Five Favourites: Annabel Allum

After seeing Annabel Allum support Australian songwriter Stella Donnelly earlier this year at The Lexington, we knew her talent would take her to the places she wanted to be. She’s been gigging relentlessly this year, with spots at Reading Festival, BBC Radio 1’s Biggest Weekend, The Great Escape and Boardmasters and more, and now she’s heading out on a headline tour of the UK.

We caught up with Annabel to ask her about her “Five Favourites” – Five artists or albums that have influenced her songwriting technique. Check out her responses below and make sure you head down to one of her tour dates too.

1. ‘The Velvet Underground & Nico’ 
The sounds, the experimental element of it. Just the whole feel of this record stands very close to me. It always has done. Every track has a very vivid memory or feeling.

2. Janis Joplin
Her energy and freedom inspire me to let go, her attitude does too. What a woman. And her voice- fucking hell. Not gonna try and use words to explain that one.

3. The XX – ‘XX’
This record always reminds me that less can be more. Space in music is valid, and I don’t always need to fill it.

4. The Mouldy Peaches
Haha, I don’t care what any of my musician friends say, I fucking love the Mouldy Peaches. They remind me to stop taking myself so fucking seriously and singing about real life tiny funny experiences is good. And being loose as a band can be fucking cool too. They’re brilliant.

5. Jimi Hendrix – ‘Are You Experienced?’
Because it reminds me to stop thinking about what is musically correct. I know fuck all music theory, but I know what sounds and feels good.

Annabel Allum UK October 2018 Tour Dates
13th – Crofters Rights – Bristol
15th – Sticky Mikes – Brighton
16th – The Shed (Vault Stage) – Leicester
18th – The Hifi Club – Leeds
19th – Cuban Embassy – Birmingham
20th – SWN Fest – Cardiff
29th – Studio 2 – Liverpool
30th – Moth Club – London

Photo Credit: Caitlin Traetto

Kate Crudgington
@KCBobCut

Premiere: Emma Lohan – ‘Three Sparrows’

Galway songwriter Emma Lohan has shared her latest single ‘Three Sparrows’ ahead of the release of her debut album Black Atlantic on 25th October. The track is a nod to her “lyrical hero” Shane MacGowan of the Pogues, and is accompanied by a beautiful stop-motion video directed by Marta Barcikowska.

Filled with double entendre, ‘Three Sparrows’ is “an escape encapsulating a dangerous love affair” along the stormy Salthill Promenade of Emma’s hometown in Galway. Emma’s fusion of folk and romance combine beautifully here, making ‘Three Sparrows’ a charming, gentle listen.

Emma will be playing a headline show to celebrate the release of Black Atlantic on October 25th at NT’s Bar in London Fields. She’ll also be playing a show on October 26th in Wales, at the Small World Puppet Theatre. Watch the wonderful video for ‘Three Sparrows’ below and follow Emma Lohan on Facebook for more updates.

Kate Crudgington
@KCBobCut

Track Of The Day: Nimmo – ‘Orange Skies’

The fear of being forgotten permeates London-based electronic outfit Nimmo‘s latest track ‘Orange Skies’. Produced by Maya Jane Coles, the single is taken from the band’s upcoming EP Songs From The Credits, which is set to be independently released in November, and is accompanied by a self-directed set of visuals.

Nimmo are comprised of best friends, musicians & vocalists Sarah Nimmo and Reva Gauntlett, and together they create sharply produced, lo-fi electronic sounds. Talking about their latest track ‘Orange Skies’ in a recent interview with The FADER, Sarah explains: “[it’s] a song about the paranoia of dying and not having control over the way you’re remembered.” This theme of uncertainty and a need for some form of control is brought to the forefront on Nimmo’s upcoming EP. The duo are using their independent release to promote their renewed ethos of putting friends, family and their network of London-based queer creative collaborators first.

The accompanying video for ‘Orange Skies’ is set on a concrete football pitch from Sarah and Reva’s childhood, and sees friends and relatives pass through the band’s own funeral. Having spent the year playing European festival shows, Nimmo are now back to releasing music on their own terms. Watch the video for ‘Orange Skies’ below and follow Nimmo on Facebook for more updates.

