Five Favourites: Oh Baby

Having charmed our ears with the slick sounds of their last single ‘Cruel Intention’, London-Manchester duo Oh Baby are set to release their new album Hey Genius later this month.

Consisting of Jen Devereux and Rick Hornby, the duo have now shared another taster of the forthcoming album. ‘L.I.A.R‘ flows with a swirling, euphoric haze as Devereux’s rich, sultry vocals are accompanied by a majestic, ’80s-inspired glitchy drive. An utterly captivating, truly blissful, summer anthem leaving us eager to hear the album in full.

We think one of the best ways to get to know an artist is by asking what music inspired them to write in the first place. So, to mark the release of Hey Genius later this month, we caught up with Jen to ask about her “Five Favourites” – five songs that have shaped her as a musician. Check out her choices below and scroll down to listen to new single ‘L.I.A.R’.

Philip Oakley & Giorgio Moroder – ‘Together In Electric Dreams’
As far back as I can remember I have had a major thing for this song and it still has the same effect on me now when listening to it that it did the first time I heard its muffled tone playing through my bedroom wall from the next door room. It made my world stop for a second. It’s melancholic but euphoric and romantic all at once, a combination I still find fascinating. Right from the first notes of the intro, I swear my heart beats a little faster wherever I am. The rising chord progression is totally addictive. The other worldly “together in electric dreams” lyric captivated me, whilst the melody underneath was lifting, the sentiment was lost lovers and missed nights together – this juxtaposition turned something on in me which has never turned off. The classic fade out where the vocal continues makes you feel like you’re being dragged away from the party early, doing its job brilliantly. For me it’s been an unfaltering musical constant, showing that perfection can exist in its own way, and this for me, is it. I guess this was my first introduction to Phil Oakey, Giorgio Moroder and electronic music in general, little did I know how important the tiny markers this song would leave on me would be. 

Cole Porter – ‘You’re The Top’
I got taken to musicals in London when I was young and I found the excitement of being inside a theatre pretty intoxicating. I suppose that, coupled with seeing the cliched ‘big city lights’ in sharp contrast to the endless grey North I mostly experienced growing up, made it all the more attractive. The smell of it, the sounds, the stage, the orchestra pit, the hum of a settling audience, the lights through darkness, I loved it. It was three hours of escapism and like a shot of liquid gold. Granted, the music written for musicals is pretty far removed from the stuff Rick and I are writing now but Cole Porter especially has a mesmerising way with words and how he marries them together – it’s a pure joy to listen to. I’m not ashamed to say I still know every word from this musical Anything Goes, but this particular song stands out. It’s totally relentless; it illustrated to me rhythm, rhyme and humour, also the art of the call and answer, how the opposites, the dark and light, are all so important in good music. He’s a clever sod. 

Madonna – ‘Borderline’
So this track evokes the smell of hot tarmac pavements and roadworks, petrol fumes, long hot summers when the back door seemed to be constantly open – carefree hanging around, freshly mown grass, back to back houses on endless streets, but most importantly being in love with a particular older girl on the street who just so happened to be obsessed with Madonna. ‘Borderline’ naturally became my soundtrack to all of the above. Her young American voice sounded so exotic, cutting into my life like a bolt of lightning. It woke me up to what I wanted on many levels; back then I had no way of knowing how I could get it, but knowing you actually do want something is a bloody good start. The sound of that bass line coupled with her high vocal riding over was so alluring and so sexy. I had no clue what it was all about but as a result of that feeling it gave me, I was and still remain totally hooked. 

Kate Bush – ‘Running Up That Hill’  
A huge amount of what intrigues me and makes me feel something, also scares me. Strong women, whilst being totally inspiring, also scared me half to death, and Kate Bush was no exception. Watching her red lips and masses of dark hair and her untouchable womanly persona – the strangeness of this music video too – I found it wonderfully terrifying. I liken it to sitting through a horror film with your eyes closed and fingers in your ears, you don’t want to see or hear it but you can’t switch it off as there’s a part of the whole experience that is totally thrilling. This track is the one that is just too damn good. I’m not a massive fan of the over used label ‘genius’, but I think this track certainly warrants the word to be close by. As soon as I hear the first beat it’s slightly overwhelming to be honest. The drums, that lyric, those sounds she’s recorded using a bloody Fairlight. Oh bugger it, it’s genius. Now, she really is a clever sod. 

The Police – ‘Every Little Thing She Does Is Magic’
My older brother had a house party – I’m seven years younger, so this for me was brilliant. For a lot of his friends it was their first proper party they’d have been to with girls and boys and music and stolen alcohol, so that electric young teenage excitement was palpable. I felt and heard it all through the floorboards of my bedroom and I totally soaked it up. They played The Police Greatest Hits – loud. I didn’t sleep, I just listened – I can’t have been more than 7 or 8 years old. I asked some of the older kids about the music they’d been playing the next morning and that was my introduction to one of the greatest bands I know. This particular song is just wonderful. Only three people, making that sound, the way he sings over that fade out outro with yet another melody – “it’s a big enough umbrella but it’s always me that ends up getting wet” – what can I say. The way Copeland smacks the living daylights out of that snare, the weird piano, I mean come on. Let’s hope even a tiny amount of greatness from this possibly seeps into what we do as Oh Baby, ‘cos put this on and I. Will. Dance.

Massive thanks to Jen from Oh Baby for sharing her Five Favourites! Upcoming album Hey Genius is set for release on 23rd July via Burning Witches Records. Pre-order here and listen to new single ‘L.I.A.R’ below:

You can also catch Oh Baby live at The Lexington to celebrate their album release on 23rd July. Tickets here.

