Five Favourites: Tiberius b

Building upon the dream-pop melodies of the Vancouver duo known as Mu, that have taken us on various adventures in the tragedies of youth, Canadian singer-songwriter Francesca Belcourt now creates under a new musical moniker – Tiberius b.

Having now shared beautifully reflective, nostalgia laden new single ‘No Smoke’, they have showcased their ability to create utterly dreamy atmospheric soundscapes.

We think one of the best ways to get to know an artist is by asking what music inspires them or influences their writing. We caught up with Francesca, who has shared their “Five Favourites” – five tracks or albums that particularly resonate with them. Check out their choices below, and scroll down to listen to latest single ‘No Smoke’ at the end of this post.

Nelly Furtado – Woah, Nelly!
I received this CD along with my first disc-man. I listened to it front to back for the first time over and over and over again on a road trip to Tofino with my family, and was entranced. To be honest, I never really understood what she was saying until revisiting the record recently, but I think her unabashed progressive lyrics mixed with her insane delivery/voice must have impacted me on a subconscious level… Everybody knows ‘I’m Like A Bird’, but everything she says across the whole record is so poignant and empowered. She also grew up on Vancouver Island which is very close to where I’m from.

SOPHIE – ‘Is It Cold In The Water?’
This was my favourite song of 2018. SOPHIE and Cecile Believe are both geniuses. I had the honour of working with Cecile on my upcoming album right before Oil Of Every Pearls Un Insides came out. When I heard ‘Is it Cold In The Water?’ for the first time after coming back from our residency, I was devastated by its tragic and gorgeous intensity.

Portishead – ‘The Rip’
I grew up listening to the albums Portishead and Dummy heavily. They were in the collection of CDs that my parents brought from London to Canada which soundtracked the lonely stretches of my childhood. I felt proud to embrace my creepy dark feelings when as I listened to them. Discovering ‘The Rip’ in adulthood helped reunite me with those early memories, and is my current favourite song by them.

Arthur Russel – ‘Close My Eyes’
I love this song because it is perfect, but also because it encourages me every time I hear it to be unafraid to explore whatever type of music that I’m inspired to create. I admire that Arthur never withheld himself from approaching and releasing a vast range of styles. 

Underworld – ‘Born Slippy’ (Nuxx)
One of my favourite songs off of the Trainspotting soundtrack, another album of the dad CD collection which I adored as a kid. We used to dance in the kitchen and make pancakes to this. Growing up listening to dance music made me feel quite free when I entered actual club environments, knowing how to express  myself with my body.

Massive thanks to Francesca for sharing their choices with us!

Listen to ‘No Smoke’, the captivating new track from Tiberius b here:

FIVE FAVOURITES: People Club

Soulful vocals, snaking bass lines and an anti-misogynist premise mesh beautifully together on the new EP from Berlin-based indie soul group, People Club. Titled Kil Scott, the release centers around a fictional character (Scott) who is a benchmark for toxic masculinity, and the group use their music to dismantle his unsavory traits. 

Formed of Sarah Martin (lead vocals), Ray Sonder (bass, backing vocals), Saxon Gable (guitar, backing vocals), Pete Costello (keyboards, backing vocals) & Drew Deal (drums), People Club formed in 2018 after they all moved to Berlin in late 2017 from their respective countries (Australia, USA, UK, New Zealand).

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 People Club to ask them about their “Five Favourites” – five songs that have influenced their song writing techniques. Check out their choices below, and scroll down to listen to their new EP at the end of this post.

 

1. 10cc – ‘I’m Not In Love’
This song is a complete one-off, it sounds nothing like anything else from 10CC or like anything else from 1975. The multi-track vocals are completely intoxicating, it’s like taking a bubble bath in liquid love. Stewart’s lyrics are incredibly touching too. Apparently, it’s an ode to his wife who had suggested he didn’t say ‘I love you’ enough. We like to think that the female vocal, “big boys don’t cry”, is his wife. Regardless, it’s a wonderfully intimate piece, indulgently orchestrated. Delicate in all the right ways.

2. Carole King – ‘It’s Too Late’
This song is a very special one for us, it sounds exactly like that place at that time; the summer of 1971 in LA – oozing with sunshine but hosting a reflective melancholy. King’s vocals are assertive and strong, and the irresistible poppy melody sits so tight with the light jazz arrangement. What a treasure, thanks Carole.

3. Bobbie Gentry – ‘Courtyard’
Can’t believe we only came across this gem this year, it’s the closing track of her 1968 album The Delta Sweete. It has a deeply psychedelic tinge to it, whereas the rest of the album is more straight-laced country. She must have been saving the best ’till last. It’s almost like a proto-youtube meditation video soundtrack (but way more decent sounding), completely immersive and supernatural. The lavish string section is exquisite and perfectly complements her vocals. The gently-delivered lyrics are very simple – she basically just describes a courtyard that is gifted to her by her presumed lover – provisionally unassuming but somehow it takes you to another euphoric dimension.

