Track Of The Day: Hilary Woods – ‘Orange Tree’

A tentative exploration of inner fears; Hilary Woods‘ latest single ‘Orange Tree’ is an atmospheric, brooding affair. Taken from her upcoming second album Birthmarks, set for release on 13th March via Sacred Bones, the Irish musician has crafted another dark, beguiling soundscape that smolders with quiet intensity.

Speaking about the new track, Woods explains: “For me, ‘Orange Tree’ is a personal song acknowledging an inner fear of the unknown. It’s an exercise in overcoming, becoming more planted and rooted in the earth and in the body.” Woods’ thoughts are reflected in the accompanying visuals for the track, which she created and directed with Joshua Wright.

Written & recorded over the course of two years between Galway and Oslo, whilst Woods was heavily pregnant, Birthmarks looks set to be her most personal and powerful record to date. Inspired by the works of Norwegian experimental noise producer & filmmaker Lasse Marhaug, the images from post-war Japanese and wet-plate photography, to the secret life of trees; Woods’ far-reaching influences are what make her art so mesmerising and transcendent.

Watch the video for ‘Orange Tree’ below, and follow Hilary Woods on Facebook & Spotify for more updates.

Hilary Woods EU/UK Live Dates 2020
April 19, Tilberg, NL @ Roadburn Festival
May 18, London, UK @ Cafe Oto

Photo credit: Joshua Wright

Kate Crudgington
@KCBobCut

PLAYLIST: February 2020

We made it through January everyone! That achievement alone deserves a shiny new playlist. We’ve put together a list of brand new music to help you celebrate. As February is also LGBT History month, we’ve included a few tracks from some of our favourite LGBT artists in the list too. Take some time to scroll through our choices below, and make sure you hit play on the Spotify playlist at the end of the page.

 

Wilsen – ‘Feeling Fancy’
I cannot get this song from Brooklyn-based trio Wilsen out of my head! It’s a shimmering guitar ode to the softly spoken, celebrating introversion and inherent shyness. It’s taken from their upcoming album Ruiner, which is set for release on 21st February via Dalliance Recordings. (Kate Crudgington)

Bronski Beat – ‘Smalltown Boy’
British synth-pop band Bronski Beat released this classic single in 1984. Whilst on the surface, ‘Smalltown Boy’ is a catchy anthem that easily fills a dance floor, lyrically it tells the story of a young gay man struggling to come to terms with his sexual identity, and his place in the world. (GIHE)

Piney Gir – ‘Puppy Love’
The latest single from the Kansas-born London-based artist, ‘Puppy Love’ reflects on the bittersweet nature of love; both the simple, overpowering desire of first love, and then the ‘black dog’ – a common metaphor for depression and its all consuming nature. Glistening with twinkling hooks and sweeping harmonies, it’s a poignant and infectious offering. Of the track, Piney explains: Everyone feels the darkness sometimes, so I’m singing about it. It’s a thin line between Puppy Love and The Black Dog; both can be all consuming and agonising and at times euphoric, manic even.We cannot wait to catch Piney Gir headline for us on 14th February, at The Finsbury (event info here). She’ll be playing along with Grawlix, Captain Handsome and I Am Her – and all for free! (Mari Lane)

Cold Beat – ‘Prism’
San Francisco band Cold Beat, fronted by Hannah Lew from Grass Widow, have announced details of their forthcoming album Mother, out 28th February via DFA Records, and this is their first single lifted from it. It’s the sort of music I could plug into my ears whilst staring at the fast moving world outside of a train carriage. The world slowly speeding by. (Tash Walker)

Ghum – ‘California’
The new one from total faves Ghum, ‘California’ oozes an eerie, reverb-strewn atmosphere as the distinctive sultry power of Laura Gue Lo’s vocals flow. A grunge-inspired anthem for our times showcasing the unique beguiling allure of this band who just keep getting better. Of the track, Laura explains: “The song talks about a love story that was condemned to end badly. The hope and love that both had at the beginning is represented by the idea of running away to California”. (ML)

Indian Queens – ‘Bubblewrap’ 
A beguiling lament about the state of the planet, London three-piece Indian Queens have shared their latest single, ‘Bubble Wrap’. The track is lifted from their upcoming debut album God Is A Woman, which is set to be released via Cool Thing Records later this year. (KC)

