Juanita Stein “America” (Nude Records, 2017)

This record reminds me a lot of the Coco Hames record from early in the year; a solo debut that explores several styles is always a pleasant listen but lacks an essential sense of identity to mark it out from the crowd. At times where the songs need something to push them on, they drift. Stargazer is a case in point, it is lovely, her voice is good, the melody is satisfying but it just doesn’t reach out and grab me. Similarly Cold Comfort resurrects standard Country tropes, pleasantly – it doesn’t do anything, which is frustrating as she is clearly capable of more than just settling for these pleasant genre pieces. Continue reading “Juanita Stein “America” (Nude Records, 2017)”

Coco Hames “Coco Hames” (Merge, 2017)

When a new name passes in front of us, we like to be able to say, oh yes she’s that kind of performer. Listening to this first record from Coco Hames I’m left with a good feeling and no real idea where her future lies. She certainly showcases a broad range of styles across these ten songs; the closest thing I can think of is Zooey Deschanel and M. Ward’s She & Him project, where they explored across the genres and the decades. Hames starts with When You Said Goodbye, something that resembles both sixties pop in the vein of Hermanns Hermits and also wonderfully the Go-Betweens – the plangent guitars are a dead-ringer for Robert Forster – then she moves onto to classic girl-group territory with I Do Love You before wonderfully diverting into pop-punk with the Ramonesy I Don’t Wanna Go. Continue reading “Coco Hames “Coco Hames” (Merge, 2017)”