FIVE FAVOURITES: Sarasara

One Little Indian Records signee Sarasara is set to release her second album Orgone on the 5th of July which she co-produced with Liam Howe of label-mates Sneaker Pimps (Nülifer Yanya, FKA Twigs, Tom Vek, Lana Del Rey) and it looks set to be a versatile, experimental delight.

Sung mostly in French and dealing with themes of suicidal thoughts, existentialism and meditation, Sarasara moved from Paris to Margate at the beginning of 2018 to write her new record, which features collaborative tracks with Peter Doherty of The Libertines. We caught up with Sarasara ahead of her headline show at St Pancras Old Church on Thursday 4th July (tickets here) to talk about her “Five Favourite” albums – five albums that have influenced her songwriting techniques. Check out her choices below…

1. Malik Djoudi – Cinema
I’ve discovered Malik’s music recently when he played with me in New York at France Rocks festival, the very first show of my Orgone tour. I fell in love instantly, his live show was so good and his songs so catchy. Me and my team are currently touring in Asia and Europe and we’ve been listening to him like crazy people. His definitely part of our tour playlist.

2. ASAP ROCKY – Testing
I love a bit of American rap & hip hop sometimes. I think this one is a bit of a UFO, I look forward to it every-time I listen to Testing, the album, I love the vibe, it takes you back to America. I would love to work on a rap project at some point, I have absolutely no idea how, but I love the idea of a new challenge, it’s exciting.

3. Tricky – False Idols
I’ve always been a fan of Massive Attack, Tricky solo projects included, and it is an absolute honour to have had my production sound compared to his, but it was never my plan when I started to write music. Lately, I’ve been thinking there’s probably something for me to learn from this because it keeps coming up, and I’ve been digging into his old albums again. False Idols and Adrian Thaws are two masterpiece albums for me. ‘Parenthesis’ is one of my favorite songs ever.

4. Garbage – Garbage
I’ve been listening to Garbage since I was a teenager. I discovered them when I was maybe 12, 13 years old, via Buffy the Vampire Slayer series, Shirley Manson was playing a gig at the Bronze, which is the music venue where the Scooby gang goes every night. It made me want to dig into their music. Then I discovered Garbage and Garbage 2.0 which are two brilliant albums. At that time for me, Shirley Manson was really impressive and I was seeing her as a role model, a powerful front woman, a rebel. She was singing boldly, screaming stuff like “Make the beat go harder”, wearing crazy outfits in crazy music videos. That’s what I was feeling like at that time, rebel and raw. I remember I got kicked out of school for several days because I arrived there one day with bright pink hair, nose piercing and massive boots, I just wanted to look like her but teachers thought it was “a bit much” . Anyway, I heard the song ‘Milk’ several times randomly while on tour, so I’m listening to the album G again.

5. MONOLOC – Drought
I’ve got a thing for dark techno. I’ve been following Sascha since his debut on Chris Liebing Recordings. I love his way of incorporating techno music and his aesthetics. I can feel soul in his productions, there’s the dark and raw side, but there’s also always a touch of gentleness somehow. I love the combination of both. I think he definitely stands out from the crowd. I am really honoured and proud that he remixed my single ‘Blood Brothers’, first extract of my upcoming album Orgone, the result is stunning. I can’t wait for it to be released.

Thanks to Sarasara for sharing her choices with us. Follow her on Facebook for more updates.

Kate Crudgington
@KCBobCut

FIVE FAVOURITES: CRONICLE

Swedish artist CRONICLE may have cut her teeth playing in punk-pop band Tantrum to Blind, but now she’s exploring her song-writing talent through the medium of brooding electronica. CRONICLE (aka Melanie Mohlkert) has shared three singles to date, with her most recent offering ‘Bruises’ focusing on the aftermath of a relationship.

We think one of the best ways to get to know a new artist is by asking them what music inspired them to write in the first place. We caught up with CRONICLE 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 her track ‘Bruises’ at the end of this post.

