Cibo Matto - Hotel Valentine

Hotel Valentine... Staying power

New albums: Planningtorock, Damien Jurado, Cibo Matto and more

Published on March 4th, 2014 | Jonny Abrams

Come have a butcher’s at our reviews of tickety-boo new albums from Angel Olsen, Bleeding Rainbow, Cibo Matto, Damien Jurado, Dogbite, The Grouch & Eligh, Planningtorock, Shocking Pinks, Shy Boys, Solids and The Hidden Cameras…

Angel Olsen – Burn Your Fire for No Witness

Sludgy, lo-fi jangles brimming with imaginative little touches and a healthy mix of world weariness and gallows humour. Olsen wraps her powerful, yearning voice around some killer melodies on her way to the sparse yet sublime melancholia of closing track “Windows”.

Rocksucker says: Three and a Half Quails out of Five!

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Bleeding Rainbow – Interrupt

Pixies slasher-pop hooks and boy/girl vocals engulfed in …And You Will Know Us by the Trail of Dead-style flames of distortion and crashing drums. Interrupt is deceptively melodic as it twists and turns in not altogether obvious directions, cutting savage yet airily dissonant shapes in a manner that also brings to mind Sonic Youth, Cloud Nothings and early My Bloody Valentine.

Rocksucker says: Three and a Half Quails out of Five!

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Cibo Matto – Hotel Valentine

Yowsers…Stereolab meets Psapp? Here be sultry female vocals, barmy lyrics, clattering drums, murky undercurrents, fizzy stabs of synth, worming basslines, fluttering string samples, sassy jazz touches, parping horns, gleaming disco-funk with wonky jazz breakdown…it’s one busy hotel.

“MFN” even sounds a bit like M.I.A., while there’s a touch of the Maxinquaye-era Tricky about the title track. Any which way this LP goes, there’s a delightful degree of eccentricity enlivening the creativity, and it all seems to get stranger and stranger until disarmingly gorgeous closer “Check Out”. Very fine work.

Rocksucker says: Four and a Half Quails out of Five!

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Damien Jurado – Brothers and Sisters of the Eternal Son

A low-key, shufflingly groovy gem of an album, so deliciously understated and funky one moment, chiming Flaming Lipsily the next, then switching from funky and elated to tender folk fingerpicking…it’s classy stuff indeed.

Rocksucker says: Four Quails out of Five!

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Dog Bite – Tranquilisers

The second track here, “We”, is an absolute belter, like Ian Brown meets The Beta Band…rest of album’s really lo-fi and slacker for some reason, and we’d expect more from a song titled “L’Oiseau Storm”, but the big, glowing synths that finish the album on “Rest Assured” are lovely.

Rocksucker says: Three and a Half Quails out of Five!

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The Grouch & Eligh – The Tortoise and The Crow

Laid-back, agreeably surreal and psychedelically coloured hip-hop with some nice squishy, glitchy bits in the rhythm section. It’s all a bit like early Outkast dropping acid with CunninLynguists at a children’s birthday party.

Rocksucker says: Three and a Half Quails out of Five!

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Planningtorock – All Love’s Legal

Wispy, steamy vocals and production with a jittery pulse, like two different eras of Talk Talk getting together to share some strong hallucinogens, ones that make them hear sweet huffs of panpipes.

“Misogyny Drop Dead” and “Public Love” in particular are delightfully off its rocker – in fact, this is another album that seems to get gradually madder as it rolls on. Strangely alluring.

Rocksucker says: Four Quails out of Five!

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Shocking Pinks – Guilt Mirrors

Clattering drums take turns with electroclash drum machine to prop up soft, mumbly vocals and background dissonance – somehow, though, whether by design or luck, it all hangs together comfortably and agreeably.

At points Guilt Mirrors just seems to funnel jarring sounds out moodily and repetitively, like a surly and monosyllabic teenager, but it really gets under your skin somehow.

This is a tough one to describe because so many of the elements seem totally at odds with each other, yet converge into something strangely intelligible and digestible. Intriguing.

Rocksucker says: Four Quails out of Five!

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Solids – Blame Confusion

Sun-drenched punk with blaring vocals and chiming distortion that warms like a beam of light on the back of your neck – “take my haze away” they implore us on “Haze Away”, but it’s a key part of their engrossing, if not exactly original, sound.

Rocksucker says: Three and a Half Quails out of Five!

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Shy Boys – Shy Boys

Shy Boys’ eponymous LP reminds a little of The Shins’ classic debut Oh, Inverted World and of lesser-known melodysmith Chad VanGaalen. There are some cracking tunes on here that belie the simple guitar/bass/drums setup.

Rocksucker says: Four Quails out of Five!

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The Hidden Cameras – Age

Like a strange sort of cross between The Divine Comedy and Kaiser Chiefs – the former reference point of course reflecting much on the better on The Hidden Cameras – with a totally uncorresponding predisposition to dub reggae. Just for good measure, the album ends with blood-curdling growl/screams.

Rocksucker says: Three and a Half Quails out of Five!

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About the Author

Editor of Rocksucker and the website's founder, Jonny is passionate about the music he listens to, both good and bad, as well as interviewing his favourite musicians.