Track Of The Day: th’sheridans – ‘Luka’

Following last year’s career-spanning compilation, featuring tracks from over a decade on the scene, indie-pop faves th’sheridans have now returned with a delightful brand new release.

A cover of Suzanne Vega’s 1987 poignant country-pop classic, ‘Luka‘ is propelled by spangly, strummed hooks and an immersive scuzzy whirr. Whilst maintaining all the heartfelt twinkling emotion of the original as it tackles the song’s affecting theme of child abuse, th’sheridans have managed to add their own unique fuzzy musicality and a delicately melancholic sense of reflection. With a shimmering sense of nostalgia, they have created a wonderfully effervescent rendition; oozing a beautifully lilting grace and captivating charm.

‘Luka’ is accompanied by an original b-side, ‘Proving Yr Humanity‘. Fuelled by a raw, impassioned emotion and stark, stripped-back musicality, it’s a short, sharp blast of folk-infused, stirring and socially aware “critical pop for radical purposes”.

The artwork for this release is by beloved cult comics artist and illustrator Vanesa R. Del Rey.

‘Luka’ / ‘Proving Yr Humanity’ is out now via Eatery Records.

Mari Lane
@marimindles

Introducing Interview: Zahra Haji Fath Ali Tehrani

Whilst you may have come to know her under the moniker of Despicable Zee, Oxford artist Zahra Haji Fath Ali Tehrani has now decided to use her own name for her innovative solo creations. Taken from her upcoming new EP, latest single ‘Waiting‘ showcases Tehrani’s ability to create sweeping, ethereal soundscapes with a shimmering raw emotion. As unique swirling layers of instrumentation are interwoven with crystalline vocals, this new offering is a beautifully stirring percussion-driven ballad, oozing a truly captivating majesty.

We caught up with Zahra to discuss about what has inspired her to create over the years, the influences behind ‘Waiting’, her experience of the music industry, and more. Have a read, and then make sure you watch the accompanying beautiful video for ‘Waiting’, made with Oxford/London-based textile artist Shoshana Kessler.

Hi Zahra, welcome to Get In Her Ears! Can you tell us a bit about yourself? 
I’m Zahra – a community connector working alongside various organisations in Oxford, mainly to explore diversifying music and space. I’m the director of YWMP which is a twenty two year old music education charity supporting young people to access music – whether that be trying an instrument out for the first time or booking their first show. I’m a percussionist who learnt how to use music production software and now I make beats with my voice and sounds around the room I’m in. I’m also a single parent who is passionate about alternative education; I’m a survivor of domestic abuse; a second generation immigrant raised up in the most unaffordable city in the UK. Navigating the hurdles I’ve faced hasn’t been easy, but supporting others to create and channelling the stress I experience through making music of my own has helped me through some of the toughest times. 

Are you able to tell us a bit about how and why you initially started creating music? 
When I was a kid I used to help my mom clean student houses, and I remember sitting in one of the living rooms with a guitar and plucking the strings open for maybe thirty minutes straight whilst she was busy scrubbing the bathrooms and upstairs bedrooms – I was pretty scared I’d get caught making noise but something about the drone, the vibration of playing this guitar had me hooked. I ended up having a couple of lessons at school but didn’t take to it so well, then a bit later on I got a drum kit from someone my dad worked with for twenty quid. I learnt to set it up from the manual it came with and started drumming along to my favourite tracks at the time. I then found a local music project which helped me start writing, recording and performing live, and stumbled across Kate Garrett (the founder of YWMP) who listened to what I had to say and provided a space for me to play without judgement; this was exactly what I needed as a teenager and her support provided me with a great platform for the future.

We love your beautifully ethereal sounds, but who would you say are your main musical influences?
Thank you! I would say drum patterns and solid vibrations get me going across all genres. I listen to a lot of R’n’B, pop, afrobeat, dancehall and songs from the SWANA region. Seeing artists live feels like a rehearsal, I tend to get more inspiration for my music that way rather than the music I vibe to day-to-day. It’s kind of odd to me that what I create just comes out, I don’t plan or have a fixed idea of what I want – I try not to tamper with things too much once they are down and just aim to capture the moment rather than replicate a sound/genre/artist.