Kate Crudgington
@KCBobCut

VIDEO PREMIERE: Corina Corina – ‘Toothbrush’

Alt-r&b singer Corina Corina knows how painful a breakup can be, but in her new video for ‘Toothbrush’ she’s managed to transform the pain in to a wonderfully choreographed set of dance motifs. The song is an anthem that “raises a middle finger to an ex with no apologies, no shame, and not an ounce of victimhood” – something we can definitely get behind.

Corina Corina has been working on the ‘Toothbrush’ video since 2016, when she initially scrapped the first incarnation of the video, and start over when she met Brooklyn-based modern dance choreographer Nicole Assanti (Nikki and the Noise Dance Company). Nicole understood her vision, and  together the pair styled and produced the visuals, which were co-directed by Zach Surprenant (Mighty Productive Media). The result is a fierce and poetic piece of modern dance sound-tracked by an equally as fierce new track.

Watch the video for ‘Toothbrush’ below and follow Corina Corina on Facebook for more updates.

Find Corina Corina on:
Spotify
Twitter
Instagram
Corina Corina.com

Kate Crudgington
@KCBobCut

Track Of The Day: Eliza Shaddad – ‘Just Goes To Show’

Hazy, nostalgic Prom visuals form the video for Eliza Shaddad‘s latest single ‘Just Goes To Show’, which is taken from her upcoming album Future, released on 26th October via Beatnik Creative. Directed by Patrick Taylor and shot in one of Eliza’s favourite venues in London, the video was a bit of a dream come true scenario for Eliza: “the song has always felt like the kind of thing that would be playing in one of those terrible but incredible 90’s movie’s prom scenes, and so I was dying to make a video that played on that.”

Eliza’s shimmering new tune is actually about the heart-cracking, desperate feeling you have just as you’re being broken up with. “Like many songs on the album [‘Just Goes To Show’] deals with themes of escape and regret, but in a rare case here it’s from the perspective of the person being left behind” explains Eliza. It’s these personal, melancholy touches and Eliza’s wonderful reverb-strewn, melodic guitar sounds that make listening to her music so enjoyable.

Eliza will be heading out on a European tour in support of her new album release this November, so make sure you catch her on one of the dates listed below. Watch the video for ‘Just Goes To Show’ and follow Eliza on Facebook for more updates.

Pre-order your copy of Future here.

Eliza Shaddad European Tour Dates 2018
November 26th – London, OSLO
November 29th – Glasgow, The ATTIC
December 10th – Hamburg – Nochtwache
December 11th – Berlin – Privatclub
December 13th – Baden – Zum Alten Hasen
December 14th – Nyon – La Parenthese
December 15th – Paris – Le 1999

Photo Credit: Mel Tjeong

Kate Crudgington
@KCBobCut

Track Of The Day: Guttfull – ‘Tits and Nails’

London punks GUTTFULL are flicking the V at cat-callers and their pathetic behaviour in their new video for single ‘Tits and Nails’. Shot & Directed by our faves The Menstrual Cramps, the visuals feature front-woman Momoe tackling her harassers* head on (*Beth & Robyn from TMCs), as well as footage of the band performing live.

Taken from their debut album of the same name (released 10th November via Loud Women Records), ‘Tits and Nails’ is a joyously scathing punk-sax anthem that takes the piss out of the pervasive nature of street harassment. It’s a welcome antidote to all the bullshit women and girls have to put up with when going about their daily routine – delivered with sass, rage, glitter and grit.

GUTTFULL will be celebrating the release of their debut album on the 10th of November at The Hope and Anchor (RSVP here). After their recent knockout performance at Loud Women Festival, you don’t want to miss out on their riotous live performances. Watch the video for ‘Tits and Nails’ below and follow GUTTFULL on Facebook for more updates.

