FIVE FAVOURITES: Party Fears

The creator of some of our favourite DIY art-pop tunes over the last few years, Party Fears (aka Maggie Devlin) has shared her new single, ‘All Is Good’. Released via Babywoman Records, it’s a tender, lo-fi offering that explores feelings of loss, nostalgia and emotional endurance.

We think one of the best ways to get to know an artist is by asking them what music inspired them to write in the first place. We caught up with Maggie to ask her about her “Five Favourites” – five songs that have influenced her song writing techniques. In true Party Fears style, Maggie has put her own spin on the feature, and has shared five songs that are “good for pretending you’re in a film” to. Check out her choices below, and make sure you watch the video for ‘All Is Good’ (spoiler: it’s got a cute dog in it.)

 

1. Duran Duran – ‘Ordinary World’
This song is in pole position on my list both because of the soaring eloquence of its melody and also because of those hyperbolic yet ethereal lyrics that seemed to permeate the 80s, like everyone was constantly carolling epic ditties for the sake of humanity: “I will learn to survive!” We could do with an epic 80s ditty or two about now, to be honest. Musically, there are a few highlights for me. The double tracking or echo on the main vocal, and the snare that nails things down so they don’t get too lofty. The backing vocals are ace. Then at around the three minute mark, Le Bon starts wailing in very cinematic fashion. This is the moment you could stop walking, perhaps, and look up through the rain. Wear a denim jacket with very deep pockets and get the hands shoved in there for effect. There’s also a nice moment where the synth/strings crescendo at about 3.46. Start running here. Very nice.

2. Kate Bush – ‘This Woman’s Work’
Gentle banger. Twin notes, bright on the piano and sparsely played, coax us into the song. This is followed by Bush’s airy howling before she goes right for the throat with the opening lyric, “Pray God, you can cope.” There’s no messing: she’s telling us from the top that she’s here to kick the fuck out of your tear ducts. The warm wash of backing vocals, the melodic acrobatics, how the voices deliver every “t” on “I know you’ve got a little life in you yet”, demonstrate expert precision intended to wound the listener in the most sublime way. The song is best enjoyed while you play back an imagined break up in your head, preferably in sepia tones. Make sure there’s someone on a swing, smiling as they glide through the air. Your hands pressed to absent cheeks, awash with tears. And at least one teddy bear dropped into a puddle. At the climax, why not go to a park and grab your hair and spin round in some leaves.

3. Skunk Anansie – ‘Secretly’
What’s more filmic than loads of jabby, dramatic strings straight from the top?! Who cares if what they play has nothing to do with the song? By the time you’ve realised, the bass tones have already kicked in; rippling across your headphones, anchoring the Bond-like guitar. Then there’s Skin’s vocal. I remember being so impressed that she sang in her own accent. She clips tightly through the verses before opening things up on the pre-chorus. Then the chorus launches, strings and guitar chimes and long vocal notes drawn agonised but perfect: “You wanna do someone else, so you should be by yourself.” And then there’s that bridge and the hanging note… Ooft! For this song, consider wearing a very long black coat and synthesise some spooky green light with a nice LED colour-changing bulb (by remote control so you can still look cool). It is very important that you powerfully grab the air when lip-syncing to the chorus. Shoulder movements will also be very important here.

4. Placebo – ‘Pure Morning’
Okay, so in order to fully appreciate this one, you will unfortunately have to commit a crime of some kind, but fear not! The fabric of society is quickly coming apart and it’s unlikely that if you commit a little heist for the sake of living out your OST dreams, there’ll even be a police force to catch you! From the awkward, stabbing guitar at the very top to the tinny, relentless drums and Brian Molko’s nasal whining, this song is excellent for walking somewhere with enormous purpose. If you can arrange for a glint of sunlight to cut across the air in front of you, maybe even a little gust of wind blowing your hair/coat/scarf back, this is even better. When we reach the refrain, ‘Pure morning’ it’s time to take that briefcase you’ve stolen and just throw it over a bridge. Make sure you achieve a wide arc or it will not have the same effect. Job done? Now it’s time to walk into the city and bump shoulders with pathetic normies who don’t know how dangerous and cool you are.

