INTERVIEW: A. A. Williams

Due to an admin error, I’m running twenty minutes late when I get through to A. A. Williams to chat about her new album, Forever Blue, on Skype. I apologise and self-flagellate saying I hate to keep people waiting, but she’s genuinely not bothered by the tardiness and like me, she also can’t deal with being late herself. I feel instantly at ease.

“Is it alright to do this off camera?” she asks. “I did an online interview the other day where I spent about 15 minutes watching this lovely Dutch man waiting for me to un-mute my microphone, because I couldn’t do it for love nor money at the time. I just watched his face for 15 minutes thinking ‘this guy must hate me'”. It’s reassuring to hear someone else is a little fatigued and confused by the “new normal” of interviewing via video conferencing software. “I’d rather just go for a cup of tea to be honest.” She can’t see me, but I nod so enthusiastically it’s embarrassing. I quickly laugh and say I often feel like a budgie pecking at its own reflection in a toy mirror when I’m sat on a group video call, so I’m happy to chat off camera.

For those who don’t know, A. A. Williams is a classically trained, multi-talented musician whose blending of post-rock and post-classical elements makes for exquisitely raw listening. She released her self-titled EP in January 2019 via Holy Roar and is set to release her debut album Forever Blue via Bella Union on 3rd July. Before the UK went in to lockdown in March, she gave her debut performance at Southbank Centre’s Purcell Room. “We were like Indiana Jones sliding under the door coming down, we only just got that gig done” she jokes. “It felt like an unwritten cut off point. It seemed to be a lot of people’s last show, and I’m glad I got that in before it all went a bit wrong.”

Williams recalls feeling “nervous as hell” on the night, despite the show nearly selling out. “I’m not that great at remembering gigs to be honest, I remember going on stage and going off stage. The stuff that happens in the middle is a slightly out of body situation. But having the cellists with me for the whole show was beautiful. It was a dream come true, if I could do that for every gig, I would.”

We talk about how a venue like Southbank Centre is built for classical music and a perfect way to experience her sublimely dark sounds. “It’s a bit of a luxury to play somewhere like that to be honest. People spend millions of pounds acoustically designing these rooms, so they’re fabulous. They’re a joy to watch music in to. You can take your drink, sit down, relax. It’s a nice change from squished sweaty venues. A little bit of the high life.”

Unfortunately, for both musicians and their fans this “high life” has been abruptly put on hold due to the current pandemic. Southbank Centre’s doors are shut, as are the squished smaller venues across the UK during lockdown. To keep herself busy during this gig-less period, Williams has worked on her “Songs From Isolation” series. She shared monochrome videos of her covering tracks by Radiohead, Deftones, Nick Cave, and Nine Inch Nails.

“I put up a message on my Instagram saying I would like to do some piano-based songs to try and use my time and be productive” she explains. “I thought people would be like ‘Hey, can you play ‘Belong’?’ but instead they were like ‘Hey, can you play Nick Cave?’ It wasn’t what I had planned, but it was actually a really nice surprise. Lots of people suggested the same artists, so it was a nice challenge to try and choose a song that would be right for my voice, and that I felt I could do some justice to. I didn’t want to choose something super obscure.”

I ask about her process for deconstructing each song, and wedge in that my personal favourite is her cover of Nine Inch Nails’ ‘Everyday Is Exactly The Same’, which she says took her the longest to work out. “First, I’ll figure out the chords, lyrics, and structure on the original. Then I figure out if I need to change the key to accommodate my voice, which I didn’t need to do on NIN, which was great! I listen out for any motifs rhythmically or melodically. With these covers, I didn’t want to risk it ending up like karaoke. I was trying to keep as far enough away from the original so that we wouldn’t end up in that place. Sometimes it’s easy, sometimes it takes forever, but I think it’s worth it either way.”

I ask if Trent Reznor reached out to her after she shared the cover, even though he maintains a relatively elusive presence online (and is obviously incredibly busy). “No, but I wish he had! I mean, there’s only so many times you can tweet ‘@trentreznor here’s my cover’, you know? I like to think that maybe he stumbled across it. I figured if he hated it, maybe he’d have got in touch? So it’s good that he didn’t I suppose.”

