Introducing Interview: East Of My Youth

Creating captivating twinkling electronica, Icelandic duo East Of My Youth formed back in 2015, and since then have received praise from the likes of i-D and The Line Of Best Fit, and have charmed crowds at SXSW Festival.

Now, returning to grace our ears with majestic new single ‘Go Home’, we caught up with East Of My Youth to find out more.

Hi East of My Youth, welcome to Get In Her Ears! Can you tell us a bit about the band?
EOMY is Herdis and Thelma. Herdis works as a freelance composer and producer in Berlin and Thelma is a visual artist and actress living in L.A. So, currently the band is having a long distance relationship!

How did you initially get together and start creating music?
We started playing the piano and singing together then it developed into an electronic project. I (Herdis) was taking my first steps in production and EOMY’s ‘Lemonstars’ was the first song I produced. The idea of the band originally came in a bar in Berlin where we were both living at the time.

Your new single ‘Go Home’ is out now – can you tell us what it’s all about?
We rented a studio in Berlin for two months in 2016 and sat at two desks trying to be creative. We can say that most of that time was really difficult and unproductive, but then one day Herdís called me over and had this melody basically ready made and then we added the lyrics with the help of an existing poem and really got into the depths of the song’s psyche. It’s not really about a particular happening, but rather a pool of emotions being narrated into a fairytale-like story.

You’ve been compared to the likes of Vallis Alps and Anna of the North, but who would you say are your main musical influences?
This question is always a bit tricky. We’re of course happy when people find resemblance with talented musicians/bands and that our production value shines through, but we’ve never really consciously taken inspiration from anyone. Although if you’d listen to the music that we were listening to at the time of composing certain songs you might find resemblance to some elements. Artists that come to mind that might have influenced individual songs are Lorde, Grimes, FKA Twigs, London Grammar and more.

How is your local music scene? Do you go to see lots of live music?
Herdis: I’m trying to do more of that, hehe.
Thelma: Likewise! Since I moved to LA in September, I’ve only been to two concerts but I have a huge line up in the new year that I’m wanting to see.

And what can fans expect from your live shows?
Our live shows have been pretty intimate but playful, and that is definitely something we’ve tried to hold onto in every live show.

As we’re a new music focused site, are there any new/upcoming bands or artists you’d recommend we check out?
It’s really funny that lately I’ve actually been listening to David Lynch. Who knew he was also making music? There is one song in particular that I’ve been overplaying recently and it’s the best work mode song ever called ‘Good Day Today’. But regarding some up and coming acts I’d recommend Ayia, IDK IDA, Mr. Silla and Vök for example. They’re all Icelandic or based in Iceland.

And how do you feel the music industry is for new artists at the moment – would you say it’s difficult to get noticed?
Yes and no. I think if you really put all your effort into both making quality music and putting it out by all means possible I think there is a chance. You just have to believe in yourself and do it!

Finally, what does 2018 have in store for East of My Youth?
We’ll be going through what has been done this year and tie ends to what needs to be left in order to move forward. So I guess there is an all in all cleanse going on that is creating new grounds to grow in. I think 2018 is going to be amazing. Of course it’s gonna bite you from time to time, like life always does, but I have an overall feeling of something good and great being born.

Huge thanks to East Of My Youth for answering our questions! 

‘Go Home’ is out now via West Of My Future Ltd.

Highlights Of The Year 2017

As we near the end of the year, we wanted to reflect on some of our highlights of 2017; to draw attention to the times when, despite all the shit going on in the world, women in music have inspired us, motivated us, and shown themselves to be positively awesome. So, though we don’t know what 2018 might bring, let’s celebrate these incredible women in all their patriarchy-smashing glory! 

Whilst it’s easy (and natural) to agonise about the harassment and adversity that female musicians face in the industry, it’s even more important to organise and shout back against the injustice of it all: and that’s exactly what Slowcoaches bassist & vocalist Heather Perkins did on ‘Complex’. She wrote the song as a response to the sexual assault allegations against artists in the press at the time. Singing about a male lead singer who “really needs a hand, one’s in the other, and the other’s in his pants”, Heather sounds confident in her assertion that his story “holds no weight”, and the rage and distrust in her lyrics resonated with Mari & I profoundly. (Kate Crudgington)

“Don’t let the bastards get you down, don’t let the arseholes wear you out.”
Wise words from Kesha. A woman who’s provided much inspiration for us this year in her determination in the ongoing legal battle against producer Dr. Luke, amid accusations that he “sexually, physically, verbally and emotionally” abused her for years.

