Track Of The Day: SPELLLING – ‘Under The Sun’

SPELLLING (aka Chrystia Cabral) has shared her new single ‘Under The Sun’ – the second offering from her forthcoming album Mazy Fly, due for release on 22nd February via Sacred Bones. The track is a six minute blend of dance-inducing beats and smooth vocals, which SPELLLING says form a “cosmic prayer for good fortune”.

Chrystia began experimenting with music production in 2015 in an effort to carry on the creative legacy of a lost loved one. She released her first LP Pantheon of Me, in September 2017 via Bandcamp. Drawing heavily from messages in her dreams, the result was a “divine soul music; with a unique vision, inhabiting a world of its own”.

On her second record Mazy Fly, and new single ‘Under The Sun’, SPELLLING has developed her dreamy soundscape further: celebrating the “invisible energies that come together over time to create something radically new, like the birth of a star”. Check out the new track below and follow SPELLLING on Facebook for more updates.

Pre-order SPELLING’s new album Mazy Fly via Sacred Bones here.

Photo credit: Catalina Xavlena

Kate Crudgington
@KCBobCut

LIVE: The Soft Moon (w/ HIDE) – Scala, 28.11.18

Discomfort and insecurity found it’s niche on Scala’s stage on Wednesday night, as HIDE and The Soft Moon both flourished under the venue’s smoke and strobe lights. With a sound and a stage set-up reminiscent of the likes of Nine Inch Nails, The Cure & Fever Ray, both bands performed an intense and manic set, fueled by the attention of their captivated crowd.

Opening duo HIDE were a force to be reckoned with. Together, Seth Sher &
Heather Gabel create clear, vital, smothering waves of industrial electronic sound. Gabel’s warped but powerful vocals were accompanied by hair flicks and body spasms, which made for compelling viewing. She took barely a breath between songs, but the audience applauded anyway, as she stylishly staggered through the smoke and strobes with perilous purpose. Tracks like ‘Close Your Eyes’ – taken from HIDE’s debut album Castration Anxiety – echoed around the venue with angst-ridden intensity. Despite knowing only a handful of tracks, we were hooked from start to finish.

Headliner The Soft Moon (aka Luis Vasquez) delivered his most powerful set to date in the capital this year. His clear vocals, and the raw energy of his live band kept the set flowing seamlessly from track to track. Highlights included ‘Criminal’, the title track of his latest album, as well ‘Like A Father’ – the sound of which we can’t get out of our heads. Whilst his performance supporting My Bloody Valentine at Robert Smith’s Meltdown Festival earlier this year was compelling, The Soft Moon’s music is best appreciated in an intimate venue like Scala. The accompanying light show made it all the more fascinating; amidst flashes, spotlights, and strobes the crowd happily jumped around to ‘Burn’ and ‘Choke’, and Vasquez fed off their fire.

Despite the complex and often tortured nature of The Soft Moon’s songs, there was no self-flagellation in his delivery on stage. Vasquez performed tracks from his earlier records with the same energy as his latest work, and his confident, energetic performance removed the sense of insecurity that permeates his music. Whether he was face-to-face with his microphone, riffing on his guitar, or pounding the living hell out of a trash can – Vasquez looked entirely at home in his electronic world.

Together, HIDE and The Soft Moon gave primal, urgent, gripping sets on Wednesday night, and we’re eagerly anticipating their return to the UK in 2019.

Follow HIDE and The Soft Moon on Facebook for more updates.

Photo Credit: Marion Costentin

Kate Crudgington
@KCBobCut

Track Of The Day: SPELLLING – ‘Haunted Water’

Sacred Bones signee SPELLLING has shared her new single, the aptly named ‘Haunted Water’ alongside the news she’ll be releasing her new album Mazy Fly on 22nd February in 2019. The track is a spell-binding listen with a sinister context; recounting memories of colonial violence that haunt the historical slave ship routes of the Middle Passage.

