By Tamsin Chapman
You know what? I don’t think I really even like albums that much. Individual songs yes, gigs, yes, but albums, meh. OK. there were some I enjoyed a lot, but not one that absolutely 100% changed my life. And that’s what the best albums should do. They should be the soundtrack to your whole summer, your love affair, your suicide, your recovery from a minor operation. But this year, I’ve flitted from offering to offering like a bluebottle in a blocked toilet. However, right at the end of 2011 there’s one album that might, just might, be the one I was waiting for and that’s Muscles Of Joy‘s debut album, Muscles Of Joy (Watts Of Goodwill).
There isn’t very much on YouTube, just this really:
So you should take my word for it and just go straight here and buy it (or from Rough Trade but it’s a quid more there). If you don’t trust me, you can listen to some of the songs here first, but you need to hear the whole album to appreciate the way it whoops and builds and conquers all.
What does it sound like? Sixties Italian horror movie soundtracks performed by a seven-piece all-female matriarchal tribe whose gods are … And the Native Hipsters. Vocal harmonies and non-traditional rock instruments – blowy things and honking noises and funk and pop and it’s massively inventive and they will BLOW YOU AWAY EVERETT TRUE. [OK, OK. I'll check them out! - Ed]
Muscles Of Joy apart, what was more memorable this year was live performances.
These are the best so far:
You’ve already read the story here. The next day I had a hangover bigger than Mars, bruises covering my whole body, a missing wallet and a random Frenchwoman’s email address in my pocket. The band contacted me a few weeks later to ask if they could use some of the photos I took, and said, “Er … were you the one Linn smashed in the face with her guitar … ? Sooooo sorry. Hope you’ve healed.” I bet whoever the other poor fucker was, they didn’t care either. Deathcrush will bruise you. In a good way.
Eight people screaming at the same time and making a vast discordant danceable noise that makes you go faint it you stand in the wrong place. They seethe around the audience like a punk tsunami, sweeping anything bland and twee out of the way and leaving only sweat and an itchy rash. In a good way.
I accidentally saw them in three different countries this year, England, France and Scotland, and they were better each time. And they’d already started off really fucking great. More intense, sexy noise. More screaming. More bruises. More ear war. Obviously in a very, very good way.
So those are the gigs, but what about the songs?
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