Track Of The Day: Alien Chicks – ’27 Stitches’

Written on the same day as their single ‘While My Landlord Sleeps’, ‘27 Stitches‘ solidifies South London band Alien Chicks’ distinct creative style. The new song follows similar structural beats in a way that pairs with the first song to establish the band’s unique musical and narrative sound.

’27 Stitches’ starts off light and playful – bright, twinkling strings dance over an upbeat rhythm, as soft vocals tell a slice-of-life tale about buying a second-hand television at an ideal rate. The track soon launches into a louder, more rambunctious chorus as the story takes a turn for the worse.

Growling guitars, rapid drums and aggressive vocals grab you and throw into the sudden tension in the scene; it’s impossible not to get caught up in the abrupt sense of danger. And then the song ramps up into an intoxicating cacophony of strings and horns that captures the chaos of the climactic moments of the story with a funk-fuelled musicality.

Alien Chicks are evidently hugely talented on multiple levels. ’27 Stitches’ is a brilliantly constructed song; as well as being so much fun to listen to, the instruments tell the story as much as the lyrics do. The track as a whole leaves you with a complete sense that you were there in the excitement of it.

It is no surprise that Alien Chicks are rapidly generating a dedicated following in London’s live gig spaces. ’27 Stitches’ exemplifies their creativity and skill, and shows exactly why so many people are excited to see what they do next.

Kirstie Summers
@ActuallyKurt

EP: deep tan – ‘diamond horsetail’

Infectiously off-kilter, Hackney-based queer punk trio deep tan have re-emerged with their sophomore extended play, diamond horsetail; five minimalistic DIY tracks of uncompromising post post-punk. Following the shimmering psychedelic pop of 2019 singles ‘Air’ and ‘Shimmer’, and the haunting discordant hooks of their subversive debut EP – 2021’s creeping speedwellsdiamond horsetail propels deep tan’s otherworldly sound into the exosphere through dissonant guitar riffs, eccentric bass-lines, syncopated rhythm, and intimate vocals. Embracing the seductive allure of their swirling sound, guitarist/vocalist Wafah Dufour, bassist Celeste Guinness and drummer Lucy Rushton will hypnotise listeners into questioning their identity.

Hitting hard with opener ‘beginners’ krav maga’, deep tan explore angular arrangement on a track that is as aggressive as its own namesake; contact combat! Juxtaposed over an irresistible twangy groove, Wafah’s soft, dexterous, and often critical vocals remind us that learning self-defence will unfortunately not help most women feel safe walking alone at night (male violence is an epidemic) – “I stand outside / I bide my time / Wait for the mood to pass / Night-time checklist / Keys in a fist / In the dark can’t relax.”

Inserting itself into your brain, ‘device devotion’ follows as an ode to deep tan’s browser history; the trio share their fascination with (and critique of) internet subcultures – from lobster erotica to vore-porn subreddits – hooking you in with delicate vocal notes and erratic instrumentation. The presence of the world wide web also influences ‘gender expansion pack’, a mostly instrumental track utilising WikiHow hypnosis through subliminal messaging. Underlying spoken word is low-pitched to a subliminal frequency allowing deep tan to challenge cis-het men – “the demographic that buys most of our vinyl” – into exploring their gender.

Caught with his hands down his pants, Rudy Giuliani’s public image melts under deep tan’s sardonic black humour during the “diss track you never asked for” ‘rudy ya ya ya’ – “We’re seeking law advice / ‘Cause he’s a legal eagle supersized / A considerable adversary / Rudy ya ya ya / Giuli ya ya ya!” – before the cathartic title track disturbs with abrasive outbursts of ancient and justified rage.

Maintaining their intensity, deep tan crescendo into a cataclysm of obliterating melody and anthemic vitriol; channelling the chaos of The KLF, the defiant attitude of The Slits, and the gloomy new wave of Joy Division. And yet diamond horsetail isn’t constricted by influence. Every detail has been carefully considered in the creation of deep tan’s strangely addictive sound, further developing their identity through ceaseless DIY punk energy.

diamond horsetail is out now via Practise Music.

