Five Favourites: Jemima Coulter

Whilst you may know them from being one half of Hailaiker, or from their collaborations with the likes of Squirrel Flower and Novo Amor, Bristol-based artist Jemima Coulter has now released their debut solo album. Reflecting on themes such as unrequited love and chasing happiness – through both their own lived experiences and imagined situations – Grace After A Party is a beautifully poignant collection. Flowing with a shimmering, folk-strewn musicality, each track showcases Coulter’s raw, heartfelt vocals and ability to create stirring, emotion-rich dreamscapes with a swirling, immersive allure.

We think one of the best ways to get to know an artist is by asking what music inspires them. So, to celebrate the release of their debut album, we caught up with Jemima Coulter to ask about the music that has inspired them the most. See below for their choices of their five favourite albums, and be sure to treat your ears to Grace After A Party as soon as possible

Sufjan Stevens – Carrie & Lowell
I drew a lot from this album while writing Grace, mostly in thinking about storytelling and the details in the lyrics that make it compelling. The stories told in this album combined with the nuanced melodies makes it feel so directed, so itself and also perfectly balanced – never too much going on. Each section in a song sits perfectly on its own and in context of other sections, each song on the album sitting perfectly on its own and also tied to the others. I think the use of space in this album is not something I’ve found anywhere else; I don’t know what they used for the reverb, but listening to it, it’s all really ‘verby, but in a way where it’s like this special Carrie & Lowell room that’s a specific kind of dark and echoey but doesn’t make everything sound floaty and washed, and also ties the closer sounding guitar with everything else. Maybe it’s just the best mix I’ve ever heard ha. I listened to Carrie & Lowell a lot when I was driving, around the age of 19-20 – the combination of night-driving and this music seemed to swirl into an endless road. I’ve always wanted to recreate that in an album – you put it on and you’re there, it’s like a physical space, each song a room in a house, and the same things are in the rooms each time you listen but you’re still picking each of them up and turning them over in your hands and each object conjures an emotion in you.

Camille – Le Fil
Someone showed me ‘Quand Je Marche’ one morning and it was in my head for literally years until I found it on this album. There was a period while I was working on Grace (I think autumn 2020) – I was missing someone and I couldn’t sleep and I walked the perimeter of Bristol a few nights for nearly four hours each time and I remember walking the side of a steep A-road listening to this. I think she does nearly everything with her mouth? It’s really minimalist, but it taught me about using drones and melody and kind of inspired me to keep exploring that idea that you often just hear in folk. It’s also totally the opposite of what I tend to do with production and I love how her melodies totally carry the whole album. It has loads of repeating melodic themes and moments, almost like ‘acts’ and interludes which makes it theatrical, but in a really good way… It’s just a wicked album. 

Sea Oleena – Weaving a Basket 
I just think this is the most beautiful music I’ve ever heard. It makes time stand still. No other words. 

John Martyn – Glorious Fool 
I was shown this album fairly recently, after being aware of a few John Martyn songs. The bass in his music takes me somewhere – I don’t think I’ve heard anything like it. Sometimes it’s like it’s just John and that fretless bass and everything else is just highlighting whatever they’re doing. His music makes me think about timing and atmosphere more than anyone else’s at the moment. He’s not doing anything particularly dense with his melodies or his words, it’s all very felt and is almost improvisational. It seems that the songs are really recordings in the sense that they don’t feel concerned with how they’d stand-up as live performance, and that’s something I find about this particular album and in his other ones, that them being crafted in the studio in darkness and in the atmosphere absolutely comes through. I was reading Phill Brown’s autobiography Are we Still Rolling? and it includes a bit about them recording John Martyn’s One World album – they had speakers across a lake and recorded parts the other side of the water to create a massive outdoor reverb. The combination of nature and technology fits with the crossovers I hear in John Martyn’s music; he was clearly so ahead and on the brink of mixing jazz, folk and electronic experimentation. ‘Small Hours’ from that album is the best night-time song. 

The Blue Nile – Hats
The thing I love about this album is that it feels like film music because it is so secured within timbre limitations and concept limitations. It’s like an ’80s rework of the Casablanca soundtrack or something. It sounds so ’80s/early ’90s it’s almost like a modern day pastiche of that period of pop. Again though – maybe a theme going on here -, there’s so much space and anticipation in these songs which I’ve found really liberating, like “yes, repeat that bit 8 times”. The whole thing is a massive argument against concision for me – like, fuck being concise; be indulgent, do a fade out. There’s three songs on that album over six minutes, and it’s an absolute pleasure to be inside them for the whole six minutes, I want to be able to do that more than anything, really.