Photo Credit: Karen Hornby

LISTEN: Cuntrie & Elsa Carmona – ‘Dear Sadness’

A sweetly sung, 80s inspired new tune; Cuntrie & Elsa Carmona have shared their first collaboration together, titled ‘Dear Sadness’. Accompanied by a video the pair co-directed, the track showcases Cuntrie & Carmona’s beautiful vocal ranges, and their ability to bring an eccentric lightness to a heavy subject.

Speaking about the track, Carmona explains: “Treating sadness as a friend was the inspiration for this song, and the polarity of that. I am a person who cries easily when I get too stressed, and that usually becomes my healing. We wanted to play with the idea of sadness being a Goddess that you pray to. Or turning sadness into a ritual as a way of gaining control. As a teen I actually had my own homemade Barbie voodoo doll…”

The pair’s playful and melancholic tendencies helped to shape ‘Dear Sadness’ into a bitter sweet music video, which Cuntrie says she’s very proud of: “I think we both have been dreaming about doing a video like this, and as soon as we started talking about it we just had to create it. It’s the perfect mixture between mystical, beautiful and silly. We filmed everything ourselves in a friend’s studio. The editing was my absolute favourite part to do.”

Watch the video for ‘Dear Sadness’ below, and follow Cuntrie & Elsa Carmona on Spotify for more updates.

Photo Credit: Ebba G. Ågren

Kate Crudgington
@KCBobCut

FIVE FAVOURITES: Boy Harsher

We’re no strangers to the dark, heated sounds of electronic two piece, Boy Harsher. Together, Augustus Muller (synths/percussion) and Jae Matthews (vocals) have released two albums and two EPs since their inception in 2014. Their songs brim with beats designed to ricochet around smoky dance-floors or lonely bedroom walls. The Massachusetts duo blend nostalgic 80s percussion with sharp modern production to create an immersive, magnetic listening experience.

We think one of the best ways to get to know a band is by asking what music inspired them to write in the first place. We caught up with Jae to ask her about her “Five Favourites” – five albums that have influenced her song writing techniques. Check out her choices below, and scroll down to watch Boy Harsher’s video for ‘Send Me a Vision’ at the end of this post.

1. Annie Lennox – MEDUSA
When I was a child, during a rocky divorce, my mom would listen to this album nonstop. Luckily, I was at the age where it wasn’t lame to sing along with your mom, and boy, did we get into it! On a subconscious level, these songs (Annie Lennox in general) gave me this attachment to a contralto voice in contemporary music. DIVA and MEDUSA both got equal play, but my story with MEDUSA is a bit embarrassing. I didn’t realize the songs were all covers, so when years later I heard the originals (like Bob Marley’s ‘Waiting in Vain’ or Al Green’s ‘Take Me to the River’) I was a bit shocked.

2. Nirvana – Nevermind
A classic. I made my dad buy this CD at a garage sale, which he did – yet later took away, due to “it’s graphic nature”. A stubborn child, I found it and hid away with my new love and Walkman. ‘Something in the Way’ really rocked my core. I was a lonely pre-teenager and I remember this music kept me company in a very real way. Now, I can’t listen without getting very nostalgic.

3. Pixies – Doolittle
Okay – this one is tough. It’s a tie between this and Cat Power’s Moon Pix. Both took up the same space in high school. I would listen to ‘Debaser’, literally SCREAMING along with my first crush. Then, later when home, would listen to ‘Metal Heart’ (lol) and cry, because she would never love me. Ah, the drama. I needed a support system for understanding my sexuality and processing my Father’s death. Both albums are amazing in their ability to muster emotion; sometimes flippant or mean, often raw and always very authentic.

4. Troller – Troller
I left the Northeast for graduate school and moved South. It was the furthest I had ever been from my family. It was a really amazing, lonely time. After attending SXSW in 2013, my musical understanding totally changed. I became a devotee of label Holodeck’s projects (Thousand Foot Whale Claw, Survive, Boan, Smokey Emery) and Troller. This is the first physical RECORD that I ever bought. Listened to it over and over – it still makes me think of Savannah, the rain, smoking inside, kissing.

5. Circuit Des Yeux – Overdue
After living in Savannah for a couple years, myself and my partner starting booking shows. We focused mainly on projects that centered on experimentation, some noise, and no drums. We booked Circuit Des Yeux on their first US tour in a small dive bar in downtown Savannah. Far too few people came. It was such an amazing performance. The way Haley used her voice was really inspiring to me – startling even. I began to understand the voice and body as an instrument, a performance tool. This really impacted the way that I sought to use my voice.

Photo Credit: Zach Hart

Track Of The Day: HOST – ‘Taste of Your Love’

An electro-pop gem that contemplates the short-comings of an unhealthy romance; Irish artist Host has shared her new single ‘Taste of Your Love’. Taken from her upcoming debut EP Adolescent Content (set for release later this year) the synth-pop star channels her love of bands like Diiv, Wolf Alice, The Japanese House, and The Cure on her new tune.

Speaking about her new track, Host explains: “Have you ever had someone you really care about do something so idiotic that it makes you look at them in a completely different light? ‘Taste of Your Love’ is that lingering bad impression that I just couldn’t shake, and everything built with this person, this solid foundation, just turned to quicksand. It’s sad really… this idiot, that you still adore nonetheless, has now forced you to cut them out and change your entire life.”

Despite its sad premise, we guarantee Host’s new single will have you up and dancing around your bedroom in no time. Listen to ‘Taste of Your Love’ below and follow Host on Facebook for more updates.

Kate Crudgington
@KCBobCut