Multi-instrumentalist King Isis – whose name pays homage to their great-great-grandmother Omega King, one of the first Black opera singers in Chicago – seems to thrive in the uneasy space between indecision and taking action. The Oakland-based artist explores the gaps between these feelings on their upcoming debut EP, scales, which is set for release on 29th March via Dirty Hit/No Matter. Through a mix of shimmering guitar sounds, driving beats and relatable lyrics, King Isis balances feelings of frustration and apathy alongside buoyant melodies in order to overcome the barriers holding them back, whether they’re self-inflicted or otherwise.

An ardent believer in the empowering and healing nature of music, King Isis uses their artistry to enrich the lives of others too. They volunteer teaching music classes for low-income communities in Los Angeles, and have worked with the FreeStudio Program of Rikers Island, which creates a safe creative space for incarcerated youth and the children of incarcerated adults. 

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 King Isis to ask about their “Five Favourites” – five songs that have inspired their song-writing techniques. Check out their choices below and scroll down to watch the video for their latest single ‘taste of u’.


1. King Krule – ‘Czech One’
This song has been one of my favorites for a looooong time. I can’t recall exactly where I heard this for the first time, but sometime in college sounds right. King Krule has consistently been my favorite artist for the longest, specifically for the instrumental arrangement and the authenticity of his voice. This song is definitely different from a lot of his tracks, as it’s driven by keys instead of guitar, but the minor, moody melodic chord progression that carries the track has a special place in my heart. It feels like a dream to me. I feel like a lot of King Krule’s songs – including this one – have influenced the chords and shapes I use in songs and in my guitar practice.

2. Lauryn Hill – ‘I Gotta Find Peace of Mind’
Whenever this song comes on in my car, I gotta listen to the full 9 minutes. Her lyrics really resonate with me on this one. I feel like this song has influenced me specifically with lyric writing and strong melodies. Also her performance. I think a lot of what draws me to certain songs/artists and what I strive to do with my music is delivering authenticity through song. imperfections create perfect moments. The guitar is fairly simple, kinda going between two chords, yet is still super captivating because of her vulnerability both in her lyrics and performance. She’s repeating what appear to be simple phrases, but it carries so much meaning in how she shares these words. I think it brings me a sense of hopefulness and peace in moments of calamity. Her delivery and the repetition of certain phrases has definitely inspired how I create and share music. If you haven’t heard this song, listen!

3. Yves Tumor – ‘Gospel for a New Century’
I heard this song for the first time around the drop of this project. I started listening to Yves Tumor during college and was kinda infatuated with everything they were doing. I think what initially drew me to their music was the instrumental – I love a good bassline. When I’m listening to new music, I’m definitely drawn to the instrumental first, that’ll hook me in and eventually I’ll start hearing what they’re saying with their lyrics. If the music itself doesn’t catch my ear, you probably won’t catch me listening to it. I think Yves Tumor’s music in general and this song specifically has helped me be more open in my sound, they continue to inspire with their artistry. I have a couple songs on my next project that are influenced by the grunge-y, crunchy, darker melodies that flow through Yves Tumor’s music.

4. Hiatus Kaiyote – ‘The Lung’
I have a super distinct memory attached to the first time I heard this song. I was a sophomore in college, going through changes, discovering love, learning a lot about myself as a person. I was in my partner’s dorm room during a shroom trip and I fell in love with the magical energy of this song. I didn’t know what Nai Palm was saying for a long time – and honestly still don’t know what she’s saying – but that introductory guitar line instantly captivated my attention. And then she comes in with some infectious harmonies that still bring the same feelings it brought me the first day I heard it.

Ever since then, I’ve been a huge fan of Hiatus Kaiyote and Nai Palm. I think this song specifically inspired me to explore more harmonies within my songs and voice. In this song, her voice felt more like another instrument, moving in tune with the drums and other instruments in ways that still hold me more than the lyrics. I think that also inspired me to play with my voice more, explore the different ranges, sounds, and places my voice can exist in song.

5. Kanye West, Kid Cudi, 070 Shake – ‘Ghost Town’
I don’t remember the first time I heard this song but I included it in this list because everytime I hear it, I still wanna scream and cry with 070 Shake at the end. I love the rest of the song too, but when she comes in with “and nothing hurts anymore I feel kinda free,” it takes me out of whatever else I’m feeling and makes me feel like I can keep pushing through it all, like I can keep going. Something about this song feels familiar, like it’s all gonna be ok. In a similar way to how Lauryn Hill’s ‘Peace of Mind’ makes me feel, 070 Shake’s part of the song makes me feel hopeful, reignited, and alive. I think this song encourages me to dive deeper into writing and into myself, to continue to find freedom in creating music.

Thanks to King Isis for sharing their favourites with us!

