Posts Tagged ‘Veronica Falls’

Patience

When an artist so deftly nails a genre, its sometimes beguiling that they’d ever leave it behind in their wake. Veronica Falls was one of the most instantly brilliant jangle-pop bands of the last decade. They merged wistful, tip-of-the-tongue influences into a seamless pop vision that was quietly catchy, incredibly intimate, and bittersweet to the point that songs could make your heart ache for days. As the band faded away to their separate pop corners leaving behind an enviable, albeit brief catalog in their stead, neither half has pursued quite the same niche they once found so comfortable. As her bandmate James Hoare has wandered more autumnal with his works, Roxanne Clifford has found space on the dancefloor of sorts. After several singles under the name, her debut as Patience applies the same artisan’s ear and bittersweet heart to synthpop that she once saved for the jangle.

There are still a few flecks of guitar that grace Dizzy Spells (“White of an Eye”) but they’re garnishes at best. Clifford instead focuses on a stripped-down analog sound that’s delightfully minimal, though never unpolished. She’s channeling the early years of dance-pop, the kind that found itself creeping out of the corners of disco, but also found itself in thrall of German electronic pioneers and bedroom pop singers alike. She crafts the kind of detached, yet hypnotic hits that made Grace Jones and New Order kindred spirits with slinky underground acts like Monopol and Autumn. The opener “The Girls Are Chewing Gum” could easily find itself bound up with the kind of sharp, kinked club hits that wind up on Minimal Wave compilations.

The bulk of the record swings a different direction, though. The songs, for the most part, aren’t built for dancing in public, but rather caressing a wounded soul and broken heart away from prying eyes. The sort of intimacy that permeated her work with the Falls is still readily apparent here, and Clifford is able to apply a dreamy veneer to the skeletal beats and gauzy auras she’s constructed. The shift is admirable for its desire to steer quite wide of her comfort zone, but more so because she pulls it off jus as naturally as she has any other vision of her songwriting prowess. Whether this remains a temporary direction or a new standard for Clifford, she’s proving that no matter what genre she’s exploring, she brings a deft pop palette and that perfect pang of heartache that makes the songs stick.



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Patience – “The Girls Are Chewing Gum”

Following the dissolution of revered band Veronica Falls, Roxanne Clifford’s taken a shift towards synth pop, using her gift for gauzy pop to pin down deft hooks to a more propulsive muse. Patience has been issuing a sterling run of singles since 2016, but today she announces her debut LP, Dizzy Spells for Night School/Winona Records. The announcement comes with a new video in tow for the Eurythmics via Tones on Tail slanted cut “The Girls Are Chewing Gum.” The track dances in the corners of the room, lost in its own dream. The synth tones sidle up just this side of goth, but those skittering drums splash a bit more sun on the track, keeping the velvet curtain of that particular genre at bay. Slotted alongside former standouts “White of An Eye,” “The Pressure,” and “The Church” the album already feels like a future classic. Check the neon nostalgia of the video for “Girls” above and watch for the LP May 3rd.

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Roxanne Clifford on Shirley Collins and Davy Graham – Folk Roots, New Routes

I’m excited to say that this series now boasts two members of longtime RSTB fave Veronica Falls. Though the band has gone on to new ventures, their taut indie pop will forever be embedded in my heart. One of the band’s greatest strengths was songwriter and singer Roxanne Clifford and she’s brought that same spirit, albeit with an ear towards synth-pop strains over jangles, to her band Patience. With a clutch of great singles already in her catalog, the band has already proven indispensable. So, I was eager to see what Roxanne would pick as deserving of another listen and some time under the spotlight. She’s reached back to a folk classic, the homespun folk of Shirley Collins and Davy Grahams’s – Folk Roots, New Routes. Check out how this found its way into her collection.

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Patience – “White Of An Eye”

The end of Veronica Falls always left me feeling a bit sad. The band’s perfect distillation of jangle-pop on the skids, sunny melodies with a tear in their eye, was always comforting. James Hoare has gone on to a myriad bands in the interim, but Roxanne Clifford’s output has been more selective. Now on her third single as Patience, Clifford is ably working a brand of synth-pop stung with jangles and it suits her well. “White Of An Eye” swims through the backwaters of the ’80s – mopping up bits of The Jasmine Minks on a bender with Chris & Cosey and Strawberry Switchblade. Hopefully this third single signals the oncoming announcement of an album proper. For now, though, we’ll have to just enjoy it on its own merits. This one’s been growing on me with each subsequent listen.

