Five Favourites: Frankie Rose

Having just released her fifth studio album Love As Projection, New York based artist Frankie Rose creates stirring, electro-fused soundscapes. Propelled by a whirring ‘80s-inspired drive with shades of the likes The Cure (you should also check out Rose’s Cure cover album Seventeen Seconds) or Joy Division, a glistening musicality flows throughout the album with a stirring anthemic majesty, creating a blissful sonic experience.

We think one of the best ways to get to know an artist is by asking what music inspires them. So, to celebrate the release of Love As Projection, we caught up with Rose to ask about the music that has inspired her the most. So, read about her five favourite ever albums, and check out the beautiful video for latest single Come Back‘ below

The Cure – Head On The Door
On an 18 hour drive during a tour a few years ago, we decided to listen to every Cure album in chronological order front-to-back. And, while it was hard to decide during the course of the listening process, Head On The Door was ultimately my choice for best album in the end. The difficulty in the decision is due to the Cure being one of my all-time favourite bands, and choosing this release over a masterpiece such as Disintegration is controversial… But having absolute perfect songs like ‘Close to Me’ and ‘In-Between Days’ on one album sealed the deal after combing through the entire catalogue.

Depeche Mode – Violator
As much as I’ll always appreciate Depeche Mode in their more minimal, early synth-pop days, Violator is the band’s introduction into the mainstream. The album is just so crammed full of ‘tracks’, how can it possibly be topped? The pinnacle of electronic pop mastery. If I recall correctly, I first heard this record when I was 14; ‘Enjoy The Silence’ was a massive hit on the radio, and it became an omnipresent soundtrack to my youth. In retrospect, it’s odd that this synth band had such a major crossover hit in the United States, especially with such a – dare I say – kinky album? 

Kate Bush – Hounds Of Love
‘Running Up That Hill’ and ‘Cloudbusting’ on one release..? Wow! Kate Bush is another key influence on me. I took direct inspiration from the drums on ‘Running Up That Hill’ for a song on Love As Projection (Can you guess which one?!) She’s such an original talent – she has a totally unique style of songwriting and pop structure, she uses almost no cymbals. It’s incredibly theatrical, something I had never encountered before in music prior to getting into her albums. She’s not a typical pop star; it comes across almost more like performance art.

Talk Talk – Spirit Of Eden
For me, this will always be the quintessential Talk Talk album. It is understated but undeniably epic. I don’t consider this a pop record – it’s a record I feel should be listened to from beginning to end. It’s a complete piece of art, and it is perfection. It’s almost like a jazz record; a massive album with lots of negative space, so orchestrated. Meticulously made, and you can tell. It feels like a story told beginning to end, like Mark Hollis had a complete vision for the record conceptually. It’s funny because I’d say there aren’t even any ‘hits’ on the album (at least not in a conventional way). 

Cocteau Twins – Heaven or Las Vegas
Elizabeth Fraser will always be my go-to inspiration. This record is stunning from beginning to end… Is there a more perfect opening song than ‘Cherry-Coloured Funk’? I also find a drummerless band extremely inspirational these days – less is more, and this album proves you can accomplish so much with a minimal sonic palate. I celebrate Cocteau Twins’ entire discography, but this is definitely their most straightforward ‘pop’ record in my opinion; it’s more accessible and fully realized, which I appreciate. 

Massive thanks to Frankie Rose for sharing her favourite albums with us!

Love As Projection, the new album from Rose, is out now via Night School Records.

Introducing Interview: Ch’Lu

Having received acclaim from the likes of BBC 6Music’s Chris Hawkins, and with her music featured on the award-winning Unreported World TV Series, British-Romanian artist Ch’Lu is now set to release her new album this Summer. Ahead of the album’s release she’s recently shared her witty, yet poignant, insight into online dating with ‘I’m Not The Type To Sit And Swipe‘ – showcasing her ability to layer twinkling musicality alongside her celestial vocals, creating immersive ethereal soundscapes.

We caught up with Ch’Lu to find out more about what inspires her, her experience of the music industry and her upcoming plans… Have a read and watch the video for ‘I’m Not The Type To Sit and Swipe’ below!

