FIVE FAVOURITES: TWEN

Nashville-via-Boston duo Twen are gearing up to support Seattle rockers TacoCat tomorrow night at Hackney’s Moth Club (29th Aug), and we’re convinced their celestial, angular sounds will impress their London crowd. Comprised of Jane Fitzsimmons and Ian Jones, Twen came to life over the space of two years as the duo toured the Boston DIY punk scene. Now, they’re getting ready to share their debut album Awestruck, which is set for release on 20th September via Frenchkiss.

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 Jane to ask her about her “Five Favourites” – five albums that have influenced her songwriting techniques. Check out her choices below, and make sure you listen to Twen’s track ‘Baptism’ at the end of this post.

1. Central Heating – Heatwave
This is a classic that has stayed with me since I was 14. Before streaming, I would check out CDs at the library and rip them into my iTunes library. I found Heatwave while trying to listen to every funk/disco band I could find (thinking I could somehow listen to the whole genre). This whole album has a playfulness that packs some serious joy. The title track is the star of the show; the vocals are so strangely melodic but carry major rhythmic weight. I just love the concept of making people groove out with a vocal melody rather than the beat. Also the most silly and beautiful intro and outro I have yet encountered. James Guthrie (of Pink Floyd The Wall fame) produced this album, which I don’t really care about but something to note.

2. Bibio – À tout à l’heure 
I put this song on a mixed CD I made for Ian when we were sophomores in college. We would make so many mixes for each other, a different type of language than our early awkward convos. I would meticulously decorate them with sharpies and would spend hours deciding how to make the perfect “flow”. This was a song I found out he loved too, and he even knew how to play them to my amazement. The beyond beautiful and intricate finger-picking is so delicate but this song is a BANGER. The beat and funky bass line pair perfect with the acoustic layers and nonsensical lyrics (“À tout à l’heure”, French for “see you later”). There is such emotional and hypnotic value to this song, without making logical sense of it. Bibio still and always will have the best production sounds on the block, mixing analog and digital to make more of a sound tapestry than just a mere song.

3. Cocteau Twins – Heaven or Los Vegas
I found out about Cocteau Twins through my friend Matt, who DJ’d a college radio show called “Folk U” with me for two years. We had inherited the show and both slowly started to move out of the genre till Death Grips was playing. He played ‘Cherry-colored Funk’ and I nearly lost my damn mind, I had never heard anything so perfect. I read once that Elizabeth Fraser’s voice was ‘the voice of God’ and I don’t dispute it. Her ingenious melodies put me in a trance and make me feel like I’m understanding something outside words. Also, I have sweet memories with this album since it was one of the few albums I brought with me on an iPod on a trip to Iceland. I had gone by myself after college to camp 10 days in June when it’s daylight 22 hours a day (the only way I felt safe to camp by myself). I brought an old ass iPod that only had room for a few albums and this one of them. So, I listened the shit out of it while looking at the insane Icelandic landscape and I still love it.

4. Lijadu Sisters – Horizon Unlimited 
I had first heard the Lijadu sisters while working in a vegetarian restaurant in St. Louis, where I’m from. I had just moved back home for a quick quarter-life crisis. The owner and chef, Bay would sometimes make the playlists for the restaurant and loved blasting Lijadu Sisters. Being surrounded by an inspiring woman with a fountain of culinary creativity and listening to this album most days made a hard time a little less unbearable. The power of music. The beats and melodic riffs will make any day great and the two sisters feel exponentially BIG singing in unison. I really enjoy listening to music in different languages, it makes me notice the melodies better and the variety of vocal sounds possible that aren’t even used in English.

5. Mercyful Fate – Melissa 
I’m not super metal literate, but Mercyful Fate is THE metal band in my little world. On a tour probably a year ago (I only remember it was cold outside, they all start to blend together) a sound guy played this in the venue after the lights went on, probably to make everyone leave. A classic move. It made me want to STAY and to find out everything. Better known as King Diamond, this was his first band and Melissa is their first album. The vocal range is inhuman and the diversity of sounds that merely one person can make is an inspiration. Also I was raised Catholic, so hearing about covens and satanic rituals brings me a twisted joy.

Thanks to Jane for sharing their five favourites with us! Follow TWEN on Facebook for more updates.

Photo credit: Alexa Viscius

Track Of The Day: The Paranoyds – ‘Hungry Sam’/’Trade Our Sins’

As they prepare to head out on a US tour with the awesome Tacocat, LA-based The Paranoyds are set to release their debut EP.

With this two-track, the band serves up a couple of slices of sleazy garage rock with a psychedelic pop edge thanks to the swirling, whirling keyboards, which sound like they’re straight out of a 1950s monster movie.

