PLAYLIST: January 2018

The festive period is over and we’re almost seven whole days in to 2018. Where did the time go? Who knows? The only thing we really know is our shiny new January playlist is well worth investing some listening time in. Chuck it on while you’re at your brand new gym, cooking up that healthy new dinner, or simply not surrendering to the overwhelming pressure that surrounds the ‘NEW YEAR NEW ME’ outlook…

The Big Moon – ‘Happy New Year’
2017 was a tough year, but it would’ve been tougher without our favourite garage-rockers The Big Moon. Their laid back anthems have covered love, loss, and “pull(ing) the other one”; and ‘Happy New Year’ is the perfect ambivalent alternative to ‘Auld Lang Syne’. Plus, there’s a suave dance routine you can mimic in their music video. All you need is a suit and some sass. (Kate Crudgington)

The Distillers – ‘I Am A Revenant’ 
“Another year has passed and I’m alright…”
Not going to lie, I’ve been pretty obsessed with Brody Dalle since first hearing Sing Sing Death House as a hormone-filled sixteen year old back in 2002. Her impassioned growl, ferocious snarl, and punk-inspired swagger was the perfect raging accompaniment to the trials and tribulations of teenage-dom. So, I was gushing with excitement to see The Distillers’ teaser this week for new material coming up in 2018 because even now, as a slightly more balanced thirty-one year old, I’m still in need of a raging accompaniment to life. (Mari Lane)

Pumarosa – ‘Sacerdotisa’
London electro-post-punk five-piece Pumarosa have released a new Spanish version of their debut single ‘Priestess’. In an interview with Q, vocalist Isabel Munoz-Newsome said: “politically, there’s this separatist theme and the Spanish government is shutting it down in a violent way. You can’t just shut down an opinion…I hope that this will translate and they’ll hear them.” I loved the original and I love this version. 2018 will no doubt hold a lot of political change and we definitely need a soundtrack for that. (Tash Walker)

Pretenders – ‘I Hate Myself’
Drank a life-ruining amount of gin on New Years Eve? Failed to start your new exercise routine? Considering signing up to Tinder again because you don’t want to die alone? Just me? Ah, sod all that ‘NEW YEAR NEW ME’ nonsense. There’s nothing wrong with a bit of self-deprecation, especially when you’re being schooled in it by rock n roll’s finest: Chrissie Hynde. (KC)

Green Pitch – ‘New Year Departure’
I came across Green Pitch in 2009 because I was mad about a band called The River Phoenix, and their lead singer provides the male vocals on this morose, melodic call and response track. It’s a bit heavy on the heart-strings, but give the rest of Green Pitch’s stuff a listen if you like melancholy, alternative sounds. (KC)

Camera Obscura – ‘New Year’s Resolution’
Whilst not a new song, I couldn’t not include this beautifully reflective offering from Camera Obscura’s epic 2013 album Desire Lines as we venture into 2018, and I vow – as I do every year – to “write something of value”. This heartfelt track gets me every time, especially since the tragic loss of Carey Lander over two years ago. (ML)

Sudan Archives – ‘Come Meh Way’
Sudan Archives is the music project from Brittney Denise Parks, a self-taught violinist, vocalist and producer – citing influencers from Sudanese fiddlers to experimental electronica. The almost unemotional vocals layered on top of the West-African folk fiddle, mixed in with percussion from hand-claps to tambourine, make this a concoction I’ve not come across before, and I can’t get this track out of my head. (TW)

Night Shades – ‘Caveman Crawl’
Formed back in 2014 when Shaun Blackwell and Clare McNamara arrived in London from New Zealand and met drummer Niall Kavanagh, Night Shades released their Evil Dreams EP in October last year. Taken from the EP, ‘Caveman Crawl’ is a raw, explosive blast of grunge-inspired rock ‘n’ roll. A hauntingly alluring offering that leaves us excited for what this promising band have to offer in 2018. (ML)

Witch Fever – ‘Carpet Asphyxiation’ 
I just love the raw, frenzied cacophony and shrieking vocals of this explosive track from Manchester based grunge-punk band. Describing themselves as “making noise with our big muffs”, Witch Fever will be headlining our first live night at The Finsbury of 2018 next Friday, 12th January, and we could not be more excited! (ML)

