LISTEN: GIHE on Soho Radio with Maria Uzor 22.09.21

Tash, Mari & Kate were back on Soho Radio‘s airwaves playing a few golden oldies – including an iconic 90s banger from Sweet Female Attitude – and loads of new music tunes from some of their favourite women, non-binary and LGBTQ+ artists.

Mutant electro artist Maria Uzor also joined them to talk about her latest EP, Innocence and Worldliness, vegan donuts and the importance of taking your time to process and create your own art.

Listen back below:

Tracklist
The Sugarcubes – Hit
Elsa Hewitt – Inhaler
Julia-Sophie – And You Know It
Evil House Party – Keep Going On
Bestfriend – Hannah In The City
Halsey – i am not a woman, i’m a god
Tei Shi – Basically (acoustic)
of all living things – If I Go
Barrie – Dig
Okay Kaya – If I Can Help Somebody
Aisha Badru – The Way Back Home
Self Esteem – How Can I Help You
LIINES – Keep On Going
Krakow Loves Adana – Follow The Voice
Maria Uzor – Now Is The Core
**Interview with Maria Uzor**
Kilamanzego – Black Weirdo
Lilith Ai – Bare Radical
Liyv – Let Me Know
Pretty Happy – Sea Sea Sea
Fraulein – Belly
Sleigh Bells – Justine Go Genesis
Grandmas House – Girl
Planningtorock – Girl You’ve Got My Heart
Hand Habits – No Difference
Sweet Female Attitude – Flowers

Introducing Interview: th’sheridans

Following a decade on the scene, indie pop duo th’sheridans have recently released an epic, career-spanning compilation – Pieces Of General combining both old favourites and some newer treats. Showcasing their knack for creating scuzzy hooks, jangly beats and a swirling energy, the album offers reflections on poignant issues whilst oozing an uplifting effervescent euphoria. Whilst harking back to old favourites with a shimmering sense of nostalgia, the duo have managed to evoke a stirring resonance for right now; a sparkling call to arms, oozing a quirky, colourful spirit.

We were lucky enough to chat to the band to find out more… Have a read!

Hi th’sheridans! Are you able to tell us a bit about how you initially started creating music together?
We met at Bongos?! World Music Society in 2010 where we played “international folk” covers that ended up sounding more like a big indie band. The first thing the two of us really played together was an arrangement of the Italian partisan song ‘Bella Ciao’ (which may some day emerge as a b-side). And after trying out a batch of original sheridans songs, everybody agreed to do band.

I love your scuzzy, sparkling sounds but who would you say are your main musical influences?
Thank you so much! We put a lotta thought into the sounds and textures we use, so it’s lovely whenever that resonates with someone. Our songwriting really comes out of the Ramones playbook in that the songs can usually be broken down to a set of chords and a pop/R&B melody. As well as the broader ‘70s New York scene, ‘90s Riot Grrrl is a huge influence – especially Ladies, Women and Girls, Bratmobile’s second record. It’s key in terms of figuring out how to express and own our values in the songs, while keeping the hooks as tasty as possible! Klezmer music, Papa T. (Julia’s dad), and The Velvet Underground’s drone all play a big part in our arrangements, especially with the viola. Lastly (although this could easily spin out into a whole encyclopaedia…), artists like Hundred Waters, Beth Orton and Metric have really helped us hone how we incorporate electronic elements like drum machines and synthesisers.

You’ve just released your new career-spanning compilation album – ‘Pieces Of General’ which is super exciting! Are you able to tell us a bit about this? What made you decide to put together this collection of songs new and old?
This album really came out of conversations we had with Reckless Yes after signing with them in 2020. We were thinking about how we could best introduce ourselves to their audience while also capping off the DIY phase of our work. So Pieces Of General is basically greatest hits for a band that’s had… no hits, with some new tracks mixed in. The key thing for us was to sequence it as a coherent album, which only really became possible through Livio Beroggi’s incredible remastering work. Getting the chance to present these songs in this way has been truly wonderful, and having the label stand by and co-sign our work has meant so much to us personally.

And how have you found recording and promoting an album during these strange times?
Day to day, it’s honestly felt quite abstract, which is tough. But it’s also been a blessing to have this project to work on, especially with such wonderful collaborators. Having the remastered tracks coming in from Livio, or seeing Nestan Mghebrishvili’s artwork and design take shape – those were moments of total joy. Promotion’s been an unusual vibe (when is it not?), and at times it’s felt like folks have had more energy to get down and engage with something – and at times less. And that’s okay, we’re all trying to survive right now. But we’re grateful for where our work’s been given space or shared, and we’re particularly appreciative of Reckless Yes’s efforts to get our stuff further out there.