After everything she’s been through this year and with the release of her latest album Rainbow – a collection of powerful and motivating anthems – Kesha’s shown herself to be a super strong inspiration of a woman. If songs like ‘Woman’ and ‘Bastards’ don’t make you want to get up, feel empowered and give a whopping middle finger up to the patriarchy, I’m not sure what will.

And, though the battle is far from over for Kesha, let’s give her credit for having the strength to speak out publicly against abusive men, giving us all a bit of inspiration to fight and not let those bastards get us down. (Mari Lane)

Since the release of their single ‘Somebody’ earlier this year, Dream Wife‘s live shows now feel twice as liberating. ‘Somebody’ is an anthem about recovery and reclaiming your body, but the trauma that lurks behind the sexual assault which sparked the song still puts a lump in my throat. Having said that, it was a sheer joy to watch Rakel, Alice & Bella perform the song to their sold out crowd at Scala in October, who echoed back Rakel’s life-affirming lyric “I am not my body, I’m somebody”. If you haven’t seem Dream Wife live yet, I urge you to come to their show at Heaven in 2018. You won’t regret it. (KC)

Having played on the Rising Stage for the last four years, it was a joy to see all-female collective Deep Throat Choir get a turn on the main Mountain Stage at Green Man Festival this year. Since I last saw them two years ago, the group had grown in both size and power. Dressed in matching vibrant oranges and pinks, they succeed in brightening a rather grey last day of the festival, treating us to a mix of covers and originals from their wonderful debut album Be OK. With everyone singing along to personal favourite ‘Baby’ being a pretty emotional highlight, it was a simply euphoric experience watching these wonderful women create such perfect, intense harmonies and sweeping vocal melodies. Epitomising the exceptional power of women coming together to create, Deep Throat Choir unite their voices to summon a force that is truly awe-inspiring. (ML)

When Wolf Alice effortlessly performed ‘Don’t Delete The Kisses’ under the sparkling mirror-ball lights at their Alexandra Palace headline gig in November; I swooned so hard I thought I might drown in my own heart-shaped tears. Their perfectly executed set was laced with tracks from debut record My Love Is Cool (‘Lisbon’, ‘Bros’, You’re A Germ’ & ‘Silk’) as well as a healthy dose of new material from second album Visions Of a Life, (‘Heavenward’, ‘Formidable Cool’ & vicious lead single ‘Yuk Foo’). I’ve seen them live many times before, but I left Ally Pally feeling confident I’d witnessed something special, and I’ll definitely be catching them again in 2018.(KC)

Whilst the #MeToo campaign this year has signalled the start of a change for the better – bringing the issue of violence against women into the public eye, with perpetrators (finally) beginning to see some consequences to their actions – domestic violence against women and children continues to occur every minute of every day. And, with the government continuing to make life-threatening cuts to vital services, charities like Feminist direct action group Sisters Uncut are more necessary now than ever. 

Gaptooth‘s latest single ‘They Cut We Bleed’ celebrates the work of Sisters Uncut; featuring powerful footage from their protests, it rages against the government with a frenzied, impassioned energy and powerful force. With shades of the likes of Le Tigre or MEN, it’s the perfect call to arms that we need now more than ever. Drawing our attention to the issue with the raw honesty of horrific facts and figures (“In the UK on average two women a week are murdered by a partner or ex-partner…”), accompanied by catchy, whirring beats, Gaptooth offers an empowering voice for all we should be saying right now; inspiring us to get up, unite and take action to create the positive change that so urgently needs to happen. (ML)

It feels odd to call this a ‘highlight’, but I want to include it here because I remember reading the statement and thinking “YES! GOOD FOR HER!”. High profile women like Kesha, Alice Glass & Taylor Swift publicly called out the men who had abused or sexually harassed them this year, and it paved the way for female musicians in smaller bands to do the same.

