Five Favourites: GRANT

Following 2018’s album In Bloom, Swedish artist GRANT has now returned to grace our ears with new single ‘Words’. Oozing a raw emotion and shimmering musicality, it’s a heartfelt slice of enchanting alt-pop.

We think one of the best ways to get to know an artist is by asking what music inspires them or influences their writing. We caught up with GRANT to find out her “Five Favourites” – five albums that she’s found particularly influential. Check out her choices below, and make sure you watch the new video for ‘Words’ below.

4 Non Blondes – Bigger, Better, Faster, More!
This was my own very first CD, that my sister gave me when I was about eight. I learned how to sing belting along with Linda Perry. This album falls somewhere in rock n’roll land, with a touch of Linda Perry’s pop genius, and  listening to it felt like a roller coaster through a wicked landscape. I highly recommend that you listen to the Linda Perry episode of the Broken Record Podcast!

Björk – Debut / Post / Homogenic
This is my holy trinity, and I honestly didn’t know which of Björk’s albums to choose; each of these three have inspired me immensely. I love the unexpected dynamics and how in each delicious song she unfolds like an adventure so naturally.

Nina Simone – Wild Is The Wind
The first time I heard Nina Simone, she sang of experiences I’d never lived in a language I didn’t understand yet, but I felt so much. It was kinda heavy but also beautiful. Never has an artist expanded my world view like she did. I want to make music that makes someone young feel like that. 

Portishead – Dummy
I must’ve listened to this album more than a thousand times. When I first discovered trip-hop I thought it was the most ultimate genre, simply because it was genre-bending and contradictory (gloomy yet playful, soft and hard), and I still hold this to be true. Even though I’ve transitioned into a more pop soundscape, I’m still heavily influenced. Also, Beth Gibbons singing ‘Glory Box’ and smoking on stage is too sexy. 

Edith Piaf – À l’Olympia
As with Nina Simone she sang of experiences in a language I didn’t understand, but I was completely enchanted. The way she sings and poises herself with small movements that stir up a fucking whirlwind… I think you can hear her influence in my music in terms of both melodies and phrasing. I learned French from listening to her and I’m forever grateful for the impact she’s had on me.

Huge thanks to GRANT for sharing her Five Favourites with us! 

Watch the new video for ‘Words’ here:

 

Photo Credit: Angelina Bergenwall

 

PLAYLIST: Love & Solidarity

It’s safe to say, each and every one of us right now is going through a hard time; a scary, strange time filled with uncertainty and fear. A time when feelings of anxiety are heightened and we need to seek refuge in our favourite music more than ever.

So, we wanted to put together a few tunes to soothe the soul; to calm and to motivate. Some music to aid positive thoughts and relaxation, and taking time for yourself to switch off and de-stress is so essential right now. Take a deep breath, unwind, and let us send you all a big dose of love and solidarity as you hit play and follow this playlist.. (link below)

Le Tigre – ‘Eau D’Bedroom Dancing’
Because I need Kathleen’s voice more than ever right now. This chilled number from one of my favourite albums, Le Tigre’s Deceptacon, just oozes so much twinkling heartfelt emotion from Hanna that my heart bursts a little more on each listen. Also, we will all no doubt be doing plenty of ‘Bedroom Dancing’ over the next few weeks/months…(Mari Lane)

Noga Erez – ‘Global Fear’
I listened to this track at least once a day on my commute to work pre-pandemic because, despite its melancholy context, I find it really relaxing. I’m a big fan of Noga Erez anyway, but I find her music extra impressive at a time like this, because it makes me feel both alienated and connected at the same time. She’s set to release her second album at some point this year, and that’s a small thing I’m holding on to. (Kate Crudgington)

Nilüfer Yanya – ‘Tears’
One of my favourite tracks from Nilüfer Yanya, and a slight move away from her guitar heavy tunes, ‘Tears’ captures you and takes you along with its bouncing beats and sad reflective lyrics. It’s been great to watch this artist reach the acclaim she so rightly deserves, and it reminds me of a personal highlight seeing her play at Primavera 2019. It was the definition of sun-drenched guitars. (Tash Walker)

