EP: Cuntrie – ‘Scrapbooking’

“Everything I write needs to be true, because I don’t like to lie”, confesses Cuntrie (aka Ebba Gustafsson Ågren) about her debut EP, Scrapbooking. Released via Feverish on 22nd January, the Swedish indie musician embraces both the silly and the serious on her first offering under her new moniker.

Best known for fronting Swedish duo Wy, Ågren’s solo work explores more quirky, personal themes through a combination of witty lyrics, sweet vocals, and minimalist synth textures. Opening track ‘Spider’ is an ideal display of this, as she extrapolates about her phobia of a small arachnid over glitchy beats, prompting her to reflect on the deeper fears of losing control, and trying to stay calm.

On the brief ‘Hamster Cancer’, twinkling keys intertwine with ominous synths to help relive the pain left behind by the loss of a beloved pet. It’s a dark subject to lament about, but Cuntrie’s emotive vocals make her reflections feel soft and poignant. “I always thought that you were cool / just wanted to know more about you” she muses on penultimate track ‘The Singer’. Lo-fi beats and lush, longing vocals blend cooly together here, making it one of the strongest tracks on the EP.

Her gentle exploration of toxic masculinity on closing track ‘Oh Boy’ is especially touching. Cuntrie paints a picture with her lyrics of the stereotypical strong, silent man who is afraid to be emotional. With the simple repeated refrain “Men don’t want to fight / they just want to cry”, she effortlessly dismantles these pressures over slow, tentative beats.

Cuntrie’s debut EP certainly has the quality of a scrapbook. It’s a nostalgic, raw, genuine collection of reflections, fears, and anticipations that have a personal, yet universal quality. Her eccentric approach to songwriting makes Scrapbooking a refreshing, truly enjoyable listen.

Cuntrie’s debut EP Scrapbooking is released on 22nd Jan via Feverish.
Follow Cuntrie on Facebook & Spotify for more updates.

Kate Crudgington
@KCBobCut

Track Of The Day: Wilsen – ‘Feeling Fancy’

A shimmering guitar ode to the softly spoken; Brooklyn-based trio Wilsen have shared their latest single ‘Feeling Fancy’. Taken from their upcoming album Ruiner, which is set for release on 21st February via Dalliance Recordings, Wilsen’s new song celebrates introversion and inherent shyness.

“Quietness can be mistaken for insecurity while it’s often the opposite”, explains vocalist and guitarist Tamsin Wilson. “It’s being comfortable in your own presence without needing to be heard at every moment.” Wilson applies this approach to ‘Feeling Fancy’, as her steady vocals float confidently over Johnny Simon Jr. (guitar) and Drew Arndt’s (bass) off kilter riffs.

“Making this record was somewhat of a coming of age process,” Wilson continues. “We’re getting older and becoming more deliberate, less precious, less measured. Overthinking less and trusting instincts more.” Perhaps it’s this trust and refusal to self-sabotage that led the band to partner with acclaimed producer Andrew Sarlo (Big Thief, Bon Iver) and mastering engineer Sarah Register (Protomartyr, U.S. Girls) on the new record.

As Wilson states in the song; “Everybody’s got a story”, and regardless of the volume it’s told at, it deserves to be shared and acknowledged. Watch the video for ‘Feeling Fancy’ below, and follow Wilsen on Facebook & Spotify for more updates.

Pre-order Wilsen’s new album Ruiner here.

Photo Credit: CF Watkins

Kate Crudgington
@KCBobCut

PLAYLIST: January 2020

We’re two weeks in to 2020, and whether you’re keeping up with ‘Dry January’, venturing into ‘Veganuary’ or simply demolishing the leftover Christmas snacks; we’ve put together a list of brand new music to help with all of the above. Take some time to scroll through our track choices below, and make sure you hit play on the Spotify playlist at the end of the page.

