LISTEN: Inland Murmur – ‘Waterline’

A stirring reflection on how interactions with nature can help us move past feelings of grief, Cardiff-based indie band Inland Murmur have shared their second single ‘Waterline’. The group take a gentle dive into difficult emotions through their fluid, atmospheric guitar sounds, rolling rhythms and smooth dual vocals on this latest offering.

Formed of Hannah (bass, vocals), Toby (vocals, guitar & drums) and Alan (guitar), Inland Murmur met in London and were busy playing shows at independent venues when Covid-19 hit last year. During the first lockdown, the band used the time to write and record new music, resulting in new single ‘Waterline’. The track is a restorative and instinctive effort from the trio, who like many of us were forced to re-evaluate things when the pandemic restrictions set in.

“Lockdown gave me some time to reset and I realised how much I enjoy singing,” explains Hannah, who sang lead vocals for the first time on this single. “I realised that a lack of confidence was holding me back and life’s too short! With a supportive band and producer, I felt able to step up to sing lead vocals which has really unlocked a new dimension to the band’s sound.” With her new found confidence, Hannah and her band mates have created a sound that shines with charming authenticity.

Listen to ‘Waterline’ below.

Follow Inland Murmur on bandcamp, Spotify, Facebook, Twitter & Instagram

Kate Crudgington
@KCBobCut

Track Of The Day: HighSchool – ‘De facto’

A yo-yoing, infectious synth tune that dwells on the darker side of love, Melbourne trio HighSchool have shared their latest single ‘De facto’. Released via Dalliance Recordings, the track traces the highs and lows of falling into a romantic relationship via its racing beats, brooding bass lines and catchy electronics.

Formed of Lilli Trobbianni, Luke Scott and Rory Trobbiani, HighSchool are inspired by the sounds of New Order, LCD Soundsystem and Future Islands. Through their pulsing beats, catchy synths and Rory’s meandering vocals, the band focus their song-writing lens on the shadowy space between euphoria and melancholy, with new single ‘De facto’ shining a light on the complexities of romance.

“We created ‘De facto’ to shed a mortal light on love,” the band explain. “It presents relationships as being temporary and expected.” This unease around the illusions and fallacies of the sought after emotion are reflected in the track’s accompanying video. Self-directed by the trio, the visuals contrast footage of the band performing with flashes of pagan-like rituals and other paraphernalia associated with love and death, exposing the romanticism and the ridiculousness of it all.

HighSchool are currently putting the final touches to their debut EP which should be melting our ear drums by the summer. Watch the video for ‘De facto’ below.

Follow HighSchool on bandcamp, Spotify, Instagram & Facebook

Photo Credit: Hannah Mckimmie

Kate Crudgington
@KCBobCut

INTERVIEW: Nova Twins

Almost a year after the release of their debut album Who Are The Girls?, alt-rock duo Nova Twins have returned to share Voices Of The Unheard, a charity compilation LP that’s dedicated to spotlighting artists of colour in the heavy music scene. Available to pre-order until 1st March, Nova Twins, aka Amy Love and Georgia South, have put together a blistering collection of alternative anthems that showcase an eclectic range of talent, featuring tracks from Big Joanie, The OBGMs, LustSickPuppy and more.

We caught up with Amy & Georgia to talk about the new compilation record (supported by Dr Martens Presents), their ongoing conversations about racism in the heavy music scene, their dedication to the underground music community and a shared love for DeathKult leaders Ho99o9…

Make sure you pre-order your copy of Voices for the Unheard here.

Hello Amy & Georgia! It’s been almost a year since you released your debut album, Who Are The Girls? What are you most proud of about this record? Did you get to play any live shows with it before Covid-19 hit?

Georgia: I feel most proud about the amount of people we’ve reached. We get messages that say stuff like “I’m so glad we’ve discovered you” or “we can see ourselves in you, and we can be something different too” because they’re seeing us play a different type of music to what people are used to seeing black women play, you know? When we won the Heavy Music Award last year too, it felt like a big achievement to us, because of what we look like. It was such a big moment for the band, but it was also a big moment for our community as well, so that was great.

