Alt.Rock Round-up: October 2014

Emma Johnston on new releases from Jenny Lewis, Spoon, Rise Against, Flood of Red and The Tea Party

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Jenny Lewis: The Voyager

Many people write Jenny Lewis off as part of the cute and kitsch ukulele brigade. But while the music itself – pristinely produced by Ryan Adams – is unashamedly at the classic, radio-friendly end of the indie-rock scale, a listen to the lyrics on The Voyager demonstrates that this smart cookie is not only astute, but is also willing to lay her lyrical thoughts bare like never before. Deceptively catchy, country-tinged lead-off single Just One Of The Guys, for one, has a searing honesty about baby envy that will give the raging heebie-jeebies to the biological clocks of female listeners everywhere. Written in the aftermath of her band Rilo Kiley’s break-up and the death of her estranged father, the song is the sound of a woman with nothing left to hide. Her personal dirty laundry and her own flaws are aired for all to see on the likes of she’s not me. And with a golden voice at work, this is luscious, sunshine-filled Californian rock with storm clouds on the horizon. (810)

Spoon: They Want My Soul

Austin, Texas’s long-serving alt.rock heroes have long been admired for their strutting, no-nonsense indie rock packed with smarts and swagger, and their eighth album is unlikely to damage their reputation in the slightest. They Want My Soul has a spiky, timeless quality, and frontman Britt Daniel’s sharply wry lyrics add a nicely acidic edge to the sweetness of their melodies. (710)

Rise Against: The Black Market

Seven albums in, these Chicago punks are still righteously furious about social injustice, cruelty and shit-headery from the powers that be. Musically, The Black Market very much sticks to their own blueprint - rabble-rousing choruses, chiming punk riffs and battering-ram drums - but the formula is nowhere near broke, so why fix it? Stirring stuff. (710)

Flood Of Red: Throw

They came up through the screamo scene, but Scotland’s Flood Of Red have smashed out of the genre that spawned them. With shades of fellow genre-breakers Circa Survive and Brand New, their luscious mix of post-hardcore heft and intricate prog, held together with Jordan Spiers’s high-pitched, ghostly vocals, suggests even greater strides to come in the future. (710)

The Tea Party: The Ocean At The End

With Jeff Martin’s dramatically deep voice booming out over atmospheric swirls of guitar and driving, tattoo-like rhythms, The Tea Party have an 80s goth side as big as the ruins of Whitby Abbey. This, their first album since their 2011 reunion, finds the Canadian trio on dark but tightly controlled form. (610)

Emma has been writing about music for 25 years, and is a regular contributor to Classic Rock, Metal Hammer, Prog and Louder. During that time her words have also appeared in publications including Kerrang!, Melody Maker, Select, The Blues Magazine and many more. She is also a professional pedant and grammar nerd and has worked as a copy editor on everything from film titles through to high-end property magazines. In her spare time, when not at gigs, you’ll find her at her local stables hanging out with a bunch of extremely characterful horses.