Every Monday through Friday, we deliver a different song as part our Song of the Day podcast subscription. This podcast features exclusive KEXP in-studio performances, unreleased songs, and recordings from independent artists that our DJs think you should hear. Today’s featured selection, chosen by Afternoon Show host Kevin Cole, is “Jonny Boy” by The Manhattan Love Suicides from their latest release, Burnt Out Landscapes, on Magic Marker Records.
British group The Manhattan Love Suicides are the kind of band you’d expect to find playing in an overheated, urine-stained concrete basement, surrounded by leather jackets and shoddy speaker equipment. The kind of lo-fi fivesome that evades a proper release, instead blasting out a series of grimey, fuzz-heavy seven-inches that send discerning listeners scrambling for the crates. And now, when the time for said “proper release” rears its ugly head, this is the kind of band that digs deep in to the catalog and compiles everything they’ve ever released in to a torrid 27-track monster entitled Burnt Out Landscapes. Back in the day you might’ve called this punk rock.
Yes, The Manhattan Love Suicides do wear their Ramones/My Bloody Valentine/Jesus and Mary Chain influences for the all the world to see, but it’s cut, distilled, and brightened by the song-bird voice of lead singer Caroline McChrystal. Just as the churning, punk-grunge guitars of “Jonny Boy” start to drown you in visions of trash-strewn gutters and badly shaven heads, McChrystal’s seductive chirp slips in to the mix and all of sudden it’s 1985, the sun is shining, and you’re circle dancing with Molly Ringwald. This is punk rock’s prettier sister, still decked out with safety pins and metal studs, but sporting cherry-red ribbon in her blonde streaked hair.
The Manhattan Love Suicides’ Burnt Out Landscapes is in stores now. Here’s a video for the track “Clusterf*ck”: