Five Favourites: 45AcidBabies

Having first caught our attention with recent single ‘Mommy’s Favorite 1’, Dutch garage punks 45ACIDBABIES have now returned with a vibrant new single. A fizzing slice of alt-pop, ‘Only Class6 From Now On‘ is propelled by a colourful energy as scuzzed-out hooks provide the backdrop for the soaring sultry power of Sophia De Geus’ vocals. Fusing together a rippling psychedelic haze with buoyant bubblegum pop, it features ADAM on guest vocals, creating a wonderfully eccentric and instantly infectious sonic-comic cacophony.

We think one of the best ways to get to know an artist is by asking what music inspired them to write in the first place. So, to mark the release of ‘Only Class6 From Now On’ today, we caught up with Sophia from the band to ask about her “Five Favourites” – five albums that have shaped her as a musician. Check out her choices below and scroll down to watch the brand new video for ‘Only Class6 From Now On’ at the end of the feature.

Lady GaGa – The Fame
I think Lady Gaga is our favourite pop queen of all. Both as a persona and as a songwriter. The Fame is an album filled with absolute bangers. Apart from the music, she also got me into fashion. Did you see her at the Met Gala 2019?! That was insane (the looks actually inspired the artwork of our new single). And there are so many hits on The Fame! ‘Just Dance’ itself was already iconic. I was 12 years old at the time and all my classmates were coming up with dance routines to perform on the weekly talent show our school was having. My favourite song of the album at the time was ‘Paper Gangsta’, but I’ll admit… I only said that because no one else would pick that song and I wanted to have a different opinion than my classmates. Now I’m pretty sure ‘Paparazzi’ is my favourite. Music video included. I love it. 

St. Vincent – St Vincent
I got into St. Vincent when we had a school assignment where we were dedicated to learn ‘Digital Witness’ and play it exactly how she meant it. I typed it in on YouTube and I was instantly obsessed with Annie Clarke. She is so beautiful and artistic. She has been a major inspiration for many Acidbabies songs. I love her songwriting, her way of showing femininity and her innovative way of playing the guitar. Mostly her interpretation of FUZZ. If it wasn’t for her I would have never bought my favourite instrument: The ZVEX Mastotron. 

The Kills – Midnight Boom
This is one of our oldest inspirations. When we didn’t care much about songwriting and pop music yet I got most of my inspiration from Alison Mosshart’s presence on stage. She is very bold and her movements are tight and thrilling. Also: this album sounds sooo SEXY! They are so good at combining rock and roll with electronic music. Such a big inspiration to us. I’m also a very big fan of Jaime Hince. His way of playing guitar reminds me of having a big growling wolf on the leash and just giving it the right amount of space. The Kills inspired me to acquire a pedal as well: DD3. One of the coolest delay pedals in my opinion. 

Soulwax – From Deewee
Soulwax are one of those acts that keeps amazing me time after time. I discovered them as a ’90s rock band and quickly fell in love with the quirky choices, raw drum computers, fuzzy beatbox bridges and interesting harmonies and was a fan right away. Then a few years later, I remember seeing a really good DJ act called 2ManyDJs on a Hungarian festival called Sziget. It was only after I got home I discovered that the two DJs were the same Dewaele brothers from Soulwax. They started to mix more and more electronics into their work which I loved – a personal favourite, the Nite Version of ‘Krack’. From Deewee is the summit of this journey towards the electronic. The synthesis fantasy of the Dewaele brothers seems endless. I especially like the super cool arpeggios venturing into adventurous chords that remind me of their ’90s rock days and their creative use of weird spring verbs on almost everything. What’s also super impressive to me is that they managed to keep the entire album interesting using almost the same BPM. Accompanied by three live drummers, their live show in Paradiso was one of the most impressive I’ve seen. The perfect combination between a club night and a live act.

