LISTEN: Dream Nails – ‘Payback’

A rallying cry against the lack of justice for survivors of sexual violence; GIHE favourites Dream Nails have shared their powerful new single ‘Payback’. Taken from their upcoming self-titled debut album, set for release 3rd April via Alcopop! Records, the track is accompanied by a poignant video showcasing the work of UK feminist activist group, Sisters Uncut.

With it’s mantra-like lyrics – “Hey mister, get your hands off my sister” – and abrasive guitar riffs, Dream Nails have created an aural call to arms that vehemently protests the rights of domestic violence survivors. The track is heavy in terms of volume and context, but as is the case for so many of Dream Nails tracks, it’s also tear-jerking because of the depressing reality behind their catchy lyricism.

Vocalist Janey Starling provides further insight: “In the UK, only 1.5% of rape cases lead to a charge or summons. ‘Payback’ is a song about how the UK criminal justice system fails survivors – and we’re angry about it. This is a country where two women are murdered every week by a partner or ex-partner. So many women have lived through sexual and physical abuse, and carry the scars and memories of that – but will never see justice for it.”

Drummer Lucy Katz adds that the single is “fuelled by fury borne from our experiences and the stories we hear from our peers, from the news, and in our day jobs. We are sick and tired of being failed and gaslit again and again by a state and a system that does not care about the continued abuse of women.”

Whilst there is a necessary and underlying rage throughout ‘Payback’, Guitarist Anya Pearson reminds us that it provides time and space to blow off some steam: “This is a tune to mosh to, throw yourself around with your sisters and non binary babes in the pit and scream the chorus: “One day we’ll make you pay””

Dream Nails are a vital force in both musical and activist societies, and their refusal to accept sub-standard treatment for their fans and their allies is why we keep returning to their music time, and time again. Watch the video for ‘Payback’ below, and follow Dream Nails on Facebook & Spotify for more updates.

Dream Nails UK Tour Dates 2020
10 April Cardiff, Wales Goes Pop!
11 April Leicester, The Shed
22 April St Albans, The Horn
23 April London, Oslo – Album Release Show
24 April Bristol, Louisiana
25 April Reading, Are You Listening? Festival
26 April Southampton, Heartbreakers
29 April Leeds, Oporto
30 April Manchester, Castle
02 May Edinburgh, Stag & Dagger Festival
03 May Newcastle, Hit The North
09-11 July Cheltenham, 2000Trees Festival
31 Jul – 01 Aug Oxfordshire, Truck Festival

Photo Credit: Marieke Macklon

Kate Crudgington
@KCBobCut

Track Of The Day: Petrol Girls – ‘No Love For A Nation’

Fueled by embarrassment over Brexit and frustration about how geographical borders hold us back; formidable activists and GIHE favourites Petrol Girls have been busy dismantling the fabric of the state in the video for their latest single, ‘No Love For A Nation’. It’s an anti-nationalist anthem designed to unite and fortify individuals, regardless of what country they were born in.

“Swap them, switch them, patch and stitch them” sings vocalist Ren Aldridge over visuals of her bandmates and their allies cutting and re-stitching world flags in to a new “rag” that forms the backdrop for the band’s live show. The track is lifted from the band’s recent album, Cut and Stitch, whose name was inspired by the ideas explored in the new song.

Ren articulates the motivations behind the new music video more poignantly than we ever could:

“This video is a collaboration between myself and the incredibly talented Martyna Wisniewska. The video is a manifestation of an art project I’ve been doing for ages, cutting and stitching national flags…

We shot this video on the way from Austria to the UK for our September tour, via Germany and France. Zock had the idea of hiring radical spaces to shoot the video in. DIY social centres and a radical bookshop – these are places in which radical organising takes place, where information can be disseminated and our community can gather. We filmed at Sub in Graz, Kafe Marat in Munich, Villa Bellevillein Paris and Freedom Bookshop in London.

It was in these kinds of spaces that I first encountered the slogan ‘NO LOVE FOR A NATION’ in the form of stickers, banners and graffiti, and it has informed my politics ever since. I’ve found that many people are quick to make accusations of naivety against those of us that question the nation state, but I would argue that it’s far more naive (not to mention heartless) to think we can continue organising human society in the way that we do.

Nations create borders and borders create violences like detention, deportation and the denial of safe passage. It is a bizarre and often cruel way of organising societies on the basis of where people happen to have been born. It is those on the fringes of these definitions that suffer their harshest consequences – refugees, migrants and asylum seekers. It is not acceptable that 18,000 people have lost their lives trying to cross the Mediterranean Sea since 2014, because they were denied safe passage on the basis of their nationality.

Simultaneously, populist nationalism takes aim at these people, and uses them as a scapegoat for the failings of capitalism and neoliberalism. If history has taught us anything, it’s that we must resist the rise of populist nationalism that is sweeping the planet.

We stand in opposition to Fortress Europe but mourn Brexit as the result of populist nationalist politics and a xenophobic, dishonest and, at times, overtly racist campaign. We are not proud of Britain – we are embarrassed. Above all we are angered by the rise in racism and xenophobia since the Brexit result. We are deeply troubled and angered by the way in which populist nationalism has emboldened racists and fascists across the world.

At its core, the Nation State is just an idea – a notion – something that exists in our collective imagination and is consolidated through culture – through monuments and museums, through football and flags.

This song, video and art project aim to question and contribute to destabilising the idea of nations. Can we collectively imagine ourselves in a different way? The nation rose from the decline of the monarchy – what will rise from the decline of nations? Can’t we find better and more inclusive ways of collectively understanding ourselves?

The video also celebrates the punk community, which stretches across borders and nations, and has inclusive and anti-authority politics at its core. I feel like this community offers us a glimpse of what might be possible.”

Watch the video for Petrol Girls’ ‘No Love For A Nation’ below and follow the band on Facebook for more updates.

Petrol Girls 2019/2020 Headline Tour Dates
November 20th: KIEL (DE), Altemeierei
November 21st: HANNOVER (DE), UJZ Korn
November 22nd: BREMEN (DE), Die Friese
January 14th: NEWPORT (UK), Le Pub
January 15th: BRIGHTON (UK), Green Door Store
January 16th: LONDON (UK), Oslo
January 17th: NOTTINGHAM (UK), Bodega
January 18th: MANCHESTER (UK), The Deaf Institute
January 19th: GLASGOW (UK), Nice & Sleazy
January 21st: BELFAST (UK), McHughs
January 22nd: DUBLIN (IRL), Whelan’s
January 23rd: LIMERICK (IRL), Kasbah Social Club

Kate Crudgington
@KCBobCut

ALBUM: HAVVK – ‘Cause & Effect’ (Pt.1)

From the moment Cause & Effect begins, until the last riff of latest single ‘Shifting Shape’ ends, HAVVK have your complete attention… And this is only the first chapter! Never wanting to be conventional, HAVVK have chosen to release their debut album in two halves; with the latter set for release on 22nd November. 

Beginning life in London, HAVVK now consists of Julie, Matt and Sam, who – over the years – have developed their own style of feedback-laden, ethereal alt-rock, resulting in two incredible extended plays: the self-titled HAVVK (2016) and She Knows EP (2017).

Alternating between London, Dublin, and Berlin (the latter where Cause & Effect was recorded with producer Rocky O’Reilly), the trio approach Part 1 unrestrained with a take no prisoners/punk rock attitude. Opening with ‘If I Don’t Tell You’ – a biting social commentary on social media discord – you are instantly captivated by the shimmering guitar riffs, pulsating drum beats and brooding basslines, before being transported seamlessly into ‘Birds on a Wire’.

‘Birds on a Wire’ introspectively analyses a destructive relationship through Julie’s raw, honest vocals and an expansive, melancholic sound – “When I’m trying to speak, are you listening? Do you want to hear me scream?” This is followed by ‘Always the Same’, which confronts female objectivity and toxic masculinity, as we hear Julie challenge men who make women feel unsafe as a result of their gender.

On ‘The Factory’, Julie’s vocals soar as the track ascends into a crescendo of meticulous noise, before transitioning into the post-punk x shoegazing of ‘Tunnels’.

Throughout the album, the contrasting narrative of each song is structured into a cohesive whole with each seamless transition. HAVVK have always explored lighter and louder soundscapes through political and social songwriting, and Cause & Effect is the perfect example of their euphonic activism.

HAVVK continue to agitate societal bullshit with their final track, ‘Shifting Shape’. Armed with an abrasive edge, and a quiet/loud dynamic, HAVVK waste no time in getting straight to the point: Fuck constraints, fuck traditional assumptions surrounding gender, and fuck the unwarranted, unnecessary pressure it causes.

HAVVK craft music to make a statement, and with the first six songs from Cause & Effect the band have covered a lot of ground; from inequality to gender-preconceptions. It can be exhausting, but change is happening, so let’s keep this momentum going. Bands like HAVVK are needed now more than ever.

