Five Favourites: Maija Sofia

Following the success of last single ‘Flowers’, Irish artist Maija Sofia has now announced the release of her debut album, Bath Time – a collection of songs that were written in the run up to the Repeal The 8th Movement, and all addressing the issue of the silencing and misrepresentation of women.

Creating poignant, stirring slices of alt-folk, filled with beautiful melodies, rich luscious vocals and a raw emotion, Maija Sofia is fast becoming a firm favourite and we can’t wait for the album release.

We think one of the best ways to get to know an artist is by asking what music inspires them or influences their writing. We caught up with Maija, who has shared her “Five Favourites” – five tracks that particularly resonate with her. Check out her choices below, and scroll down to listen to latest single ‘The Glitter’ at the end of this post.

Katie Kim – ‘Day is Coming’ 
Katie Kim is one of my absolute favourite songwriters and this song is from her incredible album Salt. I love how dark, foreboding and ominous her work is while managing to be tender and emotive at the same time. She marries heavy, droning, gauzy harmonies with strange, unexpected vocal melodies and it creates an atmosphere in her work that’s like a sliver of sunlight trying to push through heavy black storm clouds. I love how the chanted refrain “day is coming” towards the end of this song sounds like a wild, horrific pagan ritual, but also sounds redemptive and oddly reassuring.

Radie Peat – ‘Katie Cruel’
I first heard Radie perform this song with the above mentioned Katie Kim when they did a really special collaborative performance in the Pepper Canister church in Dublin, and she’s since recorded an amazing version with her band Lankum who I would include in this list as they are probably my favourite band at the moment, but they surely need no introduction. I knew this song first from Karen Dalton’s gorgeous version but I love how Radie’s drawling almost terrifying voice merges with the harmonium and fiddle drones and makes it a totally new song.

Rachael Lavelle – ‘Perpetual Party’
Rachael Lavelle is an up and coming artist also based in Dublin that I’m really excited about. She has one of the hugest most eerily expansive voices I have ever heard and her songs are dark, gothic, evocative but also euphoric and have a strange, off-kilter sense of humour. This song is a perfect example of what makes her work so singular; she blends aspects of influence from Laurie Anderson, Jenny Hval and Julia Holter, but just makes it completely her own. Every time I see her live I’m more blown away.

Lisa O’Neill – ‘Along The North Strand’
For one reason or another I have a deep love of murder ballads in which the roles are reversed and it’s the women doing the murdering; same goes with folklore, the bible – Judith and Holofernes, Salome and John the Baptist, you name it, I love them all. This is a song Lisa O’Neill learned from a little-known traveller singer Kitty Cassidy and it appeared on her last album, the brilliant Heard A Long Gone Song. Lisa is also an one of my favourite songwriters, and that last album is a perfect mix of original songs and traditional songs, blending her wild, jagged mountainside stormy sea of a voice, her plaintive, poetic lyrics with accompaniment from some of the best trad musicians in the country like Cormac Begley and Christophe Capewell.

Rising Damp – ‘Rising Damp’
Rising Damp is the solo performance project of Michelle Doyle who also plays in the great punk band Sissy. I’ve been lucky to share the same bill with Michelle a few times now and every time I’m blown away. I can’t really describe it properly, but a Rising Damp show consists of synths, drum machines, vocal effects and fervently anti-fascist spoken word/shouting, all delivered with Michelle’s wild, hypnotic feral energy. If you ever get the opportunity to go to a Rising Damp show – go!

Huge thanks to Maija for sharing her Five Favourites! Listen to latest single ‘The Glitter’ below:

Bath Time, the upcoming album from Maija Sofia, is out 22nd November via Trapped Animal Records and Cargo Records.

WATCH: I SEE RIVERS – ‘Collide’

Impassioned vocals and delightful melodies combine on Nordic trio I SEE RIVERS‘ latest single, ‘Collide’. The track is accompanied by a set of beautifully choreographed visuals, featuring two dancers clashing before finally resolving their differences and coming together again.

The trio, formed of Eline (Keys, vocals, percussion), Gøril (guitar, vocals, drum pad) and Lill (drums, vocals) met whilst studying in Liverpool, despite originally coming from Norway. The band have since relocated to Pembrokeshire in Wales, and are recording their debut album in the newly renovated Carmel Chapel with the aid of Owain Jenkins.