 

1. Taking Back Sunday – Where You Want To Be
Taking Back Sunday is the band I still call my favourite band of all time. It’s kind of funny actually, because the first time I heard one of their songs I was like “What the hell is this noise?” but I was 13 years old and my (really cool) cousin who’s just one year older than me was super into them, so I was intrigued.

Then diving into their music opened up a whole new world for me. I was already a big fan of bands like Nirvana, The Offspring, Millencolin and Good Charlotte, but these guys were just something else. Their angsty and raw vocals with intense, emotional lyrics that literally have no filter at all, backed with sick guitar riffs and energetic drums just made me FEEL so much. It was like an amplifier to your heart and soul at that age and to be honest, it still is. I love this band so much. I feel like their way of phrasing what you want to say in lyrics, their guitar riffs and emotion will always be one of the core pedestals in me as a songwriter. Being able to show how you can be hurt and vulnerable with your music but at the same time saying “f*ck you” is definitely something they taught me about, and I’m forever grateful for that.

2. Ellie Goulding – Halcyon Days
This album is f*cking incredible. I actually can’t remember when I came across it first, I think it might have been that I fell in love with Ellie’s song ‘Figure 8’ and after that, checked out the whole album and damn, I couldn’t stop listening to it. It definitely was my first proper introduction to the electronic pop world and those kind of soundscapes. I think there are parts of this album that are pretty similar to the whole emo alternative rock elements I’m so in love with. To be honest ‘Figure 8’ would make a sick emo rock song, but here the electric guitars are kind of replaced with heavy synthesisers instead. I think that’s what I fell for. I also love, love, love the vocal production, how her voice is often used as an instrument. Then there are these rough organic sounding instrumentals, mixed with amazing electronic sounds. Ellie has generally really inspired me and been a big role model as the badass female solo artist that she is. I’m not a huge fan of the direction she’s taken musically over the last few years, but she’ll always have place in my heart.

3. K.Flay – Life As A Dog
I think it was in 2014, when my band had split up and I started getting really into electronic music that some friends of mine sent me a link to K.Flay’s tunes. They had just been doing Warped Tour in the US and got to know her because she was playing the festival too. They were like “Mel you’re gonna LOVE this chick” and oh my, they were right. I was hooked by the first synth that hit my ears in ‘Make Me Fade’ and K.Flay’s amazing whisky voice, smart, full of attitude lyrics and awesome beats. There’s also some electric guitars and bass, cutting through the production here and there and it’s simply a mix of everything I love.

The fact that she’s this awesome smart rapper just makes her pretty much royalty to me. Her Majesty K.Flay – the Queen of everything. I was at her first ever London show when she supported Lights and nobody really knew who she was. I had brought some friends with me who really dug her too after my passionate introduction and we were in the back of the room, jumping and singing along to her set. Her manager caught our little private party in the crowd and had to come up and ask how we knew about her. Then the craziest thing of this story here is that I actually got to support her when she had her first headline show in London and that was my first ever Cronicle show!

4. Twenty One Pilots – Blurry Face
I remember seeing ads on YouTube for their music videos and I thought to myself that there was just something really cool and real about them. After checking out the album I was a fan for life. I feel like I’ve always been really drawn to artists who are genuine and speak the truth in their music and these guys definitely do that. They also know how to write BANGERS. This is my “pick me up” album. It’s the one that I turn on loud as f*ck in the morning to get me going, to get my mood right for the day. I also love driving (read speeding) and skating to it. They are incredible musicians, performers and Tyler’s lyrics are just something else.

I will forever regret that I missed Reading Festival a couple of years ago when they played it. I was sat home behind my laptop watching their set online and even just through the 13” screen their show was absolutely mind-blowing. I also really respect how much hard work they’ve put into their career in terms of playing shows, touring so much of the world before they “made it”. They’re the real deal and I’m stoked to see how huge they are today, it gives hope to someone like me.

5. Lana Del Rey – Born To Die
What can I say, how can you not love this album? Lana is an incredible songwriter and she really knows how to drag you into her world and turn you into an addict. This album is the soundtrack to my summers spent broken hearted and lost. It made them more beautiful somehow. I’m so captivated by her voice and lyrics and again, the production is a mix of organic instruments and electronic elements – my favourite thing. Lana is sharing sadness and pain in a proud way and there’s just something so empowering about that. I feel proud to be a woman with a broken heart not afraid to share my deepest pain because of her.