Cause & Effect (Pt.1) is out now via Veta Records.

Ken Wynne
@Ken_Wynne

Track Of The Day: Petrol Girls – ‘Big Mouth’

Always at the forefront when it comes to fighting for equality and fair representation; Petrol Girls have shared a powerful new video for their new single ‘Big Mouth’. Supporting the ongoing defamation case for Solidarity Not Silence – a group of women who are being silenced for speaking out against the behaviour of a man in the music industry – their new single is a necessary shout-back and a call to arms to support their activist sisters.

Vocalist Ren Aldridge explains more about the track’s context: “[Big Mouth] focuses in on voice as a physical sound that comes directly from our bodies, and also more generally as self-expression. There’s a lot of politics around who is heard and what that means, and many marginalised groups are only tolerated when they’re quiet. When they refuse this containment and control, they’re met with attempts to silence them.”

“Just one example of this is the defamation case which aims to silence the Solidarity Not Silence girls…whilst the case is ongoing, we are limited in what we can say about it, but encourage everyone to spread the word and donate to the crowdfunding campaign for their legal costs. They are determined to not allow their case to set a precedent for silencing marginalised voices in the music industry and beyond. There’s no legal aid for this kind of case – they need money to pay for their legal representation in order to pursue justice. You can get a Solidarity Not Silence t-shirt, as worn by Joe in the ‘Big Mouth’ music video, here.”

As well as Ren’s own powerful voice, the new single includes a sample of Poly Styrene’s iconic intro to X-Ray Spex’s ‘Oh Bondage! Up Yours!’- with lyrics that still resonate with activists and musicians over forty years later. ‘Big Mouth’ is taken from Petrol Girls’ upcoming album Cut & Stitch, which will be released on 24th May via Hassle Records. A companion Rough Trade Publishing ‘Edition’, written by Ren, is also available to pre-order via the band’s official store.

The band will be touring extensively from the beginning of May, including in-stores at Rough Trades in the week the album is released, tours with War On Women and La Dispute, plus appearances as festivals like The Great Escape, 2000trees and Roskilde. Watch the video for ‘Big Mouth’ below and follow Petrol Girls on Facebook for more updates.

Kate Crudgington
@KCBobCut

PREMIERE: HEARD Collective – ‘Talkin’ ’bout a Revolution’

Newcomers HEARD Collective have covered Tracey Chapman’s iconic track ‘Talkin’ ‘Bout a Revolution’ to celebrate International Women’s Day, and we’re proud to be premiering the song ahead of its official release. Recorded at Abbey Road Studios, the cover features instrumental and vocal performances from 11 diverse female artists from the folk, pop and indie music world.

HEARD was co-founded by multi-instrumentalist singer-songwriters Daisy Chute and Cerian after they met in the studio recording vocals for Radiohead’s latest album A Moon Shaped Pool. The collective was born out of a desire for more female representation in the music industry and to create a community who would tour together, support one another, and inspire a new generation of female musicians.

Joining Daisy & Cerian on their new mission are; Roxanne de Bastion, Kal Lavelle, Fabia Anderson, Lin Hamami, Jelly Cleaver, Elisabeth Flett, Jessie Reid, Susie Blankfield and Rosie Bergonzi. Their new single will be launched in an all-female showcase at The Slaughtered Lamb, London on Thursday 7th March and profits will be donated to charity (RSVP here).

Daisy and Cerian met Denny Fongheiser – the drummer on Tracy Chapman’s original recording of ‘Talkin’ ‘Bout a Revolution’ – on an American tour, and he encouraged them to record and release their own version. Although released over 30 years ago, ‘Talkin’ ‘Bout a Revolution’ feels just as relevant now as it did in 1988. The track was also mastered by engineer Katie Tavini. With statistics showing that 97% of music industry engineers/mixers are male, Tavini’s work on the collaboration feels extra significant here.

Daisy & Cerian added: “So often we were finding ourselves in the studio or on a lineup as the only female voice. We read in online magazine Pitchfork that only 14% of acts in American festivals in 2017 were female, and according to PRS only 16% of all songwriters/composers registered were female. Rather than viewing this as a competition between each other for that small space, we wanted to redress the balance and ‘open’ the window of opportunity, creating a collective of women not working against, but with and for each other.”

We’re big fans of what the HEARD Collective are doing. Listen to their cover below and follow the group on Facebook for more updates.

