Five Favourites: SRSQ

‘Saved for Summer’ is the latest single from American ethereal-pop artist Kennedy Ashlyn – aka SRSQ (pronounced seer-skew), taken from her latest album Ever Crashing. Although Summer may be over, this is the powerful pop anthem we need to get us through the upcoming gloomy winter. Opening with a fun ’80s synth-pop beat followed by a thick lush synth pad and a fuzzy catchy guitar riff, it’s clear from the start that this track is going to have an impact. Full of atmospheric layers and ethereal sounds, a frenzied cacophony builds, but in a way that immerses you completely. Ashlyn’s voice is theatrical and powerful and her eclectic genre-bending style brings to mind artists like Kate Bush and St Vincent. The recurring vocal “oohs” lodge themselves in the ears and stay there all day long. Of the lyrics, Ashlyn explains: “Saved for Summer’ echoes the yearning to escape a depressive miasma, the desperate desire to stop watching life through a window”.

We think one of the best ways to get to know an artist is by asking what music inspires them. So, to celebrate the recent release of Ever Crashing, we caught up with SRSQ to ask about the music that has inspired her the most. See below for their choices of their five favourite albums, and be sure to watch the trippy new video for the ‘Saved For Summer’ at the end of this feature.

The Horrors – Primary Colours
This album has consistently been in my top three favourite albums since it came out over a decade ago, which I think might make it my favourite record. I was 15 when it came out, and what really drew me to it was the sound design and guitar tones, which I still think are very unique, but at the time I hadn’t heard anything even close to similar. I remember hearing in an interview that the guitarist actually made a lot of his own pedals, which I had never even heard of at the time. The sound is simultaneously ambient and harsh, and you can definitely hear that influence in my music. I also think the album starts in such an intriguing way and has such a captivating arc, it’s really an enchanting listen. 

Slowdive – Souvlaki
My TAUT bandmate Cash introduced me to this album when I was 19, and it was love at first listen. This album is one of the best examples of how sound itself can be vastly emotional, outside of the songwriting, beyond the lyrics – how the textures and timbres can pull at your heartstrings and reach you in a deep visceral way. I saw them live the following year at the Fox Theater in Oakland, and in between songs they would sometimes break out into this ambient harsh noise, and these were the most beautiful and impactful parts of the performance. They have an uncanny ability to create a synesthesia of sound and feeling, and I don’t think anyone does it better.

Cocteau Twins – Garlands
Though it’s hard to choose, I’m pretty sure this is my favourite Cocteau Twins record. It’s just so driving, and the guitar tones are so perfect – it’s moody and beautiful, and solid from start to finish. Cocteau Twins were (are) my mom’s favourite band, so I listened to them growing up and kind of wrote them off as a teen, assuming it was “mom music.” When I started writing what would become the songs on Remain, my mom heard them and told me I needed to get back into Cocteau Twins, and burned me a few CDs. I obviously fell back in love immediately, and it was an interesting experience being subconsciously familiar with all of the material while still feeling like I was hearing it for the first time. I think it’s super interesting how everyone points out an “obvious Cocteau Twins influence” in Them Are Us Too, but I didn’t actually get back into them until after writing most of the songs on the first record, so that influence was largely subconscious, at least in the songwriting stage. 

Beach House – Bloom 
I honestly think this is a perfect album, I’m not even really sure what else I can say about it. The songwriting, the tones, the production, the mix- all of it is just phenomenal. Every element just shows true mastery of the craft. Cash considered Beach House one of her greatest inspirations for guitar work. I was lucky enough to see them three times while they were touring for this record, and I still remember those shows vividly. One time was at a festival (I don’t remember which) and they performed in front of a sunset over the water. A breathtaking moment. 

The Knife – Deep Cuts
I think a lot of records could have gone into this fifth and final slot, (Loveless and Disintegration come to mind), but I think this one is a little less obvious of an influence, which is why I wanted to touch on it. The Knife have truly some of the most unique and genre-defying sound palettes – what they create is truly their own in every way. The sounds and the songs are strange, but they just work. I also love that they put ‘Heartbeats’ in a commercial, totally blew up, turned the band into an anti-capitalist collective, put out one more record, and then dissolved the project. And when they toured on Shaking the Habitual, they had a bunch of performers onstage, which obscured who “The Knife” actually were, as like a statement about art and celebrity and consumption of artists, and they didn’t play ‘Heartbeats’ – both of which pissed off the audience who only knew them from their commercial success. It’s like the most punk shit I’ve ever heard of. 