Williams’ appreciation of Reznor’s silence interests me. It suggests a natural patience and intuition for things. Her music is a beautiful balance between loud and quiet, heavy and soft, captivating and alarming. Her sensitivity to volume is what makes the drop-ins on tracks like ‘Melt’ feel so powerful. She recorded most of Forever Blue from her home studio in her North London flat, something which again requires patience and intuition.

“What’s nice is that you can do it any time you want. During the summertime I wake up early because the sun comes into the flat, and I pop in to the other room and start noodling away on demos at 5am, much to the disdain of my neighbours. I’ll record it – albeit not very well – and use that as a base to start to layer a few things in and get some ideas for some secondary melodic parts. In the process of doing that, I end up recording things that often end up being on the album. So, even though they’re part of the demo process, through the process of exploring what works for a song, some of those demo parts end up staying, which is nice.”

This freedom extends into Williams’ recording of vocals too. “I find recording vocals probably the most high pressure. Sometimes, if you’re recording them in a studio and you’ve got lots of people around you, and you’ve got to get however many songs recorded in a day, it’s nicer to be able to take your time at home. I can take as long over that as I want. Having said that, I do live with the bleed of delivery drivers, motorbikes, screaming kids and all sorts of other average London sounds. There’s a hospital just down my street, so there’s probably an ambulance recorded somewhere on the album, along with my dog who has a habit of barking during vocal takes. Have you ever heard a dog bark down your headphones? Oh my god, it is painful. It’s so loud with all the delay and the reverb – if he heard it he’d probably think it was the best thing ever.”

I can’t resist asking what kind of dog she owns.

“He’s a long-haired dachshund. He’s just had his hair cut, he’s very happy with himself. He’s the only person I know in lockdown who’s managed to get a haircut.” As a fellow dachshund owner, it takes all my will power not to turn the interview into an extended piece on why dachshunds are the greatest dogs in the world.

“But yeah, there’s a lot of pros about working from home, but the negatives are always going to be that you’re going to have sound bleeding and you’ll have to spend more time on eliminating that.”

I ask Williams if she has a favourite track on Forever Blue. “That’s hard! That’s not fair, that’s like asking which is your favourite child” she laughs. “I’m not sure. I think in a way, one of my favourites is ‘I’m Fine’ which is the last song. I don’t really know why, it found this accidental place at the end of the album. You land in a hopeful place, it’s not all doom and gloom. It’s a small simple song, but I find songs like that quite cathartic to listen to.

Having said that, I find songs like ‘Love and Pain’ and ‘Melt’ very enjoyable to listen to, partly because I associate them as songs to perform live. The joy of just making lots of noise, let’s be honest, is just great. There is something very cathartic about sticking all the pedals on and making a racket, it’s a very therapeutic experience. I love playing ‘Melt’ live. When we were playing earlier in the year, we’d play it in the middle of the set, and finish with ‘Control’ because I figured if the crowd were going to know any of my songs, it’d probably be that one. But now because of the album, I have the excuse to finish with ‘Melt’ and have all the crazy drums at the end. I’m very excited about eventually being able to get out and play it again. Show it off a bit.”

I ask Williams to reflect on a sentiment she expressed in an interview with Metal Hammer in 2019. She’s quoted as saying “you have to take risks if you want people to take it seriously and be interested” when talking about her EP. I ask about what “risks” she took on Forever Blue.

“There are always going to be people who are doubtful of their output, and people who are going to be confident, and I am the typically doubtful kind. This stuff being out in the world is kind of a risk, to a point. I can’t imagine anyone would make an album and not care if anyone liked it. They want people to embrace it and find a place for it in their own listening.

