ALBUM: Ruby Throat – ‘Stone Dress’

Far removed from her Riot Grrrl days fronting Daisy Chainsaw and Queen Adreena, Katie Jane Garside has returned under the moniker of Ruby Throat, with her brand new album Stone Dress (released via One Little Indian on 9th November). Garside has firmly remained a Grrrl at the front on her new venture; but everything else is stripped back, turned down, and mellowed out – revealing her softer side.

“After ten, fifteen years, I was done with the assault of drums and guitars obliterating me” explains Garside. “[It’s] a beautiful thing, on the one hand, but I enforced on Ruby Throat that it should be mainly acoustic, and there should be no drums. I wanted the voice to lead it, without being held down by someone else’s rhythm.” Accompanied by her long-time partner Chris Whittingham, Garside achieves just that on Stone Dress.

The title track showcases her gentle, wispy vocals which flow over carefully picked guitar for seven full minutes. The opener has particular significance for Garside, as she wrote it whilst pregnant with her daughter – which explains the cautious, dark-lullaby quality of her lyrics: “My stone dress is me walking through the world, weighed down by the agony of life, but I’m swimming with birds because, in utero, I’ve got a baby inside”.

The mythical sounding ‘Swan and the Minotaur’ follows like a haunting fable, with the relatable lyric “I’m in love with a troubled man” repeated in heartfelt style. ‘Also Elizabeth Daughter Of The Above’ is another fairytale-esque offering, with Garside’s wild wails counteracted by her softer, story-telling. The exquisitely rough ‘Dog Song’ is definitely one of the strongest tracks on the record, with brash lyrics and an infectious rhythm, allowing Garside to master her quiet-to-loud vocal delivery perfectly, whilst Whittingham’s reverb-strewn guitar guides her along.

‘Bus Stop On Holloway Road’ hosts tender reflections on time and place, people and their situations, whilst following track ‘Beneath My Undress’ is an understated, revealing ballad. ‘In The Arms Of Flowers’ sounds as poetic as its namesake, with Garside’s whispers lulling listeners through their “darkest hour”, and the wonderfully named ‘Marybell (rides Into Town On A Pig)’ has unusual swagger for an acoustic track, with the pair’s musical and lyrical convictions painting a vivid image of Marybell astride her chosen beast.

Garside gathers her thoughts on ‘Rake’, before her hushed vocals on ‘Billows Her Skirt’ act like the breeze that moves the fabric of her garments – her harmonies rising and falling in sublime style. Penultimate track ‘Hu’u’ flows in the same vein, before ‘Ghost Boy’ closes the record on an ethereal, tuneful note.

Existing fans of Katie Jane Garside’s music will be stunned by her simplistic approach on Ruby Throat’s debut Stone Dress, and new fans will be entirely captivated by her honest, intriguing new venture. Well worth a listen.

Order your copy of Ruby Throat’s debut album Stone Dress here. Follow the band on Facebook for more updates.

Kate Crudgington
@KCBobCut

LIVE: Laura Gibson @ Queen Elizabeth Hall, 13.11.18

Having first fallen in love with Laura Gibson’s delicate, soaring vocals upon hearing 2016’s Empire Builder, it was an honour to be able to catch her live at one of my favourite London spaces last Tuesday.

Upon commencing her set at Queen Elizabeth Hall, a humble Gibson takes to the stage along with a trio of musicians, thanking us all for being there and revealing that when she creates music, she’s at her “most alone” but now – sharing her creations with us – she’s at her “most connected”. Immediately oozing her trademark spellbinding charm, and looping together layers of twinkling musicality, she treats our ears to a selection of offerings, from both her new album Goners and 2016’s aforementioned collection. From the majestic, folk-strewn melodies of the likes of ‘Slow Joke Grin’ and the sparkling splendour of ‘I Carry Water’ to the gentle, stirring emotion of ‘Damn Sure’, each poignant track tugs at the heartstrings in all the right ways.

Despite issues with a broken cable , Gibson remains calm, maintaining her charming rapport and endearing humour with the crowd throughout – “Well, the cable has been around the world with me, I guess London will be its final resting place”. And, when recalling the difficulties of touring Goners in certain European countries where the word doesn’t quite translate, her gentle wit continues to shine through.

With the majority of the set seeing Gibson at the helm of the keys, with her new material having generally more of an eclectic, musically varied sound that older offerings, she reveals that “… it’s been good to be free from the guitar strap”, before placing it over her head once more and breaking into the gritty whirring hooks of ‘Tenderness’. Succeeding in casting her spell over the crowd, Gibson’s sweeping vocals and heartfelt emotion is showcased at its more raw and spine-tinglingly powerful in (personal favourite) ‘Marjory’; a beautifully intimate offering complete with heady, soul-stirring strings courtesy of Kyleen King.

