EP: Sandunes – ‘Spare Some Time’

A calming, electronic mediation on the necessity of expressing emotion; Sandunes has shared her new EP, Spare Some Time. Released today (May 22nd) via !K7, the four track creation is an aural salve for overwhelmed ears, flowing with shimmering synth textures and soothing beats that remind listeners to take stock of the love in their lives.

Based in Mumbai, Sandunes (aka Sanaya Aredeshir) has focused less on musical technicality, and more on emotional catharsis on this collaborative offering. While for some this decision might compromise high production standards, that’s not the case here. Spare Some Time is equally as polished as Sandunes’ previous releases, which are predominantly created from her home studio in Bombay.

Ambient electronics and stretched out beats permeate opening track ‘Love It Less’. Featuring the smooth vocals of Jbabe, the track was crafted from an intimate jam session between the two producers. It blends seamlessly into the atmospheric ‘Burn Every Bridge’. “The only way out is through / Burn every bridge to you”, muses vocalist Landslands, cautiously urging listeners to let go of the past. Sandunes’ tentative beats and fluid synths help to relay this gentle message too.

“Bittersweet acceptance” sounds intoxicating on ‘Fifty Percent’, thanks to the soulful vocals of Mumbai songwriter Ramya Pothuri. The vulnerabilities expresses in the lyrics are softened by Sandunes’ use of bright electronics. Closing track ‘Simple Thing’ sees the producer subtly celebrating the restorative nature of love in all its forms, through uplifting synths and IAMI’s buoyant vocals.

“I feel like it’s very important for me to be prudent, but also celebratory about feminine freedom, as a working, performing, producing, musician from India”, Sandunes explains. Her ability to be clear about her her status, and the emotional response that sparks is what makes Spare Some Time such a cathartic, reassuring listen. “We’re deprived in our isolation of the tremendous benefit that togetherness and connection brings” she continues, but with records like this; that connection is ultimately strengthened.

Listen to Sandunes new EP on Spotify. Follow her on Facebook for more updates.

Photo credit: Viktor Sloth

Kate Crudgington
@KCBobCut

ALBUM: Liar, Flower – ‘Geiger Counter’

Released via One Little Indian Records, Liar, Flower‘s new album Geiger Counter – the latest project from KatieJane Garside (Daisy Chainsaw, QueenAdreena, Lalleshwari) and Chris Whittingham – is a collection of songs that blend honey-sweet vocals with dreamy, beautifully produced instrumental soundscapes.

Opening track ‘I Am Sundress (She Of Infinite Flowers)’ is a hauntingly beautiful offering that gives way to the hypnotic rock concoction of ‘My Brain Is Lit Like An Airport’. The angry soundscape then transforms into the psychedelic, deconstructed ‘9N-AFE’. Its robotic, glitchy sonics make it a stand-out track on the record.

The rock-tinged stylings of ‘Mud Stars’ juxtaposed with melodic ‘Broken Light’ teases your brain with its varied range. Following track ‘Even The Darkest Clouds’ is an off-kilter banger that uses lacerating guitars and booming beats with raw vocals, throwing Geiger Counter into complete tortured disarray; essentially making it a cacophony of mismatched musicality.

In comparison, next track ‘Blood Berries’ is a slow lullaby with a foreboding touch. The pair’s brilliant production skills are shown off proudly on the post-punk sounding ‘Little Brown Shoes’. The tail end of the record is sunshine after a storm, as the instrumentals begin leaning away from the tinges of gloom, lust and loathing which have remained front and centre for most of the LP.

The sultry, seductive ‘Baby Teeth’ flawlessly blends into the country-tinged ‘Hole In My Hand’, while the light touches of title track ‘Geiger Counter’ provide a simple, yet memorable melody. Final track ‘Doors Locked, Oven’s Off’ is the perfect closer that brings together the darker sounds of the album with its airy corners, ending the record with the strongest instrumentals thus far.