5. Brenda Fassie – ‘Vuli Ndlela’
This is easily one of my favourite songs. Themed on her son getting married, Vuli Ndlela opens with churchy organs and Brenda Fassie’s confident and gorgeously clear vocal. When the arpeggiator starts, we know the song is going to be a joyful, summery banger. Building and building with brushy drums and a warm bass line, the main melody repeats, the song getting richer and richer all the while, whether with further instrumentation (those backing vocals) or Fassie’s modulation. This is the song where you and your gang (adorned with lots of flowing, colourful things) dance off your previous cares, but not before you exchange a meaningful glance with your bestie over the top of those opening organ notes though. The door to the dance hall bangs open and light spills through. You all race outside, run down a grassy little hill and jump in a lake! Now you’re wet and laughing and someone is wearing a silly hat. There’s that villainous person from before, but it’s okay now; they’ve changed and they are dancing too. It’s okay! Everything is okay! There is no virus and Emma Thompson is president!

Follow Party Fears on Facebook & Spotify for more updates.

Photo Credit: Marlene Thissen

PLAYLIST: St. Patrick’s Day 2020

We began drafting this St. Patrick’s Day Playlist before we were fully aware of the extent of the coronavirus pandemic in Ireland, and before the Irish government called for the mass closure of pubs and clubs, thus removing any chance to publicly celebrate on the 17th. We debated whether it was appropriate to mention St. Patrick’s Day at all – especially after the numerous gig & parade cancellations both in Ireland and here in London – but seeing the resilience of our Irish friends and musicians on social media motivated us in to completing it.

We all need a distraction during these uncertain times, so dive in to our St. Patrick’s Day playlist! You’re going to find a new favourite artist among our choices. We’ve included links to each artist’s social media, Spotify and/or Bandcamp accounts, and we urge you to stream or purchase their music if you have the funds to do so. Make sure you scroll all the way down for the playlist, and for a note about our allies at the end too…

Æ MAK – ‘Dancing Bug’ (Spotify)
A solid fan of Æ MAK otherwise known as Aoife McCann, I’ve followed her since the beginning of 2019, fresh off her recent support of both tUnE-yArDs and Warpaint. ‘Dancing Bug’ is her latest offering which speaks to her chaotic electronic beats and primitive vocal rhythms. (Tash Walker)

Cosha – ‘Do You Wanna Dance’ (Spotify)
A previous favourite of mine known as Bonzai, who released an old favourite of mine Where Are U Now, came back in 2018 under the name Cosha, teaming up with producer Rostam for this single. I’ve been keeping my ears and eyes peeled for their new music ever since. (TW)

New Pagans – ‘Admire’ (Spotify & bandcamp)
Filled with urgent, considered, intensely catchy songs that challenge the norms surrounding relationships, history, and gender; New Pagans‘ debut EP Glacial Erratic is a powerful blend of alternative sounds. The Belfast band take the best elements of post-punk, grunge, and indie rock and transform them in to abrasive, yet melodic noise. ‘Admire’ is my favourite track from the EP. (Kate Crudgington)

HAVVK – ’52’ (Spotify)
HAVVK have been long term favourites here at GIHE; a band who continually combine activism with their unique musical prowess, their exquisite, spine-tingling splendour resonates now more than ever. Although written about the extreme political dynamics in the run up to the Brexit vote in 2017, their track ‘52’ remains a poignant soundscape with all that’s happening in the world right now. Oozing a stark, stirring emotion, alongside the soaring, celestial splendour and gritty raw emotion of front woman Julie’s vocals, it’s filled with a glistening musicality juxtaposed with a frenzied, angst-driven climax. (Mari Lane)

The Cranberries – ‘Ode To My Family’
I couldn’t really not include The Cranberries on an Irish playlist. With the heartbreaking crystalline vocals of the late Dolores O’Riordan alongside a delicate twinkling musicality, each of their offerings sends shivers down my spine every time. I’ve chosen this particular track as, during these extremely troubling and anxiety-inducing times, I’d like to give an ode to MY family, and all loved ones – we need each other now more than ever, even if for some us it means not being able to physically see one another right now. Solidarity and good vibes to you all; we can get through this together. (ML)

REWS – ‘Monsters’ (Spotify)
I never fail to be impressed by the power of Shauna Tohill’s vocals, and they’re out in force again on this new REWS track. ‘Monsters’ is an aural challenge to self-doubt, and a bit of fiery pop-rock encouragement to persevere in the face of anxiety. (KC)

Vulpynes – ‘2 Cents’ (Spotify)
Propelled by the gritty, impassioned vocals of guitarist Molly, ‘2 Cents’ rages with a seething energy and sublime raw power as scuzzy punk-fuelled riffs are blasted out alongside intense pummelling beats. Reminiscent of the riotous force of the likes of L7 or The Distillers, it’s a storming, empowering offering from my favourite Irish duo. We’re sad that we’re no longer able to host Vulpynes at The Finsbury on 3rd April, but we do hope to reschedule the gig for as soon as possible! (ML)

