Track Of The Day: My Idea – ‘Stay Away Still’ / ‘That’s My Idea’

Ahead of the release of their debut EP at the end of this month, New York-based indie-pop duo Nate Amos and Lily Konigsberg – aka My Idea – have now shared the first taster of the collection in the form of two singles, ‘Stay Away Still‘ and ‘That’s My Idea‘.

Kicking off to a quick start, ‘Stay Away Still‘ launches with an upbeat drum line that lays out the rhythm ahead of a rush of guitar and vocals. The tongue-in-cheek lyrics juxtapose laughter and pain in a way that’s smart and relatable, nailing a light-hearted approach to depression and existence that fuels millennial humour.

The vocals are cleverly layered. The chirpy melody is complemented by deep, almost deadpan responses beneath. At times, the two vocal lines bounce off each other like a conversation contained within one song. At others, they conflict but in a way that feels like they come from the same place – as if one is speech while the other is echoing what you actually wanted to say. Although the words are often repeated, the way the lyrics twist around each other shapes the song with a driving momentum. The strings are lovely and light, and – with this sense of brightness particularly in the solo that continues through the following verses – a real boost is given to the music.

‘Stay Away Still’ builds gradually, with new layers being introduced throughout. Finally, it swells to a big bouncy climax that comes to an abrupt stop leaving you eager for more and grateful that this song has dropped as part of My Idea’s special two-in-one release.

The second single released as a teaser ahead of My Idea’s upcoming EP is ‘That’s My Idea‘. Shorter and softer than the accompanying ‘Stay Away Still’, it offers a clear idea of what to expect from the band in its less-than-ninety second run time.

Combining provocative lyrics – which if they were written down you might imagine were a challenge or even aggressive – with an ominously gentle delivery, the vocals are breathy, but not for lack of lung power. Instead, that softness feels like a very purposeful choice that lends a human element to the track and adds an impressive weight to the words themselves. Delivering phrases like “that’s my idea,/ talking to me like it was yours the whole time/ makes me want to fight you” with such delicacy tells an entirely different story than if they were belted out. Arguably, one that’s more powerful. The words seem to come from someone just finding the strength to stand up for themselves, not quite ready to yell but tired of being spoken over.

The light, high vocals are blended with bubbly guitar that has fun with the notes and creates a pleasantly textured foundation for the track. Fleeting with a memorably sly sweetness, ‘That’s My Idea’ makes for another fantastic appetiser before the EP brings the main course.

That’s My Idea, the debut EP from My Idea, is set for release 30th July via Hardly Art.

Kirstie Summers
@ActuallyKurt

Photo Credit: Michael Wolever

EP: Berries – ‘Live From Big Smith Studios’

Fuelled by the riff-driven melodies of Nirvana, the massive choruses of Biffy Clyro, and the punk rock attitude of Riot Grrrl pioneers Bikini Kill, London based trio Berries have spent the last five years releasing an incendiary blend of grunge and garage rock, culminating in two explosive extended plays; 2016’s Those Funny Things and 2019’s Lies.

The three-piece – consisting of Holly Carter on guitar/lead vocals, Lauren Cooper on bass/backing vocals, and Lucie Hartmann on drums/backing vocals – recently signed with London-based label Xtra Mile Recordings, dropped the single track ‘Copy’, and have now released their latest EP, Live Sessions from Big Smith Studios; a collection of four tracks recorded live in Antony Smith’s studio.

Opening Live Sessions from Big Smith Studios, Berries immediately launch into a live rendition of their latest single ‘Copy’, a high-energy performance that gives the riff-laden track even more of an edge. Lauren’s raucous bass-lines, Lucie’s pounding drums, Holly’s distinctive lead vocal delivery and scuzzy guitar hooks are so flawless that you would be forgiven for mistaking this for the original track; if not for the various nuances between the two (“Don’t copy it exactly / Rough around the edge”).

The remaining three performances – ‘Dangerous’, ‘Silent’ and ‘Lies’ – are live versions of their respective tracks taken from the EP, Lies. Recorded for John Kennedy’s Radio X show, along with ‘Copy’ and ‘Lies’, ‘Dangerous’ is the highlight of Live Sessions from Big Smith Studios; an infectious collision of drum strikes, pulsating bass guitar, and distorted riffs combining indie, grunge and punk to cause a euphoric shock to the senses. Holly creates a sense of danger with her haunting lyrics, inspired after travelling home late one night after a gig: All of the thoughts and feelings of walking the streets alone at night and the different personalities you meet on the way.

Recorded for the virtual single launch of ‘Copy’, the band let loose on ‘Silent’, channelling the spirit of punk rock, and evoking Black Sabbath at the same time, with a fast-paced rhythmic foundation that elevates the track’s off-kilter hook, leading into a metallic breakdown that will have you banging your head! ‘Lies’ concludes the EP with a seemingly effortless performance oozing razor-sharp guitar licks, duelling drum and bass grooves, sassy vocals, and intense shredding.