Thanks to Melanie for sharing her favourites with us!Follow CRONICLE on Facebook for more updates.

Kate Crudgington
@KCBobCut

Five Favourites: jade imagine

Fresh from a tour with fellow emerging Australian artist, Julia Jacklin, and with their forthcoming first album coming later this year, Melbourne trio jade imagine have recently shared their latest single ‘Big Old House’. A captivatingly gloomy slice of shoegaze-inspired guitar pop, it’s a shimmering offering that leaves us eagerly awaiting the upcoming album…

We think one of the best ways to get to know a new band/artist is by asking them what music inspired them to write in the first place. We caught up with Jade to talk about her ‘Five Favourites’ – five albums that have influenced her songwriting techniques, or simply take her back to a specific feeling or time. Check out her choices below, and make sure you watch the band’s new video for ‘Big Old House’ at the end of this post.

The Church – Of Skins And Heart
This album is a huge nostalgia trip for me. When I was a kid, it was one of my first introductions into music… I’m not entirely sure if it was a hugely ground breaking record or not (I’ve never really thought about it), but i feel like in some way this album encapsulates a lot of the elements that I bring into my own music; I’ve always loved The Church’s chord progressions and the way their guitars weave together melody and the way the drums are pretty straight and punchy/punk-y, and the way the bass leaves space and punctuates the song. The Church create create these really interesting songs, but deliver them in a kind of dead-pan way. There’s some strange kind of glam vibe in there, but also a sense of ‘Australiana drama’ kind of thing going on. Fave track’s gotta be a tie between ‘Bel-Air’ and ‘Is This Where You Live’.

Ty Segall – Sleeper
I’m a sucker for a good old folk acoustic guitar album. Though I’m a big fan of all of Segall’s heavier work, for some reason this record really stuck out to me. Maybe it was the headspace I was in when I first heard it. I was travelling a lot and would put this on to chill myself out whilst on long flights. So, I associate it with movement and security. Ironically, I have read that this was written by Ty when he was going through a rough patch, which just proves to me that music can 100% be interpreted uniquely by everyone in a different way. I like how some of his songs are seemingly ‘nonsense’ songs, but there feels to me to be a deeper meaning behind them, even if that meaning is still a vague interpretation on my behalf…

Cat Power – You Are Free
Just a great vibe album. A good mix of loud and up, and quiet and down… 

Sibylle Baier – Colour Green
Sometimes when I’m not managing my anxiety very well, this album can totally help to chill me out and slow my brain down. I believe Baier’s son compiled these songs – which she’d recorded in the 1970s – and then the album was released in 2006 after it was passed on to J. Mascis from Dinosaur Jnr who passed it on to Orange Twin, a record label. I just love how you can hear the faint ambient room sounds throughout the album; the creaking of a chair in the background, the air in the room. I just wish this album was the whole soundtrack to my life.

Nick Drake – Five Leaves Left
I came across this record when I was in my mid teens and lived in the Sunshine Coast hinterland. I lived on a property with my family and uncle and all of his sheep and dogs and pets. I used to go on long walks in the bush around the area with my walkman, listening to this record over and over again. I think this album really shaped the music that I like these days and helped me to love the more understated albums in the world. They’re growers – albums you come back to over and over again throughout your life.  

Huge thanks to Jade for sharing her five favourites. Check out jade imagine’s new video for ‘Big Old House’ below:

Mari Lane
@marimindles

FIVE FAVOURITES: Gurr

After the recent release of their new EP She Says, German duo Gurr have been busy touring and making plans for the rest of 2019. The new songs are a poignant observation on the world’s indifference to the opinions of others. We caught up with bandmates Laura Lee & Andreya Casablanca to talk about their “Five Favourites” – five albums that have influenced their own songwriting. Check out their choices below, and take note of their upcoming tour dates at the end of this post!

