FIVE FAVOURITES: Cuffed Up

“I have a bachelor’s degree in guitar performance but really I’ve just wanted to write songs and play in rock bands,” explains Cuffed Up‘s vocalist and guitarist Sapphire Jewell. “I had a sad realization this year that I’ve never had guitar role models. To think I’ve been playing guitar for 14 years now and I’ve never been taught anything on guitar by a woman…not even on YouTube or anywhere online. I wish I could’ve had more badass female guitarists to look up to, I think I’d be a better guitarist if I did.” Jewell doesn’t let a lack of representation hold her back though. She fronts LA alt-rock band Cuffed Up with genuine tenacity, stepping into the musical spotlight trying to fill the gaps she’s painfully aware of.

We think one of the best ways to get to know a band is by asking what music inspired them to write in the first place. We caught up with Sapphire Jewell to ask about her “Five Favourites” – five tracks that have inspired her song-writing techniques. Check out her choices below and scroll down to watch Cuffed Up’s video for ‘French Exit’ at the end of this post.

 

1. Foals – ‘Two Steps, Twice’
First of all, I love Foals and I love their debut album Antidotes. This song is so insanely fun to listen to. It just bops. It’s mathy, poppy and heavy all in one track. How is that even possible?! I think it was one of the first songs I’d recognized as being perfectly crafted to be played live. There’s so much room to change the arrangement and build it out as a banger live track. Now, whenever I write something new I think about the live aspect of it and what it could do in a live setting that’s elevated or different from the recorded version. Even now, 12 years after Antidotes was released, Foals close their shows with this song because it still rips. I gotta have a song like that someday.

2. Nick Drake – ‘River Man’
I’ve loved this song for many years now. It flows so smoothly despite being in an odd 5/4 time signature. I am enamoured by the chilling chord changes, the way his voice sounds like a breeze passing through a quiet town and the strings that just melt me away. It’s so mysterious and fleeting. This song is hauntingly beautiful. Maybe this isn’t a desirable sensation, but it makes me feel old and almost wise for those few minutes. Nothing has ever moved me in that way before. I think more people should know Nick Drake and this song.

3. Grizzly Bear – ‘Yet Again’
Okay, so no one has the right to make such a perfect guitar tone! Especially not in the first four chords?!? God damn this song is unreal. Literally every time this song starts I’m just like “this is IT.” The best part?! It feels new every time I hear it. How can that be? It’s one of those songs that I wish I’d written. I’m not sure I could pinpoint exactly what it is that’s so perfect about this song, but Grizzly Bear sure knows how to layer and produce marvellous music and this is my favourite of theirs.

4. Beach House – ‘Zebra’
This song and this band take me back to the better parts of my life in high school. I didn’t have many friends who were passionate about music, really just one, and we both loved Beach House. Most of my friends didn’t pay much attention to what they listened to but my friend Deric and I would share music with each other. That was really special. Whenever I think of Beach House I think of him. ‘Zebra’ was one of my favourites of older Beach House. They have a zillion amazing songs and they all remind me of the good times during those hellish years of high school.

5. Miike Snow – ‘Genghis Khan’
So this song RIPS and the music video is BRILLIANT. The song stands on it’s own but the video just seals the deal and now it’s unforgettable. It grooves so hard and makes me feel all giddy. This song and its video are untouchable. It’s too good. It’s too fun. I love it way too much. I can’t explain further, it’s one of those you gotta see and hear for yourself. You’d be a fool not to thoroughly enjoy the might and power of Miike Snow’s ‘Genghis Khan’!

Thanks to Sapphire for sharing her favourite tracks with us!

Watch the video for Cuffed Up’s single ‘French Exit’ below.

Follow Cuffed Up on Spotify, bandcamp, Twitter, Instagram & Facebook

Photo Credit: Ana Karotkaya

PREMIERE: The Yves – ‘Golden Days’

A shimmering, nostalgic musing about inevitably progressing from youth to adulthood, LA-based indie duo The Yves have shared their latest single ‘Golden Days’. Full of soft guitar sounds, tender vocals and reflective lyrics, the track provides a sunny moment of respite during a time of universal uncertainty.