A disorienting combination of loud violence and gentle caresses that keeps listeners on their toes throughout; Geiger Counter is as meditative as it is nightmarish, as mysterious as it is all-knowing. The record grows on you with each track and by the end of it, you’re ready to play it all over again.

Listen to Geiger Counter by Liar, Flower on Spotify

Malvika Padin
@malvika_padin26

Still Spinning: Hole – ‘Nobody’s Daughter’

Our brand new “Still Spinning” feature focuses on records that we consider to be iconic (whether that’s for popular, or personal reasons), and celebrates our enduring love for them. First up, Features Editor Kate Crudgington talks us through why Hole’s fourth album, Nobody’s Daughter, released in 2010, is still one of her most influential listens.

Admired by plenty, and maligned by equally as many; Hole‘s front woman Courtney Love has been a controversial figure in rock music for over two decades. Actively antagonistic towards the 90s Riot Grrrl movement (even though many consider her music & persona to be the living embodiment of it), Love has carved a career that’s so notoriously independent, I often forget there are four other talented musicians in her band.

That being said, the majority of these musicians were absent from the recording of Nobody’s Daughter, which was initially conceived as Love’s second solo record in 2005. It’s probably worth mentioning that Billy Corgan of The Smashing Pumpkins played a role in the writing of this album too, but I don’t want to get in to production credits. What I want to get in to is how Hole (and by default, Courtney Love) have created some of the most cathartic, memorable music I’ve ever heard.

There’s no denying Love has exhibited plenty of toxic behaviour in the past, but I feel her male counterparts in the industry are rarely treated with such judgement, disdain or hatred. I don’t care if her vocals aren’t pitch perfect, or if she plays chords “the lazy way” (as my first boyfriend once put it). What I care about is how her music offers an alternative to angry young women, growing up in a world that consistently tells women to minimise their anger.

Nobody’s Daughter is the first Hole album I listened to in full. I was about to turn twenty-five, and I was livid after being dumped on public transport by my first boyfriend after a 3 and a half year relationship. My cousin Rebecca – an original 90s Riot Grrrl – gave me some of her Hole CDs, and from the opening lyric of the eponymous track, I was hooked. “Made something better, kept it for himself” seethes Love, taking me right back to the rage I felt the morning after the breakup. I was so embarrassed, so humiliated, and so frustrated that I couldn’t communicate that properly to friends and family. I’d been waiting for permission to tell the truth about my post-breakup feelings, and Nobody’s Daughter granted me that permission in a heartbeat.

It’s worth noting I took the lyrics on this album very seriously/personally, which is probably why I prefer the ragers, and not the quieter tracks. The way Love snarls “Don’t tell me I have lost, when clearly I’ve won” resonated with me deeply post-breakup. I needed that level of petty competitiveness to get me through. Love could be referring to any number of things on ‘Nobody’s Daughter’ – including her own complicated relationship with Frances Bean Cobain – but to me, that track is a defiant middle finger to anyone who had a pre-conceived idea of how I would behave or react post-relationship.

Vicious second track ‘Skinny Little Bitch’ is another example of how I framed Love’s aggressive lyrics to fit my own feelings. The track rips into life in such a violent, infectious way, it’s hard not to screech the lyric “You will never see the light, I’ll just obscure it out of spite” without feeling fan-fucking-tastic. Of course, I don’t advocate women tearing down other women – especially not about their weight – but whether you frame yourself as the bitch Love’s hating on in the song, or as the bitch who’s tearing this girl a new one – it’s hard not to find respite in the spite, even if it feels misdirected when I listen to it now.

The third rager is ‘Samantha’. It comes after alt-folk tracks ‘Honey’ and ‘Pacific Coast Highway’, both of which feel like they could soundtrack a Bonnie & Clyde style getaway movie. They’re not bad tracks by any means, but they’re easy to skip over when you know ‘Samantha’ is on the horizon. “Watch her wrap her legs around this world, can’t take the gutter from the girl” seethes Love, over roaring guitars and buzzing bass lines. I love the accompanying video to this track, where she’s tearing through a desolated city, wearing a wedding dress with the word “cunt” embroidered on it.

