LISTEN: Grandmas House – ‘Girl’

A playful ode to the joys and frustrations of queer love, Bristol punk trio Grandmas House have shared their latest single ‘Girl’. Taken from their upcoming self-titled debut EP, which is set for release on 15th October via Brace Yourself Records (JOHN, Nuha Ruby Ra, Laundromat, Peeping Drexels), the track is a headrush of rumbling bass lines, surf-pop melodies and gritty vocals.

Formed of Yasmin Berndt (vocals, guitar), Poppy Dodgson (vocals, drums) and Zoë Zinsmeister (bass), Grandmas House formed in late 2018 and were busy cutting their teeth on the UK gig circuit before Covid-19 put an abrupt stop to live music. The trio decided to use their time in the following lockdowns constructively, quickly writing and recording new material, including their upcoming EP. Balancing their thoughts on capitalism and gender inequality alongside everyday annoyances and joys, the band have crafted a playful yet passionate collection of anthems that provide intense moments of catharsis.

Their latest single ‘Girl’ captures a slightly softer moment, mirrored in the track’s upbeat tempo and witty call and response vocals. Grandmas House are now gearing up for their forthcoming UK tour, which includes opening slots with IDLES, Katy J Pearson, TV Priest and a own headline show at The Windmill in Brixton on 3rd November.

Listen to ‘Girl’ below.

Follow Grandmas House on bandcampSpotifyInstagramTwitter & Facebook

Photo Credit: Rosie Carne

Kate Crudgington
@KCBobCut

Introducing Interview: th’sheridans

Following a decade on the scene, indie pop duo th’sheridans have recently released an epic, career-spanning compilation – Pieces Of General combining both old favourites and some newer treats. Showcasing their knack for creating scuzzy hooks, jangly beats and a swirling energy, the album offers reflections on poignant issues whilst oozing an uplifting effervescent euphoria. Whilst harking back to old favourites with a shimmering sense of nostalgia, the duo have managed to evoke a stirring resonance for right now; a sparkling call to arms, oozing a quirky, colourful spirit.

We were lucky enough to chat to the band to find out more… Have a read!

Hi th’sheridans! Are you able to tell us a bit about how you initially started creating music together?
We met at Bongos?! World Music Society in 2010 where we played “international folk” covers that ended up sounding more like a big indie band. The first thing the two of us really played together was an arrangement of the Italian partisan song ‘Bella Ciao’ (which may some day emerge as a b-side). And after trying out a batch of original sheridans songs, everybody agreed to do band.

I love your scuzzy, sparkling sounds but who would you say are your main musical influences?
Thank you so much! We put a lotta thought into the sounds and textures we use, so it’s lovely whenever that resonates with someone. Our songwriting really comes out of the Ramones playbook in that the songs can usually be broken down to a set of chords and a pop/R&B melody. As well as the broader ‘70s New York scene, ‘90s Riot Grrrl is a huge influence – especially Ladies, Women and Girls, Bratmobile’s second record. It’s key in terms of figuring out how to express and own our values in the songs, while keeping the hooks as tasty as possible! Klezmer music, Papa T. (Julia’s dad), and The Velvet Underground’s drone all play a big part in our arrangements, especially with the viola. Lastly (although this could easily spin out into a whole encyclopaedia…), artists like Hundred Waters, Beth Orton and Metric have really helped us hone how we incorporate electronic elements like drum machines and synthesisers.

You’ve just released your new career-spanning compilation album – ‘Pieces Of General’ which is super exciting! Are you able to tell us a bit about this? What made you decide to put together this collection of songs new and old?
This album really came out of conversations we had with Reckless Yes after signing with them in 2020. We were thinking about how we could best introduce ourselves to their audience while also capping off the DIY phase of our work. So Pieces Of General is basically greatest hits for a band that’s had… no hits, with some new tracks mixed in. The key thing for us was to sequence it as a coherent album, which only really became possible through Livio Beroggi’s incredible remastering work. Getting the chance to present these songs in this way has been truly wonderful, and having the label stand by and co-sign our work has meant so much to us personally.

And how have you found recording and promoting an album during these strange times?
Day to day, it’s honestly felt quite abstract, which is tough. But it’s also been a blessing to have this project to work on, especially with such wonderful collaborators. Having the remastered tracks coming in from Livio, or seeing Nestan Mghebrishvili’s artwork and design take shape – those were moments of total joy. Promotion’s been an unusual vibe (when is it not?), and at times it’s felt like folks have had more energy to get down and engage with something – and at times less. And that’s okay, we’re all trying to survive right now. But we’re grateful for where our work’s been given space or shared, and we’re particularly appreciative of Reckless Yes’s efforts to get our stuff further out there.

