Five Favourites: Jemima Coulter

Whilst you may know them from being one half of Hailaiker, or from their collaborations with the likes of Squirrel Flower and Novo Amor, Bristol-based artist Jemima Coulter has now released their debut solo album. Reflecting on themes such as unrequited love and chasing happiness – through both their own lived experiences and imagined situations – Grace After A Party is a beautifully poignant collection. Flowing with a shimmering, folk-strewn musicality, each track showcases Coulter’s raw, heartfelt vocals and ability to create stirring, emotion-rich dreamscapes with a swirling, immersive allure.

We think one of the best ways to get to know an artist is by asking what music inspires them. So, to celebrate the release of their debut album, we caught up with Jemima Coulter to ask about the music that has inspired them the most. See below for their choices of their five favourite albums, and be sure to treat your ears to Grace After A Party as soon as possible

Sufjan Stevens – Carrie & Lowell
I drew a lot from this album while writing Grace, mostly in thinking about storytelling and the details in the lyrics that make it compelling. The stories told in this album combined with the nuanced melodies makes it feel so directed, so itself and also perfectly balanced – never too much going on. Each section in a song sits perfectly on its own and in context of other sections, each song on the album sitting perfectly on its own and also tied to the others. I think the use of space in this album is not something I’ve found anywhere else; I don’t know what they used for the reverb, but listening to it, it’s all really ‘verby, but in a way where it’s like this special Carrie & Lowell room that’s a specific kind of dark and echoey but doesn’t make everything sound floaty and washed, and also ties the closer sounding guitar with everything else. Maybe it’s just the best mix I’ve ever heard ha. I listened to Carrie & Lowell a lot when I was driving, around the age of 19-20 – the combination of night-driving and this music seemed to swirl into an endless road. I’ve always wanted to recreate that in an album – you put it on and you’re there, it’s like a physical space, each song a room in a house, and the same things are in the rooms each time you listen but you’re still picking each of them up and turning them over in your hands and each object conjures an emotion in you.

Camille – Le Fil
Someone showed me ‘Quand Je Marche’ one morning and it was in my head for literally years until I found it on this album. There was a period while I was working on Grace (I think autumn 2020) – I was missing someone and I couldn’t sleep and I walked the perimeter of Bristol a few nights for nearly four hours each time and I remember walking the side of a steep A-road listening to this. I think she does nearly everything with her mouth? It’s really minimalist, but it taught me about using drones and melody and kind of inspired me to keep exploring that idea that you often just hear in folk. It’s also totally the opposite of what I tend to do with production and I love how her melodies totally carry the whole album. It has loads of repeating melodic themes and moments, almost like ‘acts’ and interludes which makes it theatrical, but in a really good way… It’s just a wicked album. 

Sea Oleena – Weaving a Basket 
I just think this is the most beautiful music I’ve ever heard. It makes time stand still. No other words. 

John Martyn – Glorious Fool 
I was shown this album fairly recently, after being aware of a few John Martyn songs. The bass in his music takes me somewhere – I don’t think I’ve heard anything like it. Sometimes it’s like it’s just John and that fretless bass and everything else is just highlighting whatever they’re doing. His music makes me think about timing and atmosphere more than anyone else’s at the moment. He’s not doing anything particularly dense with his melodies or his words, it’s all very felt and is almost improvisational. It seems that the songs are really recordings in the sense that they don’t feel concerned with how they’d stand-up as live performance, and that’s something I find about this particular album and in his other ones, that them being crafted in the studio in darkness and in the atmosphere absolutely comes through. I was reading Phill Brown’s autobiography Are we Still Rolling? and it includes a bit about them recording John Martyn’s One World album – they had speakers across a lake and recorded parts the other side of the water to create a massive outdoor reverb. The combination of nature and technology fits with the crossovers I hear in John Martyn’s music; he was clearly so ahead and on the brink of mixing jazz, folk and electronic experimentation. ‘Small Hours’ from that album is the best night-time song. 

The Blue Nile – Hats
The thing I love about this album is that it feels like film music because it is so secured within timbre limitations and concept limitations. It’s like an ’80s rework of the Casablanca soundtrack or something. It sounds so ’80s/early ’90s it’s almost like a modern day pastiche of that period of pop. Again though – maybe a theme going on here -, there’s so much space and anticipation in these songs which I’ve found really liberating, like “yes, repeat that bit 8 times”. The whole thing is a massive argument against concision for me – like, fuck being concise; be indulgent, do a fade out. There’s three songs on that album over six minutes, and it’s an absolute pleasure to be inside them for the whole six minutes, I want to be able to do that more than anything, really.

Massive thanks to Jemima Coulter for sharing their Five Favourites with us!

Grace After A Party, the debut album from Jemima Coulter, is out now via Hand In Hive.

