Introducing Interview: Kidsmoke

Having played at SXSW earlier this year, as well as receiving support from the likes of The Line Of Best Fit and BBC 6 Music’s Steve Lamacq, welsh band Kidsmoke have now shared infectious new single ‘She Takes You Under’. A dreamy and uplifting slice of shoegaze-tinged indie pop, it marks them out as definite ones to watch.

We caught up with Sophie from the band to find out more…

Hi Kidsmoke, welcome to Get In Her Ears! Can you tell us a bit about the band?
Hey! Sophie here, I play lead guitar and sing backing vocals in Kidsmoke – thanks for having us.

How did you initially all get together and start creating music?
Lance (lead vocals/guitar) and James (bass/vocals) met when they were four at primary school and have been in bands together since they were teenagers. I grew up not too far away from them, so when they were looking for a lead guitarist a few years ago, a mutual friend put me forward. A few months later, the drummer left to take on a new job and I drafted in Ash, who I met at uni and knew would be a perfect fit!

Your new single ’She Takes You Under’ is out very soon – can you tell us what it’s all about?
‘She Takes You Under’ is a dream-pop mini-epic and has been a live favourite of ours for a while now as it’s so much fun to play. It’s definitely influenced by an ’80s aesthetic, which you can hear in the jangly guitars, synths and rhythms. You can hear in it our love for groups like The Cure, Prefab Sprout and Wild Nothing. Lyrically, the song is about dealing with your demons in order to move forward; being at odds with yourself and being aware that issues need addressing, but feeling reluctant to go back down the rabbit hole.

 

You’ve been compared to the likes of Bombay Bicycle Club and Sunflower Bean, but who would you say are your main musical influences?
There are a lot of influences between the four of us. We all have quite varied tastes but are ultimately just completely obsessed with music and are glued to Spotify 99% of the time. I’d say major influences on Kidsmoke would be The Beatles (which is where our love of vocal harmonies comes from), The Smiths, Kate Bush, David Bowie and Wilco. Songwriting is really important to us, hopefully you can hear that in our music, which means that we’re always trying to write something that would be interesting to us if we were listening as an outsider.

How is your local music scene? Do you go to see lots of live music?
We’re quite lucky to be pretty close to Manchester and Liverpool, which tend to be where touring bands go for the bigger venues. We are based in Wrexham, North Wales which is home to FOCUS Wales music festival and conference, which takes place every year in the town. We feel super proud to have FOCUS on our doorstep, they’re doing such great work with putting Welsh music on the map and it just keeps getting bigger and better. We recently joined them and several other Welsh bands to showcase at SXSW, which was an amazing experience!

And what can fans expect from your live shows?
Loads of energy, some questionable dancing (from me…) and the happiest drummer you’ll ever see.

As we’re a new music focused site, are there any new/upcoming bands or artists you’d recommend we check out?
We’d definitely recommend checking out Denuo, Seazoo, Enni The Little Brother, Baby Brave and if you haven’t already (you probably have) we’re all big fans of Boy Azooga. Personally, I’ve been digging out a load of old Sleater Kinney stuff in anticipation for their new album – can’t wait for that!

And how do you feel the music industry is for new bands at the moment – would you say it’s difficult to get noticed?
It’s certainly not easy, the industry isn’t in the same place as it was even a few years ago, but we believe in what we do and we have loads of fun doing it. It’s easy to get bogged down and frustrated about progress, but you just have to try and take the positives as they come. For example, we’re just adding the finishing touches to our debut album at the moment, which we’ve done pretty much independently because we figured that if we wanted it to happen then we could make it happen. Also, being part of Kidsmoke has meant that we’ve been to places and met people we never would have otherwise, so it’s worth the hard work for that alone.

Finally, what does the rest of 2019 have in store for Kidsmoke?
We’re playing a special showcase for Big Indie’s Big Nights in London on 12th June, which we’re really excited for as we are releasing ‘She Takes You Under’ in conjunction with them. We’ll be doing a bunch of gigs over the summer and finalising the release details for our debut album. We’re so excited to release the album, it’s been a long road but we’ve had some great support along the way (thanks PRS Foundation, FOCUS Wales and Horizons Cymru) and we can’t wait to share it with everyone!

Massive thanks to Sophie for answering our questions!

‘She Takes You Under’ is out now via Big Indie Records. Catch Kidsmoke live at Two Tribes Brewery on 12th June.

