Five Favourites: Heather Woods Broderick

Having played and toured with the likes of Sharon Van Etten and Beth Orton, LA based artist Heather Woods Broderick has just released her fifth album, Labyrinth. Partly written during the lockdown of 2020, the album offers a beautifully honest reflection on life and the difficulties of navigating the modern world. Oozing an anthemic, sparkling splendour and glistening allure, each track chimes with a captivating heartfelt resonance.

We think one of the best ways to get to know an artist is by asking what music inspires them. So, to celebrate the release of Labyrinth, we caught up with Heather to ask about the music that has inspired her the most. So, read about her five favourite albums, and make sure you watch the atmospheric new video for latest single ‘Crashing Against The Sun‘ below...

Cindy Lauper – She’s So Unusual
This record was released the year I was born. It was an outlier in my parents’ record collection, one that was mostly made up of folk/singer songwriters of that era. It was my absolute favourite record to put on as a young girl, and I have vivid memories of the babysitter coming over and playing this record while we all danced around laughing together. It was most definitely the most upbeat music I can remember listening to as a young child, and it left a huge impression on me. I love how this record is catchy, silly, and strong at the same time.

Tricky – Pre Millenium Tension
I listened to this record on many runs over the course of writing Labyrinth. It was a big inspiration as far as rhythm and beats go for me. I really love the simple repetitive nature of hip hop / trip hop music, and I think Tricky does an amazing job melding genres. I love the use of the closed high hat in these beats (and in a lot of hip hop), and this influence showed up in the beats I made for the record.

Gigi Masin – Talk To The Sea
Beats and soft synths – I’m a big fan. The simple meditative beats and simple melodies that echo through this record have really infused into me over many many hours of repeated listening. The kind of record that makes time become amorphous. This would definitely be a desert island disc choice of mine, and I think the simple tones and beats in this record really influenced me and my desire to make my own beats.

Phil Collins – But Seriously
This is one record that punctuated my childhood. The song ‘Another Day In Paradise’ was on the radio a lot as a kid. I can remember this song coming on while we were driving around in the family Volkswagen Vanagon. The soft synth sounds of this record and era in general are sounds that I am so drawn to, so I feel like I can attribute that pull to my experience hearing them at a formative age.

Sam Gendel and Sam Wilkes – Music For Saxofone and Bass Guitar
Repetition – I’m a big fan of it, and this record is all about it. It settles you into a groove and it lets you stay there. I love the concept of this record and have played it countless times. These guys are incredible players, and I’m always impressed when players that can shred choose not to. It feels like their individual styles have room to come forward with this ‘less is more’ approach.

Massive thanks to Heather for sharing her Five Favourites with us! Watch the atmospheric new video for latest single ‘Crashing Against The Sun’ here:

Labyrinth, the new album from Heather Woods Broderick, is out now via Western Vinyl.

Photo Credit: Sophie Kuller

Five Favourites: Jen Cloher

Having been a big fan of Australian artist Jen Cloher for a number of years now, I was excited to hear that they’re set to release a new album next month. Our first taster from the album, latest single ‘Mana Takatāpui‘ offers a blissful celebration of the indigenous Polynesian people of Aotearoa, New Zealand, the Māori LGBTQ+ community. Showcasing Jen’s trademark luscious soothing vocals alongside a shimmering musicality, it builds with an uplifting energy to a truly joyous unifying anthem.

We think one of the best ways to get to know an artist is by asking what music inspires them. So, to celebrate the release of Jen Cloher’s upcoming album, we caught up with them to ask about the music that has inspired them the most. So, read about their five favourite ever albums, and check out the beautifully empowering video for single ‘Mana Takatāpui below…

PJ Harvey – To Bring You My Love
There’s an incredible in-depth podcast (in 2 parts) with the legendary music critic Ann Powers where she covers every PJ Harvey album, collaboration and movie soundtrack with the loving attention to detail that an artist of PJ’s magnitude deserves. I came away realising 3 things – that To Bring You My Love is my favourite of her albums (and that’s a tough call), that PJ paved the way for the incredible influence women have on guitar rock music today and that Ann Powers brings the kind of intelligence and reflection we all dream music critics would bring to our work. Go checkout this Bandsplain podcast episode, it’s a treat.

Gillian Welch – Time (The Revelator)
The first time I saw Gillian Welch and David Rawlings play was at a club in Melbourne. I went in with high expectations as I’d fallen in love with the songs on the album in a way where they feel like they’re yours and you hope the artist doesn’t ruin them for you! Lols. I needn’t have worried. David Rawlings’ guitar playing alone floored me. For the first time in my life I felt an inkling of what it might have been like to watch Jimi Hendrix play live – guitar and human as one. This album is simple – two acoustic guitars, vocal harmonies and great songs. It’s a masterpiece.