Including guest vocalists on this album has been an element of risk I suppose. I want people to think it’s an added texture that I couldn’t provide myself.” Forever Blue features guest vocals from Johannes Persson (Cult Of Luna) on ‘Fearless’, Fredrik Kihlberg (Cult Of Luna) on ‘Glimmer’ and Tom Fleming (ex-Wild Beasts) on ‘Dirt’. “As long as you just trust your gut, hopefully that will pay off. I think that’s the only way to do it” Williams explains. “Otherwise I’d never do anything. I’d be worried too much, and I’d just stay at home, staring out the window, being scared of things.”

This fearlessness is something that extends in to Williams’ music and lyricism. Her ambiguous words and fluctuating volume levels are what make Forever Blue such a captivating listen. “Let’s be honest, sometimes volume is great, but you do need a break”, she explains. “In terms of the lyrics, I think my base level of misery is lower than your average person, so I don’t look at those lyrics and go ‘wow, that person’s miserable’, but I can see how some people might. I think everyone’s on a scale with this stuff, but ultimately, it’s just the human condition. Finding someone who’s permanently happy – apart from my dog – is not possible.

People will read into the lyrics in different ways, and that’s what I want them to do. I remember when I first played my Mum my EP, she said, ‘are you worried about coming across as vulnerable?’ and I wasn’t really. I don’t mind being open and honest. These songs are how I feel, and that’s fine. I can’t write from someone else’s perspective. Hopefully people can kind of make it their own a little bit. It becomes a little bit more personal.”

Another interesting fact about Williams in the Metal Hammer interview is that she found a guitar on the street one day with a note saying, “please take me, just needs work”. After a friend performed guitar surgery on the abandoned squire telecaster, Williams – who’s originally a trained cellist – began teaching herself to play it by “mucking around” writing songs. I ask if she has any advice for any musicians who are thinking of learning a new instrument, or anyone who’s learning to play for the first time.

“Even if you’re starting something completely from scratch, it’s so worth it. It’s easy to be frustrated if it doesn’t sound incredible immediately. The amount of times I’ve picked up something and gone ‘I’m gonna learn to do this! Oh look, I’m awful, goodbye…’ Learning instruments takes years, and years and years, but some instruments are much more approachable than others. Guitar, piano, even if you buy a new Mac laptop, it comes with garage band. You can immediately start making little loops and beats, you don’t have to have a clue what’s going on. It’s all there. Just start mucking around with it, just to get your head around the basic elements of what makes a song. You don’t have to be a whizz instrumentalist. You’re not going to get good at it over night, but if you’re doing it for you, that’s cool. If you want to write songs and you’ve got something to say, just do it. Who cares if the chords sound a bit weird? It’s just practice and becoming confident, and thinking that it matters to you.”

Williams’ passion for artistic expression extends beyond music too. “All art is worth it. Whether you doodle, write poems, make little videos – whatever it is – it doesn’t matter. It’s so important to try to give yourself time to do this. Even if it’s just for fun, and you don’t plan on ever showing it to anyone. It’s a really great experience to just sit down, just you and your brain and a piece of art that you’re making. I have no idea what I’d do if I wasn’t a musician. I’m so glad that I operate in an artistic field. I don’t know what I’d do without it.”

I ask Williams what music (aside from her own) she’s been listening to during the lockdown period. She listens to Perturbator when trying to motivate herself to “get on with things”, but her enthusiasm for Run The Jewels’ new album RTJ4 is palpable. “I’ve been known to rap along to Run The Jewels on the bus, out loud, on my own. I think RTJ2 is my favourite album of theirs, but with RTJ4 I feel engaged and emotional about what they’re saying. It’s weird when music hits you that hard sometimes when you’re not expecting it. I have to say, on the first listen, I had a little cry. It’s so powerful.”

RTJ4 was released shortly after the murder of George Floyd, a black man in Minneapolis, Minnesota, who died after a white police officer used excessive force to restrain him during an arrest. The footage of the officer’s knee on Floyd’s neck as he repeated the line “I can’t breathe” sparked worldwide protests by Black Lives Matter activists and their allies, calling for an end to police brutality against black people.