Bitch Falcon – ‘Prime Number’ (Spotify & bandcamp)
Mari booked Dubliners Bitch Falcon the penultimate act for one of our GIHE gigs at The Finsbury a few years ago, and I was totally blown away by their live set. Such a raw, powerful sound. ‘Prime Number’ is a personal favourite, but I’d recommend listening to their latest single ‘Damp Breath’ too. (KC)

Party Fears – ‘Money’ (Spotify & bandcamp)
Party Fears are based in Berlin, but Maggie Devlin is originally from Northern Ireland. The band have been consistent favourites at GIHE since Mari first gave them a spin on our Hoxton Radio show, and this track ‘Money’ is one of my favourites. Keep your eyes peeled for their new single ‘All Is Good’, set for release on 27th March. (KC)

PowPig – ‘Pretty Woman’ (Spotify & bandcamp)
PowPig are Irish DIY at its best, I was totally blown away when I found out that they were still at school. ‘Pretty Woman’ and ‘Mayday’ are their most recent releases jam packed with indie harmonies and grizzly guitars. Loving it. Here’s to hearing more from them in the future. (TW)

Hilary Woods – ‘Orange Tree’ (Spotify & bandcamp)
Dublin-based Hilary Woods creates abrasive, primal, charged soundscapes that blur industrial and orchestral elements. She uses sound and image to navigate emotional territories, and I feel intensely comforted when I listen to her music (I also cry to it sometimes, but that’s okay too). “My body knows I can’t make it out” sings Hilary Woods on ‘Orange Tree’, tentatively trying to make peace with her physicality and her surroundings. This need to face her inner fears underscores her latest record, Birthmarks, which is an unsettling, but genuinely liberating listen. (KC)

Fears – ‘Blood’ (Spotify)
Fears is the moniker of London-based, Irish musician Constance Keane. I first heard her music while listening to The Irish Jam, and I’ve tried to keep tabs on her ever since. I love her dark, minimal electronic sounds. Definitely a bit of me. (KC)

SOAK – ‘Bloodbuzz Ohio’ (Spotify)
I came across SOAK last year when she released her sophmore album Grim Town, which is most definitely worth a listen. This however is SOAK’s cover of The National’s ‘Bloodbuzz Ohio’, tender and gentle and a pleasingly fresh rendition. (TW)

Aoife Nessa Frances – ‘Here In The Dark’ (Spotify & bandcamp)
‘Here in the Dark’ is taken from the very enjoyable debut Land of No Junction by Aoife Nessa Frances. Her voice evokes so much emotion, you’ll soon find yourself falling into the songs reflective melodic musings. (TW)

Maria Kelly – ‘july’ (Spotify)
Alt-folk artist Maria Kelly’s ‘july’ looks inward, exploring the idea that we are ultimately in control of how we feel, and must take responsibility for what we choose to dwell on. Another truly beautiful offering from the Irish songwriter, it flows with her silky smooth, emotion strewn vocals and a stirring, bewitching musicality. Oozing a heartbreaking sense of vulnerability, it sparkles with a mystical grandeur, creating something truly mesmerising. (ML)

Rosie Carney – ‘Bud (Rose)’ (Spotify)
This is the last track to close Rosie Carney’s album Bare. ‘Bud (Rose)’ is a beautiful instrumental which mixes birdsong with piano. The piano is one of my favourite instruments to hear on record especially when it is played with such tenderness, as it is here. (TW)

B*witched – ‘C’est La Vie’
One of the first cassette singles I bought, when I was about twelve, I just wanted to include this one from the Irish girl group to put a smile on our faces – so, turn up it up, sing along and try to forget about everything for three sweet minutes! (ML)

 

We’d also like to give a shout out to GIHE allies, and Irish born London-based musicians Niall Jackson and Matthew Sutton. Niall co-hosts The Irish Jam (along with Mel, Kealan & Rob) on Riverside Radio, which celebrates Irish music. Kate often contributes to their ‘New Music Sunday’ section.

Matthew fronts his own outfit called TAYNE, and is currently creating new music with his tattoo machine equipment. They both play together in Sweat Threats too. Both are trying to stay creative in a time of uncertainty, so if you can stream/purchase their music or merch, it would be greatly appreciated. (TAYNE bandcamp here. Niall ‘Swimmers’ Jackson bandcamp here).

