Five Favourites: Roaches

Swedish four-piece garage band Roaches have just released their new EP ROACHES! and we are loving it! They describe their sound as “Acid flop lollipop fuzzy pussy bug smash lash trash bubble slug hug” – need I say more…

We caught up with Linda & Åsa to tell us their ‘Five Favourites’ – five artists or albums that have influenced their songwriting techniques. They both came back with so many great choices, we let them have five each because we’re nice like that. Check out their choices below, and make sure you give their new EP ROACHES! a listen at the end of this post!

Linda – I have been singing since I was a little girl. For me, it’s been really natural to identify with female singers. Mostly the ones who ”stood out”. Here’s a few of them:

Blondie – ‘Dreaming’
Debbie has been my number one since I was six years old. The first time I heard Blondie was through my father’s cassettes and I fell in love. I was completely fascinated that a girl could sing both in a beautiful and ugly way at the same time. And I still listen to her just as much today! It’s hard to find a favourite song but ‘Dreaming’ is captivating and never gets old!

Siouxsie And The Banshees – ‘Cities in Dust’
This video caught my attention first, not the music. I remember sitting in front of the TV screaming when it came on. Siouxsie has this dark appearance and voice that is really dramatic, and I loved it. ‘Cities in Dust’ is both dark and catchy and it’s about volcanoes! And I love volcanoes!

Kate Bush –  ‘Cloudbusting’
Kate Bush is multi-talented at mixing music, dance and her unique appearance and that really caught my attention at a young age. She is strange and I can relate to that because I feel the same. ‘Cloudbusting’ is my favourite song of hers, it just feels really ‘Kate’, and it resonates with me on a personal level too.

Björk – ‘Jóga’
I have followed Bjork since Kukl and Sugarcubes. It’s hard to describe in words how much she means to me. But, in short, she represents freedom. She has always done what she wants. She can be like a child and the next second a queen. I admire that ability. Björk is the artist I feel closest to myself. I choose Jóga for the love of Björk and the Scandinavian nature.

The Coathangers – ‘Hurricane’
The Coathangers are both inspirational as a band and people. I’ve had the privilege to open for them and got a chance to hang out with them; both their performance and their supportive attitude and words to me really struck a chord. They are cool, cuddly and gave me good advice. I choose ‘Hurricane’ because I love Rusty’s voice and the song is just like them, badass and corky!

Åsa – In taking on the task to list five personal anthems, I felt bound to retrieve some of the songs of my youth. Of course, this leaves out a lot of songs that hold meaning for me. However, my adolescent and young adult life framed my interest in music and woke my desire to perform on stage. So here’s my list, in no particular order – all holding equal weight in their meaning to me:

Dead Moon – ‘It’s O.K.’
Dead Moon are one of my favourite bands of all time. The song ‘It’s O.K.’ is, as for many others, the first song I ever heard of this iconic garage band. I can only hope to be as fierce on stage as Toody after the age of retirement.

Raooul/Skinned Teen – ‘Spirit of ’78’
As a young punk I of course listened to all the women and queers that had managed to “break through” within the scene. Several of whom would have made this list if I had gotten this quest of listings anthems as a member of one of my other bands. This band, however was truly life changing for me. I got the split record with Raooul and Skinned Teen at the age of 14 and it hit me with a blast.

Thee Headcoatees – ‘Wild Man’
One of the things I love with the genre of garage is the kind of sweet sound with rough edges. Girlsville was the first record of this end of the genre, it has this sound with a clear feminist vibe – of course my teenage self was hooked.

PJ Harvey –  ‘To Bring You My Love’
Let England Shake and The Hope Six Demolition Project are probably two of the records I have listened to the most in later years. However, as a young girl I was introduced to PJ Harvey through the records To Bring You My Love and Rid of Me. I truly believe she is one of the greatest musicians in rock music.

The 5, 6, 7 8s – ‘Motorcycle Go Go Go’
Before The 5,6,7,8s appeared in Kill Bill, my brother introduced me to this band, probably through one of the mixtapes that he gave me. They were my introduction to the surf part of the garage rock genres.

Thanks to Linda & Åsa for sharing their favourites! Check out their epic EP ROACHES!, which you can buy from Bandcamp now. Follow Roaches on Facebook and Instagram for more updates.

LISTEN: I Am HER – ‘Big Monster’

Following 2018’s poignant Herstory, alt-punk outfit I Am HER are back with an angst-driven new single.

