Five Favourites: Venus Grrrls

Having previously supported the likes of Anteros and Bloxx, and following the release of their debut EP last year, Leeds rockers Venus Grrrls have now shared a brand new single. Reflecting on the stereotypes surrounding ‘goth culture’ and witchcraft, ‘Goth Girl’ is a fiercely catchy anthem, propelled by a swirling, seething energy and the soaring power of front woman GK’s vocals.

We think one of the best ways to get to know a band is by asking what music inspires them or influences their writing. So, we caught up with the whole of Venus Grrrls – GK, Grace, Gabby, Hannah and Jess – to discuss the five songs that have made the biggest mark on them. Check out their choices below, and listen to the band’s new single ‘Goth Girl’ at the end of this article

GK (Vocals):
Heart – ‘Barracuda’
Ann Wilson’s vocals just speak to me in a way that many other vocalists don’t. The power and the intensity she holds with her unstoppable vibrato, communicates complete and utter certainty in herself. That’s something I’m constantly trying to channel through my own musicianship.

Grace (Synths):
Grimes – ‘Oblivion’
The way Grimes uses the synth here really inspired me when it came to composing when I was a teenager. ‘Oblivion’ is something I always go back to when writing, or if I’m suffering with any type of writers’ block. It helps to clear my mind and not overthink things.

Gabby (Drums):
Arcane Roots – ‘Curtains’
I always think about this song because it starts off reserved and raw, but then grows into this big intense huge ending, which I love. It was song that got me into drumming in the first place, I’m a huge fan of playing around with dynamics.

Hannah (Bass):
Sonic Youth – ‘Kool Thing’
This song is important to me because Kim Gordon manages to be the main component of the song, but by being so simple and understated. She doesn’t insist on complexity, and the power of this is highly effective and is something I always think back to.

Jess (Guitar):
The Runaways- ‘You Drive Me Wild’
A song that has massively influenced my playing, specifically in Venus Grrrls is ‘You Drive Me Wild’ by The Runaways. Lita Ford’s solo in this track just stands out to me as so cool sounding, it’s unlike anyone else’s playing and has so much style. It’s something I always come back to for inspiration when I’m writing my own solos.

‘Goth Girl’ is out now, listen on Spotify.

 

Photo Credit: Milly Hewitt

Interview: The Anchoress

Having released her debut album Confessions of a Romance Novelist back in 2016, multi-instrumentalist The Anchoress has been involved in various projects all whilst creating her upcoming second LP The Art of Losing through unforeseen challenges. We spoke with The Anchoress to find out more about her surprise collaboration with Bernard Butler, which was released last year, and what we can expect from the second album.

We’re looking forward to your upcoming album The Art of Losing, how did you face the challenge of creating and promoting an album through lockdown?
I actually finished the album way before the pandemic hit – back in 2019, but I needed a bit of time out before I was ready to have it come out in the world. It was originally due to be released in Spring 2020 but, of course, we needed to adjust our plans once circumstances took over and Covid took a hold. I have really been very lucky as I have my own studio at home so I’ve been able to continue creating and recording without having to leave the house since then – the result of which was Reprise 2, the “quarantine” covers that were released via my Bandcamp. I’ve been shielding since March, so it’s been a necessity really to be able to carry on working from here.

So far we’ve been enjoying your single ‘Show Your Face’, what else can we expect from the album?
I was listening to a lot of Depeche Mode, The Cure, Twilight Sad and Bjork, so you can expect something darker and more dense than the debut album. As I was writing and producing alone for this one I feel like it is certainly more coherent and purposeful as a body of work too. You can expect fourteen tracks in total which I realise is quite a meaty offering these days for an album, but it just kept growing and growing. I was writing a lot more in the classical vein when I was recording the album, and these began as little instrumental segues that just sort of took on a life of their own as I began experimenting. There’s also many more traditional “singles” on there alongside these more experimental pieces. Lots of vintage synths (on which I wrote most of the album) and tonnes more of me playing guitar than people are used to!

