PLAYLIST: September 2019

Festival season is over, but new-album-release-season has only just begun! We’ve been overwhelmed by the amount of new music we’ve heard in the first few weeks of September, so we’ve selected a fraction of the finest tracks for you to delve in to. Take some time to scroll through our track choices and make sure you hit play on the Spotify playlist link at the bottom of the page…

The Big Moon – ‘Your Light’
With its catchy chorus, buoyant melodies and feel-good lyrics; ‘Your Light’ is the perfect boost for anyone who’s feeling blue about the current state of affairs. The band performed their synchronized cycling in the accompanying music video in the Essex countryside, and they look at ease singing along to their brand new tune. Their new album Walking Like We Do, is set for release on 10th January 2020 via Fiction Records. (Kate Crudgington)

She Drew The Gun – ‘Trouble Every Day’
Having blown our minds earlier this year at Cro Cro Land, The Wirral’s She Drew The Gun have now shared a new re-interpretation of Frank Zappa’s ‘Trouble Every Day’. Propelled by a raw emotion and impassioned grit,  Louisa Roach’s smooth, distinctive vocals blast out the all-too-poignant, poetic lyricism. With a seething energy and politically-driven tension that builds with each note, it’s a sincere, empowering anthem for our troubled times. (Mari Lane)

Ski Lift – ‘Comfortable Here’
The debut single from London’s Ski Lift, ‘Comfortable Here’ offers an angst-driven diatribe railing against the perceived mundanity of adulthood, while simultaneously surrendering to it. With the distinctive, crystalline emotion of Benji Tranter’s vocals alongside the twinkling harmonies of Anna Vincent (Heavy Heart), it’s an utterly infectious alt-pop anthem for our times. (ML)

SASSY 009 – ‘Thrasher’
“​My music has never been a reflection on happiness​” explains SASSY 009, but her sound is far from melancholy. On ‘Thrasher’ she combines enchanting vocals, jagged synth textures and dense beats to create a transient, anti-party anthem. (KC)

Ella – ‘Esmé’
I am sooo into this track! Fusing modern electro and historic jazz into a dream soundscape, Ella is absolutely killing it. There is also an acoustic video version of this track which is definitely worth checking out. (Tash Walker)

Joviale – ‘Struggle Cuddle’
The wonderful Joviale released her debut EP Crisis via Blue Flowers earlier this month, and like all of the tracks that feature on it, ‘Struggle Cuddle’ is wonderfully sweet and poignant. Her headline show has been re-arranged for Folklore in Bethnal Green on the 12th December, with support from Laura Groves and Fauci. Grab your tickets here. (KC)

Keren Ilan – ‘Take Her Down’
I cannot and will not stop talking about Keren Ilan who is one of my favourite artists at the moment. Her EP This Morning, Yesterday dropped a month or so ago and I just love it, already a big fan of the title track, for this month’s playlist I’m choosing ‘Take Her Down’ also from the EP but almost the inverse of This Morning, Yesterday but just as good. (TW)

Jorja Chalmers – ‘Human Again’
Australian multi-instrumentalist Jorja Chalmers has played with Bryan Ferry for the past decade, and now she’s sharing her solo LP Human Again on 20th September via Italians Do It Better. The eponymous single is an intoxicating affair, with Chalmers’ charming vocals floating above cinematic synth textures. Bliss. (KC)

Chelsea Wolfe – ‘Deranged For Rock & Roll’
Chelsea Wolfe released her new album Birth Of Violence earlier this month, and I spent an entire evening fan-girling over its haunting beauty (read my review here). It features this track ‘Deranged For Rock & Roll’, which smolders with moody confidence. “These songs came to me in a whirlwind” explains Wolfe about her new music, and what a turbulent, devastating whirlwind it must have been. It’s a privilege to be able to weather the storm with her. (KC)

Nova Twins – ‘Vortex’
Amy & Georgia have unleashed this belting new single ahead of their sold out show tonight (18th September) at Sebright Arms. Full of their trademark thunderous, distorted bass lines and in-your-face lyrics, ‘Vortex’ will be the live highlight of their set. (KC)

Breakup Haircut – ‘Why Can’t I Be Cool Enough To Move To Berlin?’
Taken from their brand new EP What Did You Expect, I Got It Off The Internet?, Breakup Haircut’s ‘Why Can’t I Be Cool Enough To Move To Berlin?’ showcases perfectly what this band are all about. Having formed just a few months ago at First Timers Fest, they deliver joyous lo-fi punk with witty lyrics that are guaranteed to put a smile on your face. Catch them live for us at The Finsbury on 11th October(ML) 

