Track Of The Day: Hatchie – ‘Quicksand’

Upon announcing the release of her new album coming up in April, Australian dream-pop artist, Harriette Pilbeam – aka Hatchie – has now shared lead single, ‘Quicksand’.

As Giving The World Away serves as Hatchie’s second full-length album, ‘Quicksand’ highlights an enrichment in Hatchie’s already catchy and infectious writing. Diving in head first, it deals with the realisation that, as people, we may never be satisfied. Lyrically, Hatchie catches herself in a cycle of ungratefulness and guilt surrounding elements of her life that are on paper, seemingly going quite well. As her realisations begin to pile up, it is natural to relate to the quickness of dissatisfaction as it discolours other areas of our minds with a broad paint brush. Of the track, Pilbeam explains:

“I was feeling guilty and ungrateful for not being happy about a few different things in my life that were technically going well. I had to work through some tough learned thought processes and emotions that had been working away for years to try to understand how to be happy with my present, and stop fixating on my past and future. The video digs deeper into showing this juxtaposition of such sadness and anger despite being surrounded by glamour and grandeur.”

Creating a soundscape that is bold yet tasteful, luscious synth pads and electronic drums pack a punch with a silkily smooth allure, while ‘Quicksand’ flows at just the right speed. Fusing together the inward emotions of classic shoegaze with the sparkling sophistication of modern dream-pop, ‘Quicksand’ feels crystal clear both lyrically and sonically, whilst bathing the ears in a sea of Hatchie’s smooth vocals and reverberated instruments.

All that Hatchie touches becomes utterly euphoric and ‘Quicksand’ is no exception.

Written with GRAMMY-nominated Olivia Rodrigo collaborator Dan Nigro, ‘Quicksand’ is out now. Watch the visuals shimmer to the blissful sounds in the glamorous Nathan Castiel-directed new video here:

Giving The World Away, the upcoming new album from Hatchie, is set for release on 22nd April via Secretly Canadian. Pre-order here.

Jill Goyeau
@jillybxxn

LISTEN: VERO – ‘Concrete’ (Shame cover)

A swirling, provocative cover of British punk band Shame’s gritty original track, Stockholm-based trio VERO have shared their latest single ‘Concrete’. Released via PNKSLM Recordings as the second half of their upcoming 7″ ‘BEG!/Concrete’, which is set for physical release on 14th January, the track is a heady mix of distorted guitars and alluring vocals.

Formed of teenage friends Julia Boman & Amanda Eddestål and Clara Gyökeres who they befriended whilst DJ’ing on the Stockholm nightclub circuit, VERO create music inspired by an eclectic range of influences. Their main purpose, aside from creating anthems with shades of 90s alternative icons Sonic Youth, is to challenge the idea of what a modern guitar band is supposed to be. With their cover of Shame’s ‘Concrete’, the trio have further proved their ability to antagonise and intrigue listeners with their brooding rhythms and crystalline, urgent vocals.

“We’ve never made a cover before, so when we were thinking of a fun B-side for the 7”, we decided to pick a song and a band that we loved,” the band explain. “We’ve been fans of Shame since ‘The Lick’, so it was an easy choice. The original ‘Concrete’ is a high-powered song; energetic and fast. We decided to take it down a whole lot, and then accelerate the intensity for the second half of the song. We had only 2 days to arrange, record and mix the track, which must’ve been a record for us. It was done in super-speed with no second thought, and we love the result.”

Listen to ‘Concrete’ below.

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Photo Credit: Hanna Rubensson

Kate Crudgington
@KCBobCut

VIDEO PREMIERE: Pixie Cut Rhythm Orchestra – ‘Empty Envelope’

A disarming reflection on the emotional resilience that’s required in the wake of a bad decision, Dublin-based trio Pixie Cut Rhythm Orchestra shared their single ‘Empty Envelope’ via Anon Records in September last year. The brooding, shoegazey lament was inspired by a dream that vocalist & guitarist Sarah Deegan had about receiving an empty letter in the post, and today (12th Jan) the band have shared an accompanying video, shot & edited by Irish artist Hollie Gilson, further exploring the song’s narrative of unsaid things.

We caught up with Sarah to talk about creating the new video, how Pixie Cut Rhythm Orchestra first came to meet and what we can expect from the band in 2022…

Can you remember who or what inspired you to start making your own music?

I remember CDs. I loved the tactile nature of it; putting the CD on and flicking through the lyric booklet while listening, finding your own meaning in the songs. I remember listening to the whole album and not just one song. I remember the music channels on TV, the emo ones of course. I’ll never forget the first time I saw the music video for Evanescence ‘Bring Me To Life’ or Paramore’s ‘Misery Business’.

Neither will we, that’s some iconic 00s imagery. For anyone who doesn’t know, can you explain how Pixie Cut Rhythm Orchestra first met?

The band has changed about 9 times since its original conception, so it’s kind of hard to say, but I first met Danni about 5 years ago through being friends with her brother. I was in their house and mentioned needing a drummer for some college performance thing I was doing. He said it to her at the kitchen table, and she said that she was up for it. About 20 minutes later I could hear Danni out in the shed playing the song. She’s just a legend. On bass, we’ve recently enlisted Sarah Michelle, who is well known for her guitar playing skills. She’s amazing at bass too.