‘Hungry Sam’ is pure punk; effortlessly cool with a stomping opener that wedges itself in your brain after just a couple of listens. Meanwhile, ‘Trade Our Sins’ is slower, darker and sadder, but still sounds incredibly kick-ass.

Keen to make a name for themselves with their live shows and records rather than through social media (they don’t have a Facebook page), The Paranoyds’ debut release really speaks for itself. And with such an exciting support slot lined up, they’ll undoubtedly get more and more people listening.

 

Hungry Sam/Trade Our Sins is out now digitally, and will be released on 7-inch vinyl on July 12th via Suicide Squeeze. This will be a one-time pressing of 750, 650 on Orange Crush colour vinyl, and 100 on Neon Yellow colour vinyl – pre-order here

Vic Conway

PLAYLIST: April 2019

It’s a brand new month and that means we’ve got a brand new playlist of new music to share with you! April has been another month of musical discovery for us, and we’re excited to share our top picks with you all. Take some time to scroll through our words and hit play on the Spotify link at the bottom of the page…

Lupa J – ‘The Crash’ 
‘The Crash’ is the latest single from Lupa J which she’s also recently dropped a pretty slick video to. With sounds evocative of early Grimes and touches of Alice Glass, we’re loving this track at Get In Her Ears. Of the track Lupa J says: “”I wrote this just over a year ago now, and I was in a really unhappy place. I had barely any friends in the city I lived in; instead focusing my energy on a long term relationship that was starting to eat away at me and my sanity more than it grew me, and I was starting to realise more and more I had a lot of previously repressed & unexplored queer desire.” (Tash Walker)

Tacocat – ‘The Joke Of Life’
Our fave Seattle pop-punks Tacocat are releasing their new album This Mess Is A Place on 5th May via Sub-pop records, and this is the latest single to be lifted form the record. This band never fail to put a smile on my face, always providing a buoyant guitar tune that makes for a reassuring listen during these misguided and politically turbulent times. Long live Tacocat! (Kate Crudgington)

Panic Pocket – ‘Pizza In My Pants’
Taken from Panic Pocket’s new EP Never Gonna Happen, ‘Pizza In My Pants’ is a fun-filled look at the common expectations society holds women to, and is filled with a playful energy and self-deprecating humour. Oozing honey-sweet harmonies alongside shimmering melodies and a gritty synth-driven energy, it’s another luscious (and super relatable!) slice of indie-pop from the duo, showcasing all there is to love about them. Never Gonna Happen, the new EP from Panic Pocket, is out now via Reckless Yes. And we cannot wait for them to play for us at our next night at The Finsbury on 10th May, along with Crumbs, Charismatic Megafauna and Rookes. (Mari Lane)

Grizzly Coast – ‘Half-Light Boy’ 
“Will you shine for them, like I shined for you?” asks Grizzly Coast on her bitter sweet new single ‘Half-Light Boy’. The track is a “sobering realization that not every person you encounter will have the same heart as you”. It’s not all doom and gloom though! Grizzly Coasts’ buoyant guitar and gentle yet sturdy vocals are a reminder that “someone else’s lack of care for you is often due to something lacking in them – it is never an expression of what you deserve”. The story behind ‘Half-Light Boy’ will resonate with anyone who’s felt like like they’re shining the spotlight on someone else, whilst simultaneously living in their shadow. (KC)

ABBIE OZARD – ‘Growing Pains’
I am loving the latest single from Manchester based Abbie Ozard, ‘Growing Pains’ keep your eyes peeled for a full debut EP still to come later this year – mine are wide wide open. (TW)

Sølv – ‘Bittersweet’ 
Bittersweet’ is the first taste of Sølv that we’ve had following the release of her acclaimed Codeine EP in 2017 and it’s a banger. Tripped out hazy waves, warped vocals all mixed together in electronic beats. Yes please.(TW)

Bamboo – ‘Weeping Idols’ (ML)
Taken from Bamboo‘s upcoming third album, ‘Weeping Idols’ is an uplifting and subtly captivating offering. Propelled by a thunderous sense of urgency, a twinkling soundscape is created as swirling interwoven melodies and chiming hooks provide the backdrop for Rachel Horwood (Trash Kit)’s soaring majestic vocals. Daughters Of The Sky, the upcoming new album from Bamboo, is out on 14th June via Upset The Rhythm. Pre-order here. (ML)

Witching Waves – ‘Best Of Me’ 
The latest single from trio Witching Waves, ‘Best Of Me’ races with a jangly twang and punk-fuelled energy. Alongside fast-paced hooks and raw, impassioned vocals, I just can’t get enough of visceral power. Formed of Emma, Mark and Estella (Big Joanie and Charmpit), I just love Witching Waves’ unrelenting DIY post-punk sound and frenetic sense of urgency. Persistence, the new album from Witching Waves, is out now. (ML)