Following the closing two tracks from Goners, ‘Thomas’ and ‘I Don’t Want Your Voice To Move Me’, Gibson draws the set to a close with the glistening, uptempo sounds of Empire Builder’s ‘Not Harmless’. And all at once it becomes crystal clear that she is perfectly suited to playing in a venue of such prestige; the exquisite cinematic splendour of each and every offering matching its subtle grandeur completely.

Although I unfortunately had to make my way home before Dan Mangan took to the stage (and apparently played some wonderful songs with Laura too), what I did see of Gibson I am extremely grateful for. In a world that’s so swamped in darkness and fear at the moment, I couldn’t help but be filled with a certain sense of hope witnessing her heartfelt, exquisite grace and dreamy allure.

Mari Lane
@marimindles

Track Of The Day: The Motion – ‘Hollow’

Born and raised on the Isle Of Wight, Penny Churchill – aka The Motion – now creates their unique, emotionally driven alt-pop in South London, having studied at Goldsmiths and decided to stay in the area, drawn to its rich culture and like-minded people. A non-binary, genderqueer project, The Motion recently debuted their live show at The Gladstone Arms, before being a wonderful guest on our very own show on Hoxton Radio, and charming us all live at The Finsbury.

Now, The Motion has finally shared their dreamy debut single. Exploring post-breakup feelings and sensibilities, ‘Hollow’ flows with a shimmering soundscape as Penny’s rich, sumptuous vocals soar. Amongst swirling layers of instrumentation, an emotion-strewn haze builds to a powerful swell of glitchy whirring hooks, creating a colourful slice of psychedelic electro-pop. Combined with a raw, heartfelt lyricism, Churchill treats our ears to a glistening fusion sounds, showcasing their unique songwriting talent, marking themselves out as a definite one to watch.

Of the track, Penny expands: “‘Hollow’ is a song about exploring the mind set and feelings of space and emptiness surrounding a break up. The lyrics flip between narrating and then being in the moment, kind of like zooming in on specific moments and unpacking them.

Watch the brand new lyric video for ‘Hollow’ here:

Catch The Motion live at the following dates:

5th January: The Water Rats with Dead or Alive, London
5th February: The Finsbury Pub with Stop Look Listen, London

Mari Lane
@marimindles

EP: L.A. Witch – ‘Octubre’

With All Hallows Eve just a couple of weeks in the past, West Coast garage trio L.A. Witch bring us the appropriately named Octubre. Physically released on what the band have dubbed ‘Halloween Orange’ vinyl with a cover depicting a spider web background behind a bat perched on a headless torso, the EP combines five – mostly unreleased – tracks whose lifeless bodies have been reanimated and reworked by the band and producer Gregg Foreman.  

The record kicks off with thumping, distorted drums courtesy of percussionist Ellie English. Just at the point where the doom starts to get a little too creepy, ‘Haunting’ snaps into its sludgey bass (from Irita Pai) interspersed with top-line cymbals. Spry-sounding guitars moan all the way up the mix, enveloping Sade Sanchez’ slurred vocals like a dense fog, before a non-lyrical chorus of sharp chords shines through. The layers build as the song continues, its broken guitar effects repetitively flickering between shadow and light.

 

‘Sleep’ is a more upbeat Western style stomper, replete with a hooky tremolo lick and Sade’s old-timely croon – “Ooh baby, where did you go?” she intones. The track’s honky-tonk piano helps it capture the gothic tendencies of the Bad Old West until the ringing alarm of its middle eight leads into a surf-style guitar solo and a coda of the song’s chorus.

Next up, old style ballad with a whirly organ swing in its verses, ‘BB’s Momma’ is a deceptively simple slice of garage. On its opening half, Sade sounds like a laconic Wanda Jackson, whereas its second is a freak-out jam, combining bubbly guitar, piano thrash and stabs from the organ. Something in its jarring repetition and lyrical nihilism brings forth Murder Ballads era Bad Seeds.

Penultimate effort, ‘Heart of Darkness’, is the only track previously released – taken from a 2013 self-titled and self-released EP. Largely acoustic, it mostly consists of guitar and bass, with a single bass drum acting like a clarion, and some heavily distorted vocals. It’s another Western-esque take, as though Joseph Conrad’s tale of ivory greed and insanity has been transported to the West Coast in the 1800s, Colonel Kurtz and all.  

The EP closes with the appropriately named ‘Outro’. Also led by acoustic guitar, its waves of picked notes dovetail with electric feedback that creaks like seagulls, and ultimately winds up resembling Fleetwood Mac’s ‘Albatross’. And before you know it, it’s flown by.