Ken Wynne
@Ken_Wynne

Photo Credit: Alex Matraxia

Track Of The Day: Double Helix – ‘Doppelgänger’

A pulsing, urgent mix of hypnotic beats, impulsive synth textures and elusive vocals, London-based duo Double Helix have shared their latest single ‘Doppelgänger’. Shared as part of Human Endeavour’s debut compilation EP, Trains Of Thought, which is due for release on 21st June, the track is an energetic blur of 90s-style acid electronica that smoulders with euphoric energy.

Formed of Patrick Smith (synths, programming, vocals), Kim Engelhardt (bass) and accompanied by a session drummer for their live shows, Double Helix have cut their teeth on London’s underground gig circuit over the past few years where they have developed a loyal following. Their eclectic live shows fuse together the sounds and aesthetics of 90s rave subculture and often include footage and visuals shot by the band themselves. Inspired by the Prodigy, Leftfield, Nine Inch Nails and Boy Harsher, Double Helix offer listeners a sonic escape with their immersive electronic sounds, with their latest single ‘Doppelgänger’ delivering just that.

The new track has been released via Human Endeavour, a sub label of Ransom Note curated and led by Rosie Ama Cain (Kiara Scuro). The label aims to provide “space for artists who are exploring the dark, deep and hypnotic corners of the musical spectrum,” a space where Double Helix’s eclectic electronic sounds look set to thrive. Accompanied by a striking new video shot & edited by the band, the visuals for ‘Doppelgänger’ feature dancer and performance artist Giorgia Pirozzi, who manipulates and shifts her body along to Double Helix’s frenzied and infectious sounds.

Watch the accompanying video for ‘Doppelgänger’ below.

Follow Double Helix on SpotifyTwitterInstagram & Facebook

Kate Crudgington
@KCBobCut

FIVE FAVOURITES: Los Bitchos

London-based, pan-continental instrumental four-piece Los Bitchos are gearing up to release their highly anticipated debut album, Let The Festivities Begin! on 4th February via City Slang. Formed of Serra Petale (guitar), Agustina Ruiz (keytar), Josefine Jonsson (bass) and Nic Crawshaw (drums), the band have joyfully blended elements of Peruvian chicha, Argentine cumbia, Turkish psych and surf guitars to create their collection of buoyant new songs.

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 Los Bitchos to ask about their “Five Favourites” – five albums that have inspired their song-writing techniques. Check out their choices below and scroll down to watch Los Bitchos’ video for her ‘Pista (Fresh Start)’ at the end of this post.

 

1. Dead Or Alive – Youthquake
Serra: This album embodies everything I love about the 80’s. Outrageous high energy production, out of control brass arrangements, chorus stained overdriven guitars and uncanny vocals that really hit. Funnily enough, I had only come across the full album over the past few years, before that I’d always thought of Dead Or Alive as a bit of a one hit wonder band – they are far from that. This was one of Stock Aitken and Waterman’s first breakthrough productions, which for me really became the sound of the 80’s. They are second to none, and every time I listen back to the songs, I always find an extra element going on in the background that i did not notice before.

All the while you have Pete Burns laying down one of the best vocal performances I’ve ever heard on an album, he is like a cyberpunk Opera singer that’s stumbled into an 80’s rave, such a captivatingly magical frontman. Each of the songs on the record have something that stands out and it’s pure fun and energy from start to finish. Apart from the incredible stand out hit, ‘You Spin Me Round’, the album truly shines with songs like ‘DJ Hit That Button’ and ‘My Heart Goes Bang (Get me to the Doctor)’. This album makes me feel like dancing all night with big hair, a Pete Burns eye patch, spandex, shoulder pads and taking on the world.