Chartreuse – ‘Three Days’
Chartreuse a four-piece band from the Black Country and this track, ‘Three Days’ was my Track of the Show on Hoxton Radio a couple of weeks back. What a great start with this debut loose-limbed, country kissed soul music. Just lovely. They’ll be playing at EartH in London on 30th October, get down there. (TW)

Mexican Radio – ‘Night Of The Nihilist’
With their third album due out later this month, Berlin-based Mexican Radio pride themselves on their visceral energy and quirky unique, ‘uniformed’ style. Complete with pumping beats and glitchy electro hooks, latest single ‘Night Of The Nihilist’ is an intense, energy-fuelled synth-punk anthem with shades of the likes of LCD Soundsystem. (ML)

GHOST CAR  – ‘Awkward’
‘Awkward’ by Ghost Car is such a strong slice of garage rock, from right here in East London, made up of Clara, Laura, Maria and Maeve. It is their latest single and they tell us to expect a whole load more of that bubblegum badassery from their upcoming album! (TW)

Rapsody – ‘Ibtihaj’
My current obsession. North Carolina artist Rapsody recently released her album Eve, a poignant collection with each song dedicated to a different influential black women. Featuring Wu Tang’s GZA, ‘Ibtihaj’ is probably my favourite track from the album and is named after Ibtihaj Muhammad, a fencer who won a bronze medal at the 2016 Olympics, and was the first American Olympian ever to compete while wearing a hijab. I just love this song’s immersive groove and all it represents! (ML) 

FIVE FAVOURITES: Heather Gabel (HIDE)

Fine Artist and inimitable front woman Heather Gabel forms one half of Chicago-based electronic duo HIDE. Alongside percussionist Seth Sher, the pair create abrasive, industrial sounds and are renowned for their intense live performances. Their new album – Hell Is Here – was released earlier this year via Dais Records, and it seethes with their trademark fury against social injustice.

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 Heather to ask her about her “Five Favourites” – five tracks/albums that have influenced her songwriting techniques. Check out her choices below, and make sure you catch HIDE live at The Shacklewell Arms (w/ Kontravoid) on 3rd October (event info here).

 

1. CRASS – ‘Reality Asylum’
This track slays in every way. Eve Libertine’s vocal delivery still gives me chills after having been listening to it for 25 years. I love that she isn’t singing. It’s a total assault on Christianity, noise and pure poetry, spat out with palpable contempt. I read that the record plant workers refused to press this track and instead left a three minute silence, so the band released it themselves as a single for 45p – half the going rate for a 45 at the time. I love so much about this band and ‘Reality Asylum’ sort of encapsulates all of the reasons why.

2. ANNIE ANXIETY – ‘Viet Not Mine, El Salvador Yours’
This song is so sad and heavy and scary. It plods and creaks and leers. It has the feel of sea sickness to me, like an inescapable situation you are just coming to grips with realizing is happening. The vocals are fucking wild; they layer, stifled, mocking, taunting, threatening, to create a real terrifying cacophony. The subject matter, violence against women/sexual assault, and makes the line “It’s not forever it’s not forever” sung frantic and childlike, ramping up and repeating, well, it’s especially horrifying. It’s such a powerful song.
Fun fact: Eve Libertine did the artwork for this record and the insert is a collage made of two pages from Kenneth Anger’s book Hollywood Babylon, which shows the trashed San Francisco hotel room where Fatty Arbuckle raped fellow actress Virginia Rappe to death in 1921.

3. BORN AGAINST – ‘Well Fed Fuck’
I love this band. They were one of the best political bands going when I was growing up. They were so fucking sassy about it though, like way smarter than other hardcore bands or whatever from the 90s in my opinion, they were antagonistic. We’ve covered this song a couple times, it’s sick to sing, there are hardly any lyrics and it repeats, like a mantra, which is a lot like how I write lyrics as well. It’s “are you a good team player, remember your boss is your best friend, remember the bullshit they taught you, kill your head” over and over. It’s really simple but totally exhilarating.

