GIHE: Albums & EPs Of 2021

After sharing our Tracks of 2021 last week, the GIHE team want to shine a light on some of the brilliant Albums & EPs that have been released during the last 12 months. These records kept us dancing around our bedrooms/living rooms/home offices, miming underneath our face-masks and distracted us momentarily from the uncertain world we’re currently all living in.

So, in alphabetical order, here are our top Albums & EPs of 2021 (with some honorable mentions at the end…)

ALBUMS

Adult Mom – Driver
Consistently my most listened-to artist over the last couple of years, Adult Mom aka Stevie Knipe creates the most beautifully heartfelt music. Although I had thought it would be hard to follow the perfect relatable emotion of their debut Momentary Lapse Of Happily, and 2018’s Soft Spots, this year’s Driver does not disappoint. With the lilting musicality and raw emotive splendour of each track, the album has been in my ears on literally a daily basis since it came out in March; I have sought comfort in the luscious depth of Knipe’s vocals and found myself fully immersed in the album’s twinkling grace. I’m sending extra love to Stevie at the moment, as they were diagnosed with breast cancer earlier this year and are currently having to undergo treatment. I can’t wait to hear more gorgeous music from them when they’re ready. (Mari Lane – Co-Founder)

Blonde Maze – Something Familiar
I’m honestly not sure how I would have got through the last two years without the sound of Blonde Maze in my ears daily. Even before her debut album Something Familiar came out in Autumn, I had been completely addicted to her utterly dreamy creations – ever since she’d been a guest on our radio show about five years ago. To have a full LP filled with her exquisite soundscapes has been just what I’ve needed recently. Bathing the ears in shimmering ripples of dreamy reflection, each luscious track is a perfect cathartic tonic. My album of the year – it’s been the beautifully calming and delicately uplifting soundtrack I’ve so needed. (ML)

Divide & Dissolve – Gas Lit
Released via Invada Records in January, instrumental activists Divide and Dissolve’s second album Gas Lit continues their sonic mission to erode the foundations of colonialism and white supremacy. Produced by Ruban Nielson of Unknown Mortal Orchestra, the record is an aural purging of injustice, fuelled by the diversity of Takiaya Reed’s doom-ridden saxophone sounds and Sylvie Nehill’s phenomenal percussion. It flows with a unique gargantuan grace that unsettles and soothes my cells every time I hear it. I had the pleasure of interviewing Takiaya about the album earlier this year too, which you can read here.
(Kate Crudgington – Co-Founder)

Du Blonde – Homecoming
With Homecoming, Du Blonde gave us the DIY stadium rock record we didn’t know we needed. After becoming disillusioned with the music industry, they wrote, recorded and produced this album of swaggering, empowering anthems for outcasts. A bag of contradictions, it’s both silly and serious, wonderfully weird yet radio friendly. A powerful record, I love the way Homecoming embraces self-destruction and self-love. It has a proper punk energy and inspires you to get shit done on your own terms – after you’ve had a dance, of course.
(Victoria Conway – Contributor)

Fears – Oíche
An intuitive artist who has transformed her darkest moments into graceful electronic soundscapes, Fears aka Constance Keane shared her poignant debut album Oíche (meaning “night” in Irish) in May. Released via her own label TULLE, the Irish-born, London-based musician balances her intense ruminations on trauma alongside delicate synth loops and tentative beats to shine a light on a personal metamorphosis. Much like the coarse fabric she used to create her altruistic dress on the album’s artwork, Fears allows her lived experiences to take up space and permeate this record, which swells with unflinching honesty and elegance. Oíche is a collection of shadowy lullabies that span five years of emotional territory, and the result is a truly immersive and enlightening body of work. (KC)

Fightmilk – Contender
Following 2018’s Not With That Attitude, this year total faves Fightmilk released their second album Contender via Reckless Yes, and it was everything I could have hoped for. With new bassist Healey and a perhaps more ambitious musicality than previous releases, this year’s album marks a maturing in sound for the band, whilst maintaining their trademark anthemic power-pop energy. Filled with the perfect balance of jangling melodies, an endearing, refreshingly honest lyricism and shades of a raw tongue-in-cheek wit, the album covers themes from space travel and capitalism, to love, heartbreak and self-loathing, all the while oozing a raw emotion and the band’s distinctive, quirky charisma. With all the scuzzy musicality and shimmering energy we’ve come to know and love, Contender showcases a band that are continuously refining their sound and, in the process, consistently continuing to win my heart.
(ML)

