Album Review: The Joy Formidable – Wolf’s Law


  • I pre-ordered my copy of Wolf’s Law by the Joy Formidable.
  • I am a bit of a fan.
  • I am biased to female vocalists. (It’s how I ended up married!)

I thought for sure, for sure!!!, that after Silversun released Swoon and Joy Formidable released The Big Roar, that the Pumpkins era would finally return and we would move out of the 80’s electro-pop influenced music that has saturated the Indie scene for a few good years now.  Don’t misunderstand, I quite enjoy all the 80’s inspired music that floats around; however, I do feel it necessary to have movement in the music and loud guitars and varying vocal deliveries that are not present in all electro-pop drone material.

But at the end of the day, I was wrong.  And Silversun took a shit with their last record, and the only thing separating me and the abysmal cliff that is blending genres was this new record by the Joy Formidable.

Wolf’s Law:
Cool album cover to boot!  The deluxe edition that I ordered (that came out a day early!) has really cool packaging with a hummingbird pin enclosed in it that apparently has the magical property of getting one-on-one face time with Ritzy at any show… (SCORE!)  I think I ordered the deluxe edition just because I have a bit of a passion for wolves, and I loved the imagery.  I even donate to help curb wolf management programs at Defenders of Wildlife.  (But that’s neither here nor there… Go donate!)

The album was a bit tough to swallow at first.  From top to finish the album is complex lyrically, as I’ve come to expect from Ritzy Bryan.  The album fires off with the first two singles: This Ladder is Ours  and Cholla.  A strong start quickly fades away.  While the third track, Tendons, is a decent song, it fails to bring the level of immersion high enough.  On their freshmen record, I found that I was constantly drowning in the warmth of the music and the thickness of it, while trying desperately to put a finger on what she means or wants to say.

The next several tracks are easily forgotten.  Silent Treatment is obviously a very intimate track and brings you as close to Ritzy as we probably will ever feel.  It is a beautiful song, but it is covered on both sides of the album, and I feel like it gets lost.

I didn’t get engaged again until The Leopard and the Lung, which comes about as close to the sweeping, orchestral songs that were every other track on The Big Roar.

All of this seems pretty damn dismal, but there is light at the end of the tunnel.  The Turnaround looked like (at first glance on my iTunes gui) that it would be an epic masterpiece.  But they had gone and slid a hidden track at the backside of the song.  It’s a quiet and building Sigur Ros-type piece that, I think, turns this album to roses.  The song is the title track, Wolf’s Law, and it is a perfect end.  The song sounds like salvation and it is exactly that to its parent.

It is getting stronger through repetition.



The National – The Virginia EP

The National are finally releasing The Virginia EP on vinyl.  You can click here for the link to pre-order the item.


Track List:

Side A:
1. You’ve Done It Again Virginia
2. Santa Clara
3. Blank Slate
4. Tall Saint (Demo)
5. Without Permission
6. Forever After Days (Demo)
7. Rest Of Years (Demo)
Side B
1. Slow Show (Demo)
2. Lucky You (Daytrotter Session)
3. Mansion On The Hill (Live)
4. Fake Empire (Live)
5. About Today (Live)
The soul crushing finale to the EP…

Songs from the Top of the ’12 Heap.

For the past several years, everyone has been calling the year; “The Year of the Single”, and that no bands have produced a decent full showing in years.  While that is obviously erroneous bullshit, there were quite a few decent tracks this year that made it only onto EPs, one-offs, or (yes) came from a ‘festering turd of a record’.

Some of the live videos were chosen because I was at those shows… and they were epic.  Beware, the first few songs on here are quite poppy.

My top 20 tracks from ’12:

20: Ride this Feeling – Kate Miller-Heidke

19: Queen of a Sad Land – A Silent Film

18: The Winds – Jessie Baylin

17: Bay of Skaill – The Magnetic North

16: Wolf – Now, Now

15: Leonard – Sharon Van Etten

14: Disappear Always – Wild Nothing

13: Pair of Wings – Frankie Rose

12: Frigid Spring – Chairlift

11: Time Meant Nothing – Teepee

10: Varúð – Sigur Rós

9: Kill for Love – Chromatics

8: Misty’s Nightmares 1 & 2 – Father John Misty

7: The Water – Discount Guns

6: Ride – Lana Del Rey

5: Change the Sheets  – Kathleen Edwards

4: Werewolf – Fiona Apple

3: Irene – Beach House

2: Medicine – Daughter

1: Heaven – The Walkmen