WATCH: Meggie Brown – ‘Dusty Smells’

Having already been championed by the likes of Alex Kapranos, and The Guardian – who named them as ‘One To Watch’ at the beginning of 2020 -, North London-based artist Meggie Brown has now shared the first song taken from their upcoming new EP.

Dusty Smells’ is an anthem for anyone wrangling with their identity or trying to find their place in the world. Brown’s delivery is pure poetry, almost like spoken word, as they share a nostalgic take on identity. The lyrics transport us to a trashy old working men’s club, somewhere in suburbia, which allows us to reflect on who we are. It’s proper storytelling, amplified by super-sleazy guitars, primal drums and a trippy, art-rock outro that celebrates little nuggets of our collective memories – like skin on custard and getting all dolled up to show that you’re a fully functioning adult.

There’s such originality here; Brown’s vocals and lyrics sparkle, and the music feels fresh and exciting. When Brown sings “Why do I bother?” it feels like a revelation – something to liberate and inspire anyone who’s ever struggled to fit in.

Of the track, Brown – who recently came out as transgender – explains:

Coming to terms with one’s gender identity has been both beautiful and challenging during this lockdown. When I wrote and recorded ‘Dusty Smells’ and the EP I wanted them to match through sound how non-binary those emotions and realisations were… True to the circumstance, Dusty smells is very nostalgic trying to connect the old ways with the new, the feeling of home, the smells and associations whilst trying to understand our place as young adults, why do we bother?

‘Dusty Smells’ is accompanied by an immersive, artfully created, video, directed by Myfi Mountfordand produced by Creature Fleur. Watch it here:

HOME, the upcoming EP from Meggie Brown, is set for release later this year.

Vic Conway
@thepicsofvic

Five Favourites: F.R.U.I.T.Y

Following the release of ‘Bela Lugosi’s Dead’ and ‘Not Quite Exceptional’, Belfast-based queer artist Dan O’Rawe – aka F.R.U.I.T.Y – has now shared the first single from their upcoming debut EP, set for release next month. Propelled by off-kilter glitchy beats, ‘U.P.S‘ offers a wonderfully quirky, futuristic soundscape whilst reflecting on themes of identity in O’Rawe’s trademark deadpan Northern Irish drawl. As twinkling hooks flow with a cinematic splendour, it’s a glistening, uplifting slice of alt-electro-pop; a perfect soundtrack to woozy summer evenings. Of the track, they comment: “… it’s the summer loving comedown. The doubt, the reflection and the ending of those summer days… something underscored by the blissed-out, but tired, mind...”

We think one of the best ways to get to know an artist is by asking what music inspires them. So, to mark the release of ‘U.P.S’ today, we caught up with Dan to ask about their “Five Favourites” – five songs that they love the most. Check out their choices below and scroll down to listen to ‘U.P.S’.

Easy Life – ‘A Message to Myself’ 
I absolutely vibe so hard with this song, there is a tremendous flow to the lyrics that I am obsessed with. It speaks for itself, just be yourself. I love how much they reflect what is happening right now. In twenty years’, time, I can picture myself feeling super nostalgic for this time already. They also sent me this little merch air freshener fish with the single, which was a fun bonus!  

Remi Wolf – ‘Shawty’ 
Whenever this song comes on, I feel energised. It is so damn fun. I love lyrics that follow a mundane narrative, I know that is bizarre, but it is just really relatable. The layered vocal style she uses is something I take inspiration from. It has an early 2000s vibe; I can feel the low-rise jeans with a thong showing energy.  

Tayo Sound – ‘Cold Feet’ 
I like how this song starts with that initial infatuation with someone, the woozy start when you are so nervous you get mad butterflies. It has a tasty hook. It is easy, breezy & fresh. I always find myself attracted to that in music. Music tends to have a big effect on my mood for the day, this song always makes me feel sunny and chill.  

Ms. White – ‘Fuck Men’ 
… because Fuck Men. Haha.  

Kojaque – ‘Town’s Dead
Some local talent representation with Kojaque. The lyrics are so well written, a deep sense of humour but making a bunch of decent points too. There is a big punk energy to this one – it sounds like it would be unreal live (hit me up for a support slot Kojaque… Or a date, whatever’s easiest for ya!).

Massive thanks to Dan for sharing their Five Favourites!

