Track Of The Day: Hannah’s Little Sister – ‘Gum’

Counter-intuitively, the PR for ‘Gum’ – the latest single from off-beat Liverpool quartet, Hannah’s Little Sister includes the instruction from lead singer, Meg: “Go pirate our single!”. Alternative music abounds with contrary positions but perhaps, in an era where the concept of ‘selling out’ has largely been forgotten, displaying a disaffection for the commercial feels radical once again.

For Hannah’s Little Sister themselves, the last two years have been a period of change: with one bassist departing and another arriving, during a ‘lofi gap year’ in which the band honed their sound and live performances. Given the ferocity of the HLS live show circa 2018, and their Pixies via East Lancs stylings, it’s hard to see where the improvements could be made – until the band came storming back post-lockdown, freshly signed to Heist or Hit, with the playground alt-rock hi-jinx of ‘Bin Mouth’, their first release since signing to the label.

Where ‘Bin Mouth’ used a childish slur to address the figurative rubbish that some people spew, new single ‘Gum’ occupies a similar space, in using the all-too-briefly satisfying confectionery to address the distracting nature of consumerism.

Opening with Helen Love style synths that suggest, as with ‘Bin Mouth’, that the group are also throwing a hint of C86 into their mish-mash, Meg’s vocals emerge, deceptively sweet.

The song’s bridge throws everything back into chaos, as overdrive guitars riff towards the chorus – “Locking up our jaws on GUM!” – just like the machine reasserting itself over the creative. The chorus, a sort of internally-rhyming triplet, replete with yelps and smacks of percussion, almost hits you over the head like a marketing jingle – albeit one with an indie inflection. Those synths return, and the song seems to have settled into a off-kilter bossa nova, before the next verse and chorus return with their blend of the sweet and savage. But the closing ninety seconds of the song go off the deep end, sonically, pivoting first to a slowed-down gum-themed incantation, a chill-out dream-pop vocal and finally closing with a wonky disco instrumental.

There’s only an audio video for the song, at present, but their commitment to an off-kilter aesthetic in the teaser (and social media promises) suggest that when the full video appears, it’ll be another trip into the bizarre world of the band. That being said, for all the ordered mayhem of their audio and visual style and the self-described “rant” of the lyrics, Hannah’s Little Sister have crafted a tune that bolts on their different influences into something at times challenging and chaotic but equally pragmatic and poppy. And if you don’t like it, the band seem to say, you might as well chew on it.

‘Gum’ is out now, and is taken from Hannah’s Little Sister’s upcoming debut EP EP.MP3, set for release 20th November via Heist Or Hit.

John McGovern

Photo Credit: Beebo Boobin

Track Of The Day: King Hannah – ‘Crème Brûlée’

We have actually previously featured this song from Liverpool duo King Hannah as Track Of The Day way back when it was first brought to our attention in July last year, but – with its official release having just been announced on City Slang Records – we felt it only right to sing its praises once again.

In fact, ‘Crème Brûlée’ had me so completely hooked the first time around that the band even featured in my Ones To Watch for 2020 (hate to say I told you so…). It just completely cast me under its spell on first listen.

With a sweeping, ethereal power and the longing, impassioned vocals of Hannah Merrick that flow with a majestic musicality, it’s just utterly compelling; a stunning introduction to the band who I hope to hear a lot more from over the coming months. Although they’re just one single down, with already over 11,000 streams on Spotify and a sound as captivating and original as this, I have a feeling that they’ll be enchanting many more ears.

And now ‘Crème Brûlée’ comes complete with its own beautifully homemade, documentary-style new video. Watch now:

‘Crème Brûlée’ is out now via City Slang. Listen on Spotify.

Mari Lane

Photo Credit: Lucy Mclachlan

LIVE: The Coathangers @ Arts Club Loft, Liverpool, 30.04.19

Why aren’t The Coathangers better known? It’s a question that occurs whilst writing this review. Perhaps, with their self-titled debut coming along in 2006, they emerged at a time when bands were pretty uniformly all-male and ironically pro-choice band names were unheard of. Whatever the case, it’s led them here, to a smallish loft venue in Liverpool on a Tuesday, calling in support from two of the city’s emerging punk acts.

