Five Favourites & Video Premiere: Junk Whale – ‘Pilebox’

Following infectious recent single ‘Happy Birthday’, Oxford band Junk Whale have now announced the release of their new EP, Caught In The Act Of Looking Weird, next month. Taken from the EP, latest single ‘Pilebox’ pays homage to being yourself in the face of adversity. Propelled by a fuzzy, emo-tinged energy and scuzzy hooks, raw impassioned vocals flow throughout as the track builds with a jangly allure to an anthemic blast of angst-driven splendour. Of the track, the band explain:

It started as an attempt to write a song that sounded like a mashup of Pile and Jawbox (hence the title), although it ended up not really sounding like either. It’s about the joy of living life on your own terms and trying not to worry about fitting into anyone else’s expectations of you.”

We think one of the best ways to get to know a band is by asking what music inspires them. So, to celebrate the release of a quirky brand new video for ‘Pilebox’ and the upcoming EP, we caught up with members of Junk Whale to ask about the music that has inspired them the most. See below for their choices of their five favourite songs, and watch the new video for ‘Pilebox’ at the bottom of this feature.

The Cribs – ‘Things You Should Be Knowing‘ (Jenny – bass/vox)
When I wrote the guitar bit that became ‘Airbed’ from the EP, I sat down and basically just tried to write a song that sounded like The Cribs. One of the reasons I was keen to join Junk Whale was I heard that Hannah & Josie were also huge Cribs fans. Needless to say, I love them. They’re so consistent in their ability to produce bangers even now, but their first album is still closest to my heart. It’s so delightfully ramshackle, and has such an infectious energy – listening to it makes me feel young and reckless again (and it makes me feel old to be writing that). It sounds like they’re having loads of fun without even having to try, as if they’re just mucking about in the garage, and even though they’re playing massive venues and festivals now, I’d still favour the ramshackle mucking about sound any day. 


Illuminati Hotties – ‘Knead’ (Ali – vox/production)
Illuminati Hotties are one of the few bands I’ve discovered recently that I’ve really connected with. This song does a really great job of balancing elements of indie rock, pop and grunge which is more or less what we’re trying to do in Junk Whale. Their lead singer, Sarah Tudzin, is a professional audio engineer and produces their songs; she does an amazing job and is a real inspiration for me.

Doe – ‘Julia Survived’ (Josie – guitar/vox)
I first saw Doe in 2016, supporting Muncie Girls in Brighton (also on the bill was another Junk Whale fave, Fresh). I left with a cassette copy of their First Four compilation, and over the next few weeks I rendered it more or less unlistenable by playing it over and over again. At that point, Hannah’s and my pre-Junk Whale band was coming to an end and we were thinking about our next project together. Somehow, Doe had managed to capture exactly the kind of music that we wanted to make. Every song on that comp is great, but ‘Julia Survived’ has always stood out to me. It has that visceral punch of emotion that I crave in music, and the overlapping vocal harmonies were definitely a big influence on our songwriting. Nicola Leel is up there with Corin Tucker from Sleater-Kinney in my “people I wish I could sing like” rankings.

Taking Back Sunday – ‘You Know How I Do’ (Hannah – guitar/vox)
I first got into Taking Back Sunday when I was in sixth form because the drummer in my band really wanted to cover ‘Cute Without the E’ and I’ve never looked back. Their first album, which this track opens, is pretty much without flaw in my eyes and I struggled to pick just one song from it. Something I really love about it is the sheer quantity of vocals; Adam Lazzara barely lets up for a second, singing over almost every section of every song, with John Nolan pitching in frequently for some really effective back-and-forth segments. I think we have a pretty different sound to Taking Back Sunday, but they’re always on my mind whenever I’m trying to structure a song, and especially when I’m writing vocal parts.

Dinosaur Jr. – ‘Little Fury Things’ (Josie – vox/guitar)
First hearing You’re Living All Over Me as a teenager was a genuinely life-changing moment. It exemplified everything I love about guitar music: heavy riffs, soaring solos, ear-scraping noise and, most of all, beautifully expressive rhythm-playing. It was the latter that had the biggest influence on my playing; messing around with different harmonies and chord combinations is my favourite thing to do with a guitar and has formed the basis of my songwriting. ‘Little Fury Things’ is the best example of this. After the pummelling drum intro and aural chaos of the opening section, the plaintive guitar and melancholy vocals of the verse completely disarm you. To me, this song is the best demonstration of the immense dynamic power of a distorted electric guitar.