The Art of Losing is centred around loss. How did you balance being honest and open with protecting your own privacy?
I think it’s always important to have some boundaries when you are creating and sharing any kind of pain or grief with the wider public. I had a lot of trauma-based therapy over the past two years and there were certainly discussions about how much I felt I wanted to share and what I would let the songs speak about. Safety and health always comes first obviously and you don’t owe anyone all the details of your trauma – you get to decide what is too much and what is helpful to share. Also, that is what songwriting is for – it enables you to be both honest but also leave space for the listener’s own experience to fill in the gaps. It’s a fine tightrope to walk, especially when you are keen to talk about subjects that people shy away from – sexual assault, baby loss, death. I’m not sure any of us entirely get the balance right, but that’s what I have found particularly challenging about the project, and also equally frightening. I’m a very private person and it was certainly not the album I had intended to make, and yet I am very proud of it as the body of work that it turned out to be.

You also launched a podcast series by the same title. What inspired you to open up the conversation?
I really wanted to delve deeper into some of the ideas and different cultural reactions to loss that I had encountered during my writing. I also felt that I wanted to connect, perhaps selfishly, with other people that had gone through both similar and different kinds of loss. It was part of my own journey, and healing, really to have these conversations and remind myself that I wasn’t the only one. Songs can only go so far to explore themes and concepts and I wanted to hear from other perspectives and experiences that dovetailed with my own. It’s been such a healing experience recording the first series and I’ve made some lovely new friends as a consequence. I’m hoping to begin recording season two shortly.

You surprised us all in 2020 with In Memory of My Feelings, an album in which you collaborated with Bernard Butler. How long had you both been sitting on that project?
We had finished writing the album in 2015 and the bulk of the recordings were done before Confessions… even came out! It has been a long wait for it to find the right home with the right label that understood what it was about but I’m so glad in a way that it took the time it did because without that long delay we wouldn’t have ended up on Pete Paphides’ label Needle Mythology. If you believe that everything happens for a reason, then the wait was worth it to find such a thoughtful label that knew exactly what Bernard and I had been trying to do with the collaboration. The packaging is beautiful, there was such attention to detail about everything in the artwork. I hear that there is talk of a repress of the vinyl as it sold out so quickly!

What advice would you give to musicians during these uncertain times? Have you been offered any advice which you can share with us?
Oh goodness, I’m not sure I’m the best person to give advice! I’ve made so many mistakes along the way. I’m also not certain that my advice would have changed that much to when I was starting out myself: try to be as self sufficient as possible. Make it your business to understand all aspects of releasing music – not just the creative side. Teach yourself to record – even if it’s just the basics. Apply for funding. Practice your craft. Make good work. Remember why you are doing this. 

As we’re a new music site, which bands or artists can you recommend that we keep an ear out for in the year ahead?
I’m currently producing a few really talented up and coming artists – Tega Mendes is one who I am really excited about. She has a wonderful approach to arrangement, a fabulous voice and a really unique set of influences.

Huge thanks to The Anchoress for answering our questions! 

 

The Art Of Losing, the upcoming album from The Anchoress, is set for release in March this year. Pre-order here.

PLAYLIST: January 2021

2021 hasn’t got off to the best of starts, but while we’ve been in another version of Lockdown here in the UK, the GIHE team have been busy unearthing some new music gems to help you get through the cold winter days. We’ve put together a stellar mix of alt-pop gems, atmospheric electronics, imaginative cover songs and gritty guitar tunes on our January playlist. Take some time to scroll through our track choices below and make sure you hit play on the Spotify playlist at the end of this post.

Follow Get In Her Ears on Spotify to hear all of our previous playlists too.

 

Noga Erez – ‘End of the Road’
Noga Erez is single-handedly saving 2021 with this new track & her upcoming second album KIDS, which is set for release on 26th March via City Slang. Exploring the thrill of the unknown through commanding beats and defiant lyrics, the Tel-Aviv based musician shrugs off the tight grip of mortality on this catchy, slickly produced new offering. I cannot wait to hear the record in full. Watch the fab accompanying video for ‘End of the Road’ here.
(Kate Crudgington)

Nilufer Yanya – ‘Same Damn Luck’
I’m loving Nilufer Yanya’s latest three-song EP, Feeling Lucky?, which is basically about losing and finding good luck. This particular track ‘Same Damn Luck’ deals with resentment and anger, all swept up in 80s guitar vibes. (Tash Walker)

NewDad – ‘Blue’
Another find courtesy of The Irish Jam radio show and recommended to me by Lizzie from Dublin trio Bitch Falcon, Galway-based dream-poppers NewDad create lucid guitar tunes that will melt the ears right off the side of your head. (KC)

