ALBUM: Ruby Throat – ‘Stone Dress’

Far removed from her Riot Grrrl days fronting Daisy Chainsaw and Queen Adreena, Katie Jane Garside has returned under the moniker of Ruby Throat, with her brand new album Stone Dress (released via One Little Indian on 9th November). Garside has firmly remained a Grrrl at the front on her new venture; but everything else is stripped back, turned down, and mellowed out – revealing her softer side.

“After ten, fifteen years, I was done with the assault of drums and guitars obliterating me” explains Garside. “[It’s] a beautiful thing, on the one hand, but I enforced on Ruby Throat that it should be mainly acoustic, and there should be no drums. I wanted the voice to lead it, without being held down by someone else’s rhythm.” Accompanied by her long-time partner Chris Whittingham, Garside achieves just that on Stone Dress.

The title track showcases her gentle, wispy vocals which flow over carefully picked guitar for seven full minutes. The opener has particular significance for Garside, as she wrote it whilst pregnant with her daughter – which explains the cautious, dark-lullaby quality of her lyrics: “My stone dress is me walking through the world, weighed down by the agony of life, but I’m swimming with birds because, in utero, I’ve got a baby inside”.

The mythical sounding ‘Swan and the Minotaur’ follows like a haunting fable, with the relatable lyric “I’m in love with a troubled man” repeated in heartfelt style. ‘Also Elizabeth Daughter Of The Above’ is another fairytale-esque offering, with Garside’s wild wails counteracted by her softer, story-telling. The exquisitely rough ‘Dog Song’ is definitely one of the strongest tracks on the record, with brash lyrics and an infectious rhythm, allowing Garside to master her quiet-to-loud vocal delivery perfectly, whilst Whittingham’s reverb-strewn guitar guides her along.

‘Bus Stop On Holloway Road’ hosts tender reflections on time and place, people and their situations, whilst following track ‘Beneath My Undress’ is an understated, revealing ballad. ‘In The Arms Of Flowers’ sounds as poetic as its namesake, with Garside’s whispers lulling listeners through their “darkest hour”, and the wonderfully named ‘Marybell (rides Into Town On A Pig)’ has unusual swagger for an acoustic track, with the pair’s musical and lyrical convictions painting a vivid image of Marybell astride her chosen beast.

Garside gathers her thoughts on ‘Rake’, before her hushed vocals on ‘Billows Her Skirt’ act like the breeze that moves the fabric of her garments – her harmonies rising and falling in sublime style. Penultimate track ‘Hu’u’ flows in the same vein, before ‘Ghost Boy’ closes the record on an ethereal, tuneful note.

Existing fans of Katie Jane Garside’s music will be stunned by her simplistic approach on Ruby Throat’s debut Stone Dress, and new fans will be entirely captivated by her honest, intriguing new venture. Well worth a listen.

Order your copy of Ruby Throat’s debut album Stone Dress here. Follow the band on Facebook for more updates.

Kate Crudgington
@KCBobCut

Introducing Interview: CHILDCARE

Having received acclaim from the likes of The Line Of Best Fit and BBC Radio 1, softcore-psych group CHILDCARE have returned with the release of their new single ‘Bamboo’.

With Emma Topolski taking the reins as lead vocalist, ‘Bamboo’ is an instant indie-pop anthem, filled with scuzzy hooks, luscious harmonies and an infectious psych-driven haze.

We caught up with the band to find out more…

Hi CHILDCARE, welcome to Get In Her Ears! Can you tell us a bit about the band?
We’re a four piece softcore-psych band from London that are really very good.

How did you initially all get together and start creating music?
I started the band a few years ago when I was working as a nanny, hence the name CHILDCARE. Over time I got these guys involved; Emma the bassist I met at a party, Rich the guitarist I knew from other bands and Glyn the drummer I met on a mini golf course.

Your new single ’Bamboo’ is out very soon – can you tell us what it’s all about?
‘Bamboo’ is a metaphor for ego. It’s about understanding the relevance of it but recognising how it can be limiting and that most of our mental difficulties are as a result of having an ego.

You’ve been compared to the likes of Everything Everything and Our Girl, but who would you say are your main musical influences?
Well loads of stuff, I guess most decent guitar music from the last fifty years, so let’s say Pixies and Radiohead, but melodically and harmonically also R’n’b, Beyonce etc.

