Track Of The Day: Vulpynes – ‘Control Is Not What I Need’

Following last year’s acclaimed EP Us Against Them and having shared stages with the likes of Sleaford Mods and Deap Vally, GIHE faves Vulpynes have now shared a raging new single.

With ‘Control Is Not What I Need’, the Dublin duo ooze a frenzied angst-driven power as the gritty passion of Molly’s seething vocals rages alongside Kaz’s immense, thrashing beats. A reflection on addressing anxieties and letting yourself absorb your emotions, it offers an empowering energy as swirling hooks race with a frenzied sense of urgency. A riotous, grunge-fuelled anthem with shades of the fierce intensity of the likes of Distillers and L7, it perfectly showcases the duo’s unforgiving, fiery spirit and ability to create scuzzily smouldering blasts of punk-rock magnificence.

Watch the new video for ‘Control Is Not What I Need’ here:

Vulpynes will be playing live in Dublin at The Button Factory on 5th September. A limited number of remaining tickets are available here.

Mari Lane
@marimindles

Track Of The Day: Pretty Happy – ‘Sudocrem’

A frantic, witty, cathartic burst of art punk noise, Cork trio Pretty Happy have shared their latest single ‘Sudocrem’. Taken from their recent EP Sluggers Bridge, released via Art For Blind Records, the track ricochets between manic vocals, spoken word verses and whirlwind guitar cacophonies to reflect the irritation of the characters the song is based around.

Formed of Abbey Blake (guitar), Arann Blake (vocals, bass) and Andy Killian (drums), Pretty Happy have been busy cutting their teeth on the DIY Irish music and arts scene over the last few years. Abbey is a founder of Angry Mom Collective, a movement set up to challenge the gender imbalance in Irish arts, whilst Arann and Andy are keenly involved in the local drama and film scenes. Together, the trio combine their talents to create their distinctive sounds and ‘Sudocrem’ is another of their riotous, tongue-in-cheek offerings.

Centered around the Cork-centric story of a girl who is suffering from alcohol poisoning in the Mercy Hospital whilst her partner sits across the road in the Franciscan Well pub, ‘Sudocrem’ kicks and screams with the kind of frustration, panic and anxiety that can’t be soothed by the childhood medicinal staple it’s named after. Speaking about their new EP which the track is lifted from, the band explain: “With Sluggers Bridge we have attempted to capture our live theatre-influenced, art-punk sound. We wanted to make this EP as interdisciplinary as possible, taking as much inspiration from the Irish stage as we do the Irish music scene. This EP is uniquely Cork, influenced greatly by the people and humour of the city.”

Listen to ‘Sudocrem’ below.

Follow Pretty Happy on bandcampSpotifyInstagramTwitter & Facebook

Photo Credit: Nicholas O’Donnell

Kate Crudgington
@KCBobCut

Track Of The Day: Soda Blonde – ‘Holy Roses’

Honest, conflicted and entirely recognisable to anyone who has lived through their twenties and paused for a moment of introspection, the latest single ‘Holy Roses’ from rousing Dublin four-piece, Soda Blonde, is the third of its kind to blaze the trail ahead of the band’s hotly anticipated debut album Small Talk. All four of Soda Blonde’s band members hail from the critically acclaimed BBC Sound Of nominees, Little Green Cars, whose debut album Absolute Zero hit the number one spot in Ireland in 2013.

Soda Blonde have thrived in crafting their novel dreamy alt-pop sound during Lockdown through a shared need to make music whilst making peace with their younger selves, amid refreshingly honest transparency. Front-woman, songwriter and mesmerising vocalist Fay O’Rourke has said that the alchemy of the project lies in the “meticulousness and devotion to every detail” prevalent in the writing process from the moment O’Rourke sends the initial sample across to guitarist Adam O’Regan, to the moment the band, who are self-producing every detail, sign off on their own artwork.

It’s this new and authentic process of creating – adding and passing on to the next band member – that has resulted in the solely self-produced single ‘Holy Roses’ which deconstructs the intricacies of religion, science, fate and choice through the band members’ twenty-something lived experiences. The track started in the hands of O’Rourke who, “with feminism on one shoulder and trans-generational catholic guilt on the other”, has admitted to finding the process of de-programming herself as an Irish woman extremely hard. By directly addressing those who “bypassed” her and stood in her way, O’Rourke reflects on this single as one of the most important on the album, closing the door on past experiences of oppression in a moment of reckoning and letting go.

The simple melancholy and raw riffs provided by O’Regan at the start of this track lay down the foundations of a progressive and poignant pop song, with both delicate and masterful melodies to soundtrack your summer nostalgia. So, it’s only fair that the introduction of Donagh Seaver-O’Leary’s understated yet vivacious bass-line takes you on a leap down memory lane as it underlines O’Rourke’s inner-most contradictory conscience. The partnership of synthetic delay and reverb, catchy and warm backing vocals in the pre-chorus, alongside the introduction of an obscure off-beat percussion section from drummer Dylan Lynch, all flow meticulously into one another to personify the shadow of painful past experiences in this perfect pop sensation.

‘Holy Roses’ is all about confronting contradictions, so it is no surprise that the chorus steals the ground from beneath our feet with its luminous and epically uplifting appeal. We are transported into our inner-most selves by O’Rourke’s ethereal and dominating vocal, hitting notes that I haven’t heard in this alt-pop setting since those heard on Rae Morris’ 2015 release Unguarded.

