Track Of The Day: Suzie Stapleton – ‘Blood On The Windscreen’

The city of Brighton has played host to a number of DIY creatives over the years with Australian artist Suzie Stapleton being no exception to this tradition, as she returns with self-produced single ‘Blood On The Windscreen’.

Razor sharp riffs plunge us head-first into the track as Stapleton’s husky vocals demand our fullest attention. It seems dramatically prophetic that the single is lifted from her upcoming album We Are the Plague which is due for release this June. Stapleton confesses:

I had a meeting with a photographer early January to discuss the artwork for We Are the Plague. I joked ‘I hope a pandemic doesn’t sweep across the world before the album release… About a week later Coronavirus started to hit the headlines.

Whether it’s due to self-isolation or the single’s own darker undertones of the blues, ‘Blood On The Windscreen’ succeeds in fully immersing us into our own headspace while simultaneously serving a stark reminder of the wider world. Although currently it is difficult to predict our lives from one day to the next, one saving grace is that Suzie Stapleton has promised us that, as long as she has WiFi, we will have an album.

Watch the video for ‘Blood On The Windscreen’ here:

‘Blood On The Windscreen’ is out now. Listen on Spotify and Soundcloud.

Nicky Lee-Delisle
@Nicky___Lee

PLAYLIST: Love & Solidarity

It’s safe to say, each and every one of us right now is going through a hard time; a scary, strange time filled with uncertainty and fear. A time when feelings of anxiety are heightened and we need to seek refuge in our favourite music more than ever.

So, we wanted to put together a few tunes to soothe the soul; to calm and to motivate. Some music to aid positive thoughts and relaxation, and taking time for yourself to switch off and de-stress is so essential right now. Take a deep breath, unwind, and let us send you all a big dose of love and solidarity as you hit play and follow this playlist.. (link below)

Le Tigre – ‘Eau D’Bedroom Dancing’
Because I need Kathleen’s voice more than ever right now. This chilled number from one of my favourite albums, Le Tigre’s Deceptacon, just oozes so much twinkling heartfelt emotion from Hanna that my heart bursts a little more on each listen. Also, we will all no doubt be doing plenty of ‘Bedroom Dancing’ over the next few weeks/months…(Mari Lane)

Noga Erez – ‘Global Fear’
I listened to this track at least once a day on my commute to work pre-pandemic because, despite its melancholy context, I find it really relaxing. I’m a big fan of Noga Erez anyway, but I find her music extra impressive at a time like this, because it makes me feel both alienated and connected at the same time. She’s set to release her second album at some point this year, and that’s a small thing I’m holding on to. (Kate Crudgington)

Nilüfer Yanya – ‘Tears’
One of my favourite tracks from Nilüfer Yanya, and a slight move away from her guitar heavy tunes, ‘Tears’ captures you and takes you along with its bouncing beats and sad reflective lyrics. It’s been great to watch this artist reach the acclaim she so rightly deserves, and it reminds me of a personal highlight seeing her play at Primavera 2019. It was the definition of sun-drenched guitars. (Tash Walker)

Sink Ya Teeth – ‘Breathe’
Taken from their latest album Two, here our favourite Norwich duo create a soothing, sparkling majesty; oozing the soaring, calming vibes that we all need right now, it’s a truly exquisite offering, highlighting that it’s more important than ever now to make time each day to switch off, to simply breathe. And if you do that whilst listening to this euphoric soundscape, I guarantee it’ll make you feel a little better. (ML)

Massive Attack – ‘Safe From Harm’
This Massive Attack tune never fails to calm me down. The snaking bass lines and Shara Nelson’s mesmerising vocals override the threats being explored in the lyrics, making it an oddly soothing listen. (KC)

Portishead – ‘Roads’
Taken from my most listened to album of all time, ‘Roads’ is one of those tracks that never fails to calm me. With a cathartic raw emotion and whirring energy that builds with each throbbing beat, I find something deeply therapeutic about it. It’s the same with the whole of Dummy, but this song is probably just a notch above the rest. Listen, close your eyes and let the impassioned grace of Beth Gibbons’ heartfelt vocals take you down a road of healing. (ML)

Elsa Hewitt – ‘Tiny Dancer’
Whatever your mood, electronic artist & producer Elsa Hewitt has a tune to accompany it. I was so caught up in her live set when she played for us at Notting Hill Arts Club in 2018, I could’ve listened to her mixing and triggering her ambient tunes all night. A perfect distraction in these strange times. (KC)

