Track Of The Day: Salvation Jayne – ‘A Mouthful Of Magnificent Spite’

A masterclass in marrying fuzzy rock heaviness and breathtaking vocals in perfect harmony, this latest tune from alt-rock five-piece Salvation Jayne confidently demands your attention from the very first note. 

The title track from the band’s forthcoming debut album, ‘A Mouthful Of Magnificent Spite’ is wholly enthralling, pairing crisp electric riffs with heavy hits of distortion and crushing bass that swirl and stomp around your eardrums. The gritty guitars are then punctured by the band’s ferocious vocals, soaring sky-high with an impassioned call to “cut loose” from toxic individuals that only seek to control, manipulate, and drag other people down.

The band explain: “Sometimes there is constructive criticism, which is fine. Then there are also overpowering controlling opinions that are shoved down your throat when you haven’t even asked for them. People like that exhibit this behaviour tend to thrive off of manipulating people into believing only what THEY think.”

Salvation Jayne’s magical push-and-pull of instruments and vocals, added to their magnetising self-confidence, continues to ascend until the track erupts into a guaranteed mosh-pit starter of an ending, leaving us amped up and eagerly anticipating their debut album, set for release next year.

Watch the artfully choreographed new video for ‘A Mouthful Of Magnificent Spite’ here:

Salvation Jayne’s debut album, also entitled A Mouthful Of Magnificent Spite, is set for release on 18th February 2022.

Leonie Bellini
@teenpeachmovie

ALBUM: Courtney Barnett – ‘Things Take Time, Take Time’

Courtney Barnett’s latest album, Things Take Time, Take Time, seems like her most straightforward, but we should not take its sunny optimism for granted. In relation to previous work, it seems rigorously disciplined, sticking to a restrained sound and upholding a positive outlook throughout. It is not particularly innovative or surprising, but rather content to master its tone, creating a more consistent mood than earlier work. Expect this album to ease its way under your skin, even if it does not necessarily reach out and grab you on first listen. 

Things Take Time…  feels inextricable from the context in which it was written. Its title nods to Barnett’s lockdown writing process and the space the pandemic brought back to her life. This space had been constricted by years of heavy touring since the release of her 2015 debut, as felt throughout the claustrophobic, at times self-accusatory Tell Me How You Really Feel (2018). Things Take Time… is remarkably at ease, with its sunny guitars and gently rolling tunes, reflecting and appreciating the slower pace of life that the pandemic forced upon us. This makes for an album that does not particularly challenge the listener and on the surface does not challenge Barnett to create her most ambitious work, though the fact she is able to make something so straightforwardly pleasant in itself speaks volumes for her journey over the last few years. Discussing the creation of the album, Barnett commented to DIY, that “sometimes you have to go all the way down the wrong path to go back and find the short, easy answer”, an attitude that seems to define this new release in relation to her previous works that were more complex but also emotionally fraught. 

Barnett said of Tell Me How You Really Feel that many of the songs were conceived as ‘letters to friends’ but always seemed to turn out addressed to herself, which apparently gave her more licence to be critical. On Things Take Time…, however, it feels like the songs look more genuinely beyond their creator into the lives of loved ones, and in doing so finds a sympathetic tone. ‘Sunfair Sundown’ and ‘Turning Green’ both congratulate friends on newfound contentment (“I’ve never seen you so happy”, she croons on the latter). ‘Take it Day by Day’ encourages its subject to keep on keeping on (to borrow a phrase from an earlier Barnett song) with the chugging syncopation of a fitness DVD and some great lines, the best being, “Don’t stick that knife in the toaster, Baby life is like a rollercoaster”. ‘If I Don’t Hear from You Tonight’, an anthem for locked-down dating as mediated by distance and DMs, is an exercise in putting herself in the shoes of a crush who hasn’t replied perhaps just because they’ve gone to bed or something, not because they’re not interested. 