Playlist: Galentine’s Day 2019

Grrrls, it’s the best day of the year: GALENTINE’S DAY! Coined by Parks and Recreation character Leslie Knope (played by Amy Poehler) back in 2010, Galentine’s has since been recognised by girls across the globe, and used as a light-hearted platform to celebrate the girls and womxn who enrich our lives.

We wanted to celebrate it with you in the best way possible: by chucking some of our favourite female-identifying artists on a big old playlist. We’re all about self-love & sisterly (not just cis-terly) love today, so have a read about our choices, then hit play!

Aretha Franklin & Annie Lennox – ‘Sisters Are Doin’ It For Themselves’
Whenever I hear this I immediately want to get up and dance. Two talented women coming together to sing about equality and independence never fails to make me feel good. It was released in 1985, but the lyrics are just as poignant today.
(Kate Crudgington)

The Julie Ruin – ‘Girls Like Us’
I couldn’t make a playlist and not include something from queen Kathleen. And this track from The Julie Ruin seems to sum up our feelings this Galentine’s perfectly. A unifying anthem for all us misfit grrrls, it never fails to pick me up and leave me feeling ready to face the world. 
(Mari Lane)

Argonaut – ‘You Are’
With motivational lyrics such as “You rock, you can change the world, you inspire boys and girls, you can do anything!”, Argonaut’s ‘You Are’ is the perfect motivational pop-punk anthem to unite and empower you and your friends this Galentine’s.
(ML)

Honeyblood – ‘Babes Never Die’
Every time I hear Honeyblood’s Stina sing “Witch if I float, damned if I don’t” on this track it fills me with such a rush of defiance. It’s an anthem for resilience and I regularly return to it on days where I need extra motivation.
(KC)

Sleater Kinney – ‘Modern Girl’
I’m currently reading Carrie Brownstein’s memoir ‘Hunger Makes Me A Modern Girl’ (the title of which is taken from this track) and it is honestly one of the most enjoyable and refreshing reads – she just seems totally down to earth, unpretentious and incredibly witty. And one thing that particularly stands out throughout is (despite encountering various obstacles) the constant unwavering friendship and unity between Brownstein and bandmate Corin Tucker. 
(ML)

Wolf Alice – ‘Beautifully Unconventional’
I dismissed this song the first time I heard it on Visions Of A Life because it’s not as heavy or shoegazey as the majority of Wolf Alice’s other songs. However, when I heard it live and frontwoman Ellie dedicated the song to a female friend, it changed the way I listened to it. Now when I hear the track, I think of how great that gig was, and how great it is to celebrate being a “beautifully unconventional” girl.
(KC)

Panic Pocket – ‘Mr Big’
Inspired by too many formative Sex And The City marathons, ‘Mr Big’ is an uplifting ditty about desperately wanting your close friend to stop defining herself by her relationship status and focus instead on friendship. Strewn with memorable SATC quotes, highlighting the importance of friendship – “Don’t laugh at me but maybe we could be each other’s soulmates” – it’s a luscious slice of indie-pop from the duo. (ML)

Dream Nails – ‘Chirpse Degree Burns’
The mock-anxiety Dream Nails sing with as they lament about being ghosted on this track is so funny and so relatable! This is the perfect Galentine’s (and Valentine’s) Day anthem.
(KC)


The Baby Seals – ‘Guuurl’
With their uplifting charisma and triumphant wit, The Baby Seals consistently champion autonomy and body positivity with their wonderfully tongue-in-cheek offerings. Celebrating all things female and breaking gender boundaries in all the right ways, with ‘Guuurl’ The Baby Seals assure us that we can indeed pee where want to. And we cannot wait to seem them live again for us at The Finsbury celebrating International Women’s Day on 8th March!
(ML)

Miss Eaves – ‘Bush For The Push’
A vibrant celebration of self love, GIHE fave Miss Eaves’ ‘Bush For The Push’ is filled with all her trademark disco-punk energy, reminiscent of queen Peaches. An empowering and wonderfully entertaining call to be free to have the bush you want – “It’s your body, so have a little fun…” – it encourages us to celebrate and take pride in our body, whatever shape or size it may be.
(ML) 

