LIVE (Photos): Cro Cro Land, 06.04.19 (Part 2)

Last weekend saw the launch of Croydon’s brand new festival, Cro Cro Land. Organised by Croydon residents Angela Martin and Julia Woollams, the festival aimed to promote gender equality in both its line-up and staff, whilst championing a number of local bands and artists, and working in conjunction with a number of grassroots organisations and charities, including Lives Not Knives.

And what a festival it was! Paying host to SO MANY incredible bands, it was not only a day filled with all the best live music, but also a completely unmatched sense of community spirit and united joy at being part of the DIY scene. As well as all the superb bands playing on the day, we bumped into so many other bands and artists there to support their peers, as well as other key members from the community, such as Caffy from The Zine UK and staff from Croydon’s best pub, The Oval Tavern. It was like a huge family gathering, filled with all the most life-affirming vibes and, of course, the best live music.

Check out Part 1 of our review of the day here. And here’s some more fantastic photos from Jon Mo and Jamie MacMillan, who were there to capture all the action…

Following Bugeye’s impressive set, we stick around at the main Town Square stage to catch the festival’s ‘secret’ headliner – Liverpool’s She Drew The Gun. Kicking off with the politically-driven power of ‘Resister’, they treat us to an immense and utterly immersive set filled with a sincere, empowering energy.

Photo Credit: Jamie MacMillian

Photo Credit: Jamie MacMillan

Continuing the incredible performances at the Town Square stage, South Yorkshire’s Bang Bang Romeo blast into our eyes and ears with a magnificent energy. As front woman Stars completely blows my mind with her incredible compelling charisma and the soaring soulful power of her vocals, they deliver a truly breathtaking and instantly memorable set, taking full control of the huge crowd.

Photo Credit: Jon Mo

Photo Credit: Jon Mo

Rather nervous about some of my favourite bands clashing (it’s just such a perfect line-up!), I manage to fit in at least some of all the ones I’m desperate to see over the next hour – flitting between the Concrete Playground and Town Square…

From Bang Bang Romeo, I catch a good chunk of the luscious, punk-infused indie-pop of Fightmilk. With their wonderfully raucous energy, they never fail to uplift, as I find myself singing along to each of their dreamily catchy offerings – including personal highlight ‘Dream Phone’ (and yes, sadly I am old enough to remember the game!).

Photo Credit: Jon Mo

Photo Credit: Jamie MacMillan

Dashing back to the Town Square in time to catch South London duo Nova Twins, they once again succeed in completely taking my breath away with their ferocious power and biting energy. Having been following Georgia and Amy for some time now, it’s no surprise to see them achieving the success they have been (supporting Wolf Alice and Prophets Of Rage, praise from the likes of Iggy Pop, playing festivals across the world…); their truly immense, seething offerings are like nothing else I’ve heard before, and the vibrant, mighty force of their live show remains completely unmatched.

Photo Credit: Jon Mo

Photo Credit: Jon Mo

Back at the Concrete Playground, total faves Chorusgirl do not disappoint. Another band I’ve been following for the last few years, it really is wonderful to see them develop their sound, with their incredible dedication to their craft paying off with the release of last year’s truly epic second album Shimmer and Spin. A set filled with a joyous energy and front woman Silvi’s endearing modest charm, I just can’t get enough of their scuzzy, sparkling garage-rock, and may even have shed a tear upon hearing personal favourite ‘Stuck’ live for the first time; a poignant offering from the new album, that tugs at the heartstrings in all the right ways.

Photo Credit: Jamie MacMillan

Photo Credit: Jamie MacMillan

I manage to get back to the Town Square just in time to catch The Lovely Eggs. Despite a significant amp explosion moments before they’re due to start, the Lancaster duo deliver their immense punk-infused sonic fusions to perfection. With the brash, inspiring charisma and no-frills-yet-empowering presence of Holly Ross, they blast out a swirling, psychedelic cacophony and uplifting lo-fi fuzz. And, with their blunt realism and scathing retorts to all the dickheads in the world accompanying their riotous frenzied energy, they remain one of the most relevant bands around (and one of the most exciting to see live).

