FIVE FAVOURITES: Bad Honey

South London based duo Bad Honey blend dreamy vocals, bouncing beats and lo-fi electronics to create their upbeat, alt-soul sounds. Formed of Lydia Clowes & Teresa Origone, the duo have received radio support from the likes of BBC Introducing London, BBC Radio 6, Amazing Radio, and from Spotify’s New Music Friday playlist.

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 Lydia & Teresa to ask her about their “Five Favourites” – five albums that have influenced their song writing techniques. Check out their choices below, and scroll down to watch Bad Honey’s video for ‘Weak When You’re Near’ in collaboration with O2 Music & their ‘Music Box’ challenge, at the end of this post.

 

1. James Blake – Assume Form
Teresa: James Blake’s melodies are the best melodies. His music makes me want to make sure I keep trying to find the best possible melodies when I write. I always loved James Blake, so I wanted to listen to this album as soon as it came out. The day before it was released, I was in the Netherlands playing keys for an artist called Rina Mushonga. We were there for only one day, but had a long day of travelling to play for a TV session, then drove back to Amsterdam for a radio session in the evening, then decided to go for a walk in Amsterdam in the snow, and ended up having a three hour sleep because our flight back to London was really early the next morning. As soon as I got home, I played the album. I was exhausted and I remember having one of those moments where you are reminded of how happy music can make you feel. It happened when I first heard ‘Into The Red’ when the twinkly piano comes in about 40 seconds into the song. It’s so tiny and delicate and it makes you want to cling onto it. The use of tension and release in that song is amazing. You really want something big to happen at the end of the first chorus, but it just doesn’t happen until the second chorus.

Lydia: I love how James Blake’s songs are very atypical and don’t adhere to a “normal” song structure necessarily. Often his songs don’t have an obvious verse or chorus but he somehow manages to give you the feeling of tension and release in other ways. The production on this record is great and the fact that he does it all himself, I feel that this album was a particular motivation to me and Teresa to start producing our own music. I particularly love ‘Into The Red’, ‘Can’t Believe the Way We Flow’ and ‘I’ll Come Too’ on this album, they all have such a great way of portraying a feeling of love through interesting lyrics, without being cheesy, which I’ve found quite a hard thing to achieve!

2. St. Vincent – Strange Mercy 
Teresa: This album is a reminder that you need to be brave with your music, and you can do whatever you want with it. I discovered St. Vincent when she released her album Actor. I think I just saw an article on Pitchfork about it and decided to listen to it, and it took a couple of listens for it to grow on me, but I’ve loved her music since then. I was 18 then, and I remember thinking that it would be cool to produce my own music at some point. She’s one of those artists who I will always love, and will always find something new to love about her each time I listen to her music. Strange Mercy is my favourite St. Vincent album. It’s so dreamy and heavy at the same time, which for me is one of the best things you can achieve in music. I love how loud and direct the guitar is, kind of at the same level as her voice. And I don’t know how she made the backing vocals sound like that, but it sounds so great. My favourite moments on the album are the weird guitar riff on ‘Surgeon’, and the craziness at the end of ‘Northern Lights’. I don’t think I’ll ever get tired of it.

3. Laura Mvula – The Dreaming Room 
Lydia: I first heard of Laura Mvula with ‘Green Garden’ when I had just moved to London and I loved everything she represented. She was making a blend of music that I’d not really heard before and I loved it and wanted to make this myself. I found out she was from Birmingham, which is near to where I grew up so this helped to inspire me to think I could do it too! This album for me has an overwhelming feeling of female empowerment and joy, and therefore it really resonated with me from the first time I listened to it.

I love how Laura Mvula has always had a really unique style of what seems to me, orchestral inspired pop songs, using interesting chord progressions, simple but strong melodies and for me one of my favourite things is her use of close vocal harmonies. I’ve always loved vocal harmonies and I think she uses them so effectively throughout this album, with the emotion of her voice really coming through. This album is also produced by Troy Miller who I think is a genius, I’ve loved many of his other album productions such as Gregory Porter’s ‘Liquid Spirit’ and Jamie Cullum’s ‘Taller’. ‘Overcome’ has such a strong emotion, especially the outro where it builds and builds on the same melody which never gets old, she’s really good at doing this and I could listen to this forever! ‘Show Me Love’ is an amazing song. The intro is almost like an recitative in an opera, and sets the rest of the song up beautifully. I find this song quite deeply sad, but it one of my favourites of the album. My other favourite is ‘Phenomenal Woman’ I just absolutely love this song, it’s so feel good. I remember clearly dancing in the back of a car whilst driving up to Glasgow on a tour to this song. It just makes me want to move, and I love the fact it’s written about her Grandma. Elements throughout the album reflect back to this too with ‘Nan’, a phone calls between Laura and her Grandma. I am keenly awaiting an album 3 for Laura Mvula!