Amahla – ‘Old Soul’
Hackney-Native Amahla blew us away ‘Old Soul’ at the beginning of 2019 and has just kept getting better. It was a complete pleasure to see her perform for our IWD x Sofar Sounds gig a couple of weeks back. Listening to this song now, it leaves me reflecting on the older generations of our society, who we must all rally around as a community to help support through this uncertain time. (TW)

Babeheaven – ‘Seabird’
A perfectly dreamy accompaniment to gazing out the window at the beautiful blossom and budding dafs swaying in the breeze; a reminder that nature carries on, birds will continue to sing, flowers continue to grow, even when everything else is in disarray. I’ve found it really grounding over the last couple of weeks to focus on this, to seek solace in nature. And the luscious, soulful energy and beautifully rich vocals of ‘Seabird’ couldn’t be more welcome right now. (ML)

Connie Constance – ‘English Rose’
I first heard this cover about a year ago, but it’s really resonating with me at the moment, especially with the moments I go outside. Originally by The Jam, for me Connie Constance’s cover is the soundtrack to my daily stroll, enjoying every second I can of being outside at a time when we really value the things we used to take for granted. (TW)

Christine and the Queens – ‘Mountains (We Met)’
This track has been playing on repeat in my flat over the last couple of weeks, loved so much by my girlfriend who it brings a real sense of calm to. It reminds me of how lucky I am to be in lockdown with my loved ones, and the importance of staying connected week to week. Connected, we are a community, and communities can survive anything with love and solidarity. (TW)

Sharon Van Etten – ‘Beaten Down’
A poignant reflection on “love, patience and empathy”, Sharon Van Etten’s voice smoulders across dark synths, atmospheric keys and sparse echoing beats on this track. “‘Beaten Down’ is about making life-changing choices and remaining strong enough to see them through”, Etten explains. I think it’s okay to admit that the current situation has beaten most of us down, but I think you’ll be surprised how resilient you can be in the face of adversity too.
(KC)

Rilo Kiley – ‘A Better Son/Daughter’
With its twinkling emotion strewn splendour and heartbreakingly raw honesty, this is my go-to cathartic motivational soundtrack in life generally, but in the last couple of weeks I’ve pretty much been listening to Rilo Kiley on a loop. And I feel like this song in particular, with its impassioned and relatable lyricism, is a pretty spot on mantra of hope for getting through these strange times: “… You’ll fight it, and you’ll make it through… You’ll be awake, you’ll be alert // You’ll be positive though it hurts // And you’ll laugh and embrace all your friends…” (ML)

Mazzy Star – ‘Fade Into You’
One of the most beautiful and touching songs, from ’90s slow-core band Mazzy Star. ‘Fade Into You’ is so slow, considered and full of emotion, it’s hard not to get completely mesmerised by it. Escapism at its best. (TW)

Wolf Alice – ‘Blush’
I can’t listen to a Wolf Alice track without experiencing a flood of emotion. Most of the time it’s a giddy feeling that makes me want to stomp about and sing Ellie Rowsell’s lyrics really loudly; but with ‘Blush’, I always get a bit choked. It’s such a soft, romantic, sentimental tune. I’m looking forward to singing “Punch drunk, dumb struck, pot luck, happy happy” into my sisters’ faces again when all this blows over. (KC)

Kate Tempest – ‘People’s Faces’
There is so much that is so perfectly poignant in this song – the glaringly honest and completely relevant social commentary showcases Tempest’s unique poetic skill at creating relevant and hugely emotive social narratives. But a subtle glimmer of hope also shines through; the comfort we gain from those we love, and the comfort we can offer them just by being there (even over a Zoom or Skype meet!). So, even when it feels like the world is ending, we can still find happiness in each other: “… then we smile at all our friends… Even when I’m weak and I’m breaking… I can see your faces. There is so much peace to be found in people’s faces.” (ML)

EP: Yakima – ‘Go Virtually’

Sharpening their steadily developing woozy, lo-fi sound, Glasgow quartet Yakima are set to bring their debut EP Go Virtually into the world on 3rd April. Drawing influence from their love for melodic expression and frenzied sonics, the record flits across boundaries of reality and imagination with its hazy, warm presentation.