Photo Credit: Jamie MacMillan

Photo Credit: Jon Mo

Closing the incredible day, Blood Red Shoes deliver a headline set filled with raucous anthems new and old. Oozing their trademark whirring riffs, thrashing beats and the immense, energy-fuelled interplay between Laura Mary and Steven, they fill the room with a mass of buoyant bodies, singing along to each electrifying offering.

Photo Credit: Jon Mo

Photo Credit: Jon Mo

HUGE thanks to Angela and Julia for organising one of the best days ever; and here’s to Cro Cro Land 2020!

Photos:
Jon Mo / @jonmophoto
Jamie MacMillan / @jamiemacphotos

Words:
Mari Lane / @marimindles

 

EP: Panic Pocket – ‘Never Gonna Happen’

Two years ago BFFs Sophie Peacock and Natalie Healey picked up a synthesizer and electric guitar, and formed synth-pop duo Panic Pocket so that they could play First Timers 2017; a festival addressing the lack of diversity in the DIY music community, and inviting those who have never played in a band before to perform. If you looked at the definition of Do-It-Yourself, Panic Pocket should be cited as an example.

The talented, self-described “lo-fi electro-pop heroes” have since signed with Reckless Yes and have now released their debut four-track EP, Never Gonna Happen. The EP is proof of the power of friendship. Sophie and Natalie write hook-laden indie-pop, with lyrical tongue-in-cheek wit and melodic charm reminiscent of The Paris Sisters and The Ronettes, with the harmonious, often salty, vocal interplay between the two of them their greatest strength.

Are you helping me to do my fucking job? ask both Natalie and Sophie as they punch their way through opening track, ‘The Boss’. It’s difficult to comprehend that neither of them have ever played in a band prior to forming Panic Pocket; their enthusiasm is infectious as they demonise life encounters through relatable personal expression, and their own brand of humour. Shit bosses are the fucking worst, but a miserable sexual encounter in track 2, ‘You Have to Laugh’, has the band asking “what is the fucking point?”

Track 3, ‘Pizza In My Pants’, laughs at the societal expectations that women should settle down, get married, and have children. I’m not fussed with pro-creation, I prefer my Playstation the duo exclaim, in defence of the nagging undertones from family and friends. By the final track, Panic Pocket have already torn apart the expectations of others, so ‘OK Cupid’ hears the band looking at themselves with self-deprecating humour, wondering why they keep falling for those on social media: I feel like I know you, but I don’t know you… Will you be my girlfriend?

With Never Gonna Happen, Panic Pocket have crafted catchy synth-pop songs full of punk-rock attitude and an undeniable sense of fun. And, speaking of punk-rock, Sophie and Natalie are joined by members of fellow indie-pop alumni Wolf Girl on this EP; further fleshing out their earlier sound heard on previous recordings like ‘Don’t Get me Started’/’Front Teeth’, with both drums and bass guitar driving proceedings into glam punk territory at times.

Never Gonna Happen is a big fuck you to societal norms; an extended play that documents a band discovering their own path musically and personally. But don’t panic! Sophie and Natalie are definitely headed in the right direction.

Never Gonna Happen is out now via Reckless Yes. Catch Panic Pocket live at The Finsbury for us on 10th May, along with Crumbs, Charismatic Megafauna and Rookes – we can’t wait!

Ken Wynne
@Ken_Wynne

Get In Her Ears Live @ The Finsbury w/ Mammoth Penguins, 12.04.19

Following a host of amazing bands playing for us lately, including ARXX, Wolf Girl, Sit Down, Fightmilk and Peach Club, we were back at The Finsbury on Friday with another dream of a line-up, for a jam-packed night of the best new music from awesome womxn.

Kicking things off is the completely dreamy, shoegaze-inspired soundscapes of Winter Gardens. Alongside high-octane riffs and propulsive beats, the soaring vocals of Ananda create an utterly captivating start to the night.

Next up, Oxford’s Death Of The Maiden blow us away with their immense, sweeping power. Combining Tamara’s smooth, beguiling vocals, poignant narratives and a twinkling grace, they deliver a truly immersive set, leaving us honoured to have hosted their first ever London gig.