Amaroun – ‘Perish’ 
‘Perish’ is the latest track from previous guest on our radio show Amaroun, and I completely love it. The beats, the vocals, the stripped back simplicity – sublime. Amaroun talks about the themes she evokes in her music which consistently touch on her journey of being a black queer woman, overcoming struggles with sexuality, and the importance of emotional honesty in music. In Amaroun’s words, “this track is an autobiographical reintroduction of myself”. I can’t and don’t want to stop listening. All the latest music from Amaroun will be showcased at the listening party at the CLF cafe Peckham Rye, on 13th Feb. (TW)

ALA.NI – ‘Papa’
I love this latest track from ALA.NI. ‘Papa’ is taken from her recently released self-produced album, ACCA. The whole thing is almost entirely acapella and just beautiful. ALA.NI originally trained as a dancer, but was told that as a person of colour she would never make it as a professional ballerina. Her latest album is a powerful vision of modern womanhood. It’s an unflinching account of pain, anger, sadness, and growth. Check it out now. (TW)

AyOwA – ‘First Frost’
The new single from the Danish duo, ‘First Frost’ is told from the perspective of a couple who have spent their whole life together and are now setting out into the winter to disappear as one. With its swirling synths and the beguiling haunting power of Hannah Schneider’s vocals, it’s a beautiful, shimmering cinematic soundscape. Amoeba, the upcoming debut album from AyOwA, is set for release in September this year. (ML)

JFDR – ‘Shimmer’
This beautiful new track from Icelandic multi-instrumentalist JFDR is about “loving someone who is a bit broken”. It’s lifted from her second album New Dreams, which is set for release on 13th March via White Sun Recording. (KC)

Girl In Red – ‘Kate’s Not Here’
I have no shame admitting I was drawn to Norwegian artist Girl In Red’s new track because a) it has my first name in it, and b) I wear a red coat. It’s lifted from the official film soundtrack for The Turning, directed by Floria Sigismondi (The Runaways, Handmaid’s Tale), which is in UK cinemas now. (KC)

Nuala Honan – ‘Slow Down’
‘Slow Down’ is the first single of 2020 for Bristol-based Nuala Honan and it’s a cracker. Driven by post-punk rawness but with delicate vocals and pounding drums when needed most. It’s a taste of what’s to come from her upcoming second LP, which follows a spell of personal recuperation and sonic evolutions. Loving it. (TW)

Otta – ‘Near Enough A Woman’
I can’t get enough of Otta right now. Their new music is just seeping so perfectly into my ears, it’s what I’ve been craving for so long, but I just didn’t realise. This is one of their latest singles taken from the freshly released debut EP, After It All Blew Over, which is sublime. the perfect combination and concoction of electronic, UK jazz, new soul and RnB. (TW)

Clare Kelly – ‘Less Alone’ 
The tone in Clare Kelly’s voice totally blew me away, so rich and full of emotion, it really sings so beautifully on this song ‘Less Alone’. Describing her sound as “alt-folk mermaid music”, Kelly can firmly consider herself having a new firm fan. Really looking forward to hearing more of where this came from. (TW)

Jackie Shane – ‘Any Other Way’
We’ve played Canadian soul-singer Jackie Shane multiple times on the GIHE radio show, and we’re including her again here because of LGBT History month. Jackie was a pioneer for transgender rights in the 60s & 70s, a time when being your true self was not always welcomed, or accepted. (GIHE)

Pom Pom Squad – ‘Cellophane’ (FKA Twigs cover) 
A stirring, grunge-inspired take on one of 2019’s most popular tracks, this is Brooklyn indie-punks’ Pom Pom Squad’s cover of FKA Twigs’ single ‘Cellophane’. The band have treated Twigs’ material graciously, and frontwoman Mia Berrin’s vocals are as poignant as those on the original recording. (KC)

Half Waif – ‘Ordinary Talk’
The new single from Hudson Valley-based Nandi Rose, aka Half Waif, ‘Ordinary Talk’ is a reflection on coming to accept and find the beauty in being like everyone else. A truly spellbinding slice of poignant alt-pop, it’s filled with captivating glitchy hooks and the raw emotion of Rose’s rich soulful vocals, reminding me of later Radiohead, which is no bad thing. The Caretaker, the new album from Half Waif, is out 27th March via ANTI records. (ML)

