WATCH: New Pagans – ‘Yellow Room’

Following on from the release of their single Yellow Room in August, Belfast’s New Pagans have shared a captivating set of visuals to accompany their racing, urgent track. Directed by bassist Claire Miskimmin, the video reflects the often overwhelming feelings of darkness that women face in patriarchal society.

Inspired by the semi-autobiographical short-story The Yellow Wallpaper, which was written by American feminist author Charlotte Perkins Gilman, New Pagans originally penned the track to highlight the need for a specialised parent-and-baby mental health unit in Northern Ireland. “’Yellow Room’ is the fourth instalment in a series of self-made folk horror themed short films produced to accompany our music,” explains vocalist Lyndsey McDougall. “Set in the stunning local surroundings of Northern Ireland, we tried to evoke a sense of dread and isolation in the expanse of nature. In stifling a woman’s mind we take away her liberty, as in the novel the song is based on. It’s about the facade and the masks we wear, but break the surface and we find our protagonist’s strength. She cuts herself free and is set adrift.”

Watch the video for ‘Yellow Room’ below and follow New Pagans on bandcampFacebook & Spotify for more updates.

Kate Crudgington
@KCBobCut

PLAYLIST: August 2020

Whether you’ve miraculously managed to organise a holiday this summer, or you’re playing it safe and staying put post-lockdown, let our August playlist transport you somewhere you’d rather be for a short while. It’s filled with some dream-pop gems, shadowy electronics and the usual dose of indie & punk guitar tunes. Take some time to scroll through our track choices below, and make sure you hit play on the Spotify playlist at the end of the page.

 

Circe – ‘Ten Girls’
London based dark-pop artist Circe’s latest single is inspired by one of my favourite books, The Handmaid’s Tale by Margaret Atwood. Of the track, Circe explains: “[Atwood’s novel] is a poetic but disturbing view of women living in a dystopian oppressive world. This chimes with my own fractured generation of cancel culture, swipes of sex, and revenge porn.” (Kate Crudgington)

Kynsy – ‘Cold Blue Light’
Mari & I were equally as excited about Kynsy when we first heard her debut single ‘Cold Blue Light’. Based in Dublin, Kynsy takes down bullies and naysayers on this track with her sardonic lyrics and glitchy beats. (KC)

Talking Violet – ‘Indigo’
The new single from Canadian band Talking Violet, and their first in two years, ‘Indigo’ offers an ethereal dreamscape oozing a shimmering haze and immersive shoegaze-tinged hooks. Flowing with the Cocteau Twins-esque vocals of front woman Jill Goyeau, and swooping other-worldly melodies, it’s an utter sonic delight. (Mari Lane)

Babeheaven – ‘Cassette Beat’
This dreamy new offering from West-London duo Babeheaven is lifted from their debut album, Home For Now, which is set for release on 6th November via AWAL. Of this track, vocalist Nancy Anderson explains: “I wanted to write a song about creation. Whenever we create we subsequently end up destroying something in a huge way or a small way. But there is always light behind the dark even when you can’t see it yet. It’s also a comment on media, how we ingest it at an unhealthy rate. I didn’t want it to be too negative so I wrote the chorus as a relief from the darkness of the verses.” Dreamy stuff, looking forward to hearing the full album. (KC)

Evil House Party – ‘Wicked’
Released via Third Coming Records, I’m a bit obsessed with Evil House Party’s debut single. ‘Wicked’ is a “modern murderous ballad, fleshed out in a bittersweet revenge pop anthem.” Very Bonnie-and-Clyde-esque. (KC)

Winter Gardens – ‘Tapestry’
The latest single from Brighton band Winter Gardens, ‘Tapestry’ oozes a euphoric ethereal haze as twinkling, shoegaze-inspired hooks whir alongside the soaring vocals of front person Ananda. Flowing with a rich anthemic emotion, it’s an utterly captivating slice of other worldly dream-punk. Tapestry, the debut EP from Winter Gardens, is set for release on 25th September. (ML)

Arlo Parks – ‘Creep’
Having already fallen head over heels with the utterly spellbinding sounds of Arlo Parks from hearing singles ‘Black Dog’ and ‘Eugene’ getting plenty of airplay on BBC 6Music, discovering that she’d covered Radiohead’s seminal ‘Creep’ did indeed feel so very special… With a delicate emotion-strewn splendour, Parks adds her own unique majestic grace to the original. A stripped back, and truly captivating, rendition that will tug at even the toughest of heartstrings. (ML)

Ailbhe Reddy – ‘Between Your Teeth’ 
A tentative rumination on the struggle to communicate your true feelings when in a relationship, Ailbhe Reddy’s latest single blends soft vocals with atmospheric guitars to help overcome feelings of frustration and sadness. ‘Between Your Teeth’ is lifted from her debut album Personal History, which is set for release on 2nd October via Friends of the Family. (KC)