How have you been connecting with your audience and other musicians during the pandemic?
It’s been v. v. difficult. We’ve definitely missed the energy of a scene, of seeing friends do their thing and being inspired by that. The divisiveness of the UK government’s “it’s all up to you now, so fight amongst yourselves!” policies has been especially painful. We haven’t been rehearsing or taking bookings in the pandemic, because that hasn’t been right for us, and that’s still where we’re at. Bitch Hunt put it so well in a recent interview, where they pointed out that “it’s just less visible when people are not-doing-stuff.” Meanwhile, virtual connection has definitely felt more meaningful, whether that’s social media or ZOOM calls.

And has there been anything/anyone specific that has been inspiring you, or helping to motivate you, over the last couple of years?
Absolutely! In terms of craft or artistic practice, artists working in other media have been an increasingly big deal for us in how we approach our work as a band. Over the last few years, that’s included Frida Kahlo, Jean-Michel Basquiat, Diane Arbus. Exploring how someone develops, refines, unpacks, diverges from, expands on the themes in their work is just endlessly interesting – and where you find connection in that, it’s such a precious, beautiful experience. Same goes for how an artist lives their values – lately that’s been writers like Cecil Castellucci, artists like Bianca Xunise, and the folks over at wildly rad UK record label Amateur Pop Incorporated. And on that level of inner work, cultural workers like adrienne maree brown, Layla F. Saad, and Prentis Hemphill offer invaluable insights and pointed, necessary challenges. All their podcasts come highly recommended by yr local sheridans.

As a band keen to call out sexism and racism, how do you feel the industry is for new artists at the moment? Do you feel much has changed over the last few years?
There’s always values at work in any piece of art, the same way there’s always values at work in any conversation. And because of the overt and more transparent experience of fascism in recent years, we’ve felt the need to be increasingly direct and open about our values, as in songs like ‘I Don’t Wanna Be Dismembered‘. It’s also important to pair that kind of projection with practice and embodiment. And, while we name and explore the things we can speak to, we’re also trying to do the work around the things we don’t directly experience. As far as what we’ve seen lately, it’s a mixed bag(uette). Something we’ve noticed is a kind of values drift, particularly when it comes to specific intersections of marginalised identity (eg. white bands only paying attention to gender as a lens). And it’s hard to know how much it’s just the predictable co-option of whatever’s on-trend, or something else. Dr. Angela Y. Davis reminds us that even if it is just co-option, it means we’re getting somewhere. And at the same time, one of the biggest shifts has been witnessing the start of mainstream conversations that were previously totally off the table, specifically with regards to structural racism. And, as so many of those who have spoken truth to power have always underscored, one of the things that keeps us going is the idea that folks younger than us won’t have to go through the same things we have over the last decade or so.

And, as we’re a new music focused site, are there any other upcoming artists or bands that you’d recommend we check out?
A list! Shilpa Ray (‘70s New York vibes for the modern day, best scream outside of metal), Naz & Ella (grunge + indie + folk), Breakup Haircut (spooky pop-punk), Jemma Freeman and The Cosmic Something (cutting edge post-punk), Whitelands (shoegaze lives!), sweetbellechobaby (radical atmospheric pop), Bitch Hunt (emotionally real indie punk).

(Great choices – all GIHE faves!)

Finally, in addition to the release of your album, what does the rest of 2021 have in store for th’sheridans?
Anxiety and hibernation! We do have our next release already in the can though (a li’l late ‘80s throwback), and we’re currently figuring out which thematic batch of songs to get into next.

Massive thanks to th’sheridans for answering our questions!

Pieces Of General, the new compilation album from th’sheridans, is out now via Reckless Yes. Buy it on bandcamp now.

INTERVIEW: Lilith Ai

Self-described as “a singer-songwriter who performs poignant tales of modern city life,” Lilith Ai writes relatable guitar tunes exploring turbulent emotions in a humble and engaging way. When I catch up with her via Zoom, she’s sat on a comfy looking bean-bag in the music shed which she’s currently sound proofing. She tells me she’s spent her morning at a power-pump weightlifting exercise class, because she’s keen to feel healthy again after “basically just eating pies” throughout the Covid-19 pandemic. We laugh about how everyone buried their feelings in take-away food instead of dealing with the mental toll of multiple lockdowns in 2020.

Modest, self-deprecating but incredibly warm and open to talking about all aspects of her life and art, Lilith speaks to me about her recent album, Folk You Hard, her upcoming performance at Loud Women Fest – who just awarded her their prestigious Hercury Prize Award – and what drives her to keep creating music despite the many challenges that life brings…

Hello Lilith! Who or what first inspired you to start making music?

