Five Favourites: Electric Pets

Having previously received acclaim for catchy singles ‘Don’t Leave Me’ and ‘That Way‘ from the likes of BBC Introducing, Emma Buckley, Phil Wagg, Adam Grace and Pete Darrington – aka Electric Pets – have today released their second EP, Elephant. Showcasing front woman Emma’s raw, impassioned vocals and the band’s trademark gritty, scuzz-strewn musicality, it’s a collection of garage-infused rock anthems, all propelled by a fierce energy and empowering spirit.

We think one of the best ways to get to know an artist is by asking what music inspires them. So, to celebrate the release of Elephant, we caught up with Emma Buckley of Electric Pets to ask about the music that has inspired her the most. See below for her choice of her five favourite albums.

Lucia & The Best Boys – Cheap Talk
Lucia, now known as Lucia & The Best Boys have been on my radar since 2018. I came across ‘Summertime’ on a playlist and fell in love with their in your face, feel-good, indie-pop sound. Their discography combines big ’60s pop choruses with punk riffs. Lucia’s vocals have the perfect blend of sweetness and angst which sit perfectly on a bed of grunge guitars. I respect the bolshy synth work and fully support the themes of female empowerment. Oh, and of course I’ll never get tired of seeing a female front woman in an over-sized blazer playing the electric guitar!


Hamilton Leithauser + Rostam – I Had A Dream That You Were Mine 
It was actually Phil (lead guitarist in Electric Pets) who introduced me to this masterpiece. Leithauser, lead vocalist of The Walkman and Rostam, founding member of Vampire Weekend and in my opinion one of the greatest indie-rock producers of his generation. This collaboration features a variety of vintage production that inspired some of the influences of soul & early ‘rock n roll’ you hear in Electric Pets. It never conforms to the verse-chorus structure and doesn’t dwell on lyrical content. This album played a large part in my ability to trust the natural flow of a song’s narrative. It taught me not to get hung up on the story and appreciate a song in its entirety.

Bon Iver – 22, A Million
This album marked a shift in my appreciation for the art of production. As much as I’d been party to an indie-folk outfit, I’d never heard influences of hip-hop and electronic music fuse with folk in this way. Before this album, I was impressed mostly by a story and a hook but Bon Iver’s production transported me to different world. After getting over the initial meditative state I found myself in when listening, I naturally attempted to dissect the layers of instruments and their place in the ensemble. This album represents the power music has to shift a mental state for me. It’s obscure and none conventional but beautifully peaceful.

P!nk – I’m Not Dead
It wasn’t Pink’s recorded material that impressed me, but her spellbinding live performance. I was eleven when I received tickets to her Misunderztood tour as a birthday gift. I had a pre-conceived idea she was like any other female RnB/pop star but stood corrected. A singer, songwriter, performer, instrumentalist and true trailblazer. She had it all – a complete force of nature. She redefined the concept of a popstar and commanded the stage like a born rockstar. I made it my mission to go to as many of her tours as I could, which over the years have turned into acrobatic masterpieces. P!nk’s ability to combine show-stopping spectacles with simple, acoustic masterpieces are what make her truly unique. Off stage, she’s committed to her community and has inspired a generation to embrace themselves for exactly who they are – a message that shaped my youth and a baton I hope to carry for others.

Eminem – The Eminem Show
I’m not exaggerating when I say ten year old Emma lived for this album. It was the first time I truly understood the power of words when it came to expressing pain and evoking emotion through music. Most girls my age were busy dancing to the Spice Girls (which I was very much party to) but. in the comfort of my own room, I meticulously studied the lyrical genius that formed these troubled verses from Eminem. I think part of the excitement and charm was that I definitely shouldn’t have been exposed to such narrative at that young age but as my Dad always said –  “Emma, this is art and I won’t restrict access to art whatever your age… Just never tell your mother!”

Massive thanks to Emma for sharing her Five Favourites with us! Listen to current single ‘Show’ below:

Elephant, the brand new EP from Electric Pets, is out today via Reckless Yes. Buy/stream on Bandcamp now, and make sure you catch Electric Pets live at their first headline show on 18th November at West Hampstead Arts Club.

LISTEN: Harkin – ‘Nothing The Night Can’t Change’

Inspired by the chaos and the romanticism of a night out in a UK city, multi-talented musician Harkin has shared her latest single, ‘Nothing the Night Can’t Change’. The track is lifted from her debut self-titled album, which is set for release on 24th April via Hand Mirror.

The new single features Warpaint’s Stella Mozgawa, and Bon Iver’s Jenn Wasner. Speaking about her collaborators, Harkin explains: “Jenn and Stella were both old tour friends of mine, but had never met before our recording session together. By the end of day one, they were finishing each other’s jokes. [They] are as good as it gets, and I’m hugely grateful.” Harkin’s talent for collaboration extends even further, as she co-founded the label she’ll be releasing her debut record on (Hand Mirror), with her partner; poet and live arts organiser Kate Leah Hewett.

“What we did by the light of the fridge cannot be undone” sings Harkin mid-way through on ‘Nothing The Night Can’t Change’, prompting a plethora of scandalous images for her listeners. “Anyone that’s been on a night out in Leeds, or any of those places [in the UK] knows all the switches get flipped after dark” Harkin says. She explores these moments over rolling guitar riffs, thudding percussion, and smooth vocals.