“It’s amazing the number of tweets I’ve seen about the song ‘Walking In The Snow’ which has the line ‘I can’t breathe’ in” says Williams. “People were asking if they’d recently gone back in to the studio to record this track because of what happened to George Floyd, and the band were like ‘No, this was recorded in November 2019’, so the fact that this is still happening is insane. The track with Mavis Staples on is also absolutely beautiful.”

2020 has certainly been a tumultuous and frightening year so far, but it seems that Williams is engaged with everything that’s happening, and grateful to have music as her outlet. Forever Blue feels like a state of mind right now, and her careful treatment of the noisy and the quiet on her debut album is ultimately a soothing experience.

I guess it also helps that she has a cute dachshund to distract her too, something which I bring up again. “He has his own Instagram. It’s @geezerthepup. He’s named after Geezer Butler from Black Sabbath, obviously. You can find him on there being cute and fabulous. I don’t do his Instagram, my husband does it. It’s just a bit of fun.” That’s certainly something we could all do with a bit more of these days.

You can pre-order A. A. Williams’ album Forever Blue here.

PLAYLIST: June 2020

At Get In Her Ears, we’re still sharing all the new music we can to help distract you from the day-to-day reality of lockdown life. Our June playlist is filled with some pop gems, alternative electronic sounds, and a healthy dose of indie guitar tunes too. Take some time to scroll through our track choices below, and make sure you hit play on the Spotify playlist at the end of the page.

 

Foxgluvv – ‘Don’t Text Back’
“Whether you’re waiting for a response to a text-argument, flirty messages or receiving news, we can all relate to that feeling in the pit of our stomachs when we’re not quite sure how somebody is going to reply” explains Foxgluvv about her latest single. She’s transformed that feeling in to another funky, bittersweet “hungover pop” tune. The single is also accompanied by a colourful video directed, filmed and edited by Foxgluvv during self-isolation. (Kate Crudgington)

Chinwe – ‘Sin’
East London’s Chinwe’s latest single showcases her rich vocals over gently rolling beat, that leave you mesmerised and wanting more. Speaking on the track, Chinwe states: “Sin is about how one mistake can lead to everything falling apart in a relationship. You both want it to work and would do anything for each another, but no matter how hard you try you still can’t make it right.” (Tash Walker)

Amaroun – ‘Rise’
The fifth in a string of new singles that Amaroun is releasing each month this year, ‘Rise’ flows with shimmering hooks and glitchy beats alongside her rich, emotion-strewn vocals. Continuing the theme of being a queer woman, which has run throughout each of the tracks she’s released this year, it oozes a stirring, effervescent power, juxtaposed with a gritty energy; a truly poignant reflection on rising up against oppression. (Mari Lane)

feeo – ‘Yeti’
“’Yeti’ is an exploration of the multiplicity of the human ‘self’ and its relationship with our concepts of ‘other'”, explains Oxford producer and songwriter feeo. Reared on a combination of Jazz, Folk, Reggae, and the 2002 Ibiza soundtrack, feeo blends elements of each to create her captviating sounds. (KC)

Fears – ‘two_’
A poignant meditation on some of her darkest hours; experimental pop artist Constance Keane – aka Fears – has transformed her struggles with self harm into a gently cathartic offering, specially commissioned for the Northern Ireland Mental Health Arts Festival. Fears’ determination and honesty in the face of adversity makes listening to ‘two_’ all the more poignant and necessary. If you’ve been affected by any of the issues explored in the song, please reach out to Mind or other mental health charities. (KC)

Jessica Winter – ‘Chasing Nightmares’
We’ve featured a Jessica Winter track on our last two monthly playlists, and I’m not going to apologise for the repetition. I’ve been playing her debut EP Sad Music on repeat since she released it in May, and this track is definitely one of my favourites. (KC)

A. A. Williams – ‘Melt’
I missed A. A. Williams performance at Southbank Centre just before we went in to lockdown, but I’ve been atoning for it by religiously listening to ‘Melt’ ever since. I was lucky enough to have a Skype chat with her about her upcoming album Forever Blue (soon to be published on GIHE) and her long-haired dachshund Geezer (who you should all immediately follow on Instagram.) (KC)

