Music

Lissy Trullie: Lissy Trullie

Trullie pushes hard to be more than the easy charmer she was on her debut EP.


Lissy Trullie

Lissy Trullie

Label: Downtown/Wichita
US Release Date: 2012-04-10
UK Release Date: 2012-04-23
Amazon
iTunes

Lissy Trullie is a New York-based model-turned-musician. Although her background story creates expectations of more downtown New York cool in the "I am too cool to care" manner of the Strokes, her 2009 debut EP, Self Taught Learner, actually followed more closely in the footsteps of the Virgins (whose self-titled album came out in 2008), another collection of models trying their hand at music. The Virgins played an amalgamation of late '70s and early '80s styles popular in New York -- disco, post-punk, synth-pop -- with relatively little affectation. Trullie stuck more strictly to the rock side of New York’s musical history, but she also chose to dispense with much of the attitude. She covered Hot Chip’s light-hearted "Ready For The Floor" as a straight-forward rock tune, and showed a knack for power chords and spindly guitar lines. It wasn’t a new approach, but there is always room for a good punky guitar-pop band.

Trullie’s recently released debut full length, Lissy Trullie, still more or less follows the direct rock-orientation of Self Taught Learner, but keyboards and horns make an appearance, creating a fuller sound. It’s also a bigger sound. Trullie plays harder and darker, yells more, and drafts Dave Sitek (of TV on the Radio) and John Hill (who has worked with the likes of M.I.A. and Rihanna) to produce. However, it’s not clear that all that added studio muscle adds much to the music. There is a lot of forward pound, like Trullie really needs to get something off of her chest, but not a lot of release -- she frequently bowls her way through verses, but drops the ball on the chorus. On tracks like "It’s Only You, Isn’t It" and "Heart Sound", Trullie gnashes her teeth and screams for the listener’s attention, but the extra effort fails to match the more basic appeal of something from her EP like "She Said". The songs don’t stick.

Part of this problem stems from the lyrics. On Trullie’s debut, the lyrics came easily -- "There’s a whole lot of don’t to do" or "Do I look good in red she said / I said always." But now Trullie seems intent on making big pronouncements. "Its Only You, Isn’t It" sounds hurt, but more than a little self-important, as Trullie sings, "...mass hysteria, this is it / If I can’t bend I break, this is it." "Caring" is about "passing the time with caring". "Madeline," which features Lissy trying to sound deeper and darker, in the vein of Nico, begins with a flop, "Madeline, Madeline, all the wiring’s gone awry." "I Know Where You Sleep" finds Trullie in stalker mode, singing "I know where you sleep / what it’s like when you breath/ and how your heart beats," but it doesn’t convey the anger or heartbreak which might make a creepy statement like that intriguing, so it sounds either strange of pathetic. In "Heart Sound", Trullie intones, "...the stronger the pull the greater the thrill...a big heart makes a big sound." Pop lyrics are not required to have much insight or meaning, but when delivered uninterestingly, a line like "A big heart makes a big sound" doesn’t have much going for it.

One of the songs on the album that departs from its usual mode ends up being the most appealing. "Wearing Blue" starts with a nice lyrical turn, "Have you seen Joe, he’s wearing blue/ I’ve got black on my face from crying for you-know-who." The horns that Trullie throws onto the hook are a change of pace and provide a contrast with the somber bass. The flair of the opening and chorus shows a promise that Trullie leaves mostly unrealized on the rest of the album. "Wearing Blue" shows that she may be capable of making the "big sound" she is looking for.

4

Cover down, pray through: Bob Dylan's underrated, misunderstood "gospel years" are meticulously examined in this welcome new installment of his Bootleg series.

"How long can I listen to the lies of prejudice?
How long can I stay drunk on fear out in the wilderness?"
-- Bob Dylan, "When He Returns," 1979

Bob Dylan's career has been full of unpredictable left turns that have left fans confused, enthralled, enraged – sometimes all at once. At the 1965 Newport Folk Festival – accompanied by a pickup band featuring Mike Bloomfield and Al Kooper – he performed his first electric set, upsetting his folk base. His 1970 album Self Portrait is full of jazzy crooning and head-scratching covers. In 1978, his self-directed, four-hour film Renaldo and Clara was released, combining concert footage with surreal, often tedious dramatic scenes. Dylan seemed to thrive on testing the patience of his fans.

Keep reading... Show less
9
TV

Inane Political Discourse, or, Alan Partridge's Parody Politics

Publicity photo of Steve Coogan courtesy of Sky Consumer Comms

That the political class now finds itself relegated to accidental Alan Partridge territory along the with rest of the twits and twats that comprise English popular culture is meaningful, to say the least.

"I evolve, I don't…revolve."
-- Alan Partridge

Alan Partridge began as a gleeful media parody in the early '90s but thanks to Brexit he has evolved into a political one. In print and online, the hopelessly awkward radio DJ from Norwich, England, is used as an emblem for incompetent leadership and code word for inane political discourse.

Keep reading... Show less

The show is called Crazy Ex-Girlfriend largely because it spends time dismantling the structure that finds it easier to write women off as "crazy" than to offer them help or understanding.

In the latest episode of Crazy Ex-Girlfriend, the CW networks' highly acclaimed musical drama, the shows protagonist, Rebecca Bunch (Rachel Bloom), is at an all time low. Within the course of five episodes she has been left at the altar, cruelly lashed out at her friends, abandoned a promising new relationship, walked out of her job, had her murky mental health history exposed, slept with her ex boyfriend's ill father, and been forced to retreat to her notoriously prickly mother's (Tovah Feldshuh) uncaring guardianship. It's to the show's credit that none of this feels remotely ridiculous or emotionally manipulative.

Keep reading... Show less
9

To be a migrant worker in America is to relearn the basic skills of living. Imagine doing that in your 60s and 70s, when you thought you'd be retired.


Nomadland: Surviving America in the Twenty-First Century

Publisher: W. W. Norton
Author: Jessica Bruder
Publication date: 2017-09
Amazon

There's been much hand-wringing over the state of the American economy in recent years. After the 2008 financial crisis upended middle-class families, we now live with regular media reports of recovery and growth -- as well as rising inequality and decreased social mobility. We ponder what kind of future we're creating for our children, while generally failing to consider who has already fallen between the gaps.

Keep reading... Show less
7

Gallagher's work often suffers unfairly beside famous husband's Raymond Carver. The Man from Kinvara should permanently remedy this.

Many years ago—it had to be 1989—my sister and I attended a poetry reading given by Tess Gallagher at California State University, Northridge's Little Playhouse. We were students, new to California and poetry. My sister had a paperback copy of Raymond Carver's Cathedral, which we'd both read with youthful admiration. We knew vaguely that he'd died, but didn't really understand the full force of his fame or talent until we unwittingly went to see his widow read.

Keep reading... Show less
8
Pop Ten
Mixed Media
PM Picks

© 1999-2017 Popmatters.com. All rights reserved.
Popmatters is wholly independently owned and operated.

rating-image