Estrons vocalist Tali Källström used the band’s Facebook page to inform fans that Paul Draper had sent her inappropriate messages prior to their dates supporting his band, and consequently she’d decided to cancel the shows. She wrote: “I have experienced sexism, misogyny and prejudice, but this time, enough is enough. I will not pander because I want success. I was asked to sweep this under the carpet, but I can’t. I want to play alongside musicians that respect me and like me for my music and personality, not because they are sexually interested in me.” Tali is a fierce front-woman who’s not afraid to ask for more, and I hope her words have inspired other women in the industry to speak out against similar types of behaviour. (KC)

We’ve been big fans of Julie Hawk for a while now – writing songs with her band HAWK that draw attention to reproductive rights and the mistreatment of women in her Irish homeland. However, this year – in addition to continuing to create powerfully enchanting music – she started a new creative venture, ‘Female Fronted, Drawn Together’. 

Putting together a playlist of wonderful female artists, new and old, who have inspired her in some way, she created a unique illustration to accompany each song. Including some of our favourites – Bitch Falcon, Dream Nails, Skinny Girl Diet, PINS and The Julie Ruin – it’s provided the perfect, empowering soundtrack to 2017. Julie has now started the next instalment of ‘Female Fronted Drawn Together’, and we urge you to check out all her wonderful illustrations on her Instagram page.(ML) 

Listen to our Get In Her Ears Highlights Of 2017 playlist, including our Tracks Of The Year and songs from our favourite Albums Of The Year.

 

Mari Lane / @marimindles 
Kate Crudgington / @kcbobcut

LISTEN: Gold Baby – ‘Duppy’

We fell in love with new favourites East London’s Gold Baby (featuring members of Long Teeth, Three Girl Rhumba, Siân Alex) last month upon hearing their sunny debut single ‘Feed It!’, and now they’re back to charm our ears with a brand new track.

More mellow and down-tempo in sound than ‘Feed It!’, ‘Duppy’ is a delicate, emotion-strewn offering with shades of early noughties alt-rock. Flowing with lush, swooping vocals and catchy, jangly hooks, it showcases Gold Baby’s ability to create twinkling slices of utterly infectious indie-pop.

Another solid gold effort from this new band that once again leaves our ears desperate for more.

 

Mari Lane
@marimindles

The Social Announce Creatures And Bad Parents For New Years Eve Event

Last year The Parrots and Yassassin saw off 2016 in style at The Social. So, the Soho venue has decided that they’d like do it all again this year; put on bands they love and get back the Rough Trade DJs upstairs well into the early hours of 2018.

This year, The Social is over the moon to announce that CREATURES will be headlining their New Years Eve party on Little Portland St.

“Picture a band dreamt up by Wes Anderson. A band of 70s looking cowboys straight out of Westworld armed with psychedelic guitar riffs and all the hair” – Northern Exposure

They’ll be joined by South London duo BAD PARENTS, aka Misty Miller and Tom Shelton.

With bands starting from 8pm, there’ll also DJs from Rough Trade and Heavenly Jukebox playing well into the dawn!

If this sounds like the perfect way to see in the new year, tickets are £10 and available here. More info on the Facebook event page.

Albums Of The Year 2017

Although some might say we now live in an age dominated by single tracks – as streaming services like Spotify and Soundcloud take over our listening habits – here at Get In Her Ears we still enjoy losing ourselves in a flowing collection of songs by the same artist. There’s nothing quite like the excitement of discovering your new favourite album or EP.  

2017 has seen us spoilt for choice for great albums by great people; from St Vincent’s incredible comeback with ‘Masseduction’ to the enchanting, spine-tingling splendour of Aldous Harding’s ‘Party’; from the haunting magic of the legendary Bjork’s ‘Utopia’ to the twinkling, introspective grace of Adult Mom’s ‘Soft Spots’. There’s been some crackers.

However, as promoters of new music, we’ve decided to pick our favourite albums/EPs of the year from some of the most deserving, most amazing upcoming/DIY artists we know.

Sacred Paws – ‘Strike A Match’
I think it’s fair to say 2017 hasn’t been the best of years, but just one listen of London-Glasgow duo Sacred Paws’ Strike A Match will uplift in an instant, making everything seem just a little brighter. Fronted by the sunny charisma of Rachel Aggs, Sacred Paws have not only provided a soundtrack to our year, but have also left us grinning from cheek-to-cheek and full of joy upon seeing them live at Visions Festival in the summer.