Sink Ya Teeth – ‘Breathe’
Taken from their latest album Two, here our favourite Norwich duo create a soothing, sparkling majesty; oozing the soaring, calming vibes that we all need right now, it’s a truly exquisite offering, highlighting that it’s more important than ever now to make time each day to switch off, to simply breathe. And if you do that whilst listening to this euphoric soundscape, I guarantee it’ll make you feel a little better. (ML)

Massive Attack – ‘Safe From Harm’
This Massive Attack tune never fails to calm me down. The snaking bass lines and Shara Nelson’s mesmerising vocals override the threats being explored in the lyrics, making it an oddly soothing listen. (KC)

Portishead – ‘Roads’
Taken from my most listened to album of all time, ‘Roads’ is one of those tracks that never fails to calm me. With a cathartic raw emotion and whirring energy that builds with each throbbing beat, I find something deeply therapeutic about it. It’s the same with the whole of Dummy, but this song is probably just a notch above the rest. Listen, close your eyes and let the impassioned grace of Beth Gibbons’ heartfelt vocals take you down a road of healing. (ML)

Elsa Hewitt – ‘Tiny Dancer’
Whatever your mood, electronic artist & producer Elsa Hewitt has a tune to accompany it. I was so caught up in her live set when she played for us at Notting Hill Arts Club in 2018, I could’ve listened to her mixing and triggering her ambient tunes all night. A perfect distraction in these strange times. (KC)

Amahla – ‘Old Soul’
Hackney-Native Amahla blew us away ‘Old Soul’ at the beginning of 2019 and has just kept getting better. It was a complete pleasure to see her perform for our IWD x Sofar Sounds gig a couple of weeks back. Listening to this song now, it leaves me reflecting on the older generations of our society, who we must all rally around as a community to help support through this uncertain time. (TW)

Babeheaven – ‘Seabird’
A perfectly dreamy accompaniment to gazing out the window at the beautiful blossom and budding dafs swaying in the breeze; a reminder that nature carries on, birds will continue to sing, flowers continue to grow, even when everything else is in disarray. I’ve found it really grounding over the last couple of weeks to focus on this, to seek solace in nature. And the luscious, soulful energy and beautifully rich vocals of ‘Seabird’ couldn’t be more welcome right now. (ML)

Connie Constance – ‘English Rose’
I first heard this cover about a year ago, but it’s really resonating with me at the moment, especially with the moments I go outside. Originally by The Jam, for me Connie Constance’s cover is the soundtrack to my daily stroll, enjoying every second I can of being outside at a time when we really value the things we used to take for granted. (TW)

Christine and the Queens – ‘Mountains (We Met)’
This track has been playing on repeat in my flat over the last couple of weeks, loved so much by my girlfriend who it brings a real sense of calm to. It reminds me of how lucky I am to be in lockdown with my loved ones, and the importance of staying connected week to week. Connected, we are a community, and communities can survive anything with love and solidarity. (TW)

Sharon Van Etten – ‘Beaten Down’
A poignant reflection on “love, patience and empathy”, Sharon Van Etten’s voice smoulders across dark synths, atmospheric keys and sparse echoing beats on this track. “‘Beaten Down’ is about making life-changing choices and remaining strong enough to see them through”, Etten explains. I think it’s okay to admit that the current situation has beaten most of us down, but I think you’ll be surprised how resilient you can be in the face of adversity too.
(KC)

Rilo Kiley – ‘A Better Son/Daughter’
With its twinkling emotion strewn splendour and heartbreakingly raw honesty, this is my go-to cathartic motivational soundtrack in life generally, but in the last couple of weeks I’ve pretty much been listening to Rilo Kiley on a loop. And I feel like this song in particular, with its impassioned and relatable lyricism, is a pretty spot on mantra of hope for getting through these strange times: “… You’ll fight it, and you’ll make it through… You’ll be awake, you’ll be alert // You’ll be positive though it hurts // And you’ll laugh and embrace all your friends…” (ML)

