Five Favourites: Erasers

Perth-based ‘dungeon synth’ duo Rebecca Orchard and Rupert Thomas – aka Erasers – have recently released their hypnotic new album, Constant Connection. Flowing with hauntingly captivating soundscapes evoking the raw beauty of their native landscape of Western Australia, the collection offers a truly unique and utterly immersive aural treat for the senses. Showcasing the ethereal splendour of Orchard’s vocals with a poignant, layered musicality, Erasers have created a truly stirring release.

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 their new album, we caught up with Rebecca from Erasers to ask about their “Five Favourites” – five albums that have inspired them the most. Read about their choices and watch their beautiful new video for ‘A Breeze’ at the end of this article!

Pikelet – Self-Titled
I first heard Pikelet when I was around seventeen. Rupert and I spent a lot of our late teens making mixed tapes for each other, sharing favourite songs and curating playlists on cassette for drives in my first car – a 1970s Beetle. Pikelet definitely featured on one of these, because I’m sure Rupert introduced me to their music, always being ahead of the curve with artists coming out of Naarm/Melbourne. Rupert and I started playing music together in 2009 after Rupert recorded some demos in his bedroom and spent weeks convincing me to do vocals for it. As someone not trained in music-making, I took inspiration and courage from seeing Evelyn aka Pikelet perform as a solo artist – recording and releasing music. It was the first time I’d ever seen someone using a loop pedal and it blew my mind to see what they created with their voice, looper and a few instruments. All of Pikelet’s albums are iconic, releasing a steady stream over a decade or so, eventually parting ways with the persona Pikelet and releasing under their own name Evelyn Ida Morris. Sonically, their albums have been diverse, shapeshifting over the years, but always resonating with something deep in my being. Evelyn is not only a talented artist – their work in advocating for others and themself in the community is inspirational. We’ve been lucky enough to play some of our first ever shows with Pikelet when they toured Perth, as well as bringing them back over to Perth years later to play a show. I feel incredibly grateful and lucky to know, learn from and listen to Evelyn in whatever form their voice takes.


Love Of Diagrams – Mosaic
Name a more iconic trio! Post-punk from Naarm/Melbourne released in 2007. I can’t remember when I first heard this album but it was around the time I turned eighteen and could legally go and see live music. There’s so much I love about Love Of Diagrams – the interplay between vocalists, Monica’s captivating drumming, catchy melodies, juicy bass-lines and winding grooves. The lyrics in their songs remind me of art school. I remember being inspired by Antonia’s powerful vocal delivery – almost yelling or chanting, with that amazing reverby tone. I’m sure I took inspiration from this in how I use my voice and the repetition of words and phrases. This was from an era where anyone creative from Perth moved to Melbourne, which was seen as the ‘arts capital’ of Australia. I have strong memories of going to Amplifier Bar with Rupert and friends, the only place in Perth at the time that played more alternative music. The DJ played from upstairs on this platform, which you could access via a dodgy ladder that we would drunkenly climb to request ‘Pace Or The Patience’ by Love Of Diagrams so we could sing and dance to it obnoxiously on the dance-floor with our friends. We were so lucky to have formed Erasers around a time that Love Of Diagrams were touring, and got to play one of our first ever live gigs supporting them in Boorloo/Perth. Seeing them live, playing together in both cities and later inviting them back to Perth for a show was a musical highlight. Once again, all their albums are too good to miss and they are each amazing artists in their own right, whether playing in other music projects, being visual artists or writers.


Mei Saraswati – Hypermeditations
It’s so tough to pick one Mei Saraswati album to talk about, because they’re all so damn good in different ways! I’ve chosen this one because it was released in 2013, probably around the time I first saw Mei perform live. Mei is one of my favourite artists from Boorloo/Perth and, although she hasn’t released new music for a little while, hearing her bedroom recordings still gives me the shivers. Mei Saraswati effortlessly fuses soulful vocals, sounds and themes of the northern suburbs, sampling, field recordings, electronics, Eastern instrumentation and influences, spirituality, RnB, drifting somewhere between meditation and music to groove to. Mei produces everything herself and is not only an incredible musician, also a visual artist, exploring weaving and printmaking, while also being a mother. I always admired Mei’s humble nature, she is effortlessly herself – often hilarious in her down-to-earth stage banter and in the way she would casually release whole albums for free download. On Bandcamp she describes Hypermeditations as “many different windows of philosophies open all at once – like when you have a hundred tabs open and you keep opening more”. Each of her albums is like opening little windows into her world and discovering fascinating ponderings, thoughts and feelings. Her anti-capitalist attitude to creating and producing art is something I truly admire. We’ve been lucky to play many gigs together over the years, as well as an exhibition a few years back called Deep Heritage. It always blew my mind that more people hadn’t heard Mei’s music because it’s too good to have not reached the furthest corners of the globe. Highly recommend the deep dive into Mei’s back catalogue on Bandcamp, it will not disappoint!