Huge thanks to Junk Whale for sharing their Five Favourites with us! New EP, Caught In The Act Of Looking Weird, is set for release on 8th July via Reckless Yes. Watch the brand new video for latest single ‘Pilebox’ here:

Photo Credit: Tom Turner

Introducing Interview: Lena Hessels

Having previously been featured on Spotify’s New Music Friday NL, Dutch artist Lena Hessels is now set to release her new EP, then when will it, next month. Taken from the EP, latest single ‘fast lights‘ shimmers with an exquisite twinkling allure. As a majestic, haunting atmosphere is created, Hessels’ celestial vocals soar with an emotion-rich splendour.

To celebrate the release of ‘fast lights’, we caught up with Lena to find out more about what inspires her, live music and what the future holds… Have a read, and make sure you take a listen to the luscious ‘fast lights’!

Hi Lena, welcome to Get In Her Ears! Can you tell us a bit about yourself?
Hi Get In Her Ears! Thanks for having me! I’m Lena Hessels, I’m 21 and I make abstract pop music. Oh, and I’m from Holland.

How did you initially start creating music?
Well, my dad is a guitarist in a band called The Ex, and the house I grew up in was a place where a lot of befriended musicians would stay if they were on tour in Holland. So, growing up I was surrounded by a lot of different music and people. My mom always tells me that I was singing before I could speak, and I believe her! I was always singing, all the fucking time. I loved it, still do! I was very fascinated by all these older people I saw who were playing shows. I knew then that that was what I wanted, so every chance I got I performed songs for people! Then, when I was about six I got a little mp3 recorder from my parents. I started recording all these very long story songs on that. I actually found a couple of them last year on my mom’s old computer, and one of them was also the inspiration for my previous single ‘crown’. Pretty cool, I think. But the first song I actually recorded with instruments and stuff was when I was eight – it was called ‘Dubbel Drop’ (dubbel licorice): my favourite Dutch candy. A couple years later I discovered Taylor Swift – a true pop-star! Pop music was something I discovered then and felt that was what I wanted. I started playing guitar and got obsessed with writing songs. Now we’re here!

Your new single ‘fast lights’ is out now – can you tell us what it’s all about?
Lyrically this song is about having a fun weekend with your friends at a festival. Throughout the song, the festival comes to an end and as you reach the outro, you’re in the car driving home and reflecting on the weekend – your life, growing up and how that all works. I think I’ve been thinking about that a lot recently. It’s not a sad song in any way, more like a moment of thought.

You’ve been compared to the likes of FKA Twigs and James Blake, but who would you say are your main musical influences?
I love both FKA Twigs and James Blake very much! For me it all started with Taylor Swift, so she’ll always be an inspiration. Her music is great, also her career and how she works the industry is super interesting to me. I also really look up to ROSALIA and Sevdaliza. I love artists who experiment and mix different styles of music and really make their sound their own.

How is your local music scene? Do you go to see lots of live music?
I am based in Amsterdam right now. There is a very rich indie band scene here, which is a lot of fun! I feel like everybody is very supportive of each other’s music here, which is really cool. I really enjoy going to gigs, it’s one of my favourite things to do; it’s so inspiring and interesting to see people perform. And we do have some nice venues here, and touring is slowly starting up again, so there are a lot of cool gigs to look forward to. I haven’t really found the pop/electronic music scene yet here in Amsterdam, that is something I hope to find soon!

And what can fans expect from your live shows?
I hope to give a high energy show. Together with Cris Mollee, I’ve made this sick light installation. When I perform I’m alone on stage, so I really wanted something to complement the music and myself. I think it works really well. I have only played a couple of shows, but I really hope to play more. My main goal right now is to go on tour – performing is one of my favourite things to do! It makes me feel so happy and full, I hope people watching the show also feel that.

As we’re a new music focused site, are there any new/upcoming bands or artists you’d recommend we check out?
First there is Personal Trainer – they are a great band! The front person lives above me, haha. So definitely check them out! And Raven Artson is really cool – I saw him preform a couple of weeks ago, that was great!

And how do you feel the music industry is for new bands at the moment – would you say it’s difficult to get noticed?
Yes, I feel that since covid the music industry is even more saturated than before. There is just so much music out there. But if you make good music people will find you even if it takes some time, I know that. To get noticed in a different country is even more abstract because you don’t know the environment as well as in your own country. I would love to get played in the UK and play shows there! So, I’m really happy with this interview.

Finally, what does the rest of 2022 have in store for Lena Hessels?
There is a lot more music coming! This year I’m releasing three EPs in total – I’m really looking forward to it! I am probably going to be working on a lot more music. I really hope to grow as an artist and performer, and I want to learn and get better at my craft. My biggest goal for this year is definitely to play a lot of shows, and I really hope to play my first UK shows – so if you have any gigs for me, let me know, I’ll be there!

Massive thanks to Lena Hessels for answering our questions!

The second in a series of three EPs that Hessels plans to release, then when will it is due out on 13th July, and is produced by Tender Blom (guitarist of Pip Blom).