Mazzy Star – ‘Fade Into You’
One of the most beautiful and touching songs, from ’90s slow-core band Mazzy Star. ‘Fade Into You’ is so slow, considered and full of emotion, it’s hard not to get completely mesmerised by it. Escapism at its best. (TW)

Wolf Alice – ‘Blush’
I can’t listen to a Wolf Alice track without experiencing a flood of emotion. Most of the time it’s a giddy feeling that makes me want to stomp about and sing Ellie Rowsell’s lyrics really loudly; but with ‘Blush’, I always get a bit choked. It’s such a soft, romantic, sentimental tune. I’m looking forward to singing “Punch drunk, dumb struck, pot luck, happy happy” into my sisters’ faces again when all this blows over. (KC)

Kate Tempest – ‘People’s Faces’
There is so much that is so perfectly poignant in this song – the glaringly honest and completely relevant social commentary showcases Tempest’s unique poetic skill at creating relevant and hugely emotive social narratives. But a subtle glimmer of hope also shines through; the comfort we gain from those we love, and the comfort we can offer them just by being there (even over a Zoom or Skype meet!). So, even when it feels like the world is ending, we can still find happiness in each other: “… then we smile at all our friends… Even when I’m weak and I’m breaking… I can see your faces. There is so much peace to be found in people’s faces.” (ML)

Five Favourites: Tiberius b

Building upon the dream-pop melodies of the Vancouver duo known as Mu, that have taken us on various adventures in the tragedies of youth, Canadian singer-songwriter Francesca Belcourt now creates under a new musical moniker – Tiberius b.

Having now shared beautifully reflective, nostalgia laden new single ‘No Smoke’, they have showcased their ability to create utterly dreamy atmospheric soundscapes.

We think one of the best ways to get to know an artist is by asking what music inspires them or influences their writing. We caught up with Francesca, who has shared their “Five Favourites” – five tracks or albums that particularly resonate with them. Check out their choices below, and scroll down to listen to latest single ‘No Smoke’ at the end of this post.

Nelly Furtado – Woah, Nelly!
I received this CD along with my first disc-man. I listened to it front to back for the first time over and over and over again on a road trip to Tofino with my family, and was entranced. To be honest, I never really understood what she was saying until revisiting the record recently, but I think her unabashed progressive lyrics mixed with her insane delivery/voice must have impacted me on a subconscious level… Everybody knows ‘I’m Like A Bird’, but everything she says across the whole record is so poignant and empowered. She also grew up on Vancouver Island which is very close to where I’m from.

SOPHIE – ‘Is It Cold In The Water?’
This was my favourite song of 2018. SOPHIE and Cecile Believe are both geniuses. I had the honour of working with Cecile on my upcoming album right before Oil Of Every Pearls Un Insides came out. When I heard ‘Is it Cold In The Water?’ for the first time after coming back from our residency, I was devastated by its tragic and gorgeous intensity.

Portishead – ‘The Rip’
I grew up listening to the albums Portishead and Dummy heavily. They were in the collection of CDs that my parents brought from London to Canada which soundtracked the lonely stretches of my childhood. I felt proud to embrace my creepy dark feelings when as I listened to them. Discovering ‘The Rip’ in adulthood helped reunite me with those early memories, and is my current favourite song by them.

Arthur Russel – ‘Close My Eyes’
I love this song because it is perfect, but also because it encourages me every time I hear it to be unafraid to explore whatever type of music that I’m inspired to create. I admire that Arthur never withheld himself from approaching and releasing a vast range of styles. 

Underworld – ‘Born Slippy’ (Nuxx)
One of my favourite songs off of the Trainspotting soundtrack, another album of the dad CD collection which I adored as a kid. We used to dance in the kitchen and make pancakes to this. Growing up listening to dance music made me feel quite free when I entered actual club environments, knowing how to express  myself with my body.

Massive thanks to Francesca for sharing their choices with us!