You’ve teamed up with artist Hollie Gilson (who directed the video for your previous single ‘I didn’t love you when I said I did and I don’t now”) to create the video for ‘Empty Envelope’. Talk us through some of the highlights of working with Hollie again…

Me and Hollie are really good friends, so that makes the process a lot easier. We always do 4 or 5 drafts before a video is final. We spend time watching it, we show others, and consider their feedback. It’s important to have people around us that we can bounce off. This video is a lot more abstract than the last one, there’s no clear timeline in it. We focused more on letting the imagery tell the story.

When you released the single back in 2021, you said that the image of the ‘Empty Envelope’ was inspired by a dream you had, and the lyrics to the track are based around the “cyclical nature of bad decisions.” Talk us through how you chose to reflect these things in the accompanying video…

The start of the video is pretty much exactly like the dream. In the dream, I got a letter in the post. The envelope was painted with swirls of blue and pink. It was the most beautiful envelope I had ever seen. It was from my ex, I could see their name and return address in the corner. I opened it and it was completely blank. Just a really nice looking envelope with absolutely nothing inside. I thought that was a good metaphor for the relationship.

We used wringing hands in the video to portray anxiety and nervous energy. The protagonist attempts to write a response to the empty letter, but this only leads to more frustration. Frustrated and alone, they take their piles of paper and burn them, along with the letter.

The track is an ode to moving on, and this is reflected with the imagery of the train. But moving yourself physically doesn’t change anything, in a new place the cycle of bad decisions continues. It takes something a bit more dramatic (like burning everything) to really break a pattern.

PCRO are working on a debut album at the moment. What details can you tell us about the record?

We’ve been working on this album for the last 2 years with Sean Montgomery Dietz, who is an insanely talented producer/engineer/musician. We’re recording mainly in Crossroads, a studio owned by Shane Tobler in Kilkenny. Parts of the album were also recorded in Dublin, at the Annesley House, and in Clare and Drogheda. We teamed up with some really talented musicians who played orchestral instruments on a couple of tracks, Ali Comerford on violin and Karima Dillon El-Toukhy on flute. A combination which I can only describe as majestic.

Most of the songs were written in Mayo, where I’m from. The album takes you on a journey through growing up, the confrontation of idealism and the real world, asserting your independence and getting your heart broken. It’s an honest reflection on the confusion of youth, and talks openly with both sensitivity and cynicism.

We’re really taking our time with this, and I can tell you that, unlike a lot of new albums, every song is a proper song. Long songs, with long titles, that don’t really care for the modern lack of attention span. There has been some debate about whether or not the album will be uploaded to Spotify.

That sounds great, we can’t wait to hear it. Aside from releasing the album, what are your hopes and ambitions for PCRO for 2022?

To play as many shows as the pandemic permits, to just keep doing what we’re doing.

Finally, are there any bands or artists you’re listening to who you’d like to recommend we check out?

Another Anon Records artist to watch this year is OG CNT & the 1240. OG CNT is a WhatsApp famous counter-cultural anti-hero. Tracks like ‘HATE’ and ‘Everybody that I know’ are unforgettable. His album, The Memoirs of OG CNT, will be out this year too.

Thanks to Sarah for answering our questions!
Watch the new video for ‘Empty Envelope’ below.

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Photo Credit/Video Still: Hollie Gilson

Kate Crudgington
@KCBobCut

Track Of The Day: Softcult – ‘Gaslight’

An urgent, shadowy guitar tune exploring the “sinking feeling” of self doubt in an unbalanced relationship, Canadian duo Softcult have shared their latest single ‘Gaslight’. Taken from their forthcoming EP Year of the Snake, which is set for release on 4th February via Easy Life Records, the track is a melodic caution to listeners, gently encouraging them to recognise the unacceptable patterns of behaviour described as “gaslighting.”

Formed of Ontario-based twins Phoenix and Mercedes Arn Horn, Softcult cut their teeth playing live shows in their local town of Kitchener, before moving on to bigger audiences on the North American tour circuit. Their experiences of playing and working within a male-dominated industry formed the foundation for their current sound, which is born from the desire to reject toxic standards of femininity, challenge misogynistic behaviour and embrace a more equal world. Latest single ‘Gaslight’ continues this narrative, with its poignant lyrics, yearning dual vocals and swirling guitar riffs.

“We wrote this song about gaslighting and how it really messes with your head and your perception of reality,” guitarist & vocalist Mercedes explains. “Being in a relationship that constantly makes you question your decisions and actions, your feelings and emotions, even your soundness of mind. It’s a tactic that many abusers and groomers will use to tear down your defences and make you easier to manipulate. We wanted to raise awareness of this manipulation technique, so that whoever hears the song will be able to recognize those red flags if they encounter that kind of behaviour.”

Watch the video for ‘Gaslight’ below.

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Softcult UK Tour Dates 2022
Thursday, February 17th – Crofters – Bristol
Friday, February 18th – The Victoria – Birmingham
Saturday, February 19th – Heartbreakers – Southampton
Sunday, February 20th – The Key Club – Leeds
Tuesday, February 22nd – The Garage (Attic Bar) – Glasgow
Wednesday, February 23rd – The Deaf Institute – Manchester
Thursday, February 24th – Camden Assembly – London

Kate Crudgington
@KCBobCut