Track Of The Day: HAVVK – ‘Automatic’

Having been huge fans of HAVVK since they headlined our first gig at The Finsbury back in 2016, we’re super excited to hear that they will be releasing their greatly anticipated second album this Autumn. With support from the likes of Radio X, BBC 6Music and Wonderland Magazine under their belts, the Dublin-based trio have now shared a poignant new single to accompany the album announcement.

Propelled by a gritty, swirling energy, ‘Automatic’ looks back on memories of emotion-filled teenage years. Starting out by creating a gentle, sparkling atmosphere, the track builds with an angst-fuelled drive as the subtle, soaring power of Julie Hough’s distinctive celestial vocals flow. Rippling with frenzied, reverb-strewn hooks alongside a twinkling ethereal majesty reminiscent of The Smashing Pumpkins, the track showcases HAVVK’s utterly unique knack for creating beautifully captivating soundscapes interwoven with a raging, grunge-fuelled scuzz. An exquisitely cathartic sonic fusion.

Of the track, Julie explains:

“‘Automatic’ is about cherishing childhood friendships and the way that they evolve. It’s about snapshots that will always be imprinted in our minds – for me it’s hours talking on the landline, swapping clothes, burning CDs, mitching school or going to gigs for the first time. It’s about the fuzzy feeling of nostalgia when you slip back into a conversation with an old friend as if you saw each other yesterday. But it’s also about being afraid to lose that feeling; being anxious that those memories might burnaway and having to be open to growing together even as your paths change.”

Recorded at Belfast’s Start Together Studios with GIHE fave Rocky O’Reilly, Levelling – the upcoming album from HAVVK – is set for release on 17th September via Veta Records.

Mari Lane
@marimindles

Photo Credit: James Byrne

Track Of The Day: Talking Violet – ‘Caterpillar’ / ‘Superego’

After taking listeners on an audible odyssey with their ethereal extended play, 2018’s Round Dreams – and following last year’s singles, ‘Bloom’ and ‘Indigo’ – Ontario four-piece Talking Violet have returned with ‘Caterpillar’ and ‘Superego’; two solid tracks of dreamy distortion and angsty lyricism which secure the band’s place as alt-rock scientists of dream-pop.

Self-described as “the loudest sleepy band you’ve ever heard”, Talking Violet have wasted no time pushing the boundaries of alternative rock with a cacophony of sonically sound elements; slowing down only to gaze at their guitar pedals. In their laboratory/studio, the Canadian quartet have cultivated their sound, crafting shimmering soundscapes that transcend genre.

First, guitarist Jay Turnbull provides lead vocals on the anxiety-driven ‘Caterpillar’, a hopeful song of self-discovery, and an ode to those of us that feel unsure of ourselves and the journey ahead: “It describes going through a time in my life where I was dealing with intense daily anxiety and felt unsure of how I was going to achieve the goals I set for myself.” From Jay’s strummed guitar melodies to the hazily picked shoe-gaze tones of guitarist Jill Goyeau, ‘Caterpillar’ is seething with emotion; further elevated by bassist Nate Blackton and Jill’s vocal harmonisation.

Next, Talking Violet tackle unhealthy friendships with ‘Superego’; a brooding performance from Jay, who reflects upon his own hesitation to end a close friendship, and accept that it was time to move forward. Jay’s haunting lyrics (“So if you stop and ask why I’m not around / Hope it doesn’t take long to figure it out”) are juxtaposed against a fuzzy soft/loud/soft dynamic reminiscent of The Smashing Pumpkins, building to a crescendo of distorted guitars, pulsating basslines, and Jeremie Brousseau’s crashing percussion.

Through the experimental use of guitar effects, Talking Violet have developed a dense, atmospheric sound that captures the feeling of dreams. So, grab your dream-pop mixtape, add ‘Caterpillar’ and ‘Superego’ to the tracklist, close your eyes, and press play.

Ken Wynne
@Ken_Wynne

Photo Credit: Kamryn Cusumano

LISTEN: Softcult – ‘Another Bish’

A 90s inspired guitar tune that defies the feeling of being overlooked and underestimated, Canadian duo Softcult have shared their debut single ‘Another Bish’. Informed by their love of Bikini Kill and Smashing Pumpkins, the band blend atmospheric guitars, energetic percussion and bittersweet vocals to create their hazy, antagonistic sounds.

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 resist and relieve the pressures of existing in a patriarchal world.

‘Another Bish’ is an ultra cool example of what their resistance sounds like. Despite its confident delivery, the track aches with subdued anger, as the band say “even the baddest bish probably has a little bit of self doubt” at some points. With lyrics like “It feels like I’ve been pulling teeth / just trying to break off from your leash,” the duo reveal their desire to break free from the restrictions that they’ve encountered so far, whether that’s internally or externally.

Watch the self-directed video for ‘Another Bish’ below.

Follow Softcult on Spotify, Instagram, Facebook, Twitter for more updates.

Kate Crudgington
@KCBobCut

Re-Covered: Sally Anne’s Illustrated Favourite Albums

If you’re anything like us, throughout Lockdown you may have been seeking refuge in some of your favourite records, perhaps rediscovering some old classics along the way. So, for this new feature, illustrator Sally-Anne Hickman re-imagines her favourite ten albums of all time by painting their covers in her own unique style, using watercolours.

Check out the fourth of Sally-Anne’s choices below, and keep your eyes peeled for the rest over the next few weeks…

Smashing Pumpkins- Mellon Collie and the Infinite Sadness
This incredible alt-rock concept album, ten times platinum, has it all. Its stylistic range is so varied that it opens with a sweeping piano instrumental and takes us on a sonic journey that encompasses layers of heavily distorted guitars with orchestral strings. Twenty eight songs in length, none sound the same but they are all unmistakably Pumpkins tracks. Heavy rock epics with phenomenal drumming, electronic pop tunes, operatic themes with time signature shifts that leave you with whiplash!

Sally-Anne Hickman
@sallyshinystars