I think I’ve always made music, but I don’t know what first inspired me. I wanted to be a writer when I was very little but I’m dyslexic so I couldn’t really write anything. I just liked to sing songs. I don’t think I’m naturally good at music. I know I have a nice sounding voice, but some people can pick up a song and play it on guitar the first time they hear it on the radio and I’m not like that. I wish I was like that! I’m actually better at art than I am at music, but I don’t enjoy it as much as I enjoy making music.

I grew up with a lot of stress because I had so many learning disabilities, so school was difficult and my family life was really mad. I did a lot of extracurricular things that were not music. I had dance classes, I went to Brownies and Girl Guides, I did track running and I had art. Music was a thing that I didn’t tell anybody about. I just kind of did it in my brain and made songs up!

I’ve had a weird year where I’ve been doing a lot of therapy and I’ve had so many revelations about myself. I’ve had to kind of white knuckle most of my life until quite recently.

So, how did I get into music? I don’t know. I just I did it secretly until I joined a band. I was in a lot of really terrible bands and they all kept falling apart. So, in 2015/16 I just decided to do my own solo project. I didn’t really know how to play guitar at the time, so I was a bit shit. I was completely oblivious to that at the time though. I didn’t really know how terrible my playing was until I started playing on my own! I was like, “I need to be way better than this,” so I did a lot of gigs. A lot. Probably hundreds that were just not very good, but I don’t think it matters. I think a little bit of delusion is good as a musician. It doesn’t really matter how good you are at the start; you’ll get good eventually if you keep doing it.

Perseverance is key! You mentioned being in therapy, would you say creating your music has helped you make sense of things that have happened to you as well? Do you find writing songs can be quite cathartic for you? It seems that way on your most recent album, Folk You Hard.

The reason why I make music is because I want to connect with people. Because of the way I grew up, I really, really struggled to make friends. I have a best friend now, but it took me five or so years to really believe that she liked me when we were growing up, even though she wanted to hang out with me and called me every day! So, with music, I wanted to do something so that I could say “do you feel like this? Because I feel like this,” to other people.

Music is also a way of escaping for me too. Some of my songs are more like me being how I wish I was, rather than how I actually was at the time. You can still see me in them, but songs like ‘Rude Grrrl’ and ‘Riot’ are more what I want to be like. I want to be confident or strong. I think there was definitely a thing when I was writing Folk You Hard, where these things slowly toppled into who and where I am now. That album is just me being very frank about stuff. That’s the most frank I’ve ever been and I think I’m going to continue to try and do that.

But sometimes, I’m not thinking like that and I write stuff really quickly. I have a notebook that I put all of my ideas in and then when I’ve got enough ideas, I’ll sit down and be like, “okay, I’ll write a song now” and I’ll write it in half an hour. I wrote the song ‘Michaela Coel’ after watching her series I May Destroy You. I’ve always liked her ever since she did Chewing Gum and I did actually meet her at an event a couple of years ago. We talked about stuff and she was so amazing. So I just sat down and wrote that song. It doesn’t always happen like that, but sometimes it does.

That’s so cool, I think ‘Michaela Coel’ is one of my favourite songs on your album. Do you have a favourite song? If so, why?

I really like the single that I’m about to drop, ‘Bloodlines’, which is the first one I wrote for that record. But I think my favourite is probably the last song I wrote which is ‘F’. It was very easy to write and I think I’m saying stuff on it that I haven’t really said before. They’re both kind of songs about my Mum, which is weird, because I have an estranged relationship with my Mum at the moment. But ‘F’ could also be about so many things. It’s written in the key of F, it’s about family and it’s also ‘F’ for “fuck” and for Folk You Hard.

Another song I love on the record is ‘Bare Radical’. I really like the lyric “I’m not bitter / I’m better” – it almost sounds like a mantra…

I mean, I’m not sure I am better, but I’m trying to be! It’s a continuous thing. That song is about dating a person who was just like, not the person. But I try to remember that everybody is on their own journey, I think very few people deliberately do things to be a dick. Though I know I need to get away from that person, I try not to be bitter…but it is hard!

The only way that you can “win” is to be like, “Okay, I’m actually genuinely going to be happy now” – that trumps everything. This is going to sound a bit weird, but I’ve wanted to join a gym for ages, but it’s so expensive and I knew it would take up a big chunk of my money. But I realised, if I was dating someone and they wanted that gym membership – I would probably give them the money, instead of spending it on myself. So, to be like “Oh, I need this! I’m going to buy this for myself because I deserve it,” you know? I want to look after myself and that is actually me “winning.” It definitely is a long process, I’m not 100% there yet, I’ve got a long way to go. All we can do is try to be better, to get away from toxic people and encourage toxic people to get help.