Reflecting on feelings of anxiety, ‘Big Monster’ oozes a captivating haunting power with shades of the gritty sounds of early PJ Harvey. Propelled by the soaring majesty of Julie Riley’s rousing vocals, it builds to a stirring frenzied anthem, driven by an impassioned force and raw emotion. Of the track, Julie explains:

“… this song was triggered by someone telling me their experience of an anxiety attack. It got me thinking how anxiety/stress is like a beast separate to us that stalks us and preys on us.”

Listen to ‘Big Monster’ now:

 

Catch I Am HER playing live for us tonight at The Finsbury, along with Piney Gir, Grawl!x and Captain Handsome. All for free!

Mari Lane
@marimindles

PREMIERE: Kate Stapley – ‘Hermit’

“I’ve been pissing like a racehorse” confesses Bristol-based songwriter Kate Stapley on the opening lyric of her new single, ‘Hermit’. It’s a blunt beginning, but her soft voice quickly draws listeners in to her poignant (slightly hungover) reflections on allowing yourself to be tender again in a new relationship.

Set for release via Breakfast Records on 6th December, ‘Hermit’ forms part of a Double A-side, with second track ‘Hours’. Produced by Oliver Baldwin (Aldous Harding, PJ Harvey), these tracks are the first that Stapley has shared since her 2018 EP, Centella, and they flow in her trademark vulnerable, yet optimistic vein.

“‘Hermit’ is a love song, celebrating those moments in a relationship when you finally have the bravery to embrace everything about yourself” explains Stapley. “When you stop trying to hide the painful, embarrassing bits – realising you never needed to hide them in the first place.” Observations like this make Stapley’s music so intimately disarming, and effortlessly relatable.

“You suit me so well / You be my hermit / And I’ll be your shell” she muses during the chorus, over gently plucked acoustic guitars, and soft percussion. The song’s patient rhythm feels reflective of the self-acceptance Stapley has discovered, and it’s wonderful to hear her lay bare her insecurities, transforming them in to new found confidence.

Listen to ‘Hermit’ below, and be sure to check out her second track ‘Hours’ tomorrow when they’re both released via Breakfast Records.

Follow Kate Stapley on Facebook for more updates.

Photo Credit: Simon Holliday

Kate Crudgington
@KCBobCut

Film Preview: A Dog Called Money

As the sun fades to dusk in Kosovo, five different calls to prayer sing out over the city. Harmonious and discordant, PJ Harvey remarks, “I felt my soul open to the singing.”

PJ Harvey and Seamus Murphy have been collaborating for a decade. A Dog Called Money is their magnum opus; a politically and artistically-driven film shot over the course of three years. The pair visited Kosovo, Afghanistan, and the lesser-spoken-of suburbs of Washington DC, exploring misrepresented cultures overlooked by mainstream media.

In A Dog Called Money, Murphy splices these scenes with the recording of Harvey’s last record, The Hope Six Demolition Project. A further daring test to push her boundaries, Harvey recorded Hope Six in a specially-built studio at Somerset House. She then invited the public to come and watch the process. Laughs and jokes are shared, but not to the detriment of the worldwide issues that inspired the material. 

The film explores all aspects of Harvey’s process: the inspiration – those calls to prayer, baptisms, war, music; the recording – songs that made the album, songs that didn’t; and the notes she took while in the field. All of these make it to the screen. At one point, in Southeast DC, a boy takes Murphy on a tour of his neighbourhood, pointing out every spot where a member of his family was shot. At another, a group of children offer Harvey some tea. 

On 1st November, A Dog Called Money will be premiering at the Barbican Centre. As part of the Doc’n Roll Film Festival, the audience will be treated to a screening of the film and a Q&A with director, Seamus Murphy.

In a world where the UK doesn’t know what the fuck it’s doing, A Dog Called Money and its accompanying album, The Hope Six Demolition Project are timely insights into what really matters: art, music, and the fragile bonds of humanity.

A Dog Called Money premieres at The Barbican on Friday 1st November as part of Doc ‘N’ Roll Film Festival, with a Q&A featuring Seamus Murphy. More info here.

Em Burfitt
@fenderqueer

Five Favourites: Deux Furieuses

Having previously wowed us with their truly immense live show at The Finsbury a couple of years back, duo Ros Cairney and Vas Antoniadou – aka Deux Furieuses  – have been going from strength to strength with their powerful offerings.

Now, with the release of their poignant new album My War Is Your War, they continue to blow our minds with their explosive post-punk and stirring raw emotion.