Penultimate band of the night, DUCK, return with their unique, fun-filled groove to play for us for a second time. And what a pleasure it is to host the trio again; with their wonderfully wonky noise-pop, they treat us to a whirring array of synth-filled sonic delights, getting the whole crowd dancing along to their unique, colourful offerings.

Having been a big fan of Mammoth Penguins for a long while now, it’s a real privilege to have them headline for us. And they don’t disappoint. Delivering truly dreamy indie-pop offerings old and new, I find myself singing along to every single song. As the raw, distinctive vocals of Emma Kupa flow alongside shimmering melodies and jangly, energised beats, I’m left with butterflies in my stomach at the fuzzy, scuzzy loveliness of everything this band create.

Huge thanks to the four amazing bands who made Friday night so special, to sound engineer Joe and to everyone who made it out to pack out The Finsbury! Hope to see you next time, on 12th May, when we’ll have Leeds band Crumbs headlining for us, along with Charismatic Megafauna, Panic Pocket and Rookes.

Words: Mari Lane / @marimindles
Photos: Jon Mo / @jonmophoto

ALBUM: Tacocat – ‘This Mess Is A Place’

It’s probably best to lay my cards out early: I think Tacocat are the best band in the United States and they’ve rarely been off my headphones since their 2016 album Lost Time. But, whereas Lost Time and 2014’s NVM dealt with the minutiae of life, celebrating cult figures and taking off-kilter looks at some of life’s difficulties, recent events have forced the band to take a wider view. This Mess is a Place is Tacocat’s response to darker times, and its tunes come plastered with rainbow-coloured glitter.

Opener ‘Hologram’ is an ideal case-in-point. How else to respond to the current US President than by remembering “Power is a hologram” and leaning back to think of the Milky Way? It’s a spaced-out political statement that doesn’t name names, with a chorus that you can’t forget and an ending that’s hopeful if uncertain. ‘New World’ is a Bangles style garage-lite exploration of wanting to escape from the day-to-day, not dissimilar to ‘I Hate The Weekend’ from Lost Time.  

Lead single ‘Grains of Salt’ takes Tacocat in a synth-led, pop-rock direction with lyrics that move from the imageist – “Feeling so other / Like too many sunsets” – to the pinpoint – “Dont forget to remember who the fuck you are!”. It’s a curiously introspective track, particularly for a Tacocat single, with a chorus whose “tears in the oven” line appears to be an Adventure Time! reference, and whose lyrics in general show a bruised self-consciousness.

‘Grains Of Salt’ appears to set up a central plank of the album; ‘The Joke of Life’ with its surf-style and prominent vocal harmonies at odds with its lyrical negativity; ‘Little Friend’ a blast of pop-punk, forming an ode to (what else?) pets. Naturally, for a song about small animals, this track is the heaviest on This Mess is a Place.

‘Rose Colored Sky’, meanwhile, is a rumination of those born into success and their distance from the rest of society – “I wonder what it feels like not to even have to try” sings Emily Nokes, in a voice that’s unusually frank and direct, whilst recognising “If I wasn’t on the battleground/ I bet I could’ve gone to space by now”. Even for a band with a tendency to punch up, this is a pretty straightforward piece of criticism – a comment on the inadequacies of silver-spoon-in-mouth types.’The Problem’ takes a similar tack to Lost Time‘s ‘You Can’t Fire Me, I Quit’, albeit in a simpler form and with spikier guitars.  

The album’s closing tracks are near-ballads: “What a time to be barely alive” laments ‘Crystal Ball’ – a reflection on the news cycle and our constant state of semi-engagement. ‘Meet Me At La Palma’ verges on AOR with some tropic-cool guitar licks courtesy of Eric Randall. Its lyrics detail drinking and dancing in inappropriately themed bars festooned with “pictures of palm trees where no palm trees ever grew”, all for the excuse of re-uniting with an old flame. If that’s an unusually romantic side to the group, then ‘Miles and Miles’ is like a shonky take on country (at least initially) before it settles into the more familiar Tacocat trademark pop-punk anthem chorus.

Not as easily approachable as NVM or Lost Time, This Mess is a Place is a bold direction for Tacocat’s first album on Sub Pop, having previously been on the label’s Hardly Art subsidiary. But it’s also a grower, and one that should solidly cement the band’s place as outsiders with a knack for crafting hooky choruses. Particularly impressive are Emily Nokes’ vocals, with producer Erik Blood always knowing when to double, to echo or to let them ring more naturally.