Hi Ch’Lu! Welcome to Get In Her Ears! Can you tell us a bit about yourself? 
So, I’m Ch’Lu. A British/Romanian multi-lingual classical guitarist, singer, actress and ninja. My ethereal harmonies, conscious lyrics and guitar arpeggiation are the foundation to my signature Cosmic Chanson meets Fairy Folktronica sound. Taking you on a conscious and entertaining journey, blending the ancient with the voice of the Zeitgeist. So far my work (some under Camilla Mathias) has spanned thirteen languages, varying from performing live for BBC6 Music (with Chris Hawkins describing as “a beautiful, captivating and delicious chanteuse“), providing guitar for the award-winning Unreported World TV series, composing and performing my songs in the new London stage adaptation of Lorca’s Blood Wedding, and having my Romanian-Language track ‘Sunt Româncâ’ selected for charity album Mitra Music For Nepal, produced by Annie Hogan (Marc Almond).

Are you able to tell us a bit about how and why you initially started creating music?
A decade ago, song-writing and meditation both gave me not only beautiful ways to heal from the sudden loss of my musician father, but rapidly also showed me I could engage and help others though the sharing of such life-experiences. It has always been clear to me that the stories that form our greatest growth are the stories we have to share. Although I trained in classical guitar and singing, I only ever used my guitar as an actress, never to perform my own music. However, in 2010 I started writing and performing my own songs, (under my birth name Camilla Mathias), mostly as a means to process the passing of my dad. Very soon I started doing gigs in French as part of the cabaret circuit in London, and then moved to Switzerland and took on the stage name Diva de la Guitare. I then lived in Spain and eventually came back to the UK, in time for Covid, during which I rebranded as Ch’Lu. Pronounced ChooLOO,  the unique Sanskrit name was conceived by my Jyotisha (The Vedic study of timing) mentor, specifically for my work as a performer. It’s all about the vibration (hence my social media handle is @ChLuVibration). This Sanskrit name activates my spiritual and creative paths, and is very much altering the shape and direction my performance work takes me

We love your eclectic art-pop sounds, but who would you say are your main musical influences?
My most common comparison is Kate Bush. And I would say she is a strong inspiration, especially her iconic ‘Wuthering Heights’. Other influences vary between Joan Baez, Bach, Villa Lobos, Madonna, Edith Piaf, Brigitte Bardot, Rodrigo y Gabriella, Manu Chao, Amanda Palmer, Agnes Obel, Max Richter, Scylla and Woodkid.

You recently released your new single ‘I’m Not The Type To Sit and Swipe’. Are you able to tell us a bit about it?
It’s a painfully honest song entering the hideous and ridiculous universe of dating apps. Everyone knows someone who has – if they have not had a go themselves – sat swiping on a phone to find love. Or to not feel alone. It’s about desperation, loneliness, and seeking validation. What happened to romance? And treating people with respect? I actually started writing the song a few years ago when I first started using Bumble and Tinder, and was recovering from surgery on a sports’ injury. Although it helped me at the time get the confidence to get out and about on crutches, I have noticed the behaviour get dramatically worse in recent years. It now seems to be the norm to match someone with no intention of writing to them, or to message non-stop but not want to actually meet. What a waste of time. It is just vile in my opinion, and this song expresses all the levels I have experienced. There are a few good-uns out there, but not enough for it to be worth the doubt and madness that comes from swiping and texting and waiting and being disappointed endlessly. It’s far better to focus on self-love and being happy with yourself.

Being based in London, do you get to see lots of live music? Would you say it’s recovered since the pandemic?
I actually move between Bucks and London, as I have my recording space in my Mum’s wonderfully remote place surrounded by woodland and hills. But I make sure I am in London regularly to get my culture fix! I need the balance of nature and silence with action and what’s happening. I would definitely not say the live music scene has recovered – there are many challenges with people not buying tickets in advance, so shows get cancelled; and audiences are smaller for gigs I’ve been to. Though music festivals I went to this summer were doing well. Touring is another issue – I used to gig a lot abroad, but with Brexit, that right now is not an option (unless you have a large-sized tour management to take on costs and admin) with all the restrictions, visa-requirements and controls on bringing merch. I am helping support the campaigning and lobbying the Musician’s Union are doing to improve the situation and a possible “Musicians’s Passport” for artists who want to play live outside the UK.