The Nyx – ‘Only One’
We are so excited to have The Nyx performing alongside Witch Fever at The Finsbury on the 12th, and we can’t wait to hear this new track live in the flesh. The band are going to be releasing a new tune to coincide with the appearance of every full moon this year, so keep your eyes peeled for more releases from these talented, tenacious women. ‘Only One’ isn’t up on Spotify yet, so listen to it below. (KC)

Rage Against The Machine – ‘War Within A Breath’
Whilst Zach De La Rocha’s lyric “Everything can change, on a New Year’s Day” is a direct reference to the date the Zapatistas revolted against the Mexican government in 1994, it’s  the perfect mantra for anyone who thinks 2018 is the year to become more politically engaged. If I can learn this tiny piece of background info about ‘War Within A Breath’ from a quick Google search, there’s no excuse for us not to switch ourselves on to politics in 2018. Let’s not have a repeat of 2017 (please?) (KC)

Soundgarden – ‘The Day I Tried To Live’
The start of a new year often causes us to reflect on those we’ve lost over the last twelve months. For me, personally, Chris Cornell passing away in 2017 was massively affecting. I heard the news the same day I was diagnosed with Endometriosis, and immediately turned to the majestic dark solace of his creations, just as I had on first falling in love with him as a discombobulated teen. I find this track from 1994’s Superunknown particularly poignant; and the suicide of musicians such as Cornell and Linkin Park’s Chester Bennington recently, a real wake up call to the issue of mental health in the industry. (ML)

Moglebaum – ‘Phone’
Moglebaum are a five-piece electronic act from Germany, and ‘Phone’ is taken from their upcoming record Grown Heat. It’s an ever-changing electronic track whose samples, beats and vocals deliver something new each time I listen. This is the perfect track to slip into during the dark first month of 2018 – January, we’ve got you. Self-defined as “Organic Electronic” could these guys be the 2018 trend we’ve all been looking for? Get listening and get talking. (TW)

Bloom Twins – ‘Talk To Me’
Teaming up with charities to raise awareness of pressing issues is not a new concept for the Bloom Twins. 2015 saw the twins joining forces with UNICEF, covering John Lennon’s iconic ‘Imagine’, in a campaign for children’s rights across the globe. This time, they’re combining action with their harmony-strewn electro-pop with latest single ‘Talk To Me’, in which they raise awareness of the importance of talking about mental health. (ML)

Poppy Ackroyd – ‘The Calm Before’
Composer Poppy Ackroyd, is a trained pianist, violinist and producer, and this track is taken from her upcoming album Resolve (released on 26th Jan via One Little Indian Records). ‘The Calm Before’ is almost entirely made up of clarinet sounds, even the percussion was created using layers of clicking clarinet and bass clarinet keys, starting with a looped and chopped rhythm taken from an improvisation that appears throughout. I think it’s breathtakingly beautiful, and I can’t wait for the album. (TW)

David Bowie – ‘Lady Grinning Soul’
The world lost the Starman two years ago in January 2016, and I’m still not over it. Whilst picking a favourite song from Bowie’s diverse and impeccable discography is always a struggle, I’ve chosen ‘Lady Grinning Soul’ because it was one of the first tracks that struck a chord with me when I arrived (very late) to the Bowie-loving party. (KC)

Interview: Bloom Twins

Teaming up with charities to raise awareness of pressing issues is not a new concept for the Bloom Twins. 2015 saw the twins joining forces with UNICEF, covering John Lennon’s iconic ‘Imagine’, in a campaign for children’s rights across the globe. And Bloom Twins are once again combining action with harmonies with their latest single ‘Talk To Me’, in which they raise awareness of the importance of talking about mental health – an issue which has affected them both personally.

Nicky Lee-Delisle caught up with the Bloom Twins to find out more about the latest single, and their experiences of mental health issues.

“We wrote ‘Talk To Me’ four years ago” the twins tell me. “One of our friends died from anorexia… Her grandmother died and she was the closest person to her. At some point she stopped talking to anybody and letting anyone in. Passing away from Anorexia was the consequence of not talking to people, and that is what the song is about. The whole idea is focused on talking to people and letting people in.”