That’s genuinely good advice.

You’re going to be performing at Loud Women Festival on 18th September. There are so many GIHE faves performing too – ARXX, Vulpynes, Breakup Haircut, MIRI, Deux Furieuses, Jelly Cleaver, GENN, Sister Ghost – what bands are you looking forward to seeing on the day?

I think this is my fourth time playing the festival and I can’t wait. I really want to see Jelly Cleaver. I haven’t seen her play for ages. I really like her as a person too. MIRI, who I have seen lots of times and who I love, she’s really good. I’m excited to see ARXX as well. There are a lot of bands on the line-up who I don’t know, so I’m looking forward to hearing them as well. I’ll be there in the morning with soooo much merch – I’ve made my own bracelets and everything – so I’ll be there all day.

Great stuff. Finally, as we’re a new music blog, we always ask artists to recommend a few bands they’ve recently been listening to. Any suggestions?

One is Nathan Day who I really got into last year and I just think their music is amazing. It’s literally like someone reached into my head and made the music that I want to make. Probably my favourite song is ‘Fade Like You’ but they’re all good songs.

Pom Pom Squad are also so, so, so good! And Eliza Shaddad. I really want to go on tour with her!

Thanks to much to Lilith for chatting with us!

Follow Lilith Ai on bandcamp, Spotify, Twitter, Facebook & Instagram

Grab a ticket to see her live at Loud Women Fest 5 here

Introducing Interview: Taylor Blackwell

Having previously captured our attention as part of LA based the tenth (a band she co-founded with actor Harley Quinn Smith), singer-songwriter and multi-instrumentalist Taylor Blackwell has now announced her debut solo album – In Memory of Haroldine –, set for release in September. Ahead of the album’s release, latest single ‘B.S. Poetry‘ juxtaposes an uptempo shimmering musicality with an angsty lyrical reflection on the broken promises of early romance. Oozing twinkling accordion refrains alongside Blackwell’s honeyed vocals, it’s a perfectly catchy, saccharine sweet sonic delight interwoven with the gritty, bitter angst of heartbreak.

We had a chat with Taylor to find out more about the new album, her inspirations, DIY punk spirit and more. Have a read!

Hi Taylor, welcome to Get In Her Ears! Can you tell us a bit about yourself?
Hi Get In Her Ears – thank you, I’m such a fan! I grew up in a town called Jupiter, which is in South Florida. I’m about to celebrate five years of living in Los Angeles! I moved here a few days after turning eighteen to pursue my creative passions. In addition to music, I act, write, and make visual art. I have three younger siblings – Owen, Charlie, and Drew – and two cat children, Fairey and Pixie. 

What initially inspired you to start creating music?
I’ve had a love for music my whole life. I did a little musical theatre growing up, and would sing all the time. I took piano and guitar lessons as a kid, and have taught myself a few other instruments over the years. I always had it in the back of my mind that I’d some day work on making my own music. When I went to a punk show at The Smell with my friend Harley Quinn Smith, we were both taken by the experience, the energy in the room, and felt it was a no brainer to start our own band… It’s one of the things I love the most about punk – the DIY nature of it. Anyone can, and should, make music if they want to! Shortly after attending this show, Harley and I formed our band “the tenth.” Now I’m working on solo music, which has been a whole other amazing adventure.

You’ve recently released your shimmering new single  ‘B.S Poetry’ – can you tell us a bit about this and what it’s about?
Yes! I wrote ‘B.S. Poetry’ about a guy who wrote some real shitty poems about me. The lyrics of the song are pretty true to my experience. I kept running into this person around Los Angeles. We played what I can best describe as cat and mouse games for about a year. The line “We run in the same circles, you run circles around me” sums up a lot of it! I was less annoyed, and more humoured by the situation, so I wrote a song about it. You think you could upset me with your poems? HA. The music video for the song is both a fuck you and a love letter to the poet boys of my life… And yes, there’s unfortunately been a few! 

Your debut solo album, In Memory of Haroldine, is set for release next month – are you able to tell us a bit about this? Are there any particular themes running throughout the album?
I am incredibly excited to be releasing this album on 1st September, on my 23rd birthday!! I recorded in Long Beach, California with my producer Davey Warsop. I had worked with Davey once before – he was a sound engineer on a live session that the tenth did through Hurley. Working together on this album was a truly special experience, and I feel forever bonded with Davey because of it. There are two main themes in this album – saying goodbye, and enjoying the present moment. If you listen to the lyrics you’ll see that there is a running narrative in the album, but I also want people to have their own take away.