4. Tyler, The Creator – IGOR 
Teresa: This is my album of choice for when I’m driving and want to play something really loud (through my tiny bluetooth speaker). I’m not someone who grew up listening to hip hop, I discovered it quite late and I am still slowly discovering it, but I think everyone should listen to this album regardless of what kind of music they usually listen to. Not that I think people really listen to music based on genre, but hip hop in particular can be so diverse and free and it can incorporate so many types of music, and this album is such a good example of that. The arrangements are amazing, there is so much happening, so many details, and it’s so intricate and colorful. More is more and I really agree with that. I love how much space is given to instrumental sections, the songs are so progressive and each section flows into a new one each time. This is definitely one of those albums I’d need to listen to the whole way through from beginning to end, and I wouldn’t be able to remember even one title of each individual song, because it’s a whole journey. It’s also full of analog synths, so it was just made for my ears. It’s a great example of how making music is just fun, and making music means exploring where you can go without limiting yourself to a structure or a genre.

5. Lianne La Havas – Is Your Love Big Enough?
Lydia: Lianne La Havas has one of my favourite vocalists, so this album was instantly a favourite of mine. I first saw Lianne on Jools Holland singing ‘Age’ in 2011. I just thought she was brilliant, the song was light-hearted and almost humorous, her voice was amazing and her guitar playing was interesting. She was not just your average singer songwriter strumming on a guitar, she could actually play quirky riffs, harmonics, and was also playing electric which I thought was extremely cool. Again like Laura Mvula, I think I discovered Lianne La Havas when I was at a stage in my life when I wasn’t yet sure who or what I wanted to do and be in terms of music, and so she was a huge inspiration for me. Seeing a young woman playing great music, with incredible instrumentation, talent, and confidence was exhilarating. I generally prefer the more acoustic songs on this album, as I think it really showcases Lianne’s voice, such as ‘Lost & Found’, ‘Au Cinema’ and ‘Gone’. Again, she uses lots of vocal harmonies throughout the album, and I love that.

 

Thanks to Lydia & Teresa for sharing their favourites with us. Follow Bad Honey on Facebook for more updates.

Kate Crudgington
@KCBobCut

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

GIHE Albums Of 2019

It’s that time of year again when we look back at some of our musical highlights. And what a year for new music it’s been – from empowering guitar-driven anthems and gritty electro beats, to dreamy indie-pop, our ears have been pretty lucky!

Earlier this week, we shared our favourite tracks, and next week we’ll be discussing our top gigs, events and Ones To Watch for 2020, but for now, here are our most loved albums of 2019. Have a read, and a listen to the playlist below! 

Little Simz – Grey Area
Probably my most listened to album of the year, Little Simz’s Grey Area is such a poignant, empowering collection from the London artist. A necessary and stirring listen, with powerful feminist anthems such as ‘Boss’ and ‘Offence’, as well as more reflective tracks such as ‘Therapy’, it’s just been the perfect soundtrack to 2019’s anxieties and injustices. Grey Area makes me feel like there’s hope, like there’s power in being a woman. Listening to it, I’ve been known to strut down the street, headphones in my ears, fists clenched and feel momentarily inspired and indestructible – “I’m a boss in a fucking dress”.
(Mari Lane – Managing Editor/Co-Founder)

Le Butcherettes – bi/MENTAL
A vivid exploration of maternal relationships and enduring grief, Le Butcherettes‘ fourth album bi/MENTAL is a potent infusion of almighty vocals, hefty guitar riffs, and commanding percussion. Released via Rise Records, bi/MENTAL is an ode to front woman Teri Gender Bender’s mother, and I had the privilege of speaking to her about this, and many other things when I interviewed her earlier this year. ‘give/UP’ is my favourite track on the record, and it gave me goose bumps when I heard it live at Moth Club earlier this year.
(Kate Crudgington – Features Editor/Co-Founder)