Gazelle Twin & NYX – Deep England
Inspired by the tracks that formed Gazelle Twin aka Elizabeth Bernholz’s 2018 album Pastoral, Deep England is a dark fable that serves as a warning to listeners not to get swept up in national apathy. Whilst Bernholz’s unique vision of Britain’s past was brought vividly to life on her original record, with the support of the NYX drone choir her vitriol is able to take its fullest, most nerve-shredding form. Together, they present their altruistic vision of Britain in its “post-truth” sphere, embroidering a new tapestry of sound for these jarring and uncertain times. Deep England is a phenomenal artistic accomplishment; a shadowy, graceful collection of sounds that radiate with unease – truly unlike anything you’ve heard before. (KC)

LINGUA IGNOTA – SINNER GET READY
“And all that I’ve learned / is everything burns” laments Lingua Ignota aka Kristin Hayter on ‘Pennsylvania Furnace’, the fourth track on SINNER GET READY – an apt sentiment for a record that blazes with a unique orchestral agony. Released via Sargent House, Hayter’s fourth full length offering is an emotional exorcism inspired by the severe brand of Christianity in rural Pennsylvania where she currently lives. Its strictness permeates her vision to the core, with her sensational vocals remaining the lifeblood of SINNER GET READY. She uses her voice to devastating effect, harrowing up the soul with her effortless ability to switch from a soft, divine cry to a cord-ripping, desperate plea. A stunning record that I’ve returned to many times this year. (KC)

Little Simz – Sometimes I Might Be Introvert
Sometimes I Might Be Introvert is an outstanding album, ambitious and sprawling while maintaining the punchy immediacy of expression synonymous with Little Simz’ earlier work. She confidently glides between styles, from epic Scott Walker-style arrangements to afrobeat grooves, which form mere backdrops to the artist’s lyrical acrobatics. Simz enumerates the anxieties, troubles and triumphs of her life and career throughout the album’s 19 tracks – this album already has an undeniably classic quality. It is a singular expansion of the possibilities of hip-hop, of pop music more generally, and an unrepentantly fantastic album of Baroque ambition and fabulous execution. (Lloyd Bolton – Contributor)

Lunar Vacation – Inside Every Fig Is A Dead Wasp
The latest album from Atlanta-based Lunar Vacation, Inside Every Fig Is A Dead Wasp oozes a shimmering allure throughout. As each track treats the ears to whirring hooks and a sparkling musicality, I just fall more in love with Grace Repasky’s honey-sweet crystalline vocals on each listen. Floating seamlessly with an ethereal splendour, a stirring melancholy ripples on a seemingly serene surface, creating a perfectly dreamy collection. With shades of Alvvays or Best Coast, Lunar Vacation have fast become one of my most favourite bands of 2021. (ML)

New Pagans – The Seed, The Vessel, The Roots and All
An intuitive rumination on the personal and the political, New Pagans’ debut album The Seed, The Vessel, The Roots and All is a gritty, deeply poetic consideration of inequality and social injustice. Released via Big Scary Monsters, the Belfast band’s first full length record dives into the paraphernalia surrounding religion, romance and women’s pain, and resurfaces having transformed these tired archetypes into aural talismans of strength and defiance. I’m such a big fan of everything they’ve released so far and I’m hoping to hear these songs live at some point in 2022. (KC)

Noga Erez – KIDS
The GIHE team collectively adore Tel-Aviv producer & pop renegade Noga Erez’s second album, KIDS. It’s a stylish, swaggering collection of songs that explore personal growth, morality and what it means to disconnect and reconnect with the world around you. Erez has worked closely alongside her collaborative & life partner Ori Rousso to create a razor sharp, intensely catchy record that proves she’s got the musical mileage she sings of. Through her witty lyrics, slick production and commanding beats, she blazes a unique musical trail that pulses with authentic energy, spotlighting her talent as a producer, vocalist, MC and performer. What a star. (KC)

