THE BEGINNING

The latest 7″ singles by Cults, Golden Grrrls and Magnetic Strippers.

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CULTS
Go Outside
(Columbia)

Of course this New York duo enjoy secrecy and mild schizophrenia – they’re called Cults! They don’t have a website or a MySpace page or a blog or any real online presence at all. They’re digital ghosts, helped by a name that retrieves seven million URLs when Googled. ‘Go Outside’ – their debut single – is the only real sign that they exist at all, and that’s where the mild schizophrenia lies. Meeting all the madmen cult associations soon to come their way head on, it begins with a recording of Jonestown Massacre nut Jim Jones announcing, “To me, death is not a fearful thing. It’s living that’s treacherous.”

It’d be as sinister as the man himself was, were it not for a twinkling xylophone that has us saving our cyanide capsules for another day; a rainier day. Today is suddenly too perfect as the band play the kind of simple, twee pop that usually comes from Sweden rather than Brooklyn. It’s the endless chiming that makes it so giddy – impishly dancing around the vocal melody – and yet Jim Jones’ intro is hard to forget completely.

Is this joyfully angelic sound mindlessly innocent or music of the great brainwashed? That we can’t be completely sure either way is what will make us keep a close eye on these distinctly un-New York New Yorkers.

GOLDEN GRRRLS
Beaches/Date It
(Night School)

When Golden Grrrls founder Ruari MacLean first released his music he found the whole experience “really underwhelming.” “It just took so long,” said the Glaswegian, “the artwork alone took about three months.” A fair amount has changed for Ruari since those early days, though. The arduous matter of artwork, for example, is now the burden of newly formed label Night School Records – an infant project of Please’s Michael Kasparis. Ruari’s no longer alone either, and with band members Eilidh and Lorna the trio have come up with this moniker’s best tracks yet.

‘Beaches’ is almost tropical in its deadened drums and high-fretted guitars while ‘Date It’ – lead by duelling female vocals – is even better, harbouring a wide-eyed innocence recently mastered by fellow Teenage Fanclub types The Pains of Being Pure At Heart. And while both tracks remain firmly in the bustling indie fuzz camp first set up by No Age, they are far from underwhelming.

MAGNETIC STRIPPER
Extended Play-R
(Suitcase)

Magnetic Stripper’s ‘Extended Play-R’ is a collection of odd and odder experimental sci-fi sounds. They’re loosely molded into four tracks, but blink between the sonar wobbles of the title track and the metallic fizz of ‘Nuclear Cataracts’ and you’ll miss the handover between what is essentially two intergalactic sound recordings of complete alien nonsense.

Not to worry; the b-side dials down the pretence as this San Franciscan heads for a planet a little more similar to that of Earth, where inhabitant like songs to have some kind of direction. Static-ridden electronics continue to fuel this spacecraft but the satellite squeaks of ‘Feel’ – that squeal like a dolphin chorus – are thankfully set to an industrial beat that has some intent. It almost feels sexy, in a cosmic prowler kinda way. The following ‘Another Step’ then does its best to fuck itself up by interrupting its voodoo house samples with repetitive goblin vocals. And it was getting so normal.

Originally published in issue 25 (vol 3) of Loud And Quiet. February 2011

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