Track Of The Day: Nikki & The Waves – ‘The Phone Song’

Having recently been recommended Manchester band Nikki & The Waves by Chester trio Peaness when interviewing them for our last radio show on Soho Radio, I was excited to hear that they’ll be releasing a new EP in June. Having originally formed in Liverpool, the band have played esteemed venues such as The Cavern Club and charmed audiences at Isle Of Wight festival and Sound City, and look set to bring their joyous energy across the country throughout 2022.

Taken from the upcoming EP, new single ‘The Phone Song‘ instantly hits you with its jangly, quirky energy. Propelled by an uplifting, vibrant groove, it flows with fizzing hooks and Nikki’s lush, sugar-sweet vocals, as voicemails from those closest to the band – spanning Hong Kong to America – are interwoven into the funk-fuelled musicality. Oozing a blissful, shimmering allure – with shades of an eclectic array of influences, from early hip-hop to Lily Allen – it comes complete with swooping trombone solos, sparkling harmonies and a relatable witty lyricism, showcasing all there is to love about Nikki & The Waves. The perfect effervescent bank holiday jam to shimmy along to in the blazing sunshine (we can hope…).

Produced by Joel Pratchett (The Orielles, King Krule), songs to play tennis to – the upcoming EP from Nikki & The Waves – is set for release on 17th June.

Mari Lane

Track Of The Day: deep tan – ‘rudy ya ya ya’

Following last year’s creeping speedwells, London trio Wafah, Celeste and Lucy – aka deep tan – have now announced the release of an upcoming new EP, diamond horsetail. Having been captivating us with their spellbinding post-punk for a few years now, we’re super excited to see what they have in store for us next.

Taken from the EP, latest single ‘rudy ya ya ya‘ offers a bizarrely witty ode to the former mayor of NYC. Maintaining all the wonderfully wacky yet seductively dark sentiment we’ve come to know and love from the band, it’s propelled by an instantly catchy, jangly drive. Beset with haunting, glitchy hooks and sweeping, sultry vocals, the track oozes a swirling discordant allure as it builds with an immense frenzied tension. A strangely addictive, fizzing cacophony, driven by a fierce post-punk energy reminiscent of the legendary The Slits.

Of the meaning behind the track, the band explain:

Caught with your pants down, brown ooze slides down a furrowed brow as sacha interrupts — ! (aka the rudy giuliani diss track you never asked for)…

diamond horsetail, the upcoming new EP from deep tan, is set for digital release on 6th May and physical copies will be available on 22nd July.

Mari Lane

LIVE: Bitch @ Rockwood Music Hall, NYC, 13.04.2022

Fresh from the release of her epic latest album Bitchcraft – which was released via legendary label Kill Rock Stars earlier this year -, queer electro-pop artist Bitch has taken up a weekly residency at New York’s infamous Rockwood Music Hall. And I’m extremely excited that this coincides with my first ever trip to the Big Apple, and I get to witness this magnificent multi-disciplinary show.

Celebrating the album, which has apparently been eight years in the making, as Bitch takes to the stage in the intimate basement venue, she exudes a magnetising vibrant charisma and infectious joyous energy. Introducing the show as “a little jaunt through my herstory“, dedicated to dear Mother Earth and our on-going battle against capitalism, she kicks things off with the fizzing electro soundscape and catchy, whirring drive of ‘Hello Meadow’. Captivating the crowd with her quirky charm and the swirling musicality of sweeping electronic violin crescendos, each of us are instantly utterly immersed in this theatrical performance, singing along to the chorus and whooping in appreciation of Bitch’s exuberant power.

As Bitch notes down her thoughts with a giant pencil, the performance starts to take on an other-worldly aura; wonderfully blurring the lines between musical performance, stand-up comedy and poignant spoken word. Going on to animatedly share with us details about her childhood, with her boomer/tap-dancing teacher mother and angry father, Bitch proves herself to be the most bewitching of raconteurs – describing how, in a world that makes women and girls feel small, the violin became her voice and she felt able to begin the journey of liberating herself from the ties of a patriarchal society.

As we all unite in the joy of empowering anthems such as ‘You’re The Man’, Bitch emanates her colourful eccentricity, casting us under her spell as we delight in the effervescent power of her unique witch – or indeed Bitch – craft. Whether she’s wowing us with her immense keytar skills, the soaring prowess of the violin, or merely her deeply stirring words, it’s clear that we’re sharing in something truly special by being here – a rapturous call to feel free to be ourselves and fight against the misogynist norms of society.