Watch their video for ‘taste of u’ below

Follow King Isis on bandcampSpotifyTwitterInstagram & Facebook

Photo Credit: Richard Mwanthi

Kate Crudgington


A creator of corrosive, brooding experimental sounds, Phoenix-based musician, producer and multimedia artist Sam An aka Lana Del Rabies is preparing to unleash her new record, STREGA BEATA. Set for release on 17th March via Gilgongo Records, the album – the title of which loosely translates as “Blessed Witch” – is a cathartic medium for the musician’s innermost thoughts on the human condition, grief and navigating tragedy. Written, produced, and almost entirely performed by An, STREGA BEATA promises to be an enthralling, powerful listen.

“There is a specific type of grief that comes from witnessing the brutality of what humans are capable of towards each other. If that grief goes unprocessed, it is doomed to also manifest as brutality,” offers Lana Del Rabies about her upcoming album. “There have been many moments while writing this record that I was grieving through an event that was personal or worldwide, and then another sudden, tragic event would happen. I needed to re-evaluate what I wanted to say because my world and perspective had shifted again. Trying to keep up with tragedy can make one feel helpless, and one way to feel in control is through acts of destruction. My personal impulse towards destruction nearly ended this project.”

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 Lana Del Rabies to ask about her “Five Favourites” – five songs that have inspired her song-writing techniques. Check out her choices below and pre-order your copy of her upcoming album STREGA BEATA here


1. Nine Inch Nails – ‘The Great Below’
If you know me or know of me, you are probably pretty aware that I am a Nine Inch Nails lifer. NIN has been my favorite musical act since I was 14 years old, and I don’t see that changing anytime soon. The Downward Spiral was my first favorite, but when I found The Fragile (well after it had released), I had never heard anything like it before – especially the more experimental, cinematic and vulnerable tracks like ‘The Great Below’. The ways that emotion on this album are conveyed are so reliant on texture and ambiance, but aren’t too avant garde to be inaccessible. The water themes in this track were something I found myself using a lot on my upcoming album, probably subconsciously because of the emotional experience I always have with this track.

2. Lingua Ignota – ‘That He May Not Rise Again’
I have to admit that I listened to a lot of Kristin Hayter’s work leading up to the writing of this record. I did my best to not overly emulate anything she does, but I also don’t think anyone can do what she does. I think LET THE EVIL OF HIS OWN LIPS COVER HIM is potentially among my all time favorites. It is just such a cohesive, well-thought out, and masterfully executed thesis of an EP. ‘That He May Not Rise Again’ is just not like anything else I have ever heard, and the way it maneuvers between very disciplined, traditional religious music and very honest, guttural, unapologetic cathartic expression for an unrelenting span of time inspired me to push what I was doing with my work further.

3. The Body – ‘Hail to Thee, Everlasting Pain’
I discovered this track almost ten years ago. A friend sent me I SHALL DIE HERE to listen to, I think. I remember hearing ‘Hail to Thee, Everlasting Pain’ and thinking “This is the kind of music I want to make”. I was barely starting to experiment with sound at the time and Lana Del Rabies wouldn’t be established for another couple of years. By the time I started writing STREGA BEATA, I felt a bit more confident about being able to handle composing something like this. I even play actual instruments! Anyway, the way this track (and The Body in general) handles elements from various “dark” genres without ever commiting to a genre is exactly what I love about making music.

4. FKA Twigs – ‘Mary Magdalene’
I discovered FKA twigs in 2014 around the time she was releasing her first EPs. I was always impressed with how she brought a poetic darkness into really catchy but still experimental music. It took me a while to hear Magdalene, but it is absolutely my favorite of hers. I love the way she uses religious metaphor through the record to address her personal experiences and comment on gender roles in relationships without ever being too heavy handed. I also love Nicholas Jaar (he among other collaborators with FKA worked on this), and the way this track ended up sounding feels rooted both in the beauty of traditional music and something really futuristic and otherworldly.

5. Diamanda Galas – ‘The Litanies of Satan’
I think what I love about Diamanda Galas’ work is how determined it feels. It’s more than relentless or raw; it is determined to be what exactly it is, with no hesitation. I think this applies to her more classically inclined work and especially to work like The Litanies of Satan. I am also obsessed with tracks that are maximal even though they are compositionally minimal. It’s incredible when you think about the fact that this came out in the early 80’s. I’ve definitely found her to be more of an inspiration for what I do performatively and in my vocals as well. I would love to have her range and ferocity as I age as an artist.

Thanks to Lana Del Rabies for sharing her favourites with us.

Watch her video for ‘Hallowed is The Earth’ below.