Suggested Friends – Turtle Taxi
Any follower of Get In Her Ears will be aware of my love of Suggested Friends; and, having been completely addicted to their eponymous debut release over the last couple of years, and having being utterly charmed by them at numerous gigs in that time, I was extremely pleased to welcome the birth of Turtle Taxi this year. Filled with the band’s totally dreamy harmonies, the album addresses themes ranging from love and trust, to politics and the end of the world, with each track oozing the band’s infectious jangly scuzz. Faith Taylor’s distinctive crystalline vocals are honestly some of the most beautiful I’ve ever heard, and the band’s luscious twinkling melodies and stirring raw emotion never fail to break my heart a little, in the best of ways.
(ML)

Kim Gordon – No Home Record
With her inimitable vocals and uncompromising style, Kim Gordon‘s first solo album, No Home Record, is a multi-textured offering that snarls, bites and sedates in equal measure. Released via Matador Records, it’s an intriguing, heavy, eclectic gem that fascinates me more each time I listen to it. I was lucky enough to get a signed copy from Kim Gordon at Rough Trade too. #FanGirl
(KC)

Bat For Lashes – Lost Girls
As we nauseously hurl towards not just the end of the year but the decade, it’s fitting that Bat for Lashes delivered my record of the year. Lost Girls is nostalgic, brimful of anthemic and anachronistic loneliness of millennial life.
We saw a huge ’80s renaissance in 2019; from films — IT, Wonder Woman — to TV — Stranger Things, American Horror Story, and to me, Lost Girls is the musical response. Whatever it is about the ’80s that takes those of us over 30 back, I don’t know. But it’s ever present. And this record captures that strange sense of longing.
Listening makes me long for a time when technology wasn’t up to par and not all homes had a computer. It makes me yearn to rent video epics like The Lost Boys and Flight of the Navigator and Gremlins. Like I could just drop everything to knock on a friend’s door to see if they want to come outside to play in the hazy sun of an endless summer. Ironically, it makes me think about not thinking. About being free and having hope or no need to search for it. Before anyone fell in love or, if lucky, lost anybody or anything. For 38 minutes, Lost Girls makes me remember what’s gone.
Em Burfitt (Contributor)

ZAMILSKA – Uncovered
A ruthless, beguiling take on the forces that influence and overwhelm us, Polish Producer ZAMILSKA‘s Uncovered is a densely hypnotic record permeated by the artist’s fascination with levitation. The result is thirteen richly textured tracks that seethe with “the anxiety of what we want vs what we get”. ‘Hollow’ is my favourite track, and I’m hoping I get the chance to hear ZAMILSKA’s music live in 2020.
(KC)

Trash KitHorizon
Trash Kit have been faves of mine for a while now; another band to have brought their joyous energy to us at The Finsbury, their 2014 album Confidence was all kinds of wonderful and this year’s Horizon is no different. Filled with an eclectic array of musical influences, including Rachel Aggs’ love of guitar music from Zimbabwe, each track on the album oozes the band’s trademark shimmering effervescent joy and swirling sparkling energy whilst interweaving twinkling hooks, tribal jangly beats and funk-fused bass lines. With its sunny, euphoric vibes, it offers the perfect remedy to all 2019’s despair.
(ML)

Aldous Harding – Designer
Aldous Harding’s third album is the Kiwi goth folk artist’s pop LP. Sure, the videos may be unsettling and uncanny, the songs may have titles like ‘The Barrel’, ‘Heaven is Empty’ and ‘Damn’, but check out the folk lilt of ‘Fixture Picture’ and ‘Zoo Eyes’. Having been following her for quite some time, it felt, initially, a little unnerving to see her move away from the more sombre and abrasive territory of 2017’s self-titled debut Party. But watching her at a sold-out Brudenell Social Club, in front of a rapt audience, made me realise the majesty of these songs and their own soft power. On stage, Harding was her typical idiosyncratic self, and that perhaps is the key to her albums. She does what she wants. Who knows what she’ll do next?
John McGovern (Contributor)