Nova Twins Presents: Voices For The Unheard
Driven by their desire to spotlight the work of underrepresented artists of colour in the heavy music scene, Nova Twins aka Amy Love and Georgia South put together this blistering collection of alternative anthems with the help of Dr Martens to showcase this eclectic range of talent. Featuring tracks by Big Joanie, Khx05, Loathe, Oxymorrons & LutSickPuppy, the record is a fun, furious blur of noise from a group of artists who have been galvanized by their individual experiences of discrimination, but who are now united in their attempts to create the music they wish they had heard growing up. A proper gem of a record that’s introduced me to some brilliant artists this year. (KC)

pink suits – political child
Having completely blown us away with their riotous, seething energy at our first gig at The Shacklewell Arms earlier this month, queer Margate duo pink suits released their debut album political child, in the Spring. With just drums, a guitar and the riotous force of their voices, Lennie and Ray offer an inclusive feminist rebellion to bring about radical change – with each powerful track on the collection, they deliver a seething, all-too-poignant social commentary on the increasingly terrifying state of the UK right now. Throughout political child, pink suits offer a perfect riotous catharsis; an immense formidable force, coated in a rousing cacophony. The duo have provided an utterly necessary soundtrack for these times; a rallying cry to make our voices heard and fight for an upheaval of a neoliberal society. (ML)

Wolf Alice – Blue Weekend
Each time I’ve tried to write about Wolf Alice’s third album, Blue Weekend, I’ve fallen short of the words to describe how profoundly comforting I find it. Emotional, but with a few grunge ragers thrown in there too – plus a lyric that everyone should adopt as a mantra “I am what I am and I’m good at it / and you don’t like me? Well that isn’t fucking relevant” – Ellie Rowsell’s magnificent, elastic vocals and poignant lyrics effortlessly stretch across the record. I listened to Blue Weekend twice a day for over a month, discovering something new every time I let its cinematic sounds wash over me. Pure musical escapism that’s rooted in real fucking feelings. Properly sublime stuff. (KC)

EPs

Ailsa Tully – Holy Isle
Long term favourite of GIHE, Welsh artist Ailsa Tully released her EP in Autumn this year. Offering four exquisite slices of stirring folk-strewn indie, Holy Isle showcases Tully’s ability to reflect on feelings of vulnerability and loss with a gently uplifting, sparkling grace. As the collection flows with a shimmering, stripped-back musicality, the juxtaposition of Tully’s crystalline, honey-sweet vocals and the gentle lilting melodies creates a delicate, captivating majesty. As the beautifully rippling instrumentation glistens with a heartfelt splendour, I can’t help but become utterly immersed in the raw emotion and poignant, resplendent charm of Holy Isle in its entirety. (ML)

Aisha Badru – The Way Back Home
Having previously charmed our ears with the soothing sounds of last year’s ‘Soil’s Daughter’ and 2018’s poignant debut album Pendulum, singer-songwriter Aisha Badru released her EP The Way Back Home earlier this month. Flowing with twinkling, folk-inspired hooks alongside Badru’s rich, soulful vocals, each track oozes an immersive, heartfelt emotion. With a gentle, lilting energy and shimmering grace, a sweeping majestic splendour soars throughout this beautifully stirring collection as it soothes the mind with its gently uplifting allure. (ML)

Bitch Hunt – Shapeshifter
Having formed at First Timers Fest in 2017, London based non-binary band Bitch Hunt have since played live for us and been lovely guests on our show on Soho Radio. This year they released their debut EP Shapeshifter, via Reckless Yes. A shimmering collection of five lo-fi, yet heartfelt, offerings, it reflects on themes ranging from nostalgia and relationships, to gender and identity, delivered with a wonderfully scuzzy musicality and twinkling energy. Treating us to their effervescent, stirring brand of unique punk-pop, Bitch Hunt have crafted a collection that is beautifully poignant, whilst offering a welcome glimmer of optimism and solidarity. (ML)