Of the album, Nokes has commented: “We can examine some hard stuff, feel some rage feelings, sift through memories, feel wavy-existential, and still go get a banana daiquiri at the end”. In other words: no matter how hard times are, Tacocat always appeal.

This Mess Is A Place is out 3rd May via Sub Pop.

John McGovern
@etinsuburbiaego

Video Premiere: MeMe Detroit – ‘Will You Be My Lie?’

Having received acclaim from the likes of Clash, Louder Than War and BBC Introducing, as well as wowing us more than once with her energy-fuelled live show at The Finsbury, at the end of last year Birmingham’s MeMe Detroit shared her immense new EP Life In The Now. Now, following the EP, she has shared a brand new video for EP track ‘Will You Be My Lie?’.

Filled with gritty blasts of grunge-tinged riffs and the soaring, gravelly snarl of MeMe, ‘Will You Be My Lie?’ is propelled by pounding beats and sweeping melodic hooks that will stick in the ears on first listen. With a gentle romanticism, it soon builds to an anthemic, emotion-fuelled slice of raw rock ‘n’ roll, showcasing once again MeMe’s innovative songwriting skills.

Of the video, MeMe explains:

“Being from an acting background and working with the awesome Dwane Perks, we wanted to treat this video as more of a short film as the song’s story-like structure lent itself to a narrative style of film. ‘Will You Be My Lie’ tells of the reality of infidelity and homes in on the idea of what drives some people to act upon their urges and whether it’s ever worth it.”

Watch the eerily captivating video for ‘Will You Be My Lie?’ here:

  ‘Will You Be My Lie?’ will be re-relased as a double A-side single, alongside a brand new re-mix by producer DantannaBeatz, on 10th May.

Mari Lane
@marimindles

Record Store Day 2019: GIHE Picks

It’s the most wonderful time of the year… That’s right, Record Store Day. The excitement, the unity of eager queuers, the smell of that shiny vinyl as you release it from its sleeve, the empty pockets at the end of the day… But most of all, the music. A day dedicated to celebrating our favourite music, and those wonderful shop-owners who provide us with so much of it.

Ahead of the big day this Saturday (13th April), we thought we’d share some of the special releases that we’re most looking forward to this year. From the riotous power of classics by legends no longer with us, to our favourite soundtracks, and brand new releases from current bands making waves, here’s some of the records we’re hoping to get our hands on…

Mari Lane:

Elastica – BBC Sessions
I think Justine Frischmann and co. first came to my attention when I saw ‘Waking Up’ on an episode of TOTP, with none other than Damon Albarn appearing on keys/posing; and that was it – I was instantly in awe of the immense sense of cool that oozed from the three guitar-wielding women on stage. Failing my attempts to get hold of their 1995 eponymous debut on special release (plus an exclusive fanzine) in 2017, this year I have my heart set on Elastica’s BBC Sessions, released for the first time ever on vinyl. Whilst Strange Fruit released the Radio One sessions on CD back in 2001, this is the first artist curated release of the band’s sessions –  combining tracks recorded for John Peel, Steve Lamacq and Mark Radcliffe.

White Vinyl plus poster. Info here

Courtney Barnett – ‘Everybody Here Hates You’/’Small Talk’
Last year, I managed to get hold of Barnett’s special Record Store Day Release, ‘City Looks Pretty’/’Sunday Roast’, and this year I’m equally as determined to bag her new single ‘Everybody Here Hates You’, along with B-side ‘Small Talk’, on exclusive 12”. Courtney Barnett is probably my favourite, and most relatable, lyricist in the world. She has a unique ability to tackle everyday life with a spot-on wit and raw honesty, perfectly showcased in this wonderfully blues-infused latest offering.

12″ Vinyl via Marathon Artists. Info here.