Enya – Oceans
Rupert and I both had very different musical upbringings. Rupert was brought up listening to music like Joy Division, Brian Eno and recalls long road trips around Australia listening to Ministry of Sound annuals on CD – his dad in particular was an avid music-lover and listener. I have distinct memories of my parents having Enya and Sade on CD and the rest of my musical upbringing was mostly listening to commercial radio, until I reached my angsty – but formative – teen years. I can’t remember exactly which Enya CDs my parents had, but I remember listening on long drives to visit grandparents and selecting either this or Sade from the CDs and cassettes we owned. I can’t pinpoint what particular influence this has had on me, but I’m sure it soaked somewhere into my subconscious. I like the resonating, angelic vocals, whole albums based on environmental themes and the opening track just feels iconic if you grew up in the ’90s.


Pauline Anna Strom – Trans-Millenia Music
I bought this on vinyl for Rupert a few years ago after discovering it and completely falling in love with the often melty and warm, often weird and intriguing, otherworldly sounds. Recorded in the 1970s or ’80s, gaining popularity in recent years with its re-release, I love the blurring of lines between this new age synthesizer music, fusing with Pauline’s other interests of spirituality and healing practices. These were recorded in single takes, with synthesizer manuals being read out to Pauline before recording, as she was born blind. There’s something so magical and healing about the depths of these sounds – like little shooting stars out into the cosmos. What I find so inspiring is not only the music itself, which is like a journey through time and space, but the fact that she made these albums in isolation at home – in the company of her reptiles, using influences from her areas of interest and fusing them into the sounds to create a healing, therapeutic body of work. Diving deep into her senses and letting intuition guide her creativity; the type of authenticity I hope to have in my own music, creative practices and life itself.


Massive thanks to Rebecca from Erasers for sharing their five favourites with us! Watch the band’s latest video for ‘A Breeze’ below:

Photo credit: Karl Halliday

FIVE FAVOURITES: November Ultra

French bedroom-pop sensation November Ultra creates tender, heartfelt tunes that reflect her passion and joy for writing and performing music. “Technique is important, but singing is more about how you feel, because your body is the instrument,” explains the classically trained musician. This is something that permeates the sounds of her recently released debut album, Bedroom Walls, on which she blends elements of folk, pop and indie music to create her lush, emotive sounds.

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 November Ultra to ask about her “Five Favourites” – five albums that have inspired her song-writing techniques. Check out her choices below and scroll down to watch her video for ‘le manége’ at the end of this post.

1. Andy Shauf – The Party
I love albums. I always have, I always will. There’s something very special and precious with the relationship you build with them. I’ve always compared it to the stages of meeting and falling in love with someone: there’s the love at first sight song (‘Quite Like You’ was the first Andy Shauf song I stumbled upon very late at night and I suddenly felt the rushing need to listen to his entire discography), then there’s the deep conversation songs that make you fall even harder (‘Early To The Party’ truly, that cello bridge with the harmonies and the swelling – pffff even talking about it, makes my heart beat faster!) There’s the falling in love with the quirks stage (‘Alexander All Alone’) and then there’s the peaceful, joyful comfortable moment of sleeping next to the one we love and know so well by now (the last song ‘Martha Sways’, the last dance of the party with those strings that come and go in the song making you waltz in this special space between dream and reality late night early morning slowdancing creates.) This album is a masterpiece, it tells a story, a party from beginning to end, you close your eyes and when the album is finished it feels like you’ve lived the party, met all the characters, the songwriting is exquisite, the arrangements too. An album is a spell, no wonder the album opens with ‘The Magician’.

2. Rosalía – Motomami
This album just came out, but I already know it’s an album that I’m going to love until the day I die. I know it because I’ve felt the same exact sensation I felt the first time I heard Frank Ocean’s mixtape Nostalgia, Ultra, or James Blake’s first album: that tingling sensation going through my body, that same excitement, unrest, that feverish hunger to listen to every single song obsessively, but also wanting to pause them every two seconds to take in the lyrics, the melodies, analyse the production, the sounds. It has that double organic-machine quality to it: it makes human-me feel a lot of things that are unexplainable, and it makes artist-me incredibly excited to try and find out why. Rosalía, just like Frank Ocean, is an exceptionally inspiring artist because she makes bold moves, bold choices, but most importantly she puts a lot of meaning and detail into all of it. There’s so much life, heart, intelligence, joy, and FUN in every single movement. To me, she’s a fencing queen: she skillfully aims for the heart while looking like a ballerina, as complex and light on her feet as a butterfly.

