‘Poly Styrene: I Am A Cliché’ Film Patreon Launched

Anglo-Somali artist and punk maverick Poly Styrene, of the band X Ray Spex, was one of the first women of colour to lead a successful rock band, and was a truly innovative figure both in music and for women generally. Chronicling her remarkable, and often troubled, life, Poly Styrene: I Am A Cliché is directed by Paul Sng and Poly’s daughter Celeste Bell, and includes never-seen-before footage of Poly throughout her life, as well as interviews with other people in the industry including Kathleen Hanna, Pauline Black and Thurston Moore, about the great influence she had on them.

Now, to help them finish the film and bring it to international audiences, Bell and Sng have launched a Patreon campaign. Of the film, Bell explains:

“I set out with a clear goal to share my mother’s story as widely as possible because her story needs to be heard. In making this film, I have uncovered aspects of my mother I hardly knew before and also discovered that she made a huge impact on culture that is still being felt today. The fact that her legacy has not been properly acknowledged is something we are seeking to redress with this film.” 

Poly’s life was fraught with difficulties: poverty, racism, misogyny, and chronic mental health issues. After suffering a nervous breakdown at the height of her success, she left music to join the Hare Krishna movement. The film follows Poly’s daughter Celeste Bell as she examines her mother’s unopened artistic archive and uncovers the legacy of a woman whose lyrics were described by radical musician Billy Bragg as, “a slap in the face” to male artists and journalists.

Although rose-tinted spectacles are firmly off, the film looks to show Poly Styrene not only as the innovative figure for women in music that she remains to this day, but as a mother and a person.

The film follows Dayglo: The Poly Styrene Story – a book released earlier this year by Celeste and author Zoë Howe.

Watch the trailer here:

Find out about the Patreon crowdfunding details here. Visit the film’s website.

And, make sure you tune in to our radio show tomorrow 5th December on Hoxton Radio 8-10pm, when we’ll have Celeste Bell in for a chat!

Mari Lane
@marimindles

Introducing Interview: Sun Bloom

Having originally formed at college, London trio Sun Bloom have now shared their latest single ‘Take It Away’.

Filled with jangly melodies and the luscious swooning vocals of of front woman Viv Youel, it’s a sunny slice of dream-pop perfect for warming these dark winter days.

We caught up with Viv to find out more…

Hi Sun Bloom, welcome to Get In Her Ears! Can you tell us a bit about the band?
Hello! We make upbeat, no-frills guitar music. We come as a pack of four from London. Sometimes we play as a more compact duo for the smaller gigs. We’re all about getting the crowd flailing around sticky floored venues and enjoying live shows.    

How did you initially all get together and start creating music?
The two gals (Viv – guitar, Poppy – bass) met when we were 18 at college, and the guys (Troy – drums, Theo – guitar) met at Goldsmiths. Viv found drummer Troy after posting a Facebook advert… Essentially ordered him online!

Your new single ’Take It Away’ is out now – can you tell us what it’s all about?
It’s about what happens to love when it becomes long distance; how it survives in strange ways; how memory can take on a life of its own, and persist despite time and distance. You wouldn’t believe it, but it’s actually super upbeat and cheerful!

You’ve been compared to the likes of Alvvays and Best Coast, but who would you say are your main musical influences?
I love Anna Calvi – she is so deft with her guitar work, she’s completely in control of it and owns the instrument on stage; serious (long term) guitar goals there!! Then bands like La Luz, Surf Curse and The Drums.

How is your local music scene? Do you go to see lots of live music?
My area is mainly populated by OAPs, so not much of a scene. I see bands I love when I can though! 

And what can fans expect from your live shows?
Drum beats to dance to, lyrics to yell along to, and hopefully some guitar parts to take you hair down for. 

As we’re a new music focused site, are there any new/upcoming bands or artists you’d recommend we check out?
Gaygirl, Jelly Boy, Midnight Mouth, Lala Lala and Black Country New Road are a few of my current favourites. 

And how do you feel the music industry is for new bands at the moment – would you say it’s difficult to get noticed?
There are a lot of ways to get noticed. It’s the early stages that are hard to get past: when you are trying to build a following, so don’t have many people to bring to shows, but the promoters won’t book you unless you do… 

Finally, what does the rest of 2019 have in store for Sun Bloom?
We’re recording a vinyl of six tracks through indie label Dog Tunnel records. We’re very excited to do it analogue style, and have a really raw, energetic recording of us all playing live together in one room. Hopefully we’ll get some gigs in the bag too! 