4. Gil-Scott Heron & Brian Jackson – ‘We Almost Lost Detroit’
We’ve all been in love with Gil for a long time, he’s a huge influence for us, he ticks all the boxes. This is probably our favourite song by him. He casually addresses the near-meltdown of a nuclear power plant near Detroit in the mid 60s and the moral ineptitude of the government in dealing with the disaster. As always with Gil, it’s a gripping tale of injustice, delivered with an icy poet’s cool. The arrangement is really delicious too, loads of juicy rhodes piano. Relaxed but incisive, brilliant stuff.

5. Donny Hathaway – ‘A Song for You’
You know a song is special when it sends shivers down your spine every single time you listen to it. Whenever we play this track, it’s met with silence, it’s impossible to talk over, impossible to not be instantly bewitched. It surely is one of the most profound love songs ever written. Words don’t do it justice. Divine.

Thank you to People Club for sharing their favourite songs with us. Listen to their new EP Kil Scott below. Catch them live in London at The Islington on 28th November.

FIVE FAVOURITES: SHHE

Sparse, searching, and sincere; Scottish-Portuguese artist and producer Su Shaw – aka SHHE – creates captivating electronic sounds based around the concepts of identity, empathy, and intense personal change. She recently released her debut self-titled album via One Little Indian Records, and it’s an understated, yet dramatic gem that lingers in the memory long after the first listen.

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 Su to ask her about her “Five Favourites” – five tracks that have influenced her song writing techniques. Check out her choices below, and scroll down to listen to her debut album at the end of this post.

1. Jenny Hval – ‘Conceptual Romance’
Jenny Hval is not just one thing, she is many things. If you are not already familiar with some of those things, take a five minute intermission and read her recent ‘Hi I’m Jenny Hval and you can ask me anything’ interview on Reddit. ‘Conceptual Romance’ from Blood Bitch was the first track I heard, but all of her projects are worthy of your eyes/ears/time. My girlfriend and I went to see her a few years ago, and it was one of my favourite gigs. Half-way through she admitted that most of the set had been improvised because the airline had lost their instruments the day before.

When I listened to ‘Lions’ for the first time [from her recent album The Practice Of Love] it made me want to cry and go for a very fast run. Those are strange things to feel simultaneously. She is open and honest and writes about the things that other people don’t write about, and I have a dream that one day we will be great friends.

2. Land of Talk – ‘Some Are Lakes’
I was 20 when I heard Land of Talk for the first time. I can’t tell you where or how I made the discovery, but I listened to this album [of the same name] on repeat that whole year. I was in a bunch of bands at school, I was always the only girl. At a school with more than 100 other people in my year, that always made me kind of sad. I didn’t pick up an electric guitar until I was 17, even then I never had confidence to play it on stage. I was the singer. Liz Powell did both. I wish we’d gone to school together.

3. Boards of Canada – ‘Music is Math’
‘Music is Math’ is taken from the Boards of Canada album, Geogaddi. It was released in 2002. I did not find Boards of Canada until they released Tomorrow’s Harvest in 2013. No one has found them since. In fact, no one knows much about them. It’s a useful reminder, at a time when everyone is obsessed with knowing everything, that the music is the only thing we need. If you’re not satisfied by that, there’s patterns and messages and codes that they’ve hidden throughout their albums to keep you busy. I like listening to Boards of Canada when I’m feeling confused and I need a break.

4. Jon Hopkins – ‘Luminous Beings’
The first time I saw Jon perform was in a village hall at a festival called Homegame in Fife. It was the most relaxed I’ve ever felt in a room packed full of people. There’s a great Song Exploder interview with Jon where he talks about some of the influences behind ‘Luminous Beings’ – meditation and altered states and psychedelics and ice baths. His Asleep Versions album is also a special record and has been the soundtrack to many late night/early morning drives.

5. Caterina Barbieri – ‘SOTRS’
Patterns of Consciousness is one of my favourite albums from the last few years. ‘SOTRS’ is perfect for riding a bike with no hands, if you’re able to do that somewhere safely.

Thank you to Su for sharing her favourites with us. Follow SHHE on Facebook for more updates.

Five Favourites: Like A Villain

Offering glistening electronics and a hypnotic, haunting grace, New York artist Holland Andrews – aka Like A Villain – creates poignant, ethereal soundscapes on her new album What Makes Vulnerability Good. 

