LIVE: A.A. Williams – Lafayette, London 04.03.22

After two years of re-scheduling show dates and a tentative return to live music across the UK, London-based songwriter A.A Williams delivered a stunning performance that showcased her heavy sound in all its glory at Lafayette last night.

A classically trained multi-instrumentalist, Williams’ blending of post-rock and post-classical elements has a hypnotising quality, one that was clearly appreciated by her silent crowd. It’s rare to hear a venue so quiet between songs, but Williams congregation remained devotedly still throughout her set.

Performing songs from her debut album Forever Blue, which she released in 2020, Williams opened the show with an exquisite rendition of ‘All I Asked For (Was To End It All)’. Her soft vocals floated above beguiling keys before heavy riffs and percussion broke the spell and dominated the track’s closing minute. What’s obvious throughout the set is Williams’ and her bandmate’s impressive instinct for volume fluctuation. Her balancing between loud and quiet is the lifeblood of Forever Blue, and it’s something that translates beautifully into a live setting.

Suited in black and playing her guitar in the spotlight, Williams cut a calm and captivating figure, enhanced by her ability to switch from a fragile-sounding exhale of words to a powerful extended vocal. Her voice was occasionally lost in the flood of heavy, feverish sound, but in the moments where it did cut through, it made for intense and cathartic listening, effortlessly elevating the rapturous mood.

It’s hard to pick “standout” tracks from the set, as Williams’ performance had a whole, defined, cinematic quality to it. Her poignant renditions of ‘Dirt’, ‘Fearless’ and the emotionally raw ‘I’m Fine’ made listeners hold their collective breath, but closing her set with ‘Melt’ was undoubtedly a highlight. The smouldering, brooding track was stripped of its more melancholic feel once the blitz-like volume change kicked in, once again displaying Williams’ and her bandmate’s instincts for intricately cauterizing the ear drums.

Taking time to thank her fans between songs and genuinely appreciative of their applause at the end of the show, A.A. Williams provided an aural tonic of intense, beautifully executed sound at Lafayette, proving that the two year wait to hear her poetic ruminations on Forever Blue was well and truly worth it.

Follow A.A Williams on bandcamp, Spotify, Instagram, Twitter & Facebook

Kate Crudgington
@KCBobCut

PLAYLIST: January 2022

New year, new playlist! The Get In Her Ears team have put together an eclectic mix of indie anthems, guitar tunes, alt-pop tracks & immersive electronic sounds for your listening pleasure. Take some time to scroll through our track choices below and make sure you hit play on the Spotify playlist at the end of this post.

Follow GIHE on Spotify to hear all of our previous playlists too.

Ronnie Spector – ‘She Talks To Rainbows’
Hearing news of Ronnie Spector’s passing last week hit hard. A truly innovative musical icon, she inspired generations of women in music, whilst The Ronnettes were one of the first ‘girl groups’ to receive worldwide acclaim. Sadly also famous for being a survivor of serious physical and psychological abuse from her husband of six years, producer Phil Spector, I think it’s important we remember Ronnie for the incredible musical gifts she’s left us with. I just love the sparkling, soulful splendour and whimsical grace of this lesser known beauty, ‘She Talks To Rainbows’. (Mari Lane)

Girl Ray – ‘Murder on the Dance Floor’
Girl Ray’s cover of this 2001 classic by Sophie Ellis-Bextor… Need. I. Say. More. (Tash Walker)

Bas Jan – ‘Sex Cult’
The latest single from London experimental collective Bas Jan (founded by Serafina Steer and featuring members of Jenny Moore’s Mystic Business and Jarv Is), ‘Sex Cult’ offers a glistening cacophony propelled by a quirky energy and captivating allure. Reflecting on society’s attitude towards polygamy, it radiates a celestial joy as crystalline voices come together in unity to create something quite euphoric. Baby You Know, the new album from Bas Jan, is out 28th January via Lost Map Records. (ML)

ML Buch – ‘I’m a Girl You can Hold IRL’
This song is taken from Danish electro-pop musician ML Buch’s album Skinned which came out in 2020, but I spent a lot of the winter break listening to it so thought I’d share it with you all in 2022. I love its futuristic techno electro tones and all the FEELINGS. (TW)

SEA CHANGE – ‘Is There Anybody There’
Created during a time of intense loneliness during the middle of lockdown, this atmospheric offering from Norwegian producer Sea Change gives me goosebumps. Blossoming from a place of empathy, it’s one of many evocative tunes that feature on her upcoming album, Mutual Dreaming, which is set for release on 11th February via Shapes Recordings. (Kate Crudgington)