Though never particularly ostentatious with sound, on Things Take Time… Barnett is most decisive in stripping things back to their simplest form. Breaking with her usual lineup of bassist Bones Sloane, drummer Dave Mudie and a rotating cast of contributors on various other instruments, Barnett elected to record these tracks almost entirely between herself and drummer/producer Stella Mozgawa (of Warpaint, but also spotted popping up increasingly on a range of canny indie releases). This results in a set of wonderfully simple arrangements which as a whole anchor the lucid positivity of the album’s themes. Compare the easy, gentle opener ‘Rae Street’ with the previous album’s ‘Need a Little Time’, which has moments of similar niceness that are then undercut by the suddenly heavy “and you, ooh ooh ooh” section of the chorus. This streamlining of arrangement recalls the shift made by Cate le Bon on her album Mug Museum, for which she consciously restrained songs to their most essential layers so that each part felt necessary and nothing was crowded out (something she has since taken further on more experimental albums also featuring… you guessed it: Stella Mozgawa). The influence of Cate le Bon and Mug Museum in particular also translates itself into the guitar lines of tracks like ‘Sunfair Sundown’ and ‘If I Don’t Hear from You Tonight’ (indeed, the latter actually features le Bon on bass!).

 Things Take Time… seems to finally match the enduring image of Courtney Barnett, as expressed in endless Australian sunflower desert Marcelle Bradbeer photoshoots, unburdened by the psychological struggles that have previously taken over her writing and able to find a great deal of space in its rolling guitar lines. It is perhaps her most Australian-sounding album, with her more grungey 90s references sidelined in favour of that expansive ‘striped sunlight sound’ mastered recently by acts like Twerps, Jade Imagine and Dick Diver (whom Barnett has been quoted as calling “the best living band in Australia”). We get the sense that Barnett enjoyed returning to her musical roots, not only in terms of these influences but also in the manner in which they were channelled. She is keen to leave evidence of the solo, domestic lockdown creation process, often leaving guitar lines exposed and clean and building tracks around simple loops on an old drum. The best example of this is ‘Turning Green’, a highlight of the album that starts out sounding like a demo with the vocals mixed unusually quietly and a buzzy bedroom guitar playing along, before it spirals into a bizarre and fantastic instrumental close, a rare and welcome surprise on a rather strait-laced track-list.

This collection of songs is rather unassuming, as Barnett favours slow burners and small-scale, day-to day mindfulness. This is not necessarily a bad thing, though. Barnett has constructed an album that maintains a more measured and balanced tone than previous efforts. A radically pleasant album that speaks of the best of the slowed down pandemic world. 

Things Take Time, Take Time, the latest album from Courtney Barnett, is out now via Milk! Records.

Lloyd Bolton
@franklloydwleft

Introducing Interview: Lunar Vacation

With acclaim from the likes of The Fader and Clash, and having previously charmed our ears with the luscious sounds of singles ‘Mold’ and ‘Gears‘, Atlanta-based Lunar Vacation have just released their debut album, Inside Every Fig Is A Dead Wasp. With each track oozing a shimmering allure and stirring emotion, the album showcases the band’s ability to create heartfelt, irresistibly effervescent indie-pop with a catchy, lilting musicality reminiscent of the likes Best Coast and Alvvays. A collection glistening with a cinematic grace as droplets of stirring melancholy ripple on a seemingly serene surface.

We caught up with Grace from the band to find out more about the album, their thoughts on the music industry at the moment and more. Have a read, and make sure you treat your ears to the beautiful new album as soon as possible!

Hi Lunar Vacation, welcome to Get In Her Ears! Can you tell us a bit about yourselves?
Hey! I’m Grace, and I play guitar and sing in Lunar Vacation. Currently I’m finishing up my last semester at college, making some art, and playing with my cat, Science. 

Are you able to tell us a bit about how you initially started creating music together? 
Maggie and I became friends in high school during a guitar class songwriting project. Connor and Matteo also went to our high school and we just naturally found each other. 

I love your shimmering, blissful sounds with shades of faves Rilo Kiley and Alvvays, but who would you say are your main musical influences?
It changes all the time – all four of us listen to different genres of music from different times, so there is always a good, unique collection of music swimming ‘round in our heads. Right now, Big Thief has been one of my biggest influences musically and lyrically. I admire how Adrienne approaches writing lyrics and how she uses music to work through her thoughts and feelings. There is a really beautiful, delicate aspect of her reflections expressed in her music. 

You’ve just released your debut album – Inside Every Fig There’s A Dead Wasp – which is super exciting! Are you able to tell us a bit about this? Are there any particular themes running throughout the album?
We are all extremely proud and looking forward to finally letting her run free into the world. It’s ultimately up to the listener to form their own idea and interpret it how they want. Once it’s out there, it’s not ours anymore. So in other words, you’ll have to listen to find out!!

