Track Of The Day: Mangö – Demons

A cathartic burst of twisted psych sound; London-based Mangö have shared their latest single ‘Demons’. Released via We Can Do It Records, the track is a dark, fuzzy take down of the inner voices that fuel our stress and anxiety.

Front woman Chloe Spence explains the track’s premise further: “Demons is a power battle song intended to portray the inner workings of one’s mind, and the mental fight we have daily to remain in a positive mindset in today’s fast paced realm of society. The demons are intended to represent negative thoughts, anxieties and emotions that people who struggle with mental health feel daily. We want to portray the demons as an infestation in one’s head, the more attention you give them, the more they thrive and take over.”

‘Demons’ came together when the band were messing around in rehearsals, when guitarist Tom experimented with his whammy pedal whilst comically playing bebop jazz lines and giggling to himself. The band have affectionately dubbed this sound as “a metallic fuzzy bebop tune”, and we think that’s an apt description for this catchy, cathartic slice of psych rock.

Listen ‘Demons’ below, and follow the band on Facebook for more updates.

Kate Crudgington
@KCBobCut

VIDEO PREMIERE: Hourglvss – ‘Dead Man’s Hand’

Brighton duo Hourglvss blend theatrical flair with their catchy experimental-pop tune in the visuals for their second single, ‘Dead Man’s Hand’. The gothic, Western inspired video is an ode to the band’s love of all things vintage.

Formed of Katie Benbow and Sophie-May Williams, Hourglvss bonded over a shared taste in music, fashion and art, soon discovering that Sophie had unknowingly been a regular customer of Katie’s online vintage store. It’s these unusual coincidences that form the basis of the pair’s musical creations, and ‘Dead Man’s Hand’ is the perfect example of this. It was produced by multi-instrumentalist Benjamin Christophers, who is known for his longtime collaboration with Bat For Lashes, having co-produced her 2016 Mercury Prize nominated album The Bride. 

Speaking about the track and the new video, the duo explain: “It follows the story of a villainous character who is wanting to destroy anything and everything in his path to come up on top. However, it doesn’t turn out that way and he ends up being shot and killed. We have both experienced different types of controlling natures in our pasts. This is essentially a metaphor for anyone who has ever been in a controlling situation, whether it’s personal or situational…for them to gain solace from the fact that they are stronger than what they are being controlled by.”

Hourglvss’s defiant attitude and thrilling visuals make ‘Dead Man’s Hand’ a theatrical gem. Watch the video below, and follow the band on Facebook for more updates.

Kate Crudgington
@KCBobCut

PREMIERE: Kate Stapley – ‘Hermit’

“I’ve been pissing like a racehorse” confesses Bristol-based songwriter Kate Stapley on the opening lyric of her new single, ‘Hermit’. It’s a blunt beginning, but her soft voice quickly draws listeners in to her poignant (slightly hungover) reflections on allowing yourself to be tender again in a new relationship.

Set for release via Breakfast Records on 6th December, ‘Hermit’ forms part of a Double A-side, with second track ‘Hours’. Produced by Oliver Baldwin (Aldous Harding, PJ Harvey), these tracks are the first that Stapley has shared since her 2018 EP, Centella, and they flow in her trademark vulnerable, yet optimistic vein.

“‘Hermit’ is a love song, celebrating those moments in a relationship when you finally have the bravery to embrace everything about yourself” explains Stapley. “When you stop trying to hide the painful, embarrassing bits – realising you never needed to hide them in the first place.” Observations like this make Stapley’s music so intimately disarming, and effortlessly relatable.

“You suit me so well / You be my hermit / And I’ll be your shell” she muses during the chorus, over gently plucked acoustic guitars, and soft percussion. The song’s patient rhythm feels reflective of the self-acceptance Stapley has discovered, and it’s wonderful to hear her lay bare her insecurities, transforming them in to new found confidence.

Listen to ‘Hermit’ below, and be sure to check out her second track ‘Hours’ tomorrow when they’re both released via Breakfast Records.

Follow Kate Stapley on Facebook for more updates.

Photo Credit: Simon Holliday

Kate Crudgington
@KCBobCut

Track Of The Day: MAITA – ‘Can’t Blame A Kid’

Stepping out from the shadows of a shy childhood, frontwoman Maria Maita-Keppeler works through her growing pains on ‘Can’t Blame A Kid’, the latest single from Oregon-based band MAITA. The track is lifted from the band’s debut album Best Wishes – a record so transformative that it brought Kill Rock Stars (‪Elliott Smith, ‪Sleater-Kinney, ‪Bikini Kill) label founder Slim Moon out of early retirement when he first heard it in 2018.

“She stole all the light from the room” sings Maria on the track, an apt lyric for Slim’s reaction after his wife Portia Sabin (who was running Kill Rock Stars at the time) first played it to him. Maria’s knack for tapping into feelings of introversion and uncertainty are what make ‘Blame A Kid’ such a compelling listen, so it’s easy to see why MAITA caught the attention of the intuitive label.