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 Holland to talk about her ‘Five Favourites’ – five songs that have influenced her songwriting techniques, or that she simply loves listening to. Check out her choices below, and make sure you watch her latest video for ‘Daughters’ at the end of this post.

CupcakKe – ‘PetsMart’
I really like this song because the beat is sick. I strongly believe CupcakKe is one of the most creative, clever, and badass rappers of all time.

OOIOO – ‘UMO’ 
This song makes me feel good.

Jennifer Rush – ‘Power Of Love’
This is my favourite rendition of this song, mostly because of the intense synths and Jennifer’s vocal quality. Bless Celine Dion, though, she’s a shredder.

Arvo Pärt – ‘Fur Alina’
This is probably my favourite Arvo Pärd solo piano work. It’s just so subtle and emotional.

Claude Debussy (sung by Barbra Streisand from the album Classical Barbra) – ‘Beau Soir’
What better musical combination than Debussy and Streisand. I could listen to her sing in French all day.

 

Huge thanks to Like A Villain for sharing her ‘Five Favourites’ with us! Check out her new video for ‘Daughters’ below: 

What Makes Vulnerability Good, the new album from Like A Villain, is out now via Accidental Records.

 

Photo Credit: Emily Krause

FIVE FAVOURITES: Heather Gabel (HIDE)

Fine Artist and inimitable front woman Heather Gabel forms one half of Chicago-based electronic duo HIDE. Alongside percussionist Seth Sher, the pair create abrasive, industrial sounds and are renowned for their intense live performances. Their new album – Hell Is Here – was released earlier this year via Dais Records, and it seethes with their trademark fury against social injustice.

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 Heather to ask her about her “Five Favourites” – five tracks/albums that have influenced her songwriting techniques. Check out her choices below, and make sure you catch HIDE live at The Shacklewell Arms (w/ Kontravoid) on 3rd October (event info here).

 

1. CRASS – ‘Reality Asylum’
This track slays in every way. Eve Libertine’s vocal delivery still gives me chills after having been listening to it for 25 years. I love that she isn’t singing. It’s a total assault on Christianity, noise and pure poetry, spat out with palpable contempt. I read that the record plant workers refused to press this track and instead left a three minute silence, so the band released it themselves as a single for 45p – half the going rate for a 45 at the time. I love so much about this band and ‘Reality Asylum’ sort of encapsulates all of the reasons why.

2. ANNIE ANXIETY – ‘Viet Not Mine, El Salvador Yours’
This song is so sad and heavy and scary. It plods and creaks and leers. It has the feel of sea sickness to me, like an inescapable situation you are just coming to grips with realizing is happening. The vocals are fucking wild; they layer, stifled, mocking, taunting, threatening, to create a real terrifying cacophony. The subject matter, violence against women/sexual assault, and makes the line “It’s not forever it’s not forever” sung frantic and childlike, ramping up and repeating, well, it’s especially horrifying. It’s such a powerful song.
Fun fact: Eve Libertine did the artwork for this record and the insert is a collage made of two pages from Kenneth Anger’s book Hollywood Babylon, which shows the trashed San Francisco hotel room where Fatty Arbuckle raped fellow actress Virginia Rappe to death in 1921.

3. BORN AGAINST – ‘Well Fed Fuck’
I love this band. They were one of the best political bands going when I was growing up. They were so fucking sassy about it though, like way smarter than other hardcore bands or whatever from the 90s in my opinion, they were antagonistic. We’ve covered this song a couple times, it’s sick to sing, there are hardly any lyrics and it repeats, like a mantra, which is a lot like how I write lyrics as well. It’s “are you a good team player, remember your boss is your best friend, remember the bullshit they taught you, kill your head” over and over. It’s really simple but totally exhilarating.

4. INK AND DAGGER – Drive this 7″ wooden dagger through my Philadelphia heart (Album)
I happened across this band by accident in the late 90s. I didn’t know who they were, but they were playing in one room and I was in the bar in the next room. I was like, what the fuck is going on out there, went to see and stood there with my mouth hanging open for the rest of their set. The singer was a total force, later I found out their reputation preceded them, they had infamously egged Hare Krishnas and threw yogurt at Earth Crisis for example, silly stuff in hindsight but it was refreshing to see a band that ripped and brought real energy wearing vampire make up and the shittiest fake blood ever bucking the tired east coast “hardcore tough guy shit” that was so popular back then. I could kind of see myself in them the way they didn’t fit the genre, having been (still am to be honest) someone who feels like they don’t fit in with any particular group of people.

