Five Favourites: Kama Vardi

Having spent a nomadic youth travelling, experimenting and creating, Tel Aviv based artist Kama Vardi has released a stream of solo material to much acclaim, and is now set to release her new album this week.

Showcasing Vardi’s unique sparkling majesty, the collection is filled with a beguiling allure and captivating mysticism as the shimmering splendour of Vardi’s distinctive vocals flows throughout each strikingly beautiful offering.

We think one of the best ways to get to know an artist is by asking what music inspires them or influences their writing. So, we caught up with Kama to discuss the five songs that inspire her the most. Have a read and watch her latest video for ‘The Gate’ below. 

Nina Simone – ‘Stars’ 
My first choice is this brilliant, heart breaking live version of Janis Ian’s song ‘Stars’, performed by Nina Simone. Nina Simone’s life was not a simple one, to put it lightly, and when you listen to her play this song you get it all – you mourn that life of glory with her, you make peace with her pain; you see her as she really is – a true performer. Simone is known for never leaving the stage, not for a moment, and when you watch this show, and you witness her breathtaking personality as it’s showing here, full of kindness and anger, you realise why. 

Syd Barrett – ‘Dark Globe’
Even though I rarely listen to Syd Barrett anymore, I had to put him in this list. Barrett was one of the first artists I ever got deeply into, and definitely the one that influenced me in the most meaningful way. His raw nature and wild, intuitive writing and performance got me from the first second. Barrett is not the relatable kind. He is not Joni Mitchell who wrote all her songs just for you, nor is he Tom Waits who will pull you from your deepest pits with a cuddle. But he will expand your horizons in a very real way, he will put you in a foreign land and stay with you there. This song, also called ‘Wouldn’t You Miss Me?’, is a perfect example of Syd Barrett’s world; a gorgeously hectic, beautifully broken, dazzling world.

Joanna Newsom – ‘Sawdust and Diamonds’
I admit, when I first heard Joanna Newsom I didn’t believe her. All I could hear was squeaks and, despite everyone around me praising it, I just couldn’t buy it. But then I broke up with my then boyfriend and band mate, and something about being twenty and alone cracked me wide open, and I decided to give it another chance. I sat down to listen to her album YS, and when I did I just couldn’t believe I couldn’t hear it before – it was so gorgeous, so profound; I listened to it on repeat for a week, waking up every morning excited to press play again, and when it reached a boiling point I sat down and within one sleepless week wrote my entire first solo album. It’s hard to pick just one song from this album, but ‘Sawdust & Diamonds” is a good one to start with. The words are everything in these songs, so reading them as you listen is very good advice. Here is a quote from that song, for appetite:
I wasn’t born of a whistle or milked from a thistle at twilight
No; I was all horns and thorns, sprung out fully formed, knock-kneed and upright
So enough of this terror, we deserve to know light
And grow evermore lighter and lighter
You would have seen me through but I could not undo that desire…

Oren Lavie – ‘Note to Self’
Sometimes you hear a song and you immediately feel so close to the person singing, you’re sure you and them are meant to be, and if you only got to meet each other you’d fall in love, become best friends, live happily ever after. I know that isn’t usually true; it’s disappointing, but artists are often very different on their canvas than in person.
Nevertheless, after I heard Oren Lavie’s ‘Note to Self’ I had to find out. I got his number and asked him out for a drink, and that drink turned into a night of wandering the streets together, which turned into the greatest love of my life to date. Oren Lavie is one of the most exciting, honest and timeless songwriters I know, with a voice so deep and soothing you’re gonna want to forget yourself in his arms every night, which I strongly recommend. 

Tom Waits – ‘Looking For The Heart Of Saturday Night’
When you’re young and seeking adventure, everything means something: the street lights flickering, your cousin calling, your weekly pay – all these things are like clues to help you find it. When you grow up you start filtering, you just can’t afford the waste, you don’t have time. But Tom Waits didn’t write this song when he was seventeen and this agelessness is one of the things I love about him. He could write a convincing fifty year old when he was twenty three, and he can capture this teen spirit as an adult. When I first listened to ‘Looking For The Heart Of Saturday Night’ I was a deeply committed youth participant myself, and I was drawn to this world he described like a moth to the flame. A world that is happening, the real thing. And he helped me up there, and still is. 

Massive thanks to Kama Vardi for sharing her five favourites with us!

Moonticket, the upcoming new album from Kama Vardi, is out 27th November via Bread For Eskimos.

