FIVE FAVOURITES: Heather Gabel (HIDE)

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

We think one of the best ways to get to know an artist is by asking what music inspired them to write in the first place. We caught up with Heather to ask her about her “Five Favourites” – five tracks/albums that have influenced her songwriting techniques. Check out her choices below, and make sure you catch HIDE live at The Shacklewell Arms (w/ Kontravoid) on 3rd October (event info here).

 

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

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

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

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

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

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

Photo Credit: Nicola Kuperus

Kate Crudgington
@KCBobCut

ALBUM: Chelsea Wolfe – ‘Birth Of Violence’

Poetic, intimate, and exquisitely melancholic; Chelsea Wolfe’s new album Birth Of Violence is a collection of instinctive songs galvanized by exhaustion, loneliness and doubt. Set for release on 13th September via Sargent House, the record is gentler on the ears compared to 2017’s LP Hiss Spun, but it still flows with Wolfe’s trademark macabre darkness.

Written and recorded in the solitude of her home in Northern California, Wolfe worked alongside longtime collaborator Ben Chisholm, and ongoing contributors Jess Gowrie (drums) and Ezra Buchla (viola) to create Birth Of Violence. This simple set-up has given her the freedom to create a record filled with understated, but poignant grandeur.

Vulnerable opener ‘The Mother Road’ centers around Wolfe’s voice and her revalatory lyrics. “Guess I needed someone to break me / Guess I needed someone to shake me up” she muses, prompted by large stretches of time spent on the road touring, which simultaneously bruised and heightened her consciousness as a songwriter. It bleeds in to the toxic yet seductive ‘American Darkness’, on which she broods “All my old ways have started kickin’ in / And my bad days are comin’ round again”. This urge to escape old habits and emerge from the shadows permeates the record.

“I’ve come to know what I need, I visualize while I bleed” reflects Wolfe on eponymous track ‘Birth Of Violence’, proving that clarity can be found even when one is at the peak of suffering. It’s followed by the moody ‘Deranged For Rock & Roll’ which smolders with smooth confidence. Powerful ambition is treated modestly on ‘Be All Things’, with its orchestral elements underscoring Wolfe’s beautiful howl throughout. The pensive ‘Erde’ is laced with fears about our poisoned planet – its final minute rising and falling like an anxious heartbeat.

The deliciously named ‘When Anger Turns To Honey’ dissolves any pre-existing angst or hostility, and is an aural elixir designed to transform states of emotion. Wolfe proves she is the “daughter of sorrow” across ‘Dirt Universe’ and the sparse ‘Little Grave’ which addresses the tragedy in the aftermath of a high school shooting. Her treatment of the social/political themes on Birth Of Violence is all the more devastating because of its subtlety. The contexts of both ‘Erde’ and ‘Little Grave’ only really become clear after repeated listens.

Despite the pensive, morose nature of the majority of the tracks on the album, there is an optimism in Wolfe’s realist approach to an ambiguous grief. On ‘Preface to a Dream Play’ she sings: “Everything is possible / Throw a spear in to the unknown” – displaying enviable bravery when faced with the metaphorical abyss. This continues on penultimate track ‘Highway’, her vocals meandering along an unknown stretch of road, accompanied by ominous, looping guitar.

Closing track ‘The Storm’ is a one minute audio of thunder and rain, perhaps signalling that the thunder clouds that overshadowed Wolfe prior to Birth Of Violence have now finally dispersed. “These songs came to me in a whirlwind” explains Wolfe about her new music, and what a turbulent, devastating whirlwind it must have been. It’s a privilege to be able to weather the storm with her.

Chelsea Wolfe’s Birth of Violence is released via Sargent House on 13th September. Pre-order your copy here.

Kate Crudgington
@KCBobCut

WATCH: SKYND – ‘Tyler Hadley’

Not for the faint hearted, industrial/electronic duo SKYND have shared their latest track ‘Tyler Hadley’, taken from their second EP Chapter II released earlier this year. Continuing in the tradition of most of their previous releases, the song is named after a psychopath, exploring their historic brutality through startling visuals and thumping beats.

Formed of SKYND (vocals) and “Father” (producer/multi-instrumentalist), the duo explain the premise of their new track further: “‘Tyler Hadley’ follows the story of a boy who killed both of his parents because he wanted to throw a party at his house. He developed the idea to kill his parents so he didn’t have to ask for permission anymore. He ended up having a party in the house that dead bodies were in, so it’s really creepy.”

Creepy is certainly an apt word for the context of SKYND’s songs, but the duo state they are here to serve as a reminder that “All human beings are capable of cruelty”. Their intense live performances aim to provide listeners with a different perspective, and to question what lies beneath the facade of normality.

Watch the video for ‘Tyler Hadley’ below and follow SKYND on Facebook for more updates.

Kate Crudgington
@KCBobCut

WATCH: HIDE – ‘Raw Dream’

**WARNING: Nudity & graphic content**

Brutal beats, abrasive synths and cutting vocals infiltrate HIDE‘s latest single ‘Raw Dream’, taken from their upcoming album Hell is Here, which is set for release on 23rd August via Dais Records.

Based in Chicago, HIDE are comprised of fine artist Gabel and percussionist Seth Sher. They describe their new single as “an anthem for the rise of the disenfranchised – a long overdue and joyous recalibration of an imbalance of power”. The track is accompanied by a video shot by Eon Mora, and edited by Christopher Michael Hefner and the band.