 

Shopping – ‘Initiative’
Referencing governments who shirk responsibilities whilst placing blame on individuals; international trio Shopping’s new single ‘Initiative’ oozes a racing sense of urgency and gritty energy, whilst funk-fuelled beats and jangly, whirring hooks flow. Taken from the band’s upcoming new album, it’s a vibrant anthem encouraging us to stay motivated and keep going against the grain. All Or Nothing, the new album from Shopping, is out 7th February via FatCat Records. (Mari Lane)

Dream Nails – ‘Text Me Back (Chirpse Degree Burns)’
With their distinctive, raucous punk-pop energy; our favourite London Punk Witches Dream Nails address the anxious hell-scape that is 21st century dating on ‘Text Me Back’, and the excruciating pain of being left on “read”. With stomping beats, pounding bass-lines and immense riffs accompanying the fun-filled lyrics, it’s an instant smile-inducing anthem. Of the track, Janey from the band explains: “For those born beyond the M25, “chirpse” is London slang for flirting, and “chirpse degree burns” is our personal slang for the injuries borne from romantic misadventure. The song is a tribute to the gut-wrenching feeling of checking your phone every 5 minutes to see if your crush has replied.” ‘Text Me Back’ is taken from Dream Nails’ eponymous debut album, out 3rd April via Alcopop Records. (ML)

Party Fears – ‘Money’
I’m thrilled to announce I am now a contributor to The Irish Jam for their #NewMusicSunday slot, which airs on Riverside Radio on Sunday evenings 7-9pm. They focus on new music from Irish artists, so I played Party Fears’ latest single ‘Money’, as they’re formed of Northern Irish native Maggie Devlin, and Aussie Eilish Frawley. Their single ‘Money’ is a reflection on power, and how it isn’t always used for the greater good. It’s raw, it’s shouty, and it’s catchy as hell. (Kate Crudgington)

draag – ‘Ghost Leak’
A hazy ode to feeling inconsequential; L.A, shoegaze outfit draag have crafted a strung out, dreamy soundscape on their latest single ‘Ghost Leak’. The track is lifted from their upcoming EP Clara Luz, which is set for release on 21st February. (KC)

Post Louis – ‘Descender’
The new single from London art-rockers Post Louis, ‘Descender’ juxtaposes a dreamy, swirling musicality with soaring impassioned vocals. Oozing a heartfelt raw emotion, it’s a truly captivating slice of stirring alt-folk. Descender, the debut album from Post Louis, is out 28th February. (ML)

Xylo Aria – ‘Ignorance’
‘Ignorance’ is the eponymous track from London-based producer Xylo Aria’s latest EP; a collection of songs informed by the current environmental crisis, mental health issues, and the societal pressure she feels to conform. Aria also runs Music Production For Women, which is a fantastic initiative encouraging women to get involved in the production of their own music. Listen to the Ignorance EP in full here. (KC)

Madeleine Smyth – ‘Palmers Green’
Released by independent record label Scratched, London-based artist Madeleine Smyth’s recent EP Covert is a beguiling blend of soft vocals, ambient sounds, orchestral elements, and trip-hop inspired beats. ‘Palmers Green’ is one of four tracks showcasing Smyth’s ability to blend all of these influences seamlessly. (KC)

Aisha Badru – ‘Soil’s Daughter’
The new single from New York artist Aisha Badru, ‘Soil’s Daughter’ reflects on the need to protect our environment. Radiating a sparkling majesty and subtle, soulful power, it’s a truly beautiful ballad; a moving and sincere offering at a time when our world is literally burning, and things feel like they’re falling apart. Of the track, Badru expands: “This is me reflecting on the world, and this huge disconnect between us as a people, and us with the planet.” Transcendence, the upcoming EP from Aisha Badru, is out 7th February via Nettwerk. (ML)

Drea & The Marilyns – ‘Everything to Me’ (Lips Cover)
Loving this cover of Lips’ ‘Everything to Me’ by Drea & The Marilyns! I mean, I loved the original but I’m really enjoying this remake from the Seattle-based artist. Mix anything up with some electro-synths, and I’m yours. (Tash Walker)

Captain Handsome – ‘Halloween’
The second single taken from Lily from Fightmilk’s solo project Captain Handsome, the rather unseasonably entitled ‘Halloween’ flows with silky-smooth vocals and a twinkling, stripped-back musicality. With its delicate lo-fi scuzz and tongue-in-cheek relatable lyricism – “It was Halloween, I was 24, I had a bad time on the bathroom floor” – it’s a sensitive, yet not sentimental effervescent slice of indie-pop. I Am Not An Animal, the debut EP from Captain Handsome, is out 31st January via Reckless Yes. You can catch them live for us at The Finsbury on 14th February, along with Piney Gir, Grawl!x and I Am Her. (ML)