“’Golden Days’ is one of those songs that was started and finished in about an hour,” explains vocalist Stevie Perry. “Initially, we thought that maybe the song was too soft, or too endearing to actually release. Probably because it was about vulnerable, intimate thoughts I had and I wasn’t sure that I really wanted to show that side of myself. Selfishly, I like to keep a little distance or allure to things- maybe as a form of self-preservation.”

“But of course, that’s not our job as artists,” Perry continues. “Our job is to dredge up those feelings that we all have and shed some light on them. And as a listener, I always think the best kinds of songs are the ones that are most vulnerable and raw. So it’s only right that we put it out. It’s hard to talk about getting older and growing up. I sometimes wish I could freeze a day or moment and have it forever. I mean, I think we all do that. So that’s what I hope people get from it. A little minute freeze-framed in your mind when you listen.”

Along with guitarist Jake Randle, Perry has crafted a gentle alt-folk gem that proves rose-tinting your memories isn’t always a bad thing, sometimes it’s what makes them so precious. Listen to ‘Golden Days’ below.

Follow The Yves on Spotify, Instagram, Facebook & Twitter for more updates.

Kate Crudgington
@KCBobCut

LISTEN: Death Valley Girls – ‘Under the Spell of Joy’

Inspired by the text on a t-shirt that Death Valley Girls‘ vocalist & guitarist Bonnie Bloomgarden was gifted from the heavy psych rock band Joy, ‘Under the Spell of Joy’ is the eponymous new single from the band’s upcoming album. Set for release on 2nd October via Suicide Squeeze, the L.A. rockers have shared the title track with the instructions to sing along to their “space gospel” sounds.

“The world is crazy right now, and it feels like we should be doing more than just trying to perpetuate joy,” Bloomgarden explains. This awareness and positivity inspired the band’s new single and record, both of which are filled with psych-rock riffs and chant-worthy lyrics. “There is a lot to be really angry about…but joy is just as powerful if used correctly!” she continues, and that’s what Death Valley Girls’ have channelled their energy into. With its stomping beats and rallying vocals, their new track is a celebration of the universe and all it has to offer (even though that doesn’t feel like much at the moment.)

Listen to ‘Under the Spell of Joy’ below and follow Death Valley Girls on bandcampFacebook and Spotify for more updates.

Photo credit: David Fearn

Kate Crudgington
@KCBobCut

LISTEN: Death Valley Girls – ‘Hold My Hand’

A fuzzy, energetic dive into discovering yourself whilst you’re getting to know someone else, L.A. rockers Death Valley Girls have shared their latest single ‘Hold My Hand’. Lifted from their new album Under the Spell of Joy, which is set for release on 2nd October via Suicide Squeeze Records, the track is full of slick guitar riffs, rolling beats and fiery vocals.

Fuelled by a desire to turn rage and sadness into joy and compassion, Death Valley Girls craft edgy, cosmic rock and roll tunes that blast away feelings of angst and apathy. On ‘Hold My Hand’ the girls revel in the fact that “you gotta let go and believe” if you’re going to be your whole self when entering into a new relationship. Vocalist & guitarist Bonnie Bloomgarden explains further:

“Relationships are really tricky and can be super messy and complicated! I used to keep repeating the same mistakes over and over again. I realized it’s cause I thought relationships were an agreement you made with another person. And that meant giving away my power to the other person and letting them navigate our way along our path. Then I realized things either happen to you or for you! Any relationship you have is an opportunity to make an agreement with yourself! It’s a chance to learn to be more compassionate and to grow stronger and more powerfully into the person you want to be and are meant to be! Hopefully, the other person will help along the way and grow with you! If not, peace and next, please.”

That’s a sentiment we agree with here at GIHE! Listen to ‘Hold My Hand’ below and follow Death Valley Girls on bandcamp, Facebook and Spotify for more updates.

Photo Credit: David Fearn

Kate Crudgington
@KCBobCut