Written and recorded in the unusual setting of a drafty gatehouse next to a nearby castle – with a ceiling made entirely of spider webs – the EP lends its echoey feel across six tracks. With production coming from Benji Compston and Jon EE Allan of acclaimed band, Happyness, the quartet’s debut record showcases an array of sounds that vary from upbeat and rock-tinged, to fragile and quiet.

Groovy, upbeat opener ‘It Helped’ establishes the observational lyricism that the band lean towards; looking the uncomfortable reality and battle of quitting smoking right in the eye. Following track ‘Judy’s Lament’ is rooted in the experience of reading about Judy Garland’s insomnia. Eventually turned in to a song about Garland’s imagined feelings about the lack of sleep, it’s a soothing lullaby that stands out as an early highlight for its smooth, quiet vocals.

‘Thanks’ makes way for a sudden spike in energy with it’s guitar-led sonics and melodic vocals, with the wild cut of ‘I’m Happy (In No Way)’ making room for the second high point on the EP, before IT loses itself in the chaotic, improvised outro of ‘Real Time’. Closing track ‘Sheep Boy, Cry Man’ (the title of which draws inspiration from “Cry Rooms” in Japan, where occupants go to relieve stress) is the most somber offering on Go Virtually.

Toying with vocal harmonies and earworm melodies, Yakima’s debut EP is an analytical creation that looks into the complex relationship between what’s right in front of you and what’s in your mind. Influenced by the likes of The Byrds, Elliott Smith, The Beach Boys, Sparklehorse, Low and Duster among so many others, the band still manage to shine with an authentic exuberance that can only be their own.

Yakima’s EP Go Virtually is released on 3rd April. Follow the band on Facebook and Spotify for more updates.

Malvika Padin
@malvika_padin26

Guest Blog: HUSK

To mark Transgender Day Of Visibility – a day to set the tone for every day, show your support, increase equality and stand by trans people to live their lives freely and confidently – trans, non binary artist HUSK talks to us about their experience in the music industry. Dubbed as “the outsider popstar we’ve all been waiting for” and “pretty darn good” by BBC 6 Music, they combine ’80s synth-pop nostalgia with fresh leftfield pop to create their signature sound. 

Find out more below: 

I always get comments about my voice, both good and bad; it’s the first thing people notice. It’s high, it’s low. It’s soulful, it’s raw. It’s trans. Despite the coronavirus disruption, today is Trans Day of Visibility (TDOV), and I’m so proud to be a Trans NB synth-pop musician.

I’ve always been attracted to synth-pop because of its queer history and androgyny. Artists like Grace Jones breaking the gender wall and Erasure, Eurythmics and Bronski Beat challenging vocal expectations that became an iconic symbol of the ’80s. It also has a natural sadness to it, but you can still dance to it. I think that draws a parallel with what it’s like to be a trans musician at the minute.

The difficult parts are well-known. The prejudice of not being booked or featured before listening to what I’m offering. The “I don’t get it” comments about my awesome gender-bending voice. The TERFs and transphobes sending tweets you could do without, and not to mention all the other things that come with being a trans person in society right now.

There’s so many amazing things too.

You’re not confined to societal standards about gender if you’re not conforming anyway. So, you’re a bit more free to write what you love, be your unapologetic self, no matter how many times you have to figure that out. And you get to weed out all those that you’ll ignore when you’re huge! Ha!

It’s really humbling to be representative of such a diverse community. I was once introduced on stage as “an emblem of trans masculinity”, which was terrifying, not to mention inaccurate. I always try to be vocal about my experience and the fact that I’m not a man, I’m just simply not a woman, and I happen to take testosterone.

I’ve been featured in some pretty major BBC 6Music LGBT+ shows, amongst some huge names. This is massively important, not just to me as an artist, but for gender non-conforming people to see. I didn’t have that, and I’ve had to carve out space for someone like me.

You also inherit a community. Allies and other trans people want to see you do well, especially in a world where trans people are vilified for simply existing. Supporting trans people has never been more important.

I’m currently working on my new single campaign for ‘Below The Neck’, which has been supported by Superbia of Manchester Pride, allowing me the freedom to release a high energy, new wave-y synth catchy af pop song. A song that would have otherwise been gathering digital dust on my laptop. It’s also giving others work, including the talented Sugar House and a team of all female radio pluggers.