The video for ‘Talk To Me’ is a harrowing race against time in an engulfing city landscape, reminding the viewer to take direct action in reaching out to those who need it before it is too late – “We tried to think about it, about what our friend was going through”, Bloom Twins explain. The lyrics are a genuine, heartfelt plea to open up about any troubles ‘Talk to me and speak your mind / I’ll stand beside you’. Songs are a powerful medium in conveying messages, with Anna and Sonia determined to use their platform to create positive change: “The song is about what we went through during that time, and urging those in similar positions to just to let it all out. Talk to people…”

Another platform for change that the twins speak passionately about is the poisoned chalice which is social media. “We wanted to make a change, we didn’t want to make it just about the music. We want to be a part of things which we are thinking about. Something we are striving to deliver. Right now everyone is so into Instagram – how you look and where you go. It’s not about what you’re doing anymore”, Sonia muses, “What I don’t like about social media is that people compare one another, but then we go against that. I find it stupid that people make jokes about others (on social media). Maybe that’s why people have issues talking about mental illness”. However, the Bloom Twins hope that their single will go some way in turning the negative side of social media on its head via their hashtag campaign #holdyourfriend. “That’s why we started talking to strangers (via social media) saying ‘do you want to be a part of it?’. I know it seems like we’re just promoting ourselves, but I was surprised how many people wanted to take part.”

Reaching out via social media is one way of being there for those who are in dark places, but what about those who we encounter in our day to day lives…? “I would say treat them normally”, Anna advices. “Don’t be like ‘oh that person is depressed, I need to be super-nice to them’ – never act too obviously that they are depressed.”

“I would spend more time with that person” adds Sonia. “Then at a point where that person would feel more comfortable with me I would say something like – ‘you know what, I’m going through bad times too!’”

The music industry itself is notorious for taking its toll on the mental health of those involved, and as much as popular culture feeds off the concept of the ‘tortured poet’ musicians are three times more likely to suffer from depression or anxiety than any other profession. The Bloom Twins moved over to London from their homeland of Ukraine at the young age of just seventeen in order to pursue their career in music, so what advice do they have in negotiating such a cut-throat industry? “It is very normal within any creative industry to feel down and feel like you’re not needed from the beginning. You feel like everybody is telling you ‘no’. You need to believe in yourself and it’s fine to feel down. Write a song whenever anything happens, let it out.” Although journeying through the music industry can be gruelling, the music which has been created as the end product can go far in the healing process for anyone who suffers from mental health issues. “Music holds a special place for us, listening to our favourite songs provides an escape. People tend to close inside of them off, and the only thing they can do is plug in those guys (mimes putting on headphones).”

Catch Bloom Twins live at Nambucca on 16th February for The N7 Sessions. And on 17th May at Camden Assembly for MaDa Music Entertainment.

Nicky Lee-Delisle
@Nicky__Lee

 

LIVE: Bloom Twins @ 229 The Venue, 07.12.17

Ukrainian multi-instrumental sister act Bloom Twins delivered their unique blend of electro-dark pop to an enthusiastic crowd at 229 The Venue last Thursday night.

Despite an overlay of darkness being their signature style on their tracks, Sonya and Anya bring a charismatic energy to their performance – being completely at ease joking with the crowd between songs, encouraging us all to let loose by jumping up and down on cue. There was no need for instructions in order to get the crowd dancing, however, as the energy from the twins is utterly contagious. Playing multiple instruments throughout a set would be enough to bring any musician out in a nervous sweat, but rotating through drums, flutes and harmonicas comes as second nature to Bloom Twins, as natural to them as breathing.

The twins’ first single ‘Fahrenheit’ evokes a sense of warm nostalgia throughout the crowd and reminds us just how far The Ukrainian sisters have come on their musical journey; not only being a part of UNICEF’s ‘Imagine’ campaign but also embarking on a world tour with Duran Duran in 2016.

We’re also treated to a preview of their latest single ‘Talk To Me’, an electro-pop ballad which tackles the heavy issue of mental illness. Whilst there’s been much coverage in the media surrounding mental illness in the music industry recently, ‘Talk To Me’ carries hope that one day the stigma will be removed entirely – giving the message to open up about issues that are weighing you down.

Being identical twins, it is an obvious cliché to state that Bloom Twins share a special bond. However, once they’re both on stage the bond between them is highlighted, reflected via beautiful vocal harmonies with both sisters possessing an effortless, extensive range.

Bloom Twins never fail to captivate with their performances; casting us all under their spell with haunting harmonies, boundless energy and overall raw talent.

Nicky Lee-Delisle