BLAB – Word of Mouth
Formed of three previously released singles and a brand new track, Southend-based BLAB‘s debut EP is the sound of a songwriter fully embracing their own choices and leaning into the raw power of each moment. Released via Cool Thing Records, BLAB aka Frances Murray combines direct lyrics with infectious guitar riffs to push past personal and political frustrations, providing her listeners with sharply observed judgements on both. (KC)

Deep Tan – Creeping Speedwells
With acclaim from the likes of NME, So Young and BBC 6Music, Hackney-based trio deep tan have been favourites here at GIHE for some time now, and we’ve been very much enjoying their debut EP Creeping Speedwells, which was released this summer. Propelled by glitchy beats and whirring, twinkling hooks, each track captivates the ears with the trio’s compelling seductive allure. Flowing with fuzzed-out shades of ’90s trip-hop, whilst maintaining a unique sparkling edge and gently haunting majesty, the whole collection offers a spellbinding, rousing splendour that’ll immerse you in its dark, psychedelic haze. (ML)

Hilary Woods – Feral Hymns
I saw the title of this EP, listened to 30 seconds of it and downloaded it IMMEDIATELY. Released via Sacred Bones, Feral Hymns by Irish multi-instrumentalist Hilary Woods captures a relatable sense of gloom across five instrumentals that she worked on with collaborator Lasse Marhaug. Woods describes her ambiguous sounds as “A collection of hymns set at dusk…Unspoken bonds, primal pain, cyclical patterns, unsent love letters.” I find her melancholy, fleshy sounds intensely moving and I can’t wait to hear the new full length record she’s currently working on. (KC)

Jenny Moore’s Mystic Business – He Earns Enough
Featuring members of Trash Kit, F*Choir and Bamboo, Jenny Moore’s Mystic Business are a six-piece choral punk ensemble who released their debut EP in October. A poignant collection covering themes such as the struggles of living in a patriarchal, capitalist society and the fears women and gender minority people face when walking home alone, He Earns Enough showcases the soaring, harmonious power of voices coming together in unity. With each track propelled by an anthemic, mystical energy, the collection offers a simple, yet stirring, message, oozing a sweeping, celestial splendour that’ll bewitch the listener instantly with its eerily enchanting allure. (ML)

M(h)aol – Gender Studies
I was blown away by the power of Irish post punks M(h)aol when I saw them perform their debut EP live at The Shacklewell Arms in November. The brooding, shadowy sounds on Gender Studies vehemently reject outdated attitudes and social constraints concerning gender, identity and equality. It’s a vital, much needed antidote to toxic patriarchal standards, providing listeners with a cathartic exhale of fury and freedom. (KC)

TOKKY HORROR – I Found The Answers And Now I Want More
GIHE writer Jay Mitra penned a great review of dance-punk trio TOKKY HORROR’s debut EP earlier this year, branding it “a cyber goth masterpiece that hits you as hard as MDMA” – and they’re not wrong. Packed full of manic electronics and pounding beats, I Found The Answers And Now I Want More is a whirlwind of EDM energy that’s impossible to sit still to. (KC)

Honourable Mentions

Alex Loveless – Phone Keys & Wallet (EP)
Arlo Parks – Collapsed In Sunbeams
BISHI –Let My Country Awake
CHERYM – Hey Tori (EP)
Elodie Gervaise – Syzergy (EP)
Elsa Hewitt – LUPA
Grace Petrie – Connectivity
Halsey –If I Can’t Have Love, I Want Power
Maria Uzor – Innocence and Worldliness (EP)
Me Rex – Megabear
Naoko Sakata – Dancing Spirits
Nun Habit – Hedge Fun (EP)
Okay Kaya – The Incompatible
Penelope Trappes – Penelope Three
SPELLLING – The Turning Wheel
Tirzah – Colourgrade
YAY MARIA – OYEZ
WILLOW – Lately I Feel Everything

PLAYLIST: March 2021

It’s been another long month of lockdown here in the UK, but the end is in sight with lighter evenings and the chance to see more than one friend in public on the horizon. The GIHE team have unearthed some more new music gems for you to listen to on our March Playlist. It’s an eclectic mix of indie anthems, alt-pop gems, intriguing electronics and raucous guitar tunes. Take some time to scroll through our track choices below and make sure you hit play on the Spotify playlist at the end of this post.