Huge thanks to SRSQ for sharing her Five Favourites with us! Watch the self-directed, wonderfully psychedelic new video for ‘Saved For Summer’ here:

‘Saved For Summer’ is produced by Chris Coady (Beach House, Slowdive). Ever Crashing, the second album from SRSQ, is out now via Dais Records.

Ella Patenall
@ellapatenall

Photo Credit: Nedda Asfari

Guest Playlist: Temples Of Youth

Covid 19 and the necessary restrictions surrounding it have brought about a number of cancellations of music events, including what would have been Get In Her Ears’ very first festival. It would have taken place on Saturday, 18th July, and was set to be a pretty special day, filled with some of our favourite female and non binary artists. Fingers crossed we can finally make it happen next year.

One of the bands set to play was total faves Temples Of Youth. Captivating us with their hypnotic, musically rich neo-pop and majestic, emotion-strewn splendour, the Winchester duo have charmed us live at The Finsbury more than once and we were very much looking forward to hosting them again.

In the absence of our festival, and any gigs, at the moment, Jo from the band has put together a playlist of songs that have shaped her songwriting, and written a few words about the inspirations behind Temples Of Youth. Have a read, and listen, below!

Inspiration…

As I sit to write this a few days after my 30th birthday, I can’t quite get my head around the fact that Temples of Youth is already five years old. I don’t know where that time has gone – it’s the longest relationship I’ve ever had.

So often in life, we are reaching for the next achievement, trying to make each one bigger and better than the last. I find this is so prevalent in the music industry, with something you worked so hard on becoming “irrelevant” so quickly. It’s a tough place to be – overcrowded, competitive and at times, disheartening. It is important to take a step back, and to reflect on what you have already achieved, and take note of its value.

Paul and I came together with a shared interest in starting something new, and whilst our influences have grown and changed, our ethic has stayed the same. We write for us, we play for us, and we hope that people will find something to connect with.  Paul is very driven by sound and the feel of a track, where as I find myself drawn to the lyrics and the vocal melody – so we make a good team.

Our inspirations are hard to pinpoint – from ’80s dream-pop, to grungier sounds and modern US indie bands, plus art and film soundtracks. To give you an idea, we’ve curated a playlist of some of the tracks that have shaped the way we write, and we hope you enjoy listening to it.

We’re currently working on recording our third EP remotely, and I think it’s the best thing we’ve done so far. We always hope these things won’t be released to ‘disappear’; forgetting that they can’t.

Listen to Temples Of Youth’s playlist below, and also make sure you check out their spellbinding latest single ‘Silver Cross‘ now. 

LISTEN: Trentemøller – ‘Try A Little’

Atmospheric synths, catchy beats and entrancing vocals come together to create ‘Try A Little’, the latest track from Danish indie-electronic artist Trentemøller. Featuring Warpaint‘s Jenny Lee Lindberg, the song is a captivating electronic exploration of “inexplicably loving a person who seems incapable of returning that love”.

Accompanied by an equally mesmerizing set of visuals – Produced by Emmy-nominated animator Thomas McMahan & featuring Jenny – ‘Try A Little’ is taken from Trentemøller’s first album in three years, Obverse, which is set for release on 27th September via his own label In My Room. His pre-existing collaborative spirit is celebrated on this record, which features the voices of Slowdive’s Rachel Goswell, Warpaint’s Jenny Lee Lindberg (jennylee), Lina Tullgren and Lisbet Fritze.

“I have always worked with contrasts in my music and in my sound. It’s in the subtle clashes of feelings and tonal contradictions that I often find pure inspiration,” Trentemøller explains. “Obverse was always going to be about exploring the possibilities in my studio, with no consideration of how it could be performed on a stage, and it was completely liberating.”

Listen to ‘Try A Little’ below and follow Trentemøller on Facebook for more updates.

Kate Crudgington
@KCBobCut