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James Hoare on East Village – Drop Out

For the latest installment of Hidden Gems I asked James Hoare (of Ultimate Painting, Veronica Falls, Permanent Ornaments) to pick a lost piece of his personal music landscape. As always, Hidden Gems is based on the idea of those records that are found along the way in life that you can’t believe you never heard about, the ones that just blow you away on first listen and seem like such a find. They’re the kind of records that get left out of all the essential decade lists and 1001 records you need to hear before you die type of listicle… the ones that truly got away. For this installment in the series James picked overlooked UK jangle gem Drop Out from East Village. I asked James how this lovely record came into his life and what the record means to him.

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Ultimate Painting

Three albums in Ultimate Painting have proved that they are not a band who burnt their wick in the short term. Refining their melted horizon vibes over the last two albums, they come fully into their own on Dusk. James Hoare has always been a secret weapon in Veronica Falls’ roster, with a beyond-his-years aesthetic that’s given pathos to his own songs and seen him pair up recently with luminaries like Pete Astor (The Loft, Weather Prophets). Now, along with Jack Cooper, he’s creating a bummer vibe that’s picking up pieces of The La’s, Dios (tell me that “Song For Brian Jones” doesn’t have a bit of “You Got Me All Wrong” in its bones and I’ll call you a liar), The Free Design and Heatmiser. Where they earned their VU fan club card on the first album and traded it in for a Teenage Fanclub badge on the second, they’ve come fully into their own on the third, synthesizing their love of pop both contemporary and on the dour side of the ’60s cannon this time ’round.

They’ve found a bittersweet comfort in pop’s arms, never showy, never overplaying their hand. There are scads of indie bands that will fill you full of bright strum, jangled choruses and twee notions but what’s great about Ultimate Painting’s realization of character is that they know they’re not a bolt of sunshine and they couldn’t care less about your reaction to their vibe. James and Jack have created a constant comedown, a space of perfect sighed bliss and reticence. I’ve been waiting for the band to find this balance, this refinement, and on Dusk they become the band they’ve always threatened to be. They’ve longed to be your resigned exhale into the cold air, the musical equivalent of frosted breath on a November morning, curling ever into the ether. They’ve left in the imperfection of tape hiss, giving the album a feeling of confessional beauty, frayed, but at the same time obviously pored over with a meticulous comb and ordered by two songwriters who have spent years finding their voice. This is the best that Ultimate Painting have presented and its one of the most autumnal records to slide out this year, fully formed and hugging the listener like a friendly shoulder.

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Ultimate Painting – “Song For Brian Jones”

Ultimate Painting have steadily smoothed their sound, found their footing and arrived at the autumnal opus that is Dusk. Standout elegy for troubled Rolling Stones member Brian Jones is pretty indicative of where the band have taken their sound for this album ironing out their VU love and wandering closer to the sunset psych of aughts mainstays like Dios (Dios Malos if you want to get litigious) or the less cavernous moments of Beachwood Sparks. The song is a fitting tear shed for Jones and as strong and argument as you could ever make for getting James Hoare and Jack Cooper together. The clip is appropriately swimming in double imagery and softly psychedelic shots of Hoare’s studio and a verdant landscape. Its not the most groundbreaking visual but its a nice accompaniment to the band’s pop flutter. Between this and the Pete Astor album, it seems that James Hoare is making himself responsible for some of my favorite moments of gentle pop hum this year. Here’s hoping he keeps it up.



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Pete Astor

The concept of this record is kind of an inter-generational mindblow. Pete Astor’s already lived a dozen lives and for his work in The Loft alone, I’ll remain forever grateful; seriously, “Up The Hill and Down The Slope” should be on every 80’s playlist. Also a member of fellow Creation stablers The Weather Prophets, the man’s got credentials to spare, so on name alone you should be hooked. Somehow though, he’s connected with one of our generation’s own jangle-pop savants, James Hoare (Veronica Falls, Ultimate Painting) and together they’ve mashed their minds to create an album that sounds reverently ripped out of time. The songs on Spilt Milk are cut from the cloth of the best of the class of ’86, but given modern twist of the knife.

For the most part the two are just keeping everything reclined and refined until the very last notes skip to the runout. By the time you get around to standout “Perfect Life” you’re absolutely hooked on this album, its the kind of song that feels like its always just been. Those songs that feel like they’re bound to end up in a Wes Anderson movie at some point. Hoare and Astor make perfect foils, and this album doesn’t feel like a hero worship so much as two janglers just recognizing the badges on their jackets across a crowded room and finding common ground once the tape starts rolling. Its just a slow breaking smile the whole way through.




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