Bang Bang Romeo – ‘Cemetery’/’Creep’
Taken from their Shame On You EP, ‘Cemetery’ is one of South Yorkshire group Bang Bang Romeo’s less raucous offerings, and is in itself an ode to record stores and finding your place within a music scene, with the lyrics capturing that excitement of going into a record store: “‘Finally found a place where I feel a part of something more ….in your arms where I found The Smiths & The Flaming Lips”. I’ve been aware of the awesomeness of Bang Bang Romeo for a while now, but it was only last Saturday at local festival Cro Cro Land that I was able to witness the incredible, rip-roaring power of Stars and co. live; my mind was completely blown and will never be the same again.

7″ Vinyl via Five Seven Music. Info here

X Ray Spex – I Am A Cliché
As any regular followers of our site, listeners to our radio show, or attendees of our gigs will be aware; we’re pretty massive fans of X Ray Spex and all that iconic front woman Poly Styrene did for music. We even kicked off our first ever radio show on Hoxton Radio over four years ago with the legendary ‘Oh Bondage, Up Yours’. So, being able to own this brand new compilation, featuring exclusive studio versions of tracks and live recordings, all on dayglo coloured vinyl, would be pretty much a dream come true! There are, however, only 500 copies being released… So, failing getting my hands on this record (or in addition to!), I will definitely be delving into Zoë Howe and Celeste Bell’s new book about Poly Styrene – Dayglo: The Poly Styrene Story. Featuring creative work from her archives, it includes material ranging from the flyers and early design drafts for X-Ray Spex, to her later visual art and lyrics

2 x LP – Dayglo Vinyl, gatefold sleeve with art card. Info here

Kate Crudgington:

The Crow OST
Despite being 26 years old, The Crow’s official soundtrack still feels and sounds as contemporary as many of its modern-day counterparts. Look at the talent featured on it: The Cure, Nine Inch Nails, Rage Against The Machine, Medicine, The Jesus and Mary Chain – if that’s not incentive to make you don your white face paint and black lipstick and rock out like Eric Draven on a rooftop, I don’t know what is. The soundtrack will be released via Rhino on 2 LPs, white & black with 3 sides of audio and the fourth with an “etching”. I will do whatever I can to get my hands on it!

2 LP – White & Black; 3 sides audio, 4th side etching. Info here

Soccer Mommy – For Young Hearts
I only arrived at the Soccer Mommy party last year when she released her debut studio album Clean, and I’ve had single ‘Your Dog’ in my head ever since. Her career was on the rise way before that though, with her bandcamp EP For Young Hearts being the release that first caught her all this much deserved attention. 

LP via Fat Possum Records with lyrics sleeve and fold-out poster. Info here

John McGovern:

Lost In Translation OST 
Two Scarlett Johansson movies from the early noughties; two wildly different soundtracks. If you’re old enough to remember the late ’90s, before Hollywood indies really boomed, then you probably also remember what it felt like when movies this fresh and sounding this cool suddenly appeared – and with female stars at their centre. Lost in Translation is all early 21st century indie hipster cool – Phoenix, Squarepusher, Peaches.

Violet Colour Vinyl. Info here.

Ghost World OST
Ghost World is more sprawling, reflecting its central characters’ adolescence: blues classics, Bollywood rock. Both also feature nods to some of celluloid’s less pleasant sounds: Bill Murray’s take on Roxy Music’s ‘More Than This’ in a Tokyo karaoke bar; the suburban stylings of Ghost World’s ‘Graduation Rap’ scene. This being Record Store Day though, perhaps what marks it out most is its Enid Coleslaw ’77 punk style’ blue vinyl.

LP via Shanachie Entertainment. Info here.

Honeyblood – ‘The Third Degree’/’She’s a Nightmare’
The second single from Stina Tweedale’s duo-turned-solo-turned-group Honeyblood’s third album, In Plain Sight. Aside from the song’s deceptively simple pop-rock sound, the cover’s tarot card design is particularly appealing if, like me, you’re into the cartomantic fortune-telling aesthetic. Chrysa Koukoura illustrations littered the band’s self-titled debut with moths and butterflies and it’s great to see her return here.

12″ Vinyl via Marathon Artists. Info here.