Photo Credit: Goni Riskin

PLAYLIST: October 2020

Whether you’re feeling apprehensive about the darker evenings after the pesky BST clock change, or you’re fed up of the ongoing Covid-restrictions that are full of contradictions, our October playlist is here to distract you. There’s an eclectic mix of dancing beats, atmospheric electronics, indie and alternative guitar tunes and some seasonal Halloween pop treats! 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.

Nina Simone – ‘I Put A Spell On You’
The inimitable Nina Simone and her rendition of ‘I Put A Spell On You’ was an obvious choice for a Halloween-esque track, and it gives me goosebumps whenever I hear it. (Kate Crudgington)

Phoebe Bridgers – ‘Halloween’
Fun fact – I’m in love with Phoebe Bridgers. I more or less constantly have one of her songs running through my head, and spend a lot of time musing about how cool she is. So, for our October playlist it seemed only right to include her ode to the spooky season. Taken from her recent (perfect) album Punisher, ‘Halloween’ oozes Bridgers’ majestically haunting vocals and spellbinding splendour. And with the opening lyrics “I hate living by the hospital / The sirens go all night”, as someone who lives round the corner from Croydon hospital, I feel a deep hard relate on each listen. (Mari Lane)

Two Tribes – ‘Cruel Sensuality’
Full of commanding beats, jagged synths and soaring vocals, Two Tribes‘ latest single is a cathartic oscillation between emotional resilience and the unexpected apathy that comes with the ending of a relationship. Taken from their upcoming EP, which is set for release in 2021, the London-based trio blend vivid electronic textures with jolting rhythms to create an anthemic new sound. (KC)

CIRCE – ‘Ruined Your Sons’
A dark-pop gem that challenges toxic masculinity, ‘Ruined Your Sons’ is the latest single from London-based artist CIRCE. It’s taken from her upcoming debut EP She’s Made of Saints, which is set for release via Jazz Life on 25th November, and it’s a cinematic reflection on the apathy and disillusionment young men face while living under the thumb of patriarchal society. (KC)

Beckie Margaret – ‘Divine Feminine’
“’Divine Feminine’ is a song for people who stop you reaching your highest self,” explains Essex songwriter Beckie Margaret. “I wanted to write a sonically aggressive song that reflected this idea.” Through her commanding sounds and effortless vocal delivery, Margaret balances this aggression with elegance as she warns those trying to silence her to “stay out of my way.” I can’t wait to hear her debut album, which she’ll be releasing through Cool Thing Records at some point in the future. (KC)

Arlo Parks – ‘Green Eyes’
‘Green Eyes’ is the latest single from GIHE fave Arlo Parks. The track is taken from her debut album Collapsed In Sunbeams, which is set for release on 29th Jan via Transgressive Records. She’s yet to release something that don’t collectively adore here at GIHE, and I can’t wait to hear the full record next year. (KC)

Sans Soucis – ‘Air’ 
I have Kate to thank for sending this song my way, the latest single from the London based artist Sans Soucis and I cannot get enough of it. ‘Air’ evolves sonically under pitch perfect vocals, to put forth a message of protest against an era of human disconnection and destructive self-doubt. (Tash Walker)

Rihanna – ‘Disturbia’
Disturbia by absolute babe of babes Rihanna, taken from her 2008 album Good Girl Gone Bad: Reloaded. I think this is one of her best songs to date and I’m resurrecting it as a little Halloween treat for you all. (KC)

Eckoes – ‘The Light’
Alongside strobing synths and shimmering guitars, in ‘The Light’ the truly spellbinding power of Eckoes’ vocals soars, lulling the listener into a cathartic sense of hypnosis with its alluring grace. And we’re super excited that, having blown us away playing for us live at The Finsbury a few years back, Eckoes will be joining us for a special Instagram takeover next Wednesday 4th November – keep your eyes peeled on our socials for details! (ML)

Penelope Trappes – ‘Eel Drip’
A goose bump inducing, emotionally charged electronic soundscape, ‘Eel Drip’ is the title track from London-based, Australian-born musician Penelope Trappes’ recent EP. It’s a dark, delicate rumination on accepting the inevitability that our lives will all be touched by death at some point, and I’m a little bit obsessed with it. (KC)

Witch Prophet – ‘Tesfay’
‘Tesfay’ translated as “my hope” from queer artist Witch Prophet, inspired by the memory of Witch Prophet’s late grandfather who raised five daughters as a single father in Ethiopia after the passing of her grandmother. Instead of focusing on the traditional roles for women in his day, he pushed his daughters towards education and empowerment – a radical move for the time. The video is fantastic as well, go check it out. (TW)