Nova Twins – ‘Hit Girl’
Georgia & Amy share a unique talent for making riotous new music, and they’re a brilliant example of what you can achieve when you’re working alongside your best friend. They’ve yet to release a song I don’t instantly fall in love with, and I can’t wait to catch them live again later this year at Cro Cro Land.
(KC)

Lizzo – ‘Good As Hell’
I just can’t get enough of Lizzo’s joyous, body-positive spirit and immensely infectious offerings. And with motivational lyrics such as “Come now, come dry your eyes; you know you a star, you can touch the sky”, ‘Good As The Hell’ is the ultimate feel-good anthem to sing at the top of your lungs to your besties when they need cheering up.
(ML)

Cyndi Lauper – ‘Time After Time’
With Galentine’s Day originally being coined by the ever inspirational Leslie Knope from Parks And Recreation, I just had to include this classic. ‘Time After Time’ soundtracks a rare moment of unity between contrasting characters April and Ann in the series, as we see the two coming together (with an appearance from Donna!), singing this song, showing the power of music in bringing us together. 
(ML)

Alanis Morissette – ‘Thank you’
This iconic 1998 tune from Alanis is the best thing to sing to yourself on a day where things aren’t going your way, or if you need a minute to take stock of what you’re really grateful for. Whether you do that in your head, in front of your bedroom mirror, or naked in the street like Alanis does in the video is entirely up to you…
(KC)

Antony and the Johnsons – ‘You Are My Sister’
I can’t put into words just how utterly beautiful and deeply moving I find this song, so I’ll just leave it here: “You are my sister, and I love you, may all of your dreams come true.” Happy Galentine’s, sisters. 
(ML)

Listen to our special Galentine’s Day Playlist here, and give us a follow on Spotify if you fancy it:

FIVE FAVOURITES: Big Joanie

DIY punks Big Joanie have had a great year. They’ve toured extensively across the UK & Europe, supported our faves Dream Wife at Camden’s KOKO, and last week they released their debut album Sistahs. Their music is a mix of the personal and the political, and we wanted to know what inspires the girls to create their own sound. We caught up with band member Stephanie Phillips to ask about her “Five Favourites” – five artists or albums that have influenced her songwriting technique. Check out her responses below…

1. Sleater-Kinney – Dig Me Out
I’m a huge Sleater-Kinney fan and it all started when I was a teenager. Listening to Dig Me Out in my bedroom when I was 16, I remember feeling a well of emotion in my chest. It was like I wanted to shout out loud with the song but I could never get the words out, even when I was alone. My journey from a shy, reserved kid to a singer in a band has mostly been through listening over and over again to this band and learning how to sing along. I’m pretty sure Carrie’s stadium rock guitar style has crept into my playing as well.

2. The Breeders – Last Splash
It’s hard to pick a favourite out of all of The Breeders albums, but Last Splash had a huge impact on me. Kim’s way of creating something that can still be a bit rough or unusual as long as its honest has been an approach I’ve tried to follow. The Deal sisters know their way around a harmony and it’s glorious to listen to them when it seems to come so naturally. Big Joanie’s album also opens with a song called ‘New Year’, not the same song but I must have subconsciously taken a note of this. It doesn’t matter how many times I go back to this album it’s still one of my favourites.

3. The Ronettes – Presenting the Fabulous Ronettes
I once went on a date with a guy who said he didn’t like ‘60s girl groups. I knew then and there I couldn’t be with that person. Who doesn’t love girl groups? From The Crystals to The Shangri-Las, I’ve studied every type of girl group but one of my all time favourites is The Ronettes. Ronnie Spector’s voice still sounds as arresting today as I imagine it did when the group first debuted. Though Phil Spector is a detestable human being, he was a visionary producer. The all encompassing wall of sound he was known for worked so well with The Ronettes sound. It’s a sound I’ve always wanted to capture myself. I know the wall of sound would have been nothing if it wasn’t for the young black women Spector worked with who gave it a voice.

4. Throwing Muses – Untitled
Again similar to the other artists I’ve listed, Throwing Muses have so many albums that influenced me but I have to pick their first album. I loved the complexity of the song structures, the emotional depth of the lyrics and the unusual turns and twists the record took. The album made me think about different ways to write pop songs. It made me think about how some of the best songs always take a different path to reach their destination of eventually becoming a pop song. Songs like ‘Vicky’s Box’, which is essentially a three part epic packed into a five minute song, shouldn’t work but they do.