Now though, we are seeing more and more trans noise. Anohni and Big Freedia are both out trans women of hugely different genres at the top of their game. Half of the artists on AnalogueTrash have trans band members, including the ‘gay metal disco’ from St Lucifer, who are always ridiculously fun to see live. Harvey is making the news in the Midlands and The Spook School are still making their super fun indie pop. Not so long ago, Jordan Grey was up on prime time TV on The Voice and is now on Comedy Central smashing it. And this is HUGE!

I would never change being trans. I would never change being a trans musician. And the industry should support us. Book us. Play us. Listen to us. We have so much to offer. Find out – we’re dying to share it with you!

‘Below The Neck’ is out 3rd April on Spotify, iTunes & Bandcamp. Find HUSK on social media – @husknoise .

Massive thanks to HUSK for talking about their experiences with us! 

Track Of The Day: Sit Down – ‘Quarantine’

Having been blowing us away for a few years now with their immense explosive offerings, and with acclaim from the likes of BBC Introducing, Brighton duo Sit Down have now shared a brand new single, inspired by these scary, strange times we currently find ourselves in. Like artists the world over, the duo have had their tour dates and release plans for this year completely written off by the pandemic, and so have written a track venting their feelings of fear and frustration.

Propelled by a frenzied angst-fuelled power, ‘Quarantine’ is filled with scuzzed-out pummelling beats and reverb-strewn whirring hooks, alongside the swirling gritty force of Katie Oldham’s vocals. An intense slice of thrashing garage-punk, oozing a necessary raging energy; it’s the perfect “anthem of the apocalypse”.

Of the track, Katie explains:

We wanted to create something that expresses the frustrations and fears of living through something like this, but also shows the lighter side we can all relate to… This pandemic has bought the world to its knees, and while it’s absolutely terrifying, there is real unity in knowing the entire world is experiencing the same thing all at once. The jokes and memes and art people are making in this time are universally relatable and counters this fear of the unknown with communal understanding. This is our little offering toward that.

Listen to ‘Quarantine’ here:

‘Quarantine’ was released on 20th March, aka ‘Bandcamp Friday’ – a day in which Bandcamp waived all fees for creators to help support them in these difficult times. Guitarist Greg Burns expands: “It was a small gesture, but for struggling artists like us it’s made the world of difference… We’ve both got laid off from our jobs because of this crisis, but thankfully we sold more merch on that one day than I think we have in the last six months of shows combined.

Head on over to Sit Down’s Bandcamp page to support them now.

Mari Lane
@marimindles

Video Premiere: Bitch Hunt – ‘Spaceman’

Since first meeting at Roller Derby, London based all queer/non-binary band Bitch Hunt formed at First Timers Fest, and have been going from strength to strength ever since; last October impressing us at GIHE us with their immense live set at The Finsbury. Now, ahead of the release of a split cassette with fellow GIHE faves adults, the band have shared a brand new video.

Filled with catchy, scuzzy hooks, a subtle tongue-in-cheek wit and the gritty deadpan vocals of front person Sian, ‘Spaceman’ is an observational and relatable slice of punk-pop. With Bitch Hunt’s trademark impassioned energy and swirling harmonies, it’s a spot-on reflection on the sickening arrogance of all those cis male ‘splainers and ‘spreaders we so often have to endure in our day to day lives. An uplifting raging anthem inspiring us all to take those men down a peg (or four).

Watch the fantastic new DIY video for ‘Spaceman’ here:

The adults / Bitch Hunt split cassette is out now via For The Sake Of Tapes. Order from Bandcamp.

Mari Lane
@marimindles

 

Track Of The Day: Guitar Gabby and The Txlips – ‘The Dead Pool’

Consistently partnering with Girls Rock Camps internationally and nationally to bring classes about home recording, equipment set up, copyright law and more to young girls setting out to become their own artist, Atlanta based Guitar Gabby and The Txlips‘ mission is to change the narrative in which the music industry showcases women. Here to remind the world that Pussy is Power, they carry just the sort of empowering message we need right now.

Following 2018’s EP ‘Queens Of The New Age’, brand new single ‘The Dead Pool’ is filled with scuzzed out riffs as Gabriella Logan’s seething growl soars, creating a grunge-fuelled impassioned anthem with shades of the likes of Alice In Chains. Oozing a gritty emotion, it’s a ferocious, empowering anthem; a completely necessary angst-driven offering for these strange times. 

 

The Txlips are set to release a new album later this year. In the meantime, you can check out some of their live sessions here.

Mari Lane
@marimindles