FIVE FAVOURITES: Ren (Petrol Girls)

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 Ren, frontwoman of the brilliant Petrol Girls, to ask about her “Five Favourites” – five songs that have kept her going whilst she’s been busy fighting & fundraising for a defamation case against a man in music industry for statements she made concerning his treatment of women.

Ren has written an intro to her favourite tracks, and we urge you to donate to the Solidarity Not Silence campaign – whether it’s £1 or £100 – every penny counts!

Ren: I’ve picked five tracks by artists that I really respect for the way that they’ve handled the issue of sexual abuse within the music industry. Many of them also faced defamation cases very similar to the one we are currently fighting as Solidarity Not Silence. We are still trying desperately to cover our legal costs and appreciate any donations that people can give, or awareness that people can raise of our crowd funding campaign

We are determined to win this case because the use of defamation law to silence survivors and their allies is yet another deeply unjust part of a legal system that is utterly stacked against survivors. In the wake of #MeToo this is more important than ever.

1. The Tuts – ‘Tut Tut Tut’
The Tuts are the other band involved in Solidarity Not Silence. During 2016 both bands spoke out about the behaviour of the man that is suing us, in solidarity with the survivors that we were aware of at the time. We received the first letters from his lawyers just before Christmas that year, and have been fighting it ever since!

I have so much respect for how outspoken the Tuts are about inter-sectional feminist issues and left politics more broadly, and super grateful for the huge amount of hard work they’ve done during this legal case, including organising a huge benefit gig at the end of last year! I’m so proud of all of us for how well we’ve been able to work together and support each other through this.

2. Taylor Swift – ‘Shake it Off’
I remember sticking on 1989 and leaping around the room when I heard about Taylor winning her case against David Mueller. She alleged that he groped her whilst they posed for a picture and consequently got him fired from his job. He then tried to sue her but she counter sued for a symbolic $1 and won following an incredible testimony in court, where she refused to take any bullshit: “I am not going to allow your client to make me feel like it is in any way my fault, because it isn’t.”

3. Alice Glass – ‘Cease and Desist’
Alice Glass left Crystal Castles in 2014 but as #MeToo gathered momentum she gained the confidence to speak up about her reasons why. In a post on her website she described horrific and sustained sexual, physical and emotional abuse at the hands of her former bandmate Ethan Kath. He then sued her for defamation but the case was dismissed in February 2018. When he appealed it in May 2018, he was ordered to pay Glass almost $21,000 in legal fees.

4. Venom Prison – ‘Immanentize Eschaton’
Vocalist Larissa Stupar wrote a public statement in support of survivors that spoke out about her former bandmates in Wolf Down. In her post she detailed some of her own experiences and ended with: “Enough is enough. I stand with the victims.”

5. Kesha – ‘Praying’
Kesha’s legal case against her former producer Dr Luke and record label Sony has been long, drawn out and bitterly unfair. It was overseen by a Judge that is married to a partner in Sony’s legal firm. Somehow Kesha pulled herself back to her feet and was able to release some hard hitting new music including ‘Praying’, which came out in the summer of 2017, just before #MeToo started gaining momentum.

Huge thanks to Ren for sharing her favourites with us. Follow Petrol Girls and Solidarity Not Silence on Facebook for more updates.

Kate Crudgington
@KCBobCut

FIVE FAVOURITES: Leggy

Having recently shared stages with The Spook School, Personal Best and Pile, angular punks Leggy  have been functioning at full speed. Formed of Véronique (lead vocals/guitar), Kerstin Bladh (bass) and Chris (drummer), the band released their album ‘Let Me Know Your Moon’ via Sheer Luck Records this year, as well as playing a run of shows at SXSW and completing a successful US tour.

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 Véronique & Chris to ask about their “Five Favourites” – five albums that have influenced their songwriting techniques. Check out their choices below, and make sure you listen to Leggy’s track ‘Taffy’ at the end of this post.