Witching Waves – Persistence
One of the most exciting bands I’ve come across in the last couple of years, Witching Waves have been wowing me with the immense frenetic energy of their live shows on more than one occasion. And, on seeing them support Suggested Friends (see other favourite album choice) at The Shacklewell Arms a couple of months back, I decided to pick up the shiny yellow vinyl of Persistence. Propelled by propulsive racing beats, their energy-fuelled post-punk oozes a visceral power, with tracks such as ‘Disintegration’ and ‘Best Of Me’ showcasing perfectly in-sync musical layers, as Estella’s driving bass and Mark’s metallic melodies accompany Emma’s frenzied rhythms and raw impassioned vocals. I can’t wait to hear what the trio have in store for us in 2020.
(ML)

Black Belt Eagle Scout – At The Party With My Brown Friends
This year, Katherine Paul debuted an overwhelmingly captivating and forward-facing second record under her project name Black Belt Eagle Scout. With lush indie-rock/alternative tones met with echoing vocals and non traditional percussion, Katherine speaks from her crucial voice as a radical indigenous queer feminist. At The Party With My Brown Friends is a profound look into friendship, desire and longing through a lense that has lived through hardship on a cultural scale. Aligned with the pain of the people Katherine represents, Black Belt Eagle Scout exposes a necessary reality. A sonic melancholic marriage between the celebration of life’s lightest moments and an ongoing heavy and fighting heart. In a political climate where indigenous voices continue to fight to be heard, At The Party With My Brown Friends hosts an imperative statement. Make room for the mighty and influential voice of Katherine Paul.
Jillian Goyeau (Contributor)

FKA Twigs – Magdalene
FKA Twigs seems to re-emerge whenever my heart’s taken a bit of a beating, and I’m so relieved when she does. Magdalene is inspired by heartache and the figure of Mary Magdalene, an unlikely heroine who Twigs uses to explore the strengths and weaknesses of her femininity. Both the master and the muse: she is re-inventing what it means to be a performer, an artist, and a woman in the music industry. Her accompanying Magdalene Tour was a beautiful spectacle, and I can’t imagine a time when we won’t be enthralled by her.
(KC)

We’ve updated our Tracks Of 2019 playlist with some songs from our favourite albums of the year. Have a listen now!

 

Mari Lane / @marimindles
Kate Crudgington / @kcbobcut
Em Burfitt / @fenderqueer
John McGovern / @etinsuburbiaego
Jillian Goyeau / @jillybxxn

 

FIVE FAVOURITES: JEANA

Emerging London-based artist JEANA – who originally made music in Bedford with her siblings – has spent the majority of 2019 working alongside Producer Ginger Snaps to create her smooth, indie pop sounds. Her latest single, ‘Nameless’ is a polished offering that explores the feelings of vulnerability and of power when a toxic relationship comes to an end, and showcases the nineteen year old’s ability to rise from these ashes in Phoenix-like fashion.

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 JEANA 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 listen to her single ‘Nameless’ at the end of this post.

 

1. Amy Winehouse – Back to Black
Like a lot of people, this album was on repeat in my household for a few years when I was growing up as a child. We used to go to a bar on a beach in Spain, which always played this album & even though the bar has since shut we still refer to it as the Amy Winehouse beach. I love this album so much because I felt I could enjoy it as a child as well as enjoying it now as an adult for different reasons. The lyrics are so raw and are empowering I think. The memories are distant from when I first heard this album but I associate it with so many different good times, and i’m sure I can go back and relate to this album in more stages of my life to come.

2. Taylor Swift – Fearless
I found this album in 2011 as a young tweenager and I remember feeling like I had discovered the true meaning of music. I randomly found an iPod on a family holiday with only illegally downloaded Taylor Swift music on, Fearless being the only album. Of course, I rinsed all the songs and wanted to become Taylor Swift, this album actually encouraged me to start singing, pick up a guitar and started me writing (and I really did want to be Taylor Swift for a good 3 years!).

3. Catfish and the Bottlemen – The Balcony
At 14 years old I discovered Catfish and the Bottlemen, and wanted to be “Mrs Van McCann”. This album completely transitioned me from Taylor Swift’s biggest fan to the indie girl that started to go to gigs with her Sister. I’ve always loved indie music as it’s what I’ve been brought up on, but this is the first album I remember discovering myself, and loved like it was my own. It made me start to explore similar artists, and led me to the artists who influenced them.