LAURA

1. Oasis – What’s the Story Morning Glory
It’s not only my favorite album, I think it’s also the best second album of all time. To top a debut album with a second album like this – including songs like Champagne ‘Supernova’ – just deserves all my respect.

2. Ulrika Spacek – The Album Paranoia
It really amazed me how few people know about this band: Very crafty sounds, amazing recordings, seems like they have great artistic integrity as a band… I really wish they were more famous and also don’t at the same time.

3. Deerhunter – Halcyon Digest
After my Oasis obsession, Deerhunter and especially Halcyon Digest were the first band to really pick me up again and get me excited about current music. So thanks for that!

4. Carole King – Tapestry
I found out about Carole King way too late in my life. Also BECAUSE SHE NEVER MAKES THESE KINDS OF BEST ALBUMS OF ALL TIMES LISTS and I really don’t understand why.

5. The Sound – Jeopardy
Maybe I would say this is the greatest album of all time (to me). It’s just pure perfection to me, the compilation of songs, the order, … everything!

ANDREYA

1. Le Tigre – Feminist Sweepstakes
This is the first album that I heard a more experimental approach to music with adding synth and random stuff. I was so into Le Tigre and their aesthetic, I listened to this album from top to end in my teenage bedroom at night.

2. Sonic Youth – Goo
I used to go to the record store and just try to learn indie music history by listening through records – this record was a little hard for me to grasp but it opened a weird world of eerie vibes and “anything goes” and it totally made me feel like I am special back then haha.

3. Be your own Pet – Be your own Pet
I rarely listen to BYOP anymore but I DEVOURED this album and it basically shaped so much of my songwriting as a teen- that it can just be weird and repetitive chord progressions, loud and noisy, confusing lyrics and high energy. Jemina Pearl and Karen O were definitely my icons back then.

4. Avril Lavigne – Let Go
This album is brilliant. So many good pop songs that I can still sing along to today even though I don’t want to?

5. Supergrass – I should Coco
I actually don’t know why I loved and love this album so much but I listened to it a lot and especially enjoyed the squeeky voices- “She’s so loose” made me jam on open dissonant chords for DAYS. Love it.

Gurr Tour Dates 2019
14.06.2019 – GER Mannheim – Maifield Derby
18.06.2019 – USA Brooklyn – Rough Trade (in-store showcase, duo performance)
19.06.2019 – USA New York City – Rockwood Hall w/ Surfbort
21.06.2019 – GER Scheeßel – Hurricane Festival
22.06.2019 – GER Neuhausen ob Eck, DE – Southside Festival
30.06.2019 – GER Paderborn, DE – Wintergrün Festival
13.07.2019 – HU Banki-to Bank – Bankito Festival
26.07.2019 – GER Eltville am Rhein – Heimspiel Knyphausen
27.07.2019 – UK Oxfordshire, UK – Truck Festival
02.08.2019 – AT Lustenau – Szene Open Air Lustenau
03.08.2019 – CH Olten – Olten Open Air
09.08.2019 – GER Rees – Haldern Pop Festival
10.08.2019 – GER Konigs Wusterhausen – Bergfunk
31.08.2019 – GER Stade – Müssen Alle Mit
11.10.2019 – UK London – The Lexington
13.10.2019 – GER Düsseldorf – New Fall Festival

Thanks to Laura & Andreya for sharing their favourite with us. Follow Gurr on Facebook for more updates.

Kate Crudgington
@KCBobCut

FIVE FAVOURITES: Grace Savage

Grace Savage is a four-time UK beat-box champion turned electro-pop artist. With her ability to produce catchy beats and write witty relatable lyrical content, her live shows are an impressive spectacle; and her performance at Loud Women Festival last year made a mark in our musical memory. She’s set to release her new EP Cracks on 17th May and will pre-empt the launch with a headline show at Bermondsey Social Club on 15th May (tickets available here).

We caught up with Grace 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 her single ‘Snowflake’ at the end of this post.