Reflecting on one of these sexist tropes that has become ingrained in our thinking, Bitch points out that words are often used in a derogatory way against women: a prime example of this being the use of ‘Pussy’ to mean weak or inferior. She invites us to reclaim the word and use it in a positive way – and so we are introduced to her ‘Pussy Manifesto’, an empowering chant that she first shared whilst on tour (alongside partner Animal) with Ani DiFranco in 1998. As we all join in with the frenzied, driving force of each of the “mother-f***ing” manifestations – being reminded of all the ways in which the pussy is magical – a vibrant, euphoric energy fills the room, guided by Bitch’s affirming spirit.

From all too resonant reflections on climate change and our need to protect Mother Nature (‘Polar Bear’), to dedications to long-suffering women everywhere – particularly those of Texas, Oklahoma and Afghanistan – as she recognises that “the witch hunts never stopped” (‘Easy Target’), Bitch showcases her utterly unique knack for highlighting necessary, poignant subject-matter in a beautifully resplendent and delightfully accessible way.

Moving on to some more personal reflections about how she “fell off her broomstick for a while“, Bitch reminds us that it’s okay to not to be okay sometimes – to take time out from the world and focus on recuperating ourselves. Visualising the metaphor of building herself back up through a time of healing by putting together her magnificent bedazzling broomstick piece by piece, she then aurally delivers the sentiment with the sweeping soundscapes of ‘Fallen Witch 2’; a track that glitters with a life-affirming majesty.

And, with her sparkling broomstick now completely built, it’s time for Bitch to close this hour of the most empowering, enlightening shared experiences. Closing the set with soulful latest single ‘Pages’, she shares with her fellow witches the positive affirmations to “keep writing” and to “let pussy manifest and freedom sing“, and I’m left feeling truly revived and motivated; basking in Bitch’s spellbinding, vivacious energy and the queer, euphoric joy that has filled the room.

A truly magical evening. And one that I urge you to witness too, should Bitch’s wonderfully wacky witchery ever come your way.

Bitch’s latest album, Bitchcraft, is out now via Kill Rock Stars.

Mari Lane

Introducing Interview: Gabi Garbutt

Having received acclaim from the likes of Steve LaMacq at BBC 6Music and shared stages with legends such as The Libertines, London-based ‘punk-poet’ Gabi Garbutt has now announced the release of their second album via lovely label Trapped Animal Records.

Taken from the album, latest single ‘Never Never‘ showcases Garbutt’s knack for creating instantly catchy indie-pop anthems. With a soulful, impassioned energy propelling the jangling, uplifting musicality, it’s an emotionally-raw, fiercely gritty earworm, leaving you longing to hear more.

We caught up with Gabi to find out all about the new single, upcoming album, their thoughts on the industry, and what inspires them most… Have a read!

Hi Gabi Garbutt! Welcome to Get In her Ears? Can you tell us a bit about yourself?
Hi Mari! I’m a half-Chilean singer songwriter from London, then Gloucester, then London, writing mainly lyrical soul punk songs.

Are you able to tell us a bit about how you initially started creating music?
The first band I was totally obsessed with were Green Day. I remember for my twelfth birthday being taken by my mum and dad to see Green Day at a festival in Nottingham. Iggy Pop was the support act and I was right up there in the mosh pit being thrown around, the crowd howling around me… My baptism by fire. That’s when I discovered rock and roll. From there, there was no going back. Bowling around school with Clash City Rockers tipexxed to the back of my school jacket. Next birthday my mum and dad bought me a Squire Strat and soon after I started learning songs. When I was in my mid-teens I used to borrow my sister’s acoustic and busk in town at the weekends, then spend that money on buying records. Another watershed moment was when I was sixteen – my English teacher lent me his copy of Patti Smith’s Horses, and hearing how she merged poetic lyrics with punk, I realised that’s exactly what I wanted to do. I started writing songs and when I moved back to London when I was 18 I started my first band.

I love your uplifting, colourful sounds, but who would you say are you main musical influences?
Thanks! Ezra Furman and Patti Smith are two of my main influences – that lyrical urgency fuelled by euphoric punk energy is something I really aspire to. I love a lot of Motown and Stax soul artists and they inspire a lot of the upbeat brassy sounds. Julian Casablancas’ band The Voidz are really exciting, totally original wild pop verging on chaos, and they’ve inspired the more electronic songs on the record. Nina Simone is a big inspiration; I really admire her fearlessness and conviction, and how she turned her vast musical vocabulary into really raw and emotionally charged songs. I’m a huge fan of Valerie June, particularly her latest album Prescription for Dreamers, it’s like nothing I’ve ever heard before, totally stratospheric soul. I’ve got it on repeat in the tour van and often put it on before we go on stage. It’s a totally energising, mind expanding record that at the same time gets me in a calm and collected state. Lyrical masters like Leonard Cohen, Bob Dylan and Lou Reed are big inspirations too.