SPELLLING (aka Chrystia Cabral) began experimenting with music production in 2015 in an effort to continue the creative legacy of a lost loved one, and released her first record Pantheon of Me, in September 2017 via Bandcamp. Inspired by the messages in her dreams, her sound breaches the void between clarity and obscurity – and latest single ‘Haunted Water’ is a perfect example of this.

Despite the track’s painful but important context, SPELLLING’s soft vocals give the song a softer quality, amidst slow, intense synths and steady beats. She embraces the negative side of human nature, and explores it by blending R&B sensibilities with intriguing electronics.  Listen to ‘Haunted Water’ below and follow SPELLLING on Facebook for more updates.

Pre-order your copy of Mazy Fly here.

Photo credit: Catalina Xavlena

Kate Crudgington
@KCBobCut

LIVE: Zola Jesus – Omeara, London 05.11.18

Zola Jesus stunned her sold out crowd at Omeara on Tuesday night as she appeared shrouded in red, delivering her flawless operatic vocals. Her performance embodied the promise she made during second song ‘Soak’ – “You should know I would never let you down” – and her rendition of the track made our gothic hearts bleed.

She took to the stage after Ah! Kosmos, who performed a stunning one-woman-show in an equally stunning sequin blazer. The Istanbul-born artist gave a masterclass in how to perform electronic music solo, and was the perfect warm up for Zola Jesus’ eager crowd.

Whilst on stage, the Sacred Bones signee said she was “chuffed” to be in “Blighty” and was happy to talk between songs about TV show Nathan Barley and the shortcomings of British Airways (who had lost her guitarist’s luggage earlier that day). Her set was laced with penetrating vocals that rang out across her hypnotised audience, and included an emotive dedication to her Uncle who recently survived a suicide attempt.

The blend of industrial and classical elements in Zola Jesus’ music translated well live, and she was accompanied by a violinist and guitarist for the duration of her set. Her tortured but tentative lyrics on ‘Skin’ and ‘Exhumed’ as well as the hypnotic, off-kilter, bouncing synths on ‘Bound’ provided fans with an eclectic mix of old and new material, and an opportunity for the performer to remove her red cloak, and break the fourth wall towards the close of her set.

Her lyrical lamentations about disconnection are made all the more powerful by her altruistic voice. Recorded, her vocals are striking enough – but to hear them live is confirmation that Zola Jesus truly has a divine set of lungs. If you weren’t there to hear her at Omeara, you missed out on a mesmerising performance from this warped and wonderful artist. A definite live highlight of 2018.

Follow Zola Jesus on Facebook for more updates.

Kate Crudgington
@KCBobCut

Track Of The Day: SPELLLING – ‘Hard To Please’

Brand new Sacred Bones signee SPELLLING (aka Tia Cabral) has shared her latest single ‘Hard To Please’ and unlike its namesake: it’s a cool electronic balm for the ears. The track is accompanied by an intriguing video (produced by Laneya Billingsley aka Billie0cean) which sets out to “animate the fantasies of the heart high on desire”.

‘Hard To Please’ is taken from SPELLLING’s forthcoming 7” of the same name, coupled with ‘My Other Voice’ (a cover of Sparks’ 1979 symphonic disco track), and is set for release on August 3rd. Speaking of the track, SPELLLING says: “‘Hard to Please’ and ‘My Other Voice’ pair together to reflect on bittersweet passions of an obsessive romance; ‘Hard to Please’ swells through the excitement and pain of yearning to please a lover who cannot be satisfied with “eyes of winter” but a promising “heart of spring”.

SPELLLING’s dream-like visions and explorations of divine emotions are sure to please the ears of the passionate and the lovesick. Watch the video for ‘Hard To Please’ below and follow SPELLLING on Facebook for more updates.

Pre-order SPELLLING’s Hard To Please 7” here.

Kate Crudgington
@KCBobCut

LIVE: Hilary Woods – St Pancras Old Church, London 11.06.18

Bitter sweet and deeply affecting; Hilary Woods‘ performance at St. Pancras Old Church provided a startling new insight in to the multi-instrumentalist’s debut record Colt, released via Sacred Bones on 8th June.