How is your local music scene? Do you go to see lots of live music?
Local is a slightly tricky word in London, though obviously we have mates in bands we go and watch. And yeah I go to a fair amount of gigs, last three big ones were Pixies, Kendrick Lamar and LCD Soundsystem.

And what can fans expect from your live shows?
Guided meditation, dangerous guitars, weeping fans and strong poses.

As we’re a new music focused site, are there any new/upcoming bands or artists you’d recommend we check out?
Check out Lazy Day who just supported us on tour, I’d describe them as psych-grunge.

And how do you feel the music industry is for new bands at the moment – would you say it’s difficult to get noticed?
In London it’s pretty difficult, but I used to live in Leeds and it was a lot easier there. You’ll have more luck making a name for yourself somewhere smaller. As to the music industry, well there’s no money for very new acts really, so just be prepared to work on your own and fund everything yourself for a few years.

Finally, what does the rest of 2018 have in store for CHILDCARE?
Finish album, play two gigs in London on 14th and Manchester on the 16th, get better at table-tennis.

Massive thanks to CHILDCARE for answering our questions! 

LIVE: Laura Gibson @ Queen Elizabeth Hall, 13.11.18

Having first fallen in love with Laura Gibson’s delicate, soaring vocals upon hearing 2016’s Empire Builder, it was an honour to be able to catch her live at one of my favourite London spaces last Tuesday.

Upon commencing her set at Queen Elizabeth Hall, a humble Gibson takes to the stage along with a trio of musicians, thanking us all for being there and revealing that when she creates music, she’s at her “most alone” but now – sharing her creations with us – she’s at her “most connected”. Immediately oozing her trademark spellbinding charm, and looping together layers of twinkling musicality, she treats our ears to a selection of offerings, from both her new album Goners and 2016’s aforementioned collection. From the majestic, folk-strewn melodies of the likes of ‘Slow Joke Grin’ and the sparkling splendour of ‘I Carry Water’ to the gentle, stirring emotion of ‘Damn Sure’, each poignant track tugs at the heartstrings in all the right ways.

Despite issues with a broken cable , Gibson remains calm, maintaining her charming rapport and endearing humour with the crowd throughout – “Well, the cable has been around the world with me, I guess London will be its final resting place”. And, when recalling the difficulties of touring Goners in certain European countries where the word doesn’t quite translate, her gentle wit continues to shine through.

With the majority of the set seeing Gibson at the helm of the keys, with her new material having generally more of an eclectic, musically varied sound that older offerings, she reveals that “… it’s been good to be free from the guitar strap”, before placing it over her head once more and breaking into the gritty whirring hooks of ‘Tenderness’. Succeeding in casting her spell over the crowd, Gibson’s sweeping vocals and heartfelt emotion is showcased at its more raw and spine-tinglingly powerful in (personal favourite) ‘Marjory’; a beautifully intimate offering complete with heady, soul-stirring strings courtesy of Kyleen King.

Following the closing two tracks from Goners, ‘Thomas’ and ‘I Don’t Want Your Voice To Move Me’, Gibson draws the set to a close with the glistening, uptempo sounds of Empire Builder’s ‘Not Harmless’. And all at once it becomes crystal clear that she is perfectly suited to playing in a venue of such prestige; the exquisite cinematic splendour of each and every offering matching its subtle grandeur completely.

Although I unfortunately had to make my way home before Dan Mangan took to the stage (and apparently played some wonderful songs with Laura too), what I did see of Gibson I am extremely grateful for. In a world that’s so swamped in darkness and fear at the moment, I couldn’t help but be filled with a certain sense of hope witnessing her heartfelt, exquisite grace and dreamy allure.

Mari Lane
@marimindles

Track Of The Day: The Motion – ‘Hollow’

Born and raised on the Isle Of Wight, Penny Churchill – aka The Motion – now creates their unique, emotionally driven alt-pop in South London, having studied at Goldsmiths and decided to stay in the area, drawn to its rich culture and like-minded people. A non-binary, genderqueer project, The Motion recently debuted their live show at The Gladstone Arms, before being a wonderful guest on our very own show on Hoxton Radio, and charming us all live at The Finsbury.

