FIVE FAVOURITES: Song Sung

Formed of twin sisters Georgina and Una McGeough, Song Sung grew up in Ireland, before moving over to New York a decade ago. Since then, the pair have been dabbling in music software, creating their own atmospheric electronics, and are set to release their debut album later this year. The duo recently worked with David Holmes (Unloved), who co-wrote and produced their EP, I Surrender, along with his bandmate Keefus Ciancia. The pair have previously worked on scores with Holmes too, including The Fall and Killing Eve (for which they won a BAFTA).

We think one of the best ways to get to know an artist is by asking what music inspired them to write in the first place. We caught up with Song Sung to ask about their “Five Favourites” – five albums that influenced their song writing techniques. Check out Sng Sung’s choices below, and scroll down to watch the video for their single ‘Come To The Water’ at the end of this post.

1. Plaid – Reachy Prints
I was at friends exhibition opening one night in Berlin, and Barry Burns from Mogwai was DJing at the after party. He played a mixture of electronic beats, with some IDM. I remember he played ‘Hawkmoth’ and all of a sudden I could no longer hear the person I was talking to. I proceeded to dance my way over to Barry to ask “who is that?”. The entire album is incredible. We had a chance to see Plaid in December at Elsewhere in Brooklyn, which was fantastic.

2. Casino Versus Japan – Whole Numbers Play the Basics
This album was introduced to us a few years ago. It was on heavy rotation during the writing and recording of our album. The dronescapes and lush melodies are exquisite. It’s one of our favourite records.

3. Jon Hopkins – Immunity
Our album was made between NYC, Berlin and Belfast and in each of those cities, Jon Hopkins walked with us. It’s a miraculous listen. There is so much emotion and space in this album and there is a real feeling of warmth to it.

4. Boards of Canada – The Campfire Headphase
It’s difficult to choose which BoC album to feature, because we listen to them non-stop. I think The Campfire Headphase album was the one that got the most spins during the making of our album. It was an escape from our dream into another dream. Trans Canada Highway is another escape. The albums are quite different, but there is something unique about siblings making music together.

5. Aphex Twin – I Care Because You Do
I feel like this album was always playing somewhere when we were at art school in Belfast, quite possibly ingrained in the walls of every art school on the planet. It’s haunting, meditative and really emotional. The opening track, ‘Acrid Avid Jam Shred’ gently transports you and captures your attention right until the end of the record. It’s mesmerizing, melancholic and masterful from beginning to end. An absolute favourite.

Listen to Song Song’s EP, I Surrender, here. Follow the band on Spotify & Facebook for more updates.

PREMIERE: Naoise Roo – ‘Sick Girlfriend’

A slow-burning guitar tune that satirizes the representation of women with mental health issues; ‘Sick Girlfriend’ is the latest single from Irish artist Naoise Roo, set for release on 27th March. The track is lifted from her upcoming EP of the same name, due on 24th April.

Produced by Liam Mulvaney (Girl Band, The Radio, Fionn Regan) and featuring Daniel Fox (Girl Band) on bass and Rian Trench (Solar Bears) on drums and synths; Naoise Roo’s new EP is an exploration of women’s experiences in the music industry, and the stereotypes that continue to burden women who struggle with poor mental health.

Speaking about the eponymous track, Naoise explains: “I wanted to write something that showed the objectification that I’ve seen depicted, and in turn, the reality I’ve experienced within relationships having suffered with mental health issues all my life”. Despite these setbacks, Naoise continues to move forward by creating relatable, optimistic indie offerings.

Listen to ‘Sick Girlfriend’ below, and follow Naoise Roo on Facebook & Spotify for more updates.

Kate Crudgington
@KCBobCut

ALBUM: Hilary Woods – ‘Birthmarks’

Both an aural purge of insecurities, and a powerful exploration of self-autonomy; Sacred Bones signee Hilary Woods‘ second album Birthmarks is due for release on 13th March. Darker and sharper in sound in comparison to her debut album Colt, the Irish musician has collaborated with Norwegian experimental noise producer & filmmaker Lasse Marhaug, and together they’ve crafted a new set of cohesive, shadowy soundscapes that smolder with quiet intensity.

Written & recorded over the course of two years between Galway and Oslo whilst Woods was heavily pregnant, Birthmarks feels like her most personal and powerful record to date. Inspired by field recordings, the images from post-war Japanese & wet-plate photography, and the secret life of trees; Woods’ far-reaching influences are what make her art so transcendent.

Opener ‘Tongues Of Wild Boar’ is a foggy, captivating exploration of intense discomfort. From its scratchy, dense opening, to its gentle blend of orchestral and electronic elements, it’s a primal, intuitive track that scars and soothes in equal measure. “My body knows I can’t make it out” Woods sings on ‘Orange Tree’, tentatively trying to make peace with her body and her surroundings. This need to face her inner fears underscores the record, making it an unsettling, but genuinely liberating listen.

The tender ‘Through The Dark, Love’ feels like an intuitive guide through an ambiguous, tumultuous relationship, whilst the sparse instrumentation and the rhythmic humming on ‘Lay Bare’ both feel intensely comforting. Woods’ songs feel confessional, yet meditative in nature, ranging from gentle to gritty all within a few short seconds. ‘Mud and Stones’ is much like this; with its stretched out saxophone sounds, changing tempo, and whispered lyrics.

‘The Mouth’ is one of the boldest, most confident tracks on the album. A fleshy, twisted lullaby about personal hesitation; it’s a somber yet powerful listen, laced with melancholy strings, saxophone, and distorted drone noises. Though fueled by uncertainty, it’s a carefully constructed song that provides space for healing and acceptance. The denseness of ‘Cleansing Ritual’ is unexpectedly soothing too. Purely instrumental, its layers of drone noises and distortion could cauterize the deepest of wounds. The eerie, persistent tapping of one key alongside Woods’ hushed voice on ‘There Is No Moon’ could feel desolate, but instead it feels restless; as if she is keeping herself awake with the urgency of that repeated note.

Though quiet in terms of volume, Birthmarks is an abrasive, primal, charged offering that allows Woods the space to navigate emotional territories, and prove her strength and resilience as an artist.

Pre-order Hilary Woods’ new album Birthmarks here (released 13th March via Sacred Bones)
Follow her on Facebook for more updates.

Photo Credit: Joshua Wright 

Kate Crudgington
@KCBobCut

LISTEN: Hilary Woods – ‘The Mouth’

A fleshy, twisted lullaby about personal hesitation; Hilary Woods has shared her latest single, ‘The Mouth’. Taken from her second album Birthmarks, which is set for release on 13th March via Sacred Bones, the track is a somber yet powerful listen; laced with strings, saxophone, and distorted drone noises.

Speaking about the track, Woods explains: “The impulse to write ‘The Mouth’ came from a longing to articulate feelings aloud that I failed to express til the moment had passed.” Though fueled by uncertainty and doubt, ‘The Mouth’ is one of Woods’ boldest, most confident tracks. It’s a dense, layered, carefully constructed soundscape that provides space for healing and acceptance.

Written & recorded over the course of two years between Galway and Oslo whilst Woods was heavily pregnant, Birthmarks looks set to be her most personal and powerful record to date. Inspired by the works of Norwegian experimental noise producer & filmmaker Lasse Marhaug, the images from post-war Japanese and wet-plate photography, to the secret life of trees; Woods’ far-reaching influences are what make her art so mesmerising and transcendent.

Listen to ‘The Mouth’ below, and follow Hilary Woods on Facebook & Spotify for more updates. Catch her live at Cafe Oto, London, on 18th May

Photo credit: Joshua Wright

Kate Crudgington
@KCBobCut

Track Of The Day: Hilary Woods – ‘Orange Tree’

A tentative exploration of inner fears; Hilary Woods‘ latest single ‘Orange Tree’ is an atmospheric, brooding affair. Taken from her upcoming second album Birthmarks, set for release on 13th March via Sacred Bones, the Irish musician has crafted another dark, beguiling soundscape that smolders with quiet intensity.

Speaking about the new track, Woods explains: “For me, ‘Orange Tree’ is a personal song acknowledging an inner fear of the unknown. It’s an exercise in overcoming, becoming more planted and rooted in the earth and in the body.” Woods’ thoughts are reflected in the accompanying visuals for the track, which she created and directed with Joshua Wright.