2. Lush – Spooky
Serra: I remember hearing and seeing the video for ‘Nothing Natural’ for the first time about 7 years ago when my boyfriend randomly sent me a YouTube link saying, “I think you’ll like this” – boy was he right! Lush were definitely on my radar as they would often pop up on 90’s music shows me and my brother would watch in Australia when I was a child, but my love for them was really cemented in my mid-twenties. Robin Guthrie from the Cocteau twins was on board as the producer, and what he did with this record is absolutely sublime. Lots of layering, lots of effects and washes running throughout the songs, I think it’s quite a studio album in that way, a lot of these effects would have been difficult to pull off live.

Miki Beryani and Emma Anderson have somewhat of a perfect matching of gorgeous falsetto vocals, as they often sing together on their songs and their harmonies just get under my skin in the best possible way. Their vocals are so delicate, and I love how they contrast against the swirling guitars drenched in chorus and reverb and Guthrie’s wall of sound. I would say the guitar sound/tone on this record is something I try to emulate on everything I do. Songs like ‘Nothing Natural’, ‘Tiny Smiles’ and ‘Superblast’ are stand out moments, their vocal and guitar melodies seem to capture certain bleakness and sadness that always sticks with me and has had such a profound influence on the music I make today.

3. The Ramones – End Of The Century
Agustina: End of the Century by The Ramones is arguably one of the less popular albums among Ramones fans, but personally, I always loved it the most. To start with, the artwork looks incredible, it’s just cheesy punk all over the place. They look cool and carefree, but retaining a certain romanticism at the same time, a cover full of contradictions. It was an album produced by Phil Spector, which obviously meant instant speculation. Apparently my favourite Ramone (Dee Dee) didn’t even play his bass parts in the final recordings and while they were at the studio it was debauchery and chaos, bless them.

But I gotta give it to them, despite the apparent recording troubles, the songs are pure gems. ‘Danny says?’ makes me wanna cry & go back to my love. ‘I’m Affected’ reminds me of my first kiss outside my parents’ house. ‘Do You Remember Rock and Roll Radio’ takes me back to my bed back home listening to this album for the first time. ‘Baby I Love You’ well, this cover will melt even the most cold person on earth’s heart. I could go on and on forever with all the songs, but don’t worry I won’t! One of my fave bits about this album? Ten years ago I bought a really rare edition in Brooklyn for a fiver without even knowing how special it was, but when I found out, that made me love it even more.

4. PJ Harvey – Let England Shake
Josefine: Not sure how or when Polly Jean Harvey entered my world, but I do know I absolutely RINSED this record in the months leading up to me leaving Sweden behind to move to the UK to study music. It came out in the early spring of 2011, and I moved in the fall that same year, and I would basically only listen to music from the UK to mentally prepare myself for months. This record has really stuck with me over the years, and I continue to discover new things about its melodies and moods still. Picking a record is a funny one for me because controversially (or at least I think it is), I don’t often get hooked on a specific record – instead I tend to get obsessed with a song or artist first and from there jump all over their discography in a frenzy. However, with this record I do stop and listen to it from start to finish as one piece, and what a brilliant piece it is!

5. PJ Harvey – Stories From The City, Stories From The Sea
Nic: This has to be one of the most nostalgic and powerful albums for me. It came out just before my 17th birthday and I remember one of the girls I was working with in the local cinema telling me about this artist she had just discovered with such excitement. She’s put out so many incredible records but for me this one will always feel special. I’ve revisited it so many times. When I went to New York it was one of the albums I listened to a lot while walking miles and miles around the city. ‘Good Fortune’ is one of those songs you can put on and just feel invincible, and like it’s you against the world. It’s so powerful. ‘You Said Something’ instantly brings back memories but still feels like a tune I could discover now and become obsessed with. This album just doesn’t age! ‘The Whores Hustle And The Hustlers Whore’ still gives me chills. The energy and dynamic of this woman is so inspiring. I was just starting to play shows in my first band around that time and PJ was a huge role model for just being myself, knowing my power, and losing myself in performing. A real hero and an absolute masterpiece of an album.

Thanks to Los Bitchos for sharing their favourites with us!

Watch their video for ‘Pista (Fresh Start)’ below.

Follow Los Bitchos on bandcampSpotifyTwitterInstagram & Facebook

Photo Credit: Tom Mitchell