We think one of the best ways to get to know a band is by asking what music inspires them or influences their writing. We caught up with Ros from the band, who has shared her “Five Favourites” – five tracks that particularly resonate with her and Vas. Check out her choices below, and scroll down to watch the new video for ‘Let Them Burn’ at the end of this post.

PJ Harvey – ‘All and Everyone’
This makes me feel ill. I first listened to the album lying in a hospital bed which was a mistake. The track alternates heart-stoppingly between urgent and woozy sections as she plays with time, life and death. When the drums come in with a dull thud they sound stilted, then soon stop to leave the build up of chiming autoharp chords which introduce the voice with the words “Death was everywhere, In the air, And in the sounds, Coming off the mounds, Of Bolton’s Ridge..”. The vocals echo with a sense of place and history. Verse 2 is propelled along by churning chords until the rhythm slows and the song just lets go into the most sublime free fall with “As we advance in the sun, As we advancing every man, As we advancing in the sun”.  After the last line “Sing death to all and everyone” the track descends into a repetitive outro with long trombone notes conveying an out of tune malaise. I didn’t think PJ Harvey could improve on Dry until I heard Let England Shake. I had always loved PJ Harvey the actual band, that first trio with her distorted guitar riffs locking into that fantastic rhythm section, rather than her songwriting or her ‘solo’ albums. Vas and I saw them many times and are honoured to have worked with drummer Rob Ellis on both our albums. But on Let England Shake, Polly Harvey surpassed all her previous work.

Bert Jansch – ‘January Man’
I first heard Bert Jansch on an old battered copy of 1965 album Don’t Bother Me, borrowed from my aunt Aine Carey who actually taught me to play guitar. I loved his voice and the track ‘Ring a Ding Bird’ with its mesmerising major to minor and back to major key mood shifts. But this is my favourite Bert Jansch song for the combination of his voice and guitar playing on this fantastic song written by Dave Goulder. “And the January man comes round again in woollen coat and boots of leather, To take another turn and walk along the icy road he knows so well, The January man is here for starting each and every year, Along the road for ever”.

Joni Mitchell – ‘Amelia’
I took a year off university in Glasgow to work as a houseparent in a ‘free school’ near Dumfries and would take off into the countryside on a bike. It was summer and I loved to sit under a tree in a field and listen to Hejira, Joni Mitchell’s electric guitar road album endlessly on headphones. I loved the words and guitar on ‘Amelia’, skies streaked with vapour trails that look like “the hexagram of the heavens, the strings of my guitar… The drone of flying engines is a song so wild and blue, It scrambles time and seasons if it gets through to you… I dreamed of 747s over geometric farms”. The song progresses without a chorus, powered by her finger picked electric chords with sonic textures and a line at the end of each verse addressed to Amelia Earhart, another solo traveller with a dream to fly. I was considering moving to London to pursue music but then stayed on in Glasgow for a few years until I realised it was now or never. When I finally moved I met Vas. 

The Beatles – ‘A Day In The Life’
It was tough to choose between ‘A Day in the Life’ and ‘Gimme Some Truth’ by John Lennon solo, which is the only cover we have ever played live and is so relevant to now. But ‘A Day in the Life’ won through. Wafting in with atmospheric guitar and piano which reminds me of PJ Harvey, the dead pan vocals intone the almost callous words. On verse 2, thunderous rolling drum fills propel the track along without playing a beat. “He blew his mind out in a car… A crowd of people stood and stared… Nobody was really sure if he was from the House of Lords”. This experimental track has a violent cruelty about it which is lightened by Paul McCartney’s middle section which ends with “And I went into a dream…” before returning to John Lennon’s evocative wailing “Aaaahs”. ‘A Day In the Life’ evokes for me an indifferent England sleepwalking into catastrophe which resonates even today.

Kate Bush – ‘Sat in Your Lap’
This is the track Vas and I put on to remind ourselves that we have a very long way to go and should possibly just give up. In fact all of these tracks do this. But you have to keep going if you are driven to communicate with music like we are. With its thunderous drums and absolutely insane vocals, this is a masterpiece. The words have a great rhythm to them. “Some say that knowledge is something sat in your lap, Some say that knowledge is something that you never have.” It comes to a thunderous and operatic end which I can hear us trying to emulate in some of our songs. Is this rock? Who cares. We don’t make music to fit your genres! These artists inspire and challenge us and brought us together with their music.

