FIVE FAVOURITES: ELLIS

Released today (3rd April) via Fat Possum Records, Ontario-based artist ELLIS has shared her debut album, Born Again. Filled with graceful vocals, confessional lyrics, and understated melodies; the album shimmers with a sentiment and maturity that shows her growth as a songwriter. 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 ELLIS to ask about her “Five Favourites” – five albums that influenced her song writing techniques. Check out her choices below, and scroll down to watch her video for ‘Embarrassing’ at the end of this post.

 

1. The Smashing Pumpkins – Siamese Dream
I’m pretty sure The Smashing Pumpkins are the coolest band of all time. I love how cinematic this record feels. I love the distorted guitars paired with really pretty vocal melodies. And Billy shreds. I saw them live last summer shortly before I started recording the record, and was like, “I want to be in The Smashing Pumpkins.” I definitely referenced the guitar tone from ‘Mayonaise’ in the studio.

2. Carole King – Tapestry
I’ve been obsessed with this record in the last while. It is just banger after banger, it never stops. I especially love the use of piano in these songs. Piano was my first instrument and after almost exclusively writing on guitar, I was feeling really inspired to go back to the piano while writing Born Again. I also love that Carole didn’t consider herself “a singer” in the beginning, and started out writing songs for other people, and then she comes out with this perfect record – it’s unreal.

3. Death Cab For Cutie – Transatlanticism
This record came out when I was in middle school, and I’ve never gotten bored of it. I think everyone remembers exactly how they felt the first time they listened to Transatlanticism. It knocks the wind out of you. I love the long builds, the repeating phrases, the lyrics that break your heart into a million pieces. Also, the percussion! The drum machines, the tambourines, the tom beats – it’s good.

4. Taylor Swift – Red
Say what you want about Taylor, but she has a way of making me feel so seen. It’s like reading someone’s diary, but it looks a lot like your own. I love how candid she is in her songwriting – there’s no holding back, she just plainly puts it all out there like there’s nothing left to hide. It’s cathartic AND it’s catchy, you can both cry and dance to it and isn’t that amazing? This record in particular hits me hard. I’m pretty sure ‘All Too Well’ is the best breakup song ever written.

5. The Japanese House – Pools To Bathe In
When I was in the process of writing the record I was having a hard time concentrating at home, so I rented this little cabin (if you could even call it that, it was more like a tiny shed!) in the middle of nowhere on Lake Erie to get away and focus. I remember going for long walks down gravel roads just listening to this EP over and over again. The production is so good. I love the layered vocals over the minimalist drum beats, the synth swells, the guitar picking, all the subtle ambiance. It’s just totally beautiful and I found it really inspiring.

Thanks to ELLIS for sharing her favourite albums with us. Order your copy of Born Again here, and follow ELLIS on Spotify for more updates.

Photo Credit: Ebru Yildiz

FIVE FAVOURITES: Mentrix

Born in Iran but now based in Berlin, Mentrix blends her experiences of eastern and western culture, along with traditional Sufi instrumentation to create her beguiling, bold soundscapes. Her extensive travels and multiple influences – from Latin and French Literature, to The Qu’ran and traditional Persian poetry – give her music a diverse and fascinating edge. She’s set to release her debut album – My Enemy, My Love – on 3rd April via her own (female-led) record label, House of Strength.

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 Mentrix to ask about her “Five Favourites” – five albums that influenced her song writing techniques. Check out her choices below, and scroll down to watch the video for ‘Nature’ at the end of this post.

Mentrix: “It’s hard to narrow things down to five favourite records. I love soul, funk, blues, rock, punk, hip hop. I have adored James Brown, Mick Jagger, Erykah Badu, Candi Staton, Aretha Franklin, Nina Simone, Patti Smith and Mariah Carey (yes yes, l love Mariah). Who can deny the global phenomenon that was Michael Jackson’s History? And no matter what genre of music you are into, Bob Marley will always have a place of its own in your music-consciousness. As of pop and electronic music; MIA, Santigold and The Knife are among artists I consider pioneers. But when it comes to albums, strangely enough I surprise myself with what popped up. Suddenly, some albums that I had not thought of for a long time came back to mind. I know every note of Smoker’s Delight (Nightmares on Wax) and Fink’s first album Biscuit for Breakfast is a significant one for me. But, as I began to ask myself which were the 5 albums that stood out the most; some forgotten memories returned with their very own soundtrack. Here are my top 5 albums as I remember them today…”