Fenne Lily – ‘On Hold’ 
I’ve been following Bristol-based songwriter Fenne Lily for a while now, and was lucky enough to have a chat with her for a recent feature on The Line Of Best Fit. This is the title track from her 2018 debut album, and I melt a little bit each time I hear it. She’s playing a (sold out) show at The Lexington on 16th Jan, and I’m looking forward to hearing some of the new material that will make up her second album, which is set for release later this year. (KC)

Ethereal UK – ‘Strange World Normal Girl’
This track literally landed in my inbox just before the winter break and I immediately added it to the playlist for the radio show. Just beautiful. (TW)

Asha Gold – ‘Too Good’
Asha Gold who champions self-confidence in R&B influenced electro-pop. Released at the end of last year, ‘Too Good’ is the West London artist’s current single, and it flows with catchy melodies, beats and an infectious chorus. Keep it up Asha. (TW)

Mavi Phoenix – ‘Boys Toys’
I’ve always been a fan of Mavi Phoenix, and had the opportunity to interview them a couple of years back now. I remember how they spoke so eloquently about equality and the importance of queer music in the world. Phoenix has found a home in their new sound and also in the pronoun “he”. This is all about Phoenix being reborn, which is what happens in the accompanying music video to this track ‘Boys Toys’, directed by Elizaveta Porodina, ‘Boys Toys’ is as important as an exploration for Mavi Phoenix’s gender identity, as it is for his artistic work. And on top of all that, it’s an absolute tune. Enjoy. Watch the video for ‘Boys Toys’ here. (TW)

tAngerinecAt – ‘I don’t want to be a white master’
tAngerinecAt are a non-binary duo originally from Ukraine, and now based in London. What an amazing track – the vocals, the heavy electronic based instrumentation, pedals, their self-defined “hurdy-gurdy” loops and those beats! I am so happy I know about this band, and I cannot wait to indoctrinate myself further into their sound. (TW)

Last Eden – ‘Fallen’
If you’re into 8 minute long pieces of obscure electronic drone music (why wouldn’t you be?), then multidisciplinary Irish artist Aileen Wallace – aka Last Eden – is worth a listen. She experiments and improvises with elements of industrial and ambient music to create unusual, captivating soundscapes. Working as both a producer and a sound artist, Wallace uses bespoke DIY microphones, cassette recorders, synthesizers, and an array of equipment from both the analog and digital worlds. Her recent EP Elysian Plain explores the mythology and the journey surrounding death. It’s intense, but definitely intriguing. Listen to the record here. (KC)

Get In Her Ears w/ Alessi’s Ark 09.01.20

Kate and Tash were back in the studio for GIHE’s first show of 2020, playing the freshet new music tracks to take you into the next decade. Highlights include: Dream Nails, Aisha Badru, Asha Gold, tANGERINECAt, draag, Xylo Aria, Fenne Lily and Party Fears.

They were also joined in the studio by the lovely Alessi’s Ark for a chat and a beautiful live session, be sure to check them out at their London show on March 20th, at the Green Note.

Listen back here:

Tracklist
The Big Moon – Happy New Year
Ethereal UK – Strange World Normal Girl
Alfah Femmes – Skunks
Draag – Ghost Leak
Crest Glider – Queen’s Head
Personal Best – Baby
Drea Marilyn – Everything to me (Lips Cover)
Aisha Badru – Soil’s Daughter
Noshvia Wu – Hurt Somebody
Xylo Aria – Ignorance
Flyying Colours – Good Times
Post Louis – Descender
Captain Handsome – Halloween
Fenne Lily – What’s Good
Mavi Phoenix – Boys Toys
Alessi’s Ark – Born Free
Pete Yorn – Calm Down
Angelica Garcia- Jícama (Con Sal Version)
Asha Gold – Too Good
Party Fears – Money
Dream Nails – Text Me Back (Chirpse Degree Burns)
Evie Balfe – Remember
tAngerinecAt – I don’t want to be a white
Paper Tigers – Gucci Smiles
The Stolen Moans – Bad Guy (Billie Eilish cover)
Big Joanie – New Year