Miss Grit – ‘Impostor’
‘Impostor’ is the title track from Miss Grit’s new EP, which is set for release on 5th Feb. The multi-instrumentalist is a genre-defying artist who has spent much of her life feeling out of place in rooms full of people, and this EP helped her overcome unwanted feelings of self doubt. The Korean-American musician has a sound that ricochets between atmospheric, angular and anthemic and I’m a big fan of her turbulent sounds. Read our interview with her here. (KC)

all cats are beautiful – ‘lucky cloud’
Not only do they have the best band name, but indie-pop duo all cats are beautiful create some really exquisite musical offerings. Latest single ‘lucky cloud’ pays homage to songwriter, cellist and queer icon Arthur Russell. Flowing with dreamy, twinkling hooks and serene harmonies, it maintains all the psychedelic grace of the original, whilst adding a unique uplifting charm and shimmering musicality. A ray of glistening sunshine (or indeed a ‘lucky cloud’) at a time when the rest of the horizon may be looking a little grey. ‘lucky cloud’ is available on bandcamp, with all proceeds split equally between Act Up New York and the Terrence Higgins Trust – supporting people living with HIV/AIDS. (Mari Lane)

Fears – ‘tonnta’
A delicate rumination on her relationship with her late Grandmother who suffered with dementia, ‘tonnta’ – meaning ‘waves’ in Irish – is one of fears’ most poignant singles to date. The Dublin based multi-instrumentalist released the track to celebrate the launch of her new label TULLE, which you can read more about here. (KC)

SLUGS – ‘Super Sane’
LA alt-rockers SLUGS have released this intensely relatable, bittersweet guitar tune that navigates life’s many contradictions. It’s a welcome tonic for the ears in these weird and confusing times we’re living through. (KC)

Lauren Lakis – ‘Sail Away’
I love this hazy, heavy offering from dark dream-rock artist Lauren Lakis. The track explores the idea of running away with your inner child, protecting and nurturing it into a capable adult. Moody reverb and Lakis’ clear, emotive vocals make this a captivating listen. (KC)

Maya Lakhani – ‘The Line’
The driving new single from Maya Lakhani, ‘The Line’ is a soaring alt-rock anthem. Oozing a fierce energy as grunge-fuelled hooks blast out alongside Lakhani’s impassioned, soaring vocals, it’s a compelling offering with shades of the likes of noughties rockers Evanescence. (ML)

The Nova Hawks – ‘Redemption’
Black country band The Nova Hawks are set to release their debut album next month and have now shared a taste of what’s to come with its title track. An immense slice of rock ‘n’ roll, ‘Redemption’ blasts into the ears with soaring, gritty vocals and fuzzed out bluesy hooks, all delivered with a raging, soulful energy. Redemption, the debut album from The Nova Hawks, is out 12th February via Frontiers Records. (ML)

Table Scraps – ‘Doom Generation’
The latest single from Birmingham trio Table Scraps, ‘Doom Generation’ and its post-apocalyptic theme couldn’t be more resonant right now. Immediately hitting the ears with a disconcerting sound of an air-raid siren, the track builds with immense thrashing riffs and a searing sense of urgency. As the seething, angst-driven power of the vocals rage, ‘Doom Generation’ provides a fierce, riotous commentary on the state of society at the moment. ‘Doom Generation’ is taken from Table Scraps’ upcoming album Coffin Face. Watch the animated video for the single here. (ML)

Kermes – ‘Peeling Off The The Rind’
The latest raucous single from Leicester queercore outfit Kermes, ‘Peeling Off The Rind’ forms part of a double A-side, found exclusively on bandcamp. Propelled by scuzzy, swirling hooks and a shimmering, angst-driven energy, front-person Emily’s raw, seething vocals provide a much needed slice of uplifting catharsis. ‘Peeling Off The Rind’ and accompanying track ‘Terms’ are available digitally and on limited edition cassette via Amateur Pop Incorporated on Kermes’ bandcamp page now. Another recent single from the band ‘Like A Sister (Again)’ is available on Spotify, which is what we’ve put on our playlist!
(ML)

 

BLAB – ‘Casual Sex’
Described as an “ode to the dilemmas of single life,” Southend-based musician BLAB has shared her latest single ‘Casual Sex’ via indie label Cool Thing Records. Full of angsty guitar licks and savage lyrics, the track riotously takes down those who only want your company for a disappointing twenty minutes. (KC)

