NEW TRACK: O Hell – ‘pixel’

A disarming, hypnotic offering that gently taps at the inside of the head, Brighton-based artist Lucy Sheehan aka O Hell has shared their latest single ‘pixel’. Laced with eerie, tentative piano sounds and Sheehan’s clear, yearning vocals, the track is an ominous piece of lo-fi electronica, accompanied by a video shot by Jay Bartlett Films.

After years spent touring and recording music in alternative bands around the UK, Sheehan ventured into fresh sonic territory under their new moniker O Hell back in 2021. Influenced by a love of eclectic, brooding soundscapes and a desire for creative independence, Sheehan was inspired by everything from Lithuanian folk songs to DJ Shadow and PJ Harvey when it came to creating her new sounds. Mined during a period of intense isolation, ‘pixel’ is another example of Sheehan’s ability to tap into uneasy states of consciousness with her ambigous, yet palpably familiar lyrics – “I dare to find your picture / run my hand across the pixels”

Speaking about the conception of the track, Sheehan explains: “I was at a studio way out in the Sussex Downs, and I started playing this fucked piano, completely out of tune. Anyway I didn’t know it was being recorded. I was in my own world. I showed my collaborator George, and as big fans of Amnesiac we decided to scramble it into this strange, surreal piece of electronica. Around the same time a friend of mine showed me this beautiful Lithuanian folk song called ‘Zalioj Girioj Stadalelis’ and I loved the sparse and haunting melodic structure. I remembered I don’t always have to write a chorus.”

“The softer, more surreal side of artists like PJ Harvey and Vincent Vocoder Voice were also big influences on ‘pixel’,” she continues. “I like visceral music, lyrics that are fragile, disgusting or painful. There has to be an emotional edge. I couldn’t give a fuck about friendly music.” This curation of unease is something Sheehan explored on her previous single, ‘I Watch The Women‘, and continues to explore sonically on ‘pixel’ too.

Watch the video for the new single below.

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Photo Credit: Bridie Florence Cummings

Kate Crudgington

NEW TRACK: Nyokabi Kariũki – ‘Nazama’

A deeply soothing, hypnotic soundscape inspired by a recovery from long-term illness, Kenyan-born, USA-based composer and sound artist Nyokabi Kariũki has shared her latest single ‘Nazama’. Taken from her upcoming debut full length album, FEELING BODY, which is set for release on 3rd March via cmntx Records, the track is a considered, experimental blend of soft vocals and instrumentation that tentatively celebrates the regaining of physical and emotional strength.

“There’s a trauma of illness that remains within you, both in the physical places that it existed; and in the mind,” Kariũki explains about the context behind ‘Nazama’, a Swahili term which translates as “to sink”. On this single, and throughout her new album, the musician explores the marks left by her experience of living with long-COVID for a large part of 2021. She was also inspired by the fluid and healing capacity of water, which is a recurring motif throughout the record.

Following on from her acclaimed debut EP, peace places: kenyan memories, released in (2022), FEELING BODY provided a new space for Kariũki to dismantle and make sense of the impact that chronic illness has had on her well being. Using field recordings, flexing her impressive vocal range, and accompanied by violinist Yaz Lancaster and trumpet player Michael Denis Ó Callaghan, Kariũki created a safe space to examine this difficult process.

“To share a painful story is to also to discover ways to protect yourself as you do so,” comments the musician. “Asking text-to-speech to say phrases you struggle to repeat; recording stream-of-consciousness voice notes so that you don’t have to sit long in thoughts; and to find, in sound — from field recordings, to dreamy improvisations by musical friends — a way to express visceral feelings and noisy thoughts.”

These “noisy thoughts” have translated into dreamy, ethereal soundscapes like ‘Nazama’, which is the concluding track on FEELING BODY. “There is a lot to say about being sick, about being sick during a pandemic; about how the world treats you if you are sick for longer than “just a cold”,” Kariũki continues. “I am ever in awe of our bodies, and how they keep going, despite and in spite of all the pain we go through in life. In a way, this album is an expression of love, and gratitude, to my own.”