Amy: We did manage to tour the record a little bit in March and April last year. We were in France for about nine days, which was great, so at least we got to experience a little bit of the live buzz and the kick you usually get out of making an album. But yeah, we were supposed to play Glastonbury and Reading & Leeds and all these new places for the first time, so we were a little bit gutted that we never got to play the album there.

I think people are listening and paying attention in a different way though. Yes, we’re more online than ever, but I think we can reach more countries and reach more communities this way. I think we’ve discovered a lot of different things and we’ve got to know our audience a lot better. I think the album’s actually done better because of the reach it’s had online, as opposed to us just gigging. Everyone’s in a different headspace now. I think it’s been really, really amazing to take a step back and just get to know our audience and watch them enjoying it as much as we enjoyed making it.

That’s true, people have been really appreciative of new music over the last twelve months.

Another amazing thing that you did in 2020, you wrote an open letter to the MOBO Awards asking the panel to consider adding a Rock/Alternative category to their awards show. They acknowledged your letter with a tweet saying they’re working towards representing alternative music genres in the future. How do you feel about their response?

Amy: I think we still have to now push for it to happen this year. We have to take into account that we’re still struggling through this pandemic and there’s issues with funding and things like that, but I think this is a time to push in the right direction. We’ve got people’s eyes and ears on us now more than ever and people are listening. We just have to keep pushing.

You also started up your Voices For The Unheard platform last year, which was originally a series of Spotify playlists and conversations online highlighting artists of colour in the alternative music scene. That’s now developed into a compilation LP funded by Dr Martens Presents, which is amazing! Did you have a record release in mind when you originally started the platform? Or did it develop naturally?

Georgia: I think it really was a natural evolution, it just kept escalating. It started from the playlist on Spotify and then we thought, why don’t we just chat to these people on our Instagram and have a conversation with them and discover their journey? We ended up having so much in common, even though we’re from different sides of the world, we have this similar feeling being a POC alternative artist on this journey. So that was great to see our audience discover them, as well and for us to meet so many new bands too. When Dr. Martens reached out to us and asked if we wanted to do something with them on a bigger level, that was where the vinyl idea stemmed from. We thought it would be amazing to raise money for The Black Curriculum and to push all of these artists we’d selected and to give them more exposure as well.

As you’ve mentioned, all proceeds from the physical release of Voices For The Unheard will be donated to The Black Curriculum, a charity that addresses the lack of black British history in the UK curriculum. How did you find out about this charity and the work that they do?

Amy: I think it came up on our social media last year when the Black Lives Matter movement started to happen again. All these forums and websites and Instagram pages started popping up. I think before that, we felt quite isolated. It didn’t feel that there was much of a community here for us to join, everything felt sporadic. I remember when AfroPunk held their first London festival at Alexandra Palace and we had all these incredible POC creatives artists and fashion designers turn up, and we were like, where did all these people come from? Because we don’t see them here. We didn’t feel like there was much of a community that we could just go to and feel like accepted, I guess.

So around the time of the BLM movement last year, everyone start reaching out to each other – all of us, no matter where you were from – sharing websites and discovering a whole new world that we didn’t really know existed. I think The Black Curriculum popped up through that and we just thought there was some really interesting stuff on there. We actually had to relearn and are still re-learning our black history. So we just think it’s really, really important for organisations like them to exist.

I grew up in Essex. I’m from Thurrock, and I was probably like, one of maybe two black people in my class? I remember my teacher saying, specifically, “black people are slaves, that’s where they come from, slavery.” Not saying why that might actually be, or how terrible slavery was. So I was like, “Oh, I used to be that?” I remember being quite embarrassed. I was just a kid! You just don’t know any better, you know? My parents are Iranian, so I grew up with my Iranian family. So I was immersed in that culture, but I wasn’t necessarily immersed in my kind of blackness, I guess, until I met Georgia’s family.

