Joanna Gruesome are pretty ‘in’ right now, and that goes for a lot of female fronted lo-fi bands with punky sensibilities. In a year which saw the release of their especially warmly received debut LP, Weird Sister, the band offer up a cover of Galaxie 500’s ‘Tugboat’.
I found it first nestled in the middle of a Joanna Gruesome live performance in March. As it crept into recognition, it cut deeper than the rest of their brilliantly brash set. Now released as a B side to ‘Sugarcrush’, it pays its respects to the original, but the band take ownership of this slurring, delicate piece of dreamy indie; it clocks in at over a minute more than the original, for example, allowing the brooding slushings of fuzz and reverb to take hold at every breakdown. The lyrics themselves are perfectly timeless and are of any era where such teenage disillusion with the teenage world is present – ‘I don’t wanna stay at your party/ I don’t wanna talk with your friends’. Lead singer Alanna Gruesome tackles these words with her own deceiving beauty, her vocals sinking back into the weight of the three guitars at every chorus. Drawn in, we then hear her haunted scream, the precursor to another deluge of melody-laced noise.
This cover is equally as emotionally authentic as the original, but with a ballsy twist, which is very much becoming the signature of any Joanna Gruesome track.