Five Favourites & Video Premiere: Junk Whale – ‘Pilebox’

Following infectious recent single ‘Happy Birthday’, Oxford band Junk Whale have now announced the release of their new EP, Caught In The Act Of Looking Weird, next month. Taken from the EP, latest single ‘Pilebox’ pays homage to being yourself in the face of adversity. Propelled by a fuzzy, emo-tinged energy and scuzzy hooks, raw impassioned vocals flow throughout as the track builds with a jangly allure to an anthemic blast of angst-driven splendour. Of the track, the band explain:

It started as an attempt to write a song that sounded like a mashup of Pile and Jawbox (hence the title), although it ended up not really sounding like either. It’s about the joy of living life on your own terms and trying not to worry about fitting into anyone else’s expectations of you.”

We think one of the best ways to get to know a band is by asking what music inspires them. So, to celebrate the release of a quirky brand new video for ‘Pilebox’ and the upcoming EP, we caught up with members of Junk Whale to ask about the music that has inspired them the most. See below for their choices of their five favourite songs, and watch the new video for ‘Pilebox’ at the bottom of this feature.

The Cribs – ‘Things You Should Be Knowing‘ (Jenny – bass/vox)
When I wrote the guitar bit that became ‘Airbed’ from the EP, I sat down and basically just tried to write a song that sounded like The Cribs. One of the reasons I was keen to join Junk Whale was I heard that Hannah & Josie were also huge Cribs fans. Needless to say, I love them. They’re so consistent in their ability to produce bangers even now, but their first album is still closest to my heart. It’s so delightfully ramshackle, and has such an infectious energy – listening to it makes me feel young and reckless again (and it makes me feel old to be writing that). It sounds like they’re having loads of fun without even having to try, as if they’re just mucking about in the garage, and even though they’re playing massive venues and festivals now, I’d still favour the ramshackle mucking about sound any day. 


Illuminati Hotties – ‘Knead’ (Ali – vox/production)
Illuminati Hotties are one of the few bands I’ve discovered recently that I’ve really connected with. This song does a really great job of balancing elements of indie rock, pop and grunge which is more or less what we’re trying to do in Junk Whale. Their lead singer, Sarah Tudzin, is a professional audio engineer and produces their songs; she does an amazing job and is a real inspiration for me.

Doe – ‘Julia Survived’ (Josie – guitar/vox)
I first saw Doe in 2016, supporting Muncie Girls in Brighton (also on the bill was another Junk Whale fave, Fresh). I left with a cassette copy of their First Four compilation, and over the next few weeks I rendered it more or less unlistenable by playing it over and over again. At that point, Hannah’s and my pre-Junk Whale band was coming to an end and we were thinking about our next project together. Somehow, Doe had managