EP: Julia-Sophie – ‘Y?’

Describing herself as finally finding her hullabaloo within the storm, new electronic artist Julia-Sophie jumped onto the scene supporting GIHE faves Sink Ya Teeth. Last week she released her debut EP, Y?, and we cannot stop listening to it.

This record draws you in from the outset. Lead track ‘Breathe’ envelopes you with its sound as the pulsating title lyric repeats, leaving it reverberating around your head after only the second listen. At points, especially on ‘x0x’, I feel that I can hear the influences of Gazelle Twin, where I am sat watching this music performed in a darkened auditorium with a light show that electrifies the stage as the music electrifies your ears.

Of the record Julia-Sophie explains “I came to point in my life when I realised that I had been coasting through life and in these songs, rather than carrying on floating I chose to rip myself open and see what would come out the other side.”

Y? is a sublime four track record of emotionally intelligent electrifying electronica. Music which builds and layers, over and over, resulting in an almost painfully blissful experience. I’m completely addicted and have not enjoyed an EP this much in a long while – Julia-Sophie is clearly an artist who has a solid understanding of producing, removing boundaries and letting music speak for itself. I cannot, and do not want to stop listening. 

Listen to Julia-Sophie’s EP Y? here. Follow Julia-Sophie on Instagram for more updates.

FIVE FAVOURITES: Julia-Sophie

Describing herself as finally finding her “hullabaloo within the storm”, new electronic artist Julia-Sophie shared her mesmerising debut EP, Y?, last week, and we cannot stop listening to it.

Y? is a sublime four track record of emotionally intelligent, electrifying electronica. Music which builds and layers, over and over, resulting in an almost painfully blissful experience; much like listening to a Gazelle Twin record. Julia-Sophie is clearly an artist who has a solid understanding of producing sound, removing boundaries and letting music speak for itself.

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 Julia-Sophie to ask about her “Five Favourites” – five albums that influenced her own writing techniques. Check out her choices below, and scroll down to watch the video for her single ‘x0x’ at the end of this post.

 

1. Thom Yorke – ANIMA
I’ve been listening to a lot of Thom Yorke this last year and feel very drawn into his latest album ANIMA. For me, it feels dark and tender and addresses emotional holes in my life. I’m attracted to his lyrics that have a dreamlike quality, like a stream of consciousness; like a beautiful nightmare. I love the way the album floats through unease as it slips and slides all over the place without ever becoming boring. It’s a left of centre electronic album with jabbing pulses, syncopated rhythms, spring loaded grooves and wheezy synths surging in waves; I love how effortless it all feels. I only dream of making music with that apparent ease. I love feeling like I can hear his whole creative process. The album makes me feel like I’m listening to art, like a sculptor mastering textures and layers; as I drift off the album catches me unawares. I love it and can’t recommend it enough.

2. James Blake – Assume Form
James has an infectious take on post-dubstep and downtempo, minimalistic electronica. His vocals are otherworldly, airy and his productions boundary-breaking. When the way that you relate to the world becomes difficult I look for artists who express emotions that I cannot; that I am searching for. I felt particularly connected to this album; it is melancholic yet hopeful. The record is full on emotion, and like all the best things in life, it doesn’t reveal itself immediately; it deserves time. As a producer, his sounds make me want to explore the record further and as I do, I capture themes that I didn’t quite grasp the first time round. When I feel dulled by emotion and trauma, James’ music makes me feel safe; his music makes me feel like I’m being held; arms wrapped around me delicately; all unencumbered by musical form. The guests on this album are incredible and are definitely worth revisiting, most notably Moses Sumney’s performance on ‘Tell Them’ blows me away. There’s definitely something particularly special about this album.

3. Art School Girlfriend – Into The Blue Hour
I’m not sure where or how I first came across Polly Mackey, aka Art School Girlfriend (knowing me, I was probably stalking Paul Epworth’s Wolftone Records as I’m a guilty Glass Animals and Harry Edwards fan). Art School Girlfriend self-produces music that for me shares the hypnotic euphoria of trance music. Her ability to create surreal, ethereal bodies of work laced with moodiness not only blows my mind and inspires me, but also gives me feelings of lustfulness and space; within this space I find myself free to think, feel, bend and reflect. I love that place she takes me to. Her music is all very dreamlike but packed with emotion and feels as menacing as it does beautiful. As someone who loves and is obsessed with electronic sounds, I love her use of electronica and only dream to be able to create hazy soundscapes like her, that are tied together with an innate pop understanding. Her music to me, feels quite sad and melancholic, but all tinged with beauty and mystery; it draws me in. Definitely music worth escaping to (plus she has a really cute dog, so what’s not to love about her and her music?)