Amy Winehouse – Frank
I heard this album for the first time when I was 14, hanging out in my friend’s bedroom. I instantly fell in love and knew this woman was something special. The tone of her voice, the sensitivity and intelligence of the lyrics, the infectious melodies..I didn’t know much about music technically at the time, but I just felt the soul of this album to my core and I still listen to it today as much as I did back then.

I learned the song ‘Fuck Me Pumps’ on the guitar and it was the first song I ever sang in front of another human being. It was a producer who’d seen me beatbox in a talent competition, and then invited me to her studio; she asked me to sing something for her and I was absolutely terrified. I sang Amy’s song and she must’ve seen something in me because we then worked together as a songwriting partnership for four years. So this album will always have a special place in my heart.

P!nk – Can’t Take Me Home
I cannot even begin to explain the level of obsession I had with P!nk as a young girl. Posters on the bedroom wall, dyed my hair pink at 13, got my tongue pierced at 15, my email address for most of my teenage years was pink_b!tch@hotmail.com – it was a LOT. She was this bad ass lady with bright pink hair and so much attitude and I just wanted to be everything she was. She was a great role model for me as a young girl who didn’t fit in with the ”girly girls” and this album (although when I listen to it now sounds SO dated) was a big part of my teenage years. I’ve followed her career ever since and I’m seeing her live for the first time this summer….I think I might explode with nostalgia and happiness.

Nirvana – Nevermind
This album inspired me to learn the guitar. I went through the classic “grunge girl” stage for about a year (black nails, big nose ring, nirvana hoodies, eye liner, really bad skate boarding) and it was all heavily influenced by this album and Kurt Cobain’s genius. I was always such a hip hop head/r&b and pop music girl, but something about Nirvana really got me. The guitar riffs, the husky tone of his voice, the weird lyrics and the “don’t give a f***” attitude of the whole band was really refreshing against the shiny manufactured pop bands I was exposed to in the 90’s and early 00’s. This album introduced me to a different kind of music and really let me indulge my emo side.

Ms Lauryn Hill – The Miseducation Of Lauryn Hill
Ahhh it was so close between Lauryn and Missy Elliot because both had a huge impact on me growing up, but seeing as this is about ALBUMS and not ARTISTS… I had to choose this one. I remember I was about 14/15 and my mate said he bought this album and didn’t like it so he gave it to me to try. I’m so glad he did, because BOOYYY it is ICONIC! I fell in love with her voice watching Sister Act and I fell in love with this album the moment I heard it. Triple threat: singer, rapper, writer. There were really no other artists around like her at the time and her voice is unparalleled in my opinion. I still can’t think of anyone who sings, writes and raps as fluently and excellently as she does. She is one of a kind. I saw her perform the 20 year anniversary of this album in London last year and it was a beautiful experience.

BANKS – Goddess
This is the only “modern” album on my list but no less impactful and meaningful to my life. This is my break up album. I must have listened to it and cried to it and ran to it and danced to it and slept to it and then cried some more to it almost every day for about a year. When it came out, the production was like nothing I’d ever heard before and her lyrics and tone were so unique and dark and sexy, I was immediately like “WOAH” who is this girl? I’ve seen her live a few times now and she never fails to disappoint. ‘Waiting Game’ and ‘Brain’ still continue to be some of my favourite songs in existence – the slow driving kick drum, the long builds throughout the whole song, the deep driving synths and the tribal feel to her vocals drenched in reverb. Beaut. Thanks for getting me over the worst break up of my life. I owe you one BANKS!

Kate Crudgington
@KCBobCut

FIVE FAVOURITES: Jackie Mendoza

Born and raised in the border city of Chula Vista, California, Jackie Mendoza blends the cultural influences of her hometown and her motherland of Tijuana, Mexico, creating eccentric pop, Latin-driven dance beats, and vibrant soundscapes. She’s just released her debut EP LuvHz via Luminelle Recordings; a 6-track exploration of love and relationships.

We caught up with Jackie 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 her single ‘Mucho Mas’ at the end of this post.