Written & recorded over the course of two years between Galway and Oslo, whilst Woods was heavily pregnant, Birthmarks looks set to be her most personal and powerful record to date. Inspired by the works of Norwegian experimental noise producer & filmmaker Lasse Marhaug, the images from post-war Japanese and wet-plate photography, to the secret life of trees; Woods’ far-reaching influences are what make her art so mesmerising and transcendent.

Watch the video for ‘Orange Tree’ below, and follow Hilary Woods on Facebook & Spotify for more updates.

Hilary Woods EU/UK Live Dates 2020
April 19, Tilberg, NL @ Roadburn Festival
May 18, London, UK @ Cafe Oto

Photo credit: Joshua Wright

Kate Crudgington
@KCBobCut

LISTEN: Hilary Woods – ‘Tongues of Wild Boar’

A shadowy, captivating exploration of intense discomfort; Sacred Bones signee Hilary Woods has shared ‘Tongues of Wild Boar’, the first single lifted from her upcoming album Birthmarks, which is set for release on 13th March.

Though quiet in terms of volume, Woods’ new single is a fleshy, charged offering that allows her the space to navigate “emotionally charged states” at a pace suited to her. “It is a song deeply lodged in the body, that yearns to surface for air and escape its own shadow.” Woods explains, and the accompanying visuals she collaborated on with Joshua Wright beautifully reflect this.

Written over the course of two years, and recorded whilst heavily pregnant between Galway and Oslo in the winter of 2019, Birthmarks looks set to be Woods’ most personal and powerful record to date. Inspired by the works of Norwegian experimental noise producer & filmmaker Lasse Marhaug, the images from post-war Japanese and wet-plate photography, to the secret life of trees; Woods’ far-reaching influences are what make her art so beguiling and transcendent.

From its scratchy, dense opening, to its gentle blend of orchestral and electronic elements; ‘Tongues of Wild Boar’ is a primal, intuitive track that scars and soothes in equal measure. Watch the video below, and follow Hilary Woods on Facebook for more updates.

Pre-order Hilary Woods new album Birthmarks here.

Hilary Woods Live Dates 2020
19th April – Roadburn Festival, TILBERG NL
18th May – Cafe Oto, LONDON UK

Photo credit: Joshua Wright

Kate Crudgington
@KCBobCut

ALBUM: Queen Bonobo – ‘Light Shadow Boom Boom’

Queen Bonobo’s engaging debut Light Shadow Boom Boom unites a broad array of textures into a coherent whole. Backed by a talented young group of Northern Irish jazz musicians, her ten tracks draw together the acoustics of jazz, direct songwriting, and an expansive range of other sounds.

This eclecticism is no surprise – born in an Idaho forest, Queen Bonobo has spent a lifetime on the move, pursuing spontaneous collaboration with musicians from all corners. The album showcases less idyllic themes too, with lyrics covering depression in the family and the difficulties of radical self-acceptance in changing circumstances. But the restorative power of music making is always at the core. In her words: “the title stands for the heavens above (light), the earth below (dark), and the pulse of life throughout it all”.

‘The Lord Does What He Wants’, opens the album, placing folksy melodies over joyous chord-strums, but the upbeat feel of the instruments is tinged with escapism too (“I’m plain dysfunctional / break me so I know nothing’s permanent”). ‘Light Me Up’ moves from sultry jazz to cracking, imploring screams, and ‘Shadow’ explores other shades of contrast, with light brushes of sax giving way to lilting solos.

‘Honey’’s brief stopover in 7/4 is balanced by the simple, earthy percussion of ‘Boom Boom’, reminiscent of Ibeyi’s back-to-nature approach. Inspired by the Appalachian Mountains, its signature line may serve as the album’s best summary: “My energy’s infectious, connected with the earth”. ‘Spin Me’ is unquestionably the album’s most intriguing track. Half-sketched melodies are pulled apart by a dream-swirl of languid synths, the music somehow seeming to rotate around itself without having a clear centre point.

The natural sincerity of Queen Bonobo’s voice superbly ties together the variety, elastically summoning energy and introspection in a fine balance. The album is a clear product of its situation – a collection of promising young musicians trying a range of styles on for size. This is an intriguing debut that bodes well for the future of all the artists at it’s core.

Follow Queen Bonobo on Facebook for more updates.

George Howlett