1. Tracy Chapman – Tracy Chapman
The first record that comes to mind is the one that blew my mind – although 10 years had passed since its original release, it was a discovery for me and probably my introduction to songwriting. I would teach English lessons to an older lady in Tehran using the lyrics of this album. I miss that woman and hope to find her some day…

2. The Police – Greatest Hits
Another album that had a huge impact on me was The Police Greatest hits released in 1992. Every track an undeniable hit. Probably my introduction to what a hit is.

3. Radiohead – In Rainbows 
I discovered them much later in life and they won my utter most reverence with the album In Rainbows. Radiohead know how to make that kind of record.

4. Bjork – Vulnicura
Bjork has been a constant inspiration and Vulnicura is my favorite album of the artist. Although I m a huge Biophilia and Medulla fan, I relate much more to the love and pain topic of the artist’s most bold album in my opinion.

5. Yeah Yeah Yeahs – Fever to Tell
I discovered the Yeah Yeah Yeahs a bit too late to be honest… When I did, I listened to this record over and over again. It gave me the confidence to make music and inspired me at so many levels. I consider Karen O a bit of a guru… And this record remains sacred to me.

Thanks to Mentrix for sharing her favourites with us. Follow her on Facebook & Spotify for more updates.

Photo Credit: Gilles Estève

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: Roaches

Swedish four-piece garage band Roaches have just released their new EP ROACHES! and we are loving it! They describe their sound as “Acid flop lollipop fuzzy pussy bug smash lash trash bubble slug hug” – need I say more…

We caught up with Linda & Åsa to tell us their ‘Five Favourites’ – five artists or albums that have influenced their songwriting techniques. They both came back with so many great choices, we let them have five each because we’re nice like that. Check out their choices below, and make sure you give their new EP ROACHES! a listen at the end of this post!

Linda – I have been singing since I was a little girl. For me, it’s been really natural to identify with female singers. Mostly the ones who ”stood out”. Here’s a few of them:

Blondie – ‘Dreaming’
Debbie has been my number one since I was six years old. The first time I heard Blondie was through my father’s cassettes and I fell in love. I was completely fascinated that a girl could sing both in a beautiful and ugly way at the same time. And I still listen to her just as much today! It’s hard to find a favourite song but ‘Dreaming’ is captivating and never gets old!

Siouxsie And The Banshees – ‘Cities in Dust’
This video caught my attention first, not the music. I remember sitting in front of the TV screaming when it came on. Siouxsie has this dark appearance and voice that is really dramatic, and I loved it. ‘Cities in Dust’ is both dark and catchy and it’s about volcanoes! And I love volcanoes!

Kate Bush –  ‘Cloudbusting’
Kate Bush is multi-talented at mixing music, dance and her unique appearance and that really caught my attention at a young age. She is strange and I can relate to that because I feel the same. ‘Cloudbusting’ is my favourite song of hers, it just feels really ‘Kate’, and it resonates with me on a personal level too.

Björk – ‘Jóga’
I have followed Bjork since Kukl and Sugarcubes. It’s hard to describe in words how much she means to me. But, in short, she represents freedom. She has always done what she wants. She can be like a child and the next second a queen. I admire that ability. Björk is the artist I feel closest to myself. I choose Jóga for the love of Björk and the Scandinavian nature.

The Coathangers – ‘Hurricane’
The Coathangers are both inspirational as a band and people. I’ve had the privilege to open for them and got a chance to hang out with them; both their performance and their supportive attitude and words to me really struck a chord. They are cool, cuddly and gave me good advice. I choose ‘Hurricane’ because I love Rusty’s voice and the song is just like them, badass and corky!

Åsa – In taking on the task to list five personal anthems, I felt bound to retrieve some of the songs of my youth. Of course, this leaves out a lot of songs that hold meaning for me. However, my adolescent and young adult life framed my interest in music and woke my desire to perform on stage. So here’s my list, in no particular order – all holding equal weight in their meaning to me:

Dead Moon – ‘It’s O.K.’
Dead Moon are one of my favourite bands of all time. The song ‘It’s O.K.’ is, as for many others, the first song I ever heard of this iconic garage band. I can only hope to be as fierce on stage as Toody after the age of retirement.

