LISTEN: King Isis – ‘in my ways’

A bittersweet grunge-infused anthem that tackles feelings of frustration, King Isis has shared their latest single ‘in my ways’. Taken from their upcoming debut EP, scales, which is set for release via Dirty Hit / No Matter later this year, the Oakland-based artist attempts to overcome their jaded thoughts through shimmering guitar sounds, driving beats and relatable lyrics on their new offering.

“‘in my ways’ is about being stuck in a cycle of your own creation,” King Isis explains. “You don’t quite know how to get out of it just yet, and you’re not really trying. It’s willfully ignoring shadows, but it’s ok cuz we’re dancing.” The multi-instrumentalist – whose name pays homage to their great-great-grandmother Omega King, one of the first Black opera singers in Chicago – seems to thrive in the uneasy space between light and shadow on their latest single. This is a theme that permeates their upcoming EP too.

“[My Grandmother’s] name holds a lot of power in my house and in my family,” Isis comments further, “A big part of the reason my artist name incorporates hers is to remind me that there is power in my voice, that music has always been a deep-rooted part of me, and to keep going.” This perseverance is reflected not just in King Isis’ sound, but in their activism too. They volunteer teaching music classes for low-income communities in Los Angeles, and have worked with the FreeStudio Program of Rikers Island, which creates a safe creative space for incarcerated youth and the children of incarcerated adults.

King Isis is an ardent believer in the empowering and healing nature of music, and their authentic and infectious indie-grunge sounds are a tonic for life’s more testing moments.

Listen to ‘in my ways’ below.

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Photo Credit: Cole Maslansky

Kate Crudgington

LISTEN: Harkin – ‘Body Clock’

A tender, intuitive offering that reflects on the idea of re-setting your boundaries during a time of great uncertainty, UK based multi-instrumentalist Harkin has shared her latest single ‘Body Clock’. Taken from her second album Honeymoon Suite, which is set for release on 17th June via her own label Hand Mirror, the track marks a shift in musical direction for the artist, caused mainly by the unexpected limitations of the Covid-19 lockdowns during 2020.

Recorded in the one bedroom flat that she shares with her wife above a pub, Harkin’s new album covers the spectrum of “love, grief, anxiety, resilience, danger, heartbreak and hope.” Creating her sounds in the same room where she existed on a day-to-day basis, where she held her virtual wedding reception and where she attended a funeral over zoom, her record feels like a deeply personal time capsule, but it’s one that listeners can open and share too. ‘Body Clock’ is the first of many singles that will resonate with those who had a similar experience during an unsettling and repetitive time.

Accompanied by a charming animated video created by Pastel Castle, ‘Body Clock’ is full of atmospheric electronics, soft vocals and glitchy beats. “I was a big fan of Pastel Castle’s work and felt like this song would be a perfect fit,” Harkin comments about the video. “I wrote and recorded it during lockdown in a flat with no outdoor space. My brother loaned me a Nintendo Switch and I found solace in games with large maps to explore. Songwriting and gameplay can both have the power to transport and the video Pastel Castle has created takes me on a beautiful and perilous quest.”

Watch the video for ‘Body Clock’ below.

Follow Harkin on bandcamp, Spotify, Twitter, InstagramFacebook

Photo Credit: Kate Hewett

Kate Crudgington

LISTEN: Blonde Maze – ‘Being Pulled’

Having fallen in love with everything that GIHE fave Amanda Steckler – aka Blonde Maze – has created so far, it was quite literally music to my ears to hear that she has now shared a brand new single. Following the sparkling grace of ‘I Think About‘ (a collaboration with Attom), and numerous other dreamscapes including ‘Diamond Eyes’ and 2019’s ‘To The Moon, ‘Being Pulled‘ is the latest taste of the New York artist’s upcoming album.

Flowing with glistening, chiming hooks and twinkling keys, ‘Being Pulled’ is inspired by “the conflicting feelings of wanting to move forward while being pulled backwards by your memories; about wanting to move on, yet not wanting to let go of past emotions.” With a gentle heartfelt emotion, it builds with a glitchy electro-infused energy to a swirling, euphoric soundscape. Bathing the ears in shimmering ripples of dreamy reflection and oozing a woozy, hypnotic splendour, it offers an equally perfect accompaniment to a moment of solitary tranquil catharsis, as it does to an invigorating dance with loved ones into the early hours.

As Amanda’s luscious vocals flow with a blissful haze, I can’t helped but ‘be pulled’ into the truly exquisite enchanting allure of ‘Being Pulled’. Blonde Maze has once again provided the perfect soothing tonic; the beautifully calming and delicately uplifting soundtrack that I so desperately needed this week.

Mari Lane

LISTEN: Eliza Shaddad – ‘Heaven’

Sudanese-Scottish artist Eliza Shaddad has kept busy since last year: along with weekly Instagram live streams over the last year, she is releasing her third single of 2021, ‘Heaven’, which is a stirring anthem for anyone struggling. 

Written whilst Eliza was visiting family in hospital and then later in lockdown, the single and accompanying video are a poignant reminder that life can get better and is worth holding on to. Recorded at home in Cornwall, ‘Heaven’ has a different sound to her last single (‘Blossom’), whilst maintaining the theme of hope and fresh beginnings. It has twangy guitars and a contemporary Country–pop sound, perfectly carrying Eliza’s searing vocals, as she urges us to “keep holding on”…

Within seconds you will find yourself on a familiar sonic territory as you tap your feet along, imagining yourself on the open highway, singing this song with the wind blowing through your hair. ‘Heaven’ is a song about the recovery of faith in life or love. Both a call to hope and a plea to keep going, this uplifting song will carry us to the warm embrace of the upcoming summer sun.

‘Heaven’ is out now via Rosemundy Records/Wow and Flutter. It’s the lead single to be taken from Eliza Shaddad’s upcoming album The Woman You Want, set for release 16th July.

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