Filled with one delectable, danceable delight after another, the Scottish Album Of The Year award winner oozes a unique jangly joy throughout. With each track offering a contagious buoyant energy as vibrant calypso-inspired melodies flow seamlessly alongside lush harmonies and thrilling, racing beats, Strike A Match is the perfect antidote to 2017’s troubles. A wonderfully musically rich collection with all the reviving spirit and colourful charm you could ever need to see you into the new year. (Mari Lane)

H1987 – ‘Dreamlike’
Mysteriously named electronic artist and producer H1987 released Dreamlike earlier this year; and it’s an ambient, fluid, ethereal offering from this prolific talent.

Whilst the record is mainly instrumental, it manages to articulate emotions and states of mind that the most poetic of lyrics would fall short of explaining. It’s a soundscape for anxiety, distance, euphoria, reassurance – and equal parts cold and comforting. Like a pebble that breaks the surface of a placid lake, each track is a ripple that widens and spreads in to the next.

If film soundtracks or unusual electronic albums are your thing, then allow yourself the luxury of listening to Dreamlike in one sitting to feel the full effect. It’s the ultimate antidote for any stressful or long commute. Put your headphones in, and disappear. (Kate Crudgington)

Dream Nails – ‘Dare To Care’
As well as providing us with some of the most liberating and exciting live performances of the year – the assertion of their ‘Girls To The Front’ ethos at their gigs providing an empowering and necessary step towards creating safe spaces for women and non-binary people at music venues – Dream Nails have also released their completely fantastic debut EP.

Packing a punch with its seething force, Dare To Care is proof of why we need Dream Nails in our lives now more than ever. From ‘Joke Choke’ – a raging, discordant offering filled with a punk-fuelled fury about people who think it’s funny to make jokes about rape – and the fist-clenching power of ‘Tourist’s message against emotionally predatory men; to the uplifting, unifying sparkle of ‘Merkury’, and the ultimate, sex-positive break-up anthem ‘Lovefuck’, this EP provides a perfect and timely voice against the patriarchy.

A group willing to combine activism and music to form a unifying force against misogyny and inequality in society, Dream Nails succeed in inspiring and motivating girls everywhere to get to the front and make our voices heard. And we cannot wait to hear what our favourite Feminist Punk Witches have in store in 2018 to follow the empowering magnificence of Dare To Care. (ML)

LOUD WOMEN – ‘Volume One’
Featuring 21 tracks from a variety of DIY female musicians – with all profits going to Women’s Aid – LOUD WOMEN’s Volume One compilation album is a vital piece of energy-giving activism. With tracks from DOLLS, GUTTFULL, Bugeye and more; this eclectic mix of punk, indie, rock & alternative is perfect listening for any feminist activist – or any fan of quality DIY music.

The chorus on Madame So’s ‘Black Is Beautiful’ filled me with tearful hope the first time I listened. Petrol Girls’ ‘Touch Me Again’ has remained my angry, life-affirming, self-autonomous anthem. Deux Furieses brief but brilliant ‘Out Of My System’ is the punk remedy to any bad day. There really is something here for everyone. (KC)

H.Grimace – ‘Self Architect’
Having wowed us with their impeccable live performances at Green Man Festival and at our very own Finsbury night, this year H.Grimace followed 2015’s ‘I Am Material’ cassette and last year’s Royal Hush EP with the release of their debut album Self Architect. 

A collection of raw post-punk scuzz, the album swirls in its stirring darkness and shoegaze-inspired haze, the likes of which I haven’t been quite as addicted to since first losing myself in Sonic Youth’s Goo.

Whilst the blunt power of ‘2.1 Woman’s commentary on patriarchal society’s expectations of women to create perfect versions of themselves may be a personal highlight of the album, this record is a pure sonic delight from start to finish. From the seething, dreamy whirr of ‘Lipsyncer’, to the twinkling hum of ‘Land/Body’ and the jangly cacophony of its title track, Self Architect flows with a soaring, bewitching majesty and gritty power.

Combine these innovative musical creations with the compelling, cool swathe and raw honesty of exceptional front woman Hannah Gledhill, and you have one of the most exciting bands of 2017. (ML)

Rews – ‘Pyro’ (KC)
Like the phoenix that rises from the ashes of its own flames, REWS take the remnants of loves old and new, and turn them in to tunes that blaze with fun and furious style. Their debut album Pyro (released via Marshall Records) brims with a simultaneously dark and delightful energy, and it set our ears alight in all the right ways.