5. PJ Harvey – Rid of Me
The raw blues punk of Peej soundtracked my early years and it’s still with me today. I love this album for all its worth. It’s strikingly intelligent, funny (even though many male journalists at the time didn’t seem to get her humour) and displays a level of emotional vulnerability that is rarely seen. Her dark sensibility and slightly twisted takes on love, lust, pain and anger captured my attention when I first listened to the album. I couldn’t believe that was the way people felt whether it was about her own experiences or not. Her ability to switch between different voices and tell numerous stories in her songs is comparable to the greats like Bob Dylan. I’m pretty sure for as long as I live I’ll always be trying but failing to replicate the work Polly created on this album.

Huge thanks to Steph for sharing her five favourites.

Order your copy of Big Joanie’s Sistahs here.

Follow the band of Facebook for more updates.

Kate Crudgington
@KCBobCut

PLAYLIST: Pride 2018

Pride. What is Pride?  

Pride is a day to celebrate but it’s also a day to remember. Remember the partial decriminalisation of homosexuality in 1967, the Stonewall riots of 1969. Remember the first official Pride in London in 1972 and remember it increasing in size during the ’80s to protest Section 28. Remember the first European Trans Pride in Brighton in 2014, and last year Sadiq Khan being the first London Mayor to lead the Pride parade.

Here in the UK we have come so far as a society but still on the streets of London I am shouted at when I kiss my girlfriend. LGBTQ+ people should not be victimised, they should not be judged, they should not be isolated. People should be free to live without fear of judgment or discrimination. LGBTQ+ people should not have to fear for their lives because of their sexuality or gender identity.

Throughout the years so many people have stood up for LGBTQ+ rights and achieved so much in the name of equality and this should be celebrated.

So wherever you are, at whatever Pride you are supporting, spread the word and make it known – equality is for everyone.

Here at GIHE we are supporting Pride Month and will be out supporting Pride in London on 7th July, and because we think everything deserves a soundtrack, here is ours for Pride Month and for all of you, whichever Pride you are supporting across the world.

Hercules & Love Affair – ‘Blind’
Their self-titled album released in 2008 was without a doubt the theme tune to me fully embracing my sexuality, feeling proud of who I was and strong enough to come out happily in all aspects of my life. (Tash Walker)

J.D.Samson / MEN – ‘Who Am I To Feel So Free
As part of my favourite trio Le Tigre, and later MEN, LGBTQ+ activist J.D.Samson holds a pretty special place in my heart. Last year I had the honour of being able to dance the night away to tunes that she hand-picked at M.I.A’s Meltdown Festival. It was a blissfully euphoric experience filled with an immense joy and sense of unity, proving that it’s more important than ever to make time to come together, dance, love, and be united against those who seek to divide us. (Mari Lane)

Peaches – ‘I U She’
Throughout history many people who are bisexual have been criticised by both the LGBTQ+ communities and the non-LGBTQ+ communities. I don’t think people realise how ingrained biphobia is within our society, which makes songs like ‘I U She’ soooo powerful and sooo important. (TW)

Fever Ray – ‘To The Moon and Back’
After seeing Fever Ray live at The Troxy this year – which was breath-taking – the memory of her fans joyfully echoing her explicit lyrics on this track still makes me smile. (Kate Crudgington)

Mykki Blacno – ‘Loner’ 
Rapper and queer pioneer Mykki Blanco delivers powerfully honest and thought-provoking social commentaries with a ferocious, fun-filled spirit. Seeing them live at M.I.A’s Meltdown Festival last year was like witnessing a colourful whirlwind, a beautifully buoyant ray of light. (ML)

Janelle Monae (feat Grimes) – ‘Pynk’
A perfect pop song from Janelle Monae – who spoke about her pansexuality in a recent Rolling Stone interview – which champions female pleasure. What’s not to like? (KC)

Shamir – ‘On The Regular’ 
The frenzied joy of Shamir’s ‘On The Regular’ is a must-have for any celebration, particularly one for Pride. His uptempo, playful pop puts a smile on my face without fail, and a hug from him at Visions Festival a few years ago was a definite life highlight. (ML)

King Princess – ‘1950’
The latest generation of LGBTQ+ people continually amaze me with their openness and their acceptance of how others identify in their sexuality and gender identity. King Princess’ ‘1950’ is an excellent example of the progression we have made throughout the last 60 years.(TW)

