FIVE FAVOURITES: OHMME

Formed of Sima Cunningham and Macie Stewart; Chicago-based OHMME blend driving beats and brooding, distorted guitars to create their deceptively simple, catchy songs. The pair are set to release their new album, Fantasize Your Ghost, on 5th June via Joyful Noise Recordings, and it’s full of snaking riffs and restless lyrics designed to relieve the feeling of being stood still. 

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 Macie & Sima to ask about their “Five Favourites” – five songs and/or albums that have influenced their writing techniques. Check out their choices below, and scroll down to listen to OHMME’s track ‘Selling Candy’ at the end of this post.

1. Cate Le Bon – Mug Museum
Macie: Cate Le Bon is a new discovery for the both of us. We listened to ‘Reward’ a lot last Spring/Summer when we were touring, and then dug into some of her earlier records. “Mug Museum” really stands out as one of our favourites. The guitars weave together in this snake-like way which inspired a lot of our approach to the guitar part writing on Fantasize Your Ghost. She just has such great songs and arrangements that groove so easily and make you feel good. ‘Are You With Me Now’ is one of our favourites off of the record.

2. Kate Bush – The Kick Inside
Macie: It would be impossible to downplay how much we love Kate Bush. She has this ability to create a different universe on each record of hers, and listening to The Kick Inside woke something up inside of us. I can’t believe she was 17 when she made this record! She’s so young but her voice is so powerful and commanding, it’s really inspiring. It’s cool how this record plays with the aspect of performance in the theatre sense, she’s always embodying these characters in her songs and making them larger than life. It opens up a lot of possibilities of what a song could be.We have a dream of doing a Kate Bush cover night and performing the entirety of this record…We’ll let you know when that happens.

3. The Roches – ‘Hammond Song’
Sima: There’s something about the unison singing in the song that just cuts right through you. The Roches’ use of harmony, unison, and polyphonic singing has been very influential on us the last couple years as we play with all the different ways we can combine our voices. We also adore their songwriting; how direct and hilarious but also earnest it can be. The eponymous album that this song comes from also feels like it was written specifically for people (and maybe even more specifically, women) who are on tour all the time.

4. The Mystery of Bulgarian Voices
Sima: I grew up singing in a choir and was introduced to Bulgarian Women’s Choral singing at a young age and I always loved it. I love any singing where you can sing full-throttle – sacred harp, gospel – it just pulls your guts right up through your throat and I love that. A few years ago on tour, Macie put on the album made by this group and we we’re both just really excited about it. Its one end of the spectrum of singing that we love to indulge in and you can hear it pretty directly influence moments on Fantasize Your Ghost.

5. Neko Case – Star Witness
We’ve both loved Neko for a long time; her voice, her music, but especially her poetry. We sing this song sometimes together when we’re sitting around with acoustic guitar. Neko has an incredible ability to convey a mood without saying exactly what or who she is always singing about. The sound of her words works so well with how her melodies leap and bound around each other. This album came out at a time when we were coming of age as songwriters and is therefore immortalized in our brains forever.

Thanks to Macie & Sima for sharing their favourites with us.
Follow OHMME on Spotify and Facebook for more updates.

FIVE FAVOURITES: Low Hummer

Like most bands this year, Hull quintet Low Hummer are preparing to spend their summer in isolation writing new material, instead of gigging around the UK. Their latest single ‘Picture Bliss’ released via Dance To The Radio Records was written pre-pandemic, but its context is uncannily relatable during these (dare we say it?) “unprecedented” times. The track is a noisy, cathartic burst of guitars and crashing percussion, with dual vocalists Daniel Mawer and Aimee Duncan talking about two strangers who find each other moments before the world self-destructs.

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 Low Hummer’s Aimee & Steph to ask about their “Five Favourites” – five songs or albums that influenced the band’s writing techniques. Check out their choices below, and scroll down to listen to ‘Picture Bliss’ at the end of this post.