The Doors – LA Woman
The Doors were my first teen band crush. I ‘discovered’ Jim Morrison when I was 13 and spent the next three years listening to and reading anything Doors related that I could get my hands on. I even had a life size Jim Morrison poster above my bed – the topless one with the beads and leather pants. Was Jim Morrison one of the few that could pull off leather pants? All teen obsessions aside (it’s weird falling in love with a dead person), The Doors wrote some classic blues rock jams. ‘Riders On The Storm’, ‘Light My Fire’ and ‘Break On Through’ still stand up as classics today.

Aretha Franklin – Lady Soul
This is one of the albums I remember most as a child. My Mum was a mega fan of the great women Soul and Blues singers. From Billie Holiday to Sarah Vaughan, to Ella Fitzgerald, there were always powerful voices floating up from the turntable in our lounge room. ‘Chain of Fools’, ‘Respect’ and ‘Natural Woman’ reimagined by Aretha Franklin still stand as the penultimate versions of these classics.

Te Kaahu O Rangi – s/t
Te Kaahu is the waiata Māori project of pop artist Theia who is based in Aotearoa, New Zealand. Theia grew up speaking and writing songs in her native tongue Te reo Māori and collaborated with me on my new album. We wrote a song together called ‘He Toka-Tu-Moana’ – which means to stand strong like a rock in the ocean. Her debut Te Kaahu album (2022) is a beautiful combination of traditional Māori songs with indie folk pop leanings. She pulls it off effortlessly.

Massive thanks to Jen for sharing their Five Favourites with us!

I Am The River, The River Is Me, the upcoming new album from Jen Cloher, is set for release on 3rd March via Milk! Records / Marathon Artists. Watch the beautiful video for latest single ‘Mana Takatāpui‘ here:

Photo Credit: Marcelle Bradbeer

Five Favourites: Beth Cassidy (Sea Fever)

Set to release their debut album next month, Manchester band Sea Fever is a collective of musicians who are no strangers to the music scene. Fronted by Beth Cassidy (Section 25) and Ivan Gronow (Johnny Marr, Haven), the band also consists of New Order’s Tom Chapman and Phil Cunningham, as well as Elliot Barlow. Talking about the formation of their latest project, the band explain: “We’d wanted to work with each other for ages, so when we finally sat down in the studio, the band just seemed to come together naturally. It felt like we were really free to explore the kinds of music that have always inspired us, we dug right through the record crates of our minds to shape the sound of Sea Fever.

Ahead of the release their debut album, Sea Fever have recently shared a stirring new single, ‘Under Duress‘. Flowing with a sweeping otherworldly allure, it showcases the collective’s ability to create captivating multi-layered soundscapes; feeling both futuristic and nostalgic in its cinematic sonic majesty.

We think one of the best ways to get to know an artist is by asking what music inspires them. So, to celebrate the upcoming album, we caught up with Beth from the band to ask about her “Five Favourites” – five albums that she loves the most. Check out her choices below and scroll down to listen to the spellbinding ‘Under Duress’.

Yeah Yeah Yeahs – Fever To Tell
This band were the soundtrack to my college years. I went to see them live at Manchester Academy 3 when they’d just released their debut EP, and they’ve been a staple of my record collection ever since. I remember seeing Karen O on stage and she wore a piece of neon netted fabric over her face the entire gig – like a veil. She seemed mental. Fever To Tell has so much energy and chaos mixed with this sweetness that comes through with the softer vocals. This band are a true force of nature.

Booka Shade – 2006 Pete Tong Essential Mix Session
I stumbled across this session after getting hooked on Booka Shade’s melancholic ‘In White Rooms’ track, and after that I was searching through their whole back catalogue. Their sound is percussive, dark, but also surreal and really kind of imaginative, and from there I discovered minimal techno. I don’t really listen to them anymore, but they paved the way for my love of dance music. I moved out to Berlin soon after, on some kind of pilgrimage to German techno! In this particular essential mix, they DJ for half and play live for the other half, so you can really hear how their own influences play out in their music, it’s so interesting. And the tracks they mix, man! Laurie Anderson, Aphex Twin, Yello… It’s sublime.

Ghostpoet – Peanut Butter Blues and Melancholy Jam
I played this record on repeat for months, listening through headphones while I was moving around Manchester on public transport. I was juggling a lot in my life at that time and felt a bit mixed up with what I was doing – studying for an MA, working in a job I hated, my Dad had died a few months earlier – and this album definitely helped me escape into my own head. The lyrics are so easy and playful, colloquial but profound at the same time, and he describes those really small moments in life that we all experience; the little things that make us human, and he puts them on a pedestal. It’s very clever.