Massive thanks to Ros for sharing her Five Favourites with us! 

My War Is Your War, the new album from Deux Furieuses, is out now. Watch the searing video for latest single ‘Let Them Burn’, here:

Catch Deux Furieuses live at the following dates:

2nd November – Blossoms, Stockport
5th November – Banshee, Edinburgh

 

Photo Credit: Dan Donovan

FIVE FAVOURITES: Sea Change

Norwegian newcomer Sea Change is skilled at crafting atmospheric, transformative, electronic sounds. She’s set to release her new album INSIDE on 15th November, and if recent singles ‘Stepping Out’ and ‘Flown’ are anything to go by, it’ll be filled with intriguing synth textures, longing vocals, and irresistible lo-fi beats. 

Sea Change (aka Ellen Sunde) wrote her new album after she relocated to Berlin, and during her many trips back and forth to LA; resulting in seven tracks that meander through intimate and stimulating personal territories.

We think one of the best ways to get to know an artist is by asking what music inspired them to write in the first place. We caught up with Ellen to ask her about her “Five Favourites” – five albums that have influenced her song writing techniques. Check out her choices below, and scroll down to listen to her latest track ‘Flown’ at the end of this post.

 

1. PJ Harvey – Is This Desire / 4-Track Demos
Discovering PJ Harvey at 16 made my whole world turn around. Before that, I loved music and I knew that I needed to do music myself, but I’d never heard anything by a female voice or musician that I loved with all my heart (how sad is that !?). But then I discovered PJ Harvey and the way she sang and made her music was so gut wrenching and vulnerable and beautiful and horrible at the same time; I realized that I don’t have to sing in a pretty voice to make music. When I heard Is This Desire, it was like – yes – this is the music I’m gonna make. Everything kind of fell into place when I discovered her. She taught me that being raw and honest is what makes amazing art. She has a special place in my heart.

2. Sidsel Endresen & Bugge Wesseltoft – Duplex Ride / Out There. In There.
At 18 I started to discover more and more experimental music and in Norway. There’s an amazing improv and jazz scene. I discovered Sidsel Endresen which is an experimental jazz singer. I think the way she uses silence and minimalism in her music is incredible. She is an amazing improviser, it’s super intuitive. In her music there’s nothing of that showing off-virtuosity you can often find in jazz music, but it’s actually something that comes from her heart. And I think she also taught me to not give a crap about what other people think, and to do your own thing. Her lyrics are also utterly beautiful.

3. Arthur Russell – World Of Echo
Arthur Russel makes the perfect blend of club music/disco/experimental and vulnerability. He has something that I can’t explain. His music and lyricism is so naive and beautiful in it’s simplicity, and I love that it’s electronic music but it has this off-kilter and strange vibe. It sounds like he is improvising and jamming by himself in his living room, and it’s so rare to listen to electronic music that is so unperfected. His songs don’t really have one proper studio version, they have about 10 different ones that make his artistry so utterly interesting. He has a mixture of authority, intuition and vulnerability in his music that I will always strive after, ‘cos its so explosive in an artist. I recently heard that he will be releasing a new mix of unreleased songs/demos on the 15th of November (the same day I’m releasing my record!) and I can’t wait to listen.

4. Noise/Improv/Lasse Marhaug/Noxakt/Kevin Drumm
I need to put in this on the list but it’s more of a state of mind/genre than albums or tracks. Most of this music I’ve experienced live. When I moved to Oslo at 19 I started to go to improv and noise concerts. Oslo has an amazing experimental scene and it was really cool to be able to go to so many shows that were so well curated. There’s a rawness and punk atmosphere to this music that I love, and to be able to just close my eyes and dive into a world of raw sound is incredible. This was also at the same time I started making music myself. When I started playing live I usually had parts in the live sets that were ambient and drone like (it’s surprisingly hard to make something that actually sounds good). This music is best to experience live. I think it awakes something primal in me, and I’m really happy I went through this musical phase cos it taught me so much about what music can be and that it has no limits!

5. Fever Ray – Plunge
I’m such a huge fan of Fever Ray, it’s kind of embarrassing. When she all of the sudden dropped PLUNGE in 2017 I was listening to the record over and over for days. I can’t remember last time I had this obsession with a record, since I was in my teens I guess, and that is the most amazing feeling. I love what she’s challenging both musically and lyrically. There was a music journalist that wrote that this record was like jumping into cold water, and I really love that allegory. This record hit me in the chest and I think it came at a time in my life when I really needed it and it also influenced my newest record a lot. I love how she blends club music, pop music and listening music and makes her own breed of art with her explosive visual narrative. She is a HUGE inspiration!

