FIVE FAVOURITES: FRIEDBERG

Alt-indie outfit FRIEDBERG – The brainchild of Austrian singer-songwriter Anna Friedberg – came together as a result of frustration at the wider industry and being in the right place at the right time. Originally discovered by Lenny Kravitz, Anna spent much of her time as a songwriter travelling between Europe and America, gaining influence from the spaces she was surrounded by – particularly the Joshua Tree National Park in the Californian desert.

Inspired by her time writing and recording in the wilderness, Anna moved to London where she teamed up with a group of musicians – Emily Linden, Eilidh McKellar and Cheryl Pinero. In the summer of 2018, the girls began playing a handful of secret shows which then led to a singles deal with London indie label LGM Records (Goldheart Assembly, Amaroun) and Free Trade Agency (The National, The War On Drugs). Thus, FRIEDBERG was born. The band have just shared their debut single ‘Boom’ and will be releasing more new music in the near future.

We asked Anna, Cheryl and Eilidh to name their “Five Favourites” – five artists or albums that have influenced their songwriting techniques. Check out their choices below, and make sure you listen to ‘Boom’ at the end of this post!

1. ESG – ESG
The hottest band and album in the world (still). I still cannot believe I discovered ESG and their ’91 album only a few years ago. What have I done all my life before I knew ESG?! To me, they are coolness personified and much more than that: So groovy and hooky and minimalistic, just everything I love combined on one record. What I found most inspiring is the incredibly unique drumming. I really have never heard a tastier, more special way of drumming. I could endlessly just listen to that record. It just never gets old, probably even fresher every year. (Anna)

2. Courtney Barnett – Sometimes I sit and think, and sometimes I just sit
It was probably the best time in my life: 2015, driving through California, into the desert of Joshua Tree, windows rolled down and singing along to Courtney Barnett’s debut album. It was at that time when I also started to write the music for our new album and Courtney was just like the gentlest and freshest breeze carrying me on that special journey. I just cannot express how much I love her lyrics. Her stream-of-consiousness style, the way she tells her stories is simply sublime. So smart and beautifully written, that you just cannot escape. Not to forget her super laid-back vocals and phenomenal guitar playing. (Anna)

PJ Harvey – The Hope Six Demolition Project
I almost cannot listen to that album without seeing PJ Harvey in my mind’s eye performing those songs at the Primavera Festival in Barcelona a few years ago. Whenever I listen to that record I’m back there, standing in the middle of thousands of people, by the sea, totally overwhelmed by her jaw dropping performance and presence. Polly’s haunting live-show is to blame, why this became one of my favourite albums of the past years. (Anna)

Warpaint – The Fool
I’ve listened to this record probably a million times since it came out. It has such an uncompromised sound to me, because each individual song shows so many facets, with such effortless dynamic. I love the raw, dreamy and deep feel to their music. What an amazing band! (Cheryl)

Radiohead – Ok Computer
I first discovered this album when I was about 13, but truly came to love it when I was 17 when I performed the whole entirety of the album at university. ‘Karma Police’ and ‘Let Down’ are my two favourite tracks. Thom Yorke’s vocals are trippy and haunting. Listen to it while walking in the rain (Eilidh)

Photo Credit: Max Parovsky

Kate Crudgington
@KCBobCut

FIVE FAVOURITES: Big Joanie

DIY punks Big Joanie have had a great year. They’ve toured extensively across the UK & Europe, supported our faves Dream Wife at Camden’s KOKO, and last week they released their debut album Sistahs. Their music is a mix of the personal and the political, and we wanted to know what inspires the girls to create their own sound. We caught up with band member Stephanie Phillips to ask about her “Five Favourites” – five artists or albums that have influenced her songwriting technique. Check out her responses below…

1. Sleater-Kinney – Dig Me Out
I’m a huge Sleater-Kinney fan and it all started when I was a teenager. Listening to Dig Me Out in my bedroom when I was 16, I remember feeling a well of emotion in my chest. It was like I wanted to shout out loud with the song but I could never get the words out, even when I was alone. My journey from a shy, reserved kid to a singer in a band has mostly been through listening over and over again to this band and learning how to sing along. I’m pretty sure Carrie’s stadium rock guitar style has crept into my playing as well.

2. The Breeders – Last Splash
It’s hard to pick a favourite out of all of The Breeders albums, but Last Splash had a huge impact on me. Kim’s way of creating something that can still be a bit rough or unusual as long as its honest has been an approach I’ve tried to follow. The Deal sisters know their way around a harmony and it’s glorious to listen to them when it seems to come so naturally. Big Joanie’s album also opens with a song called ‘New Year’, not the same song but I must have subconsciously taken a note of this. It doesn’t matter how many times I go back to this album it’s still one of my favourites.