 

1. Eisley – Marvelous Things
Veronique: Discovering this EP while watching some type of late night Subterranean MTV channel changed my life. I remember it was right before Christmas 2013, and I put this on my Christmas list and my cool Dad, who loves music, got it for me. The vocal melody in Marvelous Things is true art and hearing it the first time ran shivers down my spine! It’s so simple and yet so unique, brilliant and dark . Also, discovering this band which was being led by young womxn, MY AGE (13!!!!) was inspiring. I felt like I could picture myself doing it too. Some of the first tabs I ever learned were super early Eisley songs . I named this EP because it was the first one I discovered, but I delved deep into the back catalogue after that, and all of it was highly influential in my first several years of songwriting.

2. Kesha – Cannibal
Veronique: This album was the anthem of my 21st year. I have so many fun feelings associated with it. I also have a lot of depressing memories tied to it (21, amiright??) The album is amazing – the lyrics were extremely relatable to me at that point in my life, and still continue to be relevant. Kesha is a damn boss bitch. I love pop music and simple but super dope beats, and I especially think it can be super beautiful when a rock band incorporates that sound a bit. I have certainly been influenced by her songwriting style.

I’m also 10000% over “music people” or “punks” or “intellectuals” hating on pop stars. I know it hasn’t been the case recently (thank you LIZZO, Carly Rae, Lana Del Rey) but Kesha was underrated in her first years. Fight me.

3. Joanna Newsom – Milk Eyed Mender
Veronique: Milk Eyed Mender made me feel knock kneed and tongue tied. The fact that she was singing in such a bare bones and peculiar way felt like complete anarchy to me. It kinda felt like she had declared “anything goes” – you didn’t have to be the standard to make music. That mindset totally inspired me to start writing a bunch of weirdo songs when I was in high school. Some of them evolved and eventually made it onto our first two EPs. Her whimsical and narrative heavy style of lyrics (similar to Eisley’s in this way) was really wonderful for someone like me, who was obsessed with fantasy at the time and spent a good deal of my waking day dreaming about random mystical shit (Lord of The Rings, anyone?) Also, Joanna Newsom was definitely a crush of mine before I knew what it meant. That’s just a bonus though.

4. Mika Miko – C.Y.S.L.A.B.F
Chris: True concrete floor dance party anthems. Big rowdy punk heavy hitters with a relentlessly dancey rhythm section, shout along until your out of breath. It has on point bopping guitar, and swing from the chandeliers energy. Still slams in 2019. Remember getting this the day my suburban record shop got it in stock and it’s been on rotation ever since. Soundtrack to a lot of fun times and long late drives. Wall to wall banging fun with undeniable hooks. Fuckin sick. KRS classic imo. Not sure if this has been long enough of a review so I’d also like to add The Blow’s “Paper Television” to this favorite album. Similar reasons I guess, same kinda era etc. Way different but y’know both are influential, make me happy and totally rock!

5. Best Coast – Crazy For You
Chris: Front to back contemporary classic. Every song is a hit. Love everything about it. The guitars and vocals and lyrics and drums and videos and everything. One time like years ago, my roommate and I were tripping in different parts of our place down on 12th Street and when I went to her room to see what was up, she was wearing shades, drinking a cocktail, blasting this record and lounging on her bed under a heat lamp because it was like 4am in the dead of winter. This album is like that y’know, a warm sunny day in summer, or a stoned heat lamp on a cold winter night, whatever you need it to be. Still really heavy hitting emotionally though, not just all fun in the sun. But also yeah. Just great. Love this album!

Thanks to Véronique and Chris for sharing their favourites with us. Follow Leggy on Facebook for more updates.

FIVE FAVOURITES: Stainwasher

Swedish artist Stainwasher is not one to shy away from darker states of emotion. Her 2018 debut EP What Did I See, was a sonic journey through personal fears and unsettled thoughts, and her new single ‘Drying’ flows in a similar vein. She explores both the good and the bad in the world through soaring synths and tentative vocals, believing that it’s “easier seeing life as an experiment, rather than something absolute.”

