LISTEN: Laura Guarch – ‘Fleeting Light’

Having established herself as a professional vocalist, with collaborations with ACM Gospel Choir and London Contemporary Voices under her belt, Spanish London-based artist Laura Guarch has now shared her debut single. 

Soaring with Guarch’s stunning crystalline vocals and an anthemic emotion-strewn musicality, ‘Fleeting Light’ builds to an ethereal, glistening soundscape. A cinematic, alt-pop ballad with shades of the other-worldly majesty of the likes of Bjork or Kate Bush. Of the track, Guarch explains:

The idea for Fleeting Light was born on a night looking at the starry sky from a semi-deserted island in Thailand, called Mu Koh Ang Thong. How are the old stars looking at us, humans, and the changes the Earth is experiencing? Fleeting Light imagines million year-old stars looking down on the Earth and watching the history of life on our planet as their Sunday afternoon entertainment.

Listen to ‘Fleeting Light’ here:

 

Mari Lane
@marimindles

Five Favourites: GRANT

Following 2018’s album In Bloom, Swedish artist GRANT has now returned to grace our ears with new single ‘Words’. Oozing a raw emotion and shimmering musicality, it’s a heartfelt slice of enchanting alt-pop.

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 GRANT to find out her “Five Favourites” – five albums that she’s found particularly influential. Check out her choices below, and make sure you watch the new video for ‘Words’ below.

4 Non Blondes – Bigger, Better, Faster, More!
This was my own very first CD, that my sister gave me when I was about eight. I learned how to sing belting along with Linda Perry. This album falls somewhere in rock n’roll land, with a touch of Linda Perry’s pop genius, and  listening to it felt like a roller coaster through a wicked landscape. I highly recommend that you listen to the Linda Perry episode of the Broken Record Podcast!

Björk – Debut / Post / Homogenic
This is my holy trinity, and I honestly didn’t know which of Björk’s albums to choose; each of these three have inspired me immensely. I love the unexpected dynamics and how in each delicious song she unfolds like an adventure so naturally.

Nina Simone – Wild Is The Wind
The first time I heard Nina Simone, she sang of experiences I’d never lived in a language I didn’t understand yet, but I felt so much. It was kinda heavy but also beautiful. Never has an artist expanded my world view like she did. I want to make music that makes someone young feel like that. 

Portishead – Dummy
I must’ve listened to this album more than a thousand times. When I first discovered trip-hop I thought it was the most ultimate genre, simply because it was genre-bending and contradictory (gloomy yet playful, soft and hard), and I still hold this to be true. Even though I’ve transitioned into a more pop soundscape, I’m still heavily influenced. Also, Beth Gibbons singing ‘Glory Box’ and smoking on stage is too sexy. 

Edith Piaf – À l’Olympia
As with Nina Simone she sang of experiences in a language I didn’t understand, but I was completely enchanted. The way she sings and poises herself with small movements that stir up a fucking whirlwind… I think you can hear her influence in my music in terms of both melodies and phrasing. I learned French from listening to her and I’m forever grateful for the impact she’s had on me.

Huge thanks to GRANT for sharing her Five Favourites with us! 

Watch the new video for ‘Words’ here:

 

Photo Credit: Angelina Bergenwall

 

FIVE FAVOURITES: Harkin

Multi-talented Harkin has been a touring musician since her teens, and in addition to her own bands, she has shared stages with the likes of Sleater-Kinney, Wild Beasts, Flock of Dimes, Kurt Vile and Courtney Barnett. She’s now set to release her debut self-titled album on 24th April, via via Hand Mirror – a label she founded with her partner, poet & live arts organiser, Kate Leah Hewett.

We think one of the best ways to get to know an artist is by asking what music inspired them to write in the first place. We caught up with Harkin to ask about her “Five Favourites” – five songs that influenced her own writing techniques. Check out Harkin’s choices below, and scroll down to listen to her single ‘Dial It In’ at the end of this post.

