WATCH: VOKXEN – ‘Crystal Eyes’

Inspired by the feminist writings of film critic Laura Mulvey on ‘The Male Gaze’, Northern Irish trio VOKXEN have shared visuals to accompany their latest single ‘Crystal Eyes’. Produced by Definitive Film (Netflix, Disney and Google) and with allusions to Jim Henson 80’s cult film The Dark Crystal – ‘Crystal Eyes’ is a captivating visual delight.

Premiered on Hot Press, ‘Crystal Eyes’ is a catchy blend of pop-hooks and strong vocals, underscored by bouncing synth beats. The video for the single tells “a tale of (false) perception, entrapment and breaking free of bonds that hold us back”. VOKXEN have had a busy year playing shows in Dublin and Berlin, and we’re sure we’ll be hearing more from the trio in 2019.

Kate Crudgington
@KCBobCut

FIVE FAVOURITES: Big Joanie

DIY punks Big Joanie have had a great year. They’ve toured extensively across the UK & Europe, supported our faves Dream Wife at Camden’s KOKO, and last week they released their debut album Sistahs. Their music is a mix of the personal and the political, and we wanted to know what inspires the girls to create their own sound. We caught up with band member Stephanie Phillips to ask about her “Five Favourites” – five artists or albums that have influenced her songwriting technique. Check out her responses below…

1. Sleater-Kinney – Dig Me Out
I’m a huge Sleater-Kinney fan and it all started when I was a teenager. Listening to Dig Me Out in my bedroom when I was 16, I remember feeling a well of emotion in my chest. It was like I wanted to shout out loud with the song but I could never get the words out, even when I was alone. My journey from a shy, reserved kid to a singer in a band has mostly been through listening over and over again to this band and learning how to sing along. I’m pretty sure Carrie’s stadium rock guitar style has crept into my playing as well.

2. The Breeders – Last Splash
It’s hard to pick a favourite out of all of The Breeders albums, but Last Splash had a huge impact on me. Kim’s way of creating something that can still be a bit rough or unusual as long as its honest has been an approach I’ve tried to follow. The Deal sisters know their way around a harmony and it’s glorious to listen to them when it seems to come so naturally. Big Joanie’s album also opens with a song called ‘New Year’, not the same song but I must have subconsciously taken a note of this. It doesn’t matter how many times I go back to this album it’s still one of my favourites.

3. The Ronettes – Presenting the Fabulous Ronettes
I once went on a date with a guy who said he didn’t like ‘60s girl groups. I knew then and there I couldn’t be with that person. Who doesn’t love girl groups? From The Crystals to The Shangri-Las, I’ve studied every type of girl group but one of my all time favourites is The Ronettes. Ronnie Spector’s voice still sounds as arresting today as I imagine it did when the group first debuted. Though Phil Spector is a detestable human being, he was a visionary producer. The all encompassing wall of sound he was known for worked so well with The Ronettes sound. It’s a sound I’ve always wanted to capture myself. I know the wall of sound would have been nothing if it wasn’t for the young black women Spector worked with who gave it a voice.

4. Throwing Muses – Untitled
Again similar to the other artists I’ve listed, Throwing Muses have so many albums that influenced me but I have to pick their first album. I loved the complexity of the song structures, the emotional depth of the lyrics and the unusual turns and twists the record took. The album made me think about different ways to write pop songs. It made me think about how some of the best songs always take a different path to reach their destination of eventually becoming a pop song. Songs like ‘Vicky’s Box’, which is essentially a three part epic packed into a five minute song, shouldn’t work but they do.

5. PJ Harvey – Rid of Me
The raw blues punk of Peej soundtracked my early years and it’s still with me today. I love this album for all its worth. It’s strikingly intelligent, funny (even though many male journalists at the time didn’t seem to get her humour) and displays a level of emotional vulnerability that is rarely seen. Her dark sensibility and slightly twisted takes on love, lust, pain and anger captured my attention when I first listened to the album. I couldn’t believe that was the way people felt whether it was about her own experiences or not. Her ability to switch between different voices and tell numerous stories in her songs is comparable to the greats like Bob Dylan. I’m pretty sure for as long as I live I’ll always be trying but failing to replicate the work Polly created on this album.

Huge thanks to Steph for sharing her five favourites.

Order your copy of Big Joanie’s Sistahs here.

Follow the band of Facebook for more updates.

Kate Crudgington
@KCBobCut

Track Of The Day: Hockeysmith – ‘Tears At My Age’

We’re pretty sure you’ll be able to identify with the sentiments expressed in the ambient new single from Hockeysmith, titled ‘Tears At My Age’. Taken from her upcoming EP of the same name (set for release Jan 25th via Ex-Local), the track is “one for the girls out there, and their tears for undeserving boys.”

Whilst she may have spent much time lamenting the actions of unworthy loves, Hockeysmith has reclaimed those hours through her shoe-gazey, lo-fi new release. She traveled frequently between Cornwall and Copenhagen whilst writing her new music over the last two years, with the aim of connecting the influences of two very different, yet exciting underground music communities.

The result is previous single ‘Holy War’, and now with ‘Tears At My Age’ she looks set to share a record’s worth of mesmerising, hazy electronics. Listen to the new track below, and follow Hockeysmith on Facebook for more updates.

Kate Crudgington
@KCBobCut

WATCH: Noise Noir – ‘I Don’t Need You’

Garage rockers Noise Noir have shared Jessica Jones style vigilante visuals to accompany their debut single ‘I Don’t Need You’. The footage – shot and directed by Sergio Angot – shows band members actively taking down those who think it’s okay to harass women in public or private places.

