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Songs for Moms

The Worse It Gets the Better

(Starcleaner; US: 2007; UK: Unavailable)

The world has always suffered from a lack of girl-heavy indie bands: fact. As we sit now in the doldrums that followed the dissolution of Sleater-Kinney, that shortage is almost alarming, but help is on the way. The Oakland all-girl power trio Songs For Moms sprung forth from the void first with a modest self-recorded CDr or two, and now their debut album The Worse It Gets The Better on luscious vinyl and bonus CD for analog haters. Aside from their first names, that’s about all the real information I have on them. They’re so indie, they apparently don’t believe in anything like bios, press releases, or comprehensive liner notes.


Versions of “1906” have appeared on everything I’ve seen them release, and it’s easy to see why. On a more open-minded and supportive planet, that three-four timed alternative rocker soaked in self-reflection—with the relevant refrain “why are we so afraid to die when so many of us are not living” riding the sweet spot—would be a number one single. “My Darling Faye” is another well-used number in waltz time (of which most of their tracks are, something I find actually kinda refreshing), placing the emotional weight on somber poignancy among requests to burn the building down. They’ve got a blunt sense of humour about themselves too, just so you know it’s not the walking Sylvia Plath stereotype bigotting around in your brain. Above all else, Songs For Moms is about honest fun with a Celtic twang.


Though fast paced and containing an appropriate amount of cursing, this is really an album of pop songs at once both lovely and gritty. They just happen to rock out and care more about playing with a vindicated passion than the glossy turd piles that today’s instant-satisfaction-without-due-thought society currently cultivates as rock stars. Trust me, some day The Worse It Gets The Better will be considered one of the most important records ever made by women for all. Watch for throngs of copycats to follow.

Rating:

Author of blurbs, curator of playlists, and booker of shows, Alan Ranta has been plugging away at that music writing and programming thing since 2004. His brutally honest critical opinion has appeared in such publications as Exclaim!, CBC Music, PopMatters and Tiny Mix Tapes, and has been enlisted to help judge the Polaris Music Prize, Pazz & Jop, and Juno Awards. Based in East Van, he graduated with a BFA in music from Simon Fraser University in 2012. He's also a social media plague, cat whisperer, socio-political haranguer, Canucks fan, and one of the last remaining cowboys.


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