Maria explains the inspiration behind the song and the accompanying video: “‘Can’t Blame a Kid’ takes a stab at unpacking the insecurities that I’d built up from childhood, zeroing in on a particular relationship that bore a lot of weight on me throughout my adolescence…It really is fascinating, though unfortunate, that we are often at our most callous at the age when we are also the most fragile. The video was a lot of fun for me to make. I’d always wanted to make a finger-painting video…something that echoed the wild, colorful, cathartic nature of the song.”

Through strong vocals, indie guitar licks, and punk-tinged percussion, MAITA have created a reassuring, buoyant listen with their latest single. Watch the video for ‘Can’t Blame A Kid’ below, and follow the band on Facebook for more updates.

Keep your eyes peeled for more info about the release of their debut LP, Best Wishes, in April 2020.

Photo Credit: Ingrid-Renan

Kate Crudgington
@KCBobCut

Get In Her Ears @ Notting Hill Arts Club w/ ESYA 30.11.19

Get In Her Ears returned to Notting Hill Arts Club to host another evening of alternative music, headlined by the multi-talented ESYA (Ayse Hassan of Savages/Kite Base/180 db). South London duo Scrounge shared the bill, as we as spoken word artist & drummer Eilis Frawley.

The task of opening the night fell to Berlin-based Eilis, who delivered her unique cacophony of live drums, electronic elements and spoken-word lyrics with captivating precision. Performing singles ‘Strangers’ and ‘Illusions’ (both championed by Radio X’s John Kennedy, who was in attendance), her one woman show felt all the more powerful, as many of her songs are informed by feminist beliefs that align perfectly with GIHE.

Scrounge took to the stage next to perform their savage post-punk noise. Lucy & Luke’s live sets are always a raw, urgent affair; and we felt every beat of tracks ‘Badoom’ and ‘Purpose’. The duo released their EP Ideal, earlier this year, and it’s barely left our ears since. They’re firm favourites of GIHE, and their heavy guitar riffs and knockout drumming sat perfectly between Eilis & ESYA’s sets.

  

Headlining the night and performing her last London show of 2019, ESYA hypnotized us with her dark, brooding electronics. Filled with buzzing synth textures, direct vocals and pummeling beats; her songs flesh out the absurdities of our relationships and interactions with each other. Set highlights included ‘Nothing’, ‘Everything’, and brand new single ‘Blue Orchid’, lifted from her recent EP, Absurdity of ATCG (II) – Emergent Form. She multi-tasks triggering synths, performing  vocals, and plucking bass strings throughout the set, and she’s met with deserved cheers and applause at the end of the show.

Huge thanks to the sound engineer and staff at Notting Hill Arts Club.

Follow the bands on Facebook for more updates: ESYA, Scrounge, Eilis Frawley.

Photo Credit: Jon Mo

Kate Crudgington
@KCBobCut

LIVE: FKA TWIGS – O2 Academy Brixton, 25.11.19

“How many of you came here alone tonight?” asks FKA Twigs, mid-way through her set at a sold out Brixton Academy. She’s met with cheers, prompting her to ask another question. “How many of you are single?” After a rapturous applause, she emits a shy giggle and replies “Wow, that’s a lot. How many of you have been heartbroken?” Again, the crowd fill the venue with noise. “I have been too” Twigs reveals.

It’s this heartache that underscores her latest album, Magdalene, and which has inspired her performance on the Magdalene Tour. Though her lyrics lament feelings of loneliness, isolation, and disappointment; Twigs’ live performance is the epitome of strength. Her voice is crystal clear, perfect in pitch and floats beautifully above the music. Physically, she is in peak condition. Her tap-dancing at the beginning of the show is sharply executed. The same can be said for her breathtaking sword-wielding routine, and how do we even describe the majesty of her pole dancing? Twigs is an athlete as well as an artist, and her movements are met with ecstatic eruptions of applause from her fans.

No longer the ‘Video Girl’ to the Jessie J’s of this world, FKA Twigs – aka Tahliah Debrett Barnett – sheds new light on the realities of desire and loneliness with unrivaled artistic confidence. Her set opens with the lyrics: “A woman’s work / A woman’s prerogative / A woman’s time to embrace / She must put herself first”. This is the manifesto for the Magdalene Tour, and Twigs is loyal to her vision. After performing her tap dance, she changes in to an ornate feathered headdress to perform a trio of hits – ‘Hide’, ‘Water Me’, ‘Pendulum’ – against a heavenly backdrop of blue skies, clouds, and smoke.

‘Figure 8′ brings fans back down to earth, as Twigs venomously confesses “You’re so fucking fake that it’s hurting me”, uttering the words at a speed which replicates the resentment they must’ve been written with. She articulates what others are too self-conscious to reveal; using her limbs and lyrics to dazzling effect. By now, Twigs has been joined on stage by a small entourage of dancers, who are exquisitely skilled in movement, adding further spectacle to her show.