And what can fans expect from your live shows?  
I will have my first physical London show since before the pandemic this Summer, to celebrate the release of my debut album under the Ch’Lu umbrella. A Ch’Lu live show has a Campfire-meets-Kirtan-meets-Club vibe. It’s intimate, theatrical, fun and transformational. The way I blend the ancient with the voice of the Zeitgeist means you can expect lyrics in a whole range of languages, live-looped classical guitar and electronic beats, and audience engagement and relatability to make you howl. The first Ch’Lu tour (USA and Europe) is already under preparation and will be a physical version of the “Ch’Lu Campfire” streams I have been moulding online for the last 18 months. For me, the audience are very much part of the performance, and this tour is going to be designed by and for, my devoted fans. Every online show I do touches me greatly, and my followers tell me how I’ve helped get them out of bed, or through an emergency situation or given them hope… So I can’t wait to meet the fans I’ve got to know virtually on this physical fan-led tour. I feel very much that the Ch’Lu Campfire family is out there, and growing. Together we are finding where the Ch’Lu flame is heading next!

How do you feel the industry is for new artists at the moment? And do you feel much has changed over the last few years in its treatment of female and queer/LGBTQ+  artists? 
It’s harder than ever in most ways to be a new artist. Technology in some ways makes it easier to reach fans, but it also presents so much pressure. I am grateful for my martial arts and meditation practice, which helps relieve the stress of maintaining and growing a constant social media presence. And the fact that to get my music out there, I have to take on at least ten people’s jobs from sound engineer to mixer to producer to PR/marketing guru to show booker to merch designer, to name but a few, in addition to simply writing, composing and performing my music. I believe it is getting slightly better for female and queer/LGBTQ+ artists, but I am still faced regularly with the assumption that all I can do is sing, and that I need assistance with anything else. And that I am ok to be addressed as “love/darling/honey” in a working environment. Male bookers, engineers and producers are often surprised when they discover I record, mix and produce my music, compose in multiple languages and play classical guitar. As for the obsession with the age and appearance of female identifying artists, that is still a monumental barrier that I am passionate about obliterating. I want to see as many older and multi-shaped women performing as I do men. Of course there are exceptions, but it is all too often I am treated differently because I’m a woman.

As we’re a new music focused site, are there any other upcoming artists or bands you’re loving right now that you’d recommend we check out?
I recently saw Carol Grimes in concert (at a lovely London venue called Piano Smithfield where I will be playing on June 14th) who is approaching 80, and in her band she had two female guitarists who were in their late 60/70s. I have never seen that before and it was so incredible to witness. They were all amazing. It blew me away. I vowed to do all I can to help this to become the norm for female artists out there. I also recently saw Spirit of Sundaze Ensemble do their debut live appearance at London’s Southbank – the stage was packed with musicians ranging from live classical to the electronic and DJs. And it was the first time I have seen the QEH turn into a nightclub with everyone on their feet and screaming. I love the unexpected and genre-fusion – this was that.

Finally, what does the near future have in store for Ch’Lu?
I’m getting ready for the release of my Arts Council of England and Help Musicians UK funded album, The Goddess Within on 10th June, Global Wellness Day. It fuses together my binaural field-recordings, hypnotic Sanskrit vocals, classical guitar arpeggiation and electronic soundscapes – the foundations to the album are the Sanskrit words of the ancient and sacred “Mandukya Upanishads”. It will be a journey into consciousness fusing the ancient with the voice of the Zeitgeist with a launch concert at London’s Piano Smithfield on 14th June (get early bird tickets here).

Many thanks to Ch’Lu for answering our questions!

Five Favourites: Bria

Whilst you may recognise Bria Salmena from working in Orville Peck’s world-conquering backing band, she is also an immensely innovative artist in her own right. Following the release of Cuntry Covers Vol.1 in 2021, Salmena has now collaborated with multi-instrumentalist Duncan Hay Jennings once again for Vol.2., set for release next month.