Massive thanks to Jemima Coulter for sharing their Five Favourites with us!

Grace After A Party, the debut album from Jemima Coulter, is out now via Hand In Hive.

Photo Credit: Christina Russell

FIVE FAVOURITES: Francis Of Delirium

Creators of swirling, grunge-infused guitar tunes, Luxembourg-based duo Francis Of Delirium write songs about the ever-evolving nature of human emotion. Together, songwriter & guitarist Jana Bahrich and her collaborator Chris Hewett have released two EPs via Dalliance Records, with their most recent offering, Wading, continuing Jana’s narratives of personal resilience and enlightenment.

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 Jana to ask her about her “Five Favourites” – five albums that have inspired the band’s song-writing techniques. Check out her choices below and scroll down to listen to Francis Of Delirium’s latest single ‘I Think I’m Losing’ at the end of this post.

1. Arca – KiCk i
I found Arca through the newest Euphoria episode. There’s this one scene where they use Arca’s music and it’s this crazy gunshot type beat and it sounds so smoke and it is probably the coolest thing I’ve ever heard. I spent weeks trying to figure out where I could hear it in full but it turns out it’s not released. In the process though, I became obsessed with her album KiCk i. I’m trying to get better at electronic production and I like to use Kick i as my north star, less as a template to copy but more as the realization that anything is possible. She’s so creative in everything that she does which I find very inspiring, plus her songs just do something to my body that makes it feel like it’s exploding. I love you Arca.

2. Sufjan Stevens – All Delighted People
Hoping this will pass as an “album” even though it’s an EP! This is my favourite Sufjan project, easily. I feel like in this era Sufjan Stevens was making music for kids who were in the school brass band and so I felt very seen. I love the way he uses horns and trombones in All Delighted PeOple and the song-writing is still so strong, he also just gives you so much time to settle into each song which I love. The first Sufjan Stevens song I ever heard was ‘Casmir Pulaski Day’, my friends showed it to me. I went home that day and then learned it on the banjo. I spent a lot of my teens consuming solely his music. Then I realized his music was in Little Miss Sunshine which was my favourite movie then, so it felt like Sufjan was the man for me.

3. Half Waif – The Caretaker
Half Waif has such a wonderful ear for melody and uses vocal harmonies so wonderfully. Even on the first track, you’re almost immediately hit with those harmonies and they’re so beautiful and her delivery is heart-breaking and pulls at your chest. I couldn’t tell you how she’s influenced my song-writing but she must have because I’ve probably listened to The Caretaker everyday since it came out. Similarly to Arca, I often reference Nandi’s production choices, she has an incredible ability to make electronic sounds feel so tactile and warm and human, I just love everything she does. I first found Half Waif through her Tiny Desk which is also incredible, I say it a lot but I just love when artists give you their whole voice and body in a performance, it becomes so easy to connect with them through that.

4. Car Seat Headrest – Twin Fantasy
I don’t know how much I can express how much I love this album. When it comes to rock music and I look at someone like Car Seat Headrest, it’s just a reminder that you can and should keep making music on your own and you should make whatever it is you want to make. Especially since Chris and I record our own music, I found it really helpful to look to other artists that were making music on their own and read articles from them to try and figure out how to do it on their own. Then lyrically and performance wise the album is perfect to me, I find a kind of peace whenever I listen to Twin Fantasy. There’s always something unexpected in a Car Seat Headrest song when you listen to it the first time and I really value that, I feel like you are walking along some dark long winding road whenever you jump into a Car Seat Headrest record.

5. Heart – Dreamboat Annie
A lot of my favourite songs and albums I’ve actively disliked before I love them. For some reason, I couldn’t get into ‘Bohemian Rhapsody’ when I was young and then I turned 14 and it was the greatest song I’d ever heard. I have a specific memory of this one rock station in Vancouver that would always play Heart all the time whenever my dad and I would drive to Taekwondo, and I thought it was some of the worst music I’d ever heard. After maybe 5 car rides, I was obsessed with Heart. If my dad and I go on a drive anywhere now, we definitely scream and sing along to ‘Crazy On You’, that song is so good, and they’re both so talented it’s crazy. They give everything to all the songs they play and that is something I try to do with every performance of our songs.

