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

Five Favourites: Julia Church

Having recently graduated from Liverpool Institute for Performing Arts, and even working on a one-to-one songwriting session with Sir Paul McCartney, South African artist Julia Church is both a talented songwriter and producer.

Crafting electronic production together with real instrumentation, she has now shared her brand new single ‘Tremble’. Manifesting the power of desire, it flows with the subtle power of Church’s emotion-strewn vocals as sweeping melodies and luscious musical layers build to an anthemic slice of sparkling pop with a euphoric, soulful groove. Of the track, Church explains:

It’s about the thrill and intrigue of a budding relationship, being in the moment and completely losing yourself with someone who makes you feel something totally new and exciting.”

 

To add more context to Julia’s work, we asked her to discuss her Five Favourite songs or albums, and how they’ve influenced her. Read all about her choices below:

Little Dragon – ‘Twice’
I think this song is so clever and haunting in the way that it never resolves. There is this palpable tension that builds throughout the song and never stabilises – and I love that. This song made me fall in love with the simple piano/vocal combination, and proves that great songs are often the ones that are the most simple. The lyrics are also bizarrely beautiful and it inspired a song I wrote called ‘Shiloh’, which will be out later this year. 

Bon Iver – ‘I Can’t Make You Love Me’
This was the first bit of music that ever made me cry. I watched the video of Bon Iver performing it at the piano and was so taken aback by the way it made me feel. I heard it at a point of my life where I was feeling pretty vulnerable and, up until then, I had never heard something more relatable that just made me feel understood. The song was a classic long before Bon Iver covered it, but there was just something about Justin Vernon’s raw and powerful vocal on this that took me somewhere else and made me want to write songs forever.

James Vincent McMorrow – Post Tropical (album)
When I look through the discography of this album, I am instantly reminded of little moments in my life that are so intertwined with these songs. To me, this album represents my late teenage years and a strange but fundamental chapter of my life. Every song has such depth and purpose and ‘Cavalier’ and ‘Red Dust’ are probably two of the most nostalgic songs to me ever!

Leon Bridges – ‘Shy’
This song is so simple but genuinely one of the most addictive pieces of music I’ve ever heard. It’s so well written and to-the-point, plus Leon Bridge sings so damn beautifully and with such soul. He’s a big inspiration to me, especially when it comes to songwriting but this is hands-down my favourite song of his. It’s one that I will probably listen to for the rest of my life and never get tired of. Also the little guitar riff that repeats throughout is so tasteful and groovy.

Jamie Woon – ‘Sharpness’
I swear the first time I heard this I wanted to scream. I can whole-heartedly say that I have never found a groove to be more infectious than that of ‘Sharpness’. Jamie Woon and his band are all such phenomenal musicians and the arrangements of his songs are total genius, but this one is just next level in my opinion. This song has influenced my production and drum programming in particular, it makes me want to be a better producer and I truly admire artists who have that effect on me.

Big thanks to Julia Church for sharing her ‘Five Favourites’ with us. Her new single ‘Tremble’ is out now.