Bugeye – ‘Blue Fire’
Following their last uplifting single, ‘When The Lights Go Out’, GIHE faves Bugeye have now shared another offering from their upcoming debut album. Raging with Angela Martin’s gritty, sultry vocals and whirring electro hooks, ‘Blue Fire’ is perhaps more disco and less punk than previous releases, but maintains all the colourful pizzazz and magnificent vibrant energy that we’ve come to know and love from the band. A perfect uptempo blast of life that we all need right now. When The Lights Go Out, the debut album from Bugeye is out 10th July via Reckless Yes. (ML)

Madame So – ‘Generation Y’
Bathing in a discordant sea of scuzzy riffs, ‘Generation Y’ builds the tension with a raging sense of urgency. As her Madame So’ vocals ooze a gritty power with a blazing raw emotion, she reflects on how millenials’ youth culture is perceived by older generations, and how this cycle of judgement is snowballing into generations to come. With shades of the frenzied cacophonies of Kim Gordon’s solo material, it’s a soaring slice of immense punk-pop; an impassioned and compelling listen. (ML)

Janelle Monae & Wondaland Records – ‘Hell You Talmbout’
With lyrics consisting of the names of black Americans who have been killed by the police/state, this deeply poignant offering from Janelle Monae with the Wondaland Records collective really needs no introduction. (ML)

Emma Kupa – ‘Nothing At All’
Taken from Emma Kupa’s upcoming debut solo album, lead single ‘Nothing At All’ flows with her distinctive luscious vocals, oozing a subtle gritty raw emotion, alongside twinkling folk-strewn melodies. Filled with a reflective, heartfelt lyrical storytelling, it’s impossible not to become utterly immersed in the song’s subtle passion that shines through amongst its effervescent uptempo musicality. As it builds with shimmering harmonies, the beauty of multiple voices coming together, uniting, creates a truly heartwarming slice of stirring indie-pop. (ML)

Happy Accidents – ‘Grow’
Taken from Happy Accidents’ brand new album Sprawling, ‘Grow’ is lead by Phoebe Cross’ honey-sweet vocals alongside Rich Mandell’s swirling jangling melodies and a heartfelt, gentle emotion. Building with luscious harmonies and the reflective, relatable honesty of the lyricism, it’s perhaps a more mellow, but equally more-ish, offering than some of the band’s uptempo previous releases. (ML)

Seraphina Simone – ‘Cherry’
I don’t think I’ve heard a track of Seraphina Simone’s that I’ve not loved. This is her latest single, dismantling the American dream with her mesmerising vocals and subtle lyrics. Of the track Seraphina says: “‘Cherry’ is the voice in our heads telling us we don’t have enough, telling us to want more, buy more, be richer, be thinner, be prettier, be better than everyone else. It’s that sarky bitch who’s really mean to you and you hate her, but you also kind of want to be her best friend because she’s perfect and you’re a mess. It’s the voice fueled by consumer culture and jealousy and insecurity and myths like the American Dream. It seems harmless enough even though it fucks up the planet and makes us miserable no matter how much we have. Maybe in a weird way, Covid-19 will make us realise we don’t need so much shit to be happy.” (TW)

PELA – ‘South Of’
Electronica always has a solid place on any playlist I contribute to, and South London duo PELA’s latest single is my addition to this one. Reminiscent of early LAMB records, this track with it’s textured beats and piano keys is a new favourite of mine. All the revenue from Bandcamp sales for ‘South Of’ will be split between the Black Lives Matter UK fund and the Justice for Breonna Taylor fund. (TW)

Cafe Spice – ‘She Loves and Leaves’
Manchester based Café Spice return with their first single of 2020 ‘She Loves and Leaves’ via Snide Records. Having crafted a reputation among the country’s key folk tastemakers, the trio hailing from England, Scotland and Ireland now push the boat out into the mellow waters of indie-pop. Starting with a beautifully harmonised acapella introduction, ‘She Loves and Leaves’ is as a gentle as it is heartbreaking. (TW)