Thanks to Jana for sharing her favourites with us!

Follow Francis Of Delirium on bandcampSpotifyFacebookTwitter & Instagram

Photo Credit: Lynn Theisen

FIVE FAVOURITES: anrimeal

“I never gave gender much thought before this album,” Porto-born, London-based artist anrimeal explains about her new release, Could Divine. Described as a “computer folk” record exploring the use of texture, limitation and repetition, anrimeal’s new record is inspired by the work of Eva Hesse and other women artists who pioneered the post-minimalism movement.

“I’d always felt alienated by concepts of womanhood, especially the notion that women exist under nature’s control,” anrimeal continues. “[But] seeing women use nature at the forefront of their work, not afraid to create art that could be seen as messy or dirty helped me reconcile those feelings, and motivated me to explore the less conventionally beautiful side of things.” Written, performed, mixed and mastered by anrimeal from home, Could Divine is a beautiful insight into the mind of a flourishing new artist.

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 anrimeal to ask about her “Five Favourites” – five albums that have inspired her song-writing techniques. Speaking about her choices, anrimeal explains: “These are far from deep cuts, but really albums that not only do I know front to back, but also signposted some or other pivotal moments in my life.”

Check out her favourite albums below and scroll down to listen to anrimeal’s latest single ‘Encaustic Witches’ at the end of this post. You can also catch anrimeal and her musical collaborator Freda D’Souza performing a live improv session from home on Youtube at 6pm tonight. (Link here)

 

1. James Blake – James Blake
I remember buying this album on CD when i was 17 and spending entire days during Easter break lying down in my bedroom, looking at the ceiling and just listening. I think it was my first proper introduction to ambience in music, to a sound landscape that was as rich as the actual songwriting. And one of those things I just couldn’t unlisten. From then on, texture became the most important thing to me in music, a language of its own. There was something so personal about the sonic world James built in this album. I don’t think I’d been exposed to a truly DIY record before this one, and it really changed my perception of music as a medium, and ended up informing the way I like to create music today.

2. Grouper – The Man Who Died In His Boat
Liz Harris, I mean – her music changed my life. Listening to The Man Who Died In His Boat for the first time was like being shown the inside of my brain. The album was sent to me along with Animal Collective’s Sung Tongs with a message of this sort “if you like delay, then you might like these”. This was an even deeper dive into ambient music, and maybe the first time I felt like I could fully relate to what an artist was trying to put out. There’s a dark gentleness in her records, that I’ve only ever felt with music made by women. A kind of understated submerged darkness that is constant and calm. Not depressing nor effusive, just constant.

3. Animal Collective – Sung Tongs
Animal Collective!!!! Field recordings, adaptations of the aesthetics and energy of traditional music, beautifully poetic but slightly absurd lyrics, moments of chaos and of quiet introspection. Seriously, what does this album not have? I can’t say Sung Tongs reflects me exactly, but I think it showed me a side of life that I wasn’t very familiar with before. Having been educated in a strict classical music setting, I needed Animal Collective to show me that there was a fun side to music after all. The clouds opened to the sun like eyelids, and I owe it to this album. I’ve since become a devoted fan of Avey Tare’s catalogue, and I carry this upbeat and earthy world very dearly with me, as a kind of companion.

4. Kanye West – Yeezus
I was so arrested by this album, the first time I listened to it I was petrified and started sweating. It was completely different from anything I’d ever listened to before, it was so bold and genre-bending. I think I use this record a lot to remind me that I can do anything I want with my music. I very much appreciate Kanye’s commitment to art and unhindered self-expression.

5. Sufjan Stevens – Age Of Adz
Even though I was a fan of Sufjan for a long time, Age Of Adz was definitely an acquired taste, an album that sunk in really slowly with time. Again, it’s such a bold piece of work, so well crafted that its existence almost seems impossible to me. There are almost no words to describe this album, maybe just to say that it is a testament to true passion for the art of songwriting. If anything, Sufjan’s music makes me want to experience life with more care, so that I can find his detail in my own reality.

Thanks to anrimeal for sharing her favourites with us.
Listen to her new single ‘Encaustic Witches’ below.

Follow anrimeal on bandcamp, Spotify, Twitter, Facebook & Instagram for more updates.