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Sound Check

10/7/2015

SexwitchSexwitch
Self-titled
BMG

Natasha Khan — perhaps best known for her work as Bat for Lashes — has taken a bit of a left turn with Sexwitch. Produced in collaboration with east London quintet Toy and producer Dan Carey, Sexwitch’s debut album is mostly a psych-pop take on Middle Eastern folk songs. It is not, however, simply a case of putting ugly dogs in bright dresses and calling them people. Instead, each song on the self-titled album gives its source material a renewed sense of life and a genuinely vibrant feel. There is something within each track that conveys a powerful sense of both Kahn’s view on femininity and a deep, brooding, nocturnal feeling. There is something dark at play here, the album seems to say, and that is not necessarily bad. For fans of Bat for Lashes, Kahn’s voice remains the strong point of the album, and the percussive beats only serve to elevate her vocals. CV

 

Girl BandGirl Band
“Holding Hands with Jamie”
Rough Trade

Girl Band’s 2012 debut album, “France 98,” was not very good. It was a safe, boring affair that sorely lacked in artistry or imagination. But in this, the Dublin foursome’s follow-up, Girl Band (who, it should be mentioned, counts no girls among its numbers), has taken an audacious step in a very different direction. Where “France 98” seemed more concerned with making a radio-ready album, “Holding Hands with Jamie” is a raucous, buzzing, lo-fi tour de force that wears its experimental rock influences on its sleeve and bears its roaring heart with abandon. “The Witch Dr” is, for my money, the best track on the album, but the blink-and-you’ll-miss-it “The Last Riddler” and “Paul” are nearly equal highlights. CV

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