GIRLHOOD – ‘The Love I Need’
London duo Girlhood return with banging new single ‘The Love I Need’, out via Team Talk Records. The first taster from their debut album, the first song to be written and the last to be finished, the result is a gospel and blues-tinged explosion of cut and paste joy which Tessa describes as being about how “we’re rooted in our need to communicate, understand and be understood.” I have played this track consistently on repeat since first hearing it, samples mixed with Tessa’s lyrics, nods to 90s neo-soul and a song that just fills you with so much joy – exactly what we all need right now. (TW)

Nijuu – ‘Blue’
Korean DIY dream-pop artist Nijuu has released ‘Blue’ the opener to her upcoming debut EP nijuu in the sea, out independently on June 25th via State51 Conspiracy. This track has all the sounds of a deep sea dream; reverb heavy vocals, electric pianos and sparse drums make for quite the musical bath. Looking forward to hearing more of this water themed ethereal dream pop. (TW)

Nayana Iz – ‘TNT’
‘TNT’ is the latest single from Nayana Iz whose track ‘How We Do’ hit the ground with a force in 2019. Self-proclaimed born in London but made in India, Nayana Iz’s music and spirit is described as an amalgamation of those two cultures. As soon as she could start creating her own music, Nayana knew she wanted to mix the spirit of Indian language and dance (she is currently learning Hindi as well as classical Indian dance) in with the different music she had been raised on, and empower young girls (particularly from her native land) to find their own authentic voice and too express themselves. I am becoming nothing short of obsessed with this artist and cannot wait for the release of her debut EP Smoke + Fly, due on June 26th. (TW)

Sit Down – ‘Told U So’
Taken from their new EP Nice OneSit Down’s ‘Told U So’ is a perfect example of the Brighton duo’s ability to create magnificent other worlds through their unique and imaginative lyrical prowess. Based around the idea of an opening night at an ornate ballroom, the story of ‘Told U So’ is told from the perspectives of two women, who lure in rich predatory men and proceed to lock them in, trapping them in a show of revenge. As Katie Oldham’s swirling gritty vocals are accompanied by a driving, scuzz-filled energy, a magnificent raging cacophony is created. Read about the meaning behind each track on Nice One, from Katie herself, here. (ML)

Coolgirl – ‘Gaussian Blur’
Coolgirl is the solo project of Bitch Falcon’s guitarist & vocalist Lizzie Fitzpatrick. Self-described as “music and weird shit” she’s experimenting with electronics, and ‘Gaussian Blur’ is an instrumental that twists and turns in ultra cool style. (KC)

 

Track Of The Day: A. A. Williams – ‘Melt’

A cinematic, slow-burning exploration of self-autonomy; A. A. Williams has shared her latest single ‘Melt’. Lifted from her debut album Forever Blue, which is set for release on 3rd July via Bella Union, the track is an epic six minutes of beguiling vocals, brooding bass lines and dark orchestral sounds.

“Let go of these promises” muses Williams in the opening lyric to the song, permitting herself to start anew and explore what it means to be alone again. She blends quieter moments that centre around her vocals with the fleshed out sound of a full band throughout the track; reflecting the uneven path to autonomy.

Of the track, Williams explains: “’Melt’ addresses an individual’s search for, acknowledgement of and acceptance of independence. After only believing in their own fragility they come to realise that they themselves were never dependant on others, others depended on them. Within this newfound strength they find comfort.”

William’s sublime treatment of ambiguous subjects is what makes her music so captivating. A classically trained pianist and multi-talented musician, her blending of post-rock and post-classical elements makes for exquisitely raw listening. Watch the video for ‘Melt’ (directed by Steve Turvey) below and follow A. A. Williams on Spotify & Facebook for more updates.