Mammoth Penguins – ‘Closure’
The latest single from Cambridge trio Mammoth Penguins, ‘Closure’ is a reflective offering, oozing the rich, impassioned power of Emma Kupa’s vocals alongside the band’s trademark jangly hooks and shimmering emotion, showcasing the their ability to make me feel all the feels on every listen. Of the track, Emma explains:Closure is a song about an interaction, or day, or moment, or occurrence when something shifts and feelings that you may have been carrying around for a while just dissipate. I think real closure can be quite rare and incredibly profound.Having left us with butterflies in our stomachs with their dreamy indie-pop offerings playing for us at our last night at The Finsbury, Mammoth Penguins’ new album There’s No Fight We Can’t Both Win, is out today, 26th April, via Fika Recordings. (ML)

Seraphina – ‘Backbone’ 
I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again – I am loving what Seraphina is bringing out at the moment! Such rich sound and soul. ‘Backbone’ is her last single which is out now and all about wanting someone you shouldn’t…and all the messy head-fuckery that it brings. Just fantastic. (TW)

Jessica Winter – ‘Sleep Forever’ 
I am so late to the Jessica Winter party, but thanks to a suggestion from one of our writers (thanks Cazz!) I have arrived and I am ready to immerse myself in her captivating sound. She’s a DIY Producer who fuses elements of trap and gothic electronica and her vocals are spellbinding. Jessica also has a strong presence in the LGBTQ scene, putting on Hate The Haus club nights across London to celebrate a range of talent while supporting ethical causes. ‘Sleep Forever’ is an introduction to her upcoming EP Let’s Keep It Shallow, due out in September. (KC)

FKA TWIGS – ‘Cellophane’
FKA Twigs seems to re-emerge whenever my heart’s taken a bit of a beating, and I’m always so relieved when she does. ‘Cellophane’ is her first release since 2016 and she’s co-created a breath-taking set of visuals and written a truly poignant and ballad. “Why don’t I do it for you?” she asks so gently – Oh Twigs! – you do it for me every time and I’m so glad to have your new music back in my life *cries* (KC)

Zamilska – ‘Hollow’ 
I am obsessed with Polish producer ZAMILSKA and I cannot wait to hear her new album Uncovered, which this track is taken from, when it’s released digitally on 10th May via her own label Untuned Records. Set around the theme of levitation, Zamilska’s industrial, techno-infused electronics have been haunting me (in a good way) from first listen. She’s been featured on Nine Inch Nails’ Spotify playlist, and remixed ‘Belly Of The Beast’ one of my fave tracks from my fave artist Gazelle Twin. Super talented and super exciting to see what she does next. (KC)

Peaches – ‘Boys Wanna Be Her’
Long time favourite, and total legend, Peaches is playing at The Southbank Centre in London on 28th August – I’m SO excited to finally be able to finally see her incredible, unique performance live! And ‘Boys Wanna Be Her’ is just the perfect celebratory anthem; as Peaches explains – “It’s just a celebration. Seriously. I want it to be like a post-gender and post-age celebration of becoming who you are.
(ML)

ALBUM: Tacocat – ‘This Mess Is A Place’

It’s probably best to lay my cards out early: I think Tacocat are the best band in the United States and they’ve rarely been off my headphones since their 2016 album Lost Time. But, whereas Lost Time and 2014’s NVM dealt with the minutiae of life, celebrating cult figures and taking off-kilter looks at some of life’s difficulties, recent events have forced the band to take a wider view. This Mess is a Place is Tacocat’s response to darker times, and its tunes come plastered with rainbow-coloured glitter.

Opener ‘Hologram’ is an ideal case-in-point. How else to respond to the current US President than by remembering “Power is a hologram” and leaning back to think of the Milky Way? It’s a spaced-out political statement that doesn’t name names, with a chorus that you can’t forget and an ending that’s hopeful if uncertain. ‘New World’ is a Bangles style garage-lite exploration of wanting to escape from the day-to-day, not dissimilar to ‘I Hate The Weekend’ from Lost Time.  

Lead single ‘Grains of Salt’ takes Tacocat in a synth-led, pop-rock direction with lyrics that move from the imageist – “Feeling so other / Like too many sunsets” – to the pinpoint – “Dont forget to remember who the fuck you are!”. It’s a curiously introspective track, particularly for a Tacocat single, with a chorus whose “tears in the oven” line appears to be an Adventure Time! reference, and whose lyrics in general show a bruised self-consciousness.