3. Frank Ocean – nostalgia, ULTRA
My name, November Ultra is a homage to this mixtape. That’s how much I love it. I love its story, the fact that it was a download-for-free mixtape he made because his label wasn’t paying attention, the sense of freedom and independence, again, the boldness in the choice, in that move, the sheer intelligence and creativity too – being able to rework songs, use big tunes like ‘Hotel California’ or Coldplay and make something new with it while telling a story through noises like tapes being played, stopped, rewinded. This mixtape is the work of an alchemist. Frank truly transforms, transmutes and breathes life and emotion into everything existing, crystallising feelings and turning them into precious songs for other people to hold, allowing us to understand our own selves. I couldn’t believe my luck the first time I heard it… I still can’t, a million plays later.

4. Tiny Ruins – Some Were Meant For Sea
New Zealand has so many precious gems, Tiny Ruins is one of them. I love everything about this album, Hollie Fullbrook’s songwriting is immaculate, as intricate and delicate as an old ring passed on to you by your grandmother who had it from her grandmother. You almost don’t want to wear it, and yet you can feel the power and strength it encapsulates when you hold it in the palm of your hand – like holding generations of life stories. That’s how the album makes me feel. So many lives, so many stories, so many heart beatings told with so much talent and wit. One of my favourite lines in the album probably comes from a song called ‘Priest With Balloons’ based on a true story of a Brazilian priest who jumped off a cliff, helium balloons attached to him, Fullbook writes “what was he looking for? Truth or was it heaven? Or did he just want to go out with a bang, so to speak… It’s funny but I can understand why… I want to live”

5. Lifafa – Jaago
It was so hard to make a choice, there are so many albums I love and while I still think James Blake’s first album has been a turning point in my life (yes, I said “turning point” haha please don’t judge me, music is my everything, I take all of it very seriously), I couldn’t pass the opportunity to talk about Lifafa’s Jaago, who got me ultra obsessed for most part of 2019 and early 2020. Lifafa’s part of another amazing musical project called Peter Cat Recording Co., they’re exceptional musicians and songwriters but with this one, Lifafa’s decided to sit behind a computer with a midi keyboard and compose songs in ways he wasn’t really used to, with no precise goal in mind other than to explore and have FUN and that’s exactly what I love about this album: it’s a trip, but oh boy such an intelligent, lively, well-executed one! The sonical landscapes are endless, it’s no easy-fit to be able to capture spontaneity, and I feel this album does that. A song starts and you never know where it’s going to land, and you don’t care, you’re just happy to be part of the ride, makes you feel alive. Bonus points? Lifafa has probably one of my most favourite voices in the world, AND the album cover is iconic.

Thanks to November Ultra for sharing her favourites with us!

Watch the video for ‘le manége’ below.

Follow November Ultra on bandcamp, Spotify, Twitter, Instagram & Facebook

 

Photo Credit: Pauline Darley

Five Favourites: Queen Cult

Following acclaim from the likes of BBC Introducing for their debut single ‘Shindigger‘, and support for their resonant latest single ‘A Song About Consent’, Cheshire band Queen Cult have been fast making a name for themselves. Consisting of front person Maisie Johnson and bassist Leila Jacklin, as well as Brodie Carson on drums and Piers Jarvis on guitar, the band pride themselves on their LGBTQ+ identity and sharing their queer, politically-charged messages with the masses. Having released their debut EP earlier this year, they have now shared an epic new video for single ‘Calm’, showcasing the band’s seething energy and immense, angst-fuelled drive as they make a fiercely impassioned proclamation to stand up to the patriarchy.

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 their new video, we caught up with Queen Cult to ask about their “Five Favourites” – five of the songs that they’re loving right now. Read about their choices and watch the immense new video for ‘Calm’ at the end of this article!

Childish Gambino – ‘Redbone’
I mean the whole album Awaken, My Love! could have been used for all my five favourites, however we landed on ‘Redbone’ for first choice. It’s sonically pleasing and incredibly well written and produced, with a sense of unpredictability as to where the song is going to go as it plays on, it’s a tune we could never get sick of.


Thundercat – ‘Dragonball Durag’
I mean you can’t not dance to it can you? Again, other very well produced song with catchy, wavey vocals. On top of that – we can’t get enough of that bass-line. And with that, the song is also relatively introspective due to its humorous lyrics that get utterly stuck in your head.


Low Hum – ‘Comatose’
This laid back, pleasingly sleazy song is the perfect warm evening driving song. With a strong bass line and eclectic guitar motifs throughout – you can’t go wrong with it regardless of whatever mood you so happen to be in. Despite the sad nature of the lyrics, by the end of the song you can end up feeling at peace.