I saw her live recently and she had a seven piece band with only female musicians, and I remember how shocked I was with how shocked I was. How have I never seen that before!? And that made me realize that hell, from now on I’m only gonna have female musicians on stage. Her first record was amazing and Its still a piece of art that stands steady as a rock, and I find myself going back to it over and over again.

Thanks to Ellen for sharing her favourites with us.

Follow Sea Change on Facebook for more updates.

Photo Credit: Fotini Chora

Five Favourites: Panic Pocket

Having stolen our hearts playing live for us at The Five Bells last year, London duo Sophie Peacock and Natalie Healey – aka Panic Pocket – create luscious slices of shimmering indie-pop with a twinkling charm and impeccable tongue-in-cheek wit.

We think one of the best ways to get to know a new artist is by asking them what music inspired them to write in the first place. We caught up with the duo to ask about their “Five Favourites” – five albums that have influenced their songwriting techniques. Check out their choices below, and make sure you watch their new video ‘Pizza In My Pants’ at the end of this post.

Aimee Mann – Bachelor No. 2 (Or, the Last Remains of the Dodo)
Nat: I picked up this record in an HMV bargain bin in Crawley when I was about fifteen, because I thought the cover looked cool, and I’ve been obsessed with Aimee Mann ever since. Bachelor No.2 was the perfect soundtrack to typical suburban teenage angst and it makes me nostalgic for my boombox every time I listen to it. Mann’s sad, darkly funny lyrics and deadpan vocals are a big influence for us. She also uses a lot of jazzy chords in her songs, which I steal because they sound cool and I still suck at barre chords!

Rilo Kiley – The Execution of All Things
Nat: I discovered Rilo Kiley when I was going through my Bright Eyes phase way too late in life, in about 2010. I was working for a medical research company in the middle of nowhere at the time. I hated my job and I was lonely and pretty sad. This bleak as fuck but triumphant album really helped me through the multiple work disasters, toxic relationships and emotional turmoil of that period. Jenny Lewis is an incredible songwriter and conjures such powerful imagery in her music. Just try and listen to ‘A Better Son, Daughter’ without feeling something. And then, check out Lewis’ new record On the Line too – it’s a masterpiece.

Dar Williams – Mortal City
Sophie: Before I hit peak Tori Amos fan, I had Dar Williams. After hearing her on a Lilith Fair compilation sing impassionately and wrly about therapy sessions, my angsty teenage heart was desperate to track her down. I listened to 30 second extracts of her songs on Amazon (the only access I had to the rest of her work in a pre-Youtube world), and then finally took the plunge and ordered Mortal City. Her confessional, folk-story, sometimes-sea-shanty songwriting had me rapt. ‘The Pointless, Yet Poignant, Crisis Of A Co-Ed’ and the title track ‘Mortal City’ showed that sometimes less is more, and putting some witty sass in your songs can go a long way – it’s now the Panic Pocket standard.

PJ Harvey – Dry
Sophie: I saw Dry in my local library at age 15 and took it home on a whim, and quickly became obsessed. It marked several milestones in my puny white-girl teenage rebellion: my mum finally asked “what the hell are you listening to?”, and I realised that feminist rage and unrequited lust could go musically hand in hand to cathartic results. I felt like a mysterious vengeful witch was singing everything I wished I could have heard up until that first playthrough, and I still return to it on the reg.

Best Coast – ‘Crazy For You’
Nat: When we started Panic Pocket, we probably cited lo-fi surf rock duo Best Coast as our biggest influence up-beat, bratty, lo-fi songs about darker, more complex situations. Sophie introduced me to this album when it first came out, and we were living hundreds of miles from each other. Whenever I hear it, it makes me think of how grateful I am that we get to hang out with each other every day right now. And just like Bethany Cosentino sings on ‘Goodbye’, we too wish our cat could talk. Nine years on, it’s still the perfect soundtrack to your summer.

Massive thanks to Panic Pocket for sharing their Five Favourites! Check out their new video for ‘Pizza In My Pants’ below:

Never Gonna Happen, the new EP from Panic Pocket is out 12th April via Reckless Yes. Catch Panic Pocket live at the following dates:

10th April – The Victoria (EP Launch)
10th May – The Finsbury (for Get In Her Ears w/ Crumb!)