Veneer EP - Fortuna POP!/Kanine
January suddenly seems like a terribly long time ago, but if you can cast your mind back that far you may remember a remarkable album released just mere weeks into the then fresh, unsullied year that was 2014. Full of driving drums, doom-filled fuzz guitars and perfect monochrome vocal harmonies, September Girls’ debut album Cursing the Sea shot into the new year with all the excitement, vim and vigour of an outrageous New Year’s Eve party. Critics rejoiced and new fans were birthed, kicking and screaming to the front rows of gigs and festivals across the globe.
Drawing inspiration from the likes of Phil Spector, The Velvet Underground, The Cure, My Bloody Valentine and The Jesus And Mary Chain, the five-piece play reverb-soaked noise-pop of the finest order and have been described as "a combination of razorwire guitar lines, thudding Moe Tucker beats and girl group melodicism". Cursing the Sea garnered widespread coverage, with a Guardian New Band of the Day piece, NME radar and 8/10 review and a 4* review in The Fly as well as coverage in The Sunday Times, The Observer and Uncut. The Financial Times said that they were “like a less malevolent Jesus and Mary Chain – impressive power, conjuring exactly the right balance between noise and sweetness” while Time Magazine no less named them as one of the 11 best new bands in the world.
In the intervening months September Girls have been busy on the road, playing SXSW as well as UK festivals such as Beacons, Body & Soul, Great Escape, Stag and Dagger and Wales Goes Pop, not to mention a mobbed show to a packed Berwick Street for Record Store Day. Bobby Gillespie and Andy Weatherall turned up for their show at The Lexington in London and they were invited to support John Spencer Blues Explosion in Dublin. They are set to play at The Liverpool Psych Fest later this month and CMJ in New York in October.
As their year of triumph draws to a close, September Girls return with a brand new four track EP entitled Veneer, recorded deep underground in Guerilla Studios, Dublin. Whilst still retaining their signature drenched feedback sound the tracks have a greater depth and polish than the album recordings. Each of the four tracks is written and sung by a different member of the band, who describe their songs individually below:
Veneer - “Veneer” was written to stand up to the force that stifles creativity and expression. Like a critical voice in your head that tells you you're not good enough, it leaves you feeling empty and useless. "Seductive veneer" refers to the easy option, which is quitting. I think the message of the song is to ignore that voice and do it anyway - Caoimhe
Black Oil – Sarah and I started jamming out the music one day in the studio. The imagery in the lyrics came from a couple of places, the first being a dream I had, the second being some crazy stuff I had written down on Christmas night last after a few drinks. The meaning of the lyrics "if I could swim, I'd be dead by now" is about acceptance of ones own limitations and the realisation that perhaps
sometimes your perceived shortcomings can be the thing that saves you
Melatonin - There are many things that can keep you up at night; Melatonin is a lullaby to oneself to try to keep sane when plagued with insomnia - Jessie
Butterflies - About navigating life after heartbreak, negotiating the balance between heart and head, abandon and protection – Lauren
The perfect way to round off September Girls' incredible year, the Veneer EP builds on the foundations of "Cursing The Sea" to offer a tantalising glimpse into the band's future as purveyors of the finest dark-hearted pop in town.
Cursing the Sea - Fortuna POP!
Cursing The Sea, the debut album from Ireland’s September Girls, is a dark kaleidoscope of echoey drums, buzzsaw bass, angular guitars and reverb-drenched vocals that blends garage rock and post-punk to extraordinary effect.
Named after a Big Star song via The Bangles, September Girls are comprised of Paula (Bass/Vocals), Caoimhe (Guitar/Vocals), Lauren (Keys/Vocals), Jessie (Guitar/Vocals) and Sarah (Drums). Drawing inspiration from the likes of Phil Spector, The Velvet Underground, The Cure, My Bloody Valentine and The Jesus And Mary Chain, the five-piece play reverb-soaked noise-pop of the finest order, with distant layered harmonies, swirling organ and distorted guitars once described as "sounds from a transistor radio abandoned in a rural cinema."
Formed in Dublin in 2011, the band quickly recorded some demos and began booking gigs in Ireland and the UK, before releasing a handful of well-received limited edition singles on various cassette and 7” labels around the world, most recently on the Haus of PINS cassette label run by their kindred spirits PINS, with whom the band have also toured. This release, for the song “Ships”, gave the band their biggest press to date, with a glowing review on Pitchfork.