4. Arcade Fire – Funeral
This album is one of my all time favourites, not only because its the soundtrack to my childhood but also because every song is a favourite. The songs are all such massive anthems and listening to it even though it was their debut, feels like a greatest hits collection. Seeing them live last year at Wembley arena just made me love them as a band even more. From the way they swap their instruments during their set, to the show being staged in a boxing ring – they bring such variety to a performance.

5. Ms. Lauryn Hill – The Miseducation of Lauryn Hill
A truly beautiful album that I discovered through working with my producer Ginger Snaps. Listening to this was my first step away from my indie/pop roots, and influenced my sound more towards RnB. The songs are so raw and vulnerable, it made me feel more comfortable putting my own honest feelings into lyrics. It has so much going on musically with the combination of reggae/latin beats. Since discovering this album early last year I’ve been lucky enough to see Ms. Lauryn Hill twice – at the O2 arena and Boomtown Fair.

Thanks to JEANA for sharing her favourites with us. Follow her on Facebook for more updates.

FIVE FAVOURITES: Sea Change

Norwegian newcomer Sea Change is skilled at crafting atmospheric, transformative, electronic sounds. She’s set to release her new album INSIDE on 15th November, and if recent singles ‘Stepping Out’ and ‘Flown’ are anything to go by, it’ll be filled with intriguing synth textures, longing vocals, and irresistible lo-fi beats. 

Sea Change (aka Ellen Sunde) wrote her new album after she relocated to Berlin, and during her many trips back and forth to LA; resulting in seven tracks that meander through intimate and stimulating personal territories.

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 Ellen 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 listen to her latest track ‘Flown’ at the end of this post.

 

1. PJ Harvey – Is This Desire / 4-Track Demos
Discovering PJ Harvey at 16 made my whole world turn around. Before that, I loved music and I knew that I needed to do music myself, but I’d never heard anything by a female voice or musician that I loved with all my heart (how sad is that !?). But then I discovered PJ Harvey and the way she sang and made her music was so gut wrenching and vulnerable and beautiful and horrible at the same time; I realized that I don’t have to sing in a pretty voice to make music. When I heard Is This Desire, it was like – yes – this is the music I’m gonna make. Everything kind of fell into place when I discovered her. She taught me that being raw and honest is what makes amazing art. She has a special place in my heart.

2. Sidsel Endresen & Bugge Wesseltoft – Duplex Ride / Out There. In There.
At 18 I started to discover more and more experimental music and in Norway. There’s an amazing improv and jazz scene. I discovered Sidsel Endresen which is an experimental jazz singer. I think the way she uses silence and minimalism in her music is incredible. She is an amazing improviser, it’s super intuitive. In her music there’s nothing of that showing off-virtuosity you can often find in jazz music, but it’s actually something that comes from her heart. And I think she also taught me to not give a crap about what other people think, and to do your own thing. Her lyrics are also utterly beautiful.

3. Arthur Russell – World Of Echo
Arthur Russel makes the perfect blend of club music/disco/experimental and vulnerability. He has something that I can’t explain. His music and lyricism is so naive and beautiful in it’s simplicity, and I love that it’s electronic music but it has this off-kilter and strange vibe. It sounds like he is improvising and jamming by himself in his living room, and it’s so rare to listen to electronic music that is so unperfected. His songs don’t really have one proper studio version, they have about 10 different ones that make his artistry so utterly interesting. He has a mixture of authority, intuition and vulnerability in his music that I will always strive after, ‘cos its so explosive in an artist. I recently heard that he will be releasing a new mix of unreleased songs/demos on the 15th of November (the same day I’m releasing my record!) and I can’t wait to listen.

4. Noise/Improv/Lasse Marhaug/Noxakt/Kevin Drumm
I need to put in this on the list but it’s more of a state of mind/genre than albums or tracks. Most of this music I’ve experienced live. When I moved to Oslo at 19 I started to go to improv and noise concerts. Oslo has an amazing experimental scene and it was really cool to be able to go to so many shows that were so well curated. There’s a rawness and punk atmosphere to this music that I love, and to be able to just close my eyes and dive into a world of raw sound is incredible. This was also at the same time I started making music myself. When I started playing live I usually had parts in the live sets that were ambient and drone like (it’s surprisingly hard to make something that actually sounds good). This music is best to experience live. I think it awakes something primal in me, and I’m really happy I went through this musical phase cos it taught me so much about what music can be and that it has no limits!