Kero Kero Bonito – Intro Bonito
When we were kids Robin and I watched a lot of anime. Mostly Naruto. This made us big suckers for Japanese culture. I first came across Kero Kero Bonito while scrolling through the line-up of a festival I was attending. I heard ‘Sick Beat’ and I just loved it. It sounded so gamey and playful. Like there was an anime character rapping in a Casio keyboard paradise for game characters. I saw them play in a small venue and their way of performing was so different from anything else I’d ever seen. Just two DJ dudes with some cheap keyboards and Sarah singing with a stuffed animal in the form of a flamingo. How cool is that?

Massive thanks to Sophia from 45AcidBabies for sharing her Five Favourites! Watch the brand new video for ‘Only Class6 From Now On’ below:

Five Favourites: Girl Friday

Set to release their debut album next month, LA’s Girl Friday create genre-bending indie rock, reflecting on life on as young musicians in the 21st century. Juxtaposing dystopian leanings and feminist ideals with a scuzzy optimistic spirit, with grit and sparkle in equal parts, they represent an upcoming unique, empowering force and a new favourite for sure.

We think one of the best ways to get to know a band is by asking what music inspires them or influences their writing. So, we caught up with the whole of Girl Friday – Libby, Sierra, Vera and Virginia – to discuss the five albums that have made the biggest mark on them. Check out their choices below, and watch Girl Friday’s new video for ‘Public Bodies’ at the end of this article.

Libby:
Beck – Odelay
Definitely not any deep cuts here, but I definitely feel like Beck’s Odelay has had a huge influence on me personally. I remember sitting in my high school’s library eating lunch alone and feeling so emboldened by the bassline in ‘Minus’ and the really nonchalant vocals in ‘The New Pollution’. This album is so special to me. I think it was a benchmark of my adolescent years when I felt so ugly, out of place, and generally full of doom. It was kind of the start of when I started to feel like I could actually pursue the making of my own music.

Sierra:
Tonight Alive – The Other Side
I was completely dumbfounded when I discovered Tonight Alive in middle school. I remember sitting in the back of my English class, thinking I was very cool with my hood up, playing their music videos on repeat from my phone and daydreaming that I was in the band. Jenna McDougall is a huge hero of mine in terms of songwriting and vocal performance, and this album is the prime example for me. She blends merciless vitriol with an emotional vulnerability that lends her so much power. I’m convinced no one could ever stop her from doing exactly what she wants. Yes, this album brings me back to being 15 in my Sleeping with Sirens t-shirt with the sleeves cut off (bless); yes, I listen to it now and still hear snippets from my own life echoed back at me; yes, I am crying as I play it and write this.

Vera:
The Velvet Underground – Loaded
If we’re talking perfect records here. I mean that’s just an endless giving tree of joy. I associate it with a time in my life of freedom and youth and young love. 

All:
Kills Birds – Kills Birds
Sierra: We went to Kills Birds’ album release show at The Bootleg, and my mind was completely blown. I remember looking around and realizing that everyone else’s jaws were sitting comfortably next to mine on the floor. The drama! The percussion! The delivery! What more could you ask for?
Virginia: Kills Birds is one of those bands whose music is impossible to listen to without moving or singing along. Their songs are refreshing but have a familiarity that makes them feel like they’ve been around since the ‘90s.  The whole album is fantastic from top to stop, but my favourites are ‘Only Yellow’ and ‘High’. 

Virginia:
St Vincent – Actor
I’ve listened to this record so many times. I remember taking a trip to LA when I was 15 (which was a very foreign place to me at the time), stumbling into Amoeba Records and walking out with that pastel mess of a CD. From the start it’s filled with a ghostly choir, woodwinds galore, and slinky drums and guitar all topped by Annie Clark’s creeping vocals. There are increasing hints of agitation and noise throughout the song then at 2:33 the floodgates of distortion are opened and the song becomes incredibly glorious and huge. Every song has such rich textures and really takes you for a ride. I love to close my eyes and allow myself to get lost in the cinematic fever dream that is Actor. The feeling I get from listening to that album is the experience that I want to create in the music I make. I want people to listen to it in their headphones when they feel trapped and find an escape. I want them to blast it driving in their neighbourhoods and scream along and feel so cool. I want them to remember the first time they heard it and tear up because it’s brought them so much joy and comfort and courage over the years (which is the current situation that I’m surprised to find myself in oops). Thank you Annie, and in the off chance that you happen to hear Androgynous Mary, happy listening and enjoy. I think we’ve truly made a little treat and I’m proud to release it into the world.

