Track Of The Day: Cheerbleederz – ‘Nail Biters’

With their new track ‘Nail Biters‘, London trio Cheerbleederz have released an anxiety anthem that perfectly captures what it’s like having an internal monologue hell bent on torturing you.

The song feels simply constructed. It’s got a steady rhythm, lively guitar and backing vocals that weave around each other beneath the lead lines. Its complexity creeps in as the track goes on until it echoes the anxiety at its core; whilst the vocals begin softly, the lyrics describe anxiety that persistently nags at you and – while it lingers in the back of your mind as you go about your day – it never goes away. While the lead vocal puts the general pressure into words, the backing vocals reflect the teasing voices behind the scenes that induce the undue stress.

As anxiety finally takes over, the song ramps up into a panic. The lyrics stay the same, but everything gets louder, with the lead vocals becoming sharper and more emotive – you can feel the distress as it all finally becomes overwhelming. The repeated line “no worries if not” as the energy builds really captures the way anxiety makes you feel. It’s desperate to not take up space, not to burden anyone, not to cause any unnecessary problems. It’s insistent that there are no worries when the song as a whole is, in fact, about all-consuming worry.

‘Nail Biters’ encapsulates what anxiety feels like, in a fun way – a way that makes you feel seen. It’s reassuring to know that there are other people out there who overthink, and a gift to know that some of them are so talented that they can boil the awful experience down into a two-and-a-half minute indie-pop banger.

Cheerbleederz are set to release their upcoming debut album, even in jest, this summer via Alcopop! Records.

Kirstie Summers
@Actually Kurt

Photo Credit: Rich Mandell

Track Of The Day: Honey Joy – ‘Raising Boys’

A band that pulls no punches either in their sound or their subject matter, Honey Joy’s latest track is a heartfelt and heartbreaking exploration of the damage toxic masculinity does to generation after generation of men.

Raising Boys‘ sees the innocence and softness in little boys and laments the cold, hard process they grow through as they are raised to fit the shape of masculinity that an inherently problematic society thrusts upon them. It reminisces about “the softest soul, a loving heart” – evoking the ideas of strength and safety, and juxtaposing them against the damaging things boys are taught to internalise as they grow up. The lyrics plead for a resistance, but the way the two vocal lines wind around each other highlights the futility of it in a culture determined to bend you to its will. As one begs “Don’t change yourself for him”, the other is very aware that the “you” in the narrative is already infected by toxic expectations.

The raw passion of the vocals is heightened by the music. Screaming guitars roll over heavy drums that thrust extra layers of emphasis onto the most profound moments of the song. Riffs whip between the throbbing beat and the swells of energy in the vocals.

‘Raising Boys’ begins and ends with the same phrase: “Did he ever tell you that he wasn’t okay?” It introduces the mission statement of the song perfectly. The callback at the end lingers with you, heavy with unspoken questions. It is loaded with the pressure put on men to bottle up their emotions, to never be seen to cry, to not talk about their feelings in public until it has torn them apart from within. It reinforces the power of the song – making not only the message, but also its importance, impossible to miss.

Kirstie Summers

PREMIERE: ROE – ‘I Dare You’

Embracing the rush of relief that comes with letting go of unexpected or difficult emotions while you’re in transit, Northern Irish songwriter ROE has shared her latest single ‘I Dare You’. Released via The Music Federation, the track is based on ROE’s own experience of being a touring musician and the balancing act of enjoying these precious opportunities, whilst trying not to be overwhelmed with exhaustion.

“‘I Dare You’ is about all the unpredictable emotions that show up when spending days on end together on the road as musicians,” ROE elaborates on her new single. “It’s an incredibly testing side of this industry that fans don’t get to see. The frustration and tears and uncontrollable laughter. Some days it’s such a joy and other days all you want is to be back in your own bed. It’s always worth it but it’s not always easy. The inevitable drives between shows and home are so ridiculous and difficult and new every time. Staying awake so nobody drives alone and the inescapable stop at the closest McD’s are constant but so much happens in that space.”

Underscored by driving beats, observational lyrics and her clear vocals, ROE’s new single is a snapshot of joyful unrest, which builds to an anthemic chorus full of trumpet fanfares. With ‘I Dare You’, ROE has crafted her own brand of “existential indie-pop,” finding catharsis in surrendering to the pressures of life in its more testing moments, and celebrating it in all its raw, unfiltered glory.

ROE will be performing live tonight (31st) at the Oh Yeah Centre in Belfast.

Listen to ‘I Dare You’ below.


Follow ROE on SpotifyTwitter, Facebook & Instagram

Photo Credit: Megan Doherty 

Kate Crudgington

Track Of The Day: EFÉ -‘KIWI’

A laid back, breezy mix of dreamy vocals and hazy guitar riffs, Dublin based musician Anita Ikharo aka EFÉ has shared her latest single ‘KIWI’. Taken from her upcoming EP, VITAMIN-C, which is set for release in June, the track is a charming slice of indie pop that showcases the young artist’s ear for catchy melodies and sees her fully relaxing into her songwriting capabilities.

Co-produced with her best friend who.killed.romeo and mixed by Ben Baptie (Rex Orange County, Little Simz, Moses Sumney), ‘KIWI’ is EFÉ’s first new release since her 2020 self-made debut EP, What Should We Do This Summer?. Featuring singles ‘Garden’ and ‘Table For Two’, the record propelled EFÉ into the spotlights of the London and Miami music scenes, an experience that overwhelmed, but did not deter her from writing the songs for VITAMIN-C – with ‘KIWI’ being the first taste of what fans can expect from the record.

Accompanied by a music video which was conceptualised, directed and edited by EFÉ and her friends, the visuals reflect the artist’s fears about being unprepared and insecure in a situation she’s not entirely comfortable with. Full of bright colours and playful imagery, the footage beautifully underscores ‘KIWI’s buoyant sound.

“The video has a storyline of a girl who goes camping, she’s brought her laptop, fairy lights and cute magazines, but she can’t light a fire or even hunt for food,” EFÉ explains. “She is super scared cause she sees a bear but then she falls in love with the bear. It was definitely hard to make because it was very necessary that the right location was chosen as well as the right bear costume and right people to work with. I did cry a whole lot, scared nothing would come out right. I had so much fear around the video because of the huge pressure I put on myself to make it good. I also worked on some of the editing and colour grading so there was a lot I had creative control over. I think it was worth it in the end though and shows that hard work and the right people around can really pay off!”

Being around the right people has helped EFÉ blossom into the indie pop artist she is, something which was also aided by reading Rachel Chinouriri’s open letter to the music industry – in which she explained how she has been consistently and wrongly stereotyped as an R&B artist throughout her career – in January this year. Inspired by Rachel Chinouriri words, EFÉ simply wants to make her own music without the incorrect input of those who are clearly not listening to her music.

Listen to ‘Kiwi’ below.

Follow EFÉ on Spotify, Twitter, InstagramTik Tok

Photo Credit: Adam Kelleher

Kate Crudgington