Graywave – ‘Like Heaven’
An atmospheric guitar tune that tackles the urge to self-sabotage, Graywave’s anthemic single is inspired by the sounds of Men I Trust and Slowdive. ‘Like Heaven’ is taken from Graywave’s upcoming EP Planetary Shift, set for release later this year. You can also listen to their new single ‘Before’ here. (KC)

Okay Kaya – ‘You’re Still The One’
I’m vibing the covers this month, and have been listening to this one a lot. ‘You’re Still The One’ by Okay Kaya, who was the last person I saw live in February 2020 at SET in Dalston, London. I’ve thought about that show so much throughout this last year, the tenderness, the raw goosebump nature of hearing their voice live. God I miss gigs. (TW)

Mary Lou Lord & Mikaela Davis – ‘Some Song’ (Elliott Smith Cover)
Iconic riot grrrl label Kill Rock Stars turns 30 this year! To celebrate, they’re releasing a string of cover singles under the title Stars Rock Kill (Rock Stars), where several artists from around the world will cover tracks from the label’s expansive back catalogue. This is the first single from the series – a dreamy cover of Elliott Smith’s ‘Some Song’ by Mary Lou Lord and Mikaela Davis. (KC)

Maria BC – ‘Adelaide’
An ambient reflection on finding your way back to the world after feeling disconnected from it, Brooklyn-based musician Maria BC’s debut single ‘Adelaide’ is a blissful lo-fi gem. The track is taken from their upcoming EP Devil’s Rain, which is set for release on 5th February via Fear of Missing Out Records. (KC)

Vagabon feat. Courtney Barnett – ‘Reason To Believe’
A perfect combination of two of my favourites, Vagabon and Courtney Barnett, covering ‘Reason to Believe’. Of the track Vagabon says: “The decision to have Courtney sing it with me came after we performed it together live at the Palace Theatre in Los Angeles on Valentine’s Day 2020, a month before lockdown. It was fresh in our brains then, so not long after the show, Courtney came over and we recorded her parts.” Barnett added: “I’m a huge fan of Vagabon and Karen Dalton so this was a dream. They both have a voice that absolutely knocks the wind out of me. I really admire Lætitia and am constantly inspired by her songwriting, production, and our sporadic FaceTime chats.” (TW)

Laura Guarch – ‘Náufrags (Castaways)’
Following previous single ‘Fleeting Light’, Spanish born, London-based artist Laura Guarch has now has now shared her latest single ‘Nàufrags (Castaways)’. It flows with an anthemic, emotion-strewn musicality, propelled by Guarch’s rich crystalline vocals in her native language of Catalan. A truly captivating, ethereal soundscape with shades of the other-wordly majesty of Björk. (ML)

Catgod – ‘Sometimes I Care For You’
The first of three singles to be taken from Oxford band Catgod’s upcoming album, ‘Sometimes I Care For You’ is an ode to the isolation we feel when we cannot express ourselves. Flowing with a stirring, heartfelt emotion, it’s propelled by the rich power of Cat’s soaring vocals alongside Robin’s twinkling harmonies, creating a truly captivating soundscape. ‘Sometimes I Care For You’ is out now, and Born Again, the upcoming album from Catgod, is set for release in Spring. (ML)

Chuck SJ – ‘Sink Your Teeth In’
Taken from their upcoming debut album Resist.Recharge.Revolt, this is the latest single from DIY musician & multi-instrumentalist Chuck SJ. Full of atmospheric guitar riffs, sparse beats and glitchy electronics, the track is an industrial-tinged rumination on the forces that construct, influence and sometimes dismantle our ways of thinking. (KC)

Little Dragon & Moses Sumney – ‘The Other Lover’
Another perfect collaboration, this time coming from Little Dragon and Moses Summer, who have recreated an old Little Dragon song in the form of ‘The Other Lover’. Speaking about the partnership Little Dragon said: “When we reached out to Moses we didn’t know what to expect. What we received was very stripped down, with his beautiful voice. We jammed along and sent it back. It bounced back from his end with added horns and sounded beautiful to our ears. We are very proud of this.” (TW)

Alex Loveless – ‘Phone Keys Wallet’
Hackney-based independent musician Alex Loveless has shared this sultry new single and I’m 100% into it. Recorded, mixed and produced by Loveless themselves, the track is lifted from their upcoming debut EP which is set for release on 14th February. (KC)