Piss Kitti take to the stage by degrees, with guitarist Dominic, bassist Quinn and drummer Daniel already onstage and set up before lead singer Esme followss. The group are joyously unrefined and uncoordinated, whilst the set is shallow fried DIY punk – all power chords and burps down the mic, shrieks and thuds. But there’s social commentary too: “We always get told off for doing this one because it’s about the lad bands round here that are absolute melts”, Esme announces before the band crash into ‘Bore’.  It’s ironic, and perhaps deliberate, that it has the best chorus of the set.

After Salt the Snail tell us “We’ve got absolutely nothing to say”, we wait for what seems an age for The Coathangers to appear. When they do, they creep on in darkness – so dark, in fact, that the gold lamé hooded dresses worn by all three of them are quite startling when the lights come up. It’s an eerie opening too, with jungle sounds and the bassless lilt of ‘Lithium’ and its tale of medication, sung sweetly by singer/guitarist Julia.

In some ways, it belies the rest of the show, most of which flits between Julia’s vocals and the gritty Wanda Jackson pipes belonging to drummer Stephanie. The set is largely taken from new album The Devil You Know, with several album track highlights that reflect the band’s duality: ‘5 Farms’, a straight up garage slammer that meanders into swing; ‘Stranger Danger’, equal parts creepy and bluesy; ‘Hey Buddy’, a maraca-backed cool AF 70s rocker.

But The Coathangers are more in-sync than in-opposition: bassist Meredith takes lead vocals on ‘Memories’, and towards the end of the set, the band have all swapped roles, with each taking a turn on lead vocals and drums. At one point, the band finish a song and collapse into laughter. It’s an insight into Coathanger World, and helps explain the trio’s willingness to go on making music, for over ten years and across six albums. “We’ve been on tour for five months!”, offers Stephanie, by way of explanation.

There’s a smattering of older tracks for the diehards in the room – the titular track from previous LP Nosebleed Weekend, its lead single and the band’s signature tune ‘Make It Right’, and ‘Shut Up’ from 2014’s Suck My Shirt – before the band close with fan favourite ‘Squeeki Tiki’, featuring Julia playing the song’s hook on a dog’s squeaky chew toy, before they strut off, those dresses flashing gold. There’s no encore, after a set with very little bantering with the crowd and no endless tune-ups. Just 45 minutes of pop-rock, garage and Runaways-style punk performed with a minimum of fuss. It’s worth its wait.

John McGovern

Track Of The Day: Queen Zee – ‘Idle Crown’

Hot on the heels of their last single ‘Fly The Pink Flag’, GIHEs favourites Queen Zee have released brand new track ‘Idle Crown’, and it’s a riotous, hostile, smartly executed three and a half minutes of Marilyn Manson-esque garage punk. Released via the band’s own label (Sasstone Records), the Liverpool band have yet to record something that we don’t instantly fall in love with.

They blend activism and politics with their fleshy, raucous tunes, and ‘Idle Crown’ is no exception. Front woman Queen Zee explains the inspiration behind the new single:

“‘Idle Crown’ is essentially a narrative between two characters trapped in a toxic relationship. It’s something everyone can relate too, but what I wanted to do was question heteronormativity using a familiar setting. A theme throughout the album as a whole is society’s wish for LGBTQ+ people to conform to a standard, regardless of the happiness or health of them. Within ‘Idle Crown’, I used two LGBTQ+ characters trapped in a heteronormative relationship to express the pain of being unable to live as your true self”

The band will head back out on the road again with Marmozets in February 2018, to deliver more of their fearless, provocative sound to the eager crowds who caught them live earlier this year. Together, Queen Zee (vocals/guitar), Jason Taylor Brown (guitar), Frank Wortho (bass), David Bloom (drums) and Courtney Colley (Keys & Vocals) give “give so much of a fuck, that they really couldn’t give a single fuck” – and we’re more than happy to follow their example.

Queen Zee February 2018 Tour Dates (with Marmozets)

Friday 2nd  – Cardiff – The Tramshed
Saturday 3rd – Southampton – Engine Rooms
Sunday 4th – Brighton – Concorde 2
Tuesday 6th – Cambridge – Cambridge Junction
Wednesday 7th –  London – Student Central
Thursday 8th – Nottingham – Rescue Rooms
Friday 9th – Newcastle – Riverside
Sunday 11th – Sheffield – The Leadmill
Monday 12th – Edinburgh – The Liquid Room

Follow Queen Zee on Facebook for more updates.

Kate Crudgington