Now, The Motion has finally shared their dreamy debut single. Exploring post-breakup feelings and sensibilities, ‘Hollow’ flows with a shimmering soundscape as Penny’s rich, sumptuous vocals soar. Amongst swirling layers of instrumentation, an emotion-strewn haze builds to a powerful swell of glitchy whirring hooks, creating a colourful slice of psychedelic electro-pop. Combined with a raw, heartfelt lyricism, Churchill treats our ears to a glistening fusion sounds, showcasing their unique songwriting talent, marking themselves out as a definite one to watch.

Of the track, Penny expands: “‘Hollow’ is a song about exploring the mind set and feelings of space and emptiness surrounding a break up. The lyrics flip between narrating and then being in the moment, kind of like zooming in on specific moments and unpacking them.

Watch the brand new lyric video for ‘Hollow’ here:

Catch The Motion live at the following dates:

5th January: The Water Rats with Dead or Alive, London
5th February: The Finsbury Pub with Stop Look Listen, London

Mari Lane
@marimindles

Interview: Julie from HAVVK

We’ve been massive fans of HAVVK (previously HAWK) for a good few years now, and every time they release something new we get a massive twinge of excitement. So, we’re extremely happy to hear they’re about to release another poignant new single ‘Always The Same’ ahead of their debut album next year. And we’re particularly honoured to be co-promoting their upcoming London single launch at Servant Jazz Quarters on 6th December.

Combining soaring celestial vocals with a grunge-tinged musicality, activism is at the heart of all HAVVK do, with this new single addressing female objectification and asking men to question their sense of safety and entitlement and imagine what it’s like to walk down the same street in someone else’s shoes.

Ahead of HAVVK’s single launch shows next month, we caught up with front woman Julie to find out more about their forthcoming debut album, working with esteemed producer Rocky O’Reilly and some of the other wonderful projects she’s involved with right now…

Hi Julie, welcome back to Get In her Ears! Your band HAVVK have recently re-branded and re-released your single ‘Glass’, can you tell us a bit about what lead to this decision?
‘Glass’ was re-released out of pure love for the track. We initially put the track out there in support of the Marriage Equality referendum in Ireland in 2015. We never actually gave it an official release back then. Our videographer James Byrne created a beautiful visual of a liquid Pride flag and we uploaded it to YouTube to show our support. It all happened really quickly. We wanted to do something special to go along with the new name so it was the perfect time to add ‘Glass’ to our catalogue. The “re-brand” story is much less romantic. We’ve been hearing for a while now that it’s freaking impossible to find our music online, so we decided to change the name instead of battling through – a lot of bands we know have had the same issue. Can’t really get away from it now that the internet is so crucial to how we consume music.  

HAVVK’s debut album Cause & Effect is out next year – are there any ongoing themes running throughout the collection, and how was the songwriting process?
First of all, it’s so fucking exciting to be finally sharing this with you guys. We’ve been working on these tracks for over a year now, it means so much to unleash them. The album has a two-sided theme and we’re actually releasing it in two parts across next year. It seems to us like we’re living in a culture where news and reaction are so immediate, and only the most extreme voices are the ones that get heard. The album deals with a lot of our own digestion of how the world is looking these days, politically; the people it’s effecting and how we deal with it personally. There’s a lot of personal stuff in there too, to do with identity, relationships, self-expression and mental health. But it’s all framed in this idea of extremes – what we say and what we don’t say, right and wrong, and all the grey space in the middle.

You’ve been working with esteemed Belfast-based producer Rocky O’Reilly for the last couple of years and on production for this album, how has this experience been? How do you feel he’s helped develop your sound?
Rocky’s been an absolute force to work with and has also been super patient with us and our occasional studio cabin fever. His space in Start Together Studio is part of Oh Yeah Music Centre in Belfast, which is like the musical heart of the city, and an extremely supportive space for artists. When you go there, you get a sense of people who really care about their local scene but are also making music that could tour the world. We had already worked with Rocky on a few of our earlier singles, ‘Can’t Explain’ and ‘Below’, and we were so happy with the track. He and Matt co-produce alongside each other, and it’s like they each challenge and bring out the best in each other. Rocky’s got so much experience of producing very dynamic post-rock music, with a lot of heavy and quiet moments – I think you can hear this on the album.

