PREMIERE: Ailsa Tully – ‘Highly Strung’

Brooding guitars and intuitive vocals permeate London based indie/folk artist Ailsa Tully‘s new single ‘Highly Strung’. Released via Skivvy Records – which Ailsa runs herself – the track is a dreamy exploration of the anxieties surrounding time and space.

Fusing choral elements with a lo-fi grunge attitude, ‘Highly Strung’ is accompanied by a music video inspired by the lyrics in Ailsa’s song. The washing line featured in the visuals is reflective of the lyric “I am just highly strung, out on the line’, and nods towards an exploration of gender roles, (i.e hanging washing out) as well as Ailsa’s own state of mind.

Listen to the new track below and follow Ailsa Tully on Facebook for more updates.

Kate Crudgington
@KCBobCut

Get In Her Ears w/ Jelly Cleaver 22.08.19

Mari & Kate were back in the studio this week with a plethora of new music from the likes of Seazoo, Jenny Hval, Calva Louise, Glossi, BONES UK & Babeheaven.

They were joined by artist and producer Jelly Cleaver, who talked about her DIY ethos, her activism, and her jazz punk fusions.

Listen back:

Tracklist
BONES UK – I’m Afraid Of Americans
Calva Louise – Belicoso
El Tee – How I Like It
Minimals – Page Turner
Danika Smith – Suit Of Armour
Lyrah – Don’t Make Me
Ennieloud – In My Room
Babeheaven – Seabird
Liar Liar – Bad For Each Other
ALTA – Twisted
Glossii – Watching Me
Sunbloom – Take It Away
Grizzly Coast – Half Light Boy
Cat Apostrophe – January
Jelly Cleaver – VI II V
Jelly Cleaver – Yarls Wood
Stanlaey – The Mountain Collector
Jenny Hval – High Alice
Seazoo – Throw It Up
Toni&Mash – LTGFU
Noga Erez – Off The Radar
Cozy Slippers – A Million Pieces
Galileo’s Fan – I Won’t Be Found
Kim Gordon – Sketch Artist
Jaayns – Stars
Chastity Belt – Elena
Ru Paul – Sissy That Walk

Track Of The Day: Danika Smith – ‘Suit Of Armour’

Smooth vocals, lo-fi percussion and beguiling guitar sounds permeate Melbourne-based artist Danika Smith‘s debut single ‘Suit Of Armour’. Her blend of folk and soul elements captivate the ears, and prove that Danika has an instinctive approach when it comes to songwriting.

Speaking about the track, she explains: “I wrote ‘Suit Of Armour’ when love and fear collided, and left me feeling confused and avoidant. It’s a song that observes the reservations I have, when there is something potentially beautiful in front of me, and I look for the cracks and flaws, as a protective method to avoid pain. It is melancholic that the beauty of love is shadowed by so much skepticism and mistrust, but there is an optimistic message too. I have the power to move through the weight of these experiences, remove the armour, and eventually be more open to connection, in time.”

Danika’s careful removal of her emotional chains is a humble, inspiring act that demonstrates both her vulnerability and her strength as a woman, and as a musician. She’s currently working on her debut LP and gigging around Australia, and we’re keen to hear more of her Lifted from her beautifully crafted sounds.

Listen to ‘Suit Of Armour’ below and follow Danika Smith on Facebook for more updates.

Kate Crudgington
@KCBobCut

FIVE FAVOURITES: The Elephant Trees

Formed of Martha Phillips and Sam Hugh-Jones, The Elephant Trees have been gearing up to release their debut EP ‘Monachopsis’ for a while. Whilst their music is super catchy, it’s the message of solidarity behind it that makes them a worthy listen. On their upcoming “Depressed Kids Disco Party” tour, they’re promoting a safe space for women and LGBTQ+ people, and they’re encouraging anyone who feels stressed out by life’s demons to come down and shake it all off with them for an hour or so.

We think one of the best ways to get to know a band is by asking what music inspired them to write in the first place. We caught up with Martha to ask her about her “Five Favourites” – five albums that have influenced her songwriting techniques. Check out her choices below, and make sure you listen to The Elephant Trees’ brand new track ‘Idiot’ at the end of this post.

 

1. Coldplay – Viva La Vida (Death and All His Friends) 
After Growing up in a household soaked in the best combination of Christian rock and Disco (?!), the first time I heard Coldplay, my ears pricked up. I’d heard classics like ‘Fix You’ and ‘The Scientist’ and been moved, and in hindsight this was probably the first time I’d made a connection between music and emotion. I asked for a Coldplay album for my 12th birthday, and discovered Viva La Vida for the first time. ’42’, ‘Yes’, ‘Death and All His Friends’ – all of these tracks stirred emotion in me, but new emotions. Most artists can easily convey happiness or sadness in their music, but this album introduced me to music that could make me feel hope, discomfort, curiosity, a full spectrum of emotions I was only just beginning to understand myself.

2. Twenty One Pilots – Vessel
Later, after I’d started writing my own music, Sam and Tom (Aka guitar master and Drum King of The Elephant Trees) pointed out one of my songs sounded like ‘Car Radio’ by Twenty One Pilots. They forced me to listen to it in our first ever band practice in high school, I’d never heard anything like it. The way Tyler Joseph flips between genres, tempos and instruments, whilst spitting mind bending and intensely relatable lyrics blew my mind. This album is still one of the most influential on my writing.

3. Alt J – Relaxer
Rock – but also Jazz – but also Orchestral? but also pop and groove? Sign me up. The movement of these musical pieces made me feel the same way Twenty One Pilots’ lyrics did. I think the common theme for my favourite albums is the intensity of emotion I feel when listening to them, and that’s what I carry over into my own music.