5. Fever Ray – Plunge
I’m such a huge fan of Fever Ray, it’s kind of embarrassing. When she all of the sudden dropped PLUNGE in 2017 I was listening to the record over and over for days. I can’t remember last time I had this obsession with a record, since I was in my teens I guess, and that is the most amazing feeling. I love what she’s challenging both musically and lyrically. There was a music journalist that wrote that this record was like jumping into cold water, and I really love that allegory. This record hit me in the chest and I think it came at a time in my life when I really needed it and it also influenced my newest record a lot. I love how she blends club music, pop music and listening music and makes her own breed of art with her explosive visual narrative. She is a HUGE inspiration!

I saw her live recently and she had a seven piece band with only female musicians, and I remember how shocked I was with how shocked I was. How have I never seen that before!? And that made me realize that hell, from now on I’m only gonna have female musicians on stage. Her first record was amazing and Its still a piece of art that stands steady as a rock, and I find myself going back to it over and over again.

Thanks to Ellen for sharing her favourites with us.

Follow Sea Change on Facebook for more updates.

Photo Credit: Fotini Chora

FIVE FAVOURITES: R. Elizabeth

With her instinctive approach to sound art and pop minimalism, London-based artist R. Elizabeth (aka Rachael Finney) creates deceptively simple tunes underscored by complex themes. On her latest album, Every And All We Voyage On, released via Night School (Patience, Molly Nilsson, Cucina Povera), she improvises with a single 80s Casio keyboard, reel-to-reel tape manipulation, piano and vocals; resulting in a mix of atmospheric, upbeat, charming sounds. 

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 Rachael 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 listen to her new album at the end of this post.

 

1. Scott Walker – Scott 2
‘Best of Both Worlds’, the second track on Scott 2, is absolutely staggering. I remember the first time I heard this – I had bought and exhausted Scott 1, so thought it logical to simply buy each album chronologically. I picked up a copy of Scott 2 on CD and proceeded to listen to it on my way home on some crappy discman. Hearing ‘Best of Both Worlds’ for the first time I had to stand still; the sweeping violins are dizzying, it’s a fantastically intense song. Scott 1 to 4 are all completely overwhelming in the best possible way but Scott 2 has such an incredible arc to it.

‘Plastic Palace People’ contains not only an incredible story, but there’s these almost spinning violins and flutes, then right in the middle there’s this shift where Walker’s voice sings this dissonant harmony “hurry you’ve got to get in line/your nose might start to shine” then back to these flurry of violins and flutes. Whenever I listen to Scott Walker, my teeth go on edge with excitement. I can never just have it on in the background, I have to give it my full attention and listen each story. All of Walker’s albums are incredible experiences.

2. Daphne Oram – Pop Try Outs
Pop Try Outs was a cassette release by Mondo Hebden/Was Ist Das? of some of Daphne Oram’s work. Unlike Oramics, Pop Try Outs presents Oram’s experiments with highly melodic pieces. Oram, among other women, continues to be a significant figure for me. Her work with tape and the Radiophonic workshop more broadly is endlessly fascinating. The cassette is a wonderful glimpse into her working methods. It’s also pretty much one pattern looping again and again, which is very up my street.

3. John Baker – John Baker Tapes Vol.1 1963-1969
John Baker is another Radiophonic Workshop figure. This was gifted to me about ten years ago and I have listened to it continuously ever since. Baker produced theme tunes and incidental music for TV and radio. He worked with tape, and it’s Baker along with Delia Derbyshire that I owe my tape obsession too. There is one track where Baker explains his process. Upon hearing the theme tune you would be forgiven for thinking you’re listening to a synthesizer, but it’s largely objects and natural elements like water being poured from a bottle, or a wooden ruler just hitting the top of a table. It’s magical.

4. Ikue Mori – Hex Kitchen
The patterns that Mori creates are both dense and full of space. When listening to Hex Kitchen, it’s as if all these sounds are being tipped out, almost cascading past your ears. There’s elements of collage, but then really pronounced rhythmic patterns. I like the feeling of these parts that come together almost melodically, especially when Mori uses her own voice, only to fall away into something with a much more open and abstract structure. The opening track ‘Slush’ is fantastic – you are confronted with loud, almost percussive sounds, but then they begin to sound like water – the experience of hearing these electronically produced sounds sound so fluid but structured all at the same time has a really sensuous effect. I always have to scratch my head whilst listening to ‘Slush’, it has this ability to cause quite peculiar physical responses.

