Five Favourites & Video Premiere: Junk Whale – ‘Pilebox’

Following infectious recent single ‘Happy Birthday’, Oxford band Junk Whale have now announced the release of their new EP, Caught In The Act Of Looking Weird, next month. Taken from the EP, latest single ‘Pilebox’ pays homage to being yourself in the face of adversity. Propelled by a fuzzy, emo-tinged energy and scuzzy hooks, raw impassioned vocals flow throughout as the track builds with a jangly allure to an anthemic blast of angst-driven splendour. Of the track, the band explain:

It started as an attempt to write a song that sounded like a mashup of Pile and Jawbox (hence the title), although it ended up not really sounding like either. It’s about the joy of living life on your own terms and trying not to worry about fitting into anyone else’s expectations of you.”

We think one of the best ways to get to know a band is by asking what music inspires them. So, to celebrate the release of a quirky brand new video for ‘Pilebox’ and the upcoming EP, we caught up with members of Junk Whale to ask about the music that has inspired them the most. See below for their choices of their five favourite songs, and watch the new video for ‘Pilebox’ at the bottom of this feature.

The Cribs – ‘Things You Should Be Knowing‘ (Jenny – bass/vox)
When I wrote the guitar bit that became ‘Airbed’ from the EP, I sat down and basically just tried to write a song that sounded like The Cribs. One of the reasons I was keen to join Junk Whale was I heard that Hannah & Josie were also huge Cribs fans. Needless to say, I love them. They’re so consistent in their ability to produce bangers even now, but their first album is still closest to my heart. It’s so delightfully ramshackle, and has such an infectious energy – listening to it makes me feel young and reckless again (and it makes me feel old to be writing that). It sounds like they’re having loads of fun without even having to try, as if they’re just mucking about in the garage, and even though they’re playing massive venues and festivals now, I’d still favour the ramshackle mucking about sound any day. 


Illuminati Hotties – ‘Knead’ (Ali – vox/production)
Illuminati Hotties are one of the few bands I’ve discovered recently that I’ve really connected with. This song does a really great job of balancing elements of indie rock, pop and grunge which is more or less what we’re trying to do in Junk Whale. Their lead singer, Sarah Tudzin, is a professional audio engineer and produces their songs; she does an amazing job and is a real inspiration for me.

Doe – ‘Julia Survived’ (Josie – guitar/vox)
I first saw Doe in 2016, supporting Muncie Girls in Brighton (also on the bill was another Junk Whale fave, Fresh). I left with a cassette copy of their First Four compilation, and over the next few weeks I rendered it more or less unlistenable by playing it over and over again. At that point, Hannah’s and my pre-Junk Whale band was coming to an end and we were thinking about our next project together. Somehow, Doe had managed to capture exactly the kind of music that we wanted to make. Every song on that comp is great, but ‘Julia Survived’ has always stood out to me. It has that visceral punch of emotion that I crave in music, and the overlapping vocal harmonies were definitely a big influence on our songwriting. Nicola Leel is up there with Corin Tucker from Sleater-Kinney in my “people I wish I could sing like” rankings.

Taking Back Sunday – ‘You Know How I Do’ (Hannah – guitar/vox)
I first got into Taking Back Sunday when I was in sixth form because the drummer in my band really wanted to cover ‘Cute Without the E’ and I’ve never looked back. Their first album, which this track opens, is pretty much without flaw in my eyes and I struggled to pick just one song from it. Something I really love about it is the sheer quantity of vocals; Adam Lazzara barely lets up for a second, singing over almost every section of every song, with John Nolan pitching in frequently for some really effective back-and-forth segments. I think we have a pretty different sound to Taking Back Sunday, but they’re always on my mind whenever I’m trying to structure a song, and especially when I’m writing vocal parts.

Dinosaur Jr. – ‘Little Fury Things’ (Josie – vox/guitar)
First hearing You’re Living All Over Me as a teenager was a genuinely life-changing moment. It exemplified everything I love about guitar music: heavy riffs, soaring solos, ear-scraping noise and, most of all, beautifully expressive rhythm-playing. It was the latter that had the biggest influence on my playing; messing around with different harmonies and chord combinations is my favourite thing to do with a guitar and has formed the basis of my songwriting. ‘Little Fury Things’ is the best example of this. After the pummelling drum intro and aural chaos of the opening section, the plaintive guitar and melancholy vocals of the verse completely disarm you. To me, this song is the best demonstration of the immense dynamic power of a distorted electric guitar.


Huge thanks to Junk Whale for sharing their Five Favourites with us! New EP, Caught In The Act Of Looking Weird, is set for release on 8th July via Reckless Yes. Watch the brand new video for latest single ‘Pilebox’ here:

Photo Credit: Tom Turner

Track Of The Day: Slagheap – ‘Destination Boyfriend’

Following the vibrant energy of last year’s single ‘Caffeine’, having supporting the likes of Billy Nomates, Wet Leg and GIHE faves Big Joanie, and with acclaim from Radio X’s John Kennedy and BBC 6Music’s Steve Lamacq, Bristol ‘do-it-for-yourself’ band Slagheap have now announced the release of their new EP, due out in August.

