FIRST LISTEN: CRISP&CLASSY – ‘XTRA CRISPY’

Feminist LGBTQIA+ electro-pop duo CRISP&CLASSY (aka producer Kat Knix and singer-songwriter Plushy) pride themselves on bringing sexual liberation and self-acceptance to the UK pop scene. Now, having captured our attention earlier this year with vibrant singles, ‘Basic’ and ‘Boom Bay’, and with acclaim from the likes of BBC 6Music’s Tom Robinson, they’re excited to be releasing their debut album, XTRA CRISPY.

Fusing together an eclectic palette of genres to create something wonderfully uplifting, the collection interweaves funk-fuelled Raggeton beats and synth-driven soundscapes, as sensuous vocals offer an empowering lyricism. So, put on XTRA CRISPY, turn it up, and lose yourself in its blissful, sassy splendour and sparkling, soulful drive.

To celebrate the album’s release, Kat and Plushy have written a few words about what to expect from XTRA CRISPY…

Wanting to release an album with a selection of our best songs has always been a hot burning wish of ours, ever since CRISP&CLASSY came out of our womb. It’s been a big dream to create a body of work that was conceptual and had a sexually liberating message. Alongside our single ‘Boom Bay’, our new album carries seven more tracks that will tickle your senses and make you feel thirsty for more! 

The XTRA CRISPY album is here to celebrate duality and the battle between being sassy or emotional, being punk or pop, being sexy or needy. This album is a gender and genre bending experience. 

With a delicious mix between New York House synths, Reggaeton beats and sassy bass lines, C&C is serving you Fried Futuristic Electric guitars and Luxury Alien Spit in a glass by the beach! XTRA CRISPY takes the sexiness of Kali Uchis and Blood Orange, and pours it over the nerve of Mykki Blanco, Peaches and Prince.

This album is a combination of coping with the pandemic through creativity and tunes that we have been baking in the oven for over four years. Above staying true to the CRISP&CLASSY sound, we wanted to talk about the things that we were going through on a personal level. 

Having a lot of time on his hands, Plushy would be on dating apps like Grindr a lot during lockdown… Therefore, tracks like ‘My Nudes!’ talk about different obscure dating apps related experiences and are here to make you dance, but also encourage you to claim and own your virtual property and your sexuality, alongside tracks like ‘Thursty’. Kat Knix, on the other hand, missed being ‘skin to skin’ with someone and the hope of it leading to something more… So, ‘Spoon’ was born simply out of sexual frustration, along with Kat’s lack of romance and cuddles.

We also love writing about taking charge of your own sexuality; celebrating your sex drive by bringing equality and body positivity to bed with your lover. ‘SML4U’ expresses the frustration of a younger Kat feeling the pressure to shave before sex, in fear of being rejected for being ‘too hairy’ and not ‘feminine enough’.

We also love collaborating with fellow creatives and are lucky to have some special guests on the album. The incredible Jadeya is doing us the honour by embellishing ‘Thursty’ with her demanding and honest lyrics. Her bars are incredible and they add that juicy flavour we’ve always wanted to have on our songs. MEMA. is another talented guest on the album, who is also an incredible guitarist. We owe her a lot for joining us in developing the XTRA CRISPY sound. You can hear MEMA.’s electric guitar riffs on tracks like ‘Infatuated’ and ‘Spoon’. MEMA. helped us achieve that nostalgic and slightly cinematic ’90s sound we’ve always wanted to incorporate in our music.

We hope that XTRA CRISPY will uplift the listener to stand their ground and unapologetically be themselves EVERY DAY OF THE WEEK! Escape with us to the CRISP&CLASSY World; a safe haven, where you can be yourself and let your hair down. It’s always summer in the C&C World and here we always have a reason to celebrate ourselves and party hard. Once you’re in, you’ll never want to leave.

Massive thanks to Kat and Plushy for talking to us about XTRA CRISPY! Listen to the full album, for the first time, here:

To celebrate the release of XTRA CRISPY, CRISP&CLASSY will be playing a special launch gig at The Waiting Room next Tuesday 19th October. Tickets available here.

INTERVIEW: Bad Waitress

Having just released their debut album, No Taste, Toronto band Bad Waitress have been become firm favourites over the last few months with the riotous, raging power of singles such as ‘Strawberry Milkshake‘ and their playful recent video for album track ‘Rabbit Hole‘. With scuzzy, pulsating hooks and immense, seething vocals, we just can’t get enough of their frenzied, empowering drive and dark, swirling energy.

We spoke to the band to find out more about the new album, what inspires them, and their feelings about how the music scene is for women and non binary people at the moment… Have a read!