F.R.U.I.T.Y, the eponymous debut EP, is set for release on 5th August. Listen to new single ‘U.P.S’ now:

EP: Bitch Hunt – ‘Shapeshifter’

Bitch Hunt have just released their debut EP and we couldn’t be happier. The non-binary alt-rock four-piece (and I’m sure there are plenty of other hyphenated terms you could apply – this is a band with range!) are alumni of the 2017 edition of London’s First Timers Fest – a festival with an impressive track record of assisting in the formation of some of the best music coming out of the city in the last few years (Big Joanie and Charmpit both played their first gigs at the festival). As such, it’s been something of a wait for this debut EP for those of us who were already aware of the band, but the wait has proved to be very much worth it.

Shapeshifter offers a shimmering collection of five songs characterised by a lo-fi aesthetic and heartfelt lyrics. EP highlight ‘Eau Claire’, which was released as a single back in April and described by us as “perfect punk pop”, is a nostalgic song (though a nostalgia with the rose-tint wiped clear) written about singer Sian’s time spent in a Wisconsin town of the same name. Fittingly then, Twin Peaks fans might even detect a hint of Angelo Badalamenti’s soundtrack in the slacker bassline in the verse here, but a closer point of reference might be The Breeders’ ‘Oh!’ from 1990 album Pod. There’s a similarly woozy feel to the guitars and vocal delivery which accentuates the bittersweet content of the lyrics. In fact, the EP as a whole warrants favourable comparison to the early 1990s output of Kim & Kelley Deal’s band. That’s not to say there is anything derivative about this, though, Bitch Hunt have carved out their own distinctive sound and on this track in particular there’s a real sense of a landscape portrayed in the breadth of the sound – no mean feat considering the relative simplicity of the arrangements.

Closing track, ‘I Wanna Be Un/Happy’, showcases another side to the band’s sound. Here the guitar and bass interweave in a manner reminiscent of Interpol on the verse before the song bursts into life in the chorus. The contrast hinted at in the ‘Un/Happy’ of the title is reflected in the difference in sound between the doom-filled verse and uplifting chorus.

A spiky guitar part on ‘Identity Clinic’ provides the clearest link between what appears to be some of the influences on this EP – ’90s britpop a la Elastica & the bluesy end of the early 2000s garage revival (White Stripes, Black Keys etc). The lyrics are disarmingly open while remaining playful – “leave me out to cry”, we’re implored – and listening to the EP as a whole, the listener is left with the feeling that this mix of honesty, heartache and a sense of humour might be the defining characteristic of Bitch Hunt’s songs. ‘Out of Eden’’s biblical references serve a similar purpose – playing with our familiar understanding of phrases to provide counterpoint and illumination to what appears to be a story of two relationships – one destructive and the other restorative.

The EP can be bought for the low low price of £5 over on the band’s bandcamp page and has been released by Reckless Yes – a label with impeccable taste – so this reviewer would urge you to do so. It’s a real treat.

Shapeshifter, the new EP from Bitch Hunt, is out now via Reckless Yes.

Gregory Metcalfe
@gregorysparty

Track Of The Day: Bitch Hunt – ‘Eau Claire’

Following last year’s split cassette release with adults, London based non-binary band Bitch Hunt are set to release their debut EP, out next month via Reckless Yes. Having formed at First Timers Fest in 2017, and since charmed us with an immense live set at a GIHE night back when gigs were a thing, the band have now shared the first single from their upcoming EP.

With stripped back jangling hooks and raw, heartfelt vocals, ‘Eau Claire’ is an ode to a Wisconsin town where singer Sian used to live. Building in momentum and shimmering harmonies to a gently scuzzy, emotion-strewn anthem, it oozes shades of the sparse, twinkling energy of Seattle faves Tacocat, creating an effervescent, stirring slice of punk-pop. With its swirling riffs and reflective lyricism, it conjures a warms sense of nostalgia for long summer nights spent with friends; something we can hopefully start to look forward to now… Of the track, the band explain:

‘Eau Claire’ is the name of the town in Wisconsin where Sian lived some years ago, and the song is very much for the good people they met and the good time they spent. It’s also about the rose-tinted glasses we wear when we look at past summers. There was pain and heartbreak among the fun so don’t miss yesterday too much, maybe next year can be even better.

‘Eau Claire’ is out now, available to listen on Spotify. Shapeshifter, the debut EP from Bitch Hunt, is set for release on 28th May via Reckless Yes. Pre-order now via bandcamp.

Mari Lane
@marimindles

Photo Credit: Glen Michael-Harper