Listen to ‘No Smoke’, the captivating new track from Tiberius b here:

FIVE FAVOURITES: Stainwasher

Swedish artist Stainwasher is not one to shy away from darker states of emotion. Her 2018 debut EP What Did I See, was a sonic journey through personal fears and unsettled thoughts, and her new single ‘Drying’ flows in a similar vein. She explores both the good and the bad in the world through soaring synths and tentative vocals, believing that it’s “easier seeing life as an experiment, rather than something absolute.”

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

1. Mazzy star – Among My Swan
Hope Sandoval is for sure my favourite singer, and it seems that every track she sings on instantly becomes magic. This album is amazing. It’s mysterious, beautiful and very inspiring to me. This album is actually the biggest reason I use tambourines, sliding guitars and organ in my music, which says a lot about my feelings for the album. The track ‘Umbilical’ is so stunning it makes my thoughts blurry, which is very nice sometimes, and the track ‘Happy’ is just perfect with its perfect chords mixed with perfect vocals. I love CDs and have most of my favourites on CD, including this. The best way I enjoy this album is to listen to it on speakers while lying on the sofa, smiling and thinking that if we lost everything, we would still have Hope Sandoval!

2. Portishead – Third
The biggest reason for mentioning this album is the track ‘The Rip’, which I usually call my all-time favourite song. I’ve got a thing for songs that build up and slowly explode, and this song does it so well! The first times I heard Portishead I had a difficult time listening to them because I genuinely got scared by the creepy music and spooky voice, but when I heard Third, I was hooked and got used to the weird but pleasant feeling they left me with. I think the most inspiring thing about this album – and their music in general – is the structure of their songs, and how making surprising changes seem so natural.

3. The Knife – The Knife
I’ve loved this duo since I was like 13, and it is impossible to get tired of their music. This was the first full album from them that I heard, by borrowing the CD from my dad. I remember being so fascinated by their music, even though it was catchy, it still was super special. I can’t say exactly how this album inspired my own music, I think The Knife always have been in the back of my mind when making music, perhaps I wanted that uniqueness they have. The anonymous part of Stainwasher is most likely influenced by The Knife. If I wasn’t so scared of playing live, I bet my shows would be very inspired by their live performances as well, except that tour where they do aerobics since I hate sports.

4. Nordpolen – På Nordpolen
Where do I begin. This guy saved my teenage years and still saves me from time to time. I didn’t like going to concerts when I was younger due to panic attacks, but I knew I HAD to see Nordpolen live, so he became the reason I faced those fears. However the most special memory I have with his music is when he played at Emmaboda (a Swedish festival), and I was not there. I was in bed crying and listened to his album from start to end pretending I was there. Nordpolen is also the biggest reason I started making music. It sounds a bit cliché, but he had helped me so much with his music and I thought if I could help or induce some kind of emotion for someone with music, I would be so grateful. In this album, he uses a lot of synth-choirs, which inspired me to try that as well. His lyrics are very straight-forward, something I love and also try to achieve. Even though the lyrics are sad, this album leaves me with a streak of hope.

5. Hazelnut ice-cream
I have a hard time making my last choice, no album feels right. That’s why I’ll tell you about my favourite ice-cream flavour, hazelnut. I was seven years old the first time I tried hazelnut ice-cream which was in Italy on a vacation with my family. I was immediately stuck and that was pretty much my diet for the rest of the vacation. The flavour is an amazing mix of salty, fat and sweet, and I can eat a lot without getting tired of the taste. Whenever I eat something really nice I become quiet, I want to absorb what I’m eating and it bothers me when people distract me, or even worse, want to taste from my plate, so I prefer eating ice-cream alone. To me, eating hazelnut ice-cream on a warm day is like hearing Hope Sandoval’s voice; soothing, pleasurable and makes me believe that there are still good stuff in the world worth fighting for.

Thanks to Stainwasher for sharing her favourites with us. Follow her on Facebook for more updates.

Photo Credit: Ebba G Agren