From the glittery, gritty goodness of single ‘Shine’, to the powerhouse break-up anthem ‘Miss You In The Dark’ – Pyro proves the REWS girls take everything in their stride; and they should take great pride in a debut that perfectly showcases their musical potential.(KC)

Introducing Interview: Madonnatron

Having recently supported PINS on tour, and received acclaim for their eponymous debut album from the likes of Mojo and Q Magazine, London collective Madonnatron would seem to have had a pretty successful 2017.

We’ve been in love with them since their hypnotic power left us completely spellbound at The Finsbury in March, and so we thought it was about time we caught up with the band to talk about their debut album, negative female stereotypes, sequins and Tina Turner’s crotch…

Welcome to Get In Her Ears! Can you tell us a bit about Madonnatron?
We are four comrades engrossed in a mutual compulsion to make music. Importantly, music that communicates something of our shared experience and observations about our lives so far – things that amuse us, enrage us, frighten us, excite us – and our intentions. We are all people who understand what it feels like to be an outsider, and we are all people who champion this position. We share a certain wickedness, and that in itself is something of an impetus. We are all state educated. We have a collective passion for lamé and sequins.

How did you initially all get together and start playing music?
It was a random fermentation of fortune… Melary (our former front person) suggested we form a band, but (like some unsuspecting lab technician) left Beth, Stef and Charlie in a rehearsal space alone on one too many occasions. We grew our sound like rampant bacteria having an orgy in a sonic petri dish. We threw Joanie (a friend and former flatmate) into the mix after Mel quit the band. Like the rest of us, she couldn’t play either so there was an assuring equilibrium of discordant chaos.

Your eponymous debut album is pretty spectacular and seems to have been a great success, receiving praise from the likes of Mojo and Q Magazine, which is awesome! How has the experience of releasing an album been for you? What would you say has been the main thing you’ve learnt from the experience?
We have been unquestionably amazed and delighted with the response that the record has received… I think that we are all largely still in shock. It was a difficult record to make for so many reasons – we had limitations because we were technically inept and had to learn how to play the sounds we wanted to hear on the job, which was long. We all worked full time, one of us was pregnant and had a baby two weeks after the final recording, and we had to re-group at very short notice when our singer left. We made the record out of sheer audacity really, and fully expected to be slated from on high. The process of being in the band had been like a slow burning humiliation on so many occasions that we no longer cared what anybody thought about it. We were just thrilled that Trashmouth Records (who produced us) had given us the challenge. Essentially, we have learned that action is required if you want to make anything happen, and that you can really communicate something if you refuse to conform to expectation.

And are there any ongoing themes running throughout the album?
It appears that there are, but we hadn’t really acknowledged that ourselves until others commented on it. Various people have noted that most (if not all) of the songs are based around negative female stereotypes and wondered whether this was a theme. It wasn’t, but there is a lot of raging machismo in the music world – we are merely raising a petite finger and inserting it into the darkened caverns of these territories, and wiggling it around a bit while we’re in there daaahrling.

Who would you consider to be your main musical influences?
Collectively our main influences are probably: Can, Joy Division, Iggy & The Stooges, The Velvet Underground, Nick Cave, PJ Harvey, Kate Bush, Rod Stewart, The Pointer Sisters, Drone and Raga music.

We were blown away by your fantastic live show when you played for us at The Finsbury a while back, and since then you don’t seem to have stopped – playing with bands such as PINS and Future Of The Left, amongst others. Has one particularly live show stood out as a highlight for you so far?
The recent Fluffer Pit Party supporting The Black Lips, alongside Future of The Left, and Warmduscher without a doubt! It was fucking wicked. The bands were all immense and the 360 degrees stage was dynamically such a buzz – the audience are more involved, it felt like being in the fucking Thunderdome, we thought Tina Turner might ride out on a pig and demand that we sign her crotch.

We’re loving the video for ‘Cat Lady’ – can you tell us a bit about the inspiration behind it?
Well the song itself is examining the concept of the “cat lady”, described by Wikipedia as: “A cat lady is a cultural archetype or a stock character, often depicted as a single woman, a middle-aged or elderly spinster, who owns many pet cats. The term can be considered pejorative, though it is sometimes embraced.”