Brimheim – ‘This Week’s Laundry’
A stirring, intricately observed guitar tune about trying to cultivate a “normal” routine during a time of deep vulnerability, I love this single from Danish alt-pop artist Brimheim. Taken from her upcoming album, can’t hate myself into a different shape, which is set for release on 28th January via W.A.S Entertainment, the track flows with her tender vocals and confessional lyrics, which chime with relatable melancholy. I had the pleasure of interviewing Brimheim about her new record and her love for Queen Avril Lavigne earlier this month. Read our chat here. (KC)

Midwife – ‘2020’
This is a gloomy (but great) track about the year we’d all rather forget: 2020. Taken from Midwife aka Madeline Johnston’s third album Luminol, which was written & produced during quarantine last year, ‘2020’ is her cover of The Offspring’s 1997 track ‘Gone Away’, which I didn’t know until the person who recommended Midwife to me sent me a link to the original song. I know she’s been around a while, but I’m newly obsessed with this track & her album.  (KC)

Wu-Lu – ‘Times’
My new obsession, I recently came across South London multi-instrumentalist and producer Wu-Lu courtesy of Mary-Anne Hobbs on BBC 6Music. Creating a wonderfully eclectic smorgasbord of immense sounds, I just love how Wu-Lu manages to fuse together dark, Deftones-esque punk with a gritty, hip-hop inspired edge. I cannot stop listening to this track right now, which features drums by Black Midi’s Morgan Simpson. (ML)

Pearly – ‘Silver Behind The Mirror’
An agitated, sultry dose of cinematic heavy rock, I’m a big fan of this single by Ohio-based trio Pearly. Taken from their upcoming album Silver of The Mirror, which is set for release on 11th February via Eto Ano Recordings, the track is a smouldering slice of “stoner rock” that heaves with heady desire. (KC)

SASAMI – ‘Say It’
This industrial-tinged “rage dance anthem” from SASAMI is 100% a bit of me. Taken from her upcoming album Squeeze, which is set for release on 25th February via Domino, SASAMI explains: “I feel like when I hear this song I see a hot femme with a mystical flamethrower engulfed in emotional blue flames throwing elbows alone in an industrial dance club in outer space.” Mate, same. (KC)

HALINA RICE – ‘Sunken Suns’
What do I love more than dreamy songs full of feelings? The answer is obscure electronica! My latest listen comes from London-based artist Halina Rice, as part of a new project where she is embarking on creating new worlds in her music. Of this track Halina explains, “I wanted to create something dark and strange and emotive. The track emerged after days spent generating sounds through synths and noise generators. I put a mass of effects on the sampled vocals and they seemed to develop a life of their own – like a half-heard transmission from another world.” LOVE IT. (TW)

Gemini Aaliyah – ‘Moonrise’
Leeds-based artist Gemini Aaliyah says her single ‘Moonrise’ is the beginning of her “fucked up fairy tale where the ghetto meets the goth girl,” and that’s something I’d like to openly support. She channels her angst through yearning vocals and brooding beats, finding solace in the idea of re-birth and reinvention through her lyrics. Gemini Aaliyah will be playing at Drown U Out Festival at Leeds University Union on 19th February, alongside two of my other favourites Ho99o9 and Bob Vylan. (KC)

Queen Cult – ‘Calm’
Following acclaim from the likes of BBC Introducing for their debut single ‘Shindigger’ and support for their resonant latest single ‘A Song About Consent’, Queen Cult’s latest single ‘Calm’ flows with luscious, heartfelt vocals before building to a sweeping, fiercely impassioned proclamation to stand up to the patriarchy. Once again showcasing the Cheshire band’s knack for creating epic pop-rock anthems with a poignant sense of intent, ‘Calm’ cements Queen Cult’s place as definite ones to watch in 2022. The debut EP from Queen Cult is set for release on 28th January. (ML)

Peaness – ‘How I’m Feeling’
Having just announced the release of their debut album, Chester trio Peaness have shared a new taster of what’s to come from the LP. Propelled by uplifting, jangling hooks, latest single ‘How I’m Feeling’ reflects on the feelings of self-loathing and melancholy that can come from being stuck in an unfulfilling job and offers a glistening sense of hope that, with a bit of determination, you can make a positive change. I just can’t get enough of Peaness’ glossy, honey-sweet sounds and sunny, playful energy. World Full Of Worry, the debut album from Peaness, is set for release on 6th May. (ML)

