FIVE FAVOURITES: Bleach Lab

Working through unexpected grief majorly informed the songs on South London-based Bleach Lab’s upcoming EP, A Calm Sense of Surrounding. The death of bassist Josh Longman’s father and the breakdown of vocalist Jenna Kyle’s long-term relationship seeped into the band’s song-writing, as they began to musically explore the five stages of grief – anger, denial, bargaining, depression and acceptance. Through Kyle’s emotive vocals and earnest lyrics and guitarist Frank Wates’ fluid, atmospheric riffs, the band soften the sharpness of their collective pain.

We think one of the best ways to get to know a band is by asking what music inspired them to write in the first place. We caught up with Bleach Lab to ask them about their “Five Favourites” – five songs that have inspired their song-writing techniques. Check out their choices below and scroll down to listen to Bleach Lab’s latest single ‘Flood’ at the end of this post.

1. Mazzy Star – ‘Halah’
Jenna Kyle (vocalist): My closest friend introduced me to Mazzy Star when I first moved to Brighton a while ago. She thought it would be right up my street, she knows me well. It’s hard to pick a favourite Mazzy song, but after a lot of rumination I concluded a while ago that ‘Halah’ takes the top spot. It quickly became a break up song of sorts for me and accompanied me on many wine filled nights. Hope’s dreamy, effortless voice floats above the guitar so flawlessly. The story that I take from the lyrics is not too dissimilar from the themes that I tend to find myself pulled into writing. The reflection and process of a break up that you can’t quite manage to move forward from. “Before I close the door, I need to hear you say goodbye, baby won’t you change your mind?” The story is a relatable one, it’s immersive and something that a lot of listeners can place themselves in. Something that I try to achieve with the way that I write my lyrics.

2. Radiohead – ‘Pyramid Song’
Frank Wates (guitarist): I remember first hearing this song on the TV soon after Amnesiac was released. It was the music video, the beautifully animated one where the diver jumps into the water and explores the submerged city. At the time I was probably around 10. I remember it really hit me emotionally, but I also remember being so confused about its rhythm and meter, which I later learned to be swung 4/4. I was tapping my foot along and totally failing to follow the beat and it really frustrated me. Granted I was only 10, but I think it really imprinted on me and it ended up being an important moment in my developing interest in rhythm. Rhythm is now the main thing I think about when writing my guitar parts and imagining how our songs will sound when fully formed. Melody and everything else come second.

3. Daughter – ‘Youth’
Jenna: ‘Youth’ was one of the first songs I fell in love with when I began the journey of figuring out my own style, back when I was around 16 and had previously only been singing over karaoke videos of Les Mis and Cats (the musical) soundtracks, whenever my parents left the house. I hadn’t really listened to any artists that ignited such a strong emotional response for me. I’m pretty sure it was a “this is it” moment when I heard it, and I couldn’t wait to learn the iconic guitar riff so I could play it myself. Elena Tonra’s lyrical style has always been a huge inspiration for the way that I have adapted my own writing. She writes visual stories with her words and her use of metaphors is effortlessly captivating. I would love to be able to quiz her on her approach and method to writing.

4. Interpol – ‘Rest My Chemistry’
Josh Longman (bassist): I have always been a big fan of Interpol growing up and have always been a massive fan of the simple guitar leads that just carry the song along from start to finish. I have always known of them, but only during my college days did a few of my friends entice me to dig deeper down the Interpol rabbit hole. The guitar tones and dynamic range throughout are spot on and the driving bass in many of their songs have influenced a few tracks for me as a bass player. When the bass isn’t driving, its simplicity really gives the guitars and vocals space to explore amazing melodies. Underrated band in my opinion, and I was happy to see them at All Points East when The Strokes were headlining, although for me I saw the festival as a good value of money as it seemed like there were 2 headliners that day.

5. Helena Deland – ‘Smoking At The Gas Station’
Frank: This is a really recent release, but I already know it will be one of my favourite records for a long time to come. I first heard it when I was listening through Helena Deland’s debut album Someone New for the first time soon after it came out. I was so excited for the album’s release as the singles were so gorgeously produced. Since sitting in on mixing sessions with the producer/mixer/engineer for our debut EP (shout out to Max), I’ve really started to pay attention to finer details around the mixing and production of any song I listen to. The song itself already features an incredible vocal performance, but I was absolutely blown away by its mixing and production. It has a really unsettling beauty to it to start but the song develops and finishes with one of the most beautiful and subtle outros I’ve heard. I’m starting to pay a lot more attention to writing powerful outros because of it.