Hilary Woods – ‘Tongues Of Wild Boar’ 
A shadowy, captivating exploration of intense discomfort; Sacred Bones signee Hilary Woods has shared this track, lifted from her upcoming album Birthmarks, due on 13th March. Though quiet in terms of volume, Woods’ new single is a fleshy, charged offering that allows her the space to navigate “emotionally charged states” at a pace suited to her. (KC)

Planningtorock – ‘Beulah Loves Dancing’
Planningtorock is on of GIHE fave artists, and they’re one of our fave LGBT artists too. LGBT History month feels like the perfect time to give them a spin again. This track is all about their sister, Beulah, and her love of house music. (GIHE)

LISTEN: Hilary Woods – ‘Tongues of Wild Boar’

A shadowy, captivating exploration of intense discomfort; Sacred Bones signee Hilary Woods has shared ‘Tongues of Wild Boar’, the first single lifted from her upcoming album Birthmarks, which is set for release on 13th March.

Though quiet in terms of volume, Woods’ new single is a fleshy, charged offering that allows her the space to navigate “emotionally charged states” at a pace suited to her. “It is a song deeply lodged in the body, that yearns to surface for air and escape its own shadow.” Woods explains, and the accompanying visuals she collaborated on with Joshua Wright beautifully reflect this.

Written over the course of two years, and recorded whilst heavily pregnant between Galway and Oslo in the winter of 2019, Birthmarks looks set to be Woods’ most personal and powerful record to date. Inspired by the works of Norwegian experimental noise producer & filmmaker Lasse Marhaug, the images from post-war Japanese and wet-plate photography, to the secret life of trees; Woods’ far-reaching influences are what make her art so beguiling and transcendent.

From its scratchy, dense opening, to its gentle blend of orchestral and electronic elements; ‘Tongues of Wild Boar’ is a primal, intuitive track that scars and soothes in equal measure. Watch the video below, and follow Hilary Woods on Facebook for more updates.

Pre-order Hilary Woods new album Birthmarks here.

Hilary Woods Live Dates 2020
19th April – Roadburn Festival, TILBERG NL
18th May – Cafe Oto, LONDON UK

Photo credit: Joshua Wright

Kate Crudgington
@KCBobCut

Happy Birthday Us: GIHE Turns Two!

To mark two years since the birth of our baby website, we’ve decided to look back at a few of our personal highlights of the last 24 months. From fantastic gigs and memorable interviews, to informative guest blogs and the return of some of our favourite bands, it’s been amazing getting to share what we’re passionate about on our little platform.

So, we’d also like to take this opportunity to thank all who’ve supported us on this journey – to all the wonderful bands and artists who inspire us every day, and anyone who takes time to read/listen to us and spread the word about what we do. We’re super grateful for you all, and could not have done this without you! Here’s to the next two years and more, continuing to do as much as possible to promote and support female/non binary/LGBTQ+ people in new music.

Have a read about some of our highlights of the last couple of years, and listen to our special birthday playlist below…

Guest Blog: Dream Nails’ Janey – “What It Means To Be A Punk Witch”
One of the first ever posts to go up on the website, it was a real honour to have Janey from faves Dream Nails share with us what it means to be a punk witch; discussing the importance of sisterhood, feminism and direct action, and the need for women and non-binary people to come together in safe spaces. All things that we hold with great regard here at Get In Her Ears. Talking about the catharsis of channelling “the instinctive, magic energy of womanhood together”, reading this highlights just how necessary and powerful voices such as Janey’s are at times like this; why we need bands like Dream Nails more than ever – groups willing to combine activism and music to form a unifying force against the patriarchy.
– Mari Lane

Get In Her Ears w/ Big Joanie
It’s hard to pick favourites when it comes to guests we’ve booked for our radio show, but when Steph & Estella from punk band Big Joanie agreed to come in to the studio for a chat, I was genuinely excited. Their knowledge and experience surrounding the DIY music scene and intersectional feminism is so fascinating and so vital. The work they do on and off stage is incredible, so I’m glad we could support them on our platform.
– Kate Crudgington

Having Steph & Estella from Big Joanie as guests on the radio show was definitely a highlight for me! We barely needed to ask a question; as Kate says, they spoke with such knowledge and experience surrounding the DIY music scene and intersectional feminism, it was an honour to listen to what they were saying. And their music’s not too bad either…!
– Tash Walker