Stood behind her keyboard, Woods performed solo for most of her set, with only projected visuals and a violinist to accompany her on a handful of tracks. Her achingly pure voice floated crystal clear across the heads of her congregation, who sat listening in attentive, respectful silence.

Woods’ solo work is far removed from the alternative 90s sounds she helped to create as a member of JJ72. She’s clearly invested a painstaking amount of time and energy in assembling her new album, and the two EPs that preceded it: Night (2014) and Heartbox (2016). Perhaps that’s why she was so nervous performing – something she didn’t admit until the penultimate track – but she had no grounds to be on edge, as her recent singles ‘Inhaler’, ‘Prodigal Dog’ and ‘Black Rainbow’ were all mesmerising, even in their stripped back states.

Footage from her recent videos played out across the back wall of the Church, as Woods performed stunning renditions of Colt tracks ‘Take Him In’, ‘Kith’ and ‘Limbs’ – with the latter standing out due to Woods’ clear, measured vocal delivery. Switching between keys and guitar with ease for specific songs, Woods’ performance style was quiet and introspective; but its impact was one of powerful, all encompassing melancholy.

Whilst Colt is an album about grief, loss and abandonment; we left St Pancras Old Church awash with raw and unexpected emotion, feeling like we’d gained rather than lost something from Woods’ performance (and that’s not just because we bought Colt on vinyl).

Support came from Ben Vine, whose piercing saxophone sounds and loops were an immersive experience not suited to all tastes; but his performance was one you won’t forget in a hurry.

Photo Credit: Joshua Wright

Kate Crudgington
@KCBobCut

PLAYLIST: June 2018

We’re mid-way through 2018, and we’re ready to share another playlist packed with fresh new sounds for your very eager ears! Take some time to scroll through our track selections, hit play on the Spotify link below, and let your ears fill up with the glorious new sounds of June…

Fever Ray – ‘If I Had A Heart’
Fever Ray were one of the headliners of Field Day this year and it could not have been a better end to the festival, hypnotic beats, terrifyingly warped vocals and an explosive stage performance. Gender bending outfits, with reverberating sound all whipped up together by the psychedelic and endorphin inducing visuals. When this track started I lost my mind – wow wow wow. (Tash Walker)

Catgod – ‘Keep My Promises’
Lead by sibling duo Robin and Catherine, Catgod’s new single interweaves swirling folk-tinged melodies with trip-hop inspired beats. As Robin’s soaring vocals are perfectly complemented by Cat’s exquisite harmonies, it showcases the band’s unique musicality in a cinematic soundscape that’ll captivate on first listen. Heartbeat In My Hand, the debut EP from Catgod, is out 22nd June. (Mari Lane)

Dott – ‘Bleached Blonde’
Galway’s Dott have released the perfect single for girls who love sunshine, surfing, and super-catchy garage pop anthems. The track is taken from their upcoming album Heart Swell, which is set to be released via Graveface Records on 8th June. It’s not on Spotify yet, but you can watch the video for it below. (Kate Crudgington)

S4U – ‘Heart’
‘Heart’ is the latest single London-based duo S4U (Something For You) taken from their upcoming Mixtape Heart 2 Say, which will be released via Different Recordings on 6th July. Looking forward to that a lot… I’m loving S4U’s new low-slung R&B experimental electro with some heavy 90s influences. Of the track S4U says “Curved, Parallel conscious, sub conscious, the synergy of heart and mind generates wise choices that benefit all. In other words as you appreciate that which is appreciating you. It is a wonderful thing to hold someone as your object of attention while you feel that G force Roses in Britain” Lovely. (TW)

The Menstrual Cramps – ‘Make Girls Feel Good’
Combining activism with musical prowess, The Menstrual Cramps provide a captivating force that we all need now more than ever.  With their fist-clenching ferocity, racing catchy hooks and a tongue in cheek wit, they create truly infectious punk-rock anthems. And this track is no exception – an epic dose of empowering energy, with lyrics like “you always look like such perfection that you don’t even need to try”, it’ll leave you feeling good and ready to take on the world. And we CANNOT WAIT to see The Menstrual Cramps headline for us at The Finsbury on Friday(ML) 

