Track Of The Day: Maria BC – ‘Devil’s Rain’

A tender reflection on the cherished summers they spent with their grandparents in northern Ohio, Brooklyn-based artist Maria BC has shared their latest single ‘Devil’s Rain’. Taken from their upcoming EP of the same name, which is set for release on 5th February via Fear of Missing Out Records, the track is a comforting realisation about how joy and melancholy can harmoniously co-exist in your memories.

“When I was little, my grandmother would sit with me on the porch during rainstorms and read me chapter books,” Maria explains. “While we sat on the porch swing one day, the sun came out while the rain kept pouring and she taught me the term ‘devil’s rain’. I think it’s a Southern expression (my grandmother grew up in Kentucky). I love the phrase, how sinister it is and the event itself — sunshine and rain, co-occurring opposites — puts you in a spiritual mood, all wonder and melancholy.”

Maria’s warm memories of being “cradled by a summer day” are reflected in their ambient  guitar sounds and emotive vocals. Despite the dreamy nature of the track, Maria’s peace feels as temporary and interchangeable as the natural phenomenon they’re singing about, accepting that beliefs and emotions are as fleeting, but as awe-inspiring as the tempestuous weather.

Listen to ‘Devil’s Rain’ below.

 

Follow Maria BC on bandcampSpotifyInstagramTwitter & Facebook for more updates.

Kate Crudgington
@KCBobCut

#ThrowbackThursday: GIHE w/ Black Gold Buffalo (08.03.18)

Due to the ongoing Covid-19 pandemic and new lockdown in London, we’re unable to make it into the Hoxton Radio studio to broadcast our weekly live new music show from 7-9pm. Instead, we’re sharing previous GIHE radio show recordings as #ThrowbackThursday sessions, so you can still enjoy 2 hours of new music tunes & chats with some of our favourite artists each week.

Today, we’ve picked our March 2018 show originally broadcast on International Women’s Day. Tash & Kate played plenty of new music and a few tracks from iconic female artists to celebrate the occasion. They were joined by the lovely Keziah and Marc from Black Gold Buffalo, who spoke about the inspiration behind their self-titled debut album, and premiered their single ‘Penkenna’ live on air.

Listen out for Kate’s accidental Cilla Black impression too…

Listen back to the show here:

Tracklist
Sister Rosetta Tharpe – Up Above My Head
Smerz – No Harm
Gina Rose Bruce – The Way You Make Love
Kidsmoke – Sister Sadness
The Shacks – Follow Me
Table Scraps – I’m A Failure
Denton Thrift – Confessional
VOKXEN – Running On Empty
Skating Polly – Queen For A Day
Track Not Found – Code Red
Like Swimming – Strike a Pose
Stay South – If You Leave LA
Black Gold Buffalo – Pearls Deep
**Interview – Black Gold Buffalo**
Black Gold Buffalo – Penkenna
Sextile – Current Affair
Pussy Riot – Straight Outta Vagina
Maja Francis – Saved By The Summer (Shura Remix)
Ms Mohammed – Pandora
The Sonder Bombs – Shitty Boyfriend
Zialand – Shelter
Amparo – That Was Her
Gitta de Ridder – The Wheel
The Julie Ruin – Girls Like Us

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: Mentrix – ‘My Enemy, My Love’

A commanding, altruistic collection of dynamic sounds; vocalist & composer Mentrix has shared her debut album, My Enemy, My Love, via her own label, House of Strength today (April 3rd). It’s a powerful exploration of resilience, independence, and what happens when women are caught between two cultures; each filled with their own flaws and freedoms.

Born in Iran but now based in Berlin, Mentrix (aka Samar Rad) blends her experiences of eastern and western culture, along with traditional Sufi instrumentation to create her beguiling, bold soundscapes. Her extensive travels and multiple influences – from Latin and French Literature, to The Qu’ran and traditional Persian poetry – give her music a diverse and fascinating edge.

One of the most striking elements on My Enemy, My Love, is the sound of the hand-played daf drum; an ancient, traditional frame drum native to Iran. In Sufism, Mentrix explains the instrument is both “a call for the soul to awaken”, and a sound that can communicate “emptiness” and desolation. As she poetically words it, “it’s the dark side and the bright side of the moon in one instrument.” This is personified on cinematic opening track ‘Nature’, and re-enforced with the lyric “We all have a nature that harms us / if we let it”. This duality – the battle between acceptance and choice – is seminal to Mentrix’s music, and it’s what makes her art so compelling.

‘Dreams’ is a beguiling lullaby, showcasing Mentrix’s agile vocal range and more of her instinct for altruistic percussion. The slow-burning, seven minute epic ‘Loyalty’ blazes with ominous electronics, before the intense ‘Longing’ breaks through like a powerful ray of light; inspired by a traditional Mooyeh mourning chant from Lorestan in Iran. Eerie synth textures, assertive lyrics, and marching percussion collide on ‘Walk’. “Trees give fruit / men seek truths / don’t you wonder why nothing changes?” Mentrix extrapolates, before commanding listeners with the instruction: “you need to walk / now, get up”. It’s stands out as one of the most rousing, powerful tracks on the record.

On the eponymous ‘My Enemy, My Love’, layered vocals and pummeling beats flood the track. The title is a reference to Mentrix’s contrasting feelings of being seen as an immigrant and a deserter, but also her love for the country she was born in, and its rich musical heritage. “I am forever attached to my birth place, and my identity and aspirations are very rooted in Iranian culture” Mentrix explains. “Since the West so often portrays Iran in a questionable way, I feel obliged to share its diverse and positive faces to the world.”

This diversity and positivity is felt during the gentle opening of penultimate track ‘Igneous Sun’, which then flows into the searching ‘If’. “If you were not standing in my way / where would I be standing right now?” muses Mentrix over atmospheric beats, and entrancing electronics. With such direct, and intense song-writing talent, it’s hard to imagine anyone blocking Mentrix’s path; but it’s reassuring to hear she challenges those who attempt it.

Multiple aspects of Mentrix’s My Enemy, My Love are rooted in self-autonomy, and the empowerment of women. Session musician Claire Bay plays the ney, while multi-award winning New-York-based mastering engineer Emily Lazar helped to create her vivid recordings. Even the name of Mentrix’s  label – House Of Strength –  is a reference to the “pits” where Iranian men would train to defend themselves against the Mongols. There was no equivalent place for women, and Mentrix is still struck by the need to “fight” this patriarchal structure. She does so by seeking out those who are also self-autonomous, and who are prepared to work alongside her to create her sound; and what a fluid, energetic, refreshing sound it is.

Listen to Mentrix’s debut album My Enemy, My Love on Spotify. Follow her on Facebook for more updates.

Kate Crudgington
@KCBobCut