Get In Her Ears Live @ The Finsbury w/ ARXX
To celebrate International Women’s Day this year, we invited one of our most favourite bands to headline for us at The Finsbury. And what better way to celebrate womanhood than with the utterly phenomenal, ferocious force of the magnificent ARXX. Joined by the fun-filled empowering energy of The Baby Seals, the fierce post-punk of Scrounge and the twinkling soundscapes of Rainbow Corp, it was a truly special night; one which left me feeling all the feels and incredibly grateful for being able to do what we do.
– Mari

Introducing Interview: Helga
I really enjoyed interviewing Helga both because I love her music but also because it’s so important to us at Get In Her Ears to champion the artists we believe in. Publishing interviews, reviews and guest blogs from womxn and non-binary people across the music industry is what we’re about, and will always be about for all the years to come!
– Tash

Interview: Teri Gender Bender from Le Butcherettes 
I only discovered Le Butcherettes after they released their fourth album bi/MENTAL earlier this year – I must’ve been living under a rock. Shame on me! I saw them live at Moth Club and I was blown away by front-woman Teri Gender Bender’s formidable voice and captivating performance style. When I called her for a chat, I was worried my fan-girling would get in the way of my journalistic interests in her music, but luckily for me, she was incredibly friendly, charming and funny.
– Kate

LIVE (Photos): Cro Cro Land (Part 1) (Part 2)
As a fairly new Croydon resident, it was a real honour to be asked to help with the inaugural Cro Cro Land festival this year by friend and all round wonder woman Angela Martin (of Bugeye). A festival which ensures gender balance across the board – not only with those performing, but with all crew and staff behind the scenes – it was a fantastic day filled with incredible music from both widely known bands such as The Lovely Eggs, Nova Twins and Bang Bang Romeo, and personal favourites like Chorusgirl, Fightmilk and ARXX. Being able to be a part of it, and DJ on the day, was such a wonderful and informative experience, and we can’t wait for Cro Cro Land 2020… !
– Mari 

Playlist: 50 Years Of Pride
Supporting LGBTQ+ rights is at the core of what we do at Get In Her Ears 365 days a year. I’m so proud to be part of an organisation which takes the time to acknowledge this throughout everything we do, from gender neutral toilets at our gigs, to standing up in defence of LGBTQ+ equality. Our 50 Years of Pride playlist is a culmination of everything we believe in and represent, and a great way both to celebrate and take stock of what still needs to be done in the ongoing fight for equality for everyone.
– Tash

Get In Her Ears w/ ESYA
It’s an understatement to say that us GIHE girls were thrilled when ESYA (Ayse Hassan of Savages, Kite Base, 180 db) agreed to come into the Hoxton Radio show for a chat with us. There were a LOT of capital letters used in our group chat on WhatsApp. I’d seen her live and interviewed her at her gig at The Glove That Fits earlier in the year, and I was so happy to discover she rates Gazelle Twin’s music as highly as I do. Her attitude to going solo, and her general work ethic, are truly admirable. ESYA is proof that it doesn’t matter what level you’re at in the industry, doing things for yourself is a positive and honest way of working (even when you’re snowed under with emails/EP orders/life).
– Kate

Track Of The Day: Chorusgirl – ‘No Goodbye’
Three years after the release of their self-titled debut, GIHE faves Chorusgirl last year shared their poignant second album Shimmer and Spin via DIY label Reckless Yes. The return of a favourite band after a bit of a hiatus is always pretty exciting, but there was something particularly special about Chorusgirl’s come back. Chronicling a tense year, created during a period of crippling anxiety and a relentless string of bad luck and bad news, the album was the result of immense hard work and dedication from Silvi and co. ‘No Goodbye’ was the perfect introduction to the collection: a truly dreamy slice of scuzzy, sparkling garage-pop showcasing all there is to love about this band.
– Mari

Guest Blog: Grapefruit
I really loved this piece from Grapefruit’s Angela as part of our Guest Blog series. She chose to focus on what it means to take claim of being a woman in the music industry – it’s a great read! They also played a fantastic set for us at one of our Notting Hill Arts Club gigs, great music and great minds.
– Tash