Bjork – Post
‘Hyperballad’ was the first cassette tape I ever bought. I was nine so it must have come on recommendation from my older brother, and it probably went over my head at the time but I loved the electronic sounds. Bjork’s vocal melodies and the way she moves through the music at her own pace, it feels so confident, like she’s carving out a space for the vocals. I come back to Bjork a lot, she just seems to empower me and make my own work more purposeful.

LCD Soundsystem – This Is Happening
Every track on this album is an absolute banger, and when you listen from start to finish it takes you on a really expansive trip through different moods. The layering of different beats and loops is so intricate, and James Murphy’s vocals drive the whole sound. I just hang off his every word. Even though they are hugely popular, I still feel like LCD Soundsystem are a cult band, in that, you’ve either never heard of them, or you fucking love them! There’s no in-between!

Massive thanks to Beth for sharing her five favourites with us!

Folding Lines, the debut album from Sea Fever, is set for release on 22nd October (CD/DL) and 29th October (vinyl). Pre-order here. And you can catch Sea Fever live at Rough Trade East in store to celebrate on 29th October – tickets here.

Photo Credit: Anthony Harrison

STILL SPINNING: Gazelle Twin – ‘The Entire City’

Our Still Spinning feature focuses on records that we consider to be iconic – whether that’s for popular, or personal reasons – and celebrates our enduring love for them. Get In Her Ears Co-Founder & Features Editor Kate Crudgington talks us through why electronic artist Gazelle Twin’s debut album, The Entire City, released in July 2011, is still one of her most influential listens to date.

Named after a painting by German surrealist artist Max Ernst, Gazelle Twin’s debut album The Entire City was released via her own imprint Anti-Ghost Moon Ray on 11th July 2011. Independently composed, recorded and produced, her ambiguous lyrics and altruistic sounds invited her listeners into a world that offered both shimmering intrigue and heavy shadow in equal measure.

It was my older brother Joe who originally introduced me to Gazelle Twin aka Elizabeth Bernholz in 2014, citing her second album Unflesh as one of the best things he’d ever heard. I used to lay in the dark, headphones on, listening to it and feeling an odd sense of calm, as waves of nervous energy rippled through me. That record changed my idea of what electronic music could sound like and I was captivated by the persona printed on the album’s cover. Blue hoodie, long brown hair, a partially covered face and an open mouth revealing a snarling pair of teeth. Menacing yet enticing, terrifying yet familiar. Gazelle Twin was an enigma – communicating with listeners through harrowing imagery and nerve-shredding synths.

Back then, I had no idea she had released her debut album three years earlier, or that it would sound so different. Having encountered Unflesh first, listening to The Entire City felt like an ambient fairy-tale in comparison. But, as with all of her obscure creations, what Gazelle Twin excels at is contrasting the darkness with the light, so even if that darkness sometimes feels all consuming – like it often does on Unflesh and on her stunning third record Pastoral – the sublime still manages to shine through too. The Entire City is a sonic landscape littered with dense concrete, intimidating obelisks and unknown relics, but it’s also teeming with life.

Filled with twitchy drum samples, cinematic synths and her uniquely operatic vocals, The Entire City received flattering comparisons to Fever Ray when it was originally released, but I think Bernholz’s sound is often grittier and more detached. There’s an underlying feeling of voyeurism as you wander through her musical landscapes, something I feel she captures perfectly on the eponymous opening track, with her extended high pitch vocals guiding the way, like a thrilling race through deserted streets. It bleeds into the breathy stillness of ‘Concrete Mother’ and the hypnotic ‘Men Like Gods’, two of my favourite tracks on the record.

It feels odd to pick apart and review The Entire City on a track-by-track basis, because it has such a cohesive sound. Each time I listen I feel like I’m being shrouded in Bernholz’s graceful, unsettling sonic paraphernalia; her cryptic lyrics and eerie electronics lulling me into a false sense of security. The subtle power of her voice on ‘I Am Shell I Am Bone’ and ‘Changelings’ is intoxicating, whilst on ‘Obelisk’ – another favourite of mine – her blend of dense beats and crystalline synths evolves into an exquisite electronic hymn. Punctuated by briefer tracks like ‘Far From Home’, ‘Bell Tower’ and ‘Fight-or-Flight’ – on which she flexes her operatic voice sensationally – she ensnares the senses and gently pushes listeners into unchartered territories across the album. In retrospect, ‘View Of A Mountain’ feels like a hint at what was to come, it’s the kind of instrumental that would sit comfortably on Unflesh.

Steeped in shadow and mystery, The Entire City is a fascinating introduction to a truly progressive artist who has evolved into a new species of performer since 2011. Not known for revisiting her previous albums or personas, Gazelle Twin’s sights remain fixed on her future projects and I can’t wait to immerse myself in more of her visceral sounds.


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Album Artwork: Suzanne Moxhay

Kate Crudgington