 

1. Pixies – ‘Gigantic’
Aimee: Although we all knew of each other before we started the band, it was only really a quick hello if we passed each other in the street! That meant we had, and still have a lot of different influences and backgrounds to our music and don’t often agree on liking the same bands. However, one band we all manage to agree on is Pixies. We don’t particularly make radio friendly music, but thanks to a band like Pixies we realised we can still aim to write pop songs, with hooky choruses even if they’re heavily disguised by odd chord choices, screaming vocals and distorted noises. Frank and Kim’s vocal styles are at odds with each other but work wonders together, whilst Joey’s guitar work often goes for odd riffs that are still instantly recognisable as his. Dan used ‘Gigantic’ in particular as a reference when we recorded ‘Picture Bliss’, joint vocals play a big part in what we do, and Pixies inspired us, they show its manageable to convey sensitivity vocally whilst still chucking in a load of distorted guitars!

2. Lost in Translation Official Soundtrack
Steph: It’s one of our favourite soundtracks collectively, and definitely would have played a role in us working parts out for ‘Picture Bliss;. The inspiration of bands like Death In Vegas along with My Bloody Valentine would have helped us learn how to manage sensitive melody lines and lyrics with distortion and odd sounding riffs. Not forgetting Bill Murray singing along to ‘More Than This’ which helped us fall in love with cheesy riffs and catchy choruses, both of which we’d have written off when we were kids. The Jesus and Mary Chain are not a band we gravitate towards to a lot, but again, their song ‘Just Like Honey’ which features at the end of the film felt like a good reference point for ‘Picture Bliss’. It’s another song that has a joint vocal with plenty of reverb and distortion, our producer Matt played us a few 80s guitar bands whilst we recorded and we gravitated towards emulating scrappy sounding stuff from that era. Lyrically there’s plenty of melancholy, sadness, underpinned with determination which probably inspired us for ‘Picture Bliss’.

3. The Velvet Underground – ‘Femme Fatale’
Aimee: Navigating the dynamics between a male and female vocal was challenging for us at first, especially because of our style. It took a lot of discussion between me and Dan when I first joined the band. Prior to Low Hummer, I’d only ever really sang in my solo country-inspired style. I’d dabbled in some shouting in a few awkward teenage phases, but it didn’t stick. So, when I joined the band it took quite a lot of encouragement from Dan to nudge me towards a more assertive style. Admittedly, he was right, and I can enjoy breaking out of my comfort zone. (Thanks Dan).

One thing we always agree on, though, is a mutual love of The Velvet Underground. We use them frequently as inspiration as we explore the dynamic between our vocals. I sang ‘Femme Fatale’ on my soundcloud a few years ago – one of the reasons Dan asked me to join the band. It felt like a good reference point for me to grasp my vocal position within ‘Picture Bliss’. The song allowed me to find that point between pushy and delicate vocals, which is something I haven’t explored as much in our other releases.

4. Joy Zipper – ‘1’
Steph: This song was on a lot when we began writing ‘Picture Bliss’, we really admired how its neither a stereotypical quiet or loud song, it sits somewhere in the middle. Sometimes when we write simpler songs, we’re keen to throw them away as we don’t feel we’ve worked hard enough on them, it almost comes a little too easy! That’s how we felt with our new single and it took a lot of encouragement from our manager Sally to decide to release it. But sometimes the easiest ones to write are the best. Joy Zipper’s ‘1’ follows a familiar pop song format, but for a simple enough structure it has so many beautiful moments, from its playful, devilish and childlike lyrics to whirling feedback intro and grungy chord progressions, along with a hummable section during the bridge. It’s a really joyful melody line, with optimistic verses, but the chord progressions, and ending, send you off kilter just enough to feel a little unsettled,

5. Her Official Soundtrack
Steph: It’s never actually been released, so I’m not sure it counts! But the film score from Her definitely subliminally influenced the creation of ‘Picture Bliss’. As a band we’re all suckers for sad films, and that usually extends to the music that goes with them. The score was created by the people behind Arcade Fire, and, much like Lost in Translation, it feels other-worldly; full of elements you recognise but can’t always place or hold onto. Whilst stylistically, it’s almost the opposite to what we do, we really loved the way the simple, fuzzy, swaying melodies and carefully placed lazy keys capture the melancholy of the story. The film itself is futuristic and disturbing, which is something replicated in the post-apocolyptic world presented lyrically in ‘Picture Bliss’, and both are full of that all-too relatable sadness which seems to slowly creep up and bite you late on Sunday nights.