LIVE: Women’s Work Showcase 2022 – Oh Yeah Music Centre, Belfast

A community led, human-centered approach to promoting and supporting women & non-binary people in music, the Women’s Work Showcase at Belfast’s Oh Yeah Music Centre was stacked with impressive live performances over the Jubilee Bank Holiday weekend. Full of passionate, respectful fans and artists who all contributed to making the space feel as vibrant and as safe as possible, the showcase displayed the eclectic and exciting musical talent of the Northern Irish & Irish music scenes.

As we walked into the venue to the sound of Girl For Sale‘s tender guitar tunes, we recognised so many faces both on and off stage. HAVVK, Party Fears and Problem Patterns were all amongst the crowd, who cheered as self-described “pink pop princess” Susi Pagel performed her bittersweet anthems ‘Pick Me’, ‘Pretty Girl’ and also treated listeners to a cover of Avril Lavigne’s ‘Complicated’, as a nod to the 20th anniversary of the Canadian superstar’s debut album, Let Go.

Split across two stages, we turned to see Clara Tracey clad in a white suit seated behind her keyboard, as she delivered a captivating set filled with her clear, soft vocals and jazz-tinged keys. The sharp, infectious sounds of rapper Don Chi filled the venue next. Though she confessed to feeling nervous between songs, Don Chi continued to emcee with impressive confidence, with tracks ‘Orange’, ‘Angry’ and ‘Dent’ especially leaving a mark on the memory.

Up next were formidable Dublin four-piece SPRINTS. Tearing through a riotous set list that included songs from their recent EP A Modern Job, the band had the crowd hanging on every riff and chorus, with vocalist & guitarist Karla Chubb commanding their attention with truly furious flair. The infectious, radiant alt-pop tunes of Winnie Ama followed, filling the venue with joy and swaying bodies to tracks ‘Here I Go’ and ‘Awe Of You’.

Aoife Wolf brought her brooding “Noise folk from the bog” to everyone’s ears next. Armed with her guitar and enigmatic vocals, the effect of her subtle, yet captivating performance lingered long after she’d stopped playing. GIHE favourites Fraulein took to the stage afterwards, bringing their moody brand of alternative grunge to an attentive crowd. Joni & Karston’s natural charisma made their performance feel effortless, with tracks ‘And I Go (La La La)’ and ‘Belly’ sounding bigger and better each time we hear them. Derry trio CHERYM brought their brand of infectious pop punk inspired tunes next, smiling from ear-to-ear as they did so. ‘Abigail’, ‘We’re Just Friends’ and ‘Listening to my Head’ all stood out amongst a setlist full of energetic guitar anthems that went by in a flash of glee and angst.

Closing the night were feminist punks Problem Patterns. Kicking off their set with ‘Y.A.W’ (‘Yes All Women’), Alanah, Beth, Bev and Ciara firmly established their status as one of the most important and powerful live bands of the moment. Challenging the traditional “front person” set up by having each band member switch between mics and instruments for different songs, their set was full of jokes, joy and rage: all shared and directed at the patriarchal forces that attempt to crush minority communities who are asking for the respect they deserve. ‘Terfs Out’ the gloriously abrasive ‘Big Shouty’ and the wonderful ‘Gal Pals’ all resonated with the enthusiastic crowd.

Despite many artists and fans having to leave the venue earlier than planned due to public transport issues (which Oh Yeah Music Centre’s Charlotte Dryden highlighted in this tweet), the Women’s Work Showcase felt like a truly progressive initiative that proved that safe spaces for women & non-binary artists and fans are vital, and something that can be implemented into the wider music scenes if people are willing to put in the effort.

All that’s left to say is a huge thank you to the staff at the Oh Yeah Centre, the patient and attentive sound engineers, and to Charlene Hegarty, who curated the line-up and invited us over to share in the joy of Women’s Work.

Follow Women’s Work on Twitter, Facebook, Instagram & on their official website

Kate Crudgington
@KCBobCut

Five Favourites: Sprout

Having received acclaim for previous singles ‘(I’m Just) Getting By‘ and ‘Settled (Here In My Heart)‘, Burnley artist Meg Grooters – aka Sprout – is now set to release their debut EP tomorrow, 15th June. Flowing with lilting melodies, honey-sweet vocals and an uplifting colourful allure, Sprout’s offerings ooze a subtle reflection on life’s anxieties with a soothing, jazz-infused musicality and soulful splendour.