How have you been connecting with your audience and other musicians during the pandemic?
It’s been v. v. difficult. We’ve definitely missed the energy of a scene, of seeing friends do their thing and being inspired by that. The divisiveness of the UK government’s “it’s all up to you now, so fight amongst yourselves!” policies has been especially painful. We haven’t been rehearsing or taking bookings in the pandemic, because that hasn’t been right for us, and that’s still where we’re at. Bitch Hunt put it so well in a recent interview, where they pointed out that “it’s just less visible when people are not-doing-stuff.” Meanwhile, virtual connection has definitely felt more meaningful, whether that’s social media or ZOOM calls.

And has there been anything/anyone specific that has been inspiring you, or helping to motivate you, over the last couple of years?
Absolutely! In terms of craft or artistic practice, artists working in other media have been an increasingly big deal for us in how we approach our work as a band. Over the last few years, that’s included Frida Kahlo, Jean-Michel Basquiat, Diane Arbus. Exploring how someone develops, refines, unpacks, diverges from, expands on the themes in their work is just endlessly interesting – and where you find connection in that, it’s such a precious, beautiful experience. Same goes for how an artist lives their values – lately that’s been writers like Cecil Castellucci, artists like Bianca Xunise, and the folks over at wildly rad UK record label Amateur Pop Incorporated. And on that level of inner work, cultural workers like adrienne maree brown, Layla F. Saad, and Prentis Hemphill offer invaluable insights and pointed, necessary challenges. All their podcasts come highly recommended by yr local sheridans.

As a band keen to call out sexism and racism, how do you feel the industry is for new artists at the moment? Do you feel much has changed over the last few years?
There’s always values at work in any piece of art, the same way there’s always values at work in any conversation. And because of the overt and more transparent experience of fascism in recent years, we’ve felt the need to be increasingly direct and open about our values, as in songs like ‘I Don’t Wanna Be Dismembered‘. It’s also important to pair that kind of projection with practice and embodiment. And, while we name and explore the things we can speak to, we’re also trying to do the work around the things we don’t directly experience. As far as what we’ve seen lately, it’s a mixed bag(uette). Something we’ve noticed is a kind of values drift, particularly when it comes to specific intersections of marginalised identity (eg. white bands only paying attention to gender as a lens). And it’s hard to know how much it’s just the predictable co-option of whatever’s on-trend, or something else. Dr. Angela Y. Davis reminds us that even if it is just co-option, it means we’re getting somewhere. And at the same time, one of the biggest shifts has been witnessing the start of mainstream conversations that were previously totally off the table, specifically with regards to structural racism. And, as so many of those who have spoken truth to power have always underscored, one of the things that keeps us going is the idea that folks younger than us won’t have to go through the same things we have over the last decade or so.

And, as we’re a new music focused site, are there any other upcoming artists or bands that you’d recommend we check out?
A list! Shilpa Ray (‘70s New York vibes for the modern day, best scream outside of metal), Naz & Ella (grunge + indie + folk), Breakup Haircut (spooky pop-punk), Jemma Freeman and The Cosmic Something (cutting edge post-punk), Whitelands (shoegaze lives!), sweetbellechobaby (radical atmospheric pop), Bitch Hunt (emotionally real indie punk).

(Great choices – all GIHE faves!)

Finally, in addition to the release of your album, what does the rest of 2021 have in store for th’sheridans?
Anxiety and hibernation! We do have our next release already in the can though (a li’l late ‘80s throwback), and we’re currently figuring out which thematic batch of songs to get into next.

Massive thanks to th’sheridans for answering our questions!

Pieces Of General, the new compilation album from th’sheridans, is out now via Reckless Yes. Buy it on bandcamp now.

5 Things We Learned At Wide Awake Festival

Brockwell Park was buzzing with excited energy on Friday 3rd September, packed with hundreds of music fans keen to hear the sounds of the eclectic mix of underground talent who were booked to play Wide Awake‘s debut festival. Postponed due to the Covid-19 pandemic last year, the appetite for hearing live music was unsurprisingly tenacious from the moment the festival gates opened and watching the crowds dance and sing along to the likes of IDLES, Goat Girl, black midi, Lena Willikens, Black Country, New Road and headliners shame gave us an overwhelming sense of joy (heavily aided by multiple cans of Red Stripe.)

We’ve condensed 10 hours of live music down to 5 key points that we’ve filtered through our GIHE lens and shared them with you below…

1. Self Esteem is a beacon of hope

Rebecca Lucy Taylor and her bandmates delivered a truly empowering set during their headline slot on the Moth Club stage, complete with a stunning light show and dancers too. When Taylor walked on stage with the words “But There Is Nothing That Terrifies A Man More Than A Woman That Appears Completely Deranged” lit up behind her silhouette, we knew we were in for a treat. Her powerful voice and relatable lyrics filled the tent with a sincere and playful joy.