Raooul/Skinned Teen – ‘Spirit of ’78’
As a young punk I of course listened to all the women and queers that had managed to “break through” within the scene. Several of whom would have made this list if I had gotten this quest of listings anthems as a member of one of my other bands. This band, however was truly life changing for me. I got the split record with Raooul and Skinned Teen at the age of 14 and it hit me with a blast.

Thee Headcoatees – ‘Wild Man’
One of the things I love with the genre of garage is the kind of sweet sound with rough edges. Girlsville was the first record of this end of the genre, it has this sound with a clear feminist vibe – of course my teenage self was hooked.

PJ Harvey –  ‘To Bring You My Love’
Let England Shake and The Hope Six Demolition Project are probably two of the records I have listened to the most in later years. However, as a young girl I was introduced to PJ Harvey through the records To Bring You My Love and Rid of Me. I truly believe she is one of the greatest musicians in rock music.

The 5, 6, 7 8s – ‘Motorcycle Go Go Go’
Before The 5,6,7,8s appeared in Kill Bill, my brother introduced me to this band, probably through one of the mixtapes that he gave me. They were my introduction to the surf part of the garage rock genres.

Thanks to Linda & Åsa for sharing their favourites! Check out their epic EP ROACHES!, which you can buy from Bandcamp now. Follow Roaches on Facebook and Instagram for more updates.

Five Favourites: DRAMA

Following a recent sold-out show at London’s Heaven, Chicago duo DRAMA have just released their debut album and are fast becoming firm favourites here at Get In Her Ears.

Fusing together an eclectic mix of house production, jazz-infused hooks and catchy hip-hop beats, DRAMA create poignant offerings reflecting on every day emotion, propelled by the captivating soulful power of Via Rosa’s vocals.

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 Via Rosa, who has shared her “Five Favourites” – five albums that particularly resonate with her. Check out her choices below, and make sure you watch their new video for ‘Years’ at the bottom of this post.

Brandy – Brandy
I remember the day my mom took me to Waterloo Records in Austin, Texas. She asked this guy “My daughter wants to listen to hip-hop/RnB can you help me find something for her?” He sent us into the little listening room in the record store and played this album. The minute the first track dropped I looked at my mom like “Yes! I want this!” I played that tape front to back ’til it didn’t play anymore. I just loved it. Looking back, I think it had a lot to do with it being the first album I was allowed to have a say in owning. Before that I was only allowed to listen to what my parents listened to.

N SYNC – *NSYNC
This is obviously me rebelling. I spent so many years listening to my parent’s reggae and mo-town collection that I wanted something completely different. I fell hard for N Sync, later to find out I really fell for Max Martin who was writing everyone’s hits in the ’90s. I mean, how could a young girl not love those catchy heartbreak songs? I had never even been in a relationship and I still somehow felt that shit! Every song was like an open wound. I defended’s honour for many years, and for my 9th birthday my dad bought me tickets to their concert! That changed my life 100% because that show was flawless.

Sade – Live
My mom played a lot of Sade’s music. We would stay up together and watch her live shows on VHS, sometime even dance ’til the sun came up, listening to and watching this album and video. I memorised the set list and all the transitions. I memorised her outfit changes and what she would say between songs and the band solos. Not because I had plans of being on stage, but just ’cause I absolutely loved them. People have compared our sounds and while it wasn’t on purpose, it’s definitely not a coincidence either. If I had to pinpoint a moment and album in life that sparked the fan girl in me, it would definitely be this one.

Ludacris – Word Of Mouf 
This was the first rap album I bought with my own money. I thought the album cover was fantastic because it made me laugh. I’m pretty sure that’s why I bought it, because I definitely didn’t know who he was beforehand. It probably wasn’t the smartest purchase considering I was only about twelve or thirteen at the time. I felt like the coolest kid ever with that album in my collection. He was so animated and funny while still being honest, real and entertaining. It took my parents a long time to let me listen to mainstream rap music, but Ludacris was my introduction to that world, so I’ll forever be grateful for that album. I still think it’s one of the best ever made.