EP: Petty Phase – ‘Petty Phase’
I love that our GIHE platform has allowed us to reach some of our established favourite artists but at its core, it’s about providing coverage for new musicians who deserve to be heard by all of our listeners/readers. Petty Phase are an Essex Riot Grrrl band who I’ve happily promoted over the last fews years on our website, and there are plenty more hard-working bands out there who are worthy of your/our attention too.
– Kate

LIVE: Indietracks Festival (Part 1) (Part 2)
With our ongoing disappointment at the lack of diversity on the majority of mainstream festival line-ups, I was particularly excited to have found out about Indietracks Festival last year – one that refreshingly, consistently, champions DIY bands and artists of all genders and genres. And it exceeded all expectations. With highlights including Sacred Paws, Colour Me Wednesday, Happy Accidents, Sink Ya Teeth and Ghum, it was so wonderful to be a part of. Indietracks is truly like a different world; a safe, joy-filled world, and one jam-packed with all the best music.
– Mari

LIVE: Hilary Woods, St Pancras Old Church
I’ve just re-read my live review of Hilary Woods’ performance at St Pancras Old Church from 2018, and it’s clear I was an emotional wreck during her show, and afterwards too. What a wonderful thing though – to be so moved by someone’s music that you hammer out 500 words about how insane you are.
– Kate

Get In Her Ears w/ Bengi Unsal
A radio show highlight for me was interviewing the Southbank Centre’s Senior Contemporary Music Programmer Bengi Unsal. She gave great insight to the work that she’s done at the Southbank Centre and throughout her career, including curating several Meltdown festivals, and the championing of electronic and world music.
– Tash

GIHE Behind The Scenes: Southbank Centre’s Alex & Phoebe
A recent feature we’ve started for the website, our behind the scenes feature focusses on all those amazing womxn working hard behind the scenes in the industry. It was a real honour to get to chat to Alex and Phoebe, the PR team behind promoting all the amazing events at my favourite space in London, Southbank Centre, for the first in the series. It was wonderful to find out about all the hard work they do, their dedication to accessibility and inclusivity, and all the Southbank Centre does for London’s culture.
– Mari 

Have a listen to our special birthday highlights playlist here:

 

Mari Lane / @marimindles
Tash Walker / @maudeandtrevor

Kate Crudgington / @kcbobcut 

Photo Credit: Jon Mo / @jonmophoto

Albums Of The Year 2018

Despite being a pretty scary year in the grand scheme of things, 2018 has actually been exceptionally great for new music. Our ears have been filled with sonic delights of all genres, providing necessary catharsis and enjoyment. 

So, it was pretty hard to pick our favourite albums of 2018. But, from luscious indie-pop to thumping electro-punk and eerily dystopian soundscapes, here they are… 

Fightmilk – Not With That Attitude
Following utterly infectious singles such as ‘Pity Party’ and ‘Bank Of Mum And Dad’, this year GIHE faves Fightmilk signed to Reckless Yes and released their truly fantastic debut album Not With That Attitude. Delving deep into subject matter such as the end of relationships, summer crushes and the general feelings of anxiety that come with everyday living, each and every offering on Not With That Attitude is an angst-driven gem; a perfect antidote to life, with a nostalgic nod to the emotions of our younger selves.

I can safely say, although the album was only released last month, it’s been one of my most listened-to of 2018; I just can’t get enough of its luscious, punk-infused indie-pop gems. From the scuzzy tongue in cheek wit of anti-love song ‘4 Star Hotel’, and the jangly riffs and immensely catchy, silky smooth refrains of pop anthem ‘Dream Phone’, to the twinkling heartfelt splendour of personal favourite ‘Solving Crimes In Sweden’, there isn’t a dull moment to be found.

An utterly life-affirming, and completely addictive, collection, Not With That Attitude is not only one of my favourites of 2018, but will hold a special place in my heart for years to come.
(Mari Lane – Managing Editor/Co-Founder)

Gazelle Twin – Pastoral
A unique artist with razor sharp vision and uncompromising creativity; Gazelle Twin (aka Elizabeth Bernholz) combined glitchy beats, menacing samples and an uncanny new costume on her new album, Pastoral. Released via her own label Anti-Ghost Moon Ray, the record marked another transformation for the performer; this time she exhumed England’s “rotten past” and questioned its uncertain future.