Do you have a favourite track on the album? And if so, why does that one mean the most to you?
I think my favourite out of all of them is ‘Gears’. I’m extremely proud of how it came together and how honest the lyrics are – this was one song where I felt that the words flowed perfectly and found their place in the song. Writing that song helped me process a lot of loose ends I had from a relationship that was drawn out for way longer than it should have and to fully move on. 

And how have you found recording and promoting an album during these strange times? 
It was definitely strange making a record at the height of COVID – there were times that it felt like the studio was an intense vacuum of time and space and there would never be an end to the pandemic. Ultimately, I think it added a unique aspect to the record itself… The music, writing, productions, feelings, etc. Everything happens for a reason and I guess the right time for our record was a global pandemic. I’m not sure if that speaks to anything. 

The album’s produced by Daniel Gleason of Grouplove – how was the experience of working with him, and how would you say his contribution added to the collection’s overall sound?
The record wouldn’t have been what it is without Dan and our engineer, TJ Elias. They are such an amazing duo and helped us create what was in our head onto the record. They pushed us sonically and creatively to lean into our strengths, explore our weaknesses, and embrace our own styles. 

How do you feel the industry is for new artists at the moment? Do you feel much has changed over the last few years in its treatment of female and non binary artists? 
That’s a layered question. I have a lot of qualms with the industry as a whole and how it’s shifted to artists having their “moment” instead of focusing on the longevity of their music. Sometimes it seems like it just favours the algorithm, vanity, and self promotion to the point of image and social media coming first and then the actual music following second. Music streaming platforms have made artists reliant on being “playlisted” to have a career. I guess it’s the modern day radio, but it doesn’t sit quite right with me. However, I think the accessibility from social media has made an extensive, positive amount of room for new LGBTQIA+ and BIPOC identifying artists, which has been really promising and inspiring to experience. But, I would like to see more representation in the gay and non-binary community instead of the few token white, straight passing people that are labelled “gay icons”. There are more people out there that represent the community and they need to be uplifted and celebrated.

And, as we’re a new music focused site, are there any other upcoming artists or bands you’re loving right now that you’d recommend we check out?
Definitely pay attention to Future Crib, Binki and The Slaps! These aren’t new, but I’ve been listening to a lot of Lynn Castle, Yuck, and Big Thief.

Finally, in addition to the release of your album, what does the rest of 2021 have in store for Lunar Vacation?
Playing a few more shows and hopefully graduating college in December!! All good vibes ahead. 

Massive thanks to Grace for answering our questions! Inside Every Fig Is A Dead Wasp, the brand new album from Lunar Vacation, is out now via Keeled Scales. Catch them live on their UK Tour next Spring – tickets here.

Photo Credit: Violet Teegardin 

ALBUM: YAY MARIA – ‘OYEZ’

YAY MARIA is the supremely talented Maria Machin – a trans and queer musician from Derby, who you probably know as the front-woman of Grawl!x. With this solo electronic pop project, Machin has created an outlet to explore her gender transition. And after listening, you’ll be grateful that she chose to invite us on the journey.

Her long-awaited debut solo album is nothing short of magical. Ambitious and accomplished, OYEZ is a DIY pop record that transcends its humble origins. Its beats, bleeps and harmonies will fill your heart and send pure joy racing around your body. It feels like a celebration of otherness; breaking boundaries with lush orchestration, samples and driving beats without losing sight of its pop sensibility.

The album feels truly immersive. The giddy dancefloor stomper ‘TRU CRUSH’ is a standout, as are ‘PLASTIK PINK’ and ‘SHOPPING CENTRE’ – both sassy, grown-up slices of electro-pop that would be killer singles. Meanwhile, Belper’s Town Crier pops up halfway through the record too, just to let us know that YAY MARIA hopes we’re enjoying ourselves in a cute little nod to Machin’s Midlands’ roots!

Yet, despite these highlights, it’s the anthemic (and brilliantly named) ‘EPIPHANY (IN A CHARITY SHOP)’ that’ll stay with me. In it, Machin reflects on YAY MARIA’s purpose. “This isn’t about me,” she says. “It’s about so much more than me.” And she’s right. At a time where the trans community faces so much hostility, I really hope this album finds its way to the ears, hearts and minds who need it.

A joyful, powerful and important album, OYEZ offers love, solidarity and the inspiring message that being queer is beautiful. Yay to that, Maria!

OYEZ is out now. Buy the digital album on bandcamp now.

Vic Conway
@thepicsofvic