5. Don Ellis Orchestra – Electric Bath
‘Open Beauty’ is one of my favourite pieces of music. It begins very open with flutterings of electronic piano and wind and reed instruments, creating beautiful patterns. It builds up to quite an intense and extended burst right in the middle then almost falls back to silence. Ellis then plays an absolutely incredible trumpet solo. Using tape delay and echo he kind of duets with himself. Its remarkable. It’s a beautiful record.

Thanks to Rachael for sharing her favourites with us. Order your copy of R. Elizabeth’s new album Every And All We Voyage On here.

FIVE FAVOURITES: Mira Lu Kovacs (5K HD)

Austrian experimental-pop group 5K HD shared their new LP, High Performer, in September earlier this year, and their feet have barely touched the ground since. They’re currently touring the new record across Europe, filling stages with a blend of their poppy, jazzy, prog-rock beats. Vocalist Mira Lu Kovacs is regarded by critics and peers as one of the most expressive voices in the scene, and with a team of multi-instrumentalists behind her, it’s easy to see why 5K HD are in such high demand. 

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 Mira 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 the video for for 5K HD’s track ‘Crazy Talk’ at the end of this post.

 

1. Ani DiFranco – Evolve / Educated Guess
With Ani DiFranco I grew up! I remember I was 11 and my step father at that time played a mixed CD (it couldn’t have been a tape, it was the late 90s). He put on Ani DiFranco’s ‘Marrow’ right after Tori Amos’ ‘Cornflake Girl’, what a mix! I didn’t understand much, cause my mother tongue is German, so the only thing I grasped was the phrase “And where did you put all those letters that you wrote to yourself, but could not address?” I don’t know if it was her finger picking (or should i say ripping?) on her steely guitars, or her edgy playful singing? I think it was the seriousness of her songwriting, I felt spoken to. It was really magical. Later, I listened to all her albums. Now I would say my favourites are Evolve and Educated Guess, but to me Ani DiFranco is such a poet and what she does must be evaluated as a whole and not just one album. She inspired me endlessly, even if her sound aesthetic isn’t the one that I am looking for today.

2. Radiohead – Hail To The Thief
Hail To The Thief is maybe an atypical Radiohead album to start with, no? I think I listened to this one at the age of 14 and then traveled back in time to learn about Kid A, OK Computer and The Bends (which I only appreciated later in my musical career). Most Radiohead Hardliners don’t understand why this album is so special to me. But I think, again, the songwriting is especially good on this one and there is a new shininess in their sound with this album. Also – ‘Backdrifts’, ‘We Suck Young Blood” and “I Will “ (to date the only song I ever publicly covered – acappella) – what great songs to speak to a depressed teenager!

3. Aldous Harding – Designer
This one is quite new, and has been such an inspiration to me this year. I just love the boldness and uncompromising softness in Aldous Harding’s music. I didn’t allow myself this kind of softness for a while, and now I feel like it’s coming back. The allowance, it’s something that I was scared of, because: how else to defend myself? I thought I needed to be loud and clear and aggressive. I am that, too, but I need to allow the softness to comfort me, as well. I feel like the beautifully weird old/new voice of Aldous Harding reminded me of that part of me. Thank you ❤

4. Beth Gibbons – Out Of Season
I can’t believe I only found this album 3 years ago. What a production! What songwriting! What truth, what openness. Sorry, there’s not much else to say. She’s a genius. The arrangements are sparse and pompous at the same time. I think this is where I wanna go in the future and who I wanna be when I grow up.

5. Bon Iver – For Emma, Forever Ago
I think this was the album of a whole generation. It changed many things, not only musically, but also in the industry. The simplicity set new standards. The vulnerability in his voice was a new level of emotion. Whatever genius album Bon Iver made after this, this one is still one of the most brutally beautiful ones that there are.

Thanks to Mira for sharing her favourites with us. Follow 5K HD on Facebook for more info on their current tour dates.

Photo Credit: Ingo Pertramer