Thanks to Aimee & Steph for sharing their favourites with us.
Follow Low Hummer on Spotify & Facebook for more updates.

Photo Credit: Credit: Shoot J Moore 

FIVE FAVOURITES: Sans Soucis

Italo-Congolese singer-songwriter Sans Soucis caught our attention after the release of her most recent single, ‘Make One From A Two’. The song explores the complexities of love, uniting Soucis’ delicate vocals with an intimate, orchestral backing to create a tapestry of rich acoustics. She’s set to release her new EP, Unfinished, on 17th April, and we’re excited to hear it.

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 Sans Soucis to ask about their “Five Favourites” – five songs that influenced their song writing techniques. Check out their choices below, and scroll down to listen to ‘Make One From A Two’ at the end of this post.

 

1. Coldplay – ‘A Rush of Blood to the Head’
This is probably what really got me into songwriting. I never properly took the time to write my own music until I was 20, but I started developing a certain sensitivity around songwriting by listening to Coldplay. They are my first love and probably this is one of the first pieces of music on which I shed a few tears when I was a teenager. I believe music can touch many different strings in our lives, depending on where we are, how we relate to it, but certainly great and evergreen music doesn’t leave you any choice but to empathise with what’s presented to you and dig deeper into something you weren’t seeing before. Coldplay unsealed so many new ways for me to decide how and where to fulfil my need to establish a profound connections with people.

2. Nelly Furtado – ‘I’m Like a Bird’
Ok, I’m taking it this right back to the time I had the physical ability to listen to a song more than 20 times in a row. It was a time where I would get excited about music more than anything else around me. Looking back, I think I was starting to stick my nose out for some pop music to sing along to. My sister and I used to make so many CDs to put in the car, and we spent quite a lot on time online “crate-digging”. The only music I was learning and singing at that time was the music I was given in my classical choir, so Nelly Furtado on my way to school, or on my way to my singing classes sounded like freedom. My knowledge of English was just about good enough to catch the chorus, and I remember getting so frustrated with my blurred understanding of the song that I searched for the lyrics online and started translating word by word. I felt like such a hippie every time I was singing it. It’s such a good pop song!

3. St. Vincent – ‘Marry Me’
This is probably from one of my favourite albums ever! I love every track. It is so original; merging pop, classical music, alternative rock, enticing the ear of such a broad range of listeners, unified under the most beautiful melodies and arrangements. When I discovered St. Vincent, I felt musically ready to take all this beauty in. I really respect artists who write their own music and produce it, because I’m doing the same myself and it is of great inspiration to witness how much creativity and boldness is out there to be discovered. She is definitely someone I look up to when I think about my career.

4. Arthur Verocai – ‘Desabrochando’
Arthur Verocai is a Brazilian composer who started releasing music a bit less than 50 years ago. I discovered his music last year and I got massively obsessed with it. The piece I chose comes from his album No Voo Do Urubu, released in 2016. It is so peaceful and beautifully executed. It encapsulate my love for folk music, guitar and orchestration. It reminds me of my grandparents and the afternoons we spent at home listening to old opera cassettes, of my father spinning records from Italian songwriters 24/7 and of my strong connection with my own folklore. This is another example that proves music can speak to anybody, regardless of who they are and where they’re coming from.

5. Bjork – ‘It’s Oh So Quiet’
It was difficult to pick my last one, but I couldn’t leave this one behind. Bjork is a real visionary and I respect her so much to bring big band out for such an epic walk in the 2000s. I love how dramatic this performance is. You almost feel like being in a movie while listening to it. The interpretation draws you in so much that you really don’t feel like leaving in the end. It’s also such a good representation of how I feel when I fall in love, that I feel like claiming it as my personal soundtrack.