Photo Credit: Thomas Williams

Kate Crudgington
@KCBobCut

PLAYLIST: March 2020

March has been a busy month for Get In Her Ears HQ! It’s Women’s History Month, and it was also International Women’s Day on the 8th; so we’ve continued to support the wxmen artists we love with regular reviews on our website, and a special IWD Playlist which you can listen to here.

Sofar Sounds kindly invited us to curate their IWD gig in Hackney too; which Indian Queens, Amahla, and Beckie Margaret all graciously agreed to play for us. We’ve barely stopped for breath, and we’ve got more exciting new music to share over the next few weeks. Take some time to scroll through our track choices for our March playlist below, and make sure you hit play on the Spotify playlist at the end of the page.

 

Sink Ya Teeth – ‘The Hot House’
Fresh from their excellent second album aptly named Two, Sink Ya Teeth’s singleThe Hot House’ and the accompanying video features footage shot by the band and audience members at their recent show in Oxford (check it out here). I am SO happy that I’ve got another heavy helping from the Norwich duo to soundtrack the upcoming warmer months. A time where post-punk, and deep house and I really get back into the swing of things. Sink Ya Teeth thank you, thank you! (Tash Walker)

Sleater-Kinney – ‘Hurry On Home’
I have not stopped singing this since us GIHE girls saw Sleater-Kinney live at Brixton Academy a few weeks ago. Their latest album The Center Won’t Hold is such a tonic, and their performance was certainly a gig-life highlight for all of us. (Kate Crudgington)

Noga Erez – ‘VIEWS’
The inimitable Noga Erez stylishly explores the absurdity of paying for exposure on social media on her brand new track, ‘VIEWS’. Collaborating with her partner Ori Rousso, and LA-based hip-hop artist Reo Cragun, Erez effortlessly commands attention in the striking video that accompanies the single. The Tel-Aviv musician’s clear vocals glide over slick beats and pop hooks to create an infectiously powerful anti-fakeness anthem. (KC)

Taquirah – ‘Feel’
‘Feel’ is the latest single from Taquirah, a performance artist form Illinois currently living in Brooklyn. I cannot get this track’s addictive beats and R&B melodies out of my head. I’m obsessed. Taquirah recently released a video for her track ‘Rush’ choreographed and performed by herself, in line with her focus on creating performance art pieces that fuse ballet with hip hop culture. Keep your eyes peeled for Taquirah’s debut project Divine, coming soon. (TW)

Belako – ‘Tie Me Up’
Having previously blown me away with their immersive live show supporting Queens Of The Stone Age in Finsbury Park last year, Basque Country band Belako have now shared new single ‘Tie Me Up’. Filled with gritty, swooning vocals and immense swirling hooks, it’s a super catchy alt-rock anthem showcasing the poignant raw power and majestic musicality that this Spanish band are capable of creating. (Mari Lane)

CLT DRP – ‘Where The Boys Are’
An anthem of self-realisation and new found confidence, ‘Where The Boys Are’ from Brighton-based CLT DRP oozes their immense raging passion in a seething blast of poignant, swirling electro-punk. Commenting on the track, front-woman Annie Dorrett says: “It’s a love song to some of my favourite female artists, a big thank you to my mom for being such a powerhouse and lastly a big f*ck you to all the TERFS out there spreading hate. It’s also just a really playful song to perform with the band, you get a lot of different elements of our sound all jammed into one piece.” CLT DRP’s upcoming debut album Without The Eyes, is out 15th May via Small Pond Records. (ML)

THICK – ‘Mansplain’
A cathartic, witty, guitar driven take-down of the men who undermine women in bands (and women in general), Brooklyn punk trio THICK’s single ‘Mansplain’ will resonate with women and girls who have struggled to be taken seriously on, and off stage. The track is lifted from their debut album 5 Years Behind, which is out now. (KC)

New Pagans – ‘Admire’
I first heard New Pagans whilst listening to The Irish Jam, and I quickly became fascinated by the Belfast band’s genre-bending sounds. Their debut EP Glacial Erratic is a poignant collection of tracks that explore issues of frustration, defiance, and resolution. ‘Admire’ is a personal favourite. It’s a humble, shimmering ode to the perseverance that’s needed to keep a long-term relationship going. (KC)