Huge thanks to Sun Bloom for answering our questions! 

‘Take It Away’, taken from Sun Bloom’s debut EP of the same name, is out now.

 

 

Video Premiere: Eilis Frawley – ‘strangers’

Following the success of debut single ‘illusions’, and already receiving acclaim from the likes of Radio X’s John Kennedy, Berlin-based artist Eilis Frawley (Party Fears, I Drew Blank) has now shared a poignant new offering.

Fuelled by jangling percussion and whirring glitchy beats, ‘strangers’ reflects on the different, and often troubling, dynamics of relationships. As the subtle, commanding power of Frawley’s poetic spoken word lyricism flows, the track builds to a psychedelic electronic soundscape, oozing a swirling emotion and sparkling, ethereal majesty. Fusing together innovative layers of instrumentation and speech, it’s a wonderfully unique cacophony, with a truly stirring sentiment that resonates deeply: “Your turbulent past running full speed for our future / hands around our throats.”

Of the track, Frawley explains:

strangers‘ is about the various stages of relationships, how quickly my mind can jump to conclusions whether they are realistic or made up, how vulnerable and anxious I often feel in romantic relationships, and the insecurities they raise within me. We’re constantly creating rituals to build strong relationships, and at the end they are often the only thing left.

Watch the eerily captivating new video for ‘strangers’ now:

‘strangers’ is out on 6th December, taken from Eilis Frawley’s upcoming debut EP, Never Too Emotional, set for release in early 2020, both via Reckless Yes.

Make sure you catch Eilis Frawley live tomorrow night, playing for us at Notting Hill Arts Club, supporting ESYA. Tickets £8 from DICE

Mari Lane
@marimindles

Track Of The Day: Suzie Stapleton – ‘Thylacine’

With creeping tip toes of its human predator, the Thylacine was hunted slowly and
strategically leading to the animal’s ultimate distinction. In Brighton based artist Suzie Stapleton’s new single of the same name, listeners are taken into an eerie world where the vulnerability of being prey is floating in the air.

Rolling drums and adventurous riffs paint a sonic landscape where one can nearly picture the “ancient footprints in the snow.” The disposition of the track has a certain hollowness, conjuring a gloomy winter landscape where Stapleton’s captivating gritty vocals can echo on eternally.

The eye of the storm hits in a dark manner across every chorus, allowing for one
word to hold a majestic, haunting depth all on its own. The weight and turmoil of ‘Thylacine’ feels huge.

The single begs the nervous question “who is the next Thylacine?”,  proposing a political reflection through the fear and confusion expressed lyrically and instrumentally. In our surrounding world, are we the predators or prey?

 

‘Thylacine’ is out now. It’s taken from Suzie Stapleton’s upcoming debut album We Are The Plague, set for release next Spring.

Jillian Goyeau
@jillybxxn

Photo Credit: Jeff Pitcher

 

Track Of The Day: Sink Ya Teeth – ‘The Hot House’

Having just announced the release of their upcoming second album, GIHE faves Maria Uzor and Gemma Cullingford – aka Sink Ya Teeth – have now shared an infectious new single.

Fusing together melancholia and deep house, ‘The Hot House’ is filled with the Norwich duo’s trademark, funk-filled groove. Propelled by an immense, cow-bell driven energy and propulsive beats, alongside Uzor’s soaring, sultry vocals, it’s a truly addictive, and wonderfully danceable, anthem about coming together during troubled times. Uplifting and necessary listening at a time when we need it the most.

Of the track, Uzor expands:

 “There’s a lot of polarisation in the world at the moment. The lyrics are about striving for unity in the face of this division. And having a good time while we do it. We’ve all got so much more in common than we think we have. Let’s just have a dance ffs!”

Shot at a recent live show in Oxford, watch the immersive new video for ‘The Hot House’ here:

‘The Hot House’ is taken from Sink Ya Teeth’s upcoming second album Two, set for release on 28th February next year via Hey Buffalo Records. Catch Sink Ya Teeth live at the following dates:

29th November – The Lexington, LONDON
6th December – The Georgian Theatre, STOCKTON ON TEES (with A Certain Ratio)
7th December – Rescue Rooms, NOTTINGHAM (with A Certain Ratio)

 

Mari Lane
@marimindles

Photo Credit: Andi Sapey + Susie Lloyd

Track Of The Day: Turkish Delight – ‘Spin’

“What would you like best to eat?”
“Turkish Delight, please, your Majesty” said Edmund.