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

1. Mazzy star – Among My Swan
Hope Sandoval is for sure my favourite singer, and it seems that every track she sings on instantly becomes magic. This album is amazing. It’s mysterious, beautiful and very inspiring to me. This album is actually the biggest reason I use tambourines, sliding guitars and organ in my music, which says a lot about my feelings for the album. The track ‘Umbilical’ is so stunning it makes my thoughts blurry, which is very nice sometimes, and the track ‘Happy’ is just perfect with its perfect chords mixed with perfect vocals. I love CDs and have most of my favourites on CD, including this. The best way I enjoy this album is to listen to it on speakers while lying on the sofa, smiling and thinking that if we lost everything, we would still have Hope Sandoval!

2. Portishead – Third
The biggest reason for mentioning this album is the track ‘The Rip’, which I usually call my all-time favourite song. I’ve got a thing for songs that build up and slowly explode, and this song does it so well! The first times I heard Portishead I had a difficult time listening to them because I genuinely got scared by the creepy music and spooky voice, but when I heard Third, I was hooked and got used to the weird but pleasant feeling they left me with. I think the most inspiring thing about this album – and their music in general – is the structure of their songs, and how making surprising changes seem so natural.

3. The Knife – The Knife
I’ve loved this duo since I was like 13, and it is impossible to get tired of their music. This was the first full album from them that I heard, by borrowing the CD from my dad. I remember being so fascinated by their music, even though it was catchy, it still was super special. I can’t say exactly how this album inspired my own music, I think The Knife always have been in the back of my mind when making music, perhaps I wanted that uniqueness they have. The anonymous part of Stainwasher is most likely influenced by The Knife. If I wasn’t so scared of playing live, I bet my shows would be very inspired by their live performances as well, except that tour where they do aerobics since I hate sports.

4. Nordpolen – På Nordpolen
Where do I begin. This guy saved my teenage years and still saves me from time to time. I didn’t like going to concerts when I was younger due to panic attacks, but I knew I HAD to see Nordpolen live, so he became the reason I faced those fears. However the most special memory I have with his music is when he played at Emmaboda (a Swedish festival), and I was not there. I was in bed crying and listened to his album from start to end pretending I was there. Nordpolen is also the biggest reason I started making music. It sounds a bit cliché, but he had helped me so much with his music and I thought if I could help or induce some kind of emotion for someone with music, I would be so grateful. In this album, he uses a lot of synth-choirs, which inspired me to try that as well. His lyrics are very straight-forward, something I love and also try to achieve. Even though the lyrics are sad, this album leaves me with a streak of hope.

5. Hazelnut ice-cream
I have a hard time making my last choice, no album feels right. That’s why I’ll tell you about my favourite ice-cream flavour, hazelnut. I was seven years old the first time I tried hazelnut ice-cream which was in Italy on a vacation with my family. I was immediately stuck and that was pretty much my diet for the rest of the vacation. The flavour is an amazing mix of salty, fat and sweet, and I can eat a lot without getting tired of the taste. Whenever I eat something really nice I become quiet, I want to absorb what I’m eating and it bothers me when people distract me, or even worse, want to taste from my plate, so I prefer eating ice-cream alone. To me, eating hazelnut ice-cream on a warm day is like hearing Hope Sandoval’s voice; soothing, pleasurable and makes me believe that there are still good stuff in the world worth fighting for.

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

Photo Credit: Ebba G Agren

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.

Get In Her Ears x Teenage Dreams 01.08.19

Tash & Kate were back in the studio this week with loads of new music from the likes of Palm Haze, Empara Mi, Junaco, Ora The Molecule & Arthur Moon.

They reminisced about some of their fave tracks from their teenage years too, which included songs by Alanis Morissette, Nirvana, Sugababes, Avril Lavigne & The Joy Formidable.