Raw, complex, and full of little flourishes, Live Sessions from Big Smith Studios showcases the band’s signature style and strength as a live power trio. And it won’t be long until Berries are able to replicate this noise in front of a live audience! Worthy of repeat listening, this four-track extended play will scratch that rock and roll itch until we can all get together, drink warm beer, dance, and sing along with Holly, Lauren, and Lucie.

Watch the live video for ‘Dangerous’ here:

Live Sessions From Big Smith Studios is out now, listen on Spotify and download/buy here.

Ken Wynne
@Ken_Wynne

Photo Credit: Cae Sato

EP: Bitch Hunt – ‘Shapeshifter’

Bitch Hunt have just released their debut EP and we couldn’t be happier. The non-binary alt-rock four-piece (and I’m sure there are plenty of other hyphenated terms you could apply – this is a band with range!) are alumni of the 2017 edition of London’s First Timers Fest – a festival with an impressive track record of assisting in the formation of some of the best music coming out of the city in the last few years (Big Joanie and Charmpit both played their first gigs at the festival). As such, it’s been something of a wait for this debut EP for those of us who were already aware of the band, but the wait has proved to be very much worth it.

Shapeshifter offers a shimmering collection of five songs characterised by a lo-fi aesthetic and heartfelt lyrics. EP highlight ‘Eau Claire’, which was released as a single back in April and described by us as “perfect punk pop”, is a nostalgic song (though a nostalgia with the rose-tint wiped clear) written about singer Sian’s time spent in a Wisconsin town of the same name. Fittingly then, Twin Peaks fans might even detect a hint of Angelo Badalamenti’s soundtrack in the slacker bassline in the verse here, but a closer point of reference might be The Breeders’ ‘Oh!’ from 1990 album Pod. There’s a similarly woozy feel to the guitars and vocal delivery which accentuates the bittersweet content of the lyrics. In fact, the EP as a whole warrants favourable comparison to the early 1990s output of Kim & Kelley Deal’s band. That’s not to say there is anything derivative about this, though, Bitch Hunt have carved out their own distinctive sound and on this track in particular there’s a real sense of a landscape portrayed in the breadth of the sound – no mean feat considering the relative simplicity of the arrangements.

Closing track, ‘I Wanna Be Un/Happy’, showcases another side to the band’s sound. Here the guitar and bass interweave in a manner reminiscent of Interpol on the verse before the song bursts into life in the chorus. The contrast hinted at in the ‘Un/Happy’ of the title is reflected in the difference in sound between the doom-filled verse and uplifting chorus.

A spiky guitar part on ‘Identity Clinic’ provides the clearest link between what appears to be some of the influences on this EP – ’90s britpop a la Elastica & the bluesy end of the early 2000s garage revival (White Stripes, Black Keys etc). The lyrics are disarmingly open while remaining playful – “leave me out to cry”, we’re implored – and listening to the EP as a whole, the listener is left with the feeling that this mix of honesty, heartache and a sense of humour might be the defining characteristic of Bitch Hunt’s songs. ‘Out of Eden’’s biblical references serve a similar purpose – playing with our familiar understanding of phrases to provide counterpoint and illumination to what appears to be a story of two relationships – one destructive and the other restorative.

The EP can be bought for the low low price of £5 over on the band’s bandcamp page and has been released by Reckless Yes – a label with impeccable taste – so this reviewer would urge you to do so. It’s a real treat.

Shapeshifter, the new EP from Bitch Hunt, is out now via Reckless Yes.

Gregory Metcalfe
@gregorysparty

EP: Gold Baby – ‘Rabbits’

Gold Baby’s debut EP, Rabbits, is a real treat for the ears and soul. The band – fronted by singer-songwriter Siân Alex – show their versatility with this accomplished and assured collection of lush, folk-infused dream pop.

Opener ‘Bodie’ is the soothing soundtrack we all need right now. With retro, woozy guitars and drums that thump like a heartbeat, it has echoes of ’60s girl groups. And like those glorious, bittersweet ballads that bands like The Ronettes or The Shangri-Las sang back then, ‘Bodie’’s lyrics dwell on loneliness and longing. It’s a real standout.

The band show their playful, experimental side with ‘2041’ – a punk-inspired number with jerky spiky guitars and a lo-fi, shouty chorus (“And I said NO!”) that act as the perfect foil to Siân’s pure, calming voice. It’s brave and brilliant; the sound of a band who refuse to be pigeon-holed and are keen to grow and evolve.

Closing tracks ‘Betty’ and recent single, ‘Captain Dorego’, are quieter, deeper and more confessional, reminiscent of Sufjan Stevens and The Unthanks – very much in the folk storytelling tradition. ‘Captain Dorego’ is particularly affecting, dealing with Siân’s experiences of being overstimulated by modern life. Something that, in these crazy times, we can all relate to.

Ultimately, with Rabbits, Gold Baby show that they can both soothe you and make you shimmy (check out the video for ‘Captain Dorego’ for more of the latter!). The band’s confidence and chemistry, coupled with Siân’s raw, self-revelatory songwriting and beautiful vocals, come together on this release to create something that’s pure magic. Listen if you want something pretty that packs a real punch!

Rabbits is out now. Download via Gold Baby’s bandcamp

Vic Conway