4. INK AND DAGGER – Drive this 7″ wooden dagger through my Philadelphia heart (Album)
I happened across this band by accident in the late 90s. I didn’t know who they were, but they were playing in one room and I was in the bar in the next room. I was like, what the fuck is going on out there, went to see and stood there with my mouth hanging open for the rest of their set. The singer was a total force, later I found out their reputation preceded them, they had infamously egged Hare Krishnas and threw yogurt at Earth Crisis for example, silly stuff in hindsight but it was refreshing to see a band that ripped and brought real energy wearing vampire make up and the shittiest fake blood ever bucking the tired east coast “hardcore tough guy shit” that was so popular back then. I could kind of see myself in them the way they didn’t fit the genre, having been (still am to be honest) someone who feels like they don’t fit in with any particular group of people.

5. Rudimentary Peni – Death Church (Album)
I bought this record in high school solely based on the artwork but quickly sought out all their albums after listening to it. I loved how short and raw the songs were, all direct pointed attacks on societies ails, but the record sounded exceptionally good. I used to always buy this when I saw it at the record store and have multiple copies to just give people who hadn’t heard it because it really made an impression on me. I still would if I ever saw it anymore.
Side note: It was especially cool when Chelsea Wolfe did a Tribute to Rudimentary Peni Covers EP on Southern in 2012.

HIDE UK Tour Dates 2019 
01/10 – UK Bristol Exchange
02/10 – UK Manchester Soup Kitchen
03/10 – UK London The Shacklewell Arms

Photo Credit: Nicola Kuperus

Kate Crudgington
@KCBobCut

ALBUM: Chelsea Wolfe – ‘Birth Of Violence’

Poetic, intimate, and exquisitely melancholic; Chelsea Wolfe’s new album Birth Of Violence is a collection of instinctive songs galvanized by exhaustion, loneliness and doubt. Set for release on 13th September via Sargent House, the record is gentler on the ears compared to 2017’s LP Hiss Spun, but it still flows with Wolfe’s trademark macabre darkness.

Written and recorded in the solitude of her home in Northern California, Wolfe worked alongside longtime collaborator Ben Chisholm, and ongoing contributors Jess Gowrie (drums) and Ezra Buchla (viola) to create Birth Of Violence. This simple set-up has given her the freedom to create a record filled with understated, but poignant grandeur.

Vulnerable opener ‘The Mother Road’ centers around Wolfe’s voice and her revalatory lyrics. “Guess I needed someone to break me / Guess I needed someone to shake me up” she muses, prompted by large stretches of time spent on the road touring, which simultaneously bruised and heightened her consciousness as a songwriter. It bleeds in to the toxic yet seductive ‘American Darkness’, on which she broods “All my old ways have started kickin’ in / And my bad days are comin’ round again”. This urge to escape old habits and emerge from the shadows permeates the record.

“I’ve come to know what I need, I visualize while I bleed” reflects Wolfe on eponymous track ‘Birth Of Violence’, proving that clarity can be found even when one is at the peak of suffering. It’s followed by the moody ‘Deranged For Rock & Roll’ which smolders with smooth confidence. Powerful ambition is treated modestly on ‘Be All Things’, with its orchestral elements underscoring Wolfe’s beautiful howl throughout. The pensive ‘Erde’ is laced with fears about our poisoned planet – its final minute rising and falling like an anxious heartbeat.

The deliciously named ‘When Anger Turns To Honey’ dissolves any pre-existing angst or hostility, and is an aural elixir designed to transform states of emotion. Wolfe proves she is the “daughter of sorrow” across ‘Dirt Universe’ and the sparse ‘Little Grave’ which addresses the tragedy in the aftermath of a high school shooting. Her treatment of the social/political themes on Birth Of Violence is all the more devastating because of its subtlety. The contexts of both ‘Erde’ and ‘Little Grave’ only really become clear after repeated listens.

Despite the pensive, morose nature of the majority of the tracks on the album, there is an optimism in Wolfe’s realist approach to an ambiguous grief. On ‘Preface to a Dream Play’ she sings: “Everything is possible / Throw a spear in to the unknown” – displaying enviable bravery when faced with the metaphorical abyss. This continues on penultimate track ‘Highway’, her vocals meandering along an unknown stretch of road, accompanied by ominous, looping guitar.

Closing track ‘The Storm’ is a one minute audio of thunder and rain, perhaps signalling that the thunder clouds that overshadowed Wolfe prior to Birth Of Violence have now finally dispersed. “These songs came to me in a whirlwind” explains Wolfe about her new music, and what a turbulent, devastating whirlwind it must have been. It’s a privilege to be able to weather the storm with her.

Chelsea Wolfe’s Birth of Violence is released via Sargent House on 13th September. Pre-order your copy here.

Kate Crudgington
@KCBobCut