Thanks to Bleach Lab for sharing their favourites with us!
Listen to ‘Flood’ below.

 

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Photo Credit: Isy Townsend

Five Favourites: Fable

With acclaim from the likes of The Guardian, Rolling Stone and BBC 6Music’s Chris Hawkins, Brighton based artist Fable has recently made her return to music after taking some time out after suffering from depression and burnout following the loss of a close friend. Now an ambassador for mental health charity My Black Dog, her upcoming debut album is due later this year. Covering a range of poignant issues, the album is filled with heartfelt offerings that blur genre boundaries with a sweeping, dark majesty and hypnotic splendour.

Following the release of spellbinding recent single ‘Orbiting’, we spoke to Fable about the five albums that mean the most to her. Check out her choices below, and watch her video for ‘Orbiting’ at the end of this article. 

Radiohead – In Rainbows
This album crept into my life when I was in my early teens. It grew almost organically in my mind from a whisper of “Ah, this is agreeable, I’ll give it another go” to “I think this is the best album of all time…” Every song paints a picture in my mind – Thom’s delivery of profound nothingness is everything. ‘Nude’ is probably my favourite track with its glittering darkness that literally breaks me every time I hear it, and ‘Reckoner’ offers a cryptically wise piece of lyricism over the beautiful simplicity and a supernatural presence. I remember listening to it on the bus home from school feeling like the music understood me, not the other way around. And, if I could pick more, there are a few Radiohead albums that would make the list. The infinite possibilities of creative freedom that Thom displays in his writing is what I am constantly checking myself for.

Kate Bush – Hounds Of Love
Kate Bush is my inner child, she lifts my spirits and always tells the truth. My mum had the cassette and I would rewind ‘Cloud Busting’ for the line “… just saying it could even make it happen” – the open endedness and desperation in her voice is so moving, it’s hopeful and hopeless at the same time. I’ve definitely drawn from her work subconsciously, especially in my 4th release from the album that’s due out in the Autumn.

Gorillaz – Demon Days
The first album I ever bought on CD – I fell in love with it instantly. The theatrics of the intro setting the stage to drop straight into that filthy drum machine on ‘Last Living Souls’ is superb and the contrast between organic sounds and electronic are perfectly balanced. I love it when an album plays with the flow of time and really takes you on an adventure like this one does. I think Damon’s concept was to begin at dusk, take you to meet his demons with the last track representing the sun rising. When I heard that it all made sense. I used to go to countryside raves frequently and the last track ‘Demon Days’ would be the song I’d bang on the car speakers at sunrise.

David Bowie – Black Star
I’m still here wondering how this is possible – how someone can create such a relevant and stunning piece of work at 69, put on a staged musical production of the album, all whilst battling cancer. If anyone can, it’s Bowie, but it must have been exhausting. There is an urgency to the album which really breaks my heart. Here is a poet’s experience of mortality, documented in song. This album will always remind me of loss -I saw Lazarus the musical the night after hearing about the death of my friend and the music had such an impact on how I remember that time. It’s been really hard to pick a single Bowie album but this one will always be sentimental. 

Portishead – Dummy
There’s something really special about this album and it features in one of my earliest memories: I was 4 in my parents’ kitchen when I heard ‘Numb’ on the radio. Even at that age, this track completely enchanted me. Everything about it is an unsettling contradiction – it’s kinda like marijuana, in how it gets you loose and comfortable before unveiling the dark truths. Beth’s vocals are deliciously heartbreaking and reminiscent of Billie Holiday, who I also adore, along with the jazz influence. From that moment in the kitchen, they’ve been a huge influence on my writing. Their use of space and sonic contrast is so inspiring, it’s blunt yet silky and holds your hand through the haunted house of comedowns and urban decay. Everything about it is beautiful. My most recent single ‘Orbiting’ has had Portishead comparisons drawn in the press, which didn’t surprise me – I guess we’re having another societal comedown that needs a soundtrack.

Huge thanks to Fable for sharing her Five Favourites with us! Check out the video for recent single ‘Orbiting’ below:

 

FIVE FAVOURITES: Sarah Walk

Celebrating both the joys and the struggles of being a queer woman, LA songwriter Sarah Walk is preparing to release her second album, Another Me, on 28th August via One Little Independent Records. “The songs on my first album were a means to survive the immediate, and my songs on this album have been a journey in learning how to take up space and thrive in the long term”, Walk explains. It sounds like a learning curve both she and her listeners will benefit from, as she tackles everything from patriarchal entitlement to letting go of damaging tropes about being a queer woman.