1. Nicolas Jaar – Space is Only Noise
It was hard to narrow my list down to 5 favorites but these are some albums with the most spins. It was funny to find that most of these are from 2009-2011…which reaffirms how impressionable I was in my late teens and how these albums paved a way for my own music. My older sister showed me this album when I was a senior in high school and learning how to drive. I blasted this album the first time I was allowed to take the car out by myself. This is an album I connected with 5 seconds after listening to it. The sound was so interesting to me and unlike anything I had heard before. It incorporates pop elements into experimental electronica and never seizes to include the Latin influence; everything I love in one big sound.

2. Air – Talkie Walkie
I used to do my homework to this album while I was in middle school. I wanted to cover the song ‘Surfing on a Rocket’ and make it my own. Before Garage Band and Ableton, I had to download programs from questionable websites if I wanted to overdub my vocals on top of a track. This album sparked my imagination to think about producing and writing music because I wanted to sound just like Air.

3. Kid Cudi – Man on the Moon II: The Legend of Mr. Rager
This album really helped me get through a lot of teen angst. I went through stages of depression in high school and while I had to take antidepressants, this album was a big help too. I felt understood and helped me appreciate solitude.

4. Animal Collective – Merriweather Post Pavilion
This is another album I would play through and not skip a single song. Like Air, Animal Collective is another band that sparked my interest in producing music. The vocal harmonies, abstract lyrics, and experimental instrumentation stuck with me and I’m still inspired by it today. This album reminds me of summer in San Diego. I’m really lucky I had the opportunity to work with their producer, Rusty Santos. Working with him was really enriching and felt almost effortless.

5. Carla Morrison – Mientras tú Dormías
I hadn’t thought about singing in Spanish until I heard this album. I saw many commonalities in Carla’s music; ukulele, soft vocals, and electronic sounds. Hearing her music encouraged me to write in Spanish and to not be afraid to write love songs.

Photo Credit: Tayo Okyekan

Kate Crudgington
@KCBobCut

FIVE FAVOURITES: PETSEMATARY

Oxford newcomer PETSEMATARY creates atmospheric, shoegazey soundscapes that in spite of their clear production, brood with a raw intensity. She recorded her first EP VOL I, independently, with all proceeds going to the charities Mind and Shelter.

We think one of the best ways to get to know a new artist is by asking them what music inspired them to write in the first place. We caught up with PETSEMATARY 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 her track ‘Tall Boys’ at the end of this post.

 

1. Jeff Buckley – Grace
This album pretty much made me want to make music. There’s no other way to describe Jeff’s voice other than pure self-expression in sonic form and it’s just fucking magical to listen to. It was the first time I’d heard music that made me want to smile and cry and scream and sing and it just made me want to use my voice in the most true way possible. Singing is a really intimate and personal thing. Your voice is you and there’s not much you can do to change it, and I think that Jeff’s music encouraged me to be as true to that as possible. The album is a kind of beautiful mess of different sounds – Grace is like an orchestral and cinematic love song, whereas tracks like ‘So Real’ and ‘Dream Brother’ are dark and abstract and dreamlike, and Jeff’s voice traverses to whatever depths the songs take him. There’s a lot of darkness in the songs but also there’s this hopefulness and light which really inspires me.

2. Emma Ruth Rundle – Marked For Death
I love everything about Emma. Her songs are dark and twisted and raw and I just think that she’s one of the most powerful female musicians around at the moment. I admire that her songs are both honest but also elusive – she manages to paint scenarios that don’t need to be explicit lyrically, and that makes them all the more powerful. Her guitar work was also a massive turning point in how I approached writing. Even though I’ve been playing guitar since I was a kid it has always been something I’ve felt self-conscious about or something I should always work a little harder at, and something that I have always felt I am inferior at among my male peers. Listening to Emma’s work made me realise that being good at guitar doesn’t need to mean being able to shred scales as fast as all the other guitar guys, but that you can make hauntingly beautiful and unique soundscapes through space, open tunings and effects.