I think the most vicious line on the record is “If you were on fire, I would just throw kerosene”. I was intoxicated by Love’s ability to speak the psychopathic unspeakable. The follow-up lyric “I love so much I hate, and I hate what you have seen in me” still strikes a chord today. The binary opposites of love and hate, and how they’re a hair’s breadth apart in feeling, is something that fuels Nobody’s Daughter, and is probably why I invested so much time listening to it in the aftermath of a breakup.

I’m out of the ragers zone now, and rolling around in ‘Someone Else’s Bed’. In the midst of hanxiety (hangover anxiety), I would listen to this and take a sick kind of joy from the lyric “I quite enjoy your suffering, Oh I want to watch the view”. Turns out, I’m pretty mean/melodramatic on a hangover, and clearly enjoy stewing in my own emotions. When I listen back now, I smirk at how much time twenty-five year old me dedicated to being angry and upset about something I couldn’t change.

I have to confess, my attention drifts towards the end of Nobody’s Daughter. ‘For Once In Your Life’, ‘Letter To God’ and ‘Loser Dust’ go over my head. Things pick up again when Love starts shouting and screaming on ‘How Dirty Girls Get Clean’. It smoulders with her trademark fury, even in the opening verses where it’s just Love and her acoustic guitar. ‘Never Go Hungry’ closes the record with a quiet determination. “I’m hungry for, life a little less cruel” muses Love, a sentiment that still fills me with hope.

Nobody’s Daughter taught me many things, but mostly it taught me that feeling irrational, or angry, or mad at a situation you can’t change is okay. It also taught me how destructive those feelings can be. It was my introduction to Hole’s discography, and led me to discover Live Through This, another Hole album that I feel forever indebted to. Say what you like about Courtney Love – and the whole Hole saga – Nobody’s Daughter is a fierce, frenzied record that deserves repeated listens (purely for the ragers).

Kate Crudgington
@KCBobCut

ALBUM: Harkin – ‘Harkin’

Armed with experiences from a life of touring and collaborations, Harkin has taken her first steps towards a solo journey with her eponymous LP. The album is set for release on 24th April via Hand Mirror, a new label set up by Harkin and her partner, poet & live arts organiser, Kate Leah Hewett.

Well known for being a touring member of Sleater-Kinney, Wild Beasts, and Kurt Vile and Courtney Barnett; Harkin has teamed up with Stella Mozgawa (Warpaint) and Jenn Wasner (Wye Oak & Bon Iver) to help record her debut album – but this doesn’t take away from the fact that it’s all Harkin, through and through.

Opening with the booming guitar of ‘Mist on Glass’, Harkin is off to a powerful start as bold, sharp vocals carry through from one track to the next. The swagger of ‘Nothing the Night Can’t Change’ gives way to the softer sonics of ‘Decade’, before the first highlight of the 10-track production comes in the form of thumping beats and husky vocals of ‘Up To Speed’. Next track ‘Bristling’ follows the same path, with a soundscape of drums and guitar.

At the halfway point, ‘Dial It In’ passes by, followed by interlude ‘Red Virginia Creeper’ before the undeniable stand out track of the album breaks through. The foreboding, looming and brilliant ‘Sun Stay With Me’ is the beginning of an eerie mood that travels through the remaining tracks of the album. Penultimate offering ‘New France’ is soaked in reverb-ridden sonics, and spoken word-esque delivery, vibrating with a presence that’s felt even after the last notes fade.

Harkin closes with the ringing acoustic stylings of ‘Charm and Tedium’, with a razor sharp focus on Harkin’s raw vocals. Completed over 16 days dotted between Harkin’s gruelling tour schedule, Harkin is a collection of gritty but smooth songs that showcase a unique trajectory; combining the warmth of nostalgia, with the glitchy pace of the modern world.

Pre-order your copy of Harkin’s debut album here.
Follow Harkin on Spotify and Facebook for more updates.

Photo Credit: Tomm Roeschlein

Malvika Padin
@malvika_padin26