For those who were fortunate enough to see Titus Andronicus perform prior to the release of last year's Local Business, watching Amy Klein play guitar was one of the highlights. She pogoed across the stage with boundless energy, and her violin solos were the perfect counterpoint to Patrick Stickles's gruff bark.
Luckily, Klein's departure from the New Jersey band in 2011 hasn't stopped her from making music. She's teamed up with drummer Catherine Tung to form Hilly Eye, a project more Sleater-Kinney than Bikini Kill. The best moments on Reasons To Live come when the volume is turned all the way up and Klein is yelping over droning guitar lines and primitive drums.
It's when the pace slows that the record drags slightly, though Klein's lyrics elevate even the mid-tempo songs. Sometimes her rage is ambiguous - is she angry at herself, someone else or her country? - but it's a promising debut from a singer/songwriter just beginning to find her voice.
Top track: Double Dutch