And how have you found recording and promoting an album during these strange times?
I recorded wearing a mask almost the entire time – only taking it off to record vocals in the booth by myself. It was bizarre, but having this creative project to put my energy towards during such uncertain times was a true blessing. We recorded a few days each month for several months, which was also a gift because it gave me something to look forward to each month. I could also work more on the album in between recording sessions. Promotion is odd. I’m not the most social media savvy person, but I am trying to embrace it to help get the word out about the album! I believe in this album so much, and feel confident that it will find the people it’s meant to find. Going back to punk for a second, I love DIY and Riot Grrrrl – specifically the element of making your own posters/zines – I’ve been doing that for my music in an effort to spread the word. The day ‘B.S. Poetry’ came out, I went on an hour long walk and passed out flyers I made for the song on the street. I’ll be doing the same for when the album is released!! 

We love your twinkling folk-inspired sounds, but who would you say are your main musical influences?
The main influences for this particular album were Neutral Milk Hotel and Belle & Sebastian. My producer and I really looked to them for guidance when creating the sound and feel of the album. I love NMH’s In The Aeroplane Over The Sea, because it’s such a rollercoaster. I wanted the same for In Memory of Haroldine, to have a soft song, then a loud punk song, then go back to more singer-songwriter-y; I even have a song that’s pretty theatrical. Other influences include Cat Stevens, Paul Simon, Leonard Cohen (who I actually reference in the song ‘Never Could’), Conor Oberst, Elliott Smith, The Mountain Goats, The Shangri-Las, Sleater-Kinney, Girlpool, and a million others!

We’re also big fans of your other project, the band the tenth! How did you all come together to make music, and are there plans to record more together in future?
Harley and I started the band after going to a punk show together. We recorded the EP, Boys We Don’t Know and album Dunes on our own, then later added Eden Hain (guitar) to the band. I had met Harley and Eden when I was about 16/17 through our mutual friend Kiernan Shipka. I do hope we’ll make more music together! Right now we are on a hiatus, but we’ll see what the future holds. We’re all still very good friends, and Harley and Eden have been so supportive about my solo music. Eden works at Junior High LA (where I will be having my album release concert on 4th September), so they have been helping me plan the big day! 

How do you feel the music industry is for new artists at the moment – would you say it’s difficult to get noticed?
Hmm… I’m not sure. TikTok adds an interesting new element – I know a lot of new musicians are finding their audience through that platform. Being able to play live shows is such an incredible way to build an audience, and to develop your sound. Right now there’s not a whole lot of live shows going on, which for sure adds a challenge. 

How have you been connecting with your audience and other musicians during the pandemic?
To be honest, I really haven’t to a large degree! Most of the pandemic I spent focused on making the album. I occasionally shared sneak peaks from inside the studio on Instagram. Now that I’ve got this big release coming up, I hope to reconnect with my audience in a larger way. I will be playing my album release concert at Junior High on the 4th September, which will be vaccinated only/masks required. I’m hoping for a good turn out. With the Delta Variant, it could be my first and last show for a while! 

And has there been anything/anyone specific that has been inspiring you, or helping to motivate you, throughout these difficult times?
I just read the book Super Attractor, and found that to be incredibly inspiring and motivating. I’m lucky to have amazing teachers in Claire McKeown, Jeffrey Dockweiler, and Nell Teare, who have helped me work towards my goals and have been wonderful confidantes. And I have some of the best of friends and collaborators – Noelle Cope, Chase Cope, Dempsey Bryk, Fin Argus, Sean Fortier, Davey Warsop, Brent Mata, my bandmates Shoshana Brustin, Andrew Capuano, and Ryo Nakamura, and many others… I am blessed!

As we’re a new music focused site, are there any other upcoming artists or bands that you’d recommend we check out?
I am a huge fan of Claud – anyone on Phoebe Bridgers’ label Saddest Factory Records is worth checking out. My teacher Claire’s band Honey Child Choir is about to release their new album Starving Hearts. And I’m a big fan of Rosie Tucker, who opened for the tenth a couple years ago. 

Finally, in addition to the release of your album, what does the rest of 2021 have in store for you?
Being a creative, and with the pandemic on top of it, one can never be quite sure of what the future holds! I recently wrapped a movie called Dangerous Cult. I’m hoping to be more on sets – both as an actor and also directing more music videos. I have a few things in the works, but nothing I can really talk about yet. I’ll keep you posted!

Massive thanks to Taylor answering our questions!  

In Memory Of Haroldine, the upcoming new album from Taylor Blackwell, is set for release on 1st September. Find out more here.