Listen to ‘Nazama’ below.

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Photo Credit: Gianfranco Bello

Kate Crudgington

NEW TRACK: Grandmas House – ‘Desire’

A smouldering blend of charged riffs and commanding beats, Bristol punk trio Grandmas House have shared their latest single ‘Desire’. Taken from the upcoming new EP, Who Am I, which is set for release on 3rd March via Brace Yourself Records, the track is inspired by the disorientating power of romantic infatuation.

Formed of Yasmin Berndt (vocals, guitar), Poppy Dodgson (vocals, drums) and Zoë Zinsmeister (bass), Grandmas House combine gritty guitars, thudding percussion and a joyful dose of sarcasm to create their catchy punk inspired anthems. The band released their self-titled debut EP in October 2021, which covered everything from dismantling the patriarchy, celebrating queer love, to a penchant for local pasties. Now, Grandmas House are back with their new single ‘Desire’, and another collection of songs that tackle topics such as body image, identity and disassociation, and negatively stereotyped zodiac signs.

“‘Desire’ is about meeting someone new and being immediately intrigued by them,” the band comment about their new song. “It focuses on the confusion surrounding infatuation and trying to keep yourself grounded at the same time.” Berndt’s raucous voice rises and falls alongside Dodgson’s backing vocals and blistering beats across the track, whilst Zinsmeister’s rumbling basslines enhance the all-consuming yearning that’s explored in the lyrics.

The single is accompanied by a monochrome video, directed by Oliver Mallory. The visuals feature Frankie Darwin and American writer, poet and friend of the band Savannah Brown, who end up clashing over an unusually intense game of chess.

Grandmas House will be celebrating the release of their new EP with a UK headline tour this March. Full dates are listed below. Grab your tickets here.

Watch the video for ‘Desire’ here:

Grandmas House UK Tour Dates 2023
3rd Mar – Liverpool, UK – Kaz Stockroom
4th Mar – Bristol, UK – Exchange
9th Mar – Leeds, UK – Oporto
10th Mar – Glasgow, UK – McChuills
11th Mar – Sheffield, UK – Sidney & Matilda (Basement)
16th Mar – Leicester, UK – Duffy’s
17th Mar – Manchester, UK – YES (Basement)
18th Mar – Cardiff, UK – Clwb Ifor Bach (Downstairs)
23rd Mar – London, UK – The Victoria
24th Mar – Brighton, UK – The Hope & Ruin

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Kate Crudgington

NEW TRACK: Montauk Hotel – ‘Dive’ (Come Afloat)

A bittersweet reflection on the conflicting feelings that come with returning to your hometown, Dublin-based trio Montauk Hotel have shared their latest single ‘Dive (Come Afloat)’. Marking the indie-pop band’s first release since 2019, the new track is laced with shimmering guitar sounds and soft vocal harmonies, which soften the feelings of discontent and disappointment that are explored in the lyrics.

“‘Dive (Come Afloat)’ reflects on the uncertain border that separates present from future, hesitation from release, uneasiness from comfort and deceit from honesty,” the band comment about their new single. “The song discusses friendship, insecurity and feelings of homecoming in a motionless town.” Montauk Hotel capture this feeling of sinking and re-surfacing through their use of crystalline 80s inspired guitar lines, gentle beats and buoyant, lullaby-esque vocals.

Montauk Hotel released their self-titled EP in March 2017, and their 2019 singles ‘Stains’ and ‘White Billboards’ were playlisted on Spotify New Music Friday, as well as receiving support from Nialler9, RTE, 2fm, The Thin Air, The Last Mixed Tape and BBC Radio. Now, with more new music on the horizon, the band are looking forward to returning to the live scene again, after previously headlining shows at Whelans, The Workman’s Club, The Sound House, Bello Bar and Roisin Dubh.

The band have also previously supported international acts such as Goat Girl, PINS and Beauty Sleep, and have appeared at festivals such as Electric Picnic, Other Voices, Groove Festival, Sea Sessions, Vantastival and Sunflower Festival.

Listen to their latest single ‘Dive (Come Afloat)’ below.

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Kate Crudgington