Noise Annoys: Desperate Journalist Grow Up
LAST week's column was dedicated to my favourite records of 2016, yet somehow did not feature Martha Wainwright's excellent Goodnight City album. This was not an oversight – I just hadn't had the chance to listen to it yet.
Released in November and featuring some of Wainwright's most intriguingly different songs to date – So Down's very New York-sounding rawk-out and the slinky electro dub of the Tune-Yards penned Take The Reins being just two of my favourites – Goodnight City somehow passed me by prior to compiling my Top 20.
Having just become thoroughly acquainted with what quickly proved itself to be an eclectic album of considerable depth in preparation for an interview with its creator which you can read on pages preceding this one, I am now forced to admit that it would certainly been jockeying for position in last week's round-up.
Given the sheer volume of music coming at us these days across all manner of platforms, it can be hard to catch every great record at the time of its release.
However, occasionally artists offer us the opportunity to get to grips with their latest magnum opus well before its official 'street' date in exchange for paying for it in advance.
A typical scenario is the tried and trusted 'instant download' option, whereby pre-orderers of vinyl and/or CD are rewarded with a digital version of their purchase to enjoy before the physical product drops through the letterbox.
Die-hard fans always love a good pre-order, particularly if it means they can have a few extra weeks with songs that no-one else has heard yet.
I've already committed myself to two such early bird purchases in 2017: London indie kids The Big Moon's forthcoming debut LP, Love In The 4th Dimension (due out April 17 on Fiction Records, shortly after they play Belfast and Dublin – see TheBigMoon.co.uk ) and the newie from post-punky goth popsters Desperate Journalist, also from that London.
The latter quartet's self-titled debut was among my favourites from 2015, so I immediately ponied up for Grow Up when the band advertised a pre-order via DesperateJournalist.bandcamp.com.
Given that the album isn't actually out until March 24 via Fierce Panda, it did strike me as rather odd that I got an instant download of the entire record after purchasing the limited edition LP (with gatefold sleeve and a free fold-out poster that you'll probably never put on the wall, don't you know) for just £16 plus £4 postage.
Sure enough, it quickly became apparent that it had just been a glitch in The Matrix: an email from the band arrived advising that they hadn't actually intended to give out full downloads at all, and that the problem had now been fixed.
In other words, only super earlybird DJ fans will have got their hands on the entire album a full two months prior to the official release - hopefully, they'll do the decent thing and keep the mp3's away from the interwebs.
"But is it any good?" you may ask. Well, given that DJ's first album was such an instant classic jam-packed with infectious, Smiths-esque melodies and a riot of granular FX-laden guitar abuse (check out the songs O, Cristina and Nothing for a three-song taste test), Grow Up has a lot to live up to.
My first impressions are positive, but so far I've only listened to it a couple of times – and then only via headphones on my phone.
It's definitely slightly less 'immediate' than the self-titled record, but I'm going to reserve judgment until it's had a good few virtual spins on the real Noise Annoys hi-fi.
In the meantime, the DJ Bandcamp page allows you to sample the band's recently released teaser tracks, Resolution and Hollow – the first two songs on the album, conveniently – as a sort of a try-before-you-buy kind of thing.
Will it be on my list of 2017 favourites come the end of the year? Only time and repeated listens will tell, but it's sounding good so far.