PLAYLIST: January 2020

We’re two weeks in to 2020, and whether you’re keeping up with ‘Dry January’, venturing into ‘Veganuary’ or simply demolishing the leftover Christmas snacks; we’ve put together a list of brand new music to help with all of the above. 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.

 

Shopping – ‘Initiative’
Referencing governments who shirk responsibilities whilst placing blame on individuals; international trio Shopping’s new single ‘Initiative’ oozes a racing sense of urgency and gritty energy, whilst funk-fuelled beats and jangly, whirring hooks flow. Taken from the band’s upcoming new album, it’s a vibrant anthem encouraging us to stay motivated and keep going against the grain. All Or Nothing, the new album from Shopping, is out 7th February via FatCat Records. (Mari Lane)

Dream Nails – ‘Text Me Back (Chirpse Degree Burns)’
With their distinctive, raucous punk-pop energy; our favourite London Punk Witches Dream Nails address the anxious hell-scape that is 21st century dating on ‘Text Me Back’, and the excruciating pain of being left on “read”. With stomping beats, pounding bass-lines and immense riffs accompanying the fun-filled lyrics, it’s an instant smile-inducing anthem. Of the track, Janey from the band explains: “For those born beyond the M25, “chirpse” is London slang for flirting, and “chirpse degree burns” is our personal slang for the injuries borne from romantic misadventure. The song is a tribute to the gut-wrenching feeling of checking your phone every 5 minutes to see if your crush has replied.” ‘Text Me Back’ is taken from Dream Nails’ eponymous debut album, out 3rd April via Alcopop Records. (ML)

Party Fears – ‘Money’
I’m thrilled to announce I am now a contributor to The Irish Jam for their #NewMusicSunday slot, which airs on Riverside Radio on Sunday evenings 7-9pm. They focus on new music from Irish artists, so I played Party Fears’ latest single ‘Money’, as they’re formed of Northern Irish native Maggie Devlin, and Aussie Eilish Frawley. Their single ‘Money’ is a reflection on power, and how it isn’t always used for the greater good. It’s raw, it’s shouty, and it’s catchy as hell. (Kate Crudgington)

draag – ‘Ghost Leak’
A hazy ode to feeling inconsequential; L.A, shoegaze outfit draag have crafted a strung out, dreamy soundscape on their latest single ‘Ghost Leak’. The track is lifted from their upcoming EP Clara Luz, which is set for release on 21st February. (KC)

Post Louis – ‘Descender’
The new single from London art-rockers Post Louis, ‘Descender’ juxtaposes a dreamy, swirling musicality with soaring impassioned vocals. Oozing a heartfelt raw emotion, it’s a truly captivating slice of stirring alt-folk. Descender, the debut album from Post Louis, is out 28th February. (ML)

Xylo Aria – ‘Ignorance’
‘Ignorance’ is the eponymous track from London-based producer Xylo Aria’s latest EP; a collection of songs informed by the current environmental crisis, mental health issues, and the societal pressure she feels to conform. Aria also runs Music Production For Women, which is a fantastic initiative encouraging women to get involved in the production of their own music. Listen to the Ignorance EP in full here. (KC)

Madeleine Smyth – ‘Palmers Green’
Released by independent record label Scratched, London-based artist Madeleine Smyth’s recent EP Covert is a beguiling blend of soft vocals, ambient sounds, orchestral elements, and trip-hop inspired beats. ‘Palmers Green’ is one of four tracks showcasing Smyth’s ability to blend all of these influences seamlessly. (KC)

Aisha Badru – ‘Soil’s Daughter’
The new single from New York artist Aisha Badru, ‘Soil’s Daughter’ reflects on the need to protect our environment. Radiating a sparkling majesty and subtle, soulful power, it’s a truly beautiful ballad; a moving and sincere offering at a time when our world is literally burning, and things feel like they’re falling apart. Of the track, Badru expands: “This is me reflecting on the world, and this huge disconnect between us as a people, and us with the planet.” Transcendence, the upcoming EP from Aisha Badru, is out 7th February via Nettwerk. (ML)

Drea & The Marilyns – ‘Everything to Me’ (Lips Cover)
Loving this cover of Lips’ ‘Everything to Me’ by Drea & The Marilyns! I mean, I loved the original but I’m really enjoying this remake from the Seattle-based artist. Mix anything up with some electro-synths, and I’m yours. (Tash Walker)

