Looks as though today’s coverage is going to revolve a great deal around a few bands that are so great they’ve probably slipped under your radar, like Kleenex Girl Wonder. The band has primarily been the outlet for songwriter Graham Smith, and while they’ve been active pretty recently with LPs Vana Mundi and White Lacuna, this post is here to celebrate Ponyoak, the band’s classic 1999 LP (you can stream it HERE). It’s a great collection of Smith’s songwriting, particularly if you consider he crafted the songs at the age of 18; you’ll hear nods to GBV and the Beatles alike. But! If you pre-order the LP now, you’ll get a bonus download that includes demos and out-takes from the recording session, including the tune that’s featured below; you can hear more of the bonus tracks over HERE.
Just this past April Graham Smith and Kleenex Girl Wonder released Vana Mundi, but he’s already returning with his second offering of 2018, White Lacuna. The music he’s crafted for the last 25 years is perhaps best described on the poppier side of the college rock world; think Harvey Danger with a little bit more literary word play. And it’s not just the literary quality, it’s the way those lines are delivered, with certain syllables supplying added emphasis to the song’s musical quality. For my two cents, I think the chorus is worthy of your listening alone; the guitars sparkle in the front of the mix, while Smith brings out a smoothed vocal melody that certainly pulls you into the track. White Lacuna will be out later this year via Reasonable/HHBTM.
Sitting here this morning I’m wondering where all the songwriters like Graham Smith went. It seems literary genius and indie rock were so closely aligned, but the genre seems to have lost that sentiment as we search for easy consumption. Luckily, Graham and Kleenex Girl Wonder still have a knack for writing great songs, filled with expansive vocabulary that matches the expansive hooks in the songwriting. This particular track turns and spins back and forth, almost like a spinning log on water…go this way, go that way…wait, there’s a huge hook…go faster. Twenty years on, and there’s still hits to be had; look for Vana Mundi to drop April 20th (physical LP drops in June).
Every time I turn on Kleenex Girl Wonder, I’m slightly perplexed. It’s like this hyper-literate power pop spun through the influence of indie folk. I find it undeniably catchy, even as I try to solve the mystery to the band’s sound, which I suppose is the perfect compliment one can give a band. In the end, the songs beg you to focus on details whilst being carried away be the presence of great hooks. The group looks set to release their highly ambitious double LP, The Comedy Album, on October 28th via Reasonable Records.
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Are you tired of the emo revival? Tired of all those beats and blips? Well, then get ready to turn your speakers up and listen to classic power-pop from Kleenex Girl Wonder! Graham Smith and his project are ready to bring you a hook-laden record of the most literate piece of pop you’ll hear in 2016, filled with over 8,000 fresh lyrics and spanning over 70 minutes. The Comedy Album is a statement piece of art that surpasses its peers in this calendar year, and frankly, any of those in the past (I’m looking at you John Darnielle!). But, ultimately, a record’s only as good as the music, and if you don’t find your speakers begging to have the crisp guitar pop of this track coming through again and again, then you might need to take them to the shop.This brilliant collection comes your way on October 28th via Reesonable Records.