Iggy Pop – ‘The Villagers’/’Pain & Suffering’
One of the curios of garage rock hero Iggy Pop’s career, 1982’s Zombie Birdhouse incorporates spoken-word poetry, afro-beat and synthesisers all over the place – with ‘The Villagers’ being a perfect example. Despite its production from Blondie’s Chris Stein, the album met with middling reviews but now seems extremely foresighted given latter-day indie/post-punk’s magpie nature and willingness to go abrasive. Added bonus: the cover is a perfect example of Iggy’s ’80s awkward cool.

7″ Single, Coloured Vinyl. Info here.

Ken Wynne:

Bad Religion – ‘My Sanity’/’Chaos From Within’
Founded almost four decades ago in 1980, L.A. punk rock band Bad Religion are preparing to release their seventeenth studio album next month – the socio-political Age of Unreason. With ‘My Sanity’/’Chaos From Within’ the band question the sanity of a world so divided that each side regard the other as out of their fucking mind! Previously released to various streaming services, I have been listening to both songs on repeat in anticipation of the new album, and this limited RSD 7″ from Epitaph. There is no denying that Bad Religion are pissed off with the current political situation in the United States, and who could blame them? If the rest of the album is anything as thought-provoking as ‘My Sanity’/’Chaos From Within’, Age of Unreason could become an important album for social justice.

7″ Limited Edition Print. Info here.

The Lillingtons – Death By Television
Originally released in 1999 by Panic Button Records – an imprint of Lookout! Records – Death By Television was the second studio album from Wyoming pop punkers, The Lillingtons. Emblazoned with artwork lifted from Roger Corman’s 1963 science fiction/horror flick X: The Man with the X-Ray Eyes, Death By Television is the result of The Lillingtons incorporating influences from various B-movies of the 1950s and 60s into their Ramones-styled approach to punk rock. If you are as obsessed with sci-fi/horror popcorn pulp as I am, Death By Television doesn’t disappoint. Considered an important record in pop punk, the RSD release – limited to 666 copies worldwide (obviously) – is B-movie bliss and I can’t wait to get my hands on it this Saturday.

LP Picture Disc via Red Scare Industries. Info here.

Shit Girlfriend – ‘Dress Like Cher’/’Socks On The Beach’
Having recently discovered Shit Girlfriend after stumbling upon the music video for ‘Mummy’s Boy’ – and recognising Laura-Mary Carter from alt-rock band, Blood Red Shoes – I’m ecstatic to see that the DIY London glam-punk duo have reemerged with ‘Dress Like Cher’/’Socks On The Beach’ on 7″ splatter vinyl. Previously releasing ‘Mummy’s Boy’​/’​I Don’t Wanna Die’ via PNKSLM on RSD 2017, Laura-Mary Carter and Natalie Chahal return with more scuzzy, distorted pop hooks and no shortage of punk rock attitude.

7″ via Punk Slime.

We’d also like to take this opportunity to give a big thank you to some of our favourite record shops: Bridport Music (sorry to miss the cake this year!), Sister Ray, Reckless Records, Rough Trade and Defend Vinyl.

And, if you can’t wait ’til Saturday, have a listen to our special RSD 19 playlist here:

 

@marimindles
@kcbobcut

@etinsuburbiaego
@Ken_Wynne

PREMIERE: Maryjo Mattea – ‘A New Normal’

Having been compared to the likes of Alanis Morissette and Jenny Lewis, Washington DC-based artist Maryjo Mattea has previously wowed listeners with her astro-physics inspired last single ‘Forces Of Nature’. Now, she’s back with a brand new offering.

A song about embracing and adapting to change, ‘A New Normal’ is propelled by immense pounding beats and Mattea’s sweeping soulful vocals. Featuring an accompaniment of driving riffs, it’s a luscious and energising slice of infectious pop-rock that soon builds to become a groove-filled, ’90s-infused anthem. A track that’ll be stuck in your ears in an instant, ‘A New Normal’ will demand multiple listens without a doubt.

Of the track, Maryjo explains that it was written about when her old bandmate, Joel Wu, left on a year-long journey around the world and eventually settled down in a different state. Whilst they may still be in a band and see one another, there’s now “a new normal”.

Listen to ‘A New Normal’ for the first time here:

 

‘A New Normal’ is out tomorrow, 12th April.

Mari Lane
@marimindles

Photo Credit: Cina Nguyen