Wednesday, August 11, 2010

Review #143: Grrrl Friend - B-Sides & Rarities (2009)

B-SIDES & RARITIES (Grrrl Friend)

Year: 2009
Genre: Punk Rock, Folk Rock
Post-Punk, Hardcore
Label: Wrong Island Records

41 Minutes
My Rating:

Yup, more of your favorite grrrl friend: GRRRL FRIEND! WHOOHOOOO! Alongside their newest compilation record, "Isolation, Chronic Masturbation & Daydreams" (the title being taken from a line from one of their songs) -- this is the OTHER compilation. And while originally only 7 songs upon its release, it has been re-issued or so to speak to contain TWICE that much. For those of you who suck at math, that's 14 FUCKING SONGS! YAEY. And this one basically contains every song the band has recorded in the studio that's NOT on "Isolation, Chronic Masturbation..." blah blah blah. It also contains a few acoustic demos and live recordings as well. Material recorded from 2007 - 2009 (the early years of Grrrl Friend). Time to review this masterpiece. I will just put in what I've said about a song if it's already been covered on a previous album, unless I think what I said when I reviewed the aforementioned could be improved upon/de-stupidified. Okay, NOW time to review!

1. Probably (Acoustic Demo)
This is an acoustic demo version with both Duffy and Cora on the vocals this time, playing the classic song that opens their first EP. However, this version doesn't feel as erratic as much just totally blissful and everybody should listen to this song. The chords just sink into your skin, they're so good. Unfortunately, it doesn't contain the ending part like the other version does.

2. The Rag (Acoustic Demo)
Duffy really needs a fucking cigarette. Anyways, this iz an acoustic version of the SECOND song from "The Rag" (first Grrrl Friend EP), and it's pretty nice. No boingy sounds here, though. Excellent riff and vocals and lyrics. Slow in the verse parts, and fast in the chorus parts. Very catchy.

3. My Broken Head
A creepy, weird sound-collage with very strange and scary noises floating around your hearing range and Duffy mumbling things in a creepy, muffled way. If there's anything he's actually reading here, it'd be nice if were explained. It's only a minute long.

4. Homesick (Live)
A recording of a live performance of the band playing "Homesick", one of the songs from "the Rag". The guitars here sound very electrifying and fuzzed-out as hell. Here's my description of the song from an earlier review: This one's a little slower, like "Mine"... driven like a gear in a great machine or a tiny falling snowflake, there's neat lead guitar here... just peddling along like a... bicycle... or something. Heh heh. The rhythm guitar here is a bit more heavy than the other songs, like grunge or something. Here, the vocal duties are sort of different... Duffy sings high-pitched, and Elyssa sings more low-pitched. When the lead guitar doesn't sound all sparkly, it's got a crazy sound to it like a ripple in a lake of ACID. The song sort of reminds me of the feeling of going back home after a long, exciting journey. Duffy yells, "DO IT, JAY", and Jay whips out a neat-o guitar-o sol-o on command.

5. Ouch!
This one isn't even a "B-Side" (how could they have b-sides if all of their albums are digital or CDs?), or rare! But alas, here it iz on this album. Here's a description of my song on an earlier review:
Another one of my favorites, here. Starts with just guitar and vocals. It's very soothing and uplifting. It's almost like the soundtrack to getting stoned in the summer. "TV controls the world, it's hard to cope" -- a sad but true lyric. In the second verse, the drums and the other cool weird sounds come into the mix. The chorus is very aggressive and chaotic, contrasting from the relaxed verse sections. If I knew all of the lyrics to this song, I could say more. Musically, it feels equivalent to watching yourself skip through the park in slow motion in Super-8 or something like that. What a beautiful song. After the second chorus, there is an outro section which consists of nothing but a repeated melody being played on an acoustic guitar.

6. Toole & I (Acoustic Demo)
Another acoustic demo. This was the closing song for the Grrrl Friend half of "Some Say It's Genetic". It's a mid-tempo love song, presumably about a person and his "Toole" and their loneliness together. Or maybe I'm completely missing the point. Probably am. YES!

7. Deceptacon (Live)
This iz a cover of a song by Le Tigre (featuring Kathleen Hannah). This was from a performance at a release party for a movie about Mia Zapata from the Gits in 2008. They play the song quite well, with a nice warm guitar sound like a boiling vat of water. It sounds very different from the original version... more Grrrl Friend-y, I suppose. And they played it RIGHT IN FRONT of Kathleen! Very good song. It's not necessarily easy to notice at first, but the icing on the cake here is the quieter lead guitar melodies playing in the background. THAT is fucking good.

8. The Flow
One of my favorite tunes from the "Grrrl Friend" EP (the second one). It has a nice crunched-out guitar sound, a great riff, nice beat, and to top it off, some apathetic-sounding horn-like keyboard playing. There's really only one riff for this song, but it's a good one, so it iz okay. Somewhere between completely pissed, tired, and motivated. Duffy screams like a wild animal here. There's a nice little keyboard solo towards the end that sounds like an organ. Great touch.

9. Fleet Would Mock
Another great song from the second EP. Description from another review:
I'm guessing that this one's title is supposed to be a play on the name of the band, Fleetwood Mac. But this song starts out pretty calm, with just Duffy singin' and an acoustic guitar. Then the drums start drumming, and then somehow, the acoustic guitar somehow transforms into a noise-spewin' electric one, and Duffy is now yelling instead of softly singing. Seriously, the guitar sounds weirdly awesome, here. Almost sounds like a DJ scratching a record or something, but I'm pretty sure that the DJ (who happens to be Duffy Wrong Island) is just scratching his guitar (that should be a euphemism for masturbation). Makes me think of walking down into the sunset in the melting snow.

10. Tsantsa
Know what a tsantsa is?? It's a goddamned shrunken head, kidz! This was the last song on the second EP. The verse is wispy and ominous sounding, and the chorus is very slow and fuzzed out. The chorus is kinda catchy in an abstract way. You just gotta love the slow chugging of that part, and how the lyrics just roll with it.

11. I Think of Demons
A Roky Erickson cover. Once you've gotten out of the water and dried off, you can walk away listening to this one. It's a lot more straightforward than the other songs here... because it's a cover. It's a pretty catchy, nice song. It's about demons and stuff. Good guitar riff.

12. Cast a Shadow
This one's a Beat Happening cover. Great acoustic guitar sound... actually, it starts out acoustic in the very beginning, and then quickly morphs into an electric one with not a whole lot of distortion... the lead guitar is so fucked up here, but it's awesome. You can credit that to Jay Briggs of the Sonitus Revolution, who was in Grrrl Friend at this point... "Cast a shadow on my ERECTION" -- hah!! The song fades out...

13. Homesick
The studio version of "Homesick".

14. By a Thread
One of the most unique Grrrl Friend songs. Duffy n' Elyssa on vocals. It's a very soft, serene song. The bass is pretty easy to hear. At one point, there's a BACKWARDS solo. I thought that was pretty cool. It's a cool-down after a storm of coolness, I suppose. The song ends, and then so does the EP.

So, THAT iz the B-Sides and Rarities album. Funny, 'cause unless Grrrl Friend hasn't been telling us something, there really aren't many b-sides. The songs are all nice, though. A lot of cool little rarities and songs from other albums that seem to just be on here just 'cause. The first half of the album are actual rarities, and the second half are some songs from the other records. But the songs are all great, so please do check this album aut. BYE FOR NOW.

Top 3 Favorites:
1. Probably (Acoustic)
2. Deceptacon (Live)
3. Homesick (Live)

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