EP: all cats are beautiful – ‘the things we made’

Released at the beginning of the month via Moshi Moshi, all cats are beautiful’s latest EP the things we made provides a heartfelt, off-kilter take on pop in the twenty first century with a beautifully developed sense of melody and texture. Where more self-conscious artists might have slipped into irony or even parody when playing with genre in the way this record does, the honesty and vulnerability of the lyrics instead steer it down a far more rewarding path; one that combines the hooks and emotional kick of the best pop with a willingness to experiment, keeping the listener guessing.

The band consists of “queer best friends” Elena and Kyle and this seven track release has a truly collaborative feel to it. Both are credited with playing multiple instruments and switch vocal duties throughout, while the way that the songs have been pieced together – often relatively sparse arrangements which sound nonetheless full of feeling – seems, somehow, reflective of the process of sending and receiving musical ideas across the internet during lockdown. The opening track of the EP – ‘(u know) u mean a long minute 2 me’, in which the lyrics apparently came from Kyle mishearing a line of dialogue in Netflix docu-series Tiger King, a fact that in itself makes the early-lockdown writing period extremely clear – was also the EP’s lead single. It sets the scene for what follows beautifully: a long, soft, introduction to the record which finally kicks into gear with the introduction of drums about two and a half minutes in, shifting from atmospheric pop to a shimmering lowkey take on disco.

If you’ve ever wondered (and I’m not sure why you would) what it would sound like if The XX tried their talented hands at making early 2000s slow jams, it might not sound a million miles away from ‘u c right thru me like a windowpane’. Certainly the atmospherics and soft vocal delivery which The XX made their trademark is evident here, but ACAB have far greater warmth in their lyrics and have more fully embraced pop sensibilities. So, in fact, a comparison to XX solo project Romy is probably more apt. The band themselves credit Owen Pallett’s ‘I Am Not Afraid’ as an inspiration for this track and the connection extends beyond a lyrical reference – both treat genre with the same flexibility while remaining refreshingly earnest. Julia Holter is another useful melodic reference point for the EP as a whole.

Other highlights include the rolling melodies of ‘skippin down the stairs like a slinky’ and the Blood Orange-esque ‘i get dayblindness when ur nearby’ which skitters along, built around a chorus to make connoisseurs of 2010s R’n’B swoon. Meanwhile, EP-closer ‘tryna b the 1 2 solve ur shape’ is the kind of ambient-inspired pop which wouldn’t have sounded out of place on Frank Ocean’s Blonde

There has clearly been a great deal of care taken in the construction of these songs – in their lyrics, their melodies, their arrangements and their recording and engineering. As a result, there isn’t a loose moment across the seven tracks; not a wasted or superfluous second, just twenty two and a half minutes of wonderfully imperfect pop.

the things we made, the new EP from all cats are beautiful, is out now via Moshi Moshi Records. Listen/download here.

Gregory Metcalfe
@GregorysParty

Photo Credit: Aaron Price

LISTEN: GIHE on Soho Radio with BLAB 25.08.21

Tash & Kate were back on Soho Radio‘s airwaves playing a mix of golden oldies – including an iconic 90s rager from Alanis Morissette – and new music tunes from some of their favourite women, non-binary and LGBTQ+ artists.

Southend-based musician BLAB aka Frances Murray also joined them to talk about the release of her new single ‘Insurance’ on Cool Thing Records, what it’s like recording in the studio with Sam Duckworth (Get Cape. Wear Cape. Fly), being inspired by Bikini Kill/The Punk Singer & re-defining what it means to be an Essex Girl.

Listen back below:

 

Tracklist
Alanis Morissette – You Oughta Know
Little Annie – I think of you
Lion Babe – Frida Kahlo
Beorma – Her
ARXX – Not Alone But Not With You
Serena Isioma – Really, Really
Emma Bradley – I’ll Be Outside
Mumble Tide – Good 4 Me
Bleach Lab – Real Thing
BABii – Shadow
Anna Prior – Thank You For Nothing
Flossing – Switch
Moor Mother ft. lojii – Shekere
BEBELUNA – Drunk
Nilufer Yanya – Day 7.05093 (keiyaa Remix)
BLAB – Insurance
**BLAB interview**
Jaz Beeson – Coffee Machine Sounds
Grandmas House – Golden
John Glacier – Icing
DROWND – Sinner (KANGA remix)
Meggie Brown – Dusty Smells
Joon – Just Can’t Get Enough
Yay Maria ft. Franx – Template
Tinashe ft. Ms Banks – Die A Little Bit
Olivia Dean – Slowly
Lizzo ft. Cardi B – Rumors

Premiere: LORI – ‘I’m Still Here’

Known to us as the magnificent front-woman of rockers Weekend Recovery, songwriter LORI has now announced her debut solo EP, set for release next month via Criminal Records.

The second single to be taken from the EP, and the collection’s title track, ‘I’m Still Here’ offers a reflection on LORI’s recent mental health journey. Propelled by swirling, electro-infused hooks, LORI’s emotion-strewn crystalline vocals soar throughout with an empowering sentiment. Oozing a sweeping subtle power and shimmering emotive energy, it’s a perfectly heartfelt alt-pop gem; a much-needed stirring message of resilience and self-love. A huge step away from the ferocious punk-pop of Weekend Recovery, ‘I’m Still Here’ channels LORI’s distinctive impassioned spirit in a sparkling new direction.

As LORI reiterates the refrain “I’m still here. I survived”, I can’t help but feel extremely grateful that she got through everything to be where she is today; offering this deeply moving, and instantly catchy, survivor anthem.

Listen to ‘I’m Still Here’, for the first time:


‘I’m Still Here’ is out tomorrow, 27th August. LORI’s solo EP of the same name is set for release on 3rd September via Criminal Records. Catch LORI live:

6th Sept: Sidney & Matilda, Sheffield
7th Sept: Hope and Anchor, London
8th Sept: The Prince Albert, Brighton
9th Sept: Dead Wax Digbeth, Birmingham
10th Sept: Chameleon Arts Cafe, Nottingham
11th Sept: Santiagos, Leeds
12th Sept: Retro, Manchester

Mari Lane
@marimindles

Photo Credit: Keira Anee

LISTEN: Blonde Maze – ‘Being Pulled’

Having fallen in love with everything that GIHE fave Amanda Steckler – aka Blonde Maze – has created so far, it was quite literally music to my ears to hear that she has now shared a brand new single. Following the sparkling grace of ‘I Think About‘ (a collaboration with Attom), and numerous other dreamscapes including ‘Diamond Eyes’ and 2019’s ‘To The Moon, ‘Being Pulled‘ is the latest taste of the New York artist’s upcoming album.

Flowing with glistening, chiming hooks and twinkling keys, ‘Being Pulled’ is inspired by “the conflicting feelings of wanting to move forward while being pulled backwards by your memories; about wanting to move on, yet not wanting to let go of past emotions.” With a gentle heartfelt emotion, it builds with a glitchy electro-infused energy to a swirling, euphoric soundscape. Bathing the ears in shimmering ripples of dreamy reflection and oozing a woozy, hypnotic splendour, it offers an equally perfect accompaniment to a moment of solitary tranquil catharsis, as it does to an invigorating dance with loved ones into the early hours.

As Amanda’s luscious vocals flow with a blissful haze, I can’t helped but ‘be pulled’ into the truly exquisite enchanting allure of ‘Being Pulled’. Blonde Maze has once again provided the perfect soothing tonic; the beautifully calming and delicately uplifting soundtrack that I so desperately needed this week.

Mari Lane
@marimindles