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 Sarah to ask about her “Five Favourites” – five albums that have inspired her songwriting techniques. Check out her choices below, and scroll down to listen to Sarah’s latest single ‘nobody knows’ at the end of this post.

1. Wolfgang Amadeus – Phoenix 
I just think this is a brilliantly executed record, start to finish. I still try to wrap my head around the arrangement of this album. Each part fits together like this weaving patchwork of ideas that lock into each other like a puzzle. When I try to isolate the vocal or an instrumental part it feels like such a scattered and disjointed idea, but as a whole it’s completely full. I often wonder how they recorded this because it’s so hard for me to hear a backbone that was built around.

2. Fiona Apple – Fetch The Bolt Cutters
What a powerful comeback album from Fiona. I grew up listening to her and felt so empowered hearing a woman sing and play the piano that wasn’t afraid to be angry. This album totally goes there, and I’m so happy it does. There’s anger and regret, and through that, this incredible reclamation of self. She’s one of the best there is and has paved the way for so many women in the music industry, whether we all know it or not.

3. Radiohead – In Rainbows
It wouldn’t be a favorites list without a Radiohead album. This band totally expanded my ears to what music could be, and were my unwavering companion during some of the toughest and loneliest years of my adolescence. I remember waking up early before school the day this album came out and downloading it (this was the “pay what you want” record pre-spotify which was brilliant) and I sat in my car in the high school parking lot that gloomy October morning and was crying by the time ‘Faust Arp’ came around. I was late for school that day, and I’m glad I was.sarah

4. Everything Everything – A Fever Dream
Love this band so much. They combine certain sonic elements of Radiohead that I love – that ethereal soundscape of guitars that don’t sound like guitars – with heavy grooves and pop sensibility. This album is so good, and they’re incredible live as well.

5. Madison Cunningham – Who Are You Now?
A more up and coming LA artist, Madison is an incredible force of talent. The first time I saw her play live I was completely floored. I’m not a religious person, but after first seeing her play I went home and completely broke down because it felt like such a spiritual experience. She absolutely destroys the guitar and her voice and songwriting are other worldly. Definitely give this one a listen and check out some live videos online.

Thanks to Sarah for sharing her favourites with us.
Listen to her track ‘nobody knows’ below.

Follow Sarah Walk on Facebook & Spotify for more updates.

FIVE FAVOURITES: Delhia de France

Crafting a solo career between Berlin and L.A over the past two years, Producer and songwriter Delhia de France has been busy re-working a track from German producer Robot Koch’s latest album, The Next Billion Years. She takes Koch’s concept of sound-tracking the far distant future of earth on ‘All Forms Are Unstable’ and gives it an alt-pop twist, breathing new life in to the instrumental piece with her soft vocals and shimmering electronics.

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 Delhia to ask about her “Five Favourites” – five songs that inspired her song-writing techniques. Check out her choices below, and scroll down to listen to her cover of ‘All Forms Are Unstable’ at the end of this post.

1. Massive Attack – ‘Paradise Circus’
‘Paradise Circus’ has a certain melancholic lightness to it that I really like. Massive Attack have been consistently bending genres and been a huge influence of mine since forever. Their latest project Eutopia with Young Fathers is as brilliant as it is important. The tracks are layered over with speeches and lectures by prominent educational figures demanding justice, equality, sustainability. Goosebumps education.

2. Fever Ray – ‘I’m Not Done’
This whole album is one of my all time fives. I will never get tired diving into these eerie synth baths that have a very artificial sound yet and incredibly warm vibe. It really is an album of light and dark and to create opposites so each side can shine is something that I picked up from Karin Dreijer’s productions.

3. Rosalia – ‘A Palé’
I love how the track begins with this soothing melody and then takes a totally different turn. It’s incredible how she fuses traditional flamenco with modern sounds. I love all the space in between and her voice effortlessly pouring over it like a waterfall.

4. Thom Yorke – ‘Skip Divided’
Radiohead had always been a massive influence to me and Thom Yorke with his extraordinary fragile voice throwing words at you like daggers. He has a special way of writing melodies that uniquely beautiful. How he marries the piano with these textured organic sounds has been, I’ve always been fascinated.

5. The Knife – ‘Silent Shout’
Again Karin Dreijer, this time with her brother Olof. The whole Silent Shout album has been an eye-opener to me, these simple melodies and her bone-shaking voice combined with glowing and sawing synths are so far opposite of my usual sound yet so captivating and just plain beautiful in this genius simplicity.

Thanks to Delhia de France for sharing her favourites with us.
Listen to her cover of ‘All Forms Are Unstable’ below.

Photo Credit: Alix Spence