Taken from the EP, new single ‘Destination Boyfriend‘ is a joyously discordant yet euphoric celebration of femininity and feeling comfortable in your own skin, regardless of how far from the ‘norm’ you may stray. Reflecting on the different paths that bisexuality may take you on, it races with a scrappy, jangly energy as clashing beats sizzle alongside swirling, scuzzy hooks.

Creating a frenzied, shimmering cacophony, ‘Destination Boyfriend’ oozes a stark post-punk fuzz with the added quirky, playful spirit and tongue-in-cheek wit we’ve come to know and love from Slagheap. Of the track, the band have commented:

From our first Barbie Jeep, the GPS was programmed for heteronormativity. As we journeyed through puberty our eyes began to wander from the set path. The pre-planned girls trip is appealing… But so is the sweet fruit on the lay-by.”

Set to be a queer girl summer anthem, ‘Destination Boyfriend’ is accompanied by a nostalgia-tinged, and typically fun-filled, new video. Produced by Bristol’s Clump Collective, and featuring some of the band’s own artwork, you can watch the wonderfully wacky visual here:

Appetites, the upcoming new EP from Slagheap, is set for release on 5th August. And we’re super excited to have Slagheap headlining for us at The Victoria in Dalston this coming Friday 24th June – it promises to be a super fun evening, with support from Nervous Twitch and The Famous Daxx. Get your tickets here!

Mari Lane
@marimindles

WATCH: Wyldest – ‘Abilene’

Wyldest, aka Zoe Mead, is a London-based singer-songwriter and producer. Having just announced the release of her new album, Feed The Flowers Nightmares, she has now also shared her disco-tinged second single, ‘Abilene‘. Following the release of her last album, 2021’s Monthly Friend, Zoe was burnt out creatively. She began collaborating with Luciano Rossi (Idlewild, Dama Scout), activating a new energy, and they went on to create what they jokingly call their “doom pop” record; the resulting songs are meticulously constructed, featuring variations on Wyldest’s ambient/dream-pop sound.

Playful and infectious, ‘Abilene’ is a song made to be performed to flashing disco lights. Hidden beneath the glow, is the tale of a sorrowful farewell to a close friend. Starting off with slow, dreamy vocals, and an electronic beat, it then blossoms into swirls of guitar, bringing us into the poignant emotional soundscape of the song (“Lessons you taught me, I’ll think of you Abilene”). 

This stirring latest offering from Wyldest brings out a more introspective side underneath the shimmering surface, blending happy and wistful memories into pure pop bliss. It’s a perfect indication of the different paths her upcoming album will take us on, whilst exploring the themes of regeneration and growth.

‘Abilene’ is accompanied by a heartfelt new video, featuring Get In Her Ears contributor Tutku Barbaros. Watch it below:

Feed The Flowers Nightmares, the upcoming new album from Wyldest, is set for release on 9th September via Hand In Hive.

Fi Ni Aicead
@gotnomoniker

Photo Credit: Eva Bowen

WATCH: Ailbhe Reddy – ‘A Mess’

A lighthearted reflection on an early, chaotic relationship, Irish-born, London-based alt-folk artist Ailbhe Reddy has shared her latest single ‘A Mess’. Full of energetic guitar riffs, relatable lyrics and Reddy’s clear vocals, the track is a buoyant rumination on the cyclical nature of bad habits and a lively effort to move past them.

Following on from her recent single ‘Inhaling’ and her tender, intuitive debut album Personal History (2020), on ‘A Mess’ Reddy continues to balance the bittersweet nature of romantic relationships with her earnest and relatable lyrics. “The song is about not feeling good enough in a relationship and examining old patterns and habits,” she explains. “It’s about feeling fed up of going around in circles, while focusing on a throw away comment.”

Whilst the repetition of the title lyric could sting if it was delivered differently, Reddy claims it as a lighthearted label, accepting that youth and inexperience are all part of the learning process when it comes to forming healthy relationships. This humour is reflected in the single’s accompanying video, which sees Reddy fishing and dressed up as a surgeon, trying to dissect the moment that led to the relationship being branded ‘A Mess’.

“The video was directed by Georgia Kelly of CLTV,” she explains (an Irish production company who have created for videos Fontaines D.C., Denise Chaila, Pillow Queens and Inhaler.) “I wanted to keep the playfulness of the music alive in the video and make sure it was tongue and cheek rather than very serious. Georgia came up with a few scenarios that were funny representations of feeling ‘not good enough’ and giving up.”

Ailbhe Reddy will be performing at Visions Festival and Latitude this summer, with more live dates due to be announced soon.

Watch the video for ‘A Mess’ below.

Follow Ailbhe Reddy on bandcampSpotify, Twitter, Instagram & Facebook

Photo Credit: Collective Dublin (CLTV)

Kate Crudgington
@KCBobCut