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 EP, we caught up with Sprout to ask about their “Five Favourites” – five albums that have inspired them the most. Read about their choices below:

h hunt- playing piano for dad
I heard this album for the first time as I was graduating from university, but it only became a soundtrack of my everyday at the start of the pandemic in 2020. I played at least a song from it almost every day that year. I think back on when I’d be having my one cycle a day around the park nearby, not being sure if the world was going to make it, and somehow still feeling really comforted by this album. It really soothed my anxieties at the time and gave me a space to feel all of the contrasting, messy feelings that came with both the fear and stillness of the start of the pandemic. I love so much hearing his fingers hitting the keys, him talking to himself, or the pauses to figure out what he’s playing whilst he’s playing it. It’s so intimately recorded – it was done in one take, and originally made as a Christmas gift for his Dad. I really like how it highlights the things that would typically be viewed as ‘mistakes’ in music recording, and makes them earnest and heartfelt. This album really made me want to create music in that way too. I’m guessing it wasn’t intentional but I think it’s probably the most beautiful representation of uncertainty I’ve ever heard; and not to be too dramatic, but I love it to death.

Joni Mitchell- Blue
I mean, it’s a very famous album for a reason! Picking just one Joni album was a pain but it wasn’t really possible for me to talk about her and not talk about the first album to ever metaphorically tear my heart out of my chest and leave it on the floor. A lot of my favourite albums stem from the music my mum brought me up on and my memories of being a kid, and Joni is up there as being one of the most influential on my music making. When I was 16, my mum got all of her old vinyls down and gave me this album, along with a bunch of others (Kate Bush, Billie Holiday, loads of good ones, well done mum). I put this on first as I started to revise. I remember being alone in my room, putting the books down and listening to the whole thing back to back, just lying there. I don’t think I’d ever listened to lyrics so intently before and I still listen to it every break-up and have a cathartic weep. I love it more so for the fact that the first time I heard it was on the same record my mum had listened to it as a teen/twenty something too. That’s generational sad-medicine passed on! Joni is a master of poetry and beautiful singing and songwriting and this album depicts that entirely and that’s that really.

Eliza – A Real Romantic
I love this album so much – it’s so hot, and I feel like I heard this album for the first time and finally felt like an adult. When this album came out I couldn’t believed this was the same Eliza Doolittle pop queen from my high school years and that’s in part what I love about it so much. Hearing the transformation of who she was then when with a major label, to now – making these RnB smokey demos – is really cool and refreshing. It also lyrically comes with an ethos of re-invention, and self-invention, that I can really subscribe to. The songs are all dead groovy and the production is yummy and I just like singing along to it and having a solo bop in my room. It doesn’t feel like it’s trying too hard, it’s not trying to be something new for the sake of being something new, and instead is just really nice and easy to listen to. I love how spacious it feels as an album, and I love how it takes its time. It feels really focused on pleasure and love and escapism, and it makes me want to have a bubble bath and light lots of candles and order three desserts and wear lots of silk, and that’s fun!

Sidney Bechet – Les Années Bechet
When it comes down to it, I’m just a child from the ’90s heavily influenced and somewhat indoctrinated from the many problematic 2000s romantic movie tropes of love and coming of age. Put that on top of my passion for the golden era musicals, and at the core of me is a big cheeseball who wants to be a bit cringe and romanticise their life. So, if you’re gonna do it, I’d say do it to this album. It’s a timeless classic and has seen me through many a sombre night walking home, and many an introspective bus journey. Life looks a bit nicer when you’re listening to this album and listening to it is like having a warm, long-lasting hug for the ears. Aside from that, Sidney Bechet is an outrageously brilliant clarinettist and soprano sax player, and sometimes you just don’t need to look any further than the best work of the legends. I love music for the way it relates to memories and its ability to transport you to a different time and place in your life, and nothing sparks up nostalgia quite like this one. Even the smallest encounter with a stranger could feel romantic after listening to this, and why shouldn’t the mundane moments in life get to feel a bit more lovely too?

Harry Nilsson – The Point!
This album is an experience! So fun, full of wonder, and better listened to with the film (at least first time round). A friend at university showed this to me in my second year when I was having a particularly difficult day and I instantly fell in love with the story, the imagery and the music. It follows the story of a boy called Oblio, who is the only round-headed person in a village where everyone and everything must have a point. It’s all very cute and endearing and metaphorical, and the sort of thing I would’ve loved as a child and find myself recommending to people a lot. When I’m particularly low, I can put this on and things are always a bit lighter afterwards. The music and orchestration is really playful and bouncy and it reminds of all the wacky kids shows that were knocking around when I was younger. It’s simply adorable, with a beautiful tale of finding the acceptance of feeling and being different to others. Very tender.

Massive thanks to Sprout for sharing their Five Favourites with us! Listen to their latest single ‘Come Back (To What Can Be)’ below:

The debut self-titled EP from Sprout is set for release tomorrow, 15th June, via sevenfoursevensix.

Photo Credit: Marieke Macklon