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: 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!)