FIVE FAVOURITES: Boy Harsher

We’re no strangers to the dark, heated sounds of electronic two piece, Boy Harsher. Together, Augustus Muller (synths/percussion) and Jae Matthews (vocals) have released two albums and two EPs since their inception in 2014. Their songs brim with beats designed to ricochet around smoky dance-floors or lonely bedroom walls. The Massachusetts duo blend nostalgic 80s percussion with sharp modern production to create an immersive, magnetic listening experience.

We think one of the best ways to get to know a band is by asking what music inspired them to write in the first place. We caught up with Jae 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 Boy Harsher’s video for ‘Send Me a Vision’ at the end of this post.

1. Annie Lennox – MEDUSA
When I was a child, during a rocky divorce, my mom would listen to this album nonstop. Luckily, I was at the age where it wasn’t lame to sing along with your mom, and boy, did we get into it! On a subconscious level, these songs (Annie Lennox in general) gave me this attachment to a contralto voice in contemporary music. DIVA and MEDUSA both got equal play, but my story with MEDUSA is a bit embarrassing. I didn’t realize the songs were all covers, so when years later I heard the originals (like Bob Marley’s ‘Waiting in Vain’ or Al Green’s ‘Take Me to the River’) I was a bit shocked.

2. Nirvana – Nevermind
A classic. I made my dad buy this CD at a garage sale, which he did – yet later took away, due to “it’s graphic nature”. A stubborn child, I found it and hid away with my new love and Walkman. ‘Something in the Way’ really rocked my core. I was a lonely pre-teenager and I remember this music kept me company in a very real way. Now, I can’t listen without getting very nostalgic.

3. Pixies – Doolittle
Okay – this one is tough. It’s a tie between this and Cat Power’s Moon Pix. Both took up the same space in high school. I would listen to ‘Debaser’, literally SCREAMING along with my first crush. Then, later when home, would listen to ‘Metal Heart’ (lol) and cry, because she would never love me. Ah, the drama. I needed a support system for understanding my sexuality and processing my Father’s death. Both albums are amazing in their ability to muster emotion; sometimes flippant or mean, often raw and always very authentic.

4. Troller – Troller
I left the Northeast for graduate school and moved South. It was the furthest I had ever been from my family. It was a really amazing, lonely time. After attending SXSW in 2013, my musical understanding totally changed. I became a devotee of label Holodeck’s projects (Thousand Foot Whale Claw, Survive, Boan, Smokey Emery) and Troller. This is the first physical RECORD that I ever bought. Listened to it over and over – it still makes me think of Savannah, the rain, smoking inside, kissing.

5. Circuit Des Yeux – Overdue
After living in Savannah for a couple years, myself and my partner starting booking shows. We focused mainly on projects that centered on experimentation, some noise, and no drums. We booked Circuit Des Yeux on their first US tour in a small dive bar in downtown Savannah. Far too few people came. It was such an amazing performance. The way Haley used her voice was really inspiring to me – startling even. I began to understand the voice and body as an instrument, a performance tool. This really impacted the way that I sought to use my voice.

Photo Credit: Zach Hart

Five Favourites: jade imagine

Fresh from a tour with fellow emerging Australian artist, Julia Jacklin, and with their forthcoming first album coming later this year, Melbourne trio jade imagine have recently shared their latest single ‘Big Old House’. A captivatingly gloomy slice of shoegaze-inspired guitar pop, it’s a shimmering offering that leaves us eagerly awaiting the upcoming album…

We think one of the best ways to get to know a new band/artist is by asking them what music inspired them to write in the first place. We caught up with Jade to talk about her ‘Five Favourites’ – five albums that have influenced her songwriting techniques, or simply take her back to a specific feeling or time. Check out her choices below, and make sure you watch the band’s new video for ‘Big Old House’ at the end of this post.

The Church – Of Skins And Heart
This album is a huge nostalgia trip for me. When I was a kid, it was one of my first introductions into music… I’m not entirely sure if it was a hugely ground breaking record or not (I’ve never really thought about it), but i feel like in some way this album encapsulates a lot of the elements that I bring into my own music; I’ve always loved The Church’s chord progressions and the way their guitars weave together melody and the way the drums are pretty straight and punchy/punk-y, and the way the bass leaves space and punctuates the song. The Church create create these really interesting songs, but deliver them in a kind of dead-pan way. There’s some strange kind of glam vibe in there, but also a sense of ‘Australiana drama’ kind of thing going on. Fave track’s gotta be a tie between ‘Bel-Air’ and ‘Is This Where You Live’.

Ty Segall – Sleeper
I’m a sucker for a good old folk acoustic guitar album. Though I’m a big fan of all of Segall’s heavier work, for some reason this record really stuck out to me. Maybe it was the headspace I was in when I first heard it. I was travelling a lot and would put this on to chill myself out whilst on long flights. So, I associate it with movement and security. Ironically, I have read that this was written by Ty when he was going through a rough patch, which just proves to me that music can 100% be interpreted uniquely by everyone in a different way. I like how some of his songs are seemingly ‘nonsense’ songs, but there feels to me to be a deeper meaning behind them, even if that meaning is still a vague interpretation on my behalf…

Cat Power – You Are Free
Just a great vibe album. A good mix of loud and up, and quiet and down… 

Sibylle Baier – Colour Green
Sometimes when I’m not managing my anxiety very well, this album can totally help to chill me out and slow my brain down. I believe Baier’s son compiled these songs – which she’d recorded in the 1970s – and then the album was released in 2006 after it was passed on to J. Mascis from Dinosaur Jnr who passed it on to Orange Twin, a record label. I just love how you can hear the faint ambient room sounds throughout the album; the creaking of a chair in the background, the air in the room. I just wish this album was the whole soundtrack to my life.

Nick Drake – Five Leaves Left
I came across this record when I was in my mid teens and lived in the Sunshine Coast hinterland. I lived on a property with my family and uncle and all of his sheep and dogs and pets. I used to go on long walks in the bush around the area with my walkman, listening to this record over and over again. I think this album really shaped the music that I like these days and helped me to love the more understated albums in the world. They’re growers – albums you come back to over and over again throughout your life.  

Huge thanks to Jade for sharing her five favourites. Check out jade imagine’s new video for ‘Big Old House’ below:

Mari Lane
@marimindles