We wrote the song to explore the idea that these ladies are not necessarily lonely and/or victims of their own madness, but instead have private knowledge and secrets that they have no wish to impart. They reject society because they are of a superior habit. In this case, the cat lady is a killer who has stuffed some men in order to enjoy their company. Perhaps they were simply too irritating in their previous incarnation? She lives alone and is captured by her inward fantasies of being a cat goddess / table dancer. And why not? With the help of the notorious Lou Smith, we all had a perfectly marvellous time prancing around in cat costumes and doing pelvic thrusts under the disco lights at the Windmill Brixton, where the dance shots were filmed. Roald Dahl’s most excellent story ‘The Landlady’ also had a significant contribution.

As we’re a new music focused site, are there any other new/upcoming bands or artists you’d suggest we check out?
Sex Cells are just amazing. We invited them to play at our album launch and were blown away. We love the dynamic between them on stage.

Melt Dunes create a psyche sonic experience that is cathedral sized whilst being low down and dirty. We’ve played on the same bill a couple of times and there are moments when it feels like you can’t believe that these sounds are actually happening in front of you. It’s immense.

ARXX were were the other support band when we did the show with PINS in Brighton recently. There are only two of them (Hannah on guitar & Clara on drums), but they sound like a full band and have excellent vocals. These women know how to rock!

No Friendz. Their frontman Angus Steakhouse is such a talented musician, as well as being an amazing performer on stage. We just released a split 7” single with them on Trashmouth Records and will play with them at the Trashmouth Christmas Party at the Windmill in December.

And, as we near the end of the year, what’s on the horizon for Madonnatron in 2018?
We are currently in the process of recording our second record with Liam and Luke at Trashmouth Records. They are really good at what they do, and are completely about the music. We are also gearing up for a UK headline tour in Spring of 2018 and hope to leave our audial residue in music venues across the land. Irrespective of this, it is fairly safe to say that we have quite frankly, no idea what the future holds for the Tron… a ban from the Vatican most likely.

Madonnatron, the eponymous debut album, is out now via Trashmouth Records.

 

Photo Credit: Jon Mo / @jonmophoto

Tracks Of The Year 2017

As Time Magazine recently called it, 2017 is the year of The Silence Breakers, and us Get In Her Ears girls are here to support the women who are making all the right kinds of noise.

It has been increasingly difficult to absorb and process daily news stories about women and girls who have been sexually assaulted and raped by powerful men who (wrongly) assumed they would get away with it. Women from all walks of life started to use the #MeToo campaign to document their experiences of sexual harassment and assault earlier this year, and since then perpetrators have been called out, shamed, and fired – though few have apologised for their actions.

Whilst we can’t seem to stem the flow of pain caused by stories of inherent societal sexism, or the tories’ budget cuts to vital women’s services here in the UK, we can provide some respite in the form of some of our favourite immensely talented, informed, brilliant female musicians. These are the women who rocked our world in 2017 – we’d be lost without their precious anthems. Take a look at our top tracks below…

The Nyx – ‘Fire Breathing Lady’
Exuding their intense, raucous energy The Nyx deliver immense, electrifying offerings. Fuelled by a seething passion, ‘Fire Breathing Lady’ hits you with its fierce, empowering force like nothing you’ve heard before. I’ve had this track on repeat throughout the year – its thrashing power having seen me through the trials and tribulations of 2017, and marking these exceptional women out as a real force to be reckoned with. So, turn up the riotous sound of ‘Fire Breathing Lady’ and celebrate your womanly powers in all their glory. (Mari Lane)

Nova Twins – ‘Mood Swings’
Driven by devious and distorted basslines, Nova Twins (aka Amy & Georgia) have unmatchable attitude and instinct for writing anarchic anthems, and ‘Mood Swings’ is a warped reflection of swift emotional shifts that will be buzzing around your brain long after it’s stopped playing.
(Kate Crudgington)

Sink Ya Teeth – ‘If You See Me’
‘If You See Me’ was the debut single from Sink Ya Teeth who signed to James Endeacott’s 1965 Records this year. The track is drenched in addictive beats and nods to post-punk royalty ESG. A particular highlight for me was watching Sink Ya Teeth perform this live at one of our Finsbury nights; catch them if you can, these guys are worth seeing live. (Tash Walker)