‘Grains Of Salt’ appears to set up a central plank of the album; ‘The Joke of Life’ with its surf-style and prominent vocal harmonies at odds with its lyrical negativity; ‘Little Friend’ a blast of pop-punk, forming an ode to (what else?) pets. Naturally, for a song about small animals, this track is the heaviest on This Mess is a Place.

‘Rose Colored Sky’, meanwhile, is a rumination of those born into success and their distance from the rest of society – “I wonder what it feels like not to even have to try” sings Emily Nokes, in a voice that’s unusually frank and direct, whilst recognising “If I wasn’t on the battleground/ I bet I could’ve gone to space by now”. Even for a band with a tendency to punch up, this is a pretty straightforward piece of criticism – a comment on the inadequacies of silver-spoon-in-mouth types.’The Problem’ takes a similar tack to Lost Time‘s ‘You Can’t Fire Me, I Quit’, albeit in a simpler form and with spikier guitars.  

The album’s closing tracks are near-ballads: “What a time to be barely alive” laments ‘Crystal Ball’ – a reflection on the news cycle and our constant state of semi-engagement. ‘Meet Me At La Palma’ verges on AOR with some tropic-cool guitar licks courtesy of Eric Randall. Its lyrics detail drinking and dancing in inappropriately themed bars festooned with “pictures of palm trees where no palm trees ever grew”, all for the excuse of re-uniting with an old flame. If that’s an unusually romantic side to the group, then ‘Miles and Miles’ is like a shonky take on country (at least initially) before it settles into the more familiar Tacocat trademark pop-punk anthem chorus.

Not as easily approachable as NVM or Lost Time, This Mess is a Place is a bold direction for Tacocat’s first album on Sub Pop, having previously been on the label’s Hardly Art subsidiary. But it’s also a grower, and one that should solidly cement the band’s place as outsiders with a knack for crafting hooky choruses. Particularly impressive are Emily Nokes’ vocals, with producer Erik Blood always knowing when to double, to echo or to let them ring more naturally.

Of the album, Nokes has commented: “We can examine some hard stuff, feel some rage feelings, sift through memories, feel wavy-existential, and still go get a banana daiquiri at the end”. In other words: no matter how hard times are, Tacocat always appeal.

This Mess Is A Place is out 3rd May via Sub Pop.

John McGovern
@etinsuburbiaego

Track Of The Day: Tacocat – ‘Hologram’

A joyful poke at the dynamics of power; Seattle pop-punks Tacocat have shared their latest singe ‘Hologram’. The track is taken from the band’s upcoming album This Mess Is a Place, set to be released on 3rd May via Sub Pop.

We’ve been waiting for new Tacocat material since 2016 (when the band released their second record, Lost Time) and if their new single is anything to go by; This Mess Is a Place is set to be another buoyant, reassuring listen for these misguided and politically turbulent times.

“Just remember if you can, power is a hologram ” sings Emily Nokes during the chorus for ‘Hologram’, which dismantles the translucent nature of power via pop hooks and catchy lyricism. Tacocat excel at taking difficult political concepts and dismantling them in to bubble-gum sized chewable pieces.

Speaking about the new record, Emily explains: “We can examine some hard stuff, make fun of some evil stuff, feel some soft feelings, feel some rage feelings, feel some bitter-ass feelings, sift through memories, feel wavy-existential, and still go get a banana daiquiri at the end.”

You heard her – grab yourself a banana daiquiri and Listen to ‘Hologram’ below. Follow Tacocat on Facebook for more updates.

Kate Crudgington
@KCBobCut

Track Of The Day: Tacocat – ‘Grains Of Salt’

Following 2016’s Lost Time, Seattle’s pop-punksters Tacocat have now announced the release of their brand new album The Mess Is A Place, and we couldn’t be more excited.

Taken from the album, new single ‘Grains Of Salt’ flows with jangly, uptempo hooks and the trademark soaring, raw vocals of Emily Nokes, creating a vibrant message of empowerment. As Nokes exclaims “Don’t forget to remember who the fuck you are”, a wonderful sense of catharsis oozes from the bands’s sparkling musicality, the track’s bright energy matching the colourful drag performers of the video. Another infectiously uplifting feminist anthem from the Seattle group, leaving us longing to hear more from the new album.

Of the video for ‘Grains Of Salt’, Nokes expands:

The video is also super special! We were really lucky to get to work with some of our favorite Seattle performers and friends, not to mention an ace video team. Seattle is so talented it’s ridiculous. (Shoutout to the giant glasses of room-temp blue milk that somehow never spilled a drop!)”

This Mess Is A Place, the upcoming album from Tacocat, is out 3rd May via Sub Pop.

Mari Lane
@marimindles

Photo Credit: Helen Moga