Five Favourites: Maija Sofia

Following the success of last single ‘Flowers’, Irish artist Maija Sofia has now announced the release of her debut album, Bath Time – a collection of songs that were written in the run up to the Repeal The 8th Movement, and all addressing the issue of the silencing and misrepresentation of women.

Creating poignant, stirring slices of alt-folk, filled with beautiful melodies, rich luscious vocals and a raw emotion, Maija Sofia is fast becoming a firm favourite and we can’t wait for the album release.

We think one of the best ways to get to know an artist is by asking what music inspires them or influences their writing. We caught up with Maija, who has shared her “Five Favourites” – five tracks that particularly resonate with her. Check out her choices below, and scroll down to listen to latest single ‘The Glitter’ at the end of this post.

Katie Kim – ‘Day is Coming’ 
Katie Kim is one of my absolute favourite songwriters and this song is from her incredible album Salt. I love how dark, foreboding and ominous her work is while managing to be tender and emotive at the same time. She marries heavy, droning, gauzy harmonies with strange, unexpected vocal melodies and it creates an atmosphere in her work that’s like a sliver of sunlight trying to push through heavy black storm clouds. I love how the chanted refrain “day is coming” towards the end of this song sounds like a wild, horrific pagan ritual, but also sounds redemptive and oddly reassuring.

Radie Peat – ‘Katie Cruel’
I first heard Radie perform this song with the above mentioned Katie Kim when they did a really special collaborative performance in the Pepper Canister church in Dublin, and she’s since recorded an amazing version with her band Lankum who I would include in this list as they are probably my favourite band at the moment, but they surely need no introduction. I knew this song first from Karen Dalton’s gorgeous version but I love how Radie’s drawling almost terrifying voice merges with the harmonium and fiddle drones and makes it a totally new song.

Rachael Lavelle – ‘Perpetual Party’
Rachael Lavelle is an up and coming artist also based in Dublin that I’m really excited about. She has one of the hugest most eerily expansive voices I have ever heard and her songs are dark, gothic, evocative but also euphoric and have a strange, off-kilter sense of humour. This song is a perfect example of what makes her work so singular; she blends aspects of influence from Laurie Anderson, Jenny Hval and Julia Holter, but just makes it completely her own. Every time I see her live I’m more blown away.

Lisa O’Neill – ‘Along The North Strand’
For one reason or another I have a deep love of murder ballads in which the roles are reversed and it’s the women doing the murdering; same goes with folklore, the bible – Judith and Holofernes, Salome and John the Baptist, you name it, I love them all. This is a song Lisa O’Neill learned from a little-known traveller singer Kitty Cassidy and it appeared on her last album, the brilliant Heard A Long Gone Song. Lisa is also an one of my favourite songwriters, and that last album is a perfect mix of original songs and traditional songs, blending her wild, jagged mountainside stormy sea of a voice, her plaintive, poetic lyrics with accompaniment from some of the best trad musicians in the country like Cormac Begley and Christophe Capewell.

Rising Damp – ‘Rising Damp’
Rising Damp is the solo performance project of Michelle Doyle who also plays in the great punk band Sissy. I’ve been lucky to share the same bill with Michelle a few times now and every time I’m blown away. I can’t really describe it properly, but a Rising Damp show consists of synths, drum machines, vocal effects and fervently anti-fascist spoken word/shouting, all delivered with Michelle’s wild, hypnotic feral energy. If you ever get the opportunity to go to a Rising Damp show – go!

Huge thanks to Maija for sharing her Five Favourites! Listen to latest single ‘The Glitter’ below:

Bath Time, the upcoming album from Maija Sofia, is out 22nd November via Trapped Animal Records and Cargo Records.

LISTEN: Tara Tine – ‘The Night Was Cold’

Activist and artist Tara Tine has shared her single ‘The Night Was Cold’, taken from her debut EP Battle Cry. The native Dundalk author & musician is dedicated to putting the arts scene of her hometown in the spotlight of the national and international media, as well as championing the independent warrior spirit in her music.

In the last two years, Tine has balanced writing two novels and a novella alongside playing and writing music. She’s supported the likes of The Pale, The Fureys and Jinx Lennon, and now she’s shared her debut EP Battle Cry – “a rallying call for the would-be warriors of the world”. The release hosts six tracks, which Tine describes as a “patchwork” of musical genres – from Zeppelin-inspired blues, to old-school reggae.