Listen back:

@getinherears
@maudeandtrevor
@KCBobCut

Tracklist
Kate Bush – Wuthering Heights
Intaya – Guaguancó
Karen Ilnm – This morning, yesterday’
Cat Apostrophe – January
Palm Haze – Almost Soon
Empara Mi – Ditch
Ora The Molecule – Salé
Giovanna – Young Heart Player
Charlie Strange – I follow
Laélia – Flatline
Nirvana – Smells Like Teen Spirit
The Joy Formidable – The Greatest Light Is The Greatest Shade
Alanis Morissette – You Oughta Know
No Doubt – Just A Girl
Sugababes – Overload
Avril Lavigne – Losing Grip
Linkin Park – Leave Out All The Rest
Sweat – BAD
RUNHA – Beings
Taobh – eile
Junaco – In Between (GIHE)
Arthur Moon – Reverse Conversion Therapy
BEA1991 – Loser Wins
JR – PAL
Lady Gaga – Applause
Sufjan Steves – Mystery Of Love

FIVE FAVOURITES: Velvet Volume

Sibling trio Velvet Volume have turned a DIY attitude and the power of sisterhood in to riotous sounds reminiscent of Veruca Salt, The Donnas and Sleater-Kinney. Comprised of twins Noa (guitar) and Naomi (bass), drummer sister Nataja, the Denmark-based band released their debut album Look Look Look! back in 2017 to crticial acclaim in their homeland, and are set to re-release the record via Nettwerk internationally. 

We think one of the best ways to get to know a band is to ask them what music inspired them to write in the first place. We caught up with the Velvet Volume sisters to ask them about their “Five Favourites” – five songs which have influenced their songwriting techniques. Check out their choices below, and make sure you watch the video for their track ‘Pretty In Black’ at the end of this post.

Last Shadow Puppets – ‘My Mistakes Were Made For You’
Nataja:​ I always get very emotional when I hear this song. I almost always play it when we sit in the tour-bus, it sets the mood when we have been driving through Switzerland. The composition of this song is absolutely perfect, and I adore the way they manage to use such romantic strings alongside such extreme western guitar sounds. I don’t think that anybody can pull off such a sound, mixing so many different moods and genres together. Which is why I have so much respect for their songwriting skills, and I always try to pull it into our own songwriting process.

Grace Jones – ‘Walking In The Rain’
Noa: Grace Jones is one of the most important artists in my development as an artist. I remember watching her for the first time on Vh1, performing ‘walking in the rain’, wearing a dark suit illuminated by a spotlight. I was so persuaded by her energy and character and how she almost appeared like an alien-like creature. She had so much power and confidence that it almost confused her audience. I had never seen a female artist like that before! And then I just really started digging her whole career as a musical artist, actor, and model.

David Bowie – ‘Starman’
Nataja: Again, a professor in brilliant songwriting. Starman is one of my all-time favorite songs, mostly because it has the best chorus ever written… Period. In general, we actually have a saying, that comes from some of the more “epic” Bowie songs which we call “higher than life – feeling”. Especially on songs like ‘Heroes’ and ‘Space Oddity’. It’s the very emotional and sad but at the same time, happy and uplifting feeling you get when you listen to it. It’s is the “everything is sad right now, but it’s gonna be alright” – feeling, hahah… if you don’t get it, then just listen to the songs, and the feeling you get is THE “higher than life – feeling”. And it’s something we’re trying to incorporate into some of our own songs. It could be cool to give people that same feeling by listening to our songs.

The White Stripes – ‘Blue Orchid’
Naomi: I remember when my father played The White Stripes for me as a little kid, and I immediately fell in love with the energy and the power of just two instruments. It blew my mind! It was a huge inspiration for me. To experience how you can make two instruments sound like many, and make the music sound big, but yet minimalistic at the same time! I loved Jacks simple and powerful riffs like this one in Blue Orchid, and I definitely wanted to write riffs like that as well!

Nancy Sinatra and Lee Hazlewood – ‘Some Velvet Morning’
Noa: okay the whole album is just a true masterpiece. But especially this song. It really captures the thing I love the most about the album. The very romantic and dreamy/dramatic vibe, in the lyrics and the grandeur compositions, – and then the very traditional female/masculine dividing in the melody and the responding/conversation between them, which we use a lot in our own songs. I really like to use both the masculine and feminine side, which kind of symbolizes the fact that we all carry both around in oneself, and we use it in both singing and playing our instruments!

Thanks to Velvet Volume for sharing their favourite songs with us! Follow the band on Facebook for more updates.