Slowcoaches – ‘Found Down’
Having previously captured our hearts with the totally epic, anti-toxic-masculinity anthem ‘Complex’, Slowcoaches are back with a new single. Racing with a seething energy, ‘Found Down’ hits your ears with its scuzzy riffs and the raw, angst-driven vocals of Heather Perkins. Oozing an immense, punk-fuelled power, it’s a perfect blast of raging honesty that we need now more than ever. (ML)

Placebo – ‘Scared Of Girls’
I scored tickets to Placebo’s Meltdown gig at Southbank Centre (curated by Robert Smith) and although this will be the fourth time I’ve seen them (quit bragging Kate), my heart is still beating double time with joy at the prospect of potentially hearing this track live. I imagine this song title accurately describes how most men feel when they see me dancing to it on a night out… (KC)

The Joy Formidable – ‘Dance Of The Lotus’
This is the band responsible for getting me in to alternative music a decade ago, so when I heard new single ‘Dance Of The Lotus’, my inner 18 year old imploded. They’re playing Robert Smith’s Meltdown Festival on the same day as NIN, and they’ll be playing at one of my favourite venues, The Lexington, in August. I missed out on tickets for both, so if anyone wants to help a girl out…I write good reviews… (KC)

Hilary Woods – ‘Inhaler’
‘Inhaler’ is the first single from Hilary Woods’ upcoming debut solo album Colt, which is set to be released via my favourite label Sacred Bones Records on 8th June. It’s a pensive, delicate, melancholy track about her struggles with homesickness, and it’s going to sound beautiful live when ringing out against the walls of St Pancras Old Church on 11th June. (KC)

VTR – ‘Soul To Skin’
‘Soul To Skin’ is taken from Brixton duo VTR’s recently released EP of the same name via Dream Diary. So sultry, so smooth, so seductive. This track reverberates around my ears giving me so much audible pleasure, very excited to hear more from these two in the future. (TW)

Barrie – ‘Tal Uno’
The new single from Brooklyn’s Barrie, ‘Tal Uno’ is filled with jangly hooks and swooning vocals, creating a totally dreamy, twinkling soundscape. As glistening synth-filled melodies glide alongside glitchy beats, it’s impossible not to float away in the shimmering, psychedelic haze that Barrie create. (ML)

ELA Lindsey – ‘Healing Me Slow’
This is the debut track from Nashville’s singer-songwriter ELA Lindsey who found her musical passion later in life starting at the age of 29. She says that by releasing this single she hopes to inspire other women to start their artistic journeys later than the typical industry standard usually allows. ‘Healing Me Slow’ has been firmly stuck in my head over the last couple of weeks, starting with her sweet and gentle vocals, then breaking down into this dark electro synth laden TUNE. With all the hooks and loops I could ever want. INTO IT. (TW)

Tigercats – ‘Candy’s Tailor’
Tigercats’ new single ‘Candy’s Tailor’ is filled with twinkling, jangly melodies and uptempo, calypso-like beats. Flowing with raw vocals and rich layers of sound, it’s an utterly uplifting summer anthem, and I’m already getting pretty excited about seeing these guys at Indietracks Festival next month! Pig City, the new album from Tigercats, is out now. (ML)

Nine Inch Nails – ‘Ringfinger’
I only discovered the true glory of NINs last year (always late to the party, when will I learn?) but I’m seeing Trent Reznor & co twice this month – at Meltdown Festival & The Royal Albert Hall – and I am nerve-shreddingly excited. ‘Ringfinger’ is one of my favourite tracks on 1989’s Pretty Hate Machine, and although they’re unlikely to play it live – I’ll still be bouncing off the walls in anticipation leading up to the gigs. (KC)

Photo Credit: Slowcaoches shot by Priti Shikotra