Harkin will tour across Europe over the next few months supporting both Sleater-Kinney & Torres. Listen to ‘Nothing The Night Can’t Change’ below, and follow Harkin on Facebook & Spotify.

Photo Credit: Tomm Roeschlein

Kate Crudgington
@KCBobCut

Track Of The Day: Wilsen – ‘Feeling Fancy’

A shimmering guitar ode to the softly spoken; Brooklyn-based trio Wilsen have shared their latest single ‘Feeling Fancy’. Taken from their upcoming album Ruiner, which is set for release on 21st February via Dalliance Recordings, Wilsen’s new song celebrates introversion and inherent shyness.

“Quietness can be mistaken for insecurity while it’s often the opposite”, explains vocalist and guitarist Tamsin Wilson. “It’s being comfortable in your own presence without needing to be heard at every moment.” Wilson applies this approach to ‘Feeling Fancy’, as her steady vocals float confidently over Johnny Simon Jr. (guitar) and Drew Arndt’s (bass) off kilter riffs.

“Making this record was somewhat of a coming of age process,” Wilson continues. “We’re getting older and becoming more deliberate, less precious, less measured. Overthinking less and trusting instincts more.” Perhaps it’s this trust and refusal to self-sabotage that led the band to partner with acclaimed producer Andrew Sarlo (Big Thief, Bon Iver) and mastering engineer Sarah Register (Protomartyr, U.S. Girls) on the new record.

As Wilson states in the song; “Everybody’s got a story”, and regardless of the volume it’s told at, it deserves to be shared and acknowledged. Watch the video for ‘Feeling Fancy’ below, and follow Wilsen on Facebook & Spotify for more updates.

Pre-order Wilsen’s new album Ruiner here.

Photo Credit: CF Watkins

Kate Crudgington
@KCBobCut

FIVE FAVOURITES: Mira Lu Kovacs (5K HD)

Austrian experimental-pop group 5K HD shared their new LP, High Performer, in September earlier this year, and their feet have barely touched the ground since. They’re currently touring the new record across Europe, filling stages with a blend of their poppy, jazzy, prog-rock beats. Vocalist Mira Lu Kovacs is regarded by critics and peers as one of the most expressive voices in the scene, and with a team of multi-instrumentalists behind her, it’s easy to see why 5K HD are in such high demand. 

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 Mira to ask her about her “Five Favourites” – five albums that have influenced her song writing techniques. Check out her choices below, and scroll down to watch the video for for 5K HD’s track ‘Crazy Talk’ at the end of this post.

 

1. Ani DiFranco – Evolve / Educated Guess
With Ani DiFranco I grew up! I remember I was 11 and my step father at that time played a mixed CD (it couldn’t have been a tape, it was the late 90s). He put on Ani DiFranco’s ‘Marrow’ right after Tori Amos’ ‘Cornflake Girl’, what a mix! I didn’t understand much, cause my mother tongue is German, so the only thing I grasped was the phrase “And where did you put all those letters that you wrote to yourself, but could not address?” I don’t know if it was her finger picking (or should i say ripping?) on her steely guitars, or her edgy playful singing? I think it was the seriousness of her songwriting, I felt spoken to. It was really magical. Later, I listened to all her albums. Now I would say my favourites are Evolve and Educated Guess, but to me Ani DiFranco is such a poet and what she does must be evaluated as a whole and not just one album. She inspired me endlessly, even if her sound aesthetic isn’t the one that I am looking for today.

2. Radiohead – Hail To The Thief
Hail To The Thief is maybe an atypical Radiohead album to start with, no? I think I listened to this one at the age of 14 and then traveled back in time to learn about Kid A, OK Computer and The Bends (which I only appreciated later in my musical career). Most Radiohead Hardliners don’t understand why this album is so special to me. But I think, again, the songwriting is especially good on this one and there is a new shininess in their sound with this album. Also – ‘Backdrifts’, ‘We Suck Young Blood” and “I Will “ (to date the only song I ever publicly covered – acappella) – what great songs to speak to a depressed teenager!

3. Aldous Harding – Designer
This one is quite new, and has been such an inspiration to me this year. I just love the boldness and uncompromising softness in Aldous Harding’s music. I didn’t allow myself this kind of softness for a while, and now I feel like it’s coming back. The allowance, it’s something that I was scared of, because: how else to defend myself? I thought I needed to be loud and clear and aggressive. I am that, too, but I need to allow the softness to comfort me, as well. I feel like the beautifully weird old/new voice of Aldous Harding reminded me of that part of me. Thank you ❤

4. Beth Gibbons – Out Of Season
I can’t believe I only found this album 3 years ago. What a production! What songwriting! What truth, what openness. Sorry, there’s not much else to say. She’s a genius. The arrangements are sparse and pompous at the same time. I think this is where I wanna go in the future and who I wanna be when I grow up.

5. Bon Iver – For Emma, Forever Ago
I think this was the album of a whole generation. It changed many things, not only musically, but also in the industry. The simplicity set new standards. The vulnerability in his voice was a new level of emotion. Whatever genius album Bon Iver made after this, this one is still one of the most brutally beautiful ones that there are.

Thanks to Mira for sharing her favourites with us. Follow 5K HD on Facebook for more info on their current tour dates.

Photo Credit: Ingo Pertramer