Follow Lana Del Rabies on bandcamp, Spotify, Twitter, Facebook & Instagram

Five Favourites: Bria

Whilst you may recognise Bria Salmena from working in Orville Peck’s world-conquering backing band, she is also an immensely innovative artist in her own right. Following the release of Cuntry Covers Vol.1 in 2021, Salmena has now collaborated with multi-instrumentalist Duncan Hay Jennings once again for Vol.2., set for release next month.

As a taster of the upcoming EP’s release, Bria has now shared her rendition of Paula Cole’s ‘Where Have All The Cowboys Gone?‘. Adding her own unique reverb-strewn scuzz and whirring danceable energy to the original, her rich, sumptuous vocals ripple alongside a soul-strewn groove, creating a dreamily immersive soundscape.

We think one of the best ways to get to know a band is by asking what music inspires them. So, to celebrate the release of Cuntry Covers Vol.2, we caught up with Bria to ask about the music that has inspired her the most. Rather than pick five all-time top albums, she’s selected the songs she’s listening to the most right now – read/listen below and check out Cuntry Covers Vol.1 while you await the release of Vol.2!

It’s impossible for me to pick my favourite songs or albums, I’m just not one of those people. For me, it’s constantly in flux. So I’ve decided instead to share my top five songs of January 2023. And to be clear, these are not songs released in Jan 2023 but rather what’s been on repeat in my house, car, headphones etc. This list is extremely manic, I hope you enjoy it. 

Nourished By Time – ‘Romance In Me
Nourished By Time is a new discovery – initially introduced through an NTS playlist. There’s a very obvious nostalgic quality to the track, but I really just think the vocal progression is something entirely unique. I love the production – there’s a really satisfying balance of tension between the keys and guitar, especially in the choruses. This song really builds extremely well, I feel as though I kind of get swept away in it. It’s the kind of song I find myself harmonising with vocally, however annoying that may seem. When I’m in the mood to feel heartbroken I’ll probably put this song on.

Kate Bush – ‘Pull Out The Pin’
I’m a long-time Kate Bush fan, and this song came back into my rotation this month. The intensity of this track lyrically and musically is so satisfying for me. I love Bush’s ability to tell a story, it feels like theatre. This song was written after she had seen a documentary about the Vietnam war, wherein they show Vietnamese soldiers putting little silver buddhas in their mouths as they approached the front line. I love hearing this side of Bush’s vocal range – her ability to sing-scream is so beautiful, it’s been somewhat cathartic to listen this month. I also feel as though this is an overlooked B-side of hers, so I’m urging you now to give it a listen. 

Deftones- ‘Change (In The House Of Flies)’
So technically, I started having this song on repeat in December, but there are no rules here. On Christmas day, I went to a very famous bikini bar here in Los Angeles called Jumbo’s, and one of the dancers did a very impressive pole dance to this song. I hadn’t heard it in so long and after that, I played it throughout my somewhat lonely holiday season. I think it might be the hottest song ever written – not sexiest, but hottest. The whole record is amazing, I don’t even know if I can say any more about it.

Golpe – ‘Non Piergarti’
Golpe is an Italian punk band whose first full-length record came out in 2021. Lots of Italian friends had told me to check them out and I finally did sometime last fall. ‘Non Piegarti’ might be one of my favourites of theirs – with ‘La Colpa E Solo Tua’ as a close second. I’ve spent most of January moving into a new apartment and sorting out my life here in Los Angeles, and the song title translates to “Don’t Bend Over” which has been a bit of a mantra of mine throughout a stressful month. I’m a big fan of the production of this song, and I love the vocal effect on this song and how well the guitars sit alongside. It’s heavy, but very well-balanced.

Florist – ‘Red Bird Part 2 (Morning)’
This song is extremely beautiful and EXTREMELY sad. You’ve been warned. When I’m searching for a sort of sad calm feeling, I will put this on. It’s a beautifully tragic song about the death of the singer’s mother. I’m drawn to the simplicity of the instrumentation, rooted in acoustic guitar and accompanied by a kind of dreamy ethereal electric guitar. I also am a big fan of the double unison vocals on this track – I myself love doing that, as I feel you can really round out the sound that way.

Massive thanks to Bria for sharing her five ‘favourites’ with us! Listen to new single ‘Where Have All The Cowboys Gone?’ now:

Cuntry Covers Vol.2, the upcoming EP from Bria, is set for release on 24th February via Sub Pop.

Photo Credit: Justin Aranha

Five Favourites: Princess Chelsea

Having been creating her signature dreamy indie-pop for eleven years now, New Zealand artist Princess Chelsea has just released her fifth album Everything Is Going To Be Alright. Tinged with an early noughties shimmering nostalgia, it’s a poignant collection of cinematic soundscapes that twinkle with an ethereal splendour and captivating raw emotion.

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 Everything Is Going To Be Alright, we caught up with Princess Chelsea to ask about the music that has inspired her the most. See below for their choices of their five favourite songs, and be sure to watch the cute new video for album track ‘Love Is More‘ at the bottom of this feature.