Designed as more of a teaser of where the band might go in the future than necessarily a glimpse of a future output, L.A. Witch have crafted an EP that does more than just satisfy the completists. Whereas the band’s eponymous debut dealt in a straightforward blend of garage and rock ‘n’ roll, Octubre suggests a willingness to tell stories, switch up styles and blend layers of sound. And, with the nights getting colder, darker and mistier, perhaps it’s November that heralds the season of L.A. Witch.

Octubre is out now via Suicide Squeeze Records.

John McGovern
@etinsuburbiaego

Track Of The Day: Salad – ‘The Selfishness Of Love’

Having been going their separate ways for nearly twenty years, in 2017 ’90s band Salad were offered a festival date and soon reformed to start recording new material.

Of the new material, latest track ‘The Selfishness Of Love’ is the first song they recorded all together, and it showcases a band at the top of their game, despite their time apart. Filled with the scuzzy whirr of guitar and racing uptempo beats, it flows with soaring sultry vocals and swirling jangly melodies as nostalgic ’90s vibes ooze alongside a fresh, gritty energy. An instantly infectious, uplifting indie anthem, with this latest offering, Salad have proved they’re still capable of pushing sonic boundaries with a distinct, vibrant spirit.

‘The Selfishness Of Love’ is out now, and we can’t wait to hear more new material from this crisp, revived band. And, if you get there quickly, you may still be able to catch Salad live tonight at Islington O2 Academy along with GIHE faves Colour Me Wednesday.

Mari Lane
@marimindles

 

Track Of The Day: Boy Harsher – ‘Face The Fire’

Hazy electronics and sultry vocals combine in hypnotic style on Boy Harsher‘s new single ‘Face The Fire’. The Massachusetts duo have shared the track alongside the announcement of their new album Careful – set for release on February 1st via their own imprint Nude Club Records – as well as US & European live dates.

Described as “a wild ride that celebrates feelings of abandon whilst mourning attachment and love” Boy Harsher’s Careful sounds like a heavy but heartfelt listen. If new track ‘Face the Fire’ is anything to go by, the band’s new record is going to be full of beats that ricochet around dark dance floors, or lonely bedroom walls.

The single’s accompanying visuals were created by band member Augustus Muller, and present “the trappings of classic Goth culture in a serious, yet irreverent way”. Together, Augustus and Jae Matthews have overcome many obstacles to maintain Boy Harsher’s cool sound, and ‘Face The Fire’ is another example of their ability to succeed even when the odds are stacked against them.

Watch the video for the new single below and follow Boy Harsher on Facebook for more updates.

Boy Harsher 2018 EU live dates (with Kontravoid except those marked #):
21/02 Hamburg, DE – Turmzimmer
22/02 Amsterdam, NL – Melkweg
23/02 St. Maló , FR – Route Du Rock #
24/02 Bristol, UK – Lanes
25/02 Leeds, UK – Wharf Chambers
26/02 Manchester, UK – Soup Kitchen
27/02 London, UK – Electrowerkz

Pre-order Boy Harsher’s upcoming album Careful here.

Photo Credit: Samantha Casolari

Kate Crudgington
@KCBobCut

EP: Projector – ‘How Does It Feel?’

A visceral, grunge-infused exploration of love, loss and anxiety; How Does It Feel? is the knockout debut from Brighton trio Projector. Released via Roadkill Records on 9th November, the four track EP showcases the band’s ability to fuse nostalgic 90s noise with crushingly relatable modern sensibilities.

Recent single ‘Full Circle’ is an impressive opening track, and Bassist Lucy’s vocal range is beautifully showcased here. Switching between coarse, gravelly screams and clear, magnetic harmonies; her voice is enviably distinctive. Drummer Demelza’s beats drive the song to its conclusion, alongside Edward’s spiraling guitar sounds. It bleeds in to ‘I Am Shamed’, which is a raging onslaught of furious, fx-soaked riffs. Edward’s vocals take center stage here, giving the track an urgent, manic dimension.

The band’s earlier single ‘Break Your Own Heart’ is just as infectious after multiple listens. It’s a thundering, three and a half minute blur of aggressive, melodic sound. Closing track ‘Let Me’ is an ode to mutual self-destruction. “Let me ruin you, I’ll let you ruin me too” sings Lucy, an invitation that’s underscored by brooding bass lines and more of Demelza’s perfect percussion. It bookends a brief but blistering record that’s been crafted with aggressive intricacy.

So, ‘How Does It Feel’ listening to Projector’s debut EP? It feels pretty fucking good. We recommend you invest your listening time in the Brighton trio, and that you catch them live at Moth Club on 10th November. Tickets are available on DICE now.

Order your copy of ‘How Does It Feel?’ here. Follow Projector on Facebook for more updates.

Photo Credit: Jessie Morgan

Kate Crudgington
@KCBobCut