You’re celebrating the launch of the first single from the album, ‘Always the Same’, with a couple of very special gigs in Berlin and London. We’re very excited about your return to London on 6th December! How are you feeling about the shows? Have you got something special lined up for us?
We’ve been fairly cloistered away this year, so these are kind of like home-coming shows. We’re so excited for the line-ups we’re playing with – Rookes and After London will join us at Servant Jazz Quarters, and they’re both doing amazing things. And in Berlin, we’re playing with two bands we’ve fallen in love with since moving there, Leoprrrds and Pearly. In terms of ‘something special’ we just cannot wait to play some of the album material. And we may do a giveaway of the remaining ‘HAWK’ t-shirts – never know, they might be worth a lot of money someday!

The shows are being promoted in conjunction with Veta Records, the indie label you run. Have Veta got any more gigs planned for the new year?
This is such an exciting time of year for us right now. We had put our live nights on hold for a while, after moving to Berlin, but it was always a really important part of what we did in London, and really gave us a sense of community. We’ve always been keen to showcase women in music – the majority of the acts on our label are women, and this is something we want to do our bit to address in the industry. Since we moved to Berlin, we’ve actually made more and more connections with the Irish music scene – there’s a huge creative diaspora out there. One of the reasons we are kick-starting Veta Records nights again is to build more connections across our various home countries. Part of this is co-promoting with established music supporters like your wonderful selves and the awesome women running Bang On back in Berlin. Next year, we’re planning more co-promoted gigs in Ireland, Germany and the UK, as well series of living-room shows.

As well as being in a band, running a record label and putting on gigs, you’ve also recently co-founded SelfMade – a platform to explore DIY music in Ireland through performance, discussion, and art. How did this come about, and can you tell us a bit more about the project?
This has been the most unexpected and rewarding thing to happen to me this year. Joanna Bain is an artist from Scotland, and wanted to launch an art project celebrating DIY Irish musicians last year. When she asked me to get involved, I suggest we add a discussion element, as it had been really on my mind how little transparency there is around the day-to-day of making music. What transpired was this amazing event last February where we exhibited portraits and heard performances and panel discussions from nine Irish women in music. The feedback was really positive and before we knew it we were booking our second, and third event. The last one was last Monday in Belfast at the Oh Yeah Music Centre, and we explored the ins-and-outs of releasing music. The interesting thing is that there are rarely ‘right’ answers to these things, but it’s so valuable as an artist, to get a sense that you’re not the only one with these questions and to know you can look to fellow artists for support.

You also launched ‘Female Fronted Drawn Together’ last year – a project through which you created a playlist of admirable female bands/musicians and created an illustration to accompany each song. We thought this was a wonderful idea, especially as it included some of our favourites! Are you planning on continuing this project, or do you have any more art-related ideas up your sleeve for the new year?
At the moment, my illustration energies are being put into SelfMade – you can check out some of our portraits and zines to see what we’ve been up to. I’m also doing a lot of digital design for Veta and the branding work for SelfMade. I feel like every time I commit to a new project, I’m back on the Adobe Illustrator tutorials – and I love it!

Finally, as we’re a new music focused site, and we trust you have great taste, are there any upcoming bands/artists you’d recommend we check out?
Yes! My current album obsession is Dilly Dally – their latest record is infectiously good. Thinking more locally, please check out the bands we’re playing with in Berlin and London, as well as (off the top of my head!) Just Mustard, Oh Joy, Girlfriend, and our label buddies, Sive, Dyvr, and Maria Kelly.

Huge thanks for answering our questions! Can’t wait to see you on 6th December at Servant Jazz Quarters!
Thank YOU ❤

Pre-save ‘Always The Same’ now from Spotify. Cause And Effect, the upcoming debut album from HAVVK is out in 2019. Catch HAVVK live in Berlin and London:

30th November – Loophole, Berlin (with Leoprrrds and Pearly)
6th December – Servant Jazz Quarters, London (with After London and Rookes). Event info & tickets here.

 

EP: L.A. Witch – ‘Octubre’

With All Hallows Eve just a couple of weeks in the past, West Coast garage trio L.A. Witch bring us the appropriately named Octubre. Physically released on what the band have dubbed ‘Halloween Orange’ vinyl with a cover depicting a spider web background behind a bat perched on a headless torso, the EP combines five – mostly unreleased – tracks whose lifeless bodies have been reanimated and reworked by the band and producer Gregg Foreman.  