Speaking about their new single, the band explain: “The themes of ‘Collide’ are of conflict and reconciliation, turbulence and transparency. In contrast to the familiar voices and relatable lyrics, the production of the song is both more contemporary and more adventurous than our previous releases, focusing more on creating space using a combination of gritty, acoustic sounds and sweeping, synthesized elements.”

We welcome this new direction in sound from I SEE RIVERS’, and embrace their pitch perfect voices and developed “float pop” sounds here at Get In Her Ears. Watch the video for ‘Collide’ below, and follow I SEE RIVERS on Facebook for more updates.

Listen back to our radio show with the trio here.

Photo Credit: Ollie Couling

Kate Crudginton
@kcbobcut

LISTEN: Rozi Plain – ‘Swing Shut’

Picked right from her latest release What A Boost, Rozi Plain’s ‘Swing Shut’ sets the tempo for the new album as a chiming, musically sophisticated record. Combining flowing melodic vocals with new-school jazz brings about a beautifully peaceful tune that would go perfectly alongside a summer day’s stroll.

Prompting the listener to reflect more on life and the importance of looking to the future, rather than reminiscing about things gone past, ‘Swing Shut’ juxtaposes sombre lyrics alongside a lilting instrumental to really pack a punch with its meaning.

Rozi Plain explains that the new album draws on homely roots while focusing on a life on the road, and how undoubtedly beautiful existence can be. Plain expands: I feel like you do a lot of looking back, looking forward, looking at your life, and looking out of the window.

 

What A Boost is out now via Memphis Industries.

Bekky Smart
@bekkymays

LISTEN: Lisa Hannigan & s t a r g a z e Orchestra – ‘Bookmark’

Cinematic sounds and affecting vocals combine on Irish songwriter Lisa Hannigan‘s latest single ‘Bookmark’. It’s a beautiful collaboration with composer André de Ridder and his s t a r g a z e neo-classical orchestra, recorded when they accompanied Hannigan onstage at Dublin’s National Concert Hall. The live album will be released on 31st May via Play It Again Sam, titled Live In Dublin.

The new record spans Hannigan’s discography, including her critically acclaimed 2016 third album At Swim. It paints a beautiful musical portrait of her 17 year career so far, which has included award nominations from the Mercury Prize to Ireland’s Choice Music Prize and Meteor Music Awards.

Speaking about ‘Bookmark’, Hannigan explains: “’Bookmark’ was one of those lost songs that I wrote for At Swim that didn’t seem to fit with the rest of that record. I also never could figure out how to orchestrate it beyond my guitar part and it felt a bit stuck. Andre wrote an arrangement for it during the PEOPLE festival in Berlin, and overnight it came to life.”

Listen to ‘Bookmark’ below and pre-order your copy of Lisa Hannigan’s Live In Dublin here.

Photo Credit: Gerry Sugrue

Kate Crudgington
@KCBobCut

LISTEN: Varley – ‘Phantom Studies’

An understated, captivating listen: Berlin-based trio Varley have shared their new single ‘Phantom Studies’ released via Seahorse Music. It’s an introspective, atmospheric alt-folk gem that explores the breakdown of communication in a relationship.

Formed of vocalist Claire-Ann Varley and multi-instrumentalists Matthias Heising and Joschka Bender, Varley won us over with their stripped back live set at our at Notting Hill Arts Club gig last year. On their new single, the trio continue to give us goosebumps by delivering pitch perfect vocals over a hypnotic, dreamy soundscape.

Speaking about ‘Phantom Studies’, Claire-Ann explains: “Was it real? Did it actually exist and if so, did it exist in the way it appeared to me? ‘Phantom studies’ looks at the dynamic between two people who, although have the same daily routine, see things in a completely different way. It shows how memories can be warped and changed over time and how one person’s reality is not the same as another’s. It shows the breakdown in a relationship and communication and how sometimes even when we communicate our feelings they are not taken seriously”

If you’re a fan of Bon Iver, London Grammar or Daughter; then Varley’s music is definitely worth investing in. Listen to ‘Phantom Studies’ below and follow Varley on Facebook for more updates.

Kate Crudgington
@KCBobCut