Weezer – Pinkerton 
I had a crush on a boy and he asked me if I had heard of Weezer. I instantly replied “Oh yeah, of course. I love them”, knowing damn well all I only really was NSYNC and Backstreet Boys. I guess I lied because I knew it would make me look cool. I must have been about eight years old or something. But then when I actually did listen to that album I liked it A LOT. The songs are amazingly written! The music is perfect! The cover!? AMAZING. Then there I was, a Weezer fan. The boy crush didn’t last, of course, but I went on to cherish this album for many years. I just think it’s really well put together from start to finish, which is not an easy thing to do.

Massive thanks to Via Rosa for sharing her Five Favourites! 

DRAMA’s debut album Dance Without Me is out now. Watch the video for new single ‘Years’ below:

Photo Credit: Zoe Rain

Five Favourites: The Inspirations Behind Grawl!x’s ‘PEEPS’

Having previously received acclaim for their previous three albums, including last year’s Appendix, Derby-based Grawl!x, is now set to release their brand new album later this week.

To celebrate the release of their new album, Grawl!x will be playing our gig at The Finsbury this Friday, and we cannot wait to be captivated by their soaring cinematic soundscapes live. 

Hi there! My name is Maria & I’m in Grawl!x. We’ve got an album coming out called PEEPS. It’s about friends & how important they are in the face of impending doom, but it’s also fun – YAY!!! Here’s five tracks that influenced the making of this record.

Jon Hopkins – ‘Immunity’ 
A big impetus for this album was a trip I took a few years back with a friend a mine. We went and stayed over in North Wales for a night & just sortof hung out. On the way back we stopped by this beach which, given a spot of gorge weather, felt briefly like the hazy Mediterranean. I sat and had a ponder while my friend played with her dog. It was a lovely moment as I’d been having some mental problems and I just felt everything would be OK, despite all this doom & gloom in me bonce. On the way there, we listened to Immunity and the title track is my fave. It was such a eureka moment the first time I heard this; it was like “oh, dance music can be heart breaking, tender & beautiful in an almost classical sense”. Having just done a rather slow piano record, it seemed like a logical progression to pop a beat in there somewhere. He’s rate clever.

Deerful – ‘N1c’
Not sure how I got turned onto Deerful (probs through Haiku Salut who are lovely peeps!), but I absolutely love her voice and synth work. There’s so many from her first record Peaches I could pick but I just heart the vibe in this one. I gather she uses algorithms which blows my mind, but then I am a country bumpkin! Plus, it references The Postal Service, which is like one of my favourite albums ever. It was such an honour to have her sing on two of the tracks for PEEPS. We’ve still yet to meet, so it’s like my first online friendship if that’s rate to say? I remember getting the stems back one shift at work (I’m a projectionist), and I was just geeking out diving around in the dark projection booth. Proper highlight. So, thank you for that Deerful.

Yves Tumor – ‘Limerence’
This is such a beautiful track, and that it comes from such an enigmatic, challenging artist makes it all the more beautiful. It’s just one of those tracks that just makes me yearn for bygone folks & memories of loveliness. When the vocal sample comes in, it’s so unexpected but so playful; juvenile but perfectly encapsulates that sense of youth. It evokes a lot it me face brain.

Emma Kupa – ‘Katie NYC’
This is just one of my fave friend songs. When I was looking at songs about friendship, the most common tendency tended to be that they were a bit – dare I say – cheesy. This is a stark example to the contrary. It’s just so sad and heartfelt. You’re proper there with her and her loved one who’s suffering. I think we’ve all been there where you want to help some one, and you feel so helpless. Of course, sometimes just being present is enough. I might be reading into it too much. I just love Emma’s solo music & proper hope to hear some new stuff soon.

Animal Collective  – ‘My Girls’
I couldn’t not include this song for many reasons. It’s been such a huge influence on my life. If I could ever write a song halfway as good as this, I’d be happy. I’d been in mostly rock bands up to the point this came out, and it just reconnected me to the joy of electronic instrumentation. It’s catchy, beautiful, clever – it’s just so good, I’m listening to it again now! As well as all that, it’s been there in my life at such crucial points. I remember driving with my Dad one time going to the beach in my twenties, and just had a lovely day. I played it at a DJ night recently, and we all had a good grind. Plus, pretty sure me and my friend played it on the way back from that trip to North Wales. Friends are proper important, I think, but friends with music is like the best cake you can ever go swimming in. Quote for the ages I think you’ll agree.