GUTTFULL 2018 Live Dates
13 Oct – The Loud Women (3rd Birthday Party), N1
27 Oct – The Railway, Southend-on-Sea (with T-Bitch)
10 Nov – Tits and Nails album launch, Hope & Anchor, N1, (with Jemma Freeman and the Cosmic Something and more)

Kate Crudgington
@KCBobCut

INTERVIEW: She Makes War

Bristol-based artist She Makes War (aka Laura Kidd) has been busy creating music that fuses fun and freedom over the last few years. Her buoyant attitude and blistering guitar riffs have seen her build a loyal following across the UK, and with the release of her new album Brace For Impact just around the corner (October 5th), it seems this following is set to multiply further. We caught up with Laura to talk about her new record, her upcoming UK tour, the good & bad sides of social media, and why it’s worth giving DIY recording a shot…

Your new single ‘Devastate Me’ is a total banger. Can you talk about the inspiration behind the track?
Thank you! I’ve always written music about the dissonance caused by living a digital life in an analogue body, and for me that’s really increased in the last few years. Social media has enabled me to build an audience, but even as someone who is aware of its negative effects and strives to keep a balance, it has had an increasingly terrible effect on my ability to concentrate, and I hate that I spend too much time scrolling and too much time reading stuff that I don’t need to read.

‘Devastate Me’ questions the intention behind our obsession with sharing – it’s not that I don’t think we should share at all, but I’d like us to ask ourselves why we’re doing it. I see reflexive photography everywhere – people not even giving themselves a moment to see what’s in front of them before snapping it. I think learning to be present is so important, and being on your phone when spending time with loved ones is the height of rudeness.

All that is why the video is a bouncy tribute to analogue communication and community spaces – the local postbox I send all my merch orders from, an old red phonebox turned into a book swap and food bank donations hub, a wooden boat in the kids play area of my local pub garden and St Nicholas Market, all in Bristol.

You’re due to release your new album Brace For Impact on October 5th. What can fans expect from your new record?
An exhilarating, riffy journey through my thoughts on love, loss, grief, body image, self confidence and mindfulness. Chunky guitars, beautiful strings and heartfelt lyrics.

That sounds great! I read that you overcame a broken foot in order to write this record?
Yes! Everything was going really well with the release of my third album Direction Of Travel, I was happy, I was running long distances, I was getting booked to play exciting gigs and festivals and then BAM! I had an accident and was struck down. That was a really tough summer. I’m very proud of this album because it’s a result of me working through a reasonably deep depression and lethargy caused by shock, physical pain and resentment at my situation, working super hard to regain my mobility through near-daily yoga and making myself sit down and write the songs amidst all sorts of financial concerns.

Once an album is finished and I get a bit of time and space away from it I can slowly start to view it as something separate from me, and each one has its own distinct character. Brace For Impact is the most expansive album I’ve ever made, it’s kind and big hearted and urgent and strong and beautiful.

It’s great that you took something so negative and turned it in to something so positive! Do you have a favourite track on the album?
I love them all very much, but at the moment my favourite song is ‘Strong Enough’, which I wrote about two specific peoples’ experiences, but is a message to anyone going through a mental health crisis. All of the new songs are stories from real life that have a more far reaching message of care for all concerned.

‘Love This Body’ is another favourite – the riff is so grinding and intense and the lyrics are about how devastating it is to me that people – women in particular – spend so much time worrying about what they look like. The song is about myself; I’ve had issues about this stuff from a young age and only recently have started to come to terms with the fact that my body shape is nothing to be ashamed of or to hide. People can be very cruel. We live in a society where airbrushed semi-naked female bodies are in our faces all the time via advertising, and band photos regularly depict the male members fully clothes and the women crouching down in hot-pants and platform heels. What are we supposed to do with all this information?

You’re embarking on a tour to promote the album, with our favourites Dream Nails and The Menstrual Cramps joining you on a couple of dates. What is it you like about these bands? How did you come across them?
Their energy, their freedom and the fact they care so much about spreading their message. Music has to be far more than some pretty noise coming out of some pretty faces to hold my interest. I’d been hearing about them online for ages, so when it was time to put together a bill for the album tour it was obvious who to ask. I’m just lucky they were available! The tour spreads across three weeks so on the first leg I’m joined by Eliza Rickman, an incredible artist from the US, the following week is with Dream Nails and the last four shows are with The Menstrual Cramps. I can’t wait!