Hi Bad Waitress, welcome to Get In Her Ears – thanks so much for joining us! How are you doing today?
We’re doing real good thanks! Thanks for speaking with us. 

How did you all initially meet and start creating music together? 
Kali came down from the big white north and met Moon, they started jamming occasionally and Katelyn dropped some heavy hints that they wanted in on the jams too. Kali messaged Nicole on Facebook a couple years later when they needed a new bassist… And the rest is history!

We big fans of your raging, energy-fuelled sound, but who would you say are your main musical influences? 
Sonic Youth, Idles, PJ Harvey, The Birthday Party, Gang of Four! 

You’ve just released your debut album No Taste, which is super exciting! Are you able to tell us a bit about the album? Are there any particular themes or inspirations running throughout it? And how does the writing process normally work within the band?
A lot of the stuff discussed in the songs is reflective of turbulent childhoods, political unrest, complicated relationships and uncomfortable expectations being forced on you. The band is definitely a place to air out our frustrations and make sense of the world around us. Sometimes Kali will bring lyrics and a structure and the rest of us will work off of that, other times we just start jamming and latch on to a certain riff or beat and it turns into a song somehow. It’s very much a collaborative process – each of us brings something unique to the mix.

How have you found recording and promoting an album during these strange times? Have you had to adjust the way that you’d normally do things? 
We actually recorded this album in the summer of 2019 – it was originally going to be released in 2020, but we decided to hold on to it until we figured out what the heck was going on with the world. We’ve definitely had to work on our online presence more; we did some weird variety show type stuff on our Instagram live, we did a Twitch stream, we’ve done a couple livestream shows. It’s been a lot more internet based stuff, but it seems like live-in-the-flesh type situations are on the horizon, so maybe we won’t have to figure out how to get big on tiktok just yet. 

We love your latest vibrant Mad Hatters-esque video for album track ‘Rabbit Hole’ – are you able to tell us a bit about the inspiration behind this song and its magnificent visuals? 
We just really like having fun with the videos we make. We’re all into weird horror movies, Kali and Katelyn especially, so we draw from that a lot. It’s a chance for us to live out whatever crazy fantasies we dream up that day. ‘Rabbit Hole’ is a pretty dark song about being trapped in the comfort of depression – we didn’t want to have a drab depressing video for it though, so we went the complete opposite direction visually. 

You’ve previously described the main premise of forming the band as being that you “just wanted to get together and play music with people who weren’t old men” (which sounds like a great reason to me!). How do you feel the music scene is generally for women and non binary folk at the moment? Do you feel that much has changed or improved over the last few years? 
We love seeing how many more bands there are nowadays made up of women, trans people and non binary people. Honestly though, there’s still a long way to go. We still get backhanded compliments, or weird micro aggressions about how impressed people are that we can actually play our instruments, or people assuming we’re finding some success because we’re not men, or people telling us what we should do with our music or stage presence, as though they know better. There’s also a lot of misgendering (Moon and Katelyn are non binary, Kali and Nicole are women) and that’s exhausting. But there’s also a beautifully supportive community that we’re a part of, full of people that are constantly learning and lifting each other up. There’s lots of work still to do, but there’s also lots of people willing to put in that work and make the scene a better place for everyone. 

The last year has obviously been difficult for everyone in different ways, but has there been anything or anyone specific that has been inspiring you, or helping to motivate you, recently?
Our local music scene is really inspiring. There’s been so many cool things coming out of the pandemic. Houndstooth is a bar that’s been hosting shows safely, with a band playing inside behind windows and people can watch from the street. Our friend Danny Alexander made a short film about local musicians and how they were dealing with quarantine. Ultra is a Toronto-based zine that creatives can contribute anything to – poetry, music, photography, interviews. Lootbag Records put out a few compilation albums, and there’s been a bunch of bands releasing new music. Everything our friends have been making inspires us to keep creating!

And it’s obviously quite difficult organising anything right now, but – in addition to the release of the new album – what else does the rest of 2021 have in store for Bad Waitress?
We’ve got a tour coming up with Kills Birds in December, which we’re really stoked about! We can’t wait to tear it up on stage again; that’s where we’re really at home. Hopefully 2022 is the time for music to really be able to come back full force. 

Finally, as we’re a new music focused site, are there any other new/upcoming bands or artists you’d recommend we check out?
The Effens, Wine Lips, Your Grandad, Burner, Piper Maru, Animatist, Kali Horse, Hot Garbage, Mother Tongues… Just to name a few!

Massive thanks to Bad Waitress for answering our questions! Watch their latest video for ‘Manners’ here:


No Taste, the debut album from Bad Waitress, is out now via Royal Mountain Records.