Nuha Ruby Ra – ‘Sparky’
One of our ‘Ones To Watch’ for this year, Nuha Ruby Ra shared ‘Sparky’ at the end of 2020, and it’s a gritty slice of electro-tinged alt-pop. With her raw, no-frills spoken word vocals, alongside catchy hooks and a scuzzed-out playful groove, it’s an honest, majestic offering luring us into the unique world of Sparky and Nuha Ruby Ra’s bewitchingly unique sound. (ML)

S.A.A.R.A – ‘Grace Jones’
London-based musician S.A.A.R.A has one ambition – to make people dance – and with her funky beats and catchy refrains on ‘Grace Jones’ she achieves just that. I love her retro-infused sounds and look forward to hearing more from her this year. (KC)

Black Gold Buffalo – ‘Lay It Down’
Throwing it back to 2018 with this atmospheric alt-pop gem from Black Gold Buffalo. I’ve been busy diving into the GIHE radio archives recently for our #ThrowbackThursday sessions, as we’ve been unable to get into the Hoxton Radio studio to broadcast our weekly live show due to Lockdown 3.0/Covid-19. I rediscovered this show we recorded with Black Gold Buffalo back in March 2018, and I’ve been listening to their debut self-titled album ever since. ‘Lay It Down’ reminds me of being 28, living in London, falling in love and making the most of my evenings by going to gigs or being on air with Tash and Mari. I took it all for granted at the time, but I’m really looking forward to getting back out there and doing it all again once it’s safe. (KC)

INTERVIEW: Miss Grit

A genre-defying artist who has spent much of her life feeling out of place in rooms full of people, multi-instrumentalist Miss Grit has a sound that ricochets between atmospheric, angular and anthemic. The Korean-American musician has shared two tracks from her upcoming EP, the title track ‘Impostor’ and previous single ‘Dark Side Of The Party‘ and both offer a refreshing insight into her talent as a songwriter and producer. 

We had a quick catch up with Miss Grit (aka Margaret Sohn) to talk about her new record, how she’s managed to overcome feelings of intense self-doubt to create her captivating music, and her brand new single ‘Impostor’ which you can listen to below.

 

How are you Margaret? How are you coping during the on-going pandemic?
Good! I can’t complain. Watching a lot of anime and trying to stay away from the news.

Impostor syndrome is something that your new EP addresses on many levels, including class, race and gender. You said you felt like you were “impersonating a musician” on your previous EP, so has this new project given you more confidence in your abilities as a songwriter?

Definitely! I think that was my main take away from the previous EP. It gave me the push to keep writing and that’s how the Impostor EP started.

You produced the new EP yourself so you could have full creative control. Did you try new techniques? What did you learn from the process?

With this EP, I wrote and produced it with a band in mind compared to the previous EP. I tried to not go too crazy on the production end because I wanted the energy and momentum in the songs to do a lot of the heavy lifting. But I think for the next project I’ll try a less moulded approach and start with a blank space.

Any advice for new musicians who are looking to do the same thing?

Just remember there are no rules! It took me really long to unlearn that and I’m still unlearning all the stupid made up rules I have in my mind about how to be a “songwriter” or a “producer”.

Do you have a favourite track on the EP? If so, why?

I think the first track on the EP called ‘Don’t Wander’ has a special place in my heart, because the creation process for that was as organic as it had felt for me and just kind of spilled out of me. It was really refreshing to write and came to be by itself.

You’ve just shared the EP’s title track ‘Impostor’ today (Jan 13th). Talk us through your writing process for this track and what you love most about it.

It was a song that just felt so good to play and the lyrics kind of got to the bottom of my feelings at the time. It started with the guitar riff and was built from there. My favorite part is the ending. It felt like a nice atmosphere to wrap up the EP with a cozy blanket.

As a new music blog, we always ask artists to recommend a new band or artist that they’ve been listening to recently. Any suggestions for us?

Definitely Pearla, Closebye, Kate Davis, and Pom Pom Squad. They’re all really fucking cool. And I’ve been listening to Nilüfer Yanya’s new EP on repeat.

Finally, if you had to explain your music in three words, what would they be?
Organized bleep bloops.

Thanks to Margaret for answering our questions.

Follow Miss Grit on bandcampSpotifyInstagram & Facebook for more updates.

Photo Credit: Natasha Willson

Kate Crudgington
@KCBobCut