If, like me, you grew up in the era of the Sunday teatime adaptation of the Narnia saga, then the words Turkish Delight always have a certain power, bringing to mind scenes of intoxication, mental confusion and seduction. Whether the band of the same name caught the BBC’s version whilst hanging around early ’90s Boston, they’ve admitted in interviews that the CS Lewis novel was the original inspiration for the name. And like the White Witch, the gift that the band bring is simultaneously familiar and threatening, warmly rocking but with an artsy cool.

Now, over twenty years since the band split, DIY label Reckless Yes are reanimating their back-catalogue with a re-release of debut Tommy Bell (1996) and second album (1998), on one double CD: bringing the band back – Aslan-style – all in one package. It’s the label’s assertion that the band are as relevant and fresh as they were in the ’90s and, as someone who’d never heard of them until very recently, it’s hard to disagree.

Taken from Tommy Bell, ‘Spin’ is a perfect introduction to Turkish Delight’s welding of art-rock and now-wave DIY sensibilities. That monotone bass-y rhythm you hear throughout? That’s ‘the can’, a “a home-made, electric bass-like instrument made from a bucket, a pole, and strings” which sounds somewhere between the skiffle broom and something from a bad (ie. good) sci-fi movie. Leah’s vocals switch in and out of English with the lilting “I’d rather be a spinster / I’d rather spin” – a defiant, subtly feminist, statement, whilst still also being punningly wry. Drums rattle around while spectral sharp and piercingly howling guitar lines rotate throughout, with verse and chorus largely being dictated by a shift in power rather than an expected telegraphed shift in chords.

‘Spin’ is sinister, daft, experimental and ultimately, pretty fun. And the same is true of the video: typical of its time as a piece of ’90s video art, showing individuals spinning in stop-motion black and white, intercut with footage of the band both playing the song and playing the fool. Not only is this an insight into the Dada world of the group, and lead singer Leah Callahan in particular, but according to interviews it’s evocative of the experience of seeing them play live, with costumes and silly antics a prominent feature.

Tommy Bell is a mishmash of agit art and indie rock with aspects of found sound and the experimentation of jazz and noise – with all that’s promised by ‘Spin’ on there, and more. At fifteen tracks it’s also a mammoth of a debut and shows a band in full fettle, right from the off. Howcha Magowcha is a more streamlined sophomore effort, which Leah has said “shows off the band’s maturity”. Taken together, they demonstrate the brave new frontiers of post-grunge indie, a world where art and music could be treated as synonymous and simultaneous activities. Often described as Thurston Moore’s favourite band of the time, Turkish Delight stand out as uncompromising and truly independent pioneers who left two lightning rods of LPs. Listening to them back-to-back is like poking around an old wardrobe, before stumbling, confused and maybe a little frightened, into a fascinating new world.

Tommy Bell and Howcha Magowcha are both out now, via Reckless Yes, and available both digitally and on CD.

John McGovern
@etinsuburbiaego

WATCH: The Gravity Drive – ‘Hits Like A Fix’

The Gravity Drive are a harmony driven, alternative pop band led by Elijah and Ava Wolf. Having received support and frequent radio plays from Radio 2, BBC 6 Music and BBC Introducing, they independently release records on their own label from their house near Bridport in Dorset. 

The new single and ’60s inspired video, ‘Hits like a Fix’ is a piano-led pop ballad with Ava taking the lead vocals. Opening with slow, wistful keys, Ava’s seductive voice comes in with a sense of underlying drama: “I made the call, you called the sting”.

With a sense of something magnetic happening between the song’s characters, the chorus is more uptempo, with light percussion and delicate mixing adding to the emotional elements. The second verse intensifies, however, oozing a fervent passion: “we lost our freedom to the fever again… You’re the remedy that helps me forget.”

Both the song and video are beautifully cinematic, suggesting the chemistry of fated love. Like a pull of gravity, it will draw you in, giving you much to anticipate from the band’s upcoming second album, The Wildlight, due for release in 2020.

‘Hits Like A Fix’ is out now on all digital platforms.

Fi Ni Aicead
@gotnomoniker