ALBUM: Post Louis – ‘Descender’

From the office to the tour bus, Stephanie Davin has spent every spare moment of her time writing what would become Descender, the debut album from Post Louis. Alongside her responsibilities as lead singer and one fifth of this experimental art-rock band, Davin worked endless hours in the corporate world; eventually breaking away from the machine to push the boundaries of her creative expression in a remote cottage in Wales.

Accompanied by songwriter/co-founder Robbie Stern, and without the distractions of working life, Davin would craft the foundations that would become Descender. When their material was presented to the rest of the band, each song structure would be meticulously deconstructed and reconstructed within the walls of the Sjømannskirken in Rotherhithe, becoming a kaleidoscope of angular guitar riffs, scuzzy pop melodies, and breezy soundscapes.

Opening track ‘Fishwife’ begins with Davin asking “How do you stop an overflow?” The uncertainty felt in the midst of a “bad patch cresendoes into a cacaphony of surf guitar, pulsating basslines, and thunderous drum beats. “The angler man is sinking and the walls are rusting through and through and my love is green as the sea is blue because all I had I gave to you”

‘Stress Fracture’ features tenor saxophone, courtesy of Alex Hitchcock, tumbling over the backing vocals of guitarist Andy Stern – paralleling Davin’s emotional songwriting and off-kilter lead vocals –, whilst ‘Little Jack’ studies the pain caused by loneliness (and the wolves loneliness can create when mixed with sexual desire – “She says you’re gonna be a wolf some day”).

Don’t let the breezy intro to ‘Janaskie Pt I’ fool you… Adam Turner-Heffer’s punk rock basslines are as infectious as Mattis Moviken’s meticulous drum strikes, resulting in a thrashing big instrumental tidal wave that had me reaching for rewind. Its companion piece ‘Janaskie Pt II’, and the instrumental track ‘Labyrinthitis’, lead into the title track ‘Descender’; reflecting on the exhaustion of working long laborious hours and the effect this can have on your life – “I’m working now from evening till dawn / Sun rises up and then you are gone…”

The poetic lyrics of ‘Like Bad Dreams’ are followed by ‘Ghostwriter’ – an anomaly on Descender – which sees Andy take over lead from Davin with the opening line, “How did you stop that overflow?” However, it is ‘Winter Pollen’ that hits me hardest in the gut. When Davin was constructing this particular song, the Me Too movement was beginning to open many eyes to a world most of us were ignorant of. This bravery was followed by anger, exhaustion, but ultimately empowerment. ‘Winter Pollen’ reflects the urgency of this movement with a heavy guitar sound that provides the backdrop for Davin’s frustration. “I make music with my brothers and I love them so / But it’s hard not to be angry, hating all the time / When Brock Turner spends three months in prison for his crime / When somebody spikes my mother’s drink at our first show…”

Both ‘Angular Man’ and ‘December’ close the album; each track incorporating contrasting instrumentation. As Davin sings the final line of the album – “In my darkest hour I fear I’m not strong” – the underlying theme of the Descender becomes more apparent. A reflective and poignant collection on the exhaustion that comes with living. 

 

Descender is out now.

Ken Wynne
@Ken_Wynne

Photo Credit: Maya Sacks

Track Of The Day: Riotmiloo – ‘Want: I don’t want it’ (Riotmiloo & Eva|3 remix)

Blending Riot Grrrl ethics with dense industrial sounds; London-based Riotmiloo has shared ‘Want: I don’t want it’, a remix of New Zealand trip-hop artist Scalper’s track ‘Want’. Working alongside her musical collaborator Eva|3, Riotmiloo has deconstructed the original song and altered its context to reflect her feelings about consent, and the #MeToo movement.

Speaking about the track, Riotmiloo explains: “When Scalper asked me to remix one of his tracks, I chose ‘Want’. It had to be this one. What if I approached it with the “Don’t want” idea? News, various articles and experiences around me lit up my feminist flame. I had never tackled the subject of consent in a song and this seemed like the perfect opportunity. I asked Eva|3 if he would agree and then our remix was born.”

A cathartic, noise-ridden, raw experience; the dual vocals on ‘Want: I don’t want it’ relay a menacing encounter centered around consent. The role reversal by the end of the track reflects Riotmiloo’s belief that the issues surrounding consent can be dealt with. She extrapolates on this: “Consent is more than ever a subject that ought to be discussed. Social movements like #MeToo and Balance ton Porc (Report your Pig) in France have been decried. Questions like: “What was she wearing then?” or “Wasn’t she looking for it to advance her career?” have been said. There’s no need to say them – “no” means “no”.”