Follow GIHE on Spotify to hear all of our previous playlists too.

Grandmas House – ‘Small Talk’
This thumping new track from Bristol-based punk trio and GIHE faves Grandmas House speaks for itself. ‘Small Talk’ explores the times when you’ve had to unwillingly engage in idle conversations with strangers at the bar, when all you want to do is sit and have a pint with your friends. (Kate Crudgington)

ARXX – ‘Deep’
The new single from GIHE faves ARXX, ‘Deep’ offers an empowering ode to leaving behind all your anxieties and getting what you want. Propelled by a sweeping, impassioned energy, it interweaves an electro-infused, glitchy sound with the duo’s signature ferocious drive, instantly hitting you with its raw, anthemic rush and gritty, sensual prowess. A swirling slice of rousing power-pop. (Mari Lane)

CLAMM – ‘Liar’
Melbourne punk trio CLAMM are gearing up to release their debut album Beseech Me on 9th April, and single ‘Liar’ is a crash course in what to expect. “The song is about mental health,” the band explain. “It’s about wanting to break through a pattern of thinking that isn’t necessarily positive. It’s about dealing with an internal monologue that isn’t always telling the truth.” Through their thrashing guitars and relentless percussion, the band beat back their doubts on this raucous offering. (KC)

Gender Chores – ‘Night In The Woods’
A slice of fast-paced punk-pop, and inspired by a video game of the same name, ‘Night In The Woods’ reflects on slum landlords and the high costs of living in the city. As the Belfast band ooze a swirling, playful energy, the track builds to an immense whirring cacophony. A raging punk anthem, truly of our times; despite being coated in a buoyant, quirky charm, it’s no less powerful in its explicit enraged message. (ML)

CYNICS – ‘Idiots’
This high energy single from London-based four-piece CYNICS is lifted from their recent EP, restless in comfort. The band will be releasing a second EP in April, so keep your eyes peeled for that. (KC)

Du Blonde and Ezra Furman – ‘I’m Glad That We Broke Up’
Du Blonde joins forces with Ezra Furman on latest track ‘I’m Glad That We Broke Up’ which is an absolute tune released ahead of Du Blonde’s upcoming LP Homecoming, due on 2nd April. “It’s our take on a 60s girl group/glam rock explosion,” Du Blonde explains. “I feel like Ezra and I have been travelling towards a duet for years and we finally got our shit together.” (Tash Walker)

deep tan – ‘camelot’
Taken from their upcoming debut EP, deep tan’s ‘camelot’ is propelled by the majestic whirr of sparse hooks and throbbing beats, building with a quirky hypnotic splendour and fizzing tension. As swooning vocals glide across the angular soundscape, it creates another truly captivating sonic delight from the post-punk trio, leaving you longing for more of their exquisite stirring allure. (ML)

People Club – ‘Take Me Home’
The title track from their upcoming EP which is set for release on 7th May, this single from Berlin-based indie outfit People Club is about the realisation of mortality in old age. It’s an upbeat offering, but it explores the cynicism that often plights the elderly after losing their loved ones and being left alone with their regrets. (KC)

ĠENN – ‘Mackerel’s Funky Mission’
Taken from their upcoming EP Liminal, ‘Mackerel’s Funky Mission’ is the latest single from Brighton-based ĠENN. Propelled by a quirky, playful energy and eccentric, colourful charisma reminiscent of the likes of The Orielles, it races with scuzzy hooks alongside the raw, gritty vocals of front woman Leona. Building to a fuzz-filled, psych-infused cacophony, it showcases all there is to love about ĠENN – a band set on continually developing their compelling sound and enrapturing our ears with their unique fantastical spirit. Liminal, the new EP from ĠENN, is out tomorrow 30th March via Everything Sucks Music. (ML)

45ACIDBABIES – ‘Mommy’s Favourite 1’
Following the success of last year’s ‘3 (Walk With Me)’, ‘Mommy’s Favourite 1’ is the latest single from Dutch band 45 ACIDBABIES. Propelled by a vibrant, playful energy, it races with swirling layers of sound creating an instantly infectious, danceable cacophony. As scuzzy, electro-driven hooks race alongside the soaring sultry power of Sophia De Geus’ vocals, a psychedelic haze ripples, creating an uplifting sonic fusion. (ML)

Boudicca’s Bass Service – ‘Egypt’s Over There’
This is the latest single from Somerset based 19-year-old Georgina Cotteril aka Boudicca’s Bass Service. I love her laid back vocals, trippy synths and the feel-good vibes of this track. Speaking about ‘Egypt’s Over There’, Georgina explains: “This song is about realising you’re doing fine, all things considered…this song brings with it the new growth of spring and provides a resting spot, a much needed escape, amongst the craziness of your mind – and the current world in which we live in.” (KC)

Notelle – ‘Doctor Sign’
Nashville-based, nightmare-pop artist Notelle’s latest single ‘Doctor Sign’ was heavily influenced by the intense, shadowy sounds of Nine Inch Nails. Writing the track was a form of emotional exorcism for Notelle, who gave herself permission to “lean into some unattractive emotions” on this new offering. (KC)

Debby Friday – ‘Runnin’
Vancouver-based audio-visual artist Debby Friday blends intoxicating rap verses, trippy beats and snaking rhythms together on this eccentric anthem about self-expression. Full of commanding rhythms and jagged synths, ‘Runnin’ marks a new musical direction for Friday, moving away from her abrasive earlier work into more sultry, effervescent territory. Dripping with unfazed confidence, Friday’s synth-rap tune smoulders with autonomous vibes. Love, love, love it. (KC)

Loraine James – ‘Simple Stuff’
This is the first single from Loraine James’ new album Reflection, which is set for release on 4th June. ‘Simple Stuff’ is a minimal, cathartic plea for equality and acceptance as a black, queer woman. I love the criss-crossing drums and Loraine’s straightforward vocals on this track. (KC)

Mykki Blanco – ‘Free Ride’
The latest single from queer pioneer and musician/rapper extraordinaire Mykki Blanco, ‘Free Ride’ was written back in 2018 after Blanco had just ended their first long-term relationship. Co-produced by FaltyDL and Hudson Mohawke, it oozes a funk-fuelled uptempo musicality and glistening soulful refrains alongside Blanco’s trademark flowing lyricism. Appearing less brash and perhaps more sentimental in sound than some of their previous offerings, it loses none of their distinctive wit and poignant spirit. The video for “Free Ride” was directed by Hannah Rosselin, produced by DIVISION, watch it here. (ML)

Ci Majr – ‘Guillotine’
This is the latest track from Atlanta-based, emerging non-binary artist Ci Majr. Taken from their upcoming debut EP Side Effects, set for release on 16th April, ‘Guillotine’ is a shimmering pop anthem about cutting off your own ego in order to grow in a new relationship. (KC)

Sofia Kourtesis – ‘La Perla’
One of my absolute favourite songs at the moment! Inspired by the sea and her father (written when he was dying of leukemia), the result is a kaleidoscope of synths and deep house. Kourtesis describes the song as about feelings that can’t be captured with words – ‘La Perla’. (TW)

Gemma Cullingford – ‘Wide Boys’
Known as one half of GIHE faves Sink Ya Teeth, musician and songwriter Gemma Cullingford has now announced the release of her debut album this summer. Taken from the album, ‘Wide Boys’ reflects on the need for us to wake up and take back control from those in power. Driven by a racing energy and interweaving immense hooks, including a fiercely flowing flute solo, it’s an instantly catchy funk-fuelled call to arms for these desperate times. (ML)

Elsa Hewitt – ‘Inhaler’
This new single from London-based, experimental electronic producer & GIHE favourite Elsa Hewitt soothes my tired mind. It’s taken from her upcoming album LUPA, which is set for release via Cargo Records on 30th April. (KC)

Fears – ‘vines’
Another poignant meditation on some of her darkest hours, Dublin-born London-based musician Fears aka Constance Keane penned her latest single ‘vines’ before she experienced a breakdown. Through her tentative beats and soft vocals, Fears taps into her pain and offers listeners a chance empathise and heal alongside her. I’m excited to hear her debut album Oíche when it’s released on 7th May via her own label, TULLE. (KC)

Penelope Trappes – ‘Nervous’
A graceful, evocative soundscape that tentatively traverses the inner thoughts of an anxious woman, this single from Australian-born Brighton-based artist Penelope Trappes is taken from her new album, Penelope Three. Set to be released on 28th May via Houndstooth, the track ripples with a sense of mystery and disquiet, both of which are beautifully reflected in the accompanying video. (KC)

Beckie Margaret – ‘FF’ 
Inspired by the Bob Marley quote “I don’t have that type of richness. My richness is life, forever,” ‘FF’ is the latest single from Essex songwriter Beckie Margaret, released via Cool Thing Records. Her voice melts me every time I hear it, and this lush, atmospheric new offering is no exception. (KC)

Ailbhe Reddy ft. Sacred Animals – ‘City Unfolds’
Dublin alt-folk artist Ailbhe Reddy and producer Darragh Nolan aka Sacred Animals have teamed up for this atmospheric new offering ‘City Unfolds’. Lyrically based on Ailbhe’s own experience of being close to a panic attack in the back of a taxi on her way to play a festival in Barcelona, the pair blend tentative keys and atmospheric beats to work through this heightened state of emotion. (KC)

Shamir – ‘DsharpG’ (Sharon Van Etten cover)
Shamir’s cover of Van Etten’s ‘DsharpG’ is just beautiful and will appear on Epic Ten, a special 10th anniversary edition of Van Etten’s second album, Epic. (TW)

Flock Of Dimes – ‘Hard Way’
Taken from her second solo album Head Of Roses, ‘Hard Way’ is the latest single from Wye Oak’s Jenn Wasner aka Flock Of Dimes. Reflecting on the power of the subconscious to hide truths from ourselves, it combines glitchy elements of modulated synths with a lilting musicality and the smooth, emotion-rich splendour of Wasner’s vocals, creating a truly exquisite enchanting soundscape. (ML)

Hanya – ‘Lydia’
Having previously captivated our ears playing for us live on more than one occasion, Brighton band Hanya have now shared a brand new single. Flowing with shimmering hooks and an effervescent, ethereal grace, ‘Lydia’ showcases the stirring emotion of Heather Sheret’s rich, glossy vocals alongside a swirling musicality, creating a beautifully dreamy slice of shoegaze-tinged indie; a soothing soundscape oozing a blissful tranquillity. (ML)

Thallo – ‘Mêl’
This is a lush offering from Welsh songwriter Thallo, sung in her native tongue. Of the track, she explains: “‘Mêl’ which is Welsh for ‘Honey’ is about fearing inevitable heartbreak, but only making a feeble attempt to avoid it and resist temptation.” Check out her latest single ‘The Water’ too. (KC)

Naz & Ella – ‘No (Doesn’t Mean Convince Me)’
Having just announced a new EP set for release this Spring, Naz & Ella have now shared a poignant new single. Reflecting on the all-too resonant theme of sexual harassment, ‘No (Doesn’t Mean Convince Me)’ oozes a gritty, grunge-infused aura alongside the duo’s traditional folk-inspired musicality. Tinged with an eerie majesty with shades of grunge pioneers Alice In Chains, it’s a beautifully stirring offering, exuding a subtle, stark power. Find out more in our recent interview with Naz & Ella. (ML)

Ayoni – ‘Unmoved (A Black Woman Truth)’
‘Unmoved (A Black Woman Truth)’ was released last year, but I only heard it for the first time recently. Described as her most vulnerable song to date, the song is about her journey and the struggles she’s endured as a Black woman growing up. In Ayoni’s words “This song is my every uttered whisper and prayer. It is every heartbreak, micro-aggression, breakdown in the bathroom, and every swallowed fit of rage. But most importantly it is every single moment I remembered the walking poems that are my Black sisters, the breathing reasons to continue fighting to forge a path forward. So here I remain unmovable and unmoved.” (TW)

Clever Girls – ‘Stonewall’
“I wrote ‘Stonewall’ about the distribution of emotional labour in relationships and what is often asked of us AFAB (assigned female at birth) individuals based on our perceived gender identities,” explains Clever Girls’ front person Diane Jean. “It’s really my own anthem of rebellion – against my own perfectionism and against the constant inner monologue that tells me to adapt to others’ needs and expectations.” I love this track, which is taken from the band’s recent album, Constellations. (KC)

Johanna Samuels – ‘Single File’ (Elliott Smith Cover)
Iconic riot grrrl label Kill Rock Stars turns 30 this year! To celebrate, they’re releasing a string of cover singles under the title Stars Rock Kill (Rock Stars), where several artists from around the world will cover tracks from the label’s expansive back catalogue. This dreamy cover of Elliott Smith’s ‘Single File’ by Johanna Samuels is their latest celebratory offering, full of lush vocals and soft guitars. (KC)

Amy Ellen – ‘This Life’
Dublin-based indie musician Amy Ellen says ‘This Life’ is about “loosing someone who meant something to you, but also appreciating those who come into your life and stick around.” She embraces life’s bittersweet nature via her clear vocals and rich guitar sounds on this single. (KC)

Vox Rea – ‘Dufferin Ave.’
Always a sucker for some silky sax, this latest track ‘Dufferin Ave.’ from Vancouver-based Vox Rea delivers with an abundance of ambience. As we look to warmer and lighter evenings, I’m looking forward to listening to this song glisten out over those hazy nights. (TW)

Nadine – ‘Hair Up’
An aspiring singer & rapper from Sudan who’s currently based in Cairo, Egypt, Nadine wrote this R&B-tinged offering after she spent a week living in sweatpants during quarantine. It’s a chilled tune that celebrates feeling confident in your natural state. (KC)

Track Of The Day: DOLLS – ‘Pink Bones’

Ambiguity, strung-out riffs and a catchy chorus combine to make London duo Dolls‘ latest single ‘Pink Bones’ another grunge-pop gem. The track is taken from their upcoming debut EP Pop The Bubble, set for release on 21st September via Mondo/Death Waltz records.

‘Pink Bones’ was one of the first songs the pair wrote together after meeting through mutual friends and Facebook messages. Speaking about the track, drummer Bel explains: “I believe this song is like one of those abstract paintings, it can mean many different things to whoever listens to it; and we like keeping it that way. Otherwise it ruins how far your imagination can go!”

Dolls have been gigging around London relentlessly for the last few years, and are more than ready to release their Pop The Bubble EP, which they worked on with producer Jim Sclavunos (The Horrors, The Wytches, Du Blonde). The EP will be released on limited edition multi-coloured and etched vinyl, and will be available to buy at Dolls’ Rough Trade in-store gig on Monday 24th September.

Listen to ‘Pink Bones’ below and follow DOLLS on Facebook for more updates.

Photo Credit: Gabrielle Hall.

Kate Crudgington
@KCBobCut

Track Of The Day: DOLLS – ‘Sugar Free’

Prepare to have your bubble well and truly popped by the sound of DOLLS‘ latest single ‘Sugar Free’. The London-based duo have delivered another slice of grunge-pop glory alongside the news they’ll be releasing their debut EP Pop The Bubble in September.

Produced by Jim Sclavunos (Nick Cave And The Bad Seeds/Grinderman), ‘Sugar Free’ is a song about “the use-and-throwaway society around us today, how superficial people’s lives can be, and how rapidly people’s values and what’s on-trend can change”. Together, Jade (vocals & guitar) and Bel (drums & vocals) create songs that on a surface level seem sweet, but there’s serious bite beneath their sugary titles. The pair have been packing out venues around London because of this, and have caught the attention of Radio X & BBC Introducing too.

The Pop The Bubble EP marks the first time the band have worked with Sclavunos, whose production credits include The Horrors, The Wytches and Du Blonde. The record will be released via Mondo/Death Waltz on a limited edition multi-coloured and etched vinyl, as well as in digital format. The duo will celebrate their release at Rough Trade East with an in-store show on Monday 24th September.

Listen to ‘Sugar Free’ below and follow DOLLS on Facebook for more updates.

Photo Credit:Gabrielle Hall.

Kate Crudgington
@KCBobCut