Thanks to Sans Soucis for sharing her favourites. Follow Sans Soucis on Facebook, Instagram and Twitter for more updates.

Photo Credit: Luca Perrin

FIVE FAVOURITES: Party Fears

The creator of some of our favourite DIY art-pop tunes over the last few years, Party Fears (aka Maggie Devlin) has shared her new single, ‘All Is Good’. Released via Babywoman Records, it’s a tender, lo-fi offering that explores feelings of loss, nostalgia and emotional endurance.

We think one of the best ways to get to know an artist is by asking them what music inspired them to write in the first place. We caught up with Maggie to ask her about her “Five Favourites” – five songs that have influenced her song writing techniques. In true Party Fears style, Maggie has put her own spin on the feature, and has shared five songs that are “good for pretending you’re in a film” to. Check out her choices below, and make sure you watch the video for ‘All Is Good’ (spoiler: it’s got a cute dog in it.)

 

1. Duran Duran – ‘Ordinary World’
This song is in pole position on my list both because of the soaring eloquence of its melody and also because of those hyperbolic yet ethereal lyrics that seemed to permeate the 80s, like everyone was constantly carolling epic ditties for the sake of humanity: “I will learn to survive!” We could do with an epic 80s ditty or two about now, to be honest. Musically, there are a few highlights for me. The double tracking or echo on the main vocal, and the snare that nails things down so they don’t get too lofty. The backing vocals are ace. Then at around the three minute mark, Le Bon starts wailing in very cinematic fashion. This is the moment you could stop walking, perhaps, and look up through the rain. Wear a denim jacket with very deep pockets and get the hands shoved in there for effect. There’s also a nice moment where the synth/strings crescendo at about 3.46. Start running here. Very nice.

2. Kate Bush – ‘This Woman’s Work’
Gentle banger. Twin notes, bright on the piano and sparsely played, coax us into the song. This is followed by Bush’s airy howling before she goes right for the throat with the opening lyric, “Pray God, you can cope.” There’s no messing: she’s telling us from the top that she’s here to kick the fuck out of your tear ducts. The warm wash of backing vocals, the melodic acrobatics, how the voices deliver every “t” on “I know you’ve got a little life in you yet”, demonstrate expert precision intended to wound the listener in the most sublime way. The song is best enjoyed while you play back an imagined break up in your head, preferably in sepia tones. Make sure there’s someone on a swing, smiling as they glide through the air. Your hands pressed to absent cheeks, awash with tears. And at least one teddy bear dropped into a puddle. At the climax, why not go to a park and grab your hair and spin round in some leaves.

3. Skunk Anansie – ‘Secretly’
What’s more filmic than loads of jabby, dramatic strings straight from the top?! Who cares if what they play has nothing to do with the song? By the time you’ve realised, the bass tones have already kicked in; rippling across your headphones, anchoring the Bond-like guitar. Then there’s Skin’s vocal. I remember being so impressed that she sang in her own accent. She clips tightly through the verses before opening things up on the pre-chorus. Then the chorus launches, strings and guitar chimes and long vocal notes drawn agonised but perfect: “You wanna do someone else, so you should be by yourself.” And then there’s that bridge and the hanging note… Ooft! For this song, consider wearing a very long black coat and synthesise some spooky green light with a nice LED colour-changing bulb (by remote control so you can still look cool). It is very important that you powerfully grab the air when lip-syncing to the chorus. Shoulder movements will also be very important here.

4. Placebo – ‘Pure Morning’
Okay, so in order to fully appreciate this one, you will unfortunately have to commit a crime of some kind, but fear not! The fabric of society is quickly coming apart and it’s unlikely that if you commit a little heist for the sake of living out your OST dreams, there’ll even be a police force to catch you! From the awkward, stabbing guitar at the very top to the tinny, relentless drums and Brian Molko’s nasal whining, this song is excellent for walking somewhere with enormous purpose. If you can arrange for a glint of sunlight to cut across the air in front of you, maybe even a little gust of wind blowing your hair/coat/scarf back, this is even better. When we reach the refrain, ‘Pure morning’ it’s time to take that briefcase you’ve stolen and just throw it over a bridge. Make sure you achieve a wide arc or it will not have the same effect. Job done? Now it’s time to walk into the city and bump shoulders with pathetic normies who don’t know how dangerous and cool you are.