Wolf Alice – ‘Lipstick on the Glass’
From their album Blue Weekend, this is a song that when we first heard it we couldn’t stop playing it. From the ethereal vocals to the eclectic layered guitar parts, it catches you off guard when you first set your ears to it and from then, you’ll be addicted.


Jeff Buckley & Elizabeth Fraser – ‘All Flowers In Time Bend Towards The Sun’
This song is held deep in my (Maisie’s) heart. As a demo that was leaked and not even a fully formed song at this point, it has its own charm. A timeless chorus with a chord progression you could have circling for hours. Elizabeth’s vocals soar through with pure power and emotion that makes your face screw up (but in a good way), and Jeff’s harmonies make it so sweet. Could never ever get sick of this song and the nostalgia it makes you feel for a time when you weren’t even born…

Massive thanks to Queen Cult for sharing their Five Favourites with us! Watch the new video for ‘Calm’ below, and make sure you catch them playing live for us at The Shacklewell Arms on 6th May, supporting The Menstrual Cramps. Tickets here.

Photo Credit: Debbie Ellis

Five Favourites: Barrie

Set to release her upcoming second album later this month, New York artist Barrie Lindsay – aka Barrie – has been charming our ears with her shimmering sounds for some time now. Ahead of the album’s release, she has now shared ‘Jenny‘ – a poignant reflection on falling in love with her wife. Flowing with twinkling melodies as her delicate crystalline vocals emanate a stirring emotion, it’s a beautifully uplifting offering, celebrating the comfort of finding home in another person.

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 her new album, we caught up with Barrie to ask about her “Five Favourites” – five ‘perfect pop songs’ that she loves and have inspired her sound. Check them out below, and listen to ‘Jenny’ at the end of this article!

The La’s – ‘There She Goes’
I first heard this in the Lindsay Lohan Parent Trap movie, and I come back to it constantly. It’s such a Motown song with the beat, melody, harmonies and loud, live-sounding production – it makes no sense that it came out in 1988. And it perfectly rides the line of happy and melancholy. It seems so simple but the structure and progressions are really hard to pin down. It’s particularly special to me because my dad and I used to play this song on guitar together — it’s really fun on a 12-string.


Robyn – ‘Call Your Girlfriend’
Robyn is a master of minimal maximalism, like SOPHIE. And she’s so committed to the character of Robyn, it’s really inspiring. The Robyn songs that click for me are the ones that have her special mix of drive and melancholy. She gets the perfect balance of hopeful and desperate. I’ve tried many times to write a Robyn song, and I’ll probably keep trying to for a long time. I love running to this song, and it blows my mind that a song is capable of making you physically stronger.


Alvvays – ‘Dreams Tonite’
Beyond the great songwriting (the anticipated chord change in the chorus!), there’s a lyric in this that I think about a lot when I’m songwriting: “On the turnpike, one of Eisenhower’s.” It feels like they are breaking a rule or something – lyrics in popular music don’t reference mundane parts of history like Eisenhower building the turnpikes; it’s a throwaway line that packs so much. The line makes me rethink the inevitability of the way society operates, how everything in our society was designed by some person- it sends me on an entire other existential thread. And particularly at a point where you’re songwriting and can’t or don’t want to delve into yourself for lyrics, why not poke at the things in the world around us that we take for granted as part of everyday life? And ultimately, they all shed light on human behaviour and therefore lead to human connection, like you hope for in a song.

Billy Preston – ‘Nothing From Nothing’
This song feels like pure joy. Great musicianship, great melodies. It’s playful, and after years of listening to it, I still get the same amount of joy from it; it reminds me of dancing in the kitchen as a kid with my family. He was an incredible pianist, and what a great rag-timey piano sound. I joined my school’s gospel choir in college, and got exposed to contemporary gospel music like Kirk Franklin, Fred Hammond, Kurt Carr, and Hezekiah Walker. This song has a lot of the same driving and uplifting qualities as contemporary gospel, which makes sense since Billy Preston came up playing in church. A lot of what I like about this song is the same as what I like about gospel music. So much flair and musicianship from the instrumentalists. They’re so tight.

Britney Spears – ‘How I Roll
I first heard this song in 2012 and I was blown away. So many great textures, so chaotic, and also somehow so pure. Underneath the micro beats and totally synthetic, unnatural sounds, it’s just a hand-clapping game song. I like that they threw everything at the song, like a no-bad-ideas session, and then honed every single detail. Everything feels deliberate; it’s experimental but in the name of joy rather than self-indulgence or pretension. How cool that Britney Spears went for this?!


Massive thanks to Barrie for sharing her Five Favourites with us! Barbara, her upcoming new album, is set for release on 25th March via Winspear. Listen to latest single ‘Jenny’ below.

Photo Credit: Alexa Viscius