3. The Ronettes – Presenting the Fabulous Ronettes
I once went on a date with a guy who said he didn’t like ‘60s girl groups. I knew then and there I couldn’t be with that person. Who doesn’t love girl groups? From The Crystals to The Shangri-Las, I’ve studied every type of girl group but one of my all time favourites is The Ronettes. Ronnie Spector’s voice still sounds as arresting today as I imagine it did when the group first debuted. Though Phil Spector is a detestable human being, he was a visionary producer. The all encompassing wall of sound he was known for worked so well with The Ronettes sound. It’s a sound I’ve always wanted to capture myself. I know the wall of sound would have been nothing if it wasn’t for the young black women Spector worked with who gave it a voice.

4. Throwing Muses – Untitled
Again similar to the other artists I’ve listed, Throwing Muses have so many albums that influenced me but I have to pick their first album. I loved the complexity of the song structures, the emotional depth of the lyrics and the unusual turns and twists the record took. The album made me think about different ways to write pop songs. It made me think about how some of the best songs always take a different path to reach their destination of eventually becoming a pop song. Songs like ‘Vicky’s Box’, which is essentially a three part epic packed into a five minute song, shouldn’t work but they do.

5. PJ Harvey – Rid of Me
The raw blues punk of Peej soundtracked my early years and it’s still with me today. I love this album for all its worth. It’s strikingly intelligent, funny (even though many male journalists at the time didn’t seem to get her humour) and displays a level of emotional vulnerability that is rarely seen. Her dark sensibility and slightly twisted takes on love, lust, pain and anger captured my attention when I first listened to the album. I couldn’t believe that was the way people felt whether it was about her own experiences or not. Her ability to switch between different voices and tell numerous stories in her songs is comparable to the greats like Bob Dylan. I’m pretty sure for as long as I live I’ll always be trying but failing to replicate the work Polly created on this album.

Huge thanks to Steph for sharing her five favourites.

Order your copy of Big Joanie’s Sistahs here.

Follow the band of Facebook for more updates.

Kate Crudgington
@KCBobCut

Premiere: Alice Robinson – ‘Rise’

Having already charmed crowds at a number of Irish festivals including Carrickmacross Arts Festival and Gothic Species Festival, Louth-based artist Alice Robinson is now ready to share her spellbinding debut single.

Exploring the theme of inequality in modern society, ‘Rise’ oozes an overwhelming, stirring emotion. Flowing with twinkling hooks and Robinson’s soaring, cinematic vocals, it’s driven by a subtle, haunting power and grandiose ethereal aura. Bringing to mind the beguiling musicality of the likes of Tori Amos or PJ Harvey, ‘Rise’ is an epic, and truly immersive, debut from the Irish songwriter.

Watch the surreal new video for ‘Rise’ here:

Catch Alice Robinson live at Fibber Magees, Dublin on 29th November.

Mari Lane
@marimindles

LISTEN: Alternative ‘Best Of British’

If you’re anything like us, you’d have been pretty bewildered to wake up this morning to Radio X’s ‘Best Of British‘ chart – a list of what their listeners apparently deem to be the ‘best’ 100 British songs ever made. Not only did the list not feature one single female artist or female-led band, but it seemed to consist of pretty much the same few white male ‘rock’ bands repeated throughout…

Whoever it was who compiled the list, this seems like an embarrassing and unbelievably short-sighted representation of the British music scene. So, whilst we’re not denying the influence that the likes of Oasis, The Rolling Stones, Arctic Monkeys, Stone Roses and – of course – The Beatles have had (we count some of their songs as our faves too!), we feel that there were too many fantastic and pivotal songs missing from the list not to make our own!

So, have a listen to a few more of the ‘best’ British songs (in our opinion), courtesy of yours truly…

Track Of The Day: Soccer Mommy – ‘Your Dog’

Twenty-year old Nashville native Sophie Allison – aka Soccer Mommy – has announced the release of her debut album Clean on 2nd March (via Fat Possum) and has shared a video to accompany her excellent new track ‘Your Dog’, which is featured on the recording.

Following a series of DIY Bandcamp releases and last year’s Collection, Clean is Allison’s journey out of her bedroom and into the studio with a full band. The new album has been produced by Gabe Wax (War On Drugs, Deerhunter, Beirut) and mixed by Ali Chant (Perfume Genius, PJ Harvey), so we’re sure it’s going to be an intricate, sharply executed piece of work.

In the Weird Life-directed music video for ‘Your Dog’, Soccer Mommy’s “soft anger” is perfectly displayed. Speaking of the track, Allison says “The song comes from a feeling of being paralyzed in a relationship to the point where you feel like you are a pawn in someone else’s world. The song and the video are meant to show someone breaking away and taking action, but at the same time, it’s only a quick burst of motivation. It’s a moment of strength amidst a long period of weakness.”

We’re more than happy to surrender to the sound of Soccer Mommy. Watch the video for ‘Your Dog’, check out her UK tour dates below, and pre-order your copy of Clean here.

Soccer Mommy UK Tour March 2018

2nd – London – Rough Trade East
3rd – Leeds – Headrow House
4th – Manchester – The Castle Hotel
6th – London – Moth Club
7th – Brighton – The Hope

Kate Crudgington
@KCBobCut