Small Talk is set for release on 9th July via Velveteen Records, ahead of the band’s summer tour featuring a date supporting Sinead O’Connor at Dublin’s Iveagh Gardens – not bad for a band new to the scene. This may be the first you’ve heard of them, but it won’t be the last…

Lauren Roberts
@robauren

ALBUM: New Pagans – ‘The Seed, The Vessel, The Roots and All’

An intuitive rumination on the personal and the political, New Pagans‘ debut album The Seed, The Vessel, The Roots and All is a gritty, deeply poetic consideration of inequality and social injustice. Released via Big Scary Monsters, the Belfast band’s first full length record dives into the paraphernalia surrounding religion, romance and women’s pain, and resurfaces having transformed these tired archetypes into aural talismans of strength and defiance.

Formed of Claire Miskimmin, Cahir O’Doherty, Conor McAuley and Lyndsey McDougall, New Pagans blend elements of post-punk, grunge and pop to explore internal & external conflict in their music. On their 2020 debut EP Glacial Erratic, the band crafted six abrasive, yet melodic tracks that have formed the foundation for their first full length record. With the addition of five new songs, The Seed, The Vessel, The Roots and All is a sharper, fully fleshed out vision that sees the band’s scathing, yet sensitive approach to song-writing flourish with defiant flair.

“The demand for perfection is disturbing,” sings vocalist Lyndsey on opener ‘It’s Darker’. Based on a real life confrontation she had at a party with an aggressive male musician, the track will strike a chord with anyone who has had their opinion publicly devalued. “Everyone’s looking and I’m upset” she reveals, working through the unsettling feeling of being spoken down to via relentless riffs and commanding percussion.

Informed by overheard conversations on a Belfast bus, ‘Charlie Has The Face Of a Saint’ flows with a stream-of-consciousness narrative. Throwaway phrases like “I’m doing my part” or “You’re easy to have when you’re down on your knees” float above the loud/quiet verse/chorus structure, with the conflicting voices unable to provide answers, they simply exist in the ether. The spiralling ‘I Could Die’ follows, with its manic riffs and urgent vocals, before the powerful ‘Bloody Soil’ breaks through. It feels like the soundtrack to a social uprising, with its intense riffs and chant-able chorus.

A tribute to the sister of artists William Butler and Jack Butler Yeats, ‘Lily Yeats’ is an aural confidence boost to the song’s protagonist, and to the women who need encouragement to step out of their brother’s shadows. “My daughter needs to know that she can do the same,” sings Lyndsey over erratic riffs and pummelling beats, before dual male/female vocals drive home the message that it’s everyone’s responsibility to amplify the volume of women’s stories.

Lyndsey’s sharp focus on weaving her own stories of pain, self-autonomy and motherhood with other historic female narratives is the lyrical lifeblood of the album. She allows her own joy, grief and frustration to run parallel to others, with the band’s driving rhythms creating a musical space for the resilience and strength of these women’s histories to shine through. Singles ‘Harbour’ and ‘Yellow Room’ epitomise this.

On ‘Harbour’, Lyndsey celebrates the joy and the struggle of her own pregnancy, while on ‘Yellow Room’ she unravels the conversations around women’s mental health and the lack of support that new mothers often receive. Inspired by Charlotte Perkins Gilman’s semi-autobiographical short-story The Yellow Wallpaper, ‘Yellow Room’ is a racing, urgent exploration of female isolation. Through the medium of Gilmans’ text, the band traverse these underlying doubts via crystalline vocals and charged, powerful riffs, challenging and updating the narrative around women’s mental health.

A humble, shimmering ode to the perseverance that’s needed to keep a long-term relationship going, the band’s treatment of love and its many faults on ‘Admire’ is far more romantic than any Valentine’s bouquet. “Let’s preserve our old ways / let’s preserve them always” sings Lyndsey, her voice floating above atmospheric guitars and swirling bass lines. The song builds to a cacophony of shoegaze noise, removing all sense of doubt about remaining faithful to your partner.

On ‘Ode To None’, the band rip up more outdated traditions of conventional storytelling, declaring “We’re the new pagans / dedicated to nurture”, while on the aspirational ‘Natural Beauty’, Lyndsey dismantles what it means to be an ambitious artist. It serves as a reminder to take your art seriously and to have confidence in your abilities, which is wonderfully expressed in the empowering sentiment: “It’s in her destiny to be better than you.”

A riotous, refreshing call for accountability and a take down of sexist double standards, ‘Christian Boys’ seethes with righteous fury against the unfair judgement of women who are involved with hypocritical men. Based on the experiences of Lyndsey’s friend – who had been having an affair with a Christian leader in Northern Ireland before his marriage to a virgin bride – The urgency in the repeated lyric “Christian boys are the worst I know / Christian girls should take it slow” exposes the hypocrisy underscoring the track’s narrative, calling out those who blame others for their own mistakes. It’s a powerful and necessary statement to close the record with.

On The Seed, The Vessel, The Roots and All, New Pagans uproot musical genres, challenge stunted narratives around social history, gender and relationships and manage to cultivate a powerful sonic resilience against them. It’s a hugely refreshing and impressive album that deserves all of the praise it’s received so far.

Order your copy of The Seed, The Vessel, The Roots and All here.

Follow New Pagans on bandcampTwitterInstagramFacebook & Spotify

Kate Crudgington
@KCBobCut