It was just painted that white people saved us here in Britain and how great the British Empire was, and how they decided to free us. It was a really strange and backwards way to learn your history.

Georgia: I grew up in London, so it was really diverse at my school. But when it came to black history, all they showed us was the Roots documentary. They said that slavery was bad, but they didn’t teach any other black history. Nothing about black kings and queens and how rich they were. That’s all I took from school.

I guess that’s why The Black Curriculum is so important isn’t it? I grew up in Essex too and I don’t remember anything about black history on the syllabus. Hopefully organisations like this will be able to change that for school kids in the future.

The Voices For The Unheard vinyl has been funded by Dr Martens Presents. What does it mean to you to have this kind of support from such an iconic brand?

Georgia: Dr Martens are our favourite shoe brand, we literally wear them every day. They’re a massive corporation, so their connection to underground music is so helpful. Even with the people that they put on their adverts, they could easily pick a bigger artist but they want to support new bands and they’re always searching for new music, which is refreshing.

Amy: I think it really makes sense for us because we genuinely love the brand. I mean, I could show my feet right now – I’m wearing DMs! It’s a natural alliance and it’s just great for us to be able to have a company invest in ideas support in the community in such a way so it’s brilliant, a really good match.

They’re so good at spotlighting new bands. I remember coming out of Camden tube station about three years ago and seeing the Dr Martens campaign that featured Ho99o9. They had posters of the band all the way up the escalators in the station and all over town, it was so good!

Amy: Yes, we love Ho99o9!

Georgia: I remember seeing the posters too, they were so good!

When it comes to the track-list for the album, how did you narrow it down to 11 songs? Your Voices For The Unheard Spotify Playlists are so extensive, it must have been hard to choose only ten artists?

Georgia: It was really hard! We were like “can’t we have 14 people on the record, please!?” I think many of the people on the track-list are the artists we first discovered and chatted to, so all of the people we’ve had online conversations with are on there. It was really difficult to be honest. We would have added like ten more if we could…

Amy: Exactly. We picked artists like Connie Constance who we love and feel like she is deserving of so much more. There’s obviously bigger artists that we love like Ho99o9 and FEVER333, but they’re kind of big already, so we tried to focus on people who may have not had that kind of kickstart or any kind of attention just yet. We wanted to explore the idea of new bands making new exciting sounds, and who have a new take on things, so we’re just really proud of them all.

Georgia: We wanted to be diverse as well, so there’s a mixture of non-binary and trans artists as well as artists from different cultures on there too.

It’s an amazing album and I can’t wait to get my hands on a physical copy.

So, what else is on the cards for Nova Twins this year? Any new music from you after this compilation release?

Amy: I feel like you never know what’s next for Nova. It’s so funny being in this band, I love it. One day we’ll be sitting there twiddling our thumbs and then suddenly, we’ll just run with this massive new idea. I think there’ll be loads of stuff that we’ll be putting out there, just trying to make shit happen for the community, and also just for us as two girls living in the UK, with a fucking dream, trying to get somewhere.

I think 2021 is going to be good. We’re excited about the new stuff we’re making and excited to join alliances with more artists. I feel like there’s strength in the artists joining together, as opposed to us being competitive with each other.Exciting times!

Thanks so much to Amy & Georgia for chatting with us!

Pre-order your copy of Voices for the Unheard here.

Follow Nova Twins on Spotify, Twitter, Instagram & Facebook

Kate Crudgington
@KCBobCut

FIVE FAVOURITES: Sunflower Thieves

Combining charming vocal harmonies and soft guitars to create their delicate pop-folk sounds, Leeds duo Sunflower Thieves write tunes inspired by personal narratives and nostalgia. Their musical creations have blossomed out of a sixteen year friendship between band members Amy and Lily, and their upcoming single ‘Don’t Mind The Weather’ is a warm reflection on staying grounded and safe within the relationships with the people you trust.