Track Of The Day: draag – ‘Ghost Leak’

A hazy ode to feeling inconsequential; L.A, shoegaze outfit draag have crafted a strung out, dreamy soundscape on their latest single ‘Ghost Leak’. The track is lifted from their upcoming EP Clara Luz, which is set for release on 21st February.

draag was originally a solo project, fronted by Adrian Acosta who was trained as a mariachi singer by his Father. After exploring the worlds of underground punk, no wave, and experimental jazz, Acosta soon met and added Jessica Huang, Nick Kelley, Ray Montes and Shane Graham to draag’s lineup. Together, the five piece create music that’s seen garnered comparisons to My Bloody Valentine and Sonic Youth.

Speaking about their latest single, Jessica Huang explains: “‘Ghost Leak’ is the feeling of being completely invisible and inconsequential. It is also a message to someone we lost — to let them know they weren’t invisible.” draag’s new EP has been underscored by personal hardships, illness and isolation, but there’s a sense of hope that filters through their muddy soundscapes, making it easy to escape into their music.

Watch the video for ‘Ghost Leak’ below, and follow draag on Facebook for more updates.

Photo Credit: Devonte Johnson

Kate Crudgington
@KCBobCut

EP: Tape Runs Out – ‘Talking Through Walls’

In a glistening manner, indie/electronic band Tape Runs Out take listeners down a lively new exploratory path in their newborn EP, Talking Through The Walls. Like cutting a crisp corner, the wind of the EP’s overturning tone provides a sense of urgency throughout this twinkling release that allows intricacy a spotlight, and quietness its space. In Talking Through The Walls‘ opening track ‘Make It Work’, the feeling of nostalgia is set for the record that stands parallel with the smell of untouched stories. With a shoegaze-strewn, dream-like element to the sonic landscape, Tape Runs Out lay out a bed of travel where moments of swelling synth and shiny guitar can be immortal. 

The freshness of Talking Through The Walls resides in Tape Runs Out’s ability to introduce folk sounds and timbres that ever so unexpectedly fit the band’s sonic language. ‘Ice Cream Soup’, found halfway through the release, bends in ways sounding both digital and analog as synths mimic a traditional guitar slide. There is a distinct and quirky charisma embodied in what Tape Run’s Out have stumbled upon here.

Ending the EP with lullaby-like elegance, ‘My Childhood Hands’ is an emotionally enduring mural painted with background samples that sound like home. As the pulsing keys initiate the song, here there remains room for listeners to have their own moment with the piece before the tremolo begins to shift the song’s footing. As the drifting instrumentation builds, listeners shuffle along picking up tiny yet significant elements that gradually layer in the mix like a story. This tasteful font in which Tape Runs Out have written their EP so strategically in, illustrates the band’s attention to detail. Talking Through The Walls is an instrumental adventure worth the conquest. 

Talking Through Walls is out now via Kuang Grade Recordings. Listen on Spotify.

Jill Goyeau
@jillybxxn

Track Of The Day: Small Man Society – ‘Songs I Write About You’

Self described as “The kinda band you wanna take home to meet your Mum”, Small Man Society blend indie melodies and down to earth humour on their debut single, ‘Songs I Write About You’.

Accompanied by a video that shows the band joyfully grooving around the office during their 9-5, ‘Small Man Society’ casually laments the tricky situation between dating and becoming “official”, and all the awkwardness in between. Jangly guitars, catchy lyrics and upbeat vocals all blend together to create a care-free tune designed to distract you from feeling crushed by your crush.

Formed of Mother Trigg (guitars/lead vocals), Dapper Dill (guitar/vocals), Mrs Field (drums), and Shed The Sexy (bass), Small Man say their interests are Gordon Ramsay, existential chat, long walks, reading books and breaking hearts. If any of that appeals to you, we suggest you watch their video for ‘Songs I Write About You’ below.

Follow Small Man Society on Facebook for more updates.

Kate Crudgington
@KCBobCut