LIVE: Kælan Mikla – Electrowerkz, London 19.02.19

Having been hand selected by The Cure’s Robert Smith to support Placebo at Southbank’s Meltdown Festival in the summer of 2018, it was no surprise to see Icelandic darkwave trio Kælan Mikla perform to a near capacity crowd at Electrowerkz on Wednesday night.

Presented by Bad Vibrations, the evening began with a performance from newcomer Some Ember (aka Dylan Travis). Clad in a silver shirt and metallic make-up, Travis shared his classic 808, Cold Cave-esque sounds with energy and enthusiasm, before Kælan Mikla took to the stage to deliver a set full of brooding electronic dissonance.

Together, Sólveig Matthildur (synths/keys), Laufey Soffía (vocals) and Margrét Rósa (bass) created a coven-esque atmosphere with their layered drum beats, pulverizing synths, powerful vocal delivery – and a burning stick of incense held by lead vocalist Laufey. A mix of spoken word, angsty screams and extended notes, Laufey’s voice echoed around the venue with poetic prowess. Singing in her native Icelandic tongue, the mood of each of Kælan Mikla’s songs translated clearly – whether listeners were fluent in the language or not.

Despite their darkwave roots, the trio’s live delivery had a gentle pop energy, aided by their animated movements and a colourful light show. Whilst their performance was still haunting and immersive, the chemistry between Matthildur, Soffía and Rósa clearly lightened the mood. After returning for a brief encore – Laufey with incense in hand again – the band left the stage to the sound of rapturous and appreciative applause. A bewitching, indulgent live experience: Kælan Mikla’s set is a beguiling blur of post-punk, gothic noise that ensnares the senses.

Follow Kælan Mikla on Facebook for more updates.

Kate Crudgington
@KCBobCut

VIDEO PREMIERE: Indian Queens – ‘You When I Close My Eyes’

Let the “weight of the world” melt from your shoulders as you watch the hazy new video for Indian Queens‘ latest single ‘You When I Close My Eyes’. Taken from the band’s debut EP of the same name (released via Cool Thing Records), the track is a blur of the “ugly and [the] beautiful” according to vocalist and guitarist Jennifer O’Neill.

Shot and edited by the trio during a recent trip to California; the footage blends still images and lyric reels to create a “memory book” cut-and-paste feel, whilst also giving an exclusive glimpse of Indian Queens’ studio space in East London.

Championed by John Kennedy (Radio X), LOCK Magazine, and chosen by The Cure’s Robert Smith to play his Meltdown festival earlier in the year, the Hackney trio are hotly tipped (especially by GIHEs) for a successful 2019. Watch the video for ‘You When I Close My Eyes’ below and follow Indian Queens on Facebook for more updates.

Kate Crudgington
@KCBobCut

LISTEN: Indian Queens – ‘Pretty Little Thing’

Equal parts driving and delicate: the ever cool Indian Queens have shared their new track ‘Pretty Little Thing’ – and it’s as attractive to the ears as its namesake suggests. Released via Cool Thing Records today (June 15th), the single is an infectious blur of hypnotic vocals and shoe gaze guitar sounds.

“’Pretty Little’ Thing started as a childhood memory” explains guitarist and vocalist, Jennifer O’Neill. “My Nan and Grandads’s garden always sounded of birds and far off planes travelling to nicer places. It was a warm feeling and I didn’t want to be anywhere else”. This nostalgic undertone makes ‘Pretty Little Thing’ ring out with warmth and understated joy. Jennifer also designed the artwork for the single (pictured below) – titled ‘Self Portrait no.1 – Writer’s Block’ – making this release particularly personal.

Indian Queens have been championed by John Kennedy (Radio X), LOCK Magazine, they were added to Burberry’s emerging playlist on Apple Music, and they supported We Are Scientists on their recent tour. Now, they’re set to play at Southbank’s Meltdown Festival – curated by the inimitable Robert Smith – tonight, and we can’t wait to seem them live again. Listen to ‘Pretty Little Thing’ below, and follow Indian Queens on Facebook for more updates.

Grab your tickets for Indian Queens’ headline show at Hoxton Bar & Kitchen (12.10.18) here.

Photo Credit: Emma Viola Lilja 

Kate Crudgington
@KCBobCut

PLAYLIST: June 2018

We’re mid-way through 2018, and we’re ready to share another playlist packed with fresh new sounds for your very eager ears! Take some time to scroll through our track selections, hit play on the Spotify link below, and let your ears fill up with the glorious new sounds of June…

Fever Ray – ‘If I Had A Heart’
Fever Ray were one of the headliners of Field Day this year and it could not have been a better end to the festival, hypnotic beats, terrifyingly warped vocals and an explosive stage performance. Gender bending outfits, with reverberating sound all whipped up together by the psychedelic and endorphin inducing visuals. When this track started I lost my mind – wow wow wow. (Tash Walker)

Catgod – ‘Keep My Promises’
Lead by sibling duo Robin and Catherine, Catgod’s new single interweaves swirling folk-tinged melodies with trip-hop inspired beats. As Robin’s soaring vocals are perfectly complemented by Cat’s exquisite harmonies, it showcases the band’s unique musicality in a cinematic soundscape that’ll captivate on first listen. Heartbeat In My Hand, the debut EP from Catgod, is out 22nd June. (Mari Lane)