New Pagans – ‘Yellow Room’
I love it when my feminist literature & new music worlds collide! Belfast-based New Pagans’ latest single ‘Yellow Room’ is inspired by the semi-autobiographical short-story The Yellow Wallpaper, written by American feminist author Charlotte Perkins Gilman. The band have penned the track to highlight the need for a specialised parent-and-baby mental health unit in Northern Ireland. They’re challenging and updating the narrative around women’s mental health, and they’ve crafted a catchy, energetic post-punk tune in the process. (KC)

Belako – ‘Truth’
The latest single from Spanish faves Belako, ‘Truth’ reflects on the reality of romance often being weaponized and used to exploit us. With  its scuzzy racing riffs and the raw, swooning vocals of front person Cristina Lizarraga, it offers a snappy blast of post-punk energy. Plastic Drama, the upcoming album from Belako, is out 28th August via BMG. (ML)

Screaming Toenail – ‘IOU’
Oozing a seething energy as a whirring tension builds with jangling hooks, Screaming Toenail’s ‘IOU’ asserts that we are worth so much more than our wages, and that we don’t owe our bosses, landlords, or this racist government, anything. Propelled by an impassioned cathartic rage and swirling magnetism, its raw, angst-driven power immerses the listener in its striking, empowering message. As front person Jacob repeats the refrain “I owe you nothing” with a fierce intensity, you’re left – fists-clenched – ready to come together in solidarity and rise up against the forces seeking to oppress us. ‘I.O.U’ is taken from Screaming Toenail’s immense new album, Growth, which is out now via Hell Hath No Fury Records. Buy now on Bandcamp. I tried to word just how important a collection it is in this full review. (ML)

Mothercanyouhearme – ‘Knowing You’
The latest single from London duo Rosie Krause and Georgia Mancey – aka Mothercanyouhearme – ‘Knowing You’ oozes an uplifting jangly scuzz and catchy sunny hooks. With a subtle gritty angst, it’s a perfect slice of emo-tinged indie-pop with shades of faves Diet Cig or Partner. ‘Knowing You’ is taken from Mothercanyouhearme’s upcoming new EP People². It’s a completely DIY release, produced by Rosie and with all artwork by Georgia, with an accompanying handmade zine wonderfully entitled ‘Maga Can You Zine Me’ – celebrating a number of female creatives and raising awareness to create safe spaces for queer identifying women and allies within music. (ML)

KIN – ‘L.O.V.E’
The new single from London trio Kin, ‘L.O.V.E’ is inspired by the euphoric feeling of being at the ‘Great British Festival’, that we’ve all been missing so much this summer. With shades of the driving majesty of Warpaint, its sun-strewn hooks and rippling energy make for an instantly catchy and soothingly cathartic listen. A truly uplifting alt-pop anthem. (ML)

Tiger Mimic – ‘Where The Fire Used To Be’
The new single from Tiger Mimic, ‘Where The Fire Used To Be’ is an energy-fuelled slice of alt-rock. With shades of early Arctic Monkeys, the soaring power of front woman Jess’ vocals are juxtaposed with psychedelic hooks and a whirring drive, building to an eerie climax. An instantly catchy offering, it offers a glimmer of hope in these strange times, promising that “the whole world will start over in the spring”. (ML) 

Despicable Zee – ‘We Won’t Stop’ (Tiiva Remix)
I’ve been listening to the Tiiva remix of Despicable Zee’s ‘We Won’t Stop’ since it was released at the beginning of August. Taken from her collaborative EP Atigheh Reimagined, Tiivah’s treatment of ‘We Won’t Stop’ fuses smooth, breathy vocals together with dense yet ambient beats. (KC)

MJ Guider – ‘Lit Negative’
Based in New Orleans, MJ Guider (aka Melissa Guion) blends elements of shoegaze, gothic pop and industrial sounds to create her hypnotic music. On her upcoming album Sour Cherry Bell, she explores power dynamics, musing about the notion of “lost and found, corporeal and cerebral, harnessed and exploited, of one and many, in this reality and the next.” (KC)

Listen to the playlist below!

 

LISTEN: New Pagans – ‘Yellow Room’

A racing, urgent exploration of the isolation new mothers often face, Belfast band New Pagans have shared their latest single ‘Yellow Room’. Inspired by the semi-autobiographical short-story The Yellow Wallpaper, written by American feminist author Charlotte Perkins Gilman, the band have penned the track to highlight the need for a specialised parent-and-baby mental health unit in Northern Ireland.

After watching her close friends struggle with post-natal depression, New Pagans’ vocalist Lyndsey McDougall decided to speak out about the silencing of motherhood, especially in music. McDougall saw parallels between the experiences of her friends and the character in Gilmans’ original story, in which the mental health of the female protagonist deteriorates rapidly when she is separated from her normal life, locked in an old nursery room by her physician husband. Through the medium of Gilmans’ text, McDougall channels these feelings of fear and rage in her clear, cathartic vocals, supported by the band’s crashing percussion and charged, powerful riffs.

Being a Mother herself, McDougall is aware of the pressures that come with the role, and whilst she is not solely defined by these responsibilities, she feels they shouldn’t be ignored or played down. By using personal experience and Gilmans’ text as foundations for ‘Yellow Room’, New Pagans are challenging and updating the narrative around women’s mental health, and they’ve crafted a catchy, energetic post-punk tune in the process.