HIDE are renowned for their electric live performances, and dedication to channeling the voices of those who have been downtrodden, abused, or ignored. Their 2016 EP Black Flame was dedicated to the memory of Reyhana Jabbari – a 27 year old Iranian woman who was hung for allegedly killing someone who tried to rape her. Their 2017 debut album Castration Anxiety addresses issues of power dynamics and representation. Now, with ‘Raw Dream’ and their upcoming second album, the pair continue to transform vulnerability in to more powerful, distracting industrial tunes.

HIDE will be playing at The Shacklewell Arms on 3rd October, and we strongly recommend you grab a ticket before they sell out the venue. Watch ‘Raw Dream’ below and follow the band on Facebook for more updates.

Kate Crudgington
@KCBobCut

Track Of The Day: GHUM – ‘Get Up’

Having wowed us on numerous occasions with their immersive live performances, and with support slots for the likes of Dream Wife and Muncie Girls, GIHE faves GHUM are now set to captivate our ears once more with their upcoming new EP, The Coldest Fire.

Taken from the EP, new single ‘Get Up’ flows with deep, dark bass lines, as scuzzed-out whirring hooks are propelled by a gritty energy to accompany Laura’s swirling, steely vocals. Building to a hauntingly anthemic offering, ‘Get Up’ perfectly showcases GHUM’s goth-tinged, sparkling majesty and bewitching charisma, proving this band to be deserving of every success they earn.

Of the upcoming EP, the band explain:

These songs have a power and fire about them but they also feel hostile and mysterious at times, which is a trait you’ll find across all the songs we write… The title also perfectly describes us as a band. We’re very different people, with a mix of personalities (and star signs!) covering three of the four elements; fire, water and air. It’s the combination of that fire with the colder elements of water and air which make GHUM – we’re a mix of passion, anger, logic, precision, timidness, volume and emotion, all at the same time. All the songs on the EP talk about love, but the kind of unpredictable, cold and fiery love that exists through life.

Listen to ‘Get Up’ on Spotify now, or on Bandcamp below:

 

The Coldest Fire, the new EP from GHUM, is out 28th June via Everything Sucks Music.  Catch GHUM live at the launch party on 13th July at The Shacklewell Arms.

Mari Lane
@marimindles

Photo Credit: Poppy Marriott

 

Track Of The Day: New Haunts – ‘Escape’

Born from a desire to take back control of a lonely summer, Bristol based darkwave artist New Haunts‘ (aka Alice Sheridan) has shared her new single ‘Escape’. The song is a sci-fi synth encoded five minutes of yearning yet optimistic self-expression, and is one of two upcoming singles which will be included on her second LP, expected for release in Autumn 2019.

Speaking about the new track, Alice explains: “This song came into existence purely to facilitate my own escapism during a time when life felt very physically and mentally limiting. For various reasons I had to spend a lot of time cooped up on my own last summer, and I’m someone who gets cabin fever after a day so I was crawling up the walls. In order to preserve my own sanity I figured that I wouldn’t write something sombre or disconcerting for once – I wanted to write something dream-like and freeing; an escape-route away from everything. I hope it takes the listener there too.”

Produced by Kindest Cuts, New Haunts will be performing her music live at The Finsbury Pub in London on 29th March in support of Terminal Gods (RSVP here). Listen to ‘Escape’ below and follow New Haunts on Bandcamp and Facebook for more updates.

Photo Credit: Katie Murt Photography

Kate Crudgington
@KCBobCut

LIVE: Kælan Mikla – Electrowerkz, London 19.02.19

Having been hand selected by The Cure’s Robert Smith to support Placebo at Southbank’s Meltdown Festival in the summer of 2018, it was no surprise to see Icelandic darkwave trio Kælan Mikla perform to a near capacity crowd at Electrowerkz on Wednesday night.

Presented by Bad Vibrations, the evening began with a performance from newcomer Some Ember (aka Dylan Travis). Clad in a silver shirt and metallic make-up, Travis shared his classic 808, Cold Cave-esque sounds with energy and enthusiasm, before Kælan Mikla took to the stage to deliver a set full of brooding electronic dissonance.

Together, Sólveig Matthildur (synths/keys), Laufey Soffía (vocals) and Margrét Rósa (bass) created a coven-esque atmosphere with their layered drum beats, pulverizing synths, powerful vocal delivery – and a burning stick of incense held by lead vocalist Laufey. A mix of spoken word, angsty screams and extended notes, Laufey’s voice echoed around the venue with poetic prowess. Singing in her native Icelandic tongue, the mood of each of Kælan Mikla’s songs translated clearly – whether listeners were fluent in the language or not.

Despite their darkwave roots, the trio’s live delivery had a gentle pop energy, aided by their animated movements and a colourful light show. Whilst their performance was still haunting and immersive, the chemistry between Matthildur, Soffía and Rósa clearly lightened the mood. After returning for a brief encore – Laufey with incense in hand again – the band left the stage to the sound of rapturous and appreciative applause. A bewitching, indulgent live experience: Kælan Mikla’s set is a beguiling blur of post-punk, gothic noise that ensnares the senses.

Follow Kælan Mikla on Facebook for more updates.

Kate Crudgington
@KCBobCut