On the title track ‘Marked For Death’ she has these beautiful sparse reverb-drenched plucked guitars that implode into a haze of delayed slide guitars in the chorus – this album pretty much made me want to put slide guitar on every track I make ever. Lyrically I also really admire her. Tracks like ‘Medusa’ and ‘Hand of God’ made me think a lot about female characters in literature and mythology and how they can sort of serve as a way of communicating my own experiences. I think there’s a lot of power in reclaiming those old tropes about women – the seductress, the woman scorned etc. All of those ideas are constructed as reactions to (and fear of) female power, and I feel like in reclaiming them in songwriting or any narrative they can become a way of coming to terms with your own experience. I feel power in reclaiming my own experience through that lens.

3. Elliott Smith – Figure 8
Elliott was the master of making the most bleak things sound melodically beautiful and uplifting. My favourite Elliott record constantly fluctuates, but for songwriting I always seem to go back to Figure 8. His lyrics can be both candid and enigmatic, and just in the way he sings there is an honesty and vulnerability which I find really inspiring. His songs are all feel and no bullshit, and it’s that sort of understated genius aspect which I love so much about all of his music.

The songs are vulnerable and raw but not afraid to hit where it hurts, and I think it just shows that being able to saw how you really feel is a lot of the time more powerful than dressing stuff up in metaphor. That sort of honesty opens you up in songwriting and that really inspired me in how I wanted to communicate my ideas through my songs. I love the arrangements on this album. Obviously his acoustic tracks are beautiful enough as they are but tracks like ‘Wouldn’t Mama Be Proud’, ‘Junk Bond Trader’ and ‘Happiness’ are just really powerful and dynamic to me in terms of their instrumentation.

“All I used to be will pass away and then you’ll see that all I want now is happiness for you and me” – the lyrics really are just bleak as hell yet he manages to twist them into an uplifting and harmonically beautiful track, and I guess its that incongruity between the dark and the light which makes this album and Elliott’s songwriting in general all the more twisted and brilliant to me. It’s all just so beautiful and haunting.

4. PJ Harvey – Is This Desire?
This record has so much depth and dynamic, and PJ is the mistress of dark and light and just everything to me. There’s a lot of noise and dissonance to the songs and I think they all speak to this theme of instinct and rawness which lie behind a lot of the tracks. Tracks like ‘A Perfect Day Elise’ and ‘The Sky Lit Up’ have these hazy distorted soundscapes, and PJ’s voice can go from whisper to growl to scream to ghostly wailing, and I think she’s just an incredibly powerful songwriter and performer. It’s sorta like a constant fluctuating between chaos and calm.

My favourite track on the record probably is the title track, ‘Is This desire?’. The simplicity and honesty of the words, the stripped back accompaniment and vocal are just really evocative to me. It’s my favourite record of hers because it just feels really raw and intimate, and again no-bullshit. I like the idea of these female protagonists which drive the story of the songs – Elise, Angelene, Catherine and so on. From that angle it speaks to me as a record about raw female experience, passion and desire, and I think that the same honesty in reclaiming your own desires and instinctual emotions is what inspired me when making Petsem Vol I. Desire as instinct, possessiveness and anger as instinct and so on.

5. Smashing Pumpkins – Siamese Dream
Billy Corgan for me is one of the most important songwriters (although he is eminently memeable) and I think Siamese Dream is testament to that. It’s just one of my favourite guitar albums ever. There’s a sorta surreal circus-like feel about the songs – it’s sludgy and psychy but has a really great pop melodic feel to it. You have the spacey sleepy-eyed dream tracks like ‘Luna’ and ‘Spaceboy’, which are really beautiful and surreal, but then you also have the way songs like ‘Soma’ and ‘Silverfuck’ soar between sparse reverby guitars to heavy sludge vibes. It’s dynamic and exciting, and an album I go back to again and again when I feel uninspired or am struggling to write. The songs constantly travel to parts you aren’t really expecting. They can be grungey and dark and heavy, but also upbeat and light, all the while with fucking great vocal melodies and harmonies. Also Corgan is a gift to this earth and we don’t deserve him.

Thanks to PETSEMATARY for sharing her favourites with us. Follow her on Facebook & Bandcamp for more updates.