You’ve recently released your captivating new single ‘Waiting’Are you able to tell us a bit about it? 
I spotted a friend walking across the street and they were locked into whatever they were doing, but beaming and super content with their pals en-route somewhere. I just started jotting stuff down that day on my notes app – I was in my bubble taking my kid to the park but noticing that kind of joy from a distance felt special, I was a part of it in some way. We’ve all done it, put the outward projection of someone on a pedestal – whether it was genuine or not, I felt connected in that moment to something bigger than me and the turmoil that was unfolding in my personal life. I started to build a track around the feelings I was experiencing around that time; the want to move on from a long and difficult break-up that was muddled up with a family court case, but trying to be patient with myself, allowing myself the time to begin to heal but also protect myself in new encounters. I wrote a loop on the steel pan, bass and with a quick vocal line for a completely different project, but it seemed to fit pretty well with these lyrics and the song kind of grew around it – its the happiest song I’ve ever written, and to be honest it’s really not that happy…

Being based in Oxford, do you get to see lots of live music? Would you say it’s recovered since the pandemic?
Tough question – I’ve notices a lot of touring acts avoid Oxford. I’m not surprised with the lack of live music venues, but we do have one great promoter who never fails and that’s Divine Schism. I have been so supported by them, both as a punter showing up to gigs with my kid just looking for somewhere to be, and being given the chance to perform with some of my favourite people. They are challenging what other promoters are doing in the city by making a point of diversifying their line-ups and making shows as accessible as possible without being tokenistic. I think Oxford’s music scene still need s a good shake up, but first of all we need a decent grassroots live music venue, preferably not run by older cis-het white men. 

And what can fans expect from your live shows?  
All I can hear in my head is the Wealdstone Raider saying “You’ve got no fans!” Seriously though, if you come to one of my shows I will likely be joined by Julia Meijer and Darcie Chazen who accompany me on steel pan, drums, other bits of percussion and vocals. We all swap around and attempt to recreate some of the layers of my tracks live, which is fun. Expect sad songs with uplifting chats in-between. I have reimagined some of my older Despicable Zee tracks with this setup too. 

How do you feel the industry is for new artists at the moment? And do you feel much has changed over the last few years in its treatment of female and queer/LGBTQ+  artists? 
I do feel it’s a tough time for emerging artists, things are oversaturated and the focus has switched so much to tiktok – short tracks with a race to get getting play-listed. It seems to be a product of the lack of live music over the recent few years and a backlog of unreleased music from major acts. I would say that marginalised artists have built spaces to emerge from and those are being highlighted more – the excitement to be together and take up space is key right now which is making a huge difference, and seeing an enquiry being made into misogyny in music across the UK is promising. I’m seeing more marginalised people in positions of power in a gig setting – doing lighting/sound/promotion and rebuilding many of the grass roots music/creative/queer spaces/scenes. Its not a huge change, but definitely noticeably different from when I was growing up and playing in punk bands. 

As we’re a new music focused site, are there any other upcoming artists you’re loving right now that you’d recommend we check out?
Julia Meijer, Tiiva, Jenny Moore, Uwade, Dream Phone…

What does the rest of the year have in store for you? 
I have some shows coming up in London and Oxford, a second music video for ‘Waiting’ coming out soon and maybe even another single before the year is out…! Next up I’ll be supporting Jenny Moore at Servant Jazz Quarters on 14th September – tickets here.

Massive thanks to Zahra for answering our questions! Watch the new video for ‘Waiting’ below:

PREMIERE: DIVES – ‘Say’

Having formed back in 2016 at Pink Noise Girls Rock Camp and since shared stages with the likes of Courtney Barnett and L.A. Witch, Vienna trio DIVES have recently received acclaim for their beautiful recent session for NPR, and have now announced the release of their upcoming new album, following 2019’s debut Teenage Years Are Over.

Taken from the album, brand new single ‘Say‘ reflects on repeated patterns of behaviour in relationships, as it flows with a wonderfully scuzzy allure and rich, honey-sweet vocals. With shades of the sparkling zest of Alvvays or Lunar Vacation, a luscious slice of fuzz-filled surf-rock is created, propelled by jangly hooks and a shimmering lilting musicality. Instantly catchy, and impossibly uplifting, ‘Say’ offers a perfectly blissful end-of-summer anthem, glistening with a rippling sunny energy and immersive effervescent haze.

Of the track, the band explain:

It’s about going in circles with one person over and over again, discussing the same topics, and reaching the limits of the relationship as you realize you can’t get out of the cycle even though you like each other so much.”

Watch/listen to ‘Say’ for the first time below:


‘Say’ will be available on all streaming platforms from tomorrow, 1st September. And Wanna Take You There, the upcoming second album from DIVES, is set for release 14th October via Siluh Records.