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 Amy and Lily to ask them about their “Five Favourites” – five albums that have inspired their song-writing techniques. Check out their choices below and scroll down to watch Sunflower Thieves’ lyric video for ‘Don’t Mind The Weather’ at the end of this post.

1. Sylvan Esso – What Now
Lily: Since I was first introduced to Sylvan Esso with their song ‘Hey Mami’, I just completely fell in love. Amelia’s gorgeously beautiful vocal alongside Nick’s impossibly catchy production is just the perfect mix to leap around your bedroom or just lie on the floor and weep. When this album came out I was absolutely obsessed and it’s all I wanted to listen to for a really long time. I remember every time that me and my best friend got in the car to go anywhere we’d blast it out on the country roads and just scream along without a care in the world.

I think the main thing I gained from listening to them was the reassurance that having a soft vocal does not mean that you can’t sing. At the time when we started singing together I felt very self conscious about my voice because I wasn’t/will never be a belter! But as I grew up and started listening to more and more music I realised that that wasn’t the be all and end all.

2. MUNA – Saves The World
Amy: I first came across MUNA through one of my Uni lecturers. I don’t think he would have predicted what an impact they would have on me. Lyrics are a big thing for me and there aren’t many people who cut straight through to your feelings like MUNA. It’s hard to choose between this album and About U, but Saves The World came along during my time at Uni and for me, it’s attached to a lot of my personal growth, new experiences and wonderful friends found during that time. I can’t wait to be back in a room with my friends, dancing to this album and celebrating loving each other and being exactly who we all are.

3. Phoebe Bridgers – Stranger in the Alps
This is our joint choice and always our reference for writing inspiration, production inspiration and general wonderful human being inspiration. We couldn’t tell you how many times we’ve been working on a song and one of us has said “you know in ‘Scott Street’ where she does this…we could try that!” We’d never heard anyone say things the way she says them before and when we first heard ‘Motion Sickness’, it was an instant “yes please.” Phoebe has helped us find our sound, inspired us to write the kind of music we want to write and we definitely aspire to achieve the kind of poetic realism her lyrics hold. In this album, Phoebe helped Sunflower Thieves’ writing grow and she hasn’t disappointed since.

4. Darwin Deez – Songs For Imaginative People
Lily: It was hard to choose which Darwin Deez album to pick! I think I know every word to every song he’s ever released. However, I reckon this album has really influenced the lyrics I write. The word play in his song-writing is something I strive for and all his outer-space metaphors excite me, I just love how geeky he is! I feel like we’d get on. I first heard of him because a friend at school recommended his song ‘Radar Detector’ and that was it, I was hooked. My favourite song on this album is ‘Alice’, it’s the song that plays automatically every time I plug my phone into the car stereo and I don’t hate it! I just love how honest and real he is, in a weird and wonderful way.

5. Sam Fender – Hypersonic Missiles
Amy: My ultimate go-to running/driving album (drumsssss + Springsteen vibes). I first saw Sam Fender play live at The Bodega in Nottingham in 2018 and have followed his journey since – I don’t think I’ve ever been so excited about an artist’s debut album. I listened to nothing else for weeks after the release – my friends and housemates at the time can attest for that! I have Geordie family, so I guess that’s why I feel at home with his music.
It’s so refreshing to hear an artist address real, difficult subjects with such intimacy and fragility. This album makes me feel angry, powerful, vulnerable and uplifted. And probably most importantly for me, the lyrical content of this album makes me want to write songs.

Thanks to Amy & Lily for sharing their favourites with us!

Watch the lyric video for Sunflower Thieves’ new single ‘Don’t Mind The Weather’ below.

Follow Sunflower Thieves on bandcamp, Spotify, Twitter, Instagram & Facebook

Photo Credit: Alice Ashley