Category Archives: anarcho noir

AC/DC’s “It’s A Long Way To the Top” gets a ghostly remake from Susanna

Norway’s Susanna covers AC/DC’s “It’s A Long Way To the Top,” and she’s stripped that classic rock anthem to the bone.

Susanna’s delicate singing about “one-night stands,” “gettin’ stoned” and “gettin’ beat up” never sounded more isolating and so beautiful. It’s doubtful her version would ever make rock-and-roll-hungry musicians reconsider that roach motel and dive bar, but it’s fantastic to hear AC/DC’s manly music getting stripped bare.

Listen to Susanna’s version on Soundcloud, performed live from Tomba Emmanuelle, taken from a concert with Morten Qzenild and Helge Sten at Emanuel Vigeland Mausoleum in Oslo, Norway. Susanna is part of Susanna and the Magical Orchestra — their 2005 album “Melody Mountain” reinterpreted songs by Leonard Cohen, Sandy Denny, Kiss, Joy Division’s “Love Will Tear Us Apart” and Depeche Mode.

Susanna has also interpreted songs by Dolly Parton, Thin Lizzy and ABBA.

Listen to “Love Will Tear Us Apart,” and just see if you can easily float back to the original without being changed in some way.

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Filed under anarcho noir, Noir Pop, Synth pop, World Music

UK DIY group Martha is worthy of your attention

The indie-pop band Martha gelled in 2011 in a place called Pity Me — seriously.

Martha- Courting Strong

Looks like this kid, apparently stuck in suburbia, wants to flip you off, no?

Pity Me is a suburban village of Durham, in the North East of England. The Oxford Dictionary of British Names states it’s: “a whimsical name bestowed in the 19th century on a place considered desolate, exposed or difficult to cultivate.” Without touching on its location in England, its so-called misery or its ability to grow tomatoes, the band is giving the tiny town a fresh identity.

Martha’s new album, “Courting Strong,” is loaded with biting punk-rock flavor. In a press release, Martha also credits Scandinavian anarcho noir with helping craft their sound. But while they’ve also been labeled as pop-punk, “Courting Strong” tends to camp out near the indie-DIY style of music.

There’s no one named Martha– just Naomi Griffin on bass and vocals, her brother, Nathan Griffin, on drums and vocals, J. Cairns on guitar and vocals, and Daniel Ellis on guitars and vocals. According to the press release, the moniker appears to be attributed to the name of the last Passenger pigeon.


Martha is a UK foursome; not at all to be pitied.

It’s got quick hits of punk tales and visceral titles like “Gin and Listerine,” “Bubble in my Bloodstream” and “Dust, Juice, Bones & Hair,” which doesn’t sound as grave as you might think. Heavy bass hooks tangle with bright guitar; the drummer lends a solid presence throughout. All four members offer vocals that eagerly intertwine.

The band offers the right mix of youthful exuberance while adding that necessary touch of boredom, of people frantic to just get out and start life. According to Nathan, “the overarching theme of the album is growing up weird.” Isn’t that how most teens feel anyway?

The title “Courting Strong” is from the song “Gin and Listerine” and can sometimes describe the stage where couples start to get really serious.

Their first single is “1997, Passing in the Hallway,” and relinquishes the days of young love swirling among boring subjects at study hall.

“I’ve been so anemic since you broke the double helix in my heart,” sings Naomi, later adding, “I promise that I’m worthy of your attention, after school, there’s a pub across the street…” Its infectious jumpy chorus is a snug fit for small venues packed with sweaty teens.

According to, the band will play at Cake Shop May 29 as part of  NYC Popfest. Visit their website to get a cool download of music from the 2013 Popfest.

When so many bands these days meet up, record, then lose the spark, Martha has a chemistry and cohesiveness that brings the glowing promise of longevity.

“Courting Strong”  is due out May 26 on Fortuna Pop! records. Listen to “1997, Passing in the Hallway.”

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Filed under anarcho noir, DIY, Indie, News, Punk, Punk-rock, Review