FIVE FAVOURITES: TWEN

Nashville-via-Boston duo Twen are gearing up to support Seattle rockers TacoCat tomorrow night at Hackney’s Moth Club (29th Aug), and we’re convinced their celestial, angular sounds will impress their London crowd. Comprised of Jane Fitzsimmons and Ian Jones, Twen came to life over the space of two years as the duo toured the Boston DIY punk scene. Now, they’re getting ready to share their debut album Awestruck, which is set for release on 20th September via Frenchkiss.

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 Jane to ask her about her “Five Favourites” – five albums that have influenced her songwriting techniques. Check out her choices below, and make sure you listen to Twen’s track ‘Baptism’ at the end of this post.

1. Central Heating – Heatwave
This is a classic that has stayed with me since I was 14. Before streaming, I would check out CDs at the library and rip them into my iTunes library. I found Heatwave while trying to listen to every funk/disco band I could find (thinking I could somehow listen to the whole genre). This whole album has a playfulness that packs some serious joy. The title track is the star of the show; the vocals are so strangely melodic but carry major rhythmic weight. I just love the concept of making people groove out with a vocal melody rather than the beat. Also the most silly and beautiful intro and outro I have yet encountered. James Guthrie (of Pink Floyd The Wall fame) produced this album, which I don’t really care about but something to note.

2. Bibio – À tout à l’heure 
I put this song on a mixed CD I made for Ian when we were sophomores in college. We would make so many mixes for each other, a different type of language than our early awkward convos. I would meticulously decorate them with sharpies and would spend hours deciding how to make the perfect “flow”. This was a song I found out he loved too, and he even knew how to play them to my amazement. The beyond beautiful and intricate finger-picking is so delicate but this song is a BANGER. The beat and funky bass line pair perfect with the acoustic layers and nonsensical lyrics (“À tout à l’heure”, French for “see you later”). There is such emotional and hypnotic value to this song, without making logical sense of it. Bibio still and always will have the best production sounds on the block, mixing analog and digital to make more of a sound tapestry than just a mere song.

3. Cocteau Twins – Heaven or Los Vegas
I found out about Cocteau Twins through my friend Matt, who DJ’d a college radio show called “Folk U” with me for two years. We had inherited the show and both slowly started to move out of the genre till Death Grips was playing. He played ‘Cherry-colored Funk’ and I nearly lost my damn mind, I had never heard anything so perfect. I read once that Elizabeth Fraser’s voice was ‘the voice of God’ and I don’t dispute it. Her ingenious melodies put me in a trance and make me feel like I’m understanding something outside words. Also, I have sweet memories with this album since it was one of the few albums I brought with me on an iPod on a trip to Iceland. I had gone by myself after college to camp 10 days in June when it’s daylight 22 hours a day (the only way I felt safe to camp by myself). I brought an old ass iPod that only had room for a few albums and this one of them. So, I listened the shit out of it while looking at the insane Icelandic landscape and I still love it.

4. Lijadu Sisters – Horizon Unlimited 
I had first heard the Lijadu sisters while working in a vegetarian restaurant in St. Louis, where I’m from. I had just moved back home for a quick quarter-life crisis. The owner and chef, Bay would sometimes make the playlists for the restaurant and loved blasting Lijadu Sisters. Being surrounded by an inspiring woman with a fountain of culinary creativity and listening to this album most days made a hard time a little less unbearable. The power of music. The beats and melodic riffs will make any day great and the two sisters feel exponentially BIG singing in unison. I really enjoy listening to music in different languages, it makes me notice the melodies better and the variety of vocal sounds possible that aren’t even used in English.

5. Mercyful Fate – Melissa 
I’m not super metal literate, but Mercyful Fate is THE metal band in my little world. On a tour probably a year ago (I only remember it was cold outside, they all start to blend together) a sound guy played this in the venue after the lights went on, probably to make everyone leave. A classic move. It made me want to STAY and to find out everything. Better known as King Diamond, this was his first band and Melissa is their first album. The vocal range is inhuman and the diversity of sounds that merely one person can make is an inspiration. Also I was raised Catholic, so hearing about covens and satanic rituals brings me a twisted joy.

Thanks to Jane for sharing their five favourites with us! Follow TWEN on Facebook for more updates.

Photo credit: Alexa Viscius

FIVE FAVOURITES: Tallies

Toronto-based four piece Tallies have announced their self-titled debut album will be released on January 11th 2019 via Fear Of Missing Out Records. The band have shared the lead single from the record ‘Beat the Heart’ online – and it’s a dreamy slice of catchy indie-pop.