I’ve been following Bernholz since the release of her sophomore record Unflesh in 2014, and between Motherhood and curating another two atmospheric records (2016’s Out Of Body & 2017’s audio/visual project Kingdom Come), she eventually released Pastoral – and it was totally worth the wait. Her altruistic style is one that can’t be mimicked – even though she herself is a master at adopting the traits of others, and transforming in to a new species of performer who offers brutality and intrigue in equal measure.
(Kate Crudgington – Features Editor/Co-Founder)

Anna Calvi – Hunter
Along with already being a massive fan of Anna Calvi’s music and eager to hear the follow up to One Breath, I wasn’t prepared for just how much I would love the new record. I’d like to say it’s just a personal thing. Mostly because I’m a writer and there’s a branch of us who only speak about how things make us feel (of which I’m one) but also because Hunter was, at its core, a queer and feminist record.

Hunter is the kind of album I would have given into l’appel du vide for as a teenager: a queer album by a queer artist I love, full of tracks bathed in the queer beauty of art. Of course, queerness is far from all the record is, but every track drips in it and its adjacence to the power of love and of sex and of raw, integral passion untouched by any hand and only feelings.

Because of that and the magnificence of tracks like “Wish” and “As a Man”, Hunter is undoubtedly my record of the year.
(Em Burfitt – Contributor)

Sink Ya Teeth – Sink Ya Teeth
Having marked them out as ‘Ones To Watch’ last year, it certainly seems that Maria Uzor and Gemma Cullinford – aka Sink Ya Teeth – have proved us right throughout 2018; this year has seen the Norwich duo receive acclaim from BBC 6 Music’s Steve LaMacq and The Guardian, support big names such as Chk Chk Chk and Eton Crop, and release their banger-filled debut album.

Filled with addictive, pulsating beats and ‘80s-inspired dance-pop hooks throughout, the album is an epic sonic journey from start to finish. From the pounding energy and funk-fused bass hooks of singles such as ‘Pushin’ and ‘If You See Me’, to the swirling, whirring soundscapes of ‘Glass’ and ‘Complicated’, each track is an utterly infectious slice of thumping electro-punk. And add Uzor’s smooth, soaring vocals to the mix, and what you have is something completely unique and truly exquisite.
(ML)

Haiku Salut – There Is No Elsewhere
For many it will be hard to imagine how an instrumental album can so clearly communicate a message, not just a feeling evoked by sound but a clarion call. On their third album Haiku Salut manage just this though – their most cohesive work to date There Is No Elsewhere is beautiful in sound and theme, as it reflects the dramatic landscape of their Derbyshire home and combats the societal narrative of division with a love-letter to togetherness.

The album moves their intricate and fascinating music on. Here we get a more deliberate and incredibly thoughtful play between analogue and electronic, a blurring of the line between musician and instrument as organic and digital interlock. Community is roused through the clever use of brass bands, while rhythms incite and encircle swells of feeling.

There Is No Elsewhere is a remarkable work from a band who should be considered a national treasure.
(Sarah Lay – Contributor)

TAYNE – Breathe
With a sound as distracting as the shade of pink that creator Matthew Sutton paints his lips with for their live shows; TAYNE’s debut album is a vital, abrasive, cathartic listen fuelled by abrasive synths and explosive pay-offs. TAYNE’s music is some of the most interesting and altruistic I’ve heard all year; blurring the lines between industrial, synth-pop, shoe-gaze and alternative; a visceral cacophony of synth textures and drum patterns, alongside Sutton’s hair-raising screams. It’s an emotional exorcism with a pop sheen, and I’m very glad it dropped in to my inbox at the beginning of this year.
(KC)

First Aid Kit – Ruins
It’s easy to dismiss ‘break-up albums’ as being forty minutes of wallowing in self-pity, however Ruins deals with the whole spectrum of emotions which comes with grieving a relationship without any of the bitterness – demonstrating a gentle strength which we can all relate to. Personal favourite ‘Rebel Heart’ introduces us to the darkness, before the uplifting harmonies of ‘It’s A Shame’ show the empowerment which comes with self-reflection, whilst the twinkling melodies of ‘Fireworks’ convey that common nostalgic, rose-tinted outlook with a chorus worthy of belting out in the shower.

