WATCH: SPIDER – ‘America’s Next Top Model’

Taking aim at her critics via abrasive riffs and candid lyrics, London-based, Irish musician & producer SPIDER has shared a video for her latest single ‘America’s Next Top Model’. Written in response to the backlash she received, and the whitewashing she witnessed on popular online platforms, SPIDER chooses to thrive in the face of adversity on her new track.

Born and raised in Dublin, SPIDER harnesses the strong feminine energy of the arachnid she’s named after in order to explore her own emotional resilience. Creating music provides her with an outlet for her most unfiltered thoughts, with her genre-blending debut mixtape, C.O.A. (Coming Of Age) (2022), establishing her narrative of growth and self-autonomy. Now, with ‘America’s Next Top Model’, SPIDER has channelled her vitriolic energy into another gritty, empowering anthem, which acts as a defiant cry for better black representation in alternative music scenes.

“I started ‘America’s Next Top Model’ after a conversation with my friend Earl Saga about how safe music can feel right now,” SPIDER explains about the context of her new track. “We found it really interesting that in a time where artists have the most freedom to make the most opinionated art, it sometimes feels as a collective like we are shying away from it.” These thoughts are reflected in the accompanying visuals for ‘America’s Next Top Model’, which feature SPIDER expressing herself without fear, surrounded by characters who personify the online voices who are attacking her artistry.

“The video is about my own experiences online, and accepting the fact that if people already feel the need to get rid of me, that means that I’m doing something right,” she continues. “I’m asking the people who target the content of minority creators, ‘why the fuck are you so scared?’ People don’t feel the need to silence something that’s not making an impact. So while it hurts and it’s confusing and it’s scary and slightly scarring, it’s only an indication that the message is being received. I hope ‘America’s Next Top Model’ stirs that revolutionary spirit, and is a big hit of confidence for those who need it.”

With the release of her cathartic, necessary new anthem and a homecoming show at The Road To The Great Escape Festival in Dublin on May 9th, it seems that SPIDER is going from strength-to-strength, and she has our full support!

Watch the video for ‘America’s Next Top Model’ below.

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Kate Crudgington

WATCH: Pretty Happy – ‘Conn Boxing’

**Trigger Warning: mention of sexual assault and rape culture**

Reiterating the vital outrage behind their original track ‘Conn Boxing’, today, Cork art punk trio Pretty Happy have shared a new video to accompany their ominous creation. Lifted from their EP, Echo Boy, released via Foggy Notions in 2022, the band have directed and produced the visuals to coincide with Imbolc (Saint Brigid’s Day), to hammer home the disturbing idiosyncrasies of rape culture in Ireland and further afield.

Attacking the fact that a local boxer’s reputation and trophy cabinet are more respected and revered than a local woman’s safety, ‘Conn Boxing’ calls out the deeply ingrained misogyny and double standards in both the sporting and wider social spheres. “They don’t even have a women’s bathroom,” counters vocalist and guitarist Abbey Blake about the boxing gym, between the repeated refrain “Conn Boxing has been producing superb/unbelievable/amazing/elite athletes for years.” Bassist Arann Blake’s simmering bass lines and drummer Andy Killian’s skittish percussion all contribute to the palpable sense of frustration underscoring the track, which gradually edges towards its nerve-shredding conclusion.

The visuals, which were filmed in the famous Linehans sweet shop in Shandon, Cork, also star actor Niamh Santry, who appeared in the band’s previous video for ‘Boots’. The conveyor-belt of sweet production seemingly personifies the production line of predators from the Conn Boxing gym, highlighting how women have to conceal their rage and attempt to move on in the overwhelming aftermath of sexual assault.

Along with the new video, Pretty Happy have also announced a string of UK & Ireland live dates, including tour support with Canadian post-punk band Preoccupations. Full dates can be found below.

Watch the video for ‘Conn Boxing’ here:

Pretty Happy UK Tour Dates 2023
09 February – New Adelphi Club, Hull (supporting Preoccupations)
10 February – Brudnell Social Club, Leeds (supporting Preoccupations)
11 February – Cork Opera House (supporting The Sultans of Ping)
12 February – District, Liverpool (supporting Preoccupations)
16 February – London Scala (supporting Preoccupations)
18 February – Windmill, Brixton

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Photo Credit: Celeste Burdon Photography

Kate Crudgington

Track Of The Day: Brutus – ‘What Have We Done’

An urgent, cathartic anthem fueled by the need to “dig deeper and go the extra mile,” Belgian heavy trio Brutus have shared their latest single ‘What Have We Done’. Taken from their upcoming third album Unison Life, which is set for release on 21st October via Hassle Records/Sargent House, the track is a powerful combination of raw vocals, candid lyrics, commanding riffs and powerhouse drumming, that reflect the overwhelming need to break the cycle of repetitive thought patterns.