4. TT (Theresa Wayman) – Lovelaws
I was never a huge Warpaint fan, not because I didn’t like them, but because I was late to the party. Warpaint’s music was so big that it seeped into my life all the same, always playing in the background at friend’s houses or in cafés, and so I’ve always had a wispy notion of their sound. When I heard Warpaint’s Theresa Wayman’s solo debut, I guess because I’ve become more into electronic music than guitar-led music, I was immediately drawn in. Her vocals felt intimate and her use of electronica excited me. This debut record feels really honest; where she explores themes of motherhood, isolation and romances. Her songs are dreamy and I feel she allows me to dream with her; the sound of skin on skin, she journeys fragile threads of human connections and makes me feel a certain sense of companionship and loneliness, all given in equal weight. The album never overpowers; it is warm and comforting: its songs mutate in ways that are unexpected and offer different kinds of rewards. She reminds me that we are all human, obsessing, disconnecting, passionate and jealous. I love her and this record for it.

5. Double Negative – Low
I first discovered this record at my local record store, Truck Music Store in Oxford, as they made it their album of the year. I remember Carl who works behind the counter waving it to me as I asked for recommendations. He was telling me about this album and I loved it from the get go. It’s an immensely creative, ambitious, warped slowcore album that takes you on an experimental journey from start to finish. It’s a radical record in many ways, creating all kinds of atmospheres; sometimes through drone and then also through using song as a conduit. It thumps, crackles and hums, is as oblique in its nature as it is haunting and on first listen sent shivers through me. I was hooked; I found myself lost in its noise, its darkness and heartbreak and yet the album somehow made me feel good even when I was falling apart.

Thanks to Julia-Sophie for sharing her favourites. Listen to her EP here.
Follow Julia-Sophie on Instagram for more updates.

PLAYLIST: April 2020

We’re living through tense and testing times at the moment, so at GIHE we’re doing everything we can to distract you from the day to day reality of lockdown life. Our April playlist is filled with some electro-pop stunners, a couple of riot grrrl inspired tracks, and the occasional tentative lo-fi tune. 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.

 

Kraków Loves Adana – ‘Young Again’
Some seriously lush electro-pop from duo Kraków Loves Adana here. Speaking about the track, Deniz Çiçek explains: “’Young Again’ reminisces about youth and the time when anxiety, overthinking and unhealthy relationships were holding you down. Memories might be dark and painful, but you realize how strong you emerged from the experience – with that bittersweet understanding that you’ll never be young again.” Yearning vocals, vivid synths and an intoxicating rhythm make this track worthy of repeated listens. (Kate Crudgington)

TOPS – ‘Colder & Closer’
An utterly dreamy slice of alt-pop, this new single from Montreal band TOPS is filled with all the swirling synth-laden hooks and whirring electro beats you could ever need. While alluding to the irony of social distancing and physical closeness to others (a particularly poignant theme right now), ‘Colder & Closer’ is a moreish, shimmering delight (Mari Lane)

Belako – ‘The Craft’ 
One of Spain’s fastest-rising bands, Belako have released their new single ‘The Craft’, taken from their first internationally released album Plastic Drama, due out on 8th May via BMG. This track is full of uplifting guitars as it pays homage to their teenage love of the 90s movie of the same name, explaining: “It also feels like the here and now, and it’s now or never. A sorority spell to face adversity head on, and to take fragility as a vital force in new ways to build ourselves up”. A great anthem for our current time. The track is  accompanied by a video which can be watched here. (Tash Walker)

Painted Zeros – ‘Commuter Rage’
Lifted from Painted Zeros’ second album, When You Found Forever (set for release on 29th May via Don Giovanni Records), ‘Commuter Rage’ is the sound of an artist who has had enough of making space for everyone else. “Go read a fucking book / don’t you fucking look at me / to teach you things that you are responsible for learning on your own” Katie Lau sings, with a quiet and relatable anger, over a deceptively sweet melody. I can’t wait to hear the rest of the record, and to play this on my commute once lockdown rules have been lifted. (KC)

Lido Pimienta – ‘Te Queria’
I’m always so impressed with Toronto-based, Colombian-born artist Lido Pimienta’s releases. Her voice is so smooth, her music is uplifting, and the sentiments behind her songs are always empowering. Even though I’m not fluent in Spanish, I can’t resist trying to sing along with her. Pimienta says ‘Te Queria’ is about “moving on from those who won’t appreciate your light, but still can see it enough in you to want to steal it.” I love it, and I can’t wait to hear her new album, Miss Colombia, in full on April 17th. (KC)

Junie & TheHutFriends – ‘Boi Cha Cha’
I think we could all do with a big dose of Junie & TheHutFriends every day right now! ‘Boi Cha Cha’ brings me so much joy. I can’t help but exclaim “what a tune!” every time I hear it. It reminds me of the randomness of tUnE-yArDs, with its layers of beats and snaps and claps. It’s taken from the band’s debut EP, Diary of a Chaotic Neutral. (TW)

