Angelica Padua, “Gnarled Veins and Varicose Pains” review

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Angelica Padua, “Gnarled Veins and Varicose Pains” April 2017
https://angelicaluceropadua.bandcamp.com/album/gnarled-veins-varicose-pains
RIYL: Palehound, Petal, Mal Blum

Let’s clear the table and start with the basics: I really liked this. It’s a little poppy, bounces right along, the guitar is crunchy and noodley in a very current and cool way, and Angelica Padua sings with conviction.

A solo artist from Connecticut, Padua seems to be channeling Palehound, which I maybe have mixed feelings about. There are a lot of parallels here. Ellen Kempner is also from Connecticut; their voices sound similar; a lot of the guitar build-ups on Gnarled Veins and Varicose Pains (check out “Sad Songs”) seem reminiscent of songs on Dry Food.

You can take that as a compliment or an insult; Palehound is fucking rad, but tons of musicians today are pantomiming that kind of radness, which ends up feeling banal.

That being said, I don’t think this is banal. I think it’s relatable, tender, strong and well-crafted in just the right lo-fi ways. And we need women’s voices in music, and women’s perspectives, now more than ever (BUT ALSO FUCKING ALWAYS). I really liked this line on “Teeth”: “I have a pretty face but I promise it’s not the right one/I have a pretty smile but I promise it’s stained with blood.” I’d totally book you, Angelica! Hmu!

–Francesca Shanks

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