2. Porridge Radio are great

We’re well aware most people already know this, but Brighton four piece Porridge Radio really impressed us with their stellar mid-afternoon performance on the Bad Vibrations stage. Fronted by captivating vocalist & lead guitarist Dana Margolin, the band ripped through their setlist full of indie bangers with impressive flair. We’ll definitely be catching them live again in the future.

3. Stumbling across a new favourite band feels just as good as re-visiting old favourites

We’ve missed the electric feeling that flows through your cells when you unexpectedly hear a great song in the distance by a new band you’ve never seen live before. Porridge Radio are a prime example here, but we also found ourselves drawn to the sounds of Snapped Ankles and The Murder Capital on the Moth Club stage, as well as Mandy, Indiana‘s set on the So Young stage. We were sad to miss Dream Wife, who had to cancel last minute due to contracting Covid-19, but GIHE favourites Goat Girl distracted us from this gap in the line-up with their charming yet brooding set on the main stage.

4. Brockwell Park is an ideal location for a music festival

We may be saying this solely because 2/3s of GIHE are based in South London, but Brockwell Park felt like the perfect location for a day of indie, leftfield and electronic music. Packed with independent food & drink stands as well as the main bars, it felt like we’d been transported out of London for the day when the sun was shining and the music was blaring from all directions.

5. We’ve really missed music festivals

From running into old friends, making new ones in the queues for the portaloos and generally just watching everyone else have a total blast, Wide Awake really made things feel “normal” again for a split second. We’re hoping that next year, everyone will feel confident enough to come back to Brockwell Park to sample some of the incredible bands and artists who made the festival feel as exciting and unique as it did this year.

Photo Credit: Luke Dyson (www.lukedyson.com)

Kate Crudgington
@KCBobCut

EP: all cats are beautiful – ‘the things we made’

Released at the beginning of the month via Moshi Moshi, all cats are beautiful’s latest EP the things we made provides a heartfelt, off-kilter take on pop in the twenty first century with a beautifully developed sense of melody and texture. Where more self-conscious artists might have slipped into irony or even parody when playing with genre in the way this record does, the honesty and vulnerability of the lyrics instead steer it down a far more rewarding path; one that combines the hooks and emotional kick of the best pop with a willingness to experiment, keeping the listener guessing.

The band consists of “queer best friends” Elena and Kyle and this seven track release has a truly collaborative feel to it. Both are credited with playing multiple instruments and switch vocal duties throughout, while the way that the songs have been pieced together – often relatively sparse arrangements which sound nonetheless full of feeling – seems, somehow, reflective of the process of sending and receiving musical ideas across the internet during lockdown. The opening track of the EP – ‘(u know) u mean a long minute 2 me’, in which the lyrics apparently came from Kyle mishearing a line of dialogue in Netflix docu-series Tiger King, a fact that in itself makes the early-lockdown writing period extremely clear – was also the EP’s lead single. It sets the scene for what follows beautifully: a long, soft, introduction to the record which finally kicks into gear with the introduction of drums about two and a half minutes in, shifting from atmospheric pop to a shimmering lowkey take on disco.

If you’ve ever wondered (and I’m not sure why you would) what it would sound like if The XX tried their talented hands at making early 2000s slow jams, it might not sound a million miles away from ‘u c right thru me like a windowpane’. Certainly the atmospherics and soft vocal delivery which The XX made their trademark is evident here, but ACAB have far greater warmth in their lyrics and have more fully embraced pop sensibilities. So, in fact, a comparison to XX solo project Romy is probably more apt. The band themselves credit Owen Pallett’s ‘I Am Not Afraid’ as an inspiration for this track and the connection extends beyond a lyrical reference – both treat genre with the same flexibility while remaining refreshingly earnest. Julia Holter is another useful melodic reference point for the EP as a whole.

Other highlights include the rolling melodies of ‘skippin down the stairs like a slinky’ and the Blood Orange-esque ‘i get dayblindness when ur nearby’ which skitters along, built around a chorus to make connoisseurs of 2010s R’n’B swoon. Meanwhile, EP-closer ‘tryna b the 1 2 solve ur shape’ is the kind of ambient-inspired pop which wouldn’t have sounded out of place on Frank Ocean’s Blonde

There has clearly been a great deal of care taken in the construction of these songs – in their lyrics, their melodies, their arrangements and their recording and engineering. As a result, there isn’t a loose moment across the seven tracks; not a wasted or superfluous second, just twenty two and a half minutes of wonderfully imperfect pop.

the things we made, the new EP from all cats are beautiful, is out now via Moshi Moshi Records. Listen/download here.

Gregory Metcalfe
@GregorysParty

Photo Credit: Aaron Price