NAVA – ‘You’
Milan-via-Iran duo NAVA make mesmerising electronic tunes, and ‘You’ is no exception. They’re set to release a new EP later this year, and (if everything goes back to normal) they’ll be playing their first ever UK show at the Sebright Arms on 8th September. I’ve got my fingers crossed! (KC)

Jessica Winter – ‘Play’
“I’m a fuck up, and I’m okay” admits Jessica Winter in her seductive, sweet voice on this new single. Taken from her debut EP Sad Music, which is set for release later this summer, ‘Play’ accepts that life can be cruel; but there’s always edgy, electro-pop bangers like this to distract us from the pain. (KC)

Julia-Sophie – ‘x0x’
x0x is the first single from new electronic artist Julia-Sophie taken from her forthcoming EP, Y?, due out later this month. Recently supporting GIHE faves Sink Ya Teeth, I am completely mesmerized by the slow and haunting sounds evoked on this single. From the pulsating beats to the whirring synths, building and layering, topped with her questioning vocals, results in an almost painfully blissful experience – I’m completely addicted. I cannot, and don’t want to stop listening. (TW)

Bitch Hunt – ‘Spaceman’
Filled with catchy, scuzzy hooks, a subtle tongue-in-cheek wit and the gritty deadpan vocals of front person Sian, ‘Spaceman’ is an observational and relatable slice of punk-pop. With Bitch Hunt’s trademark impassioned energy and swirling harmonies, it’s a spot-on reflection on the sickening arrogance of all those cis male ‘splainers and ‘spreaders we so often have to endure in our day to day lives. An uplifting raging anthem inspiring us all to take those men down a peg (or four). Watch the new video for ‘Spaceman’ now. (ML)

Vulpynes – ‘I Can’t Sit Still’
Irish duo Vulpynes were due to play for us at The Finsbury last Friday (3rd April), along with Tiger Mimic, Gravey and Boys Of The Hole. It was pretty heartbreaking, but of course necessary, to cancel this one – I was super excited to see their immense raucous energy and soaring gritty power live. But, I’m desperately hoping to reschedule the gig for later in the year, so do keep your eyes peeled! And in the mean time, please stream/download and buy their music. (ML)

Guitar Gabby and The Txlips – ‘The Dead Pool
As scuzzed out riffs blast out alongside Gabriella Logan’s seething growl, ‘The Dead Pool’ is propelled by a grunge-fueled energy, with shades of the likes of Alice In Chains. Oozing a gritty emotion, it’s a ferocious, empowering anthem; a completely necessary angst-driven offering for these strange times. (ML)

Party Fears – ‘All Is Good’
The creator of some of our favourite DIY art-pop tunes over the last few years, ‘All Is Good’ is the latest single from Party Fears (aka Maggie Devlin). Released via Babywoman Records, it’s a tender, lo-fi offering that explores feelings of loss, nostalgia, and emotional endurance. (KC)

Lindsay Munroe – ‘Split’
‘Split’ is the second single taken from Lindsay Munroe’s forthcoming EP Our Heaviness, set for release on May 8th via AWAL – and I’m counting down the days. Of this latest single, Munroe says: “Split’ is one of the rawest songs I have written. I spent my early 20s in conservative religious environments, embedded in black-and-white thinking and beliefs. Increasingly I felt like I had to leave part of myself at the door, painfully unable to be open about my life and choices. ‘Split’ came from an attempt to move beyond the hurt and exhaustion of that situation”. I’m loving what I hear from Munroe so far, reminding me of a mix between Angel Olsen and Mitski. (TW)

Emily Magpie – ‘All Is Silence’
A particularly poignant new creation from GIHE fave, Bristol-based artist Emily Magpie, ‘All Is Silence’ was inspired by reading Margaret Atwood; a spine-tingling reflection on a post-apocalyptic journey. With her trademark twinkling ukulele melodies and her soaring heartfelt vocals, Magpie creates an effervescent slice of dream-pop, offering a sparkling glimmer of hope in dark times. Let’s Talk About The Weather, the upcoming debut album from Emily Magpie, is out now. (ML)

Kathleen Frances – ‘Define’
Hot off the press, ‘Define’ is the debut single from Bristol born artist Kathleen Frances. I was drawn to this song by the strong slow piano chords and the depth of Frances’ vocals. They resonate on a level that brings such gentle emotion and depth to the song. Inspired by the need to question the social constructs of love and romance, it feels rather apt at the moment when we are all looking at redefining every aspect of our lives. (TW)

Jenny Hval – ‘Bonus Material’
Us GIHE grrrls love a bit of Jenny Hval, and this standalone single is no exception. The Norwegian multidisciplinary artist describes ‘Bonus Material’ as “Trash practicing love”, referencing her last album The Practice of Love, released last year via Sacred Bones. Featuring saxophone by Espen Reinertsen, Hval’s sweet vocals float over twinkling synths in this light, “unfinished” offering. (KC)