Listen to ‘Yellow Room’ below and follow New Pagans on bandcamp, Facebook & Spotify for more updates.

 

Kate Crudgington
@KCBobCut

INTERVIEW: New Pagans

Filled with urgent, considered, intensely catchy songs that challenge the norms surrounding relationships, history, and gender; New Pagans‘ debut EP Glacial Erratic is a powerful blend of alternative sounds. The Belfast band take the best elements of post-punk, grunge, and indie rock and transform them in to abrasive, yet melodic noise.

Formed of Claire Miskimmin, Cahir O’Doherty, Conor McAuley, and Lyndsey McDougall, the band have cut their teeth playing in different outfits over the years (Girls Names, Rupture Dogs, Fighting With Wire, Jetplane Landing). Together under the New Pagans moniker, they sound louder and more confident, creating a sonic space to explore issues of frustration, defiance, and resolution. We caught up with Claire to ask about the band’s EP, their recent UK tour, and what bands she’d recommend listening to right now…

 

Hello Claire, How are you holding up at the moment?
All good, I think we are all managing to keep it together at the minute. Keeping fit and keeping our brains ticking over. Absolutely bizarre for everything to be so different yet so normal, seeing this out in our homes, familiar surroundings. Absolutely surreal. Worst sci-fi film ever.

For anyone who doesn’t know, can you explain how New Pagans came together? We know each of you played in different bands before…
The majority of us have been in bands since our teens with the exception of Lyndsey, this is her first band, unbelievably. We’ve been playing for 3 years. Cahir and Lyndsey had talked about starting to write music together for a while but I don’t think they necessarily had a band in mind. Conor was a good friend of theirs and is an unbelievable drummer, so that was a no-brainer. As for me, I was messing about on a bass set up in their kitchen one night, recorded a rough sketch and thought nothing of it again until it was sent back to me a while later fully fleshed out by Cahir and with Lyndsey’s vocals; and it blew my mind. So that was me in! Allan was the last part of the jigsaw. He came in on guitar when we started to have bigger ambitions for the songs and he rounds of the sound off perfectly.

You released your debut EP Glacial Erratic in March. What are you most proud of about this release?
I think we are most proud that it’s a physical release. We had been releasing singles digitally over the last three years and it’s amazing to be able to find a home for them and there’s nothing like holding your own record in your hand and thinking “we made that”. It’s a beautiful object. I can see why people obsess and collect them.

Many of your songs blend the personal with the political, and I think that’s especially clear on ‘Lily Yeats’ and on ‘It’s Darker’. Can you talk me through the contexts of each song, and how they transformed into these affecting, memorable tracks?
This is more a question for Lyndsey to answer as she’s our lyricist, but I would say that she mines everything around her for inspiration. Her studies for her PHD led her to discover Lily Yeats, day to day experiences like an argument at a party with a man trying to exert his dominance over a female opinion like on ‘It’s Darker’. Everyday conversations overheard on a bus strung together into a Dadaist poem as with ‘Charlie Had the Face of a Saint’.
‘Admire’ is about learning to navigate a long term relationship once the initial spark of newness has gone & appreciate what you have. Politics, history, nature, human fragility, forgotten female voices told from an Irish perspective.

Do you have a favourite track on the record? If so, why?
I think my favourite track is ‘Admire’. Maybe it feels freshest. Or it’s the change of pace it brings on the record. It’s a mature track. I think it really sets a precedent for what we are doing next. Saying that, they are all bangers.

You’ve recently returned from touring the UK promoting the record. What were the highlights from your trip? Favourite venues/moments you’d like to talk about?
It was great for us to get out on the road together and actually great timing, another week and those shows would have been cancelled amid the chaos. Stand out venue would be the Flying Duck in Glasgow for me. They really looked after us and it makes such a difference to arrive at a venue and everything to be easy. Believe me this is a rarity for UK shows. Anyone reading this who has toured the UK will understand. As for the highlight, those drives to the hotel after the shows when we are all a little tipsy or running on adrenaline from the gig are the best craic. Makes you forget you are crammed in a tin box hurtling from one end of the country to the other.

We know it’s an uncertain time right now for musicians, especially in Ireland. How are you looking after yourselves? What’s the reaction from the music community in Belfast been like?
There’s always a real sense of community between bands in Belfast, it’s so small you know everyone. I’m just really loving the online presence that’s keeping us all connected right now until we can all play shows together again.

I don’t know how this goes when we come out the other side, but at the minute there’s a lot of positivity. We are using this time to try and write the album although we can’t get in a room together yet. We just need to ride it out.

Finally, what bands or artists would you recommend we listen to?
Careerist, Problem Patterns, Gross Net, Altered Hours. In fact, do yourself a favour and find an Irish music playlist on Spotify and give that a go. A lot of bands making a lot of great music on this island, as there always has been.

Thanks to Claire for answering our questions. Follow New Pagans on Facebook & Spotify for more updates.