Photo Credit: Siemon Baker

kate Crudgington
@KCBobCut

ALBUM: Big Joanie – ‘Sistahs’

DIY punks Big Joanie release their debut album Sistahs today, and it’s a mix of the personal and political; coupled with riotous rhythms and a sistah-hood ethos. Recorded at Hermitage Works Studio with producer Margo Broom, and released via Thurston Moore and Eva Prinz’s new label (The Daydream Library Series), Sistahs is a strong debut from a band who have been actively working on and off-stage within London’s DIY scene for years.

Together, Steph, Estella & Chardine have been busy running the Decolonise Fest for punks of colour, volunteering at Girls Rock Camp, and leading the Stop Rainbow Racism campaign, which works to stop racist performances in LGBTQ venues. Their combined pro-active efforts have resulted in the creation of 11 songs that tackle issues of self-motivation, race, equality, and letting go of unhealthy relationships.

The pensive and highly relatable opening track ‘New Year’ brims with a quiet yearning to kick start something, to stop waiting. It’s followed by ‘Fall Asleep’, with its infectious bass lines and wicked guitar riffs. The introduction of electronics 1:44 minutes in is ultra cool, and was inspired by the likes of Joy Division and New Order (which is why Producer Margo added a wall of synths and drum beats).

‘Used To Be Friends’ is an anthem everyone can sing with confidence, with a sarcastic smile and no real sense of aggro – just the care free attitude of someone who’s shed the skin of an unhealthy acquaintance. ‘Eyes’ is a cacophony of guitars, percussion, and recorder. It’s one of the first songs guitarist Steph wrote aged nineteen, inspired by her disdain for “working a part time job handing out over-priced artisan bread at Waitrose”.

‘Way Out’ is a wonderful, reverb-soaked, 90s-esque tune, whilst the brief ‘Down Down’ spirals along with its driving percussion for just shy of two minutes, before the surf-pop-style ‘Tell A Lie’ lifts listeners up again. Much like ‘Used To Be Friends’, ‘Token’ laments an unhealthy friendship, although this time it’s about the feeling of ‘tokenism’ experienced by people of colour, when middle class white people decide to befriend them as a lame act of liberalism. Following track ‘It’s You’ was born from a bad situation. After the lead singer from Steph’s first band (My Therapist Says Hot Damn) left just three days before their next gig – ‘It’s You’ was one of the many songs she had to write from scratch to play at the show.

The penultimate ‘How Could You Love Me’ will have you swaying from side-to-side as it rings out in “60s girl group style”, whilst closing track ‘Cut Your Hair’ is a vulnerable but optimistic ode to predicting a relationship is over before you or your partner are willing to admit it. Despite their breezy, confident nature; the contexts of Big Joanie’s songs are powerful because the relay the struggles of everyday – whether that’s having your mind turned to mush by a boring job, falling out with yourself, or others around you. They’re three women of colour talking about their life experiences to the backdrop of marching beats and punk-inspired riffs – and that’s something the world needs plenty more of in our opinion.

Order your copy of Sistahs here. Follow Big Joanie on Facebook for more updates.

Kate Crudgington
@KCBobCut

WATCH: Ms Mohammed – ‘Pandora’

Musician and activist Ms Mohammed has shared a video to accompany her latest single ‘Pandora’, and it’s a direct challenge to anyone who dares to suppress the feminine in all its forms.

Taken from her critically acclaimed EP Alibi, ‘Pandora’ brims with relentless riffs and thundering percussion which reflect the strength and endurance of all the women Ms Mohammed features in the video. We recognise Madame So, Kat Five of Feral Five, and Zel from VODUN; but we’re looking forward to discovering more about the other brilliant women who prominently feature throughout the footage.

Talking about the video’s themes, Ms Mohammed explains: “We are sold limiting ideas of what it means to be female. The feminine is still derided in all cultures, still frowned upon, still synonymous with weakness. Truly celebrating the feminine would bring about the revolution that is so desperately needed. The Future is Femme!”

Ms Mohammed founded the Clit Rock movement in 2013 as a way of speaking out against female genital mutilation. As a champion of cross-cultural tolerance and an out queer artist who advocates for LGBT rights and visibility, Ms Mohammed is challenging prejudice through her music. We are happy to be her allies in this fight for equality.

Watch the video for ‘Pandora’ below, and follow Ms Mohammed on Facebook for more updates.

Kate Crudgington
@KCBobCut