Photo Credit: Kate Dockeray 

EP: Goth Lipstick – ‘formless, shapeless’

An EP that the band describe as “a slice-of-life isekai about the adventures of two wraiths”, formless, shapeless from San Francisco’s DIY emo duo Goth Lipstick draws you effortlessly into their candy-coated, glitch-splattered dream world. Following their full length album crystalline corset from earlier this year, formless, shapeless continues to explore themes of identity and queer liberation.

The EP consists of fairly short tracks, with most lasting less than two minutes thirty seconds. The single exception is ‘faceless, nameless’, which reaches a whole four minutes. Every track is incredibly tightly constructed. None of them feel too short; each one feels exactly long enough to tell its story and then wraps without wasting any time, leaving you with the precise impression it wanted to convey.

The collection begins with the titular ‘formless, shapeless’ – a slow, soft rumble that leads into quick, clicking percussion under high chirpy keys and husky vocals. While the tempo, energy and general style of the tracks vary, this opening song establishes some key elements early on that are consistent through the EP.

As a whole, the EP creates a distinctly unique and endlessly interesting soundscape, blending distorted and electronic sounds with gentle, clear piano notes. The relationship between the different types of sound is key to the Goth Lipstick style, with acoustic and electric notes dancing playfully around each other, with those echoing vocals floating over the top.

The use of glitches too gives these songs so much character. The jerks and digital stumbles always hit at exactly the right moment, whether that’s ripping into a vocal that’s well into its stride or distorting sounds that are just starting to build, creating a more chaotic journey from the first couple of beats.

Whilst there are massive differences in feeling from track to track, they fit so well together that they flow beautifully.

The second track, ‘wraiths awake’, brings a bigger energy into the EP. It is broadly more upbeat, but winds down into vocals that have a sense of vulnerability about them, before bouncing back into the hyped electronica.

‘identity thief’, all heavy growling, glitching bass, is followed by the light and chirpy ‘chocolate’, then the rich swollen beats of ‘fangs’, which wouldn’t be out of place heard on a nightclub dance-floor at midnight.

Somehow these seemingly conflicting songs sit very comfortably side by side on this EP. It feels much more like this is down to a matter of attitude than any one particular technical component. The songs sit so well because they feel made to be played together, and you can feel how much fun the artists had constructing every beat of the finished product.

It’s so easy to get drawn into Goth Lipstick’s story, to bathe in the cool, flowing emotions heavy in this EP. It’s not surprising to see that the first edition cassette run is already sold out.

formless, shapeless, the latest EP from Goth Lipstick, is out now. It is available to download via bandcamp.

Kirstie Summers
@ActuallyKurt

Track of The Day: The Crystal Furs – ‘Miss Hughes / Please Fade Away’

Having previously charmed our ears with their debut album Beautiful and True, Portland’s indie jangle pop band The Crystal Furs have spent their career channelling their growth as individuals and as a group into their music. Their sound reflects the shifting, unpredictable nature of life and deftly changes with each curveball thrown. Their two new tracks, ‘Miss Hughes’ and ‘Please Fade Away’ show that same keenness to embrace change and throw the full weight of their creativity behind their own growth.

Both songs are built on a foundation of The Crystal Furs’ ’60s-inspired pop sound, with high lilting vocals harmonising over a chirpy combination of strings and keyboard. This is complemented by a more contemporary-sounding reverb and deep bass, blending the old and new styles in a way that marry together to create something unique and exciting.

Miss Hughes’ opens with the rich boom of an organ, striking a decisive and powerful note that rumbles beneath the lighter vocals and strings as they jump in. You can feel the vintage influences soaking into the sound in the way the harmonies dance around each other, as the delightfully simple yet immersive riffs play around the chord progression. The reverb lends an almost club-like vibe to the track underlying the chirpy upbeat singing, which creates a fun contrast that sees the two styles balance each other out into a playful whole.

‘Please Fade Away’ is another wonderfully constructed song, playing off vocals teeming with attitude against that same bright ‘60s sound. The vocals are absolutely fantastic, with the relatable premise of wishing someone would stop being so clingy and just disappear. The snark comes through the wording in a way that is effectively juxtaposed against tones that are otherwise very gentle in their sound and rhythm. These seemingly simple structural decisions give the track’s details so much character. The delicate tambourine jingles feel almost sarcastic, so lightly played against the lyrics, given power by the throbbing drums and signature chirping guitars.

Both tracks show an evolution in The Crystal Furs’ sound. The way the more contemporary musical elements enhance the effect of the vintage style gives the songs a distinct and timeless flavour that feels at once familiar, yet novel. Two dreamily uplifting offerings that leave us longing for more of The Crystal Furs’ playfully honey-sweet creations.

Kirstie Summers
@ActuallyKurt

Artwork: Kara Buchanan