5. Brenda Fassie – ‘Vuli Ndlela’
This is easily one of my favourite songs. Themed on her son getting married, Vuli Ndlela opens with churchy organs and Brenda Fassie’s confident and gorgeously clear vocal. When the arpeggiator starts, we know the song is going to be a joyful, summery banger. Building and building with brushy drums and a warm bass line, the main melody repeats, the song getting richer and richer all the while, whether with further instrumentation (those backing vocals) or Fassie’s modulation. This is the song where you and your gang (adorned with lots of flowing, colourful things) dance off your previous cares, but not before you exchange a meaningful glance with your bestie over the top of those opening organ notes though. The door to the dance hall bangs open and light spills through. You all race outside, run down a grassy little hill and jump in a lake! Now you’re wet and laughing and someone is wearing a silly hat. There’s that villainous person from before, but it’s okay now; they’ve changed and they are dancing too. It’s okay! Everything is okay! There is no virus and Emma Thompson is president!

Follow Party Fears on Facebook & Spotify for more updates.

Photo Credit: Marlene Thissen

Five Favourites: Captain Handsome

Having been a pretty massive fan of indie-pop superstars Fightmilk for a couple of years now, we’ve recently been excited to hear that Lily from the band’s solo project Captain Handsome have just released their debut EP.

Exploring everyday anxieties and all-too-common awkward situations with an intimate twinkling emotion, the EP’s filled with sad lo-fi bangers and effervescent indie-pop sounds that tug at the heartstrings in all the right ways.

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 Lily, who has shared her “Five Favourites” – five tracks that particularly resonate with her. Check out her choices below, and make sure you take a listen to brand new EP I Am Not An Animal as soon as possible!

The Proclaimers – ‘Over And Done With’
I don’t know how many kids have a ‘Proclaimers phase’ but mine was FORMATIVE. I was about ten, still one of the tall kids in class and extremely sensitive about my bad skin, when I started listening to my parents’ cassette tape of This Is The Story – which I thought I’d try out because I thought the nerds on the cover looked funny. The best song on their debut album is ‘Over And Done With’. It was the first song I ever learned to play on guitar, and I loved it so much that after months and months of practicing C, E, Am and F, I covered it and made a music video for it, long lost to the toilet of history.

“This is the story of our first teacher Shetland made her jumpers and the devil made her features” – It’s just a series of little awkward, unfair or tragic moments, completely mundane but weirdly existential and funny. It’s a mood I absorbed as an angsty kid and have probably transferred, knowingly or unknowingly, into almost every song I’ve written since. I love how it’s upbeat and simple, completely stripped down to just two voices and a guitar, a singalong tune about shag ennui and low-key worrying about death and how, in the end, it doesn’t matter anyway. It’s over and done with.

Did you know the Proclaimers have ELEVEN albums, one of which is called Angry Cyclist? There you go.

Kirsty MacColl – ‘Free World’
Ahhhh fuck the Tories. This song came out in 1989 as a way of saying “fuck the Tories” and lo and behold and quelle surprise, we (at least in the DIY scene) are still saying fuck the Tories 31 years later. This is my favourite fuck-the-Tories song. Sick of bands doing Political Songs and then skirting the issue in interviews? Here’s what Kirsty said about ‘Free World’:

The subject matter is Thatcherite Britain – you know, grab whatever you can and sod the little guy. That’s a fashionable way of looking at things, and I don’t agree with it.”

Kirsty’s abilities as a political songwriter are unfairly overlooked. Very often hits like ‘They Don’t Know’ and ‘Soho Square’ are cited as her best writing, same as it ever was with female artists and big love songs. ‘Free World’ sounds like it’s been playing at breakneck speed forever, urgent and fast and present, and that massive, effortless, vibrato-free note at the end is still unnerving today.