We caught up with band members Sarah & Dylan to ask about their “Five Favourites” – five artists or albums that have influenced their songwriting technique. Check out their responses below…

1. The Smiths – The Queen is Dead
I heard The Smith’s a few years ago, for the first time at this cafe that I used to work at. It was a sound that was very new to me, and I can only describe it as “the sound that I was looking for”. When I heard Jonny Marr’s guitar playing, I knew that was the sound I wanted to play. There is a 60’s influence in their songwriting which I really appreciate and love the humourous lyrics. The Queen is Dead has a great contrast between harsh lyrics & beautiful melodies. The sample at the beginning of the album sets this odd mood followed by a eerie whistle before the floor tom starts the rhythm. The build up gets me really pumped up. (Dylan)

2. Cocteau Twins – Heaven or Las Vegas 
When listening to Cocteau Twins, they make you feel like you’re spinning in a room full of dancing light and feeling light-shadows on your skin, without getting dizzy. They have mastered a sound of constant motion that stands still. The production on this record has incredible depth, while having complete focus. It’s surprising how little synths are used on this record that’s so full of dreamy textures. The reverb delays, and chorus used on the guitars makes them sound like completely different instruments and is so intriguing. We first heard Heaven or Las Vegas from friends of ours a couple years ago and haven’t stopped playing it since. (Sarah & Dylan)

3. Aztec Camera – High Land, Hard Rain 
When I came across this album, it sounded so familiar, like it was already a great influence on me. Realizing after talking to my dad, that he used to play this album around the house all the time when I was growing up. That explains the familiarity. He gave me his vinyl form the 80’s to add to my collection which I listen to all the time. I play “Oblivious” at every party I go to. There is no one else that can pull off holding one note for that long in a guitar solo, making for the best air-guitar performance. The instrumentation on this record has a Latin vibe that I really like and is mainly acoustic-guitar driven. (Dylan)

4. The Sundays – Reading, Writing & Arithmetic
The sounds created on this album are just heavenly and so easy to listen to. The melodies are unique and graceful. I first heard The Sundays while watching the 90’s flick, “Fear” with young Mark Wahlberg and Reese Witherspoon. I fell in-love with the crystal sounding jangly guitars and Harriet Wheeler’s voice instantly. The songwriting reminds me of the soft essence and the fragilty of a butterfly. Wheeler’s heartfelt sharing of personal feelings makes me feel like she’s in the room reading from her diary. Reminding us that we’re not alone in sinking emotions. (Sarah)

5. Air – Moon Safari 
I have this album on repeat constantly. It’s the perfect background music to any setting. Each song has so much depth and the lyrics are always stunning. I am quite the late-bloomer on this band. I just heard them for the first time this year after Stephen (bass) bought a bundle of thrift store CD’s to play in our new van. I’ll never forget the first time listening, how each song shocked me, “Woah, there’s so many instruments on this track.” “How did they do that?” I knew that this record was going to be inspiring just 30 seconds in. I want to make music like Air, music that makes your emotions tingle and spiral in so many directions, yet sounding so chill and simple at the same time. (Sarah)

Follow Tallies on Facebook for more updates.

Photo Credit: Alex Gray

Kate Crudgington
@KCBobCut

Track Of The Day: Carolyn’s Fingers – ‘Twice Born’

Having wowed us with previous singles ‘Her Howl’ and ‘Vapour’, and totally charmed us with their hypnotic live set at The Finsbury last year, queer-romantica-electro band Carolyn’s Fingers are back with a wonderfully trippy new video.

Flowing with an eerie, captivating power, ‘Twice Born’ is filled with all the essential symbols that make up Carolyn’s Fingers – flowers, saliva, raves, lights and chokers… Propelled by pounding beats, it interweaves majestic glitchy hooks with soaring ethereal vocals to create a truly spellbinding soundscape. Oozing its twinkling, haunting splendour, it’s sure to cast its spell over you in an instant with its euphoric, yet somewhat disconcerting, power.

Watch the rather magnificent, self-directed self-produced video for ‘Twice Born’ here:

Mari Lane
@marimindles

Track Of The Day: Black Needle Noise – ‘System Bi’ (Feat. Fakeba)

Black Needle Noise is the latest project from producer and musician John Fryer, who has previous production credits with the likes of Depeche Mode, Dead Can Dance, Cocteau Twins, Nine Inch Nails, Love and Rockets and HIM.

His most recent release ‘SyStem Bi’ is a collaboration with Senegalese vocalist FAKEBA, and it brims with atmospheric, sharply-produced electronics, and powerful vocals which make the hairs on the back of listener’s necks rise up in awe.

Dakar-based FAKEBA sings in her native Wolof language, creating a fusion between genres and continents, “merging tradition with futurism”. This single is accompanied by a video by Gina Czarnecki, derived from her film Spintex, which encapsulates the multiple, interconnected daily rhythms of physicality and mortality.

Listen to the incredible ‘System Bi’ below and follow Black Needle Noise & FAKEBA on Facebook for more updates.

‘System Bi’ is available to download from Bandcamp now.

Kate Crudgington
@KCBobCut

Track Of The Day: RedRooms – ‘Our Hearts Beat As One’

RedRooms are a four piece from Manchester influenced by the likes of Siouxie and The Banshees, Echo and The Bunnymen, Killing Joke, & Cocteau Twins. The band are busy working on and recording an album at the moment, but they’ve shared single ‘Our Hearts Beat As One’ with us; and it’s a blues infused beauty with multiple layers of meaning.

Speaking about the track, vocalist Natalie has said” It’s about feeling alone in a world where you feel like you’re the only one who cares about anything. It’s about not wanting to bring children into that kind of world, it’s about going through the motions of living in that world whilst you slowly stop caring yourself. It has bits about the breakdown of a relationship used as a metaphor too…” We can certainly relate to that!

Rumour has it the band will be touring the UK early next year, so keep your eyes peeled for updates on RedRooms Facebook page, and listen to ‘Our Hearts Beat As One’ below in the meantime…

Kate Crudgington
@KCBobCut