Mari Lane
@marimindles


Photo Credit: Marie Haefner

Five Favourites: Jemima Coulter

Whilst you may know them from being one half of Hailaiker, or from their collaborations with the likes of Squirrel Flower and Novo Amor, Bristol-based artist Jemima Coulter has now released their debut solo album. Reflecting on themes such as unrequited love and chasing happiness – through both their own lived experiences and imagined situations – Grace After A Party is a beautifully poignant collection. Flowing with a shimmering, folk-strewn musicality, each track showcases Coulter’s raw, heartfelt vocals and ability to create stirring, emotion-rich dreamscapes with a swirling, immersive allure.

We think one of the best ways to get to know an artist is by asking what music inspires them. So, to celebrate the release of their debut album, we caught up with Jemima Coulter to ask about the music that has inspired them the most. See below for their choices of their five favourite albums, and be sure to treat your ears to Grace After A Party as soon as possible

Sufjan Stevens – Carrie & Lowell
I drew a lot from this album while writing Grace, mostly in thinking about storytelling and the details in the lyrics that make it compelling. The stories told in this album combined with the nuanced melodies makes it feel so directed, so itself and also perfectly balanced – never too much going on. Each section in a song sits perfectly on its own and in context of other sections, each song on the album sitting perfectly on its own and also tied to the others. I think the use of space in this album is not something I’ve found anywhere else; I don’t know what they used for the reverb, but listening to it, it’s all really ‘verby, but in a way where it’s like this special Carrie & Lowell room that’s a specific kind of dark and echoey but doesn’t make everything sound floaty and washed, and also ties the closer sounding guitar with everything else. Maybe it’s just the best mix I’ve ever heard ha. I listened to Carrie & Lowell a lot when I was driving, around the age of 19-20 – the combination of night-driving and this music seemed to swirl into an endless road. I’ve always wanted to recreate that in an album – you put it on and you’re there, it’s like a physical space, each song a room in a house, and the same things are in the rooms each time you listen but you’re still picking each of them up and turning them over in your hands and each object conjures an emotion in you.

Camille – Le Fil
Someone showed me ‘Quand Je Marche’ one morning and it was in my head for literally years until I found it on this album. There was a period while I was working on Grace (I think autumn 2020) – I was missing someone and I couldn’t sleep and I walked the perimeter of Bristol a few nights for nearly four hours each time and I remember walking the side of a steep A-road listening to this. I think she does nearly everything with her mouth? It’s really minimalist, but it taught me about using drones and melody and kind of inspired me to keep exploring that idea that you often just hear in folk. It’s also totally the opposite of what I tend to do with production and I love how her melodies totally carry the whole album. It has loads of repeating melodic themes and moments, almost like ‘acts’ and interludes which makes it theatrical, but in a really good way… It’s just a wicked album. 

Sea Oleena – Weaving a Basket 
I just think this is the most beautiful music I’ve ever heard. It makes time stand still. No other words. 

John Martyn – Glorious Fool 
I was shown this album fairly recently, after being aware of a few John Martyn songs. The bass in his music takes me somewhere – I don’t think I’ve heard anything like it. Sometimes it’s like it’s just John and that fretless bass and everything else is just highlighting whatever they’re doing. His music makes me think about timing and atmosphere more than anyone else’s at the moment. He’s not doing anything particularly dense with his melodies or his words, it’s all very felt and is almost improvisational. It seems that the songs are really recordings in the sense that they don’t feel concerned with how they’d stand-up as live performance, and that’s something I find about this particular album and in his other ones, that them being crafted in the studio in darkness and in the atmosphere absolutely comes through. I was reading Phill Brown’s autobiography Are we Still Rolling? and it includes a bit about them recording John Martyn’s One World album – they had speakers across a lake and recorded parts the other side of the water to create a massive outdoor reverb. The combination of nature and technology fits with the crossovers I hear in John Martyn’s music; he was clearly so ahead and on the brink of mixing jazz, folk and electronic experimentation. ‘Small Hours’ from that album is the best night-time song. 

The Blue Nile – Hats
The thing I love about this album is that it feels like film music because it is so secured within timbre limitations and concept limitations. It’s like an ’80s rework of the Casablanca soundtrack or something. It sounds so ’80s/early ’90s it’s almost like a modern day pastiche of that period of pop. Again though – maybe a theme going on here -, there’s so much space and anticipation in these songs which I’ve found really liberating, like “yes, repeat that bit 8 times”. The whole thing is a massive argument against concision for me – like, fuck being concise; be indulgent, do a fade out. There’s three songs on that album over six minutes, and it’s an absolute pleasure to be inside them for the whole six minutes, I want to be able to do that more than anything, really.

Massive thanks to Jemima Coulter for sharing their Five Favourites with us!

Grace After A Party, the debut album from Jemima Coulter, is out now via Hand In Hive.

Photo Credit: Christina Russell