Captain Handsome – ‘Halloween’
The second single taken from Lily from Fightmilk’s solo project Captain Handsome, the rather unseasonably entitled ‘Halloween’ flows with silky-smooth vocals and a twinkling, stripped-back musicality. With its delicate lo-fi scuzz and tongue-in-cheek relatable lyricism – “It was Halloween, I was 24, I had a bad time on the bathroom floor” – it’s a sensitive, yet not sentimental effervescent slice of indie-pop. I Am Not An Animal, the debut EP from Captain Handsome, is out 31st January via Reckless Yes. You can catch them live for us at The Finsbury on 14th February, along with Piney Gir, Grawl!x and I Am Her. (ML)

Fenne Lily – ‘On Hold’ 
I’ve been following Bristol-based songwriter Fenne Lily for a while now, and was lucky enough to have a chat with her for a recent feature on The Line Of Best Fit. This is the title track from her 2018 debut album, and I melt a little bit each time I hear it. She’s playing a (sold out) show at The Lexington on 16th Jan, and I’m looking forward to hearing some of the new material that will make up her second album, which is set for release later this year. (KC)

Ethereal UK – ‘Strange World Normal Girl’
This track literally landed in my inbox just before the winter break and I immediately added it to the playlist for the radio show. Just beautiful. (TW)

Asha Gold – ‘Too Good’
Asha Gold who champions self-confidence in R&B influenced electro-pop. Released at the end of last year, ‘Too Good’ is the West London artist’s current single, and it flows with catchy melodies, beats and an infectious chorus. Keep it up Asha. (TW)

Mavi Phoenix – ‘Boys Toys’
I’ve always been a fan of Mavi Phoenix, and had the opportunity to interview them a couple of years back now. I remember how they spoke so eloquently about equality and the importance of queer music in the world. Phoenix has found a home in their new sound and also in the pronoun “he”. This is all about Phoenix being reborn, which is what happens in the accompanying music video to this track ‘Boys Toys’, directed by Elizaveta Porodina, ‘Boys Toys’ is as important as an exploration for Mavi Phoenix’s gender identity, as it is for his artistic work. And on top of all that, it’s an absolute tune. Enjoy. Watch the video for ‘Boys Toys’ here. (TW)

tAngerinecAt – ‘I don’t want to be a white master’
tAngerinecAt are a non-binary duo originally from Ukraine, and now based in London. What an amazing track – the vocals, the heavy electronic based instrumentation, pedals, their self-defined “hurdy-gurdy” loops and those beats! I am so happy I know about this band, and I cannot wait to indoctrinate myself further into their sound. (TW)

Last Eden – ‘Fallen’
If you’re into 8 minute long pieces of obscure electronic drone music (why wouldn’t you be?), then multidisciplinary Irish artist Aileen Wallace – aka Last Eden – is worth a listen. She experiments and improvises with elements of industrial and ambient music to create unusual, captivating soundscapes. Working as both a producer and a sound artist, Wallace uses bespoke DIY microphones, cassette recorders, synthesizers, and an array of equipment from both the analog and digital worlds. Her recent EP Elysian Plain explores the mythology and the journey surrounding death. It’s intense, but definitely intriguing. Listen to the record here. (KC)

Video Premiere: Eilis Frawley – ‘strangers’

Following the success of debut single ‘illusions’, and already receiving acclaim from the likes of Radio X’s John Kennedy, Berlin-based artist Eilis Frawley (Party Fears, I Drew Blank) has now shared a poignant new offering.

Fuelled by jangling percussion and whirring glitchy beats, ‘strangers’ reflects on the different, and often troubling, dynamics of relationships. As the subtle, commanding power of Frawley’s poetic spoken word lyricism flows, the track builds to a psychedelic electronic soundscape, oozing a swirling emotion and sparkling, ethereal majesty. Fusing together innovative layers of instrumentation and speech, it’s a wonderfully unique cacophony, with a truly stirring sentiment that resonates deeply: “Your turbulent past running full speed for our future / hands around our throats.”

Of the track, Frawley explains:

strangers‘ is about the various stages of relationships, how quickly my mind can jump to conclusions whether they are realistic or made up, how vulnerable and anxious I often feel in romantic relationships, and the insecurities they raise within me. We’re constantly creating rituals to build strong relationships, and at the end they are often the only thing left.

Watch the eerily captivating new video for ‘strangers’ now:

‘strangers’ is out on 6th December, taken from Eilis Frawley’s upcoming debut EP, Never Too Emotional, set for release in early 2020, both via Reckless Yes.

Make sure you catch Eilis Frawley live tomorrow night, playing for us at Notting Hill Arts Club, supporting ESYA. Tickets £8 from DICE

Mari Lane
@marimindles