With four different songwriters and singers, each song begins with a secret life of its own, only to be unified by the distortion-drenched harmonies and hazy pop stylings of the band, songs that often seem to be of a sunny disposition taking on a darker, more sinister edge. First single proper “Heartbeats” is a tale of unrequited love and betrayal, awash with fuzzy guitars, ethereal female vocals and entrancing melodies and underpinned by a hurt that catches the back of your throat, while the remarkable pop song that is “Green Eyed” has the protagonist trapped in a relationship with someone untrustworthy. Elsewhere “Sister” deals with the thorny subject of rape and victim-blaming in society over an insistent, urgent backing.
Title track Cursing the Sea is an ode to long distance heartache and an apt title for the album, with many of the songs dealing with distance, insecurity and inner turmoil, and alluding to an overall sense of being adrift. In keeping with this, the band chose the setting of a beach at night for the artwork, hoping to capture that same unsettled feeling. Whirling around in a tornado of fuzz, dazzling harmonies, disarming lyrics and dizzying excitement, Cursing the Sea is awash with enough attitude and great songs to see September Girls safely to shore.
“nonchalantly cooing harmonies, driving basslines and swirling organs, all with a hefty slice of Mary Chain-influenced reverb.” NME Radar
“a compulsion to make 60s girl group pop sound echoey and strange: beauty caught through a blur, a blizzard, as thought it’s about to disappear at any moment through a fog of feedback and fuzz.” Guardian New Band of the Day
“This is shard-filled, reverb-drenched noise-pop at its most riveting and atmospheric.” The Sunday Times
“vintage West Coast jangle, Spector-ish studio rumble and classic girl-group strop-pop, with a light dusting of My Bloody Valentine fuzz-noise on top.” Uncut
“something sleek and sinewed runs through their songs that gives urgency to the unkempt noisy haze… formidable.” The Observer
“an alluring debut.” The Fly 4*s
“like a less malevolent Jesus and Mary Chain – impressive power, conjuring exactly the right balance between noise and sweetness.” Financial Times
"Their songs are dreamy and poppy but have an understated gothic essence." The Guardian
"Embittered and angry definitely suits September Girls." NME
"This visceral and ultimately cathartic track whets our appetites for more music from the band." The Line of Best Fit
Age of Indignation - Fortuna POP! - 8 April
Dublin quintet September Girls return with an impassioned musical and political statement in their new album Age of Indignation, a title that succinctly sums up its inherent anger and restless dissatisfaction. The ten tracks bristle with atmospheric textures and dark-hearted noise, tackling complex subject matter such as feminism, religion and life in Ireland at this point in history along the way.
Formed in Dublin in 2011 and named after the Big Star song (by way of The Bangles), September Girls share songwriting and vocal duties amongst each of the band members. They comprise Paula Cullen on bass, Caoimhe Derwin and Jessie Ward O’Sullivan on guitar, Lauren Kerchner on keys and drummer Sarah Grimes, who debuts her first composition for the band with the closing track “Wolves”. Oliver Ackermann from A Place To Bury Strangers contributes vocals to “Jaw on the Floor”.
Age of Indignation follows September Girls’ debut Cursing the Sea (2014), an album that enjoyed considerable critical acclaim from the likes of The Guardian, The Fly, NME, The Sunday Times, The Observer and Uncut amongst others, with Time Magazine naming them as one of the 11 best new bands in the world. Since then the band have played slots at SXSW and CMJ as well as UK festivals such as Beacons, Great Escape, and Liverpool Psych Fest, not to mention a mobbed show in Berwick Street for Record Store Day. In late 2014 the band released a four-track EP Veneer, building on the foundations of Cursing the Sea and anticipating Age of Indignation, as they headed down a darker path.
As opposed to their debut album, which was recorded mainly at home, Age of Indignation was recorded at Dublin’s Orphan Studios, lending it a more assured, powerful sound. The album opens with the starkly bleak guitar riff of “Ghost”, before the band’s political views come to the fore with songs such as “Jaw on the Floor”, which is inspired by both the feminist movement and the 1916 Rising in Ireland, and “Catholic Guilt”, which deals with anger towards the Catholic Church, particularly from the viewpoint of being a woman, referencing the W.B. Yeats poem “September 1913”. Title track “Age of Indignation” addresses the ugly side of social media, while lead single “Love No One” comments on the vacuousness of modern society, mourning a narcissist's inability to see true beauty.
Brutally honest and brilliantly realised, Age of Indignation is a masterful album from a band confident enough to leave their influences behind. Still retaining the swirling psychedelia and intensity of their debut, this time round they are tighter and more controlled, whilst underneath something much darker and urgent is at work. This is music at its most riveting and atmospheric.