Premiere: Nun Habit – ‘Slip ‘n’ Slide’ / ‘Righteous Jerk’

Having wowed us with their sparkling charisma and buoyant energy playing for us at The Finsbury back in 2020, London-based queer five-piece Nun Habit have now announced their debut album, set for release in August. Taken from the album, the band have now shared a very special double A-side release with us.

First up, it’s ‘Righteous Jerk’ – “an anthem for the breaker-upperee whose only regret is that they didn’t get around to doing it first“, it oozes an eerie mysticism before being propelled by thrashing beats and scuzzy, reverb-strewn riffs. With a shimmering whirr of synths and Kate’s sweeping soulful vocals, it builds with an anthemic fuzz and twinkling energy as rich musical layers are fused together to create a frenzied, swirling splendour.

Then a different side to Nun Habit is revealed in ‘Slip n Slide’. With Greg taking the lead with the vocals this time, it begins as a gentler offering as delicate effervescent melodies flow alongside a glistening fuzzy whirr, with shades of the likes of The Postal Service. Sparkling with a lilting, jangly energy, the track graduates to a vibrant disco-infused cacophony, showcasing the band’s wonderfully quirky charisma.

Offering a much-needed euphoric sense of joy, both tracks exemplify all there is to love about Nun Habit. Not only their eclectic, musically rich soundscapes, but also their infectious sense of fun and refreshing tongue-in-cheek wit of their imaginative lyricism. Both ‘Righteous Jerk and ‘Slip n Slide’ will have you up and bopping ’round the living room, longing to be surrounded by sweaty friends dancing along to the unique, immersive energy of Nun Habit live.

‘Righteous Jerk’/’Slip n Slide’ is out on Monday, 5th April. Which also marks the day that Nun Habit launch a Kickstarter campaign to fund a vinyl pressing of their upcoming album, hedge fun. Produced by Ric James (Yassassin, Foals), hedge fun will be released in August, with an accompanying celebratory launch party on 16th August at The Victoria in Dalston. More info on bandcamp.

Mari Lane
@marimindles

Photo Credit: Armadillo Media / @Armadillo_Media

 

PREMIERE: Leah Callahan – ‘Smell’

You may know Leah Callahan as the lead singer of Bostonian art-rockers Turkish Delight whose albums were re-released in 2019 by UK label, Reckless Yes; or from the post-punk act Betwixt; or even shoegazers The Glass Set. But now she has shared her first solo album since 2003’s Even Sleepers, Simple Folk. Whereas Even Sleepers was a bossa-nova slice of late night acoustic, Simple Folk (which will be self-released next month) takes Leah back to the beginning. Full of big instrumentation and confessional lyrics, it’s nine songs ‘tackle over-consumption, environmental ruin and elitism’ as well as recounting Leah’s “myriad fears and personal failures”, and takes its musical cue from the British pop of her childhood in the ’80s.  

Following a request from Leah herself, we’ve chosen ‘Smell’ as our standout from the album. A sprightly 3 minute pop-punk romp, with a choppy, repeating guitar riff, its lyrical content is about as direct as it comes. “You smell…” echoes Leah’s voice, “like money, with a forked tongue”. There’s not much in the way of complexity here but it’s a kind of raw, anti-capitalist poetry – “Your silver keeps whales away” (a reference to the extinction threat being faced by the species in the North Atlantic).  Throughout, the lyrics point the finger at those who want to smell “real / Not like the Earth”, who give “dirty looks” in hotel lobbies and “look the other way”, providing they have their cash. 

Using scent as a kind of indelible mark against those who harm the planet and the humans who live on it is a pretty neat conceit – mind you, so is enveloping those lyrics in the hammer and nail of a three piece garage band. Multi-instrumentalist Alex Stern is responsible for much of the backing on the album and it’s possible to hear Brit-pop influences in some of the bridges between verses, when the drive of his guitar and the percussion switches into a performative flick. This is a rock song, primarily though, and it’s that underscoring wave of riffs that gives ‘Smell’ the extra power that its lyrics deserve. Machine gun drums switch in and out of the top line to rattle this one into the listener’s head throughout.

In some ways, this sound and style is not particularly evocative of the album as a whole, but that ability to wear many masks is one of the hallmarks of Callahan’s career. Indeed, in some ways ‘Smell’ is probably closer to ‘Spin’ (from Turkish Delight’s debut Tommy Bell) than any of the other tracks here. But despite the sophisti-pop Style Council leanings, there’s still a nuance and intelligence to Callahan’s approach to pop: with the titles of ‘1997 Again’, ‘I Wish That I Had Never Met You Music’ and ‘A Woman of Few Things’ giving some indication to her experiences of the industry. Perhaps most wry of all is the fuzzed out cover of Mary Hopkins’ ‘Those Were The Days’ – always an oddly grim no.1 hit from 1968, here turned inside-out but retaining its Eastern European sonic roots.  

Simple Folk is neither ‘simple’ nor ‘folk’, by and large, but the several meanings of its title reflects a complexity that has been redolent throughout Leah Callahan’s career. ‘Smell’, meanwhile, shows that, some thirty years on from the days of Turkish Delight, her senses are still intact.

Listen to ‘Smell’, for the first time, here:

 

Simple Folk, the new album from Leah Callahan, is set for release 22nd March. Pre-order here.

John McGovern
@etinsuburbiaego

PREMIERE: Priestess – ‘Shelter’

Originally formed in London by Kate Fleur Young, and with the added input of producers James Mottershead, Jack Drewry and Oli Kilpatrick, Priestess has now shared a spellbinding new single. 

Reflecting on the impact of deep, and sometimes destructive, love, ‘Shelter’ provides a soaring, ethereal soundscape. Propelled by glitchy beats and whirring hooks, a swirling haunting majesty flows alongside the deep, bewitching splendour of Young’s rich sensual vocals. Captivating the ears with its exquisite dark energy, it’s a soulful slice of introspective electro-pop, perfectly capturing the intoxicating feeling of being overwhelmed with emotion. A poignant sonic portrayal of “when love feels like a beautiful and dangerous storm”. 

Of the track, Priestess expands:

“‘Shelter’ was written about the golden rays of deep desire and infatuation. A love that feels so bright but can also take you to the darkest parts of yourself. It’s based in raw feelings that connect to the elemental energies of nature. Terrifying, beautiful and unpredictable.

Listen to ‘Shelter’, for the first time, here:

 

‘Shelter’ is out now.

Mari Lane
@marimindles

PREMIERE: The Other Ones – ‘Forever Young’

Following the blistering energy of their recent eponymously named single, London-based The Other Ones have returned to blast into our ears with a brand new offering.

Propelled by jangling guitars and front-woman Steph’s swooning, gritty vocals, ‘Forever Young’ reflects on that sense of yearning we all have, now more than ever, for younger, care-free days. With a swirling, euphoric energy and racing beats, it oozes a sunny sense of nostalgia as honey-sweet harmonies and scuzz-filled riffs create an irresistibly catchy slice of shimmering punk-pop. Of the track, the band explain:

“‘Forever Young’ is a song about yearning – about wanting to run away from a humdrum existence, going for a drive with your best friend, throwing caution to the wind, and living for yourself. It’s hard to capture that feeling of limitless wonder from childhood, but when you have the right person with you, anything feels possible.

 

‘Forever Young’ is out on 5th February, and The Other Ones’ debut album is set for release on 26th February via Reckless Yes. To keep up to date with all the fantastic releases from the Reckless Yes label, why not become a member – more info here.

Mari Lane
@marimindles 

Photo Credit: Keira-Anee Photography