If music reflects the journeys we all embark on in life then Ruins beautifully encapsulates the complexities of relationships. It reassures us that it is normal to feel a wide-range of emotions all at once – that it is okay to be vulnerable.
(Nicky Lee-Delisle – Contributor)

Hilary Woods – Colt
A contemplative, carefully crafted record which schools listeners in how to come undone: Hilary Woods’ debut album is an exquisitely painful exploration of grief, separation, and abandonment. The Dublin-based artist signed to altruistic label Sacred Bones to release her first full-length record, and the partnership is one I wholly approve of. Comfortably overlapping both acoustic and electronic genres, underneath all of Woods’ melancholy sounds there lurks a quiet power: a power that comes from being honest about genuine pain. When I saw her perform live at St. Pancras Old Church earlier this year, I was overwhelmed with emotion and felt too shy to approach her after the gig at the merch stand, where I bought a copy of her album. If I had, I definitely would’ve thanked her for making such a beautiful, rewarding record.
(KC)

Dream Wife – Dream Wife
It’s hard to find a band who have been as consistently brilliant in 2018 as Dream Wife, and their self-titled debut is a case in point. From Fall meets ESG psycho-drama ‘FUU’, high-school Stooges ‘Let’s Make Out’ and Toni Basil gone garage ‘Hey Heartbreaker’, you might think it’s all a blast. But the group can emote too – ‘Love Without Reason’, ‘Somebody’ and ‘Fire’ showing off their pop qualities. It’s all kept simple, and that’s Dream Wife’s genius.
(John McGovern – Contributor)

The Lovely Eggs – This Is Eggland
Ever since being completely blown away by The Lovely Eggs at Indietracks Festival this summer, I’ve been more or less obsessed with the Lancaster duo. Lucky enough to catch their utterly immersive set for a second time at The Scala this Autumn, I’ve had their This Is Eggland album pretty much on loop throughout 2018.

From the swirling, psychedelic cacophony of tracks such as ‘I Shouldn’t Have Said That’, to the uplifting lo-fi fuzz and anthemically catchy spirit of ‘Hello I Am Your Sun’ and ‘Wiggy Giggy’, the album oozes a frenzied, riotous energy and spiralling sense of urgency throughout. With Holly Ross’ blunt realism and scathing retorts to all the dickheads out there, The Lovely Eggs stand out as one of the most relevant bands around – echoing the feelings of the many, with their subtle social commentary and refreshing cynicism providing an apt accompaniment to the eccentric musicality of This Is Eggland.
(ML)

The Soft Moon – Criminal
The second Sacred Bones album to make my list this year is The Soft Moon’s Criminal. It’s a gripping, teeth-grinding, ultra-cathartic affair; and when heard live it’s a different beast entirely. I have all the time in the world for men who explore their mental states through the medium of music, and listening to Criminal feels like an exploration of this kind. The Soft Moon (aka Luis Vasquez) takes memories of childhood trauma, misplaced guilt and self-hatred, and allows himself to “cross the line” and produce a truly breath-taking collection of industrial, electronic soundscapes here. I’ve had ‘Burn’ on repeat all year long.
(KC)

Chorusgirl – Shimmer and Spin
Following 2015’s wonderful self-titled debut, this year GIHE faves Chorusgirl released their long-awaited new album Shimmer And Spin, and we couldn’t be happier for them. Chronicling a tense year, created during a period of crippling anxiety and a relentless string of bad luck and bad news, the new album is the result of immense hard work and dedication from Silvi, Faith, Udo and Michael. Of the writing process, Silvi explains: “There was barely a month without bad news on a personal and wider level, and at the end of that year, my anxiety started to spike badly. The album became a very important anchor. Every note and lyric were raked over and looked at twice; we were hacking and honing away at the songs for months, trying to craft some sort of sculpture of our state of mind.”

Despite oozing a darker undercurrent than previous offerings, Shimmer And Spin showcases Silvi’s distinctive, lush vocals throughout, as effervescent harmonies and impressive driving riffs flow, creating Chorusgirl’s utterly unique, shimmering sounds. From the sparkling garage-pop of tracks such as ‘No Goodbye’ and ‘In Dreams’ to the simply spine-tingling soaring emotion of personal highlight ‘Stuck’, this album – and the determination that went into creating it – showcases exactly why Chorusgirl are one of my favourite bands of the last few years.
(ML)

LIVE: Hilary Woods – St Pancras Old Church, London 11.06.18

Bitter sweet and deeply affecting; Hilary Woods‘ performance at St. Pancras Old Church provided a startling new insight in to the multi-instrumentalist’s debut record Colt, released via Sacred Bones on 8th June.