St Vincent – ‘Birth In Reverse’
A believer in gender fluidity, Annie Clark seems incapable of creating a song that isn’t completely wonderful. A particular favourite of mine, ‘Birth In Reverse’ is a vibrant example of her ability to make even the most mundane of subjects utterly intoxicating. (ML)

Partner – ‘Woman Of Dreams’ 
Canadian duo Partner are queens of jangly guitar fuzz, sparkling harmonies and witty lyrics. Seeing them live at The Victoria (with Suggested Friends and Charmpit) recently was a night of pure queer-pop perfection. (ML)

Ms Mohammed – ‘Pandora’
As a champion of cross-cultural tolerance and an out queer artist who advocates for LGBT rights and visibility, Ms Mohammed challenges prejudice through her music. Her video for ‘Pandora’ is another superb example of this. (KC)

Suggested Friends – ‘I Don’t Want To Be A Horcrux For Your Soul’
I just can’t get enough of the perfect, immensely infectious ‘tweemo’ punk-pop of Suggested Friends. Filled with racing, catchy hooks and luscious harmonies, Faith Taylor’s witty charm and exquisite vocals fill me with joy on each listen. (ML)

Bikini Kill – ‘Rebel Girl’
A personal choice for me, this song made me feel a lot less isolated when I was growing up, not quite knowing who I was or where I fitted in. (TW)

Dream Nails – ‘Bully Girl’ 
An uplifting queer anthem from our favourite Punk Witches. Yet another sparkling creation from the formidable force that is Dream Nails. (ML)

Gossip – ‘Where The Girls Are’ 
Beth Ditto, what a legend. (TW)

Sleater Kinney – ‘Dig Me Out’
Sleater Kinney’s third album Dig Me Out is filled with explosive emotion. Following the break up of Corin Tucker and Carrie Brownstein (and Brownstein then being famously outed by Spin Magazine), it’s a defiant and important collection – with anger and frustration used to fuel something wonderful. A necessary and motivating listen. (ML)

Madonna – ‘Vogue’
Inspired by the iconic Paris Is Burning documentary and recorded at the height of America’s AIDS crisis, this song has become an essential to any LGBTQ+ playlist. (TW)

Bronski Beat – ‘Smalltown Boy’ 
Released in 1984 at the height of the AIDS crisis by openly gay Bronski Beat, Smalltown Boy is a heartbreaking story given an empowering beat. (TW)

Princess Nokia – ‘Tomboy’ 
A feel-good body image anthem and general all-round banger, Princess Nokia’s ‘Tomboy’ asserts that we should be proud of our bodies (“my little titties and my fat belly”) whatever shape they may be. A snarling ode to her small frame and ‘masculine’ ways, it’s a perfect celebratory playlist must-have. (ML)

Kim Ann Foxman – ‘Creature’
Growing up I don’t remember any out famous LGBT+ women in music, so when I discovered Kim Ann Foxman who was so confident in her sexuality, it made the biggest of impressions on me. The music isn’t bad either. (TW)

Ultra Nate – ‘Free’
This song’s chorus speaks for itself, “Cause you’re free to do what you want to do / You’ve go to live your life / Do what you want to do.” (TW)

Perfume Genius – ‘Queen’
I don’t really have the words to describe my love of Perfume Genius. The first time I saw the video for ‘Queen’ it broke me. Filled with the emotion-filled power of Mike Hadreas’ heartbreaking vocals alongside luscious pop melodies, it’s a song inspired by “gay panic”, and the power one can derive from knowing their mere being is making everyone around them extremely uncomfortable. A powerfully poignant offering from this unique and truly beautiful artist. (ML)

Antony and the Johnsons – ‘For Today I Am A Boy’ 
A stirring and powerful ode to the journey of transitioning. With the immense passion of Anohni’s distinctive, soulful vocals, ‘For Today I Am A Boy’ is a simply exquisite creation. (ML)

Listen to our ‘Pride 2018’ playlist here:

If you have any questions or would like to discuss issues around sexuality and/or gender identity Switchboard – the LGBT+ Helpine is available to listen and support.

You can contact Switchboard via the telephone, instant messenger and email.

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0300 330 0630

 

Tash Walker / @maudeandtrevor
Mari Lane / @marimindles
Kate Crudgington / @kcbobcut