As a taster of the upcoming EP’s release, Bria has now shared her rendition of Paula Cole’s ‘Where Have All The Cowboys Gone?‘. Adding her own unique reverb-strewn scuzz and whirring danceable energy to the original, her rich, sumptuous vocals ripple alongside a soul-strewn groove, creating a dreamily immersive soundscape.

We think one of the best ways to get to know a band is by asking what music inspires them. So, to celebrate the release of Cuntry Covers Vol.2, we caught up with Bria to ask about the music that has inspired her the most. Rather than pick five all-time top albums, she’s selected the songs she’s listening to the most right now – read/listen below and check out Cuntry Covers Vol.1 while you await the release of Vol.2!

It’s impossible for me to pick my favourite songs or albums, I’m just not one of those people. For me, it’s constantly in flux. So I’ve decided instead to share my top five songs of January 2023. And to be clear, these are not songs released in Jan 2023 but rather what’s been on repeat in my house, car, headphones etc. This list is extremely manic, I hope you enjoy it. 

Nourished By Time – ‘Romance In Me
Nourished By Time is a new discovery – initially introduced through an NTS playlist. There’s a very obvious nostalgic quality to the track, but I really just think the vocal progression is something entirely unique. I love the production – there’s a really satisfying balance of tension between the keys and guitar, especially in the choruses. This song really builds extremely well, I feel as though I kind of get swept away in it. It’s the kind of song I find myself harmonising with vocally, however annoying that may seem. When I’m in the mood to feel heartbroken I’ll probably put this song on.

Kate Bush – ‘Pull Out The Pin’
I’m a long-time Kate Bush fan, and this song came back into my rotation this month. The intensity of this track lyrically and musically is so satisfying for me. I love Bush’s ability to tell a story, it feels like theatre. This song was written after she had seen a documentary about the Vietnam war, wherein they show Vietnamese soldiers putting little silver buddhas in their mouths as they approached the front line. I love hearing this side of Bush’s vocal range – her ability to sing-scream is so beautiful, it’s been somewhat cathartic to listen this month. I also feel as though this is an overlooked B-side of hers, so I’m urging you now to give it a listen. 

Deftones- ‘Change (In The House Of Flies)’
So technically, I started having this song on repeat in December, but there are no rules here. On Christmas day, I went to a very famous bikini bar here in Los Angeles called Jumbo’s, and one of the dancers did a very impressive pole dance to this song. I hadn’t heard it in so long and after that, I played it throughout my somewhat lonely holiday season. I think it might be the hottest song ever written – not sexiest, but hottest. The whole record is amazing, I don’t even know if I can say any more about it.

Golpe – ‘Non Piergarti’
Golpe is an Italian punk band whose first full-length record came out in 2021. Lots of Italian friends had told me to check them out and I finally did sometime last fall. ‘Non Piegarti’ might be one of my favourites of theirs – with ‘La Colpa E Solo Tua’ as a close second. I’ve spent most of January moving into a new apartment and sorting out my life here in Los Angeles, and the song title translates to “Don’t Bend Over” which has been a bit of a mantra of mine throughout a stressful month. I’m a big fan of the production of this song, and I love the vocal effect on this song and how well the guitars sit alongside. It’s heavy, but very well-balanced.

Florist – ‘Red Bird Part 2 (Morning)’
This song is extremely beautiful and EXTREMELY sad. You’ve been warned. When I’m searching for a sort of sad calm feeling, I will put this on. It’s a beautifully tragic song about the death of the singer’s mother. I’m drawn to the simplicity of the instrumentation, rooted in acoustic guitar and accompanied by a kind of dreamy ethereal electric guitar. I also am a big fan of the double unison vocals on this track – I myself love doing that, as I feel you can really round out the sound that way.

Massive thanks to Bria for sharing her five ‘favourites’ with us! Listen to new single ‘Where Have All The Cowboys Gone?’ now:

Cuntry Covers Vol.2, the upcoming EP from Bria, is set for release on 24th February via Sub Pop.

Photo Credit: Justin Aranha

Five Favourites & Video Premiere: Piney Gir – ‘The Seventh Dial’

Following acclaim for her otherworldly latest EP Alchemy Hand, and having recently shared stages with the likes of Gaz Coombes and Noel Gallagher, London based artist and self-proclaimed witch Piney Gir has now shared a magical new video for latest single ‘The Seventh Dial‘.