Stood behind her keyboard, Woods performed solo for most of her set, with only projected visuals and a violinist to accompany her on a handful of tracks. Her achingly pure voice floated crystal clear across the heads of her congregation, who sat listening in attentive, respectful silence.

Woods’ solo work is far removed from the alternative 90s sounds she helped to create as a member of JJ72. She’s clearly invested a painstaking amount of time and energy in assembling her new album, and the two EPs that preceded it: Night (2014) and Heartbox (2016). Perhaps that’s why she was so nervous performing – something she didn’t admit until the penultimate track – but she had no grounds to be on edge, as her recent singles ‘Inhaler’, ‘Prodigal Dog’ and ‘Black Rainbow’ were all mesmerising, even in their stripped back states.

Footage from her recent videos played out across the back wall of the Church, as Woods performed stunning renditions of Colt tracks ‘Take Him In’, ‘Kith’ and ‘Limbs’ – with the latter standing out due to Woods’ clear, measured vocal delivery. Switching between keys and guitar with ease for specific songs, Woods’ performance style was quiet and introspective; but its impact was one of powerful, all encompassing melancholy.

Whilst Colt is an album about grief, loss and abandonment; we left St Pancras Old Church awash with raw and unexpected emotion, feeling like we’d gained rather than lost something from Woods’ performance (and that’s not just because we bought Colt on vinyl).

Support came from Ben Vine, whose piercing saxophone sounds and loops were an immersive experience not suited to all tastes; but his performance was one you won’t forget in a hurry.

Photo Credit: Joshua Wright

Kate Crudgington
@KCBobCut

ALBUM: Hilary Woods – ‘Colt’

A contemplative, carefully crafted record which schools listeners in how to come undone: Hilary Woods‘ debut album Colt is an exquisitely painful exploration of grief, separation, and abandonment. The Dublin-based artist signed to altruistic label Sacred Bones to release her first full-length record, and the partnership is one we wholly approve of.

Written and recorded at her home in Dublin, Colt was later mixed by and co-produced with James Kelly (WIFE, Altar of Plagues) in Berlin in the winter of 2017. The dynamics of the production and Woods’ layering of multiple elements – including piano, synth, tape machine, field recordings, vocals, and old string instruments – has culminated in a record which comfortably overlaps both the acoustic and electronic genres.

Opening track ‘Inhaler’ is a delicate example of this. It’s a pensive, melancholy song born from Woods’ struggle with homesickness. She explores her grief through tentative electronics and orchestral sounds, with her mysterious vocals floating calmly above. Following track ‘Prodigal Dog’ is a mesmeric examination of emotional claustrophobia: a disarming fusion of strings, understated synths, and hushed vocals.

There is a gentle urgency that permeates each of the eight tracks on Colt, and on ‘Take Him In’ Woods’ reflective lyrics and cautious keys instill this delicate unease further. Poetic track ‘Kith’ bleeds in after, with it’s divine, yet somber themes of “running on empty” in what feels like emotional purgatory. The persistent, steady beats and fluttering keys on the remarkable ‘Jesus Said’ mark a brief change in tempo on the record, as Woods laments a sincere disconnection and a search for absolution for almost six minutes. ‘Sever’ is equally as affecting with its heartbeat-like percussion, and more of Woods’ measured, poignant vocals.

Penultimate track ‘Black Rainbow’ though bleakly named, is an enchanting listen, and closing track ‘Limbs’ is a captivating collection of distant, alluring keys. Under all of the melancholy lurks a quiet power: a power that comes from being open and honest about genuine pain and how to deal with it.

To call Hilary Woods’ work on Colt siren-like is to do her a disservice; her music has a far wider, more disarming reach. Her emotional articulation and manipulation of sounds makes the record a dizzying but rewarding lesson, and we are grateful to have been allowed to endure this aural exploration of grief with her.

Colt is released via Sacred Bones on 8th June. Pre-order your copy here.
Hilary Woods headlines St Pancras Old Church on 11th June. Grab a ticket here.

Photo Credit: Joshua Wright

Kate Crugington
@KCBobCut