New tracks lifted from Magdalene form the core of the set. A brief rendition of ‘Thousand Eyes’ flows into a trio of achingly beautiful tracks; ‘Mary Magdelene’, ‘Home With You’, and ‘Sad Day’. Brief interludes of ‘Fallen Alien’, and a cover of A$AP Rocky’s ‘Fukk Sleep’ preface the full glory of ‘Holy Terrain’, before Twigs breaks our hearts again with breathtaking renditions of ‘Daybed’ and ‘Mirrored Heart’. She barely pauses for breath before launching into the sensual ‘Papi Pacify’, after which she disappears from the stage as her dancers distract the crowd with more of their knockout routines.

A backdrop formed of scaffolding that holds four live musicians has been on stage for some time now, and a metal pole is in view. ‘Lights On’ begins to play, as Twigs re-emerges in her ‘Cellophane’ ornate two-piece costume, and delivers her breath-taking pole dance routine, full of seamless spins and splits. Fresh from her dazzling display, she dives in to the empowering ‘Two Weeks’, before closing the show with the divine ‘Cellophane’. Both the master and the muse: FKA Twigs is re-inventing what it means to be a performer, an artist, and a woman in the music industry. Her Magdalene Tour is a beautiful creation, and we can’t imagine a time when we won’t be enthralled by her.

Photo Credit: Matthew Stone

Kate Crudgington
@KCBobCut

LIVE: The Joy Formidable – Islington Assembly Hall, London 24.11.19

“Maybe we should’ve started a Bee Gees tribute band? They’re big in Mold” jokes Ritzy Bryan, lead vocalist & guitarist of alternative trio The Joy Formidable. She’s talking about her Welsh hometown, and how her affinity with the Flintshire county is stronger than ever, 10 years after releasing the band’s debut EP, A Balloon Called Moaning. “Matt’s got the shirt for it”, bassist Rhydian Dafydd chimes in, as drummer Matt Thomas feigns offense and laughs off the comment.

Fans who have been following the band for the last decade will be used to these charming chats between songs. The trio are on form once again at The Islington Assembly Hall, as they’re in town to celebrate the 10th anniversary of their first EP. Before the jokes start rolling out, the trio have already ripped through three of A Balloon Called Moaning‘s tracks; ‘The Greatest Light’, ‘Cradle’, and ‘Austere’. The room is full of fans and friends – including previous drummer Justin, who gets multiple shout outs – and the feeling is one of excitement and mutual gratitude for the dynamic sound of a band who have weathered this uncertain industry for the last decade.

“This is the farewell tour” teases Rhydian, before quickly adding “Jokes! There’s new music in 2020”. “Who knows what song’s coming next?” Ritzy interjects, as she plucks the opening notes to ‘While The Flies’. The band play the tracks in the order they’re listed on the EP, giving their fans the full A Balloon Called Moaning experience. The enduring power of ‘Whirring’ comes next, with its thudding drum beats, as well as the extended outro that didn’t make the cut on the original EP. It’s followed by stripped back lament ‘9669’. Ritzy and Rhydian’s call-and-response vocals are delivered with grace and gravitas, as the lyrics give insight into an intimate conversation. It’s offset perfectly by penultimate track ‘The Last Drop’ with its manic stop-start rhythms and bold percussion.

Final EP track ‘Ostrich’ is still a dizzying wall of sound when heard live. It’s a mixture of buzzing riffs, longing vocals, and relentless percussion that forms an all-consuming, disorientating aural blur. The crowd are unsure of what comes next – as the EP tracklist has now been completed – but the band burst into ‘Y Bluen Eira’, followed by the powerful ‘I Don’t Want To See You Like This’, lifted from their 2011 album The Big Roar. These non-EP tracks are greeted with the same amount of enthusiasm.

‘Passerby’, a b-side track from 2016 album Hitch, prefaces a stripped back version of ‘The Leopard & The Lung’. Lifted from their 2013 album Wolf’s Law, Ritzy introduces the track with a message about caring for, and protecting our environment. Rhydian’s gentle keys and the pairs dual vocals make this song a real set highlight. Next, they ask the crowd if there’s a track they’d like to hear, and after lots of inaudible shouts, the band settle for ‘Caught On A Breeze’, before leaving the stage.

They return for an encore of ‘Anemone’ – influenced by the tragedies of John Webster – and the formidable ‘The Everchanging Spectrum Of A Lie’. It’s an apt song to close with, as the trio have evolved and grown over the last decade into gracious, and talented performers. There’s nothing to lament about their celebratory performance of A Balloon Called Moaning, and that is a fitting legacy for a formidable record, produced by an equally formidable band.

Order your 10 Year Anniversary reissue of A Balloon Called Moaning/Y Falŵ​n Drom on vinyl here.

Photo Credit: Steve Reynolds

Kate Crudgington
@KCBobCut