Wednesday, February 2, 2011

Noise, Glorious Noise: The Jesus and Mary Chain, The Manhattan Love Suicides, and Crystal Stilts

One rock sound that rarely fails to elicit a positive reaction from me is a buzzy, distorted, jangly-clangy wall of guitar sound wrapped around a pop song. It is simultaneously musical and decadent and, ultimately, immediate and alive. And for me, the best execution of that style is by The Jesus and Mary Chain. Formed in Glasgow in 1984 by brothers William and Jim Reid, TJAMC sought to fuse the brooding muscle and debauched swagger of The Velvet Underground and The Stooges with the pop sensibilities of Phil Spector.

The pop core of the songs is evident when we are treated to an acoustic version. Here is a stripped down demo for Taste of Cindy:

If you like what you hear of TJAMC from their most famous albums, Psychocandy and Darklands, I highly recommend their collection of b-sides and demos, The Power of Positive Thinking.

The style of TJAMC has been resurrected by recent bands. The Manhattan Love Suicides had an all too brief recording career. Formed in 2006 in Leeds, UK, The Manhattan Love Suicides didn't last until the end of the decade. Their farewell present is the compilation album Burnt Out Landscapes, which contains 27 songs.

And my favorite TMLS song in honor of the founder of this blog:

Fortunately, there are other bands still recording the glorious noise, including Danish expats The Raveonettes, New Zealand's Surf City, and Texas band Ringo Deathstarr (all of whom will be covered in future posts). However, one that you may not have heard of and deserves a listen is New York Band Crystal Stilts. Admittedly, Crystal Stilts probably edges more to the shoegaze segment of the spectrum, but enough of their songs ring the glorious noise bell for my tastes.

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