Huge thanks to Grawl!x for sharing their five choices with us! 

PEEPS, the upcoming album from Grawl!x, is out on Friday 14th February via Reckless Yes. Pre-order on Bandcamp now. And catch them live to celebrate at our gig at The Finsbury that night, along with Piney Gir, Captain Handsome and I Am HER.

 

Photo Credit: Laura Mi

FIVE FAVOURITES: Bones Garage

Tel Aviv-based band Bones Garage have been making music together for the last 6 years. Formed of Ariel Pedatzur, Eden Atad, Yaniv Bin, Dor Harari, Yoni Deutsch and Raz Copperman, they’ve played stages at Glastonbury, SXSW, All Points East, and The Great Escape, and are set to release their third record in May this year. Influenced by elements of post-punk, surf rock and shoegaze, the six piece create intriguing soundscapes, but their latest single ‘I’ve Loved’ shows the band can also deliver stripped back, gentler tracks too. 

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 Bones Garage to ask them about their “Five Favourites” – five albums that have influenced their song writing techniques. Check out their choices below, and scroll down to watch the video for ‘I’ve Loved’ at the end of this post.

1. John Lennon – Plastic Ono Band
Like many others, we grew up as Beatles freaks. The first show Eden and Yaniv ever played together was a Beatles covers show at their school. But somehow this album ended up resonating with us more than any Beatles record. It’s raw, personal, heartbreaking, broken, yet perfectly beautiful. The experiments and cleverness of The Beatles was replaced by bare-minimum arrangements. As a band of six people, our initial arrangements are rarely minimal, but this album is a great reminder that sometimes simple and raw is the most beautiful.

2. Elliot Smith – Either/Or
We’ve been called many things – post-punk, surf, shoegaze, and so on – and the aesthetics in our music are indeed influenced by many genres. But that’s all extra stuff on top of the most important thing – the songwriting itself. We admire too many songwriters to list here, but Elliot Smith stands apart as one of the most open, sensitive, talented and emotional songwriters in history. Either/Or is the peak of his career, an album that perfectly sums up the emotions we strive to achieve in music.

3. Timber Timbre – Hot Dreams
It all started when Timber Timbre were scheduled to play in Israel, and we were asked to cover one of their songs to help promote the show. Somehow, we ended up as their opening act for two shows in Israel, years apart. We’ve discovered this great band together, and their lush, dark and dramatic style have influenced us greatly. The gentle, meaningful drumming of Olivier Farfield has been a great influence on our drummer Dor (who used to be an insanely loud metal drummer), and we’ve discovered and experienced their great music together, as a band. And also, we think our cover turned out pretty well (listen to it here).

4. Pavement – Crooked Rain, Crooked Rain
After a revolutionary debut album, Stephen Malkmus and Pavement delivered a masterpiece that’s everything rock music should aspire to be. It’s a nostalgic record, reminds us of hot summer days, makes you want to ride a skateboard with friends, listen to music and fall in love like when we were naïve teenagers. It’s full of humor and silliness, a reminder we shouldn’t always take ourselves too seriously, and still manages to be profound and meaningful. It sounds like it was made up on the spot and recorded in one take, yet every note and word is right where it should be. And besides, Stephen Malkmus really is something special.’Middle America’ is, hands down, one of the best songs we’ve heard in the last few years.

5. The Microphones – The Glow Pt 2.
When we were teens, Eden and Yaniv recorded a string of weird, ambitious albums on their own in a home studio. Most of them honestly weren’t great at all, but it helped us become who we are. So it’s great to see such a masterpiece like “The Glow Pt. 2” made in a home studio. Phil Elverum has combined raw, emotional, stark songwriting with experimentation and weird noises, taking us to an emotional journey that has deeply influenced our music, and they way we’ve learned to use noise to express ourselves.

Thanks to Bones Garage for sharing their favourites with us. Follow the band on Facebook & Spotify for more updates.

Photo Credit: Eirad Netzer