Photo Credit: Christina Russell

Track Of The Day: F.R.U.I.T.Y – ‘BT9’

Having previously charmed us with the quirky, infectious sounds of last year’s eponymous EP, Belfast-based queer artist Dan O’Rawe – aka F.R.U.I.T.Y (this alias being a tongue-in-cheek reclamation of the derogatory term often used to insult the queer community)- has now returned with brand new offering.

Turning the melancholic serenade of the traditional ‘Clair De Lune’ on its head, ‘BT9’ is propelled by off-kilter beats as almost eerie twinkling hooks flow alongside O’Rawe’s trademark deadpan Northern Irish drawl. Offering profound reflections on heartbreak, a sweeping synth-driven musicality builds, creating a cinematic soundscape oozing a glitchy, futuristic allure. A subtly unsettling, yet blissfully uplifting, slice of unique lo-fi electro-driven alt-pop, showcasing all there is to love about this innovative artist.

Of the track, F.R.U.I.T.Y explains:

(It’s a) build up of sad, repressed anger and self loathing, with the punchline – ‘You left me brokenhearted basking in Clair De Lune’.

Listen to/download ‘BT9’ on Bandcamp now.

Mari Lane
@marimindles

Five Favourites: Breakup Haircut

Having wowed us live with their scuzzy, joyous punk-pop at our January gig at The Victoria, First Timers Fest alumni Breakup Haircut have just released their debut album – Punk Dancing For Self Defence. A collection of joyously lo-fi pop punk reflecting on themes ranging from social anxiety and break-ups to bi-erasure and existing in a Capitalist society. Propelled by a jangly, uplifting energy with gritty angst-driven undertones, the band’s colourful charisma and sparkling charm shines through each track with a striking relatable poignancy, creating an utterly necessary listen. Whether you need cheering up with some buoyant danceable anthems, or simply want to immerse yourself in the band’s raw emotion and relatable, resonant reflections on life, Punk Dancing For Self Defence will provide you with the aural comfort you need right now.

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 their debut album, we caught up with members of Breakup Haircut to ask about the music that has inspired them the most. See below for their choices of their five favourite albums, and listen to latest single ‘I’d Say Yes‘ at the bottom of this feature.

Ripley:

Pat Benatar – Greatest Hits
I could pick my favourite Pat Benatar album, but I’m going to pick specifically the random ‘Greatest Hits’ album that my Dad bought off a market stall when I was a teenager and we were living in the USA. It was one of the first albums that I basically ‘permanently borrowed’ from my parents’ music collection. I fell in love with the intense and energetic ‘80s rock sound. I have always particularly loved music that generates energy and feels kinetic and I don’t think I’d heard anything that sounded so huge, epic and all big emotions before at that age (and as a teenager, I was of course relating to big emotions particularly strongly at the time). Their music had an intense energy and sincerity that I really connected with. Pat Benatar’s powerful and emotive voice; her aspirationally cool, badass attitude in her singing and lyrics, plus Neil Giraldo’s amazing guitar solos were also a big draw. Pat Benatar is probably best known for ‘Hit Me With Your Best Shot’ and ‘Love is a Battlefield’ in the UK (both awesome songs). I think their music was a lot more popular stateside than here, as a variety of their songs used to be played on rock radio there a lot. My favourites were songs like the emotional and epic ‘Promises In The Dark’ (the bridge vocal build and following emotional guitar solo is so amazing that I often end up listening to that section an extra time after finishing the whole song), and the inspirational ‘Invincible’ that makes you feel badass and ready for anything (it’s also a perfect inspirational training montage song).

Ishani:

Kimya Dawson – Remember That I Love You
I don’t get a whole lot of time to listen to new music – my partner actually spends a lot of time doing that, and makes this big playlist of releases of the year I should listen to which is hanging over my head. But a staple of my favourites in rotation is Remember That I Love You by Kimya Dawson. I found it when I was around 13 or 14, I remember seeing her at St Martin-in-the-Fields when I was 15 or so and meeting her. But I feel like that’s an album that has stayed with me through my years, because Kimya Dawson is someone that I take a lot of inspiration from, even a decade later – I think her work is so simple and poignant that it is really cutting. I love it because that allows for its hooks to be catchy without complication, something that relates down to the core. It’s pop, but it’s totally anti-pop. Everyone in the world would be better for listening to it once in a while, just to remember that the human condition is just a lot – and hearing it in such a simple way is kind of gutting.

Delphine:

Jimmy Eat World – Bleed American
I think I‘ll have to pick Bleed American by Jimmy Eat World. This album came out whilst I was in a difficult period in my life and somehow, this album enabled me to allow myself to feel. ‘The Middle’ is to this day one of my favourite songs of all time. It was a pep talk and in song form. I’ve always struggled with lack of self-esteem and being self-critical so it was a good reminder that doing your best is all you can do and it’s okay to not succeed at the first try. It also reinforced the idea that one shouldn’t listen to people being overly critical when they know nothing about you and your circumstances and that you should do what you want rather than what other people say you must want. 