“And I’ll see you baby when the clans rise again // Women and children united by the struggle // Going down with a pocketful of plastic // Like a dollar on elastic // In this free world.”

I’d love more than anything to be able to write and sing half as well as Kirsty, but I don’t think anyone but her could write ‘Free World’.

Bruce Springsteen – ‘Bobby Jean’
For such an ecstatic sounding song, ‘Bobby Jean’ is a real bummer. It’s about Bruce/The Boss/Daddy as a young misfit, falling in with another young misfit and running wild, listening to rock music and being little punks that everyone looks down on. So far, so Stand By Me.

But kids grow up, and BruceTheBossDaddy and Bobby Jean fall out of touch. Years later he goes to call on her (or him – Bobby Jean’s gender is never specified, which is an entirely different dissertation and one that I hope you write one day), hoping to shoot the shit and remember their halcyon days of throwing rocks at trains and wearing jorts. But Bobby Jean has disappeared. Where does she go? Does life get too much for her? Does she go on the run? Does her mother send her to a convent school for girls bewitched by Bruce Springsteen?

“And I’m just calling one last time not to change your mind // But just to say I miss you baby, good luck goodbye, Bobby Jean.” – Bobby Jean is just gone, and it’s fucking brutal. BruceTheBossDaddy never got the chance to say goodbye in person but, absolute human being that he is, craves closure so much that he writes a song, effectively leaving a voicemail.

As far as happy-sounding pop hits about devastating blows to the heart go, this is one of the all time greats. Just when you think that BrucetheBossDaddy howling his guts can’t get any more powerful, there’s a sax solo.

Phoebe Bridgers – ‘Funeral’
Phoebe Bridgers is ruining my life. Aside from the fact that she successfully KOed an abuser’s career with a pop song, Phoebe writes the kind of gloom-country I can only dream of. ‘Funeral’ is a track from her debut album Stranger In The Alps, and it’s such an amazing move to position a song ostensibly about pulling perspective on your own sadness so near the start of a record about your own sadness – like punching a hole in your ego before it can even begin to inflate.

“I have a friend I call // When I’ve bored myself to tears // And we talk until we think we might just kill ourselves // But then we laugh until it disappears” – I love this song because as someone who finds it hard to write happy lyrics, I often find myself mining for things I know make me sad and this is a reminder to never, ever take the dark stuff for granted or to trivialise it. Of course you should be sad – there is so much to be sad about – but Phoebe is a master at self-awareness. This song, about going to a funeral for someone the same age as Phoebe, is about there being some things you can’t have.

Dolly Parton – ‘Little Sparrow’
To know Dolly is to love her. ‘Little Sparrow’ is a pretty recent Dolly drop, taken from her 38th (38! Who has the fucking time?!) studio album of the same name. It’s a small, spooky song in the fine tradition of heartbreak and bad men, but there’s no self-pity – it sounds old and folky, bluegrass violin fluttering and soaring like a second vocal, but also angry and young and impetuous, too late for hellbent revenge on the cold false-hearted lover and his evil cunning schemes and so just doomed to be a cautionary tale. It’s one of my favourite Dolly vocal performances, powerful and fragile and uuuuggghhhhhh. It’s one of those songs that sounds like it’s been around for centuries and it gets to you HARD. And I love Dolly for continuing to make gorgeous folk music into her ACTUAL 70s without falling into the trap of feeling like she needs to reinvent herself and make glitzy country-pop. Dolly is the top of her game. She is the best at this. She is the heavyweight champion of the world at making lighter-than-air country songs that fuck you up.

Also, I really like the line “they will vow to always love you // swear no love but yours will do”. It’s probably completely unintentional and Dolly is far too cool to self-reference – there’s no way Dolly’s flipped the coin on her most beloved song to reveal an absolute misery-banger on the other side… Right?

Massive thanks to Lily for sharing her Five Favourites with us! Captain Handsome’s debut EP I Am Not An Animal is out now via Reckless Yes, and make sure you catch them live at The Finsbury for us on 14th February, along with Piney Gir, Grawl!x and I Am HER.

 

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.