Marianne Faithfull – ‘Morning Sun’
This is from Marianne Faithfull’s early period and it’s an undiscovered gem, I suppose! It sounds very ‘English’ to me in a good way. It’s a beautiful track – the harps and her beautiful slightly monotonous eerie vocals (a little bit reminiscent of Nico). Marianne always was a total queen and her vocals from this early 1960s period of her career are quite different to her later more widely known work. As an artist she is a fascinating character who really got dealt a tough blow by music press and public who were very judgemental of her for any ‘mistakes’ (aka not being perfect) in her private life. After being London’s golden girl for a few years, she disappeared into a world of addiction and complicated experiences only to re-emerge over twenty years later with just as amazing music (Broken English being her comeback album). My track ‘Time‘ is heavily influenced by early Marianne Faithfull and English pop in the way I produced and arranged it – and I actually covered this song on my 2016 album Aftertouch.  

The Bats – ‘Sir Queen’
In the 1980s Flying Nun Records was formed in the South Island of New Zealand in Christchurch by Roger Shepherd, although it is associated more with an even more southern city Dunedin, when somebody coined the term “The Dunedin Sound” to describe the jangly guitar pop style of some of the bands on the label who were heavily influenced by the open chords of the Velvet Underground. Seminal acts The Clean, The Chills, The Verlaines, and The Bats made jangly guitar pop music that proved to be heavily influential internationally and still is. Kaye Woodward from The Bats is one of the most interesting “indie rock” (lol) guitarists I’ve had the pleasure of listening to and her work with The Bats as displayed on ‘Sir Queen’ from their classic album Daddy’s Highway is emotive, particular and loose at the same time. I’ve been a fan of The Bats and many of the early Flying Nun acts since I was a teenager, and any guitar work I do (or make other people do, haha)  is greatly influenced by these bands whose style of playing is far more important than technical prowess. My song ‘Love Is More’ from my new album is definitely influenced by Kaye Woodward’s trademark ‘bendy’ guitar playing.

Jane’s Addiction – ‘Jane Says’ (Live from Kettle Whistle)
Jane’s Addiction are a truly weird band that don’t really fit into any kind of genre. In the 1990s in LA they were junkie surfers that made heavy rock music influenced by Led Zeppelin, but it was also glam, arty and truly ‘alternative’ – influenced by I imagine a whole lot of esoteric music. Frontman Perry Farrell would wail and leap around on the stage like some kind of androgenous mad puppet. While totally unintentional I think my track ‘The Forest‘ certainly reminds me of Jane’s Addiction sometimes which isn’t really surprising seeing as it’s my first truly ‘rock’ song and they were my first favourite ‘rock’ band. The live version of ‘Jane Says’ with its massive drum sound, and Farrell’s vocals sailing over the top – plus the addition of steel drums – make for a truly original yet totally rocking melodic band. I think somehow and always Jane’s Addiction will always influence my live performance.

The Gun Club – ‘Sex Beat’
The Gun Club is a band I discovered as a teenager and their guitar sound in particular is something I’ve always loved – it’s punk, but it’s also got tonality of country music with tremolo, twang and a lot of reverb. Their later albums would sound more shoegazey and shiny (Mother Juno), but the first album is a great example of the county / punk influence of this wonderful band. I think a lot of guitar tones on ‘We Kick Around’ remind me of the Gun Club. The solo on ‘I Don’t Know You‘ is by my friend Vincent HL who plays on this track and is a huge Gun Club fan.

Fleetwood Mac – ‘What Makes You Think You’re The One’
After years of listening to Fleetwood Mac, I started repetitively listening to deep cuts from the double album Tusk which followed their massive album Rumours and was a critical yet commercial kind of flop (well a flop for Fleetwood Mac – it still sold millions). Lindsay Buckingham was probably doing way too much cocaine during this period and there are a lot of great what I call “weird Lyndsay Buckingham songs” dispersed throughout Tusk. I think he was maybe listening to a lot of punk music at the time and was trying to insert some of that energy into Fleetwood Mac which may have been perceived as soft rock for moms and dads or something by then. And there’s nothing wrong with that haha. His vocal performance on this track and a lot of the backing vocal loops all over Tusk, and also on the album Tango In The Night (‘Family Man’ is a great example of this) definitely influenced my track ‘I Don’t Know You’ and a lot of my backing vocal ideas in general. When I sing “I DONT KNOW!”, I am 100% channeling Lyndsay – intentionally and quite overtly.

Massive thanks to Princess Chelsea for sharing her Five Favourites with us! Watch the video for latest single ‘Love Is More’ here:

Everything Is Going To Be Alright, the fifth album from Princess Chelsea, is out now via Lil Chief Records.

Photo Credit: Frances Carter