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

Darlington Music Collective Tracks Presents: Noisy Daughters Event

Following on from their successful Womenfolk event in October 2017, Darlington music collective Tracks have organised a FREE workshop & panel discussion on 3rd March – followed by a ticketed gig! – to celebrate females in music. The event aims to teach and inspire the next generation of girls and lead the way to equality in music. The showcase will take place at the new Theatre Hullabaloo space that’s recently opened in Darlington.

Tracks are a non-profit organisation, and any money raised from ticket sales will go back into funding future Noisy Daughters events. The workshop is open to females only, but all are welcome at either the panel or the gig.

The free songwriting workshop for women runs from 1-3pm, and will be delivered by Liz Corney (The Cornshed Sisters, Field Music). Participants are encouraged to bring their instruments and are offered guidance in all things musical composition (places are limited; so booking is advised). This will be followed by a panel discussion from 3.30pm-4.30pm, which will centre around the issues facing women in the music industry today, and what can be done to change them.

Panelists include Rianne Thompson from BBC Tees, Hannah Van Thompson of The Van Ts, Claire Dupree from Narc Magazine, and Liz Corney of The Cornshed Sisters/Field Music. Sarah Wilson from Tracks/BIG Little Gigs will be chairing, and there will be an opportunity for the audience to ask questions at the end.

The day will conclude with a headline gig from The Van Ts, with support coming from the likes of BBC 6 Radio play-listed singer-songwriter Eve Conway, the much hyped hip-hop act Leddie MC, and energetic electro-pop pioneers Twist Helix.

(The Van Ts)

Sarah Wilson from Tracks said: “It’s vital to give women in music credible, female-led music events nationally, and it’s brilliant that we can do this in our hometown of Darlington. We’re hoping to inspire the next generation of female musicians, whilst giving a platform to the current batch of female artists that are leading the way”.

BBC statistics showed that last year, 84% of headliners at music festivals were men. Ents24.com demonstrated that this trend occurs not only at festivals but takes place on a daily basis at regular shows. On a randomly selected day(12th October 2017), they found that out of the 370 gigs listed on their website, 69% of the acts (255) were made up entirely of men, while just 9% (33) were female-only (half of these being solo artists).

Outside of the performance arena, a recent study by Georgina Born and Kyle Devine – titled ‘Music Technology, Gender, and Class: Digitization, Educational and Social Change in Britain’ – highlighted the “highly (male) gendered digital music field” in which approximately 90% of music technology students are currently white males. The outcome is that the creative field becomes dominated by male practitioners, male lecturers and male authors.

With all these negative headlines and a male dominated industry it’s easy to see why women are underrepresented in the world of modern music. Thankfully, organisations like Tracks are tackling the issue head on with their brilliant Noisy Daughters event.

Tickets for the gig are available online here. Physical tickets can be purchased from The Pennyweight in Darlington.

FYI – this is a 12 + event (under 16s must be accompanied by an adult).

RSVP to the free song-writing workshop & panel here.

Follow Tracks on Facebook and check out their website for updates & future events.

Kate Crudgington
@KCBobCut

Track Of The Day: Ms Mohammed – ‘Alibi’

Ms Mohammed (formerly known as Dana Jade) is not one to suffer fools gladly. As both a musician and an activist, she confronts xenophobia and Islamophobia head-on, to challenge pre-conceptions about race, gender and sexuality. Born in Trinidad and of South Asian descent, her guitar-wielding persona is equal parts exotic Goddess and entrancing vampire.

Her track ‘Alibi’, taken from her recent EP of the same name, is full of thumping, exotic dhol drums, surrounded by fuzzy, bluesy guitars; all of which lead the listener down velvet and gold-lined corridors to Ms. Mohammed’s lair – a prospect which is simultaneously thrilling and terrifying.

Ms Mohammed founded the Clit Rock movement in 2013 as a way of speaking out against female genital mutilation. As a champion of religious and cultural tolerance and supporter of LGBT rights, Ms Mohammed is challenging prejudice through her music – and we are 100% behind her endeavours to promote tolerance, acceptance, and freedom of expression.

Follow Ms Mohammed on Facebook, and join the Clitrock movement on Twitter too.

Kate Crudgington
@KCBobCut