Massive thanks to Girl Friday for sharing their Five Favourites!

Girl Friday’s debut album Androgynous Mary is out 21st August via Hardly Art. Watch the new video for latest single ‘Public Bodies’ now:

Photo Credit: Al Kalyk

FIVE FAVOURITES: Sans Soucis

Italo-Congolese singer-songwriter Sans Soucis caught our attention after the release of her most recent single, ‘Make One From A Two’. The song explores the complexities of love, uniting Soucis’ delicate vocals with an intimate, orchestral backing to create a tapestry of rich acoustics. She’s set to release her new EP, Unfinished, on 17th April, and we’re excited to hear it.

We think one of the best ways to get to know an artist is by asking what music inspired them to write in the first place. We caught up with Sans Soucis to ask about their “Five Favourites” – five songs that influenced their song writing techniques. Check out their choices below, and scroll down to listen to ‘Make One From A Two’ at the end of this post.

 

1. Coldplay – ‘A Rush of Blood to the Head’
This is probably what really got me into songwriting. I never properly took the time to write my own music until I was 20, but I started developing a certain sensitivity around songwriting by listening to Coldplay. They are my first love and probably this is one of the first pieces of music on which I shed a few tears when I was a teenager. I believe music can touch many different strings in our lives, depending on where we are, how we relate to it, but certainly great and evergreen music doesn’t leave you any choice but to empathise with what’s presented to you and dig deeper into something you weren’t seeing before. Coldplay unsealed so many new ways for me to decide how and where to fulfil my need to establish a profound connections with people.

2. Nelly Furtado – ‘I’m Like a Bird’
Ok, I’m taking it this right back to the time I had the physical ability to listen to a song more than 20 times in a row. It was a time where I would get excited about music more than anything else around me. Looking back, I think I was starting to stick my nose out for some pop music to sing along to. My sister and I used to make so many CDs to put in the car, and we spent quite a lot on time online “crate-digging”. The only music I was learning and singing at that time was the music I was given in my classical choir, so Nelly Furtado on my way to school, or on my way to my singing classes sounded like freedom. My knowledge of English was just about good enough to catch the chorus, and I remember getting so frustrated with my blurred understanding of the song that I searched for the lyrics online and started translating word by word. I felt like such a hippie every time I was singing it. It’s such a good pop song!

3. St. Vincent – ‘Marry Me’
This is probably from one of my favourite albums ever! I love every track. It is so original; merging pop, classical music, alternative rock, enticing the ear of such a broad range of listeners, unified under the most beautiful melodies and arrangements. When I discovered St. Vincent, I felt musically ready to take all this beauty in. I really respect artists who write their own music and produce it, because I’m doing the same myself and it is of great inspiration to witness how much creativity and boldness is out there to be discovered. She is definitely someone I look up to when I think about my career.

4. Arthur Verocai – ‘Desabrochando’
Arthur Verocai is a Brazilian composer who started releasing music a bit less than 50 years ago. I discovered his music last year and I got massively obsessed with it. The piece I chose comes from his album No Voo Do Urubu, released in 2016. It is so peaceful and beautifully executed. It encapsulate my love for folk music, guitar and orchestration. It reminds me of my grandparents and the afternoons we spent at home listening to old opera cassettes, of my father spinning records from Italian songwriters 24/7 and of my strong connection with my own folklore. This is another example that proves music can speak to anybody, regardless of who they are and where they’re coming from.