LIINES – ‘On and On’
One of the latest singles from GIHE faves LIINES, ‘On and On’ reflects on not being able to express your true feelings. Oozing the band’s trademark dark, brooding power, it builds to a high-octane climax of raging riffs and throbbing bass lines, propelled by the utterly commanding vocals of Zoe McVeigh and a punk-fuelled bewitching allure. ‘On and On’ is the B-side to new single ‘Sorry’’, out on 6th November, with a limited number of black 7” vinyl editions available for direct mail order and through independent record shops, via Reckless Yes. Pre-order via LIINES’ Bandcamp now. (ML)

Bitch Falcon – ‘How Did I Know?’
Is it even a GIHE Playlist if I don’t include a Bitch Falcon track? (Long answer: no.) The Dublin alternative trio have shared this new single ahead of the release of the debut album, Staring At Clocks, on 6th November via Small Pond Records. Vocalist & guitarist Lizzie says this single is “an expression of frustration around someone I love and their problems. When someone you love is at the edge of your grasp, it can be so terrifying that your reaction is to let go.” (KC)

Total Rubbish – ‘What’s Your Damage?’
The latest single from Philadelphia-based trio Total Rubbish, whose sound reminds me a little bit of Garbage or L7 – which is never a bad thing. ‘What’s Your Damage’ is featured on their upcoming EP Triple Negative, which is set for release on 20th Nov via Born Losers Records. (KC)

Middle Kids – ‘R U 4 Me?’
With an uplifting jangly groove, Aussie band Middle Kids offer a swirling emotion and warm melodies with latest single ‘R U 4 Me?’. A perfect burst of sunny energy for this time of year, it’s a scuzzy indie pop anthem, leaving me excited to hear what this trio have in store for us next. (ML)

Landshapes – ‘Drama’
The new single from GIHE faves and one of our first guests on the radio show back in 2015, Landshapes, ‘Drama’ reflects on the imbalance of emotional labour that’s often seen between men and women. Soaring with a whirring synth-filled musicality and sweeping electro-driven hooks as the lustrous distinctive power of Luisa Gerstein’s vocals flows, it’s set to captivate on first listen with its majestic, funk-fuelled groove. ‘Drama‘ is out now, along with accompanying single ‘Let Me Be‘. Both are taken from Landshapes’ upcoming new album, Contact, set for release on 20th November via Bella Union. (ML)

Miri – ‘Just Breathe’
The latest single from London artist MIRI, ‘Just Breathe’ was released to coincide with Mental Health Awareness Day earlier this month. Reflecting on the negative impact some social media can have, whilst delivering a message of love and hope, it’s propelled by a soothing, soulful splendour and emotion-strewn majesty. As the soaring heartfelt power of Miri’s distinctive vocals flows, it’s filled with an uplifting musicality, oozing an endearing sense of hope. Of the track, MIRI explains: “Just Breathe is my message to anyone struggling mentally to please reach out for help. We are living in an incredibly stressful and intense time especially with the pandemic.” (ML)

Lande Hekt – ’80 Days Of Rain’
‘80 Days of Rain’ “is about moving away and missing someone, and how that person taught me to get angry about climate change,” songwriter Lande Hekt explains. It’s a humble, emotive guitar tune about the state of the planet, lifted from Hekt’s upcoming album Going to Hell, which is set for release on 22nd January 2021 via Get Better Records. (KC)

Swallow Cave – ‘Cold Moon’ 
‘Cold Moon’ comes from Bristolians Swallow Cave. Reflecting on mental health, I love the intonation in the vocals that resonate in those long guitar chords, reverberating right into my soul. It’s out now via Sad Club Records. (TW)

Bel Cobain & Lex Amor – ‘At The Bay’
‘At The Bay’ is a beautiful track that was made as part of a Hackney based community movement called The Silhouettes Project. They’re shining a light on artists in the shadows and protecting local spaces from gentrification. The Silhouettes Project provides an open space – a recording studio and live venue (located within the Total Refreshment Centre in Hackney, London) – where MCs, singers, musicians and producers can connect and create. (TW)

Thigh High – ‘Go Slow’ 
The latest single from queer glam-rock band Thigh High and I’m loving it. It’s a song about wanking, masturbating, about that annoying moment when your dildo’s batteries die and you have to raid the remote control. Incredible. Turn up those dials. (TW)

Spill Tab – ‘Santé’
‘Santé’ by LA-based, French Korean artist Spill Tab is intimate bedroom-pop at its best, mixing hypnotic dark-pop vocals with an urgent throbbing bass. Nice. (TW)

Tokky Horror – ‘Sleeper’
Dance-punk trio Tokky Horror have shared two new bangers just in time for Halloween. The explosive ‘Sleeper’ is one of them, with Demonoid Phenomenon – a Rob Zombie cover – being the other. You can download both from their bandcamp page now. (KC)

Lady Gaga – ‘Monster’
Taken from her 2009 album The Fame Monster, this track by Mother Monster herself is guaranteed to get me dancing at a Halloween party (even if that party consists of only me in my bedroom due to the current covid-19 restrictions.) (KC)

Pet Wife – ‘.B.L.O.O.D.O.R.A.N.G.E.’ 
PET wife, are a trans/nonbinary couple and art-pop duo from Bushwick, Brooklyn. This single, ‘.B.L.O.O.D.O.R.A.N.G.E.’ is accompanied with an incredible music video which you can watch here, that they describe as an homage to the vampire lesbian exploitation films of the 1970s with an all-trans/gender non-conforming crew and queer cast. Loving this track! (TW)

Soho Rezanejad – ‘Half The Shore’
The new single from Danish artist Soho Rezanejad, ‘Half The Shore’ is a beautifully ethereal soundscape. With Rezanejad’s work often rooted in mythological storytelling, this latest offering oozes a spellbinding majesty that’ll captivate on first listen. A much needed sea of calm. ‘Half The Shore’ is taken from Rezanejad’s upcoming album Perform And Surrender, set for release on 4th December via Silicone Records. Listen to the track here. (ML)

Sonic Youth – ‘Halloween’
The unmistakable sound of Kim Gordon’s voice over these eerie, strung out guitar sounds should be enough to create a wonderful sense of dread for you all this Halloween weekend. (KC)

LISTEN: Chinwe – ‘Intoxicated’

A sultry, lo-fi tune that lives up to its namesake, East London songwriter Chinwe has shared her latest single ‘Intoxicated’. Influenced by the likes of Nina Simone and Portishead, Chinwe’s latest offering falls somewhere between the two musical worlds – spaced out yet soulful, melancholy yet uplifting.

Raised by her Nigerian father and Jamaican Mother, Chinwe was surrounded by a an eclectic collection of music from a young age. She began learning how to play the violin, but once she started to teach herself chords on the guitar her true musicianship began to shine through. Now, the young producer is captivating listeners with her smooth, intense vocals and heady beats.

Listen to ‘Intoxicating’ below and follow Chinwe on Spotify for more updates.

 

Kate Crudgington
@KCBobCut

Five Favourites: GRANT

Following 2018’s album In Bloom, Swedish artist GRANT has now returned to grace our ears with new single ‘Words’. Oozing a raw emotion and shimmering musicality, it’s a heartfelt slice of enchanting alt-pop.

We think one of the best ways to get to know an artist is by asking what music inspires them or influences their writing. We caught up with GRANT to find out her “Five Favourites” – five albums that she’s found particularly influential. Check out her choices below, and make sure you watch the new video for ‘Words’ below.

4 Non Blondes – Bigger, Better, Faster, More!
This was my own very first CD, that my sister gave me when I was about eight. I learned how to sing belting along with Linda Perry. This album falls somewhere in rock n’roll land, with a touch of Linda Perry’s pop genius, and  listening to it felt like a roller coaster through a wicked landscape. I highly recommend that you listen to the Linda Perry episode of the Broken Record Podcast!

Björk – Debut / Post / Homogenic
This is my holy trinity, and I honestly didn’t know which of Björk’s albums to choose; each of these three have inspired me immensely. I love the unexpected dynamics and how in each delicious song she unfolds like an adventure so naturally.

Nina Simone – Wild Is The Wind
The first time I heard Nina Simone, she sang of experiences I’d never lived in a language I didn’t understand yet, but I felt so much. It was kinda heavy but also beautiful. Never has an artist expanded my world view like she did. I want to make music that makes someone young feel like that. 

Portishead – Dummy
I must’ve listened to this album more than a thousand times. When I first discovered trip-hop I thought it was the most ultimate genre, simply because it was genre-bending and contradictory (gloomy yet playful, soft and hard), and I still hold this to be true. Even though I’ve transitioned into a more pop soundscape, I’m still heavily influenced. Also, Beth Gibbons singing ‘Glory Box’ and smoking on stage is too sexy. 

Edith Piaf – À l’Olympia
As with Nina Simone she sang of experiences in a language I didn’t understand, but I was completely enchanted. The way she sings and poises herself with small movements that stir up a fucking whirlwind… I think you can hear her influence in my music in terms of both melodies and phrasing. I learned French from listening to her and I’m forever grateful for the impact she’s had on me.

Huge thanks to GRANT for sharing her Five Favourites with us! 

Watch the new video for ‘Words’ here:

 

Photo Credit: Angelina Bergenwall