5. Rudimentary Peni – Death Church (Album)
I bought this record in high school solely based on the artwork but quickly sought out all their albums after listening to it. I loved how short and raw the songs were, all direct pointed attacks on societies ails, but the record sounded exceptionally good. I used to always buy this when I saw it at the record store and have multiple copies to just give people who hadn’t heard it because it really made an impression on me. I still would if I ever saw it anymore.
Side note: It was especially cool when Chelsea Wolfe did a Tribute to Rudimentary Peni Covers EP on Southern in 2012.

HIDE UK Tour Dates 2019 
01/10 – UK Bristol Exchange
02/10 – UK Manchester Soup Kitchen
03/10 – UK London The Shacklewell Arms

Photo Credit: Nicola Kuperus

Kate Crudgington
@KCBobCut

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: TWEN

Nashville-via-Boston duo Twen are gearing up to support Seattle rockers TacoCat tomorrow night at Hackney’s Moth Club (29th Aug), and we’re convinced their celestial, angular sounds will impress their London crowd. Comprised of Jane Fitzsimmons and Ian Jones, Twen came to life over the space of two years as the duo toured the Boston DIY punk scene. Now, they’re getting ready to share their debut album Awestruck, which is set for release on 20th September via Frenchkiss.

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 Jane 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 Twen’s track ‘Baptism’ at the end of this post.

1. Central Heating – Heatwave
This is a classic that has stayed with me since I was 14. Before streaming, I would check out CDs at the library and rip them into my iTunes library. I found Heatwave while trying to listen to every funk/disco band I could find (thinking I could somehow listen to the whole genre). This whole album has a playfulness that packs some serious joy. The title track is the star of the show; the vocals are so strangely melodic but carry major rhythmic weight. I just love the concept of making people groove out with a vocal melody rather than the beat. Also the most silly and beautiful intro and outro I have yet encountered. James Guthrie (of Pink Floyd The Wall fame) produced this album, which I don’t really care about but something to note.

2. Bibio – À tout à l’heure 
I put this song on a mixed CD I made for Ian when we were sophomores in college. We would make so many mixes for each other, a different type of language than our early awkward convos. I would meticulously decorate them with sharpies and would spend hours deciding how to make the perfect “flow”. This was a song I found out he loved too, and he even knew how to play them to my amazement. The beyond beautiful and intricate finger-picking is so delicate but this song is a BANGER. The beat and funky bass line pair perfect with the acoustic layers and nonsensical lyrics (“À tout à l’heure”, French for “see you later”). There is such emotional and hypnotic value to this song, without making logical sense of it. Bibio still and always will have the best production sounds on the block, mixing analog and digital to make more of a sound tapestry than just a mere song.

3. Cocteau Twins – Heaven or Los Vegas
I found out about Cocteau Twins through my friend Matt, who DJ’d a college radio show called “Folk U” with me for two years. We had inherited the show and both slowly started to move out of the genre till Death Grips was playing. He played ‘Cherry-colored Funk’ and I nearly lost my damn mind, I had never heard anything so perfect. I read once that Elizabeth Fraser’s voice was ‘the voice of God’ and I don’t dispute it. Her ingenious melodies put me in a trance and make me feel like I’m understanding something outside words. Also, I have sweet memories with this album since it was one of the few albums I brought with me on an iPod on a trip to Iceland. I had gone by myself after college to camp 10 days in June when it’s daylight 22 hours a day (the only way I felt safe to camp by myself). I brought an old ass iPod that only had room for a few albums and this one of them. So, I listened the shit out of it while looking at the insane Icelandic landscape and I still love it.

4. Lijadu Sisters – Horizon Unlimited 
I had first heard the Lijadu sisters while working in a vegetarian restaurant in St. Louis, where I’m from. I had just moved back home for a quick quarter-life crisis. The owner and chef, Bay would sometimes make the playlists for the restaurant and loved blasting Lijadu Sisters. Being surrounded by an inspiring woman with a fountain of culinary creativity and listening to this album most days made a hard time a little less unbearable. The power of music. The beats and melodic riffs will make any day great and the two sisters feel exponentially BIG singing in unison. I really enjoy listening to music in different languages, it makes me notice the melodies better and the variety of vocal sounds possible that aren’t even used in English.

5. Mercyful Fate – Melissa 
I’m not super metal literate, but Mercyful Fate is THE metal band in my little world. On a tour probably a year ago (I only remember it was cold outside, they all start to blend together) a sound guy played this in the venue after the lights went on, probably to make everyone leave. A classic move. It made me want to STAY and to find out everything. Better known as King Diamond, this was his first band and Melissa is their first album. The vocal range is inhuman and the diversity of sounds that merely one person can make is an inspiration. Also I was raised Catholic, so hearing about covens and satanic rituals brings me a twisted joy.

Thanks to Jane for sharing their five favourites with us! Follow TWEN on Facebook for more updates.

Photo credit: Alexa Viscius