What are your anticipations for this tour?
I love performing live, and while I find it impossible to write and record around gigging, it’s frustrating having to miss out on that audience connection for long periods of time when I’m making albums. I start feeling like I’ve disappeared! A lot of the venues on the list are old favourites, so it’ll be great to return with my incredible live band and knock peoples’ socks off around the country.

You record in your own bedroom studio in Bristol. Would you recommend this DIY approach to other girls or women who are looking to record their own music? What are the pros and cons of this method?
I write and demo all my songs at home, yes. I write while recording actually, so as not to forget anything but also to be able to easily play around with arrangements and parts. Once a rough demo is done I go back and do a “posh demo”, where I write and record all the parts – drums, bass, guitar, keyboards, lead vocals, backing vocals…then when the time comes I take all this into affordable studios to re-create them bigger and better with the help of my brilliant engineer.

I love working in this way because I can be as creative and take as much time over the initial writing and production as I like, without having to explain to anyone why I want another five vocal tracks or whatever, and carefully craft every note in the arrangement for maximum emotional resonance. It saves a lot of expensive studio time, because I know what I’m going to be recording, but also means the end result sounds exactly how I want. Of course, extra ideas will pop into my head when I’m in the nice studio, but they’re just the icing on the cake because the main work is done.

I’d recommend to people of all genders to learn to record themselves, whether that’s in a really simple and basic way or more involved. Anyone can learn to do simple multi-track recording, and it’s always better to have at least a little bit of technical knowledge when you’re working with someone else so you can explain to them what you’d like to achieve. More than anything though, I’d like to see people admitting that they don’t know everything, and realising that’s ok! What’s the point in staying quiet and pretending you know something because you think you’ll embarrass yourself in front of someone else? If that person is rude because you admit you don’t know how to do something, find someone else to work with. It’s better to learn by doing.

What’s the Bristol music scene like? How does it compare to other cities you’ve played in?
I hear about this elusive Bristol music scene a lot (usually from interviewers!), but I’ve never really seen it…there are a few artists who are doing their own thing very well, and perhaps there are micro scenes localised to friendship groups, but unfortunately we don’t have many small venues for people to come up in and start gathering an audience together from, so I’m really glad I started my project in London. Having moved here from Herne Hill six years ago, Bristol still feels tiny to me. It’s definitely my home, and I love living here, but musically I think of it as my creative HQ and my jumping off point to travel everywhere else. It’s always lovely to return though, and it’s worked out brilliantly that the big hometown gig is happening on the last night of the tour. It’s going to be a big party!

Your visuals seem equally as important as your music when it comes to your performances. Is this part of your “make art in every day life” ethos? Can you talk about the inspiration behind this?
The music is by far the most important thing when it comes to my performances, but I made the decision a long time ago to use the opportunity to dress up and create something different from the everyday for my shows, something that matched the drama and glitter of my songs. It’s not a different character – it’s the real me, just…more! I do try and lead as creative a life as possible, on and offstage, it makes everything feel more meaningful and satisfying. I struggle with unanticipated dips in mood like everyone else, and I find it’s those little things that really help centre me again and give me focus. I write in a diary most days, I draw and I try to take beautiful photographs.

Finally, As a new music blog, we’re always looking for recommendations about new bands and artists we should be listening to. Who are you listening to at the moment?
I’m excited about upcoming albums from Marissa Nadler, Cat Power and Suede, the new Breeders album is INCREDIBLE and I find myself returning again and again to both Marika Hackman albums, Memories Are Now by Jesca Hoop (the rest of her albums are stellar too) and my beloved Nirvana, Pixies and Blur.

Huge thanks to Laura for answering our questions!

Pre-order She Makes War’s new album Brace For Impact here.
Grab your tickets for one of her tour dates here & follow She Makes War on Facebook for more updates.

Photo Credit: Ania Shrimpton

Kate Crudgington
@KCBobCut