Speaking about the video, vocalist Kelly Chard explains: “I wanted the video for ‘I Don’t Need You’ to be a hyperbole of the feelings I felt when writing the song. Sexual harassment is very present in London, and I wanted to play a Jessica Jones type character in the video. So instead of feeling emotionally strong, I felt physically strong enough to fight off bad guys. Reaching equality is very close to our hearts, so I wanted to highlight sexual harassment and domestic abuse. The video is set in various locations in London throughout the day to show how harassment and violence can happen on the streets in broad daylight, behind closed doors, and in a public busy surrounding.”

Recorded by Margo Broom (Big Joanie, Yassassin), mixed by Greg Burns of Sit Down, and released through Kelly’s independent record label We Can Do It, ‘I Don’t Need You’ is a seething attempt to shout back and empower those who have felt vulnerable or victimised by street harassment. Together; Kelly, guitarist Anthony, bassist Elis & drummer Davide are here to set the record straight through vicious riffs and powerful vocals. Watch the video for ‘I Don’t Need You’ below and follow the band on Facebook for more updates.

Photo Credit: Jessie Morgan

Kate Crudgington
@KCBobCut

Track Of The Day: Ishani – ‘Stormy Emotions’

Lamenting the transition from heartbreak in to a new phase of independence; Ishani‘s latest single ‘Stormy Emotions’ fuses trip-hop beats and industrial-pop in sublime style. Brooding, hypnotic and sensual; the single is a cathartic electronic outpouring of personal relief.

Born and raised in Bangalore in India, Ishani later obtained a degree in TV, Film & Radio in Singapore before moving to London to study Audio Engineering at Alchemea & Point Blank. Her music often centers around difficult themes – single ‘Don’t Stop The Fight’ explores the horrific social effects of rape, whilst ‘Dark Angel’ was inspired by the loss of two of her friends to suicide. Despite these traumatic contexts, Ishani’s music breeds an atmosphere of strength and independence, and ‘Stormy Emotions’ is another example of her ability to shine a light on a truly dark situation.

Speaking about the track, Ishani explains: “This song is about the death of a relationship and the overwhelming pain that can come with that. It is also however about moving into a new phase of life.” Ishani’s musical efforts have not gone un-noticed this year; she was made a BBC Introducing artist by Bobby Friction, and she continues to impress bloggers and radio hosts (including us) across the web. Listen to ‘Stormy Emotions’ below and follow Ishani on Facebook for more updates.

Kate Crudgington
@KCBobCut

LISTEN: BABii – ‘Phantom’

Don’t be fooled by the name of youthful newcomer BABii; she’s a fully-fledged producer, songwriter and performer who crafts her own electro-pop beats and her new single ‘Phantom’ showcases her ability to do so.

Taken from her debut LP HiiDE, which is set for release in 2019 via Deathwaltz Originals, ‘Phantom’ is one of many tracks which  “focuses on the key themes of hiding and secrets”. BABii’s upbeat synths and gentle vocals mask the vulnerability in the lyrics to ‘Phantom’, making it a playful and easy listening experience.

With her upcoming tour dates supporting Miho Hatouri (listed below) and after receiving support from Iglooghost’s Diplo & Friends mix for BBC Radio 1, one thing’s for sure: it’ll be hard for BABii to hide from an exciting new career in electronic pop music. Listen to ‘Phantom’ below and follow BABii on Facebook for more updates.

BABii 2018/2019 Live Dates
10/12 – Shacklewell Arms, LONDON UK (supporting Miho Hatori)
12/12 – Green Door Store, Brighton UK (supporting Miho Hatori)
8-17/3 – SXSW Festival USA

Kate Crudgington
@KCBobCut

Get In Her Ears Live @ Notting Hill Arts Club w/ Alyss 01.12.18

Get In Her Ears returned to West London’s Notting Hill Arts Club on Saturday night to host another successful night full of alternative electronic music. For our second gig at the venue, we chose Alyss to headline; with support coming from the brilliant Elsa Hewitt, Temples of Youth and Varley.

First up were Berlin-based trio Varley, who played a beautiful stripped back set to an appreciative, respectfully quiet crowd. Vocalist Claire-Ann Varley’s gentle, clear voice was perfectly accompanied by the acoustic & electric guitar sounds of bandmates Matthias Heising & Joschka Bender. When she cautiously asked for a little audience participation during one particular song, she was rewarded with attempts to mimic her soft voice, and the trio left the stage to well deserved and rapturous applause.

 

 

Up next were our favourites, electronic duo Temples Of Youth, who (as always) performed a stunning set. Jo & Paul’s blend of old and new songs – including ‘Darker Places’, the title track from their latest EP – captivated the crowd with their ambient guitar sounds and Jo’s standout vocals. We never tire of seeing these two live, and we were thrilled to have them on the bill with other talented electronic artists.

Penultimate act Elsa Hewitt was a one woman music machine. She played a hypnotising set, which included her latest single ‘Invisible Threads’. It’s always a pleasure to watch artists lose themselves within their own sound, and watching Elsa perform her intricate tuning and triggering, whilst simultaneously performing her soft vocals so seamlessly was a genuine pleasure to witness. We were so caught up in her soundscapes we lost track of time, and as we gently ushered her set to a close, electro-pop Queen Alyss took centre stage.

Clad in a shiny cape and black-rimmed hat, headline act Alyss dominated the stage with her powerful vocals and uncompromising attitude. Performing as a one woman band, she had the room packed full of fans who were dancing along to her pop hooks and bouncing beats.

Huge thanks to the bands and to Notting Hill Arts Club, and extended thanks to all those who donated their spare change on the door to National AIDS Trust on #WorldAIDSday – we appreciate your generosity!

Keep your eyes peeled for more gig announcements from us soon.

Photo Credit: Jon Mo Photography