Lizzo – ‘Water Me’
I’ve been in love with (queen) Lizzo for some time… I was completely obsessed with the uplifting wit of her 2014 track ‘Batches And Cookies’. And I’ve been equally head over heels with this year’s ‘Water Me’. A super empowering anthem, it’s filled with immense hooks and the completely infectious, invigorating chorus as Lizzo repeats “I am my inspiration”. Lizzo explains of the track: It’s about needing nourishment, it’s about being loved for who you are. We’re celebrating black beauty and the meaningful freedom of water.” So, nourish yourself, inspire yourself, and fall in love with Lizzo’s ‘Water Me’. (ML)

Smerz – ‘Because’
Low slung rhythms, crunching beats and those ever so distinctive vocals, Because in short is some of the best obscure techno-pop around. Copenhagen based duo delivering distorted electro tracks, a perfect mix of minimal futurism and experimental nostalgia. I’m so into this track, it makes me feel like I want to don a heavy orange bomber jacket, an East 17 style beanie and head down to some industrial rave in a warehouse and two-step the night. (TW)

Dream Wife – ‘Let’s Make Out’
It was difficult to choose a specific Dream Wife track this year, as both ‘Somebody’ and ‘Let’s Make Out’ were equally as catchy and important as each other. Whilst ‘Somebody’ addresses victim-blaming and the shame around sexual assault, ‘Let’s Make Out’ is a shamelessly confident anthem about acting on your own consensual desires. I was fortunate enough to be on set during the video shoot, and it was a real joy to watch the band and their friends dance around at fake prom, living their best lives. (KC)

Queen Zee – ‘Boy’
I’m hooked on Liverpool punk sass-perts Queen Zee. ‘Boy’ is the first track of theirs that reached my ears, and it’s an anthem for trans-gender rockers and their allies who refuse to be oppressed by transphobic or homophobic attitudes.(KC)

The Orielles – Sugar Tastes Like Salt
In case you haven’t noticed, The Orielles have had the title of my favourite band for a while now. I named them as Ones To Watch last year, and it seems they’ve lived up to that title – having wowed crowds at festivals this summer (including a wonderful set at Green Man), become a BBC 6 Music favourite and received acclaim from the likes of The Guardian , as well as many other esteemed publications.

Though I’m a fan of everything they have to offer, this year’s ‘Sugar Tastes Like Salt’ is a truly epic creation. Racing with pounding beats, scuzzy hooks, jangly melodies and woozy vocals, Sid, Esmé and Henry show they’re capable of greatness with this dreamy offering. At just over eight minutes long, it truly is an anthem in every sense of the word. An anthem heralding the arrival of The Orielles into the ears of masses. The band’s first release on Heavenly Recordings, ‘Sugar Tastes Like Salt’ is a magnificent, clattering cacophony; a frenzied fusion of sounds that takes you on a musical adventure into the minds of its creators. (ML)

Madame So – ‘Black Is Beautiful’
London-based promoters LOUD WOMEN released their first compilation CD this year (buy a copy here), and Madame So gifted them with this superb track. ‘Black Is Beautiful’ is a poignant song about race, identity, and doing things for yourself. Her lyrics and unique voice move me each time I listen (and I love her reference to The Cure). (KC)

Amparo – ‘Reset’
If I could…I would have chosen everything that Amparo has released this year, constantly creating such beautiful dreamy soundscapes but if forced (and I am being forced) I’d go with ‘Reset’. A firm favourite of mine taken from Amparo’s EP Isolated Islands which has a melodic-chill atmosphere created with the idea of being enjoyed whilst exploring the outdoors. Absolutely excellent listening. (TW)

 

Beckie Margaret – ‘At Home (Where I Write)’
Cool Thing Records introduced me to Beckie Margaret in late 2016, and I’ve been mesmerised by her ever since. She has such a pure, faultless voice and it was a pleasure to interview her before her debut London show at The Waiting Room in October of this year. This is her second single, following on from ‘Cars & Catacombs’ and it’s totally divine. (KC)

Noga Erez – ‘Dance While You Shoot’ 
A sheer force to be reckoned with, if ever there was one, Tel Aviv artist Noga Erez has blown me away with her immense arrival into our ears (and eyes at Visions Festival!) this year. An utterly compelling performer, she oozes an hypnotic elegance as she delivers the glitchy, sweeping cacophony of ‘Dance While You Shoot’. In this utterly infectious track, Erez combines a magnetising grace with with a fiery, frenzied power; cementing herself firmly as one of the most exciting artists around, and a simply stunning performer. (ML)