Jordan:

Biffy Clyro – Puzzle 
My pick is Puzzle by Biffy Clyro. I can’t remember how old I was – but it felt like a whole lifetime ago – I was at this super house party. The conversation is going great and I heard ‘Living Is A Problem Because Everything Dies’ come on. It was the first time both me and my friend had heard it and it instantly grabbed us. You’ve got the big build up and the shrill strings in the pre-chorus. I think we both dropped what we were doing to try to find the CD so we could steal it. For a good 9-15 months it was in contact rotation with other music we would listen to. We’d play ‘Now I’m Everyone’ whenever someone had a match or needed hyping up. I wasn’t really drumming at that time but when I started, this album became more important in trying to replicate the sound. The drumming on the album is especially interesting as it’s semi-technical and semi-mental. Some parts you just have to feel where the notes are, rather than learning the specific sticking. You also have songs like ‘Love Has a Diameter’ which are more soppy but still can maintain a strong groove and pace.

Band Combo Decision:

Green Day – American Idiot
With four of us in the band and five albums to choose, we decided to pick one album each and one shared choice. American Idiot was a young Ripley’s gateway album to a life-long obsession with rock and punk music, one of Ishani’s first discoveries from her brother’s speakers, the album that rekindled Delphine’s love for everything rock ‘n’ roll after a short stint into EDM.
Ripley’s favourite track: ‘Letterbomb’. An underrated high energy song from the latter end of the album. I always loved the intro build to this and the high energy mixed with nihilism vibes that this song gives off. It just sounded so huge, dramatic and intense to me when I was younger, with the driving bass and drums and sweeping guitar melodies. It’s one of those songs where it feels like it has so much energy that it has spare to hand over to you, and you can’t help but feel energised and ready to go by listening to it.
Ishani’s favourite track: ‘Homecoming’. I was always more of an early Green Day fan, like Dookie/Nimrod, but this came out at a time when I wasn’t paying that much attention to music beyond what came muffled out of my brother’s room. He played this a lot – I love the highs and lows, the harmonies, the theatricality of it – it feels like it was written for a stadium, it’s almost dadly. 
Jordan’s favourite track: ‘She’s A Rebel’. American Idiot was the first album I was excited to buy. I was taken up to central London with my grandma and we went into the Virgin Megastore in order to get a copy. It was so catchy and well produced, and it’ll always be remembered fondly. I say that I rarely ever listen back to this album now because having tracks 3 to 6 actually being eight songs has got to be the most colossally stupid fucking idea ever conceived. Why would you do that? ‘She’s A Rebel’ is my favourite and I have to sit through ‘Give Me Novacaine’ in order to get to it. Terrible. 
Delphine’s favourite track: ‘Jesus of Suburbia’. Mostly because it covers all the topics that encompass what a generation of disenchanted kids would feel strongly about. Green Day has always been engaged in their lyrics and giving the finger to the establishment. I guess, in this album, it’s that song. 

Massive thanks to Breakup Haircut for their amazing album choices for their Five Favourites! Listen to their latest single ‘I’d Say Yes’ now:

Punk Dancing For Self Defence, the debut album from Breakup Haircut, is out now via Reckless Yes. Buy on Bandcamp now.

Track Of The Day: All Cats Are Beautiful – ‘Heartbeats’

Having fallen completely in love with London duo Elena and Kyle – aka all cats are beautiful (ACAB) – upon listening to last year’s album the things we made, with this love only growing further when they delivered their ‘sad dance tunes’ for us live at The Shacklewell Arms in February, we’re super happy to hear they’ve now released a beautiful new single.

With their rendition of The Knife’s ‘Heartbeats‘, acab offer a truly enchanting dreamscape. Flowing with delicate, twinkling hooks alongside the duo’s luscious harmonies, it’s a stripped back, yet instantly immersive, version of the original, oozing a lilting, blissful energy and captivating, heartfelt emotion. Maintaining all the infectious electro scuzz of the original, whilst adding the duo’s own unique resplendent grace and spellbinding allure, it builds with a whirring splendour to a vibrant, danceable anthem shimmering with a swirling, soothing charm.

Of the decision to release the track, the duo explain:

It was conceived and recorded in just one day in January this year while we were preparing to go on tour, and is the third in our ongoing covers series (previously featuring works by Arthur Russell and Daniel Johnston). We wanted to tap in to our usual nostalgic vibe by covering a song very much more in the public consciousness, and at the same time showcase how our glitchy modern production can add a new shiny element to this beautifully written piece of pop history.” 

‘Heartbeats’ features backing vocals by actor/singer Jola Jassy. Listen here:

the things we made, the beautiful album from all cats are beautiful, is out now via Moshi Moshi Records.

Mari Lane
@marimindles