4. Lianne La Havas – Blood
I heard ‘Green & Gold’ on one of Tom’s playlists and couldn’t help drumming along on the table to it – I had to listen to the full album. This woman has an incredibly poetic way of looking at life. Her lyrics are witty and make me feel empowered, her music has groove and technicality to it. This is a timeless album that I always come back to when I need reminding what true romantic storytelling song-writing looks sounds like.

5. Eliza Doolittle – A Real Romantic
I’m pretty sure everyone who are up in the noughties loved Eliza Doolittle. This album is the more mature and broody comeback. One thing I’ll take is the melodies, they’re gorgeous, full of passion, and the bass lines and hooks underneath are diiiiiirty. The contrast makes for sexy and empowering listening. I only started listening to it a couple of months ago and it’s been on repeat since.

Thanks to Martha for sharing her five favourite with us. Follow The Elephant Trees on Facebook for more updates.

LISTEN: Death Valley Girls – ‘Dream Cleaver’

Scuzzy riffs and a cosmic context inform ‘Dream Cleaver’, the latest single from doom-boogie LA rockers Death Valley Girls. Released via Suicide Squeeze, the track is “an anthem in praise of psychonaut and ethnobotonist Terrence McKenna, his research on “the spirit molecule” DMT and the possibility of trans-dimensional travel”.

Rolling rhythms and impassioned vocals permeate the new standalone single, which the band say is inspired by a desire to connect with the afterlife, whilst being in the midst of real life. The girls explain further: “Mr. Mckenna proposed that DMT (dimethyltryptamine) sent one to a “parallel dimension” and that literally enabled an individual to encounter “higher dimensional entities.” We believe that these entities hold the secrets of the universe and the afterlife! We became obsessed with trying to contact them, so we don’t have to wait till the afterlife to have some answers to these questions!”

It seems Death Valley Girls have the answers to questions we didn’t even know we needed answering, and we’re happy to swagger along to their mystical new offering. They have a sound rooted in nostalgia, but an outlook that spans the past, present, and future dimensions. Listen to ‘Dream Cleaver’ below and follow the band on Facebook for more updates.

Photo credit: Deb Frazin

Kate Crudgington
@KCBobCut

Track Of The Day: El Tee – ‘How I Like It’

Full of hazy guitar sounds and hushed, heartfelt vocals; Melbourne-based artist El Tee has shared her latest single ‘How I Like It’ via AWAL. The track is both a “protest against, and an acknowledgement of losing yourself to someone else” and showcases the songwriter’s strength and vulnerability over the course of five sweet minutes.

El Tee (aka Lauren Tarver) has been busy performing in her hometown recently, both as a solo artist and as part of local five-piece outfit Club Med. Her relatable lyrics and her honest narratives mark her out as an interesting new talent on both the Aussie new music scene, and further abroad.

Speaking about her latest single, El Tee explains: “‘How I Like It’ captures the surrender of identity in fear of disapproval and rejection, while holding on to just enough self-respect to voice your needs and desires”. It’s this willingness to confront emotional difficulty that makes her new track linger in the memory for so long. Listen to ‘How I Like It’ below and follow El Tee on Facebook for more updates.

Kate Crudgington
@KCBobCut

LISTEN: Chastity Belt – ‘Elena’

Dreamy, overlapping vocals and lush guitar sounds permeate ‘Elena’, the new single from GIHEs faves Chastity Belt. The track is taken from their fourth self-titled album which is set for release on 20th September via Hardly Art records, and Milk! records in Australia and New Zealand.

It’s a subtle, personal song inspired by the band’s love of author Elena Ferrante’s Neapolitan novels, which they all read over the course of last year. Bassist Annie Truscott explains further: “We individually related to the ways in which the main character’s sense of self is inextricably linked to her desire for love and validation, both from lovers and friends. The overlapping voices on top of the whimsical wave-like instrumentals captures the universal feeling of having a conversation with yourself about yourself.”

After taking a break from band life and pursuing their own solo endeavours, it seems that Julia Shapiro (vocals, guitar, drums), Lydia Lund (vocals, guitar), Gretchen Grimm (drums, vocals, guitar) & Annie Truscott (bass) have been refreshed by their time apart, which ironically seems to have brought them closer together. The band co-produced their new album with Melina Duterte (aka Jay Som), which sees them sharing lead vocals on different tracks, and working with different instruments such as violin (played by Annie), cello, trumpet and keyboards.

“I feel like this record is a really good representation of who we all are, and I feel like we’re at a point where we’ve really come into our own” explains Julia. New single ‘Elena’ sounds like the sweetest taste of what’s to come from a band who value time, authenticity, and celebrating long-term friendship both on and off stage.

Listen to ‘Elena’ below and follow Chastity Belt on Facebook for more updates.

Pre-order your copy of Chastity Belt’s new self-titled album here.

Chastity Belt’s 2019 UK Tour Dates (with GANG)
Oct 13 – Bristol, UK @ Thekla
Oct 15 – Leeds, UK @ Brudenell Social Club
Oct 16 – Manchester, UK @ YES
Oct 17 – Glasgow, UK @ Stereo
Oct 19 – Oxford, UK @ Ritual Union
Oct 20 – Cardiff, UK @ SWN Festival
Oct 21 – Brighton, UK @ Patterns
Oct 23 – Southampton, UK @ The Joiners
Oct 24 – London, UK @ Islington Assembly Hall

Photo by Beto Brakmo

Kate Crudgington
@KCBobCut