You’ve recently released your single ‘Never Never’, taken from your upcoming album Cockerel, which is out in May. Are you able to tell us a bit about the album? Are there any particular themes running throughout it?
This record is musically exploratory. It’s got a restless energy and considered sincerity too. There are lone cries and there is sorrow shared. There’s also a celebration of the beauty of existence and the power of human connection. The music takes twists and turns that echo the shifting emotional landscape of the lyrics, but not quite in step. There’s euphoria where there’s raging sadness, otherworldly sounds when the lyrics run closest to the beating heart, but I feel it’s more interesting that way.

How have you found recording and promoting an album during these strange times?
In 2020 we had a bunch of tours and festivals planned that were cancelled. It meant that I had more time to work on writing this album and as soon as rehearsal studios opened up, we started playing these songs as a band. We recorded the album in Spring 2021 but because of the vinyl backlog, it didn’t make sense to release it in a rush. The timing has worked out quite well as we’re doing a fair bit of touring at the moment in the build up to the album release in May. I really thought that all we’d been building would disintegrate during the lockdown, so I’m really happy that the adventure’s continuing.

Do you feel much has changed over the last few years in the music industry’s treatment of female and non-binary artists? 
I do think things have changed. There are still assumptions about females not writing their own songs, crafting the arrangements or being involved in production, which is incredibly frustrating, but luckily I work with a progressive bunch of guys. The label we’re signed to – Trapped Animal Records – are really excellent at nurturing female and non-binary artists, I highly recommend people check out their roster. I was a total tomboy when I was a kid, I remember a girl at school throwing her shoes at me when I was five, and when the teacher asked her why she did it, the girl said it’s because I had said I wanted to be a boy. I’ve always been androgynous and remember hearing the word gender-fluid a few years ago and realising how much that resonated with me. The freedom of expression that music encourages means that the process of creation itself reveals things about ourselves. It also means musicians are perfectly placed to lead the way in starting new conversations, changing perceptions. Artists like Ezra Furman, who recently came out as a trans mum, and consistently promotes trans joy – that’s really powerful, I admire her so much. It just shows the role our musical heroes have in pulling us all into the future.

You’ve previously supported infamous indie acts such as The Libertines – how was this experience for you? And has there been a particular gig you’ve played that stands out as a highlight? 
I’ve been a huge fan of The Libertines since my early teens, so it’s been a brilliant experience. We joined them on a couple of dates of their recent tour – Kentish Town Forum was a highlight, but back in 2019 playing Paris L’Olympia then racing across Germany playing Cologne, Munch and Berlin with them was some of the best fun I think I might ever have had.

As we’re a new music focused site, are there any other upcoming artists or bands you’re loving right now that you’d recommend we check out?
Label mates Jemma Freeman & The Cosmic Something are ferocious, one of the best bands around. I’d also recommend Catherine Rudie who’s Glasgow based, a total one of a kind making otherworldly folk. Veronica Bianqui, who creates garage soul stateside, Sasha & The Shades make raw bluesy rock n’ roll, and Magda Goncalves is a brilliant London based r’n’b/ soul singer writer. A lot of the acts that come out of the Lantern Society, a singer-songwriter night in Clerkenwell are really ace too… Sam Nicholson (who also plays with Jemma Freeman), Jeremy Tuplin, The Violet Hum, Dead Writers, Peter Doolan, Chris Brambley, Gabriel Moreno to name a few. My cousin Paula Arismendi and my brother Leo Garbutt are really talented musicians and songwriters. Also shout out to Real(s), our bass player’s band and Hackles, our drummer’s other band who are both well worth checking out. 

In addition to the album release, what does the rest of the year have in store for you?
We’ve got a few more U.K tour dates coming up with Big Country and I’m going to be playing a couple of acoustic dates in New York, including Rockwood Music Hall on 29th April. In the summer we’ve got a few German dates booked and will be looking to tie this in with a few other dates on the continent and some more U.K tour dates. I’ve also started writing and demoing the third record so I’ll be working hard at that, hopefully recording it by the end of the year!

Massive thanks to Gabi for answering our questions!

Cockerel, the upcoming album from Gabi Garbutt, is set for release on 20th May via Trapped Animal Records.