Photo Credit: Daniel Aude

Kate Crudgington
@KCBobCut

FIVE FAVOURITES: Emma Frank

Toying with themes of love, lust, self-doubt, commitment and sadness; New York based songwriter Emma Frank is set to release her new album Come Back on 6th September. After spending time studying literature at McGill University in Montreal and performing vocals & brass with art-pop ensembles She’s Got a Habit and Malcolm Sailor’s Songs – she returned to Brooklyn to write more of her own music, having recently signed to Justin Time/Nettwerk Music Group.

We think one of the best ways to get to know an artist is to ask them what music inspired them to write in the first place. We caught up with Emma to ask her about her “Five Favourites” – five albums that have influenced her songwriting techniques. Check out her choices below, and make sure you watch the video for her track ‘I Thought’ (directed by visual artist Ay Tsalithaba) at the end of this post.

 

1. Lauryn Hill – The Miseducation of Lauryn Hill
I’ve always loved singers – singers where the music was happening but you could fully believe in every word the singer was saying. I grew up mainly on Aretha Franklin and Nina Simone, and then a little bit of Simon and Garfunkel. Towards the end of high school, and for all of college, I found Lauryn Hill and I listened to this record on repeat. The tone of her voice, the way she uses it – Lauryn Hill’s voice was just utter perfection to me and I tried so hard to sound like her (I couldn’t really, without trying too hard.). And that album. The production on those songs. The songs themselves. My sixteen year old self that had just gotten broken up with for the first time really needed all of these songs.

2. Hanne Hukkelberg – Little Things
This album came to me during a very lonely period when I was either nineteen or twenty and just blew my mind. To me, it was such a complete sound universe, that cast a very dark Montreal winter in a magical new light. I grew up doing musical theater so I was accustomed to lyrics and music pairing up to tell a story and advance some action. I really loved how Hanne built her compositions so that the musical changes reflect the lyrical story in a really playful, immersive way and how she used found sounds and objects as instruments. Her song ‘Balloon’ is told from the perspective of someone holding onto a balloon and floating high above the world, and uses the squeak of a blown up balloon throughout. The narrator eventually let’s go of the balloon and as she falls, what had been a more contained song expands into a lush, dreamlike fall. Or ‘True Love’ which alternates between free, almost demented sounding improvisation, and very beautiful, romantic, gestures.

3. Bernice – Puff: In the Air Without a Shape
These guys are so good and this album is so fun. Robin Dann has an approach to songwriting and singing that I find really calming. It feels cerebral in the best ways, and also really embodied and relaxed. Each person in this band is so talented and does all sorts of amazing things, but this project is especially great. I really love how they all come from improvisatory backgrounds, and it’s clear in how they interact, and also in this very wide but specific sound palette. Also they’re all besties and really silly and funny and smart. They’ve created a unique and immersive sound world that’s really nice to hang out in.

4. Tawk Tomahawk – Hiatus Kaiyote
A friend recommended this album to me right before I went on cruise ships as a lounge singer for six months when I was 24. It was the absolute strangest experience, and this album really helped me have a joyous, grounded space to escape to. I listened to it for the first time in Hawaii – we were doing a cruise around Hawaii before we went to Alaska. I’m from Boston and I had never been to Hawaii before. I’m so used to all of these cool greys and blues, some green, but mostly colors are muted. Hawaii was so vibrant. I just remember listening to this record while running underneath these brilliant magenta flowers with the ocean to the right of me. That’s how this record sounds to me. Just so lush and alive.

5. Andy Shauf – The Party
Each song is such a good complete story. And then the whole album paints such an empathetic portrait of a few different, interconnected characters at this one party. Sonically, it honestly reminds me of The Beatles, these beautifully orchestrated, fun songs, but then with these aching, sometimes very uncomfortable lyrics. Also, Andy Shauf plays all the instruments on it, so I am also blown away by it on that level.

Thanks to Emma for sharing her favourites with us! Follow Emma Frank on Facebook for more updates.

Kate Crudgington
@KCBobCut