SPRINTS – ‘Little Fix’
Another absolute banger from Dublin four-piece Sprints. Taken from their upcoming EP A Modern Job, which is set for release on 11th March via Nice Swan Records, ‘Little Fix’ is full of powerhouse vocals, crashing drums and racing riffs. The track is inspired by vocalist Karla Chubb’s experience of imposter syndrome, as she explains: “plagued by insecurities, imposter syndrome and gender stereotypes, ‘Little Fix’ is the culmination of all my fears – the, sometimes self-applied pressure that as a woman in music, I can’t just be good, I have to be great.” Even with these anxieties, Karla and her bandmates have created a candid, intensely cathartic offering with this track. (KC)

Worse Off – ‘You Belong Here’
I love this track by excellently named New York pop punk duo Worse Off. They sent me their EP You Win Some, You Lose…A Lot, in December last year and I was headbanging away to their tunes at my desk. Definitely check them out, their EP is up on bandcamp and Spotify. (KC)

Tits Up – ‘Macho Bullshit’
Having released their debut EP Greatest Tits, at the beginning of the month, Liverpool band Tits Up are ready to blast into your lives with their immense riot grrrl inspired energy and unapologetic honesty raging against the patriarchal society in which we live. Fuelled by a frenzied punk spirit, ‘Macho Bullshit’ hits you with its riotous, angst-driven force, offering an empowering statement of intent. (ML)

Bitch – ‘You’re The Man’
Set to release her debut album next month, queer electro-pop artist Bitch prides herself on being “like Joni Mitchell set to a click track… It’s neon pink, in your face, ready to hex you with its brilliance.” Latest single ‘You’re The Man’ exudes a driving, gritty energy as sizzling synths race alongside dense drum-machine beats, creating an empowering reflection on letting go of negative forces and reclaiming your inner voice. Bitch’s perfectly named debut album Bitchcraft is set for release on 4th February via legendary label Kill Rock Stars. (ML)

Combo Chimbita – ‘Yo Me Lo Merezco’
The title of this warm, joyful track from New York-based Latinx quartet Combo Chimbita roughly translates as “I deserve it”. The track and accompanying video are a celebration of self-love, spot-lighting prominent queer and trans performance artists, including Teresa Karolina who stars in the visuals. ‘Yo Me Lo Merezco’ is taken from Combo Chimbita’s upcoming album, IRE, which is set for release on 28th January via ANTI. (KC)

Flamango Bay – ‘LA’
The latest single from San Francisco trio Flamango Bay, ‘LA’ reflects on the band’s recent move to the city. Propelled by sunny, jangling melodies, it’s a dreamy slice of indie-pop that glistens with an irresistible, effervescent charm. The Fool, the upcoming debut EP from Flamango Bay, is set for release on 13th May via 0800-Moshi-Moshi. (ML)

Babeheaven – ‘Don’t Wake Me
This band never disappoint. ‘Don’t Wake Me’ is Babeheaven’s latest gently soothing release. Just lovely. (TW)

KEYAH/BLU – ‘Til Bliss’
This is the latest single by South London rapper KEYAH/BLU who I would encourage you all to go and check out if you aren’t familiar with already. (TW)

Skylu – ‘Foreign Concept’
A tune for the stolen hours, this is the debut single from Skylu, whose voice you may recognise from Bamboo Smoke. (TW)

Lucy Barton – ‘Starlight’
The latest single from singer-songwriter Lucy Barton, ‘Starlight’ offers a sparkling reflection on gaining awareness of our self-crippling subconscious thoughts. With a subtle immersive power, the track speaks of breaking free from this internal narration, allowing us to discover the beauty that exists in life. I’m a big fan of Barton’s soaring, glitchy musicality and emotion-strewn honey-sweet vocals, and can’t wait to hear more from her. (ML)

Carmel Smickersgill – ‘Questioning’
The latest single from modern classical artist Carmel Smickersgill, ‘Questioning’ offers a truly captivating and uniquely intriguing soundscape. Mentored by acclaimed musician Anna Meredith, Smickersgill prides herself on creating immersive ‘outsider pop’, and I just love this track’s whirring grace and celestial, ethereal energy, reminiscent of GIHE fave Jenny Hval. Smickersgill is releasing her debut EP in April. (ML)

Novaa – ‘You Can F With Me’
‘You Can F With Me’ by Berlin based alt-pop singer-songwriter Novaa is taken from her forthcoming album due in early 2022. This is a song about the things that people asked and told her as a victim of sexual abuse and rape. Love and solidarity to anyone who relates to that track and remember that the best thing you can ever do for anyone who has been a victim, is to listen, be kind and give them space and support to heal. (TW)