Why Bonnie – ‘Voice Box’
Oozing sunny uplifting vibes as shimmering hooks and Blair Howerton’s rich, luscious vocals flow with a soaring emotion, Why Bonnie’s ‘Voice Box’ has shades of the twinkling surf-rock of the likes of Alvvays or Best Coast, creating a truly dreamy offering fuzzing with a dazzling, effervescent charm. Voice Box, the upcoming EP from Why Bonnie, is out 10th April via Fat Possum Records. (ML) 

Ghost Car – ‘Virginia & Vita’
Released at the end of last year, ‘Virginia & Vita’ is a perfect example of all there is to love about Ghost Car. Oozing their scuzzy, quirky bubblegum indie-pop sounds, it’s propelled by eerie synth-driven hooks, soaring honey-sweet vocals and their trademark stirring, whirring theramin-soaked fuzz. I cannot wait to catch this totally unique band headline for us this Friday at The Finsbury! As always, FREE entry, event details here. (ML)

Indian Queens – ‘Bubblewrap’
Hackney trio Indian Queens headlined our International Women’s Day gig (in partnership with Sofar Sounds) at the weekend, and we were captivated by their stripped back set. The talented Amahla & Beckie Margaret also shared the bill, and Girls Against were on hand to  help raise awareness of the issues that female musicians & fans often face. This IQ track is a beguiling lament about the state of the planet, and it’s taken from their debut album God Is A Woman, which is set for release via Cool Thing Records on 3rd April. (KC)

Laura Gray – ‘Break, Drift’
‘Break, Drift’ is the first release from Laura Gray’s upcoming EP Better Lighting. Gentle vocals and dreamy synths all mixed together with pulsating beats. I think we could all do with a little more saxophone in our life. Check out the video for ‘Break, Drift’ here. (TW)

A.A. Williams – ‘Cold’
A.A. Williams is set to play her first headline gig at Southbank Centre in the Purcell Room on Thursday 12th March, and I’m excited to hear her dark, atmospheric sounds in the flesh for the first time. (tickets are available here). (KC)

Otta – ‘Near Enough A Woman’
I cannot get enough of Otta! Their new music is seeping so perfectly into my ears, it’s what I’ve been craving for so long and didn’t realise. This is one of their latest singles taken from the freshly released debut EP after it all blew over, which is sublime. Delivering the perfect combination and concoction of electronic, UK jazz, new soul and RnB. (TW)

Okay Kaya – ‘Insert Generic Name’
Okay Kaya who hails from Norway has been a firm fave of mine since I heard her debut Both, released back in 2018. I got to catch her on 4th March at SET in Dalston which was a total pleasure, she’s back again in May at Hoxton Hall so if you can, grab yourself some tickets. ‘Insert Generic Name’ is taken from her recently released and equally fantastic album Watch This Liquid Pour Itself, another incredibly intimate record of self-reflection via boldly honest, exposing lyrics which are delivered with bone dry with wit. One of my albums of 2020, without a doubt. (TW)

Bugeye – ‘Don’t Stop’
The latest single from friends of GIHE, Bugeye, ‘Don’t Stop’ is filled with swirling scuzzy hooks and the band’s trademark impassioned fiery attitude. Complete with whirring synth-driven refrains, it’s a frenzied slice of catchy disco-punk, showcasing the band’s utterly unique vibrant sound. ‘Don’t Stop’ is produced by Paul Tipler and is out now. You can catch Bugeye live on tour this month – check out their Facebook page for details. (Mari Lane) 

Lady Gaga – ‘Stupid Love’
Get me a pink wig and a metallic bikini, because I’m moving to Chromatica to live with Lady Gaga (see the ‘Stupid Love’ video here). I am SO excited to hear her new album (released on 10th April). I hope it’s bursting with electro-pop bangers like this one, and that all of her future videos are just as Power-Ranger-esque. (KC)