Thursday, November 12, 2009

What Ever Happened to Blanche Hudson?

As most of you will know the fabulous Manhattan Love Suicides split up this summer, their acoustic appearance (a contradiction in it itself) on the Indietracks train turned into a performance by The Medusa Snare. You will probably know the name as Adam John Miller's side-project, and in fact, Skatterbrain posted about them roughly a year ago. But now it's become a full band (including old MLS drummer Rachel Barker), and their first album Cinderella is out on Squirrel - an update of the previously released ep of the same name (on the same label) fleshed out to 10 stunning tracks.

Adam builds on the noisy, lo-fi side of the MLS sound (the side that would've chosen to cover Teenage Jesus & the Jerks' "Orphans") while at the same time sounding more American. The Mountain Goats have been mentioned but I think the album sounds a lot like Knight School, with the MLS rhythm section backing. Matt's old fave "Ixtab" even kicks off with the same euphoria as a Pains of Being Pure At Heart song. My own favourites are the similarly upbeat "NCY" and "Out of the Blue" (paraphrasing, but not covering Neil Young). But they manage to slow things down commendably as well, as in "Monster" which builds on a simple, repeated Beat Happening-like guitar figure. Listen to some of the tracks here.

Two other suicidals have formed The Blanche Hudson Weekend, named after the "good" sister in What Ever Happened to Baby Jane? and they've naturally picked Bette Davis to adorn the cover of their first 7". It comes out on Squirrel on the 23rd of this month, but is up for pre-order already.

The self-confessed influence of girl groups and Girls In the Garage is evident and even if the sound is far from polished it is fuller than that of Cinderella. "Crying Shame" has a certain grandeur to it that the Manhattans captured on songs like "Head Over Heels" (one of their best, in my opinion!). Caroline's singing has the same, barely audible charm it had in her previous band, and it does take a certain voice to give du-du-du's the same credibility as the JAMC, which "Noise and Fury" definitely has. I'm looking forward to a full length from this camp too! All three of these great songs can be heard in their entirety here.

While you're placing you order you might also want to pick up the Louder and Longer remaster of MLS' first album, if you like me thought it sounded a bit tame, or if you just want to get at those bonus tracks from the singles and the few tracks they managed to record for their second album!

4 comments: said...

I knew about the Medusa Snar, but the Blanche Hudson Weekend was new to me. Thanks for that.
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Anonymous said...

Wow, I need to read more. I didn't even know MLS split. I've been listening to the electric version of Thinking Is Killing Me on a daily basis this fall. Bummer, but thanks for the news about The Medusa Snare and The Blanche Hudson Weekend!

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