Zannie – ‘Mechanical Bull’
This is the latest single from New York-based songwriter Zannie, who’s recently signed to iconic riot grrrl label Kill Rock Stars. They remind me a little bit of Phoebe Bridgers on this track and I’m excited to hear more from them this year. (KC)

EP: Tokky Horror – ‘I Found The Answers and Now I Want More’

If you love The Prodigy’s ‘Firestarter’, Tokky Horror’s latest EP I Found the Answers and Now I Want More is the exhilarating debut you need to hear. Hailing from Liverpool, London and Manchester, the virtual hardcore collective made up of Zee Davine, Ava Akira and Mollie Rush layer growling guitars with EDM. The result? A cyber goth masterpiece that hits you as hard as MDMA.

Kicking wormholes through genres, the queercore group mix rave and rock to produce a record that emulates the same intense and futuristic energy of The Matrix. This is the kind of special EP you need to listen to through both earphones to fully appreciate.

Dragging us into a new dimension is the brazen, pulse-racing opening track ‘Girlracer’, which launches listeners into punk-infused drum and bass. Lyrically tearing apart the pop culture bond between masculinity and fast cars, the song revs its engine angrily at the expulsion of women from hyper-masculine spaces, which Davine notes often includes “dance culture itself.”

The beats on ‘Simulate Me’ pulse at levels that could match a Love Honey vibrator. Laced with laser synth sounds and erotic imperatives like “touch me / love me”, the song frankly takes on the topic of virtual love and dating, particularly fitting for the pandemic restriction era we are living in. Next up is ‘Godliness’, which stands out against the others and offers a slightly mellower take on electronic rock. As Davine says, “I think we show our more expansive side on ‘Godliness’…it’s us letting our guard down a bit for something more genuine.”

With croaking, shrieking vocals and distorted heavy guitar sounds, ‘Eden on Acid’ is probably the most punk-sounding song of the EP (and my favourite track too.) It’s only one and half minutes long, yet has an edge and intensity to it that reminds me of the intro of My Bloody Valentine’s ‘Only Shallow’. Finishing with ‘Sleeper’, Tokky Horror strips the opening riff from The Beastie Boys ‘Sabotage’ and creates an exhilarating build-up to a hypnotic refrain. A strong end to an EP that shows off the trio’s instrumental momentum and individuality.

Listen to Tokky Horror’s new EP, released via Alcopop! Records, here.

Follow Tokky Horror on bandcamp, Spotify, Twitter, Instagram & Facebook

Jay Mitra
@punkofcolour

Track Of The Day: Riotmiloo – ‘Vile Butterflies’

Abrasive beats, pulverizing electronics and seething vocals mesh together on ‘Vile Butterflies’, the latest single from London-based industrial riot grrrl Riotmiloo. Released as part of Chaos Theory’s fundraising compilation album 11 Years Of Chaos, the track bristles with intense unease, mimicking the nervous twitches of the wings of the titular insect.

“The idea behind this song is to not to let negative thoughts suppress your potential. Don’t listen to your vile butterflies,” Riotmiloo explains. Due to the on-going Covid-19 pandemic, Riotmiloo and London-based music promoters Chaos Theory have been unable to perform live shows at one of their favourite venues, The Black Heart in Camden, for over a year. ‘Vile Butterflies’ is one of twenty-six tracks on 11 Years Of Chaos, a compilation album that aims to raise much-needed funds for the venue, as well as promoting many of the artists Chaos Theory have worked with too.

Currently available on bandcamp, 10% of the profits made before 22nd March will be donated to the #SaveTheBlackHeart campaign, with other profits being shared fairly between artists and Chaos Theory so they can invest in more livestreaming equipment. The alternative, genre-defying collection features tracks from heavy rockers Vodun, a beguiling Cocteau Twins cover by Maud The Moth, as well as contributions from Brigitte Handley, Kate Arnold, Prisa Mata, Årabrot, Black Orchids and more.

The album is a fierce, cathartic soundtrack for escapism, but it’s also a heartening reminder that the DIY music community provides a crucial support network for artists, venues and promoters during this unpredictable and difficult time.

Listen to Riotmiloo’s ‘Vile Butterflies’ below.

Download your copy of 11 Years Of Chaos from bandcamp.

 

Follow Riotmiloo on bandcamp, Spotify, Twitter, Facebook & Instagram

Follow Chaos Theory on bandcampTwitter, Facebook & Instagram

Kate Crudgington
@KCBobCut