Dott – ‘Bleached Blonde’
Galway’s Dott have released the perfect single for girls who love sunshine, surfing, and super-catchy garage pop anthems. The track is taken from their upcoming album Heart Swell, which is set to be released via Graveface Records on 8th June. It’s not on Spotify yet, but you can watch the video for it below. (Kate Crudgington)

S4U – ‘Heart’
‘Heart’ is the latest single London-based duo S4U (Something For You) taken from their upcoming Mixtape Heart 2 Say, which will be released via Different Recordings on 6th July. Looking forward to that a lot… I’m loving S4U’s new low-slung R&B experimental electro with some heavy 90s influences. Of the track S4U says “Curved, Parallel conscious, sub conscious, the synergy of heart and mind generates wise choices that benefit all. In other words as you appreciate that which is appreciating you. It is a wonderful thing to hold someone as your object of attention while you feel that G force Roses in Britain” Lovely. (TW)

The Menstrual Cramps – ‘Make Girls Feel Good’
Combining activism with musical prowess, The Menstrual Cramps provide a captivating force that we all need now more than ever.  With their fist-clenching ferocity, racing catchy hooks and a tongue in cheek wit, they create truly infectious punk-rock anthems. And this track is no exception – an epic dose of empowering energy, with lyrics like “you always look like such perfection that you don’t even need to try”, it’ll leave you feeling good and ready to take on the world. And we CANNOT WAIT to see The Menstrual Cramps headline for us at The Finsbury on Friday(ML) 

Slowcoaches – ‘Found Down’
Having previously captured our hearts with the totally epic, anti-toxic-masculinity anthem ‘Complex’, Slowcoaches are back with a new single. Racing with a seething energy, ‘Found Down’ hits your ears with its scuzzy riffs and the raw, angst-driven vocals of Heather Perkins. Oozing an immense, punk-fuelled power, it’s a perfect blast of raging honesty that we need now more than ever. (ML)

Placebo – ‘Scared Of Girls’
I scored tickets to Placebo’s Meltdown gig at Southbank Centre (curated by Robert Smith) and although this will be the fourth time I’ve seen them (quit bragging Kate), my heart is still beating double time with joy at the prospect of potentially hearing this track live. I imagine this song title accurately describes how most men feel when they see me dancing to it on a night out… (KC)

The Joy Formidable – ‘Dance Of The Lotus’
This is the band responsible for getting me in to alternative music a decade ago, so when I heard new single ‘Dance Of The Lotus’, my inner 18 year old imploded. They’re playing Robert Smith’s Meltdown Festival on the same day as NIN, and they’ll be playing at one of my favourite venues, The Lexington, in August. I missed out on tickets for both, so if anyone wants to help a girl out…I write good reviews… (KC)

Hilary Woods – ‘Inhaler’
‘Inhaler’ is the first single from Hilary Woods’ upcoming debut solo album Colt, which is set to be released via my favourite label Sacred Bones Records on 8th June. It’s a pensive, delicate, melancholy track about her struggles with homesickness, and it’s going to sound beautiful live when ringing out against the walls of St Pancras Old Church on 11th June. (KC)

VTR – ‘Soul To Skin’
‘Soul To Skin’ is taken from Brixton duo VTR’s recently released EP of the same name via Dream Diary. So sultry, so smooth, so seductive. This track reverberates around my ears giving me so much audible pleasure, very excited to hear more from these two in the future. (TW)

Barrie – ‘Tal Uno’
The new single from Brooklyn’s Barrie, ‘Tal Uno’ is filled with jangly hooks and swooning vocals, creating a totally dreamy, twinkling soundscape. As glistening synth-filled melodies glide alongside glitchy beats, it’s impossible not to float away in the shimmering, psychedelic haze that Barrie create. (ML)

ELA Lindsey – ‘Healing Me Slow’
This is the debut track from Nashville’s singer-songwriter ELA Lindsey who found her musical passion later in life starting at the age of 29. She says that by releasing this single she hopes to inspire other women to start their artistic journeys later than the typical industry standard usually allows. ‘Healing Me Slow’ has been firmly stuck in my head over the last couple of weeks, starting with her sweet and gentle vocals, then breaking down into this dark electro synth laden TUNE. With all the hooks and loops I could ever want. INTO IT. (TW)

Tigercats – ‘Candy’s Tailor’
Tigercats’ new single ‘Candy’s Tailor’ is filled with twinkling, jangly melodies and uptempo, calypso-like beats. Flowing with raw vocals and rich layers of sound, it’s an utterly uplifting summer anthem, and I’m already getting pretty excited about seeing these guys at Indietracks Festival next month! Pig City, the new album from Tigercats, is out now. (ML)

Nine Inch Nails – ‘Ringfinger’
I only discovered the true glory of NINs last year (always late to the party, when will I learn?) but I’m seeing Trent Reznor & co twice this month – at Meltdown Festival & The Royal Albert Hall – and I am nerve-shreddingly excited. ‘Ringfinger’ is one of my favourite tracks on 1989’s Pretty Hate Machine, and although they’re unlikely to play it live – I’ll still be bouncing off the walls in anticipation leading up to the gigs. (KC)

Photo Credit: Slowcaoches shot by Priti Shikotra