“‘What Have We Done’ started with just the guitar, the Moog synth (playing the bassline), and one verse of the lyrics. But we felt this was something special that we needed to take the time to get right,” explains vocalist and drummer Stefanie Mannaerts. “When we continued working on this song, there was this unspoken pressure to go further musically…to finish the track.

For some reason, this new piece of music felt like both a turning point and an intersection. In our history of being a band, this feeling came only a few times before, with the songs ‘Bearclaws’, ‘Justice de Julia II’ and ‘War’. Key songs such as these are challenging, but also feel like coming home at the same time. They define who you are as a band. The song embodies what was going on at the time of writing, in the middle of the pandemic. It is about suffering for too long and you have had enough. The verse echoes the mutual feeling we sometimes have as humans with too much going on in our heads and getting stuck in the same loop.”

Dissecting the darker parts of the emotional spectrum was the focus for the songs that formed Brutus’ upcoming album, Unison Life. “I wanted every song to feel like the last song we’ll ever write,” Mannaerts comments about its conception. “It killed me inside because it’s almost an impossibly high standard, but that was my personal goal for this album.” This version of “better” has manifested itself in Brutus’ knockout singles ‘Dust’, ‘Liar’ and ‘Victoria‘, with latest cut ‘What Have We Done’ continuing to hit the “impossibly high standard” that the band originally set for themselves.

The new single is accompanied by a video, shot by Jonas Hollevoet, showing the band doing what they do best whilst performing at two of their favourite festivals, Rock Herk and Lokerse Feesten.

Watch the video for ‘What Have We Done’ below.

Pre-order your copy of Brutus’ new album Unison Life here

BRUTUS UK Tour Dates 2022
16th Nov – Bristol, The Fleece
17th Nov – Manchester, Rebellion
18th Nov – Glasgow, Audio
19th Nov – Leeds, Lending Room
21st Nov – Brighton, Patterns
22nd Nov – London, The Garage

A full list of Brutus’ European dates for 2023 can be found here

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Photo Credit: Kemizz

Kate Crudgington

Track Of The Day: AGAAMA – ‘Blackbox Oracle’

An intoxicating blend of enigmatic vocals, heady electronic beats and jazz-inspired instrumentation, Birmingham-based artist, composer, vocalist and producer AGAAMA has shared her latest single ‘Blackbox Oracle’. Taken from her upcoming EP Wandering Worlds, which is set for release on 15th September via The state51 Conspiracy, the track explores our complex relationship with Artificial Intelligence, questioning whether we can live in harmony with the machines we have created.

“‘Blackbox Oracle’ is about our relationship with technology and how humankind draws closer to the singularity – the moment in time where the capabilities of AI will overtake the abilities of the human brain,” AGAAMA explains. The track’s title is the name of an imagined ‘AI’ lover, who AGAAMA toys with via her majestic instrumentation and seductive beats. “My body craves control” she confesses, resisting the urge to become “addicted to your code”, trapped in a push-and-pull scenario that has no concrete solution.

AGAAMA’s eclectic sounds stem from a childhood rich with varied musical experiences. Growing up in a British-Jamaican household, she was influenced by the contemporary classical tastes of her parent’s record collection, she sang in Church on Sundays, studied classical trombone as a teenager, but also spent her weekends raving to UK bass music and writhing in the mosh pit at metal gigs. This glorious array of musical experiences have all informed her work as AGAAMA, making her sounds as vast and altruistic as her collective memories.

Her upcoming EP, Wandering Worlds, reflects this kaleidoscopic musical vision perfectly, whilst also tapping into something darker. “I grew up listening to a lot of angsty, heavy music – metal, dubstep, prog rock and bass music. I wanted to make something where you could explore angst and frustration,” AGAAMA explains. “I found that having a space to release angst within music was healthy and helpful on my path toward healing. I really wanted to incorporate this brooding, meditative, almost primal thing that hooked me into music.”

AGGAMA has explored these instincts on her recent singles ‘Which Way’, ‘Sarehole Mill’ and on her latest cut ‘Blackbox Oracle’, which you can watch the captivating video for below.

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AGAAMA UK Tour Dates 2022
22nd September – London, Hootenanny (with Jack Tyson Charles)
29th September – (EP Launch) London, state51 Factory
3rd October – Birmingham, The Night Owl

Photo Credit: Myah Jeffers

Kate Crudgington