The record kicks off with thumping, distorted drums courtesy of percussionist Ellie English. Just at the point where the doom starts to get a little too creepy, ‘Haunting’ snaps into its sludgey bass (from Irita Pai) interspersed with top-line cymbals. Spry-sounding guitars moan all the way up the mix, enveloping Sade Sanchez’ slurred vocals like a dense fog, before a non-lyrical chorus of sharp chords shines through. The layers build as the song continues, its broken guitar effects repetitively flickering between shadow and light.

 

‘Sleep’ is a more upbeat Western style stomper, replete with a hooky tremolo lick and Sade’s old-timely croon – “Ooh baby, where did you go?” she intones. The track’s honky-tonk piano helps it capture the gothic tendencies of the Bad Old West until the ringing alarm of its middle eight leads into a surf-style guitar solo and a coda of the song’s chorus.

Next up, old style ballad with a whirly organ swing in its verses, ‘BB’s Momma’ is a deceptively simple slice of garage. On its opening half, Sade sounds like a laconic Wanda Jackson, whereas its second is a freak-out jam, combining bubbly guitar, piano thrash and stabs from the organ. Something in its jarring repetition and lyrical nihilism brings forth Murder Ballads era Bad Seeds.

Penultimate effort, ‘Heart of Darkness’, is the only track previously released – taken from a 2013 self-titled and self-released EP. Largely acoustic, it mostly consists of guitar and bass, with a single bass drum acting like a clarion, and some heavily distorted vocals. It’s another Western-esque take, as though Joseph Conrad’s tale of ivory greed and insanity has been transported to the West Coast in the 1800s, Colonel Kurtz and all.  

The EP closes with the appropriately named ‘Outro’. Also led by acoustic guitar, its waves of picked notes dovetail with electric feedback that creaks like seagulls, and ultimately winds up resembling Fleetwood Mac’s ‘Albatross’. And before you know it, it’s flown by.

Designed as more of a teaser of where the band might go in the future than necessarily a glimpse of a future output, L.A. Witch have crafted an EP that does more than just satisfy the completists. Whereas the band’s eponymous debut dealt in a straightforward blend of garage and rock ‘n’ roll, Octubre suggests a willingness to tell stories, switch up styles and blend layers of sound. And, with the nights getting colder, darker and mistier, perhaps it’s November that heralds the season of L.A. Witch.

Octubre is out now via Suicide Squeeze Records.

John McGovern
@etinsuburbiaego

ENJOYsugoi Festival to host TRICOT, Yumi And The Weather and more

Following its first instalment at The Garage on 14th October, ENJOYsugoi festival returns on 18th November, spotlighting some of favourite artists from Japan, alongside a packed line-up of great acts from all corners of the alternative/experimental music world.

Bringing together some amazing acts in an all-dayer at the Scala, headliners TRICOT will be joined by Natalie EvansYama Warashi, Poly-Math, Yumi And The Weather, itoldyouiwouldeatyou, and Holding Patterns.

ENJOYsugoi is the first major London event for the promotions arm of Brighton-based Small Pond following the recent hugely successful third instalment of their Bad Pond Festival in their hometown (which adds to their frequent live promotions in the city, ranging from rising indie sensation Boy Pablo to modern piano legend Olafur Arnalds).

Formed in Kyoto, headliners TRICOT have been bubbling since the mid-2000s; their unusual and distinctive sound brings a mixture of pop harmonisation, emotive vocals and complex rhythms. With fans all around the world, they have toured extensively in Asia, North America andEurope (including UK tour support dates for Pixies). They are joined on 18th November by singer-songwriter and multi-instrumentalist Natalie Evans, whose unique mix of folk, pop and classical sounds will be brought to life by an expanded full band; outlandish, Bristol-based psych/art-rockers Yama Warashi (the project of Japanese experimental artist Yoshino Shigihara); the technicolour, psychedelic pop of Yumi And The Weather; prog-laced instrumental three-piece Poly-Math, and more. 

It all sounds like a pretty epic day! Book tickets for ENJOYsugoi Festival here.