The atmospheric ‘The Night Was Cold’is the lead single from the EP, and it’s accompanied by a gothic set of visuals, which show Tine wandering through the woods and around a graveyard. Watch the video below, and be sure to grab your copy of Battle Cry from Classified Records in Dundalk, or via Tine’s Facebook page.

Photo Credit: David Manning

Kate Crudgington
@KCBobCut

Track Of The Day: Maria Kelly – ‘july’

Having played at festivals such as The Great Escape and Electric Picnic, as well as sharing stages with the likes of James Vincent McMorrow and Lisa Hannigan, Irish artist Maria Kelly released her latest EP notes to self at the end of last year.

Taken from the EP, new single ‘july’ looks inward, exploring the idea that we are ultimately in control of how we feel, and must take responsibility for what we choose to dwell on. Another truly beautiful offering from Kelly, it flows with her silky smooth, emotion strewn vocals and a delicate, spine-tingling musicality. Oozing a heartbreaking sense of vulnerability, it sparkles with a mystical grandeur, creating a simply mesmerising slice of alt-folk. 

Directed by Gareth Walsh, watch the new video for ‘july’ here:

notes to self is out now via Veta Records.

Mari Lane
@marimindles

WATCH: Host – ‘b4me’

“Cut your hair but not your ties” advises Host as she faces down multiple camera lens’ in her new video for single ‘b4me’. It’s an infectious slice of electro-pop from the Irish newcomer, which navigates the tricky territory between being in love with the idea of being loved, and not being able to reciprocate that desire.

Following on from her debut single ‘Goodbye’, Host has spent most of her year writing, recording and producing music alone. ‘b4me’ is another sharply produced offering from the newcomer, who had this to say about her new track: “Usually, like many other artists, I write my songs based off an exaggerated version of the truth; but ‘b4me’ is far from fiction. I produced the song fully before adding a lyrical element to the music and for me, that alone spoke volumes, but sometimes you just have to speak your thoughts aloud to make them fully register”.

Fact or Fiction: we’re happy to dance along to Host’s upbeat tunes. Watch the video for ‘b4me’ below, and follow her on Facebook for more updates.

Kate Crudgington
@KCBobCut

PREMIERE: Host – ‘b4me’

“Cut your hair but not your ties” advises Irish artist Host on her new track ‘b4me’, which we’re premiering exclusively on Get In Her Ears today. The song is an infectious slice of electro-pop that navigates the tricky territory between being in love with the idea of being loved, and not being able to reciprocate that desire.

Following on from her debut single ‘Goodbye’, Host has spent most of her year writing, recording and producing music alone. ‘b4me’ is another sharply produced offering from the newcomer, who had this to say about her new track: “Usually, like many other artists, I write my songs based off an exaggerated version of the truth; but ‘b4me’ is far from fiction. I produced the song fully before adding a lyrical element to the music and for me, that alone spoke volumes, but sometimes you just have to speak your thoughts aloud to make them fully register”.

Fact or Fiction: we’re happy to dance along to Host’s upbeat tunes. Listen to ‘b4me’ below, and follow her on Facebook for more updates.

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

Track Of The Day: Hilary Woods – ‘Inhaler’

Dublin-based musician & performance artist Hilary Woods has shared ‘Inhaler’, the first single from her upcoming debut solo album Colt, which is set to be released via Sacred Bones Records on 8th June. It’s a pensive, delicate, melancholy track about her struggles with homesickness.

Speaking about ‘Inhaler’, Hilary says it’s “a response to a relenting absence that was constantly present. It’s a song about homesickness, longing; an attempt to find new ways of being in the wake of separation.” She explores these emotions through electronic and classical sounds, with her tentative, mysterious vocals floating calmly above these elements.

Woods directed the accompanying music video herself, working alongside cinematographer and long-time collaborator Joshua Wright, and dancer/choreographer Justine Cooper. With her multi-talented approach to creating art, and extensive musical experience playing as a member of JJ72, Hilary Woods should be on your eclectic radar.

Watch the video for ‘Inhaler’ below, and follow Hilary on Facebook for more updates.

Pre-order your copy of Colt here.

Kate Crudgington
@KCBobCut