Having always been a little witchy, rebelling against her super strict Christian-Kansas upbringing – finding comfort in nature, connecting with creative souls and sensing different energies – she has only recently publicly defined herself as ‘a witch’. And what better way to celebrate this than to share a mystical new video. Floating with a lilting energy and resplendent grace, ‘The Seventh Dial’ oozes a majestic effervescent splendour and colourful ethereal aura as Piney’s honey-sweet vocals flow with a swirling psychedelic allure. A bewitching offering that’ll draw you into the soothing, sparking majesty of Piney Gir’s world.

To celebrate the release of ‘The Seventh Dial’, we spoke to Piney about her Five Favourites – five songs that have inspired this release the most; the witchiest tunes that she relates to and have influenced her on her magical journey. Read about her choices below and make sure you watch the beautiful new video for ‘The Seventh Dial‘ at the bottom of this feature!

This Is The Kit – ‘Moonshine Freeze’
I love this song, firstly because it has that kind of magical-mystical groove thing moving throughout the track that just keeps going like a perpetual-musical rolling-river. Lyrically she talks about the cycle of three, which is literally a reference to Neopaganism; she talks about natural order which appeals to my inner green witch. This Is The Kit will always have a special place in my heart because it’s the first gig I saw after all the Covid lockdowns. It was a show at the Barbican and masks were mandatory, only every 3rd seat was full – it was certainly a ’new normal’ at that point… It was such an emotional show, and they were the perfect band to see for that moment, my gateway back into live music. I may have had a little happy cry.

 Nina Simone – ‘I Put A Spell On You’
Nina Simone puts a spin on this classic blues song originally by Screamin’ Jay Hawkins with lush string orchestration reminiscent of Gerswhin. She smooths out the track with her bewitching, jazz-piano skills, and her voice preserves the raw energy of the original version – it has a gritty, almost other-wordly quality to it! Nina Simone walked among us, but she was not one of us, she was like a voodoo high priestess on another dimension channelling her magic that sometimes feels a little bit dangerous. 

Kate Bush – ‘Cloudbusting’
When I was a kid I used to pretend to make a witch’s potion in the garden – I’d get the biggest pot I could find and fill it with flowers and leaves, berries and twigs. I’d stir the pot and say “Drink the brew… he he he…” in my witchiest voice… One thing I used to fantasise about was having the ability to change the weather – I wanted so badly to unleash sunlight on the grey days. It’s in this song that Kate Bush fantasises about the same thing, and in this video she’s a child too! This song makes me feel more connected to her and also connected to that happy memory as a carefree witchling trying to change the weather! These lyrics say it all and I believe this to be true: “I just know that something good is gonna happen… but just saying it could even make it happen.”

Aldous Harding – ‘The Barrel’
There’s something kind of otherworldly about Aldous Harding and this song summarises her off-kilter, elegant style perfectly. Her lyrics are like poetry, so I’m not entirely sure what she’s on about, but the great thing about poetic lyrics is that they can mean whatever you want them to mean. For me, Aldous represents an outsider, and back in the day she would have definitely been burnt at the stake in Salem along with me and all my friends (she’s dressed like a Salem witch in this video!). Perhaps that scar in our matriarchal history is not something to celebrate, but it’s important that we don’t forget the suffering of the women that paved the way for women today, and it’s songs like this one that helps me find a way to honour our herstory.

The Warlocks – ‘Song For Nico’
As a believer in equal opportunity, I thought it might be nice to celebrate our brothers from another mother – The Warlocks – because not all witches identify as female, and not all warlocks are male – it’s not really about gender, it’s about equality. This song celebrates Nico, goddess of The Velvet Underground, and is a deep cut from The Warlocks second album Rise and Fall. It came out a long time ago now, but the psych-rock, reverb-drenched guitars sound timeless; Nico will always be a will-o’-the-wisp for me, and apparently she inspired The Warlocks too!

Massive thanks to Piney Gir for sharing her witchy Five Favourites with us! Watch the beautiful new video for ‘The Seventh Dial’ below:

Alchemy Hand, the latest EP from Piney Gir, is out now via Reckless Yes.