Posts Tagged ‘Shopping’

R. AGGS – “Exuberance”

I’ve been a fan of Rachel Aggs’ work in quite a few capacities over the years. Her songwriting with Shopping, Sacred Paws, and Trash Kit has injected a unique sensibility into UK post-punk and DIY of late, so it’s nice to see her stepping out on her own for a low-key tape release under the name R.AGGS. Mixing some of the same instincts that drive her other projects while leaving plenty of room to play around with new influences, the songs here pick at a more subdued vision of post-punk and pop. Often roping in less brittle atmospheres, with nods to Soweto guitar lines and slow creeping synths, this isn’t the breathless pogo that I’ve come to expect from her.

Sure, her infectious, rubbery licks still occasionally creep in, but it’s the space she gives these songs that really shines. While there are a dozen moments that could easily warrant picking out, she makes a refreshing shift on “Exuberance.” Docking in with a soft pad of drum kick and hooked on alternating spirals of synth and guitar with a lope of bass pushing us all along, the song is a hazy sunrise peeking out of the dimness. Aggs is grasping quiet contemplation that stands in contrast to some of her more forceful moments and she proves just as adept with restraint as she is with brittle bite. The self-released /TAPE 1// is out now along with a digital version as well.


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Trash Kit

I’m honestly not sure how Rachel Aggs keeps up with her pace. After solid LPs from Shopping in the past few years and another from Sacred Paws already this year, she’s reviving the post-punk tussle of Trash Kit this year. The band is one of the first places I’d herd her pleasantly knotted riffs and urgent vocals and with their third LP for UK hotspot Upset The Rhythm, they’re solidifying their place in the pantheon of latter day post-punk pickers. Horizon isn’t the scrappy slap across the face that their early albums embodied. Its still bouncing on a bubble of Afrobeat-knicked guitars and polyrhythmic patterns but there’s a richness this time around. While saxes still squawk like the lingering reminders of Maximum Joy’s perfection, the band’s layering in nodes of beautiful harmonies, melancholy violins, and playful pianos. This isn’t the stockpot output of a band looking to regurgitate pogo powered visions of the past. This is an album informed by post-punk’s progression, reinvention, and deconstruction, but also informed by pop’s need to put it all back in place again.

The record is an intricate sweater, knitted with love, time, and talent, unraveling in the breeze. Its something beautiful being picked at over and over until it finally breaks free and floats to the sky. The record breaks down into repeating patterns —broken glass reflecting again and again in a puddle, each layer no less glittering but just a bit further from reach. Aggs’ guitar has never been threaded so steadily while leaving its edges so smooth. Often she’s got a jagged quality, but there’s no sense that any part of Horizon might cut the listener. Its not dangerous in the traditional sense. There’s not rebellion and rancor like Shopping embody, but here the danger is that the listener might forever become lost in an Escher-like landscape of sound that answers questions with questions as to which way is up or out. Its been a big year for Aggs with this on top of the SP rec, but this is definitely the crowning achievement of her year.



Support the artist. Buy it HERE.

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