer sex, not a one of whom is Swedish, Japanese, or even Swedish-Japanese.
Atop the list is the debut LP from Poliça, Give You the Ghost (Totally Gross National Product). The Minneapolis group is dueling drums, haunting synths, and slick basslines, all stitched together by the hypnotic vocals of Channy Leaneagh. Had you told me before I listened to this album that every track would feature varying degrees of auto-tunage, I probably wouldn’t have bothered. Instead, I’m blown away by the dichotomy. Frenetic percussion Pinocchio wants so desperately to be a real boy. It breathes and yells and runs around the stage… and is then soothed by a tender voice reverb-ed into robot binary. Check out “Dark Star” and fall under the spell.
The sophomore effort from Tennis, Young and Old (Fat Possum), is not that much of a departure from last year’s Cape Dory. But under the guidance of Black Keys’ Patrick Carney, the group dispenses with a bit of the floaty cruise-ship ambiance and focuses on more pop, less dream. “Petition” is an album stand-out:
Frankie Rose has been a part of Dum Dum Girls, Crystal Stilts, and Vivian Girls. So, basically, I loved this record before I even had a chance to hear it. No grit or fuzz, however, but a new kind of synthesized jangle for this solo effort. Interstellar (Slumberland) is far more rooted in 80’s neon than 60’s surf. Check out “Know Me” for an acid-washed flashback: