FIVE FAVOURITES: The Elephant Trees

Formed of Martha Phillips and Sam Hugh-Jones, The Elephant Trees have been gearing up to release their debut EP ‘Monachopsis’ for a while. Whilst their music is super catchy, it’s the message of solidarity behind it that makes them a worthy listen. On their upcoming “Depressed Kids Disco Party” tour, they’re promoting a safe space for women and LGBTQ+ people, and they’re encouraging anyone who feels stressed out by life’s demons to come down and shake it all off with them for an hour or so.

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 Martha 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 The Elephant Trees’ brand new track ‘Idiot’ at the end of this post.

 

1. Coldplay – Viva La Vida (Death and All His Friends) 
After Growing up in a household soaked in the best combination of Christian rock and Disco (?!), the first time I heard Coldplay, my ears pricked up. I’d heard classics like ‘Fix You’ and ‘The Scientist’ and been moved, and in hindsight this was probably the first time I’d made a connection between music and emotion. I asked for a Coldplay album for my 12th birthday, and discovered Viva La Vida for the first time. ’42’, ‘Yes’, ‘Death and All His Friends’ – all of these tracks stirred emotion in me, but new emotions. Most artists can easily convey happiness or sadness in their music, but this album introduced me to music that could make me feel hope, discomfort, curiosity, a full spectrum of emotions I was only just beginning to understand myself.

2. Twenty One Pilots – Vessel
Later, after I’d started writing my own music, Sam and Tom (Aka guitar master and Drum King of The Elephant Trees) pointed out one of my songs sounded like ‘Car Radio’ by Twenty One Pilots. They forced me to listen to it in our first ever band practice in high school, I’d never heard anything like it. The way Tyler Joseph flips between genres, tempos and instruments, whilst spitting mind bending and intensely relatable lyrics blew my mind. This album is still one of the most influential on my writing.

3. Alt J – Relaxer
Rock – but also Jazz – but also Orchestral? but also pop and groove? Sign me up. The movement of these musical pieces made me feel the same way Twenty One Pilots’ lyrics did. I think the common theme for my favourite albums is the intensity of emotion I feel when listening to them, and that’s what I carry over into my own music.

4. Lianne La Havas – Blood
I heard ‘Green & Gold’ on one of Tom’s playlists and couldn’t help drumming along on the table to it – I had to listen to the full album. This woman has an incredibly poetic way of looking at life. Her lyrics are witty and make me feel empowered, her music has groove and technicality to it. This is a timeless album that I always come back to when I need reminding what true romantic storytelling song-writing looks sounds like.

5. Eliza Doolittle – A Real Romantic
I’m pretty sure everyone who are up in the noughties loved Eliza Doolittle. This album is the more mature and broody comeback. One thing I’ll take is the melodies, they’re gorgeous, full of passion, and the bass lines and hooks underneath are diiiiiirty. The contrast makes for sexy and empowering listening. I only started listening to it a couple of months ago and it’s been on repeat since.

Thanks to Martha for sharing her five favourite with us. Follow The Elephant Trees on Facebook for more updates.

GUEST BLOG: Grimalkin Records

Get In Her Ears is all about supporting, collaborating, and communicating with other womxen and non-binary people in the DIY music scene. So, when Nancy Kells from the USA got in touch to tell us about her work as Facilitator of Grimalkin Records, we wanted to know more! Along with ten other members, Nancy works to support and release music by womxn from all walks of life.

Together, Nancy & Elizabeth Owens put the following blog together to explain more about their work at Grimalkin. Read what they have to say below and follow Grimalkin Records on Bandcamp to keep track of all the music they’re releasing! 

 

Grimalkin Records originally started out as Friends For Equality after the November 2016 US election and passing of Brexit in the UK. What began as a small benefit compilation project between two friends has now evolved into Grimalkin Records, a benefit label and queer artist collective. Currently, we are ten members strong, scattered between Richmond and Hampton Roads, VA, Guayanilla, Puerto Rico, Philadelphia, PA, Springfield, MO, and Baltimore, MD. All of us are queer women, trans men, non-binary, gender non-conforming, or agender folx.

Our primary mission is to support queer people—especially queer artists of color— and encourage people to get more involved in their local communities, and we aim to get there by strengthening the bridge between music and activism.

Specifically, we:

  • Release limited edition cassette tapes and lathe cuts to fundraise for various local organizations and individuals
  • Organize benefit shows and release parties
  • Create zines and merch items to spread our messages and augment our fundraising efforts
  • Support each other artistically and emotionally as individuals and friends

We are not genre-centered and all genres of music are encouraged for submissions (yay, we love music!). While most of our releases are benefit releases intended to raise money for a non-profit or community organization of the artist’s choice, releases can also support the artist/band or any other individuals who are in need of financial support. You don’t have to be a “member” of (or “signed to”) the label to release with us, either. We dig flexibility and run on an independent, case-by-case basis.

For example, last year we did a co-release with Madison Turner and her label Close by Air. We made a small batch of cassettes for her latest album, A Comprehensive Guide to Burning Out, with the full album on side A and a live recording of a Grimalkin benefit show set on side B. She chose donate all proceeds from this release to support Health Brigade, a free local clinic providing service for marginalized and oppressed folks in Virginia.

We passionately feel that music, art, and collaboration provide vital fuel in the work of healing and restoring justice. We also believe that real change happens from the ground up, and so have a strong focus on helping people on an individual level and through grassroots support of local organizations who have already been doing important (and often unseen) social justice and civil rights work.

Logistically, everyone in the collective pitches in when they can with a variety of things in whatever ways they feel they can; whether that means helping other individual members or the label as a whole, it’s all part of the same body. There’s no pressure on how much anyone does–people do what they can when they have time for it. You can learn more specifically about everyone in Grimalkin and check out their projects here.

We have big dreams, and eventually plan to be able to pay artists and musicians stipends to help with releases and shows and provide cassette packages for musicians to promote and sell on their own platforms.

We are always looking for more folks to join our family and are especially in need of people who thrive on promotional/outreach work and social media (if anyone’s interested *hint hint*)! We are also always looking for more community organizations, artists, collectives, and labels to collaborate with and are always open to new ideas.

If you think you’re a good fit for our collective or would like to put out a release with us, please email grimalkinrecords@gmail.com.

We have several exciting releases and collaborations lined up for 2019 and we hope you’ll check us out and keep coming back. The best way to stay in touch is by following us on social media and subscribing to our email list. We also have a website in progress for more general info.

Keep up to date with Grimalkin Records
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Track Of The Day: VOIID – ‘Silly Girl’

Brisbane bad asses VOIID have shared a video for their latest single ‘Silly Girl’, and it’s a raucous set of visuals that prove these girls have zero tolerance towards chip-stealing fraudsters.

Directed by local Gold Coast resident Harley Jones, the new video shows the band dismantling a ‘Silly Girl’, whilst rocking out to their riotous new tune. The girls have recently played Groovin the Moo in Townsville to rave reviews, and they’ll be back on the road very soon.

Watch the video for ‘Silly Girl’ below and follow VOIID on Facebook for more updates.

Kate Crudgington
@KCBobCut

EP: Sit Down – ‘Cheap Luxe’

Describing themselves as “halfway between Jack Black and Jack White”, Brighton duo Sit Down are a DIY force to be reckoned with. Formed in 2016 after temporarily living in New York City, guitarist & vocalist Greg Burns and drummer & vocalist Katie Oldham honed their punk ethos, and penchant for strong rebellious women and turned it in to a knockout debut EP: Cheap Luxe.

Labelled by the band as “the lovechild of sin and substance”, the EP was self-produced between two bedrooms, and released online at the end of March. You’ll be cracking your knuckles in preparation for opening track ‘Mothership’, which is a defiant, alien-invasion-inspired introduction to this onslaught of seething, seductive sound. Getting revenge sounds brutal and beautiful on second track ‘Bloodlust’, on which Katie leads the vocals and Greg welds more of his manic, menacing riffs.

The devious ‘Honeysucker’ rips through shortly after; commanding attention with primal drumming, filthy riffs, and Greg & Katie’s dual vocals colliding in blood-lusting fashion. Closing track ‘Cheap Luxe’ is a searing, sassy attack on materialism; with visceral reverb and pounding percussion that’ll have you insisting alongside the pair that the real high life is “living cheap as fuck!”.

There’s no force on earth that will make you sit still (or indeed Sit Down) to this Goliath-sounding EP. Get up, get moving, and get sweaty to Cheap Luxe. Fans of The Yeah Yeah Yeahs, The Kills & Deap Vally will definitely approve.

You can listen to/download Cheap Luxe on bandcamp here. Follow Sit Down on Facebook for more updates.

Photo Credit: Jessie Morgan

Kate Crudgington
@KCBobCut