 

1. Donna Summer – ‘State Of Independence’ (Extended Remix)
I’ve lived in London a couple of times, for Uni and then again around the time I started playing with Wild Beasts. I lived in a ground floor flat share with no living room and a galley kitchen, so we’d just hang out in each other’s bedrooms all the time. My flatmate had the 12” of this single and we’d put on the long b-side version and dance on her bed. That’s a feeling I come back again and again when I need to find some extra fuel for my fire.

2. Quack Quack – ‘Conversations’ (Live at The Brudenell Social Club) 
I feel so lucky to have grown up going to gigs at The Bru. Quack Quack were such an inspiration. Unquestionably virtuosic players, but it’s their passion that was so remarkable. Truly an alive live band.

3. Björk – ‘Crystalline’ (Jools Holland Live)
I feel the urge to listen to this song every winter as the cold creeps in. I saw one of the screenings she did of this album, it’s such a masterclass and was a real revelation for me as to how human electronic performances can be.

4. Ryuichi Sakamoto – ‘Forbidden Colours’ (Merry Christmas, Mr Lawrence Soundtrack)
I discovered Sakamoto through a synthesiser compilation and there are a few different versions of this song, all wonderful. His melodies can inhabit so many different forms, it’s staggering.

5. David Axelrod – ‘The Mental Traveller’
I started recording my debut album in LA, and I listened to Axelrod a lot whilst driving around. I’d love to be able to sit in on one of those Capitol sessions from back in the day.

Thanks to Harkin for sharing her favourites with us. Follow her on Spotify and Facebook for more updates.

Photo Credit: Tomm Roeschlein

FIVE FAVOURITES: Mentrix

Born in Iran but now based in Berlin, Mentrix 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. She’s set to release her debut album – My Enemy, My Love – on 3rd April via her own (female-led) record label, House of Strength.

We think one of the best ways to get to know an artist is by asking what music inspired them to write in the first place. We caught up with Mentrix to ask about her “Five Favourites” – five albums that influenced her song writing techniques. Check out her choices below, and scroll down to watch the video for ‘Nature’ at the end of this post.

Mentrix: “It’s hard to narrow things down to five favourite records. I love soul, funk, blues, rock, punk, hip hop. I have adored James Brown, Mick Jagger, Erykah Badu, Candi Staton, Aretha Franklin, Nina Simone, Patti Smith and Mariah Carey (yes yes, l love Mariah). Who can deny the global phenomenon that was Michael Jackson’s History? And no matter what genre of music you are into, Bob Marley will always have a place of its own in your music-consciousness. As of pop and electronic music; MIA, Santigold and The Knife are among artists I consider pioneers. But when it comes to albums, strangely enough I surprise myself with what popped up. Suddenly, some albums that I had not thought of for a long time came back to mind. I know every note of Smoker’s Delight (Nightmares on Wax) and Fink’s first album Biscuit for Breakfast is a significant one for me. But, as I began to ask myself which were the 5 albums that stood out the most; some forgotten memories returned with their very own soundtrack. Here are my top 5 albums as I remember them today…”

1. Tracy Chapman – Tracy Chapman
The first record that comes to mind is the one that blew my mind – although 10 years had passed since its original release, it was a discovery for me and probably my introduction to songwriting. I would teach English lessons to an older lady in Tehran using the lyrics of this album. I miss that woman and hope to find her some day…

2. The Police – Greatest Hits
Another album that had a huge impact on me was The Police Greatest hits released in 1992. Every track an undeniable hit. Probably my introduction to what a hit is.

3. Radiohead – In Rainbows 
I discovered them much later in life and they won my utter most reverence with the album In Rainbows. Radiohead know how to make that kind of record.

4. Bjork – Vulnicura
Bjork has been a constant inspiration and Vulnicura is my favorite album of the artist. Although I m a huge Biophilia and Medulla fan, I relate much more to the love and pain topic of the artist’s most bold album in my opinion.

5. Yeah Yeah Yeahs – Fever to Tell
I discovered the Yeah Yeah Yeahs a bit too late to be honest… When I did, I listened to this record over and over again. It gave me the confidence to make music and inspired me at so many levels. I consider Karen O a bit of a guru… And this record remains sacred to me.

Thanks to Mentrix for sharing her favourites with us. Follow her on Facebook & Spotify for more updates.

Photo Credit: Gilles Estève