Riotmiloo released her debut album La Pierre Soudée, on German label Ant-zen in 2015. Each track is inspired by a real life story which highlights the suffering of women. Listen to ‘Want: I don’t want it’ below, and follow Riotlmiloo on Facebook for more updates.

You can listen to/download Scalper’s Want More EP on bandcamp.

Photo Credit: Stefan Alt

Kate Crudgington
@KCBobCut

FIVE FAVOURITES: Ren (Petrol Girls)

We think one of the best ways to get to know an artist is by asking what music inspired them to write in the first place. We caught up with Ren, frontwoman of the brilliant Petrol Girls, to ask about her “Five Favourites” – five songs that have kept her going whilst she’s been busy fighting & fundraising for a defamation case against a man in music industry for statements she made concerning his treatment of women.

Ren has written an intro to her favourite tracks, and we urge you to donate to the Solidarity Not Silence campaign – whether it’s £1 or £100 – every penny counts!

Ren: I’ve picked five tracks by artists that I really respect for the way that they’ve handled the issue of sexual abuse within the music industry. Many of them also faced defamation cases very similar to the one we are currently fighting as Solidarity Not Silence. We are still trying desperately to cover our legal costs and appreciate any donations that people can give, or awareness that people can raise of our crowd funding campaign

We are determined to win this case because the use of defamation law to silence survivors and their allies is yet another deeply unjust part of a legal system that is utterly stacked against survivors. In the wake of #MeToo this is more important than ever.

1. The Tuts – ‘Tut Tut Tut’
The Tuts are the other band involved in Solidarity Not Silence. During 2016 both bands spoke out about the behaviour of the man that is suing us, in solidarity with the survivors that we were aware of at the time. We received the first letters from his lawyers just before Christmas that year, and have been fighting it ever since!

I have so much respect for how outspoken the Tuts are about inter-sectional feminist issues and left politics more broadly, and super grateful for the huge amount of hard work they’ve done during this legal case, including organising a huge benefit gig at the end of last year! I’m so proud of all of us for how well we’ve been able to work together and support each other through this.

2. Taylor Swift – ‘Shake it Off’
I remember sticking on 1989 and leaping around the room when I heard about Taylor winning her case against David Mueller. She alleged that he groped her whilst they posed for a picture and consequently got him fired from his job. He then tried to sue her but she counter sued for a symbolic $1 and won following an incredible testimony in court, where she refused to take any bullshit: “I am not going to allow your client to make me feel like it is in any way my fault, because it isn’t.”

3. Alice Glass – ‘Cease and Desist’
Alice Glass left Crystal Castles in 2014 but as #MeToo gathered momentum she gained the confidence to speak up about her reasons why. In a post on her website she described horrific and sustained sexual, physical and emotional abuse at the hands of her former bandmate Ethan Kath. He then sued her for defamation but the case was dismissed in February 2018. When he appealed it in May 2018, he was ordered to pay Glass almost $21,000 in legal fees.

4. Venom Prison – ‘Immanentize Eschaton’
Vocalist Larissa Stupar wrote a public statement in support of survivors that spoke out about her former bandmates in Wolf Down. In her post she detailed some of her own experiences and ended with: “Enough is enough. I stand with the victims.”

5. Kesha – ‘Praying’
Kesha’s legal case against her former producer Dr Luke and record label Sony has been long, drawn out and bitterly unfair. It was overseen by a Judge that is married to a partner in Sony’s legal firm. Somehow Kesha pulled herself back to her feet and was able to release some hard hitting new music including ‘Praying’, which came out in the summer of 2017, just before #MeToo started gaining momentum.

Huge thanks to Ren for sharing her favourites with us. Follow Petrol Girls and Solidarity Not Silence on Facebook for more updates.

Kate Crudgington
@KCBobCut

Track Of The Day (Comic Review): Deux Furieuses – ‘Year Of Rage’

The fifth in our ‘Comic Reviews’ feature – where illustrator Sally-Anne responds to a new track with her wonderfully unique drawings – we checked out the seething new single from London duo, and GIHE faves, Deux Furieuses.

My War Is Your War, the upcoming album from Deux Furieuses, is out on 18th October via Xtra Mile Recordings. Watch the new video for ‘Year Of Rage’ below:

Sally-Anne Hickman
@sallyshinystars