5. Bjork – ‘It’s Oh So Quiet’
It was difficult to pick my last one, but I couldn’t leave this one behind. Bjork is a real visionary and I respect her so much to bring big band out for such an epic walk in the 2000s. I love how dramatic this performance is. You almost feel like being in a movie while listening to it. The interpretation draws you in so much that you really don’t feel like leaving in the end. It’s also such a good representation of how I feel when I fall in love, that I feel like claiming it as my personal soundtrack.

Thanks to Sans Soucis for sharing her favourites. Follow Sans Soucis on Facebook, Instagram and Twitter for more updates.

Photo Credit: Luca Perrin

FIVE FAVOURITES: Bad Honey

South London based duo Bad Honey blend dreamy vocals, bouncing beats and lo-fi electronics to create their upbeat, alt-soul sounds. Formed of Lydia Clowes & Teresa Origone, the duo have received radio support from the likes of BBC Introducing London, BBC Radio 6, Amazing Radio, and from Spotify’s New Music Friday playlist.

We think one of the best ways to get to know a band is by asking what music inspired them to write in the first place. We caught up with Lydia & Teresa to ask her about their “Five Favourites” – five albums that have influenced their song writing techniques. Check out their choices below, and scroll down to watch Bad Honey’s video for ‘Weak When You’re Near’ in collaboration with O2 Music & their ‘Music Box’ challenge, at the end of this post.

 

1. James Blake – Assume Form
Teresa: James Blake’s melodies are the best melodies. His music makes me want to make sure I keep trying to find the best possible melodies when I write. I always loved James Blake, so I wanted to listen to this album as soon as it came out. The day before it was released, I was in the Netherlands playing keys for an artist called Rina Mushonga. We were there for only one day, but had a long day of travelling to play for a TV session, then drove back to Amsterdam for a radio session in the evening, then decided to go for a walk in Amsterdam in the snow, and ended up having a three hour sleep because our flight back to London was really early the next morning. As soon as I got home, I played the album. I was exhausted and I remember having one of those moments where you are reminded of how happy music can make you feel. It happened when I first heard ‘Into The Red’ when the twinkly piano comes in about 40 seconds into the song. It’s so tiny and delicate and it makes you want to cling onto it. The use of tension and release in that song is amazing. You really want something big to happen at the end of the first chorus, but it just doesn’t happen until the second chorus.

Lydia: I love how James Blake’s songs are very atypical and don’t adhere to a “normal” song structure necessarily. Often his songs don’t have an obvious verse or chorus but he somehow manages to give you the feeling of tension and release in other ways. The production on this record is great and the fact that he does it all himself, I feel that this album was a particular motivation to me and Teresa to start producing our own music. I particularly love ‘Into The Red’, ‘Can’t Believe the Way We Flow’ and ‘I’ll Come Too’ on this album, they all have such a great way of portraying a feeling of love through interesting lyrics, without being cheesy, which I’ve found quite a hard thing to achieve!

2. St. Vincent – Strange Mercy 
Teresa: This album is a reminder that you need to be brave with your music, and you can do whatever you want with it. I discovered St. Vincent when she released her album Actor. I think I just saw an article on Pitchfork about it and decided to listen to it, and it took a couple of listens for it to grow on me, but I’ve loved her music since then. I was 18 then, and I remember thinking that it would be cool to produce my own music at some point. She’s one of those artists who I will always love, and will always find something new to love about her each time I listen to her music. Strange Mercy is my favourite St. Vincent album. It’s so dreamy and heavy at the same time, which for me is one of the best things you can achieve in music. I love how loud and direct the guitar is, kind of at the same level as her voice. And I don’t know how she made the backing vocals sound like that, but it sounds so great. My favourite moments on the album are the weird guitar riff on ‘Surgeon’, and the craziness at the end of ‘Northern Lights’. I don’t think I’ll ever get tired of it.

3. Laura Mvula – The Dreaming Room 
Lydia: I first heard of Laura Mvula with ‘Green Garden’ when I had just moved to London and I loved everything she represented. She was making a blend of music that I’d not really heard before and I loved it and wanted to make this myself. I found out she was from Birmingham, which is near to where I grew up so this helped to inspire me to think I could do it too! This album for me has an overwhelming feeling of female empowerment and joy, and therefore it really resonated with me from the first time I listened to it.

I love how Laura Mvula has always had a really unique style of what seems to me, orchestral inspired pop songs, using interesting chord progressions, simple but strong melodies and for me one of my favourite things is her use of close vocal harmonies. I’ve always loved vocal harmonies and I think she uses them so effectively throughout this album, with the emotion of her voice really coming through. This album is also produced by Troy Miller who I think is a genius, I’ve loved many of his other album productions such as Gregory Porter’s ‘Liquid Spirit’ and Jamie Cullum’s ‘Taller’. ‘Overcome’ has such a strong emotion, especially the outro where it builds and builds on the same melody which never gets old, she’s really good at doing this and I could listen to this forever! ‘Show Me Love’ is an amazing song. The intro is almost like an recitative in an opera, and sets the rest of the song up beautifully. I find this song quite deeply sad, but it one of my favourites of the album. My other favourite is ‘Phenomenal Woman’ I just absolutely love this song, it’s so feel good. I remember clearly dancing in the back of a car whilst driving up to Glasgow on a tour to this song. It just makes me want to move, and I love the fact it’s written about her Grandma. Elements throughout the album reflect back to this too with ‘Nan’, a phone calls between Laura and her Grandma. I am keenly awaiting an album 3 for Laura Mvula!

4. Tyler, The Creator – IGOR 
Teresa: This is my album of choice for when I’m driving and want to play something really loud (through my tiny bluetooth speaker). I’m not someone who grew up listening to hip hop, I discovered it quite late and I am still slowly discovering it, but I think everyone should listen to this album regardless of what kind of music they usually listen to. Not that I think people really listen to music based on genre, but hip hop in particular can be so diverse and free and it can incorporate so many types of music, and this album is such a good example of that. The arrangements are amazing, there is so much happening, so many details, and it’s so intricate and colorful. More is more and I really agree with that. I love how much space is given to instrumental sections, the songs are so progressive and each section flows into a new one each time. This is definitely one of those albums I’d need to listen to the whole way through from beginning to end, and I wouldn’t be able to remember even one title of each individual song, because it’s a whole journey. It’s also full of analog synths, so it was just made for my ears. It’s a great example of how making music is just fun, and making music means exploring where you can go without limiting yourself to a structure or a genre.

5. Lianne La Havas – Is Your Love Big Enough?
Lydia: Lianne La Havas has one of my favourite vocalists, so this album was instantly a favourite of mine. I first saw Lianne on Jools Holland singing ‘Age’ in 2011. I just thought she was brilliant, the song was light-hearted and almost humorous, her voice was amazing and her guitar playing was interesting. She was not just your average singer songwriter strumming on a guitar, she could actually play quirky riffs, harmonics, and was also playing electric which I thought was extremely cool. Again like Laura Mvula, I think I discovered Lianne La Havas when I was at a stage in my life when I wasn’t yet sure who or what I wanted to do and be in terms of music, and so she was a huge inspiration for me. Seeing a young woman playing great music, with incredible instrumentation, talent, and confidence was exhilarating. I generally prefer the more acoustic songs on this album, as I think it really showcases Lianne’s voice, such as ‘Lost & Found’, ‘Au Cinema’ and ‘Gone’. Again, she uses lots of vocal harmonies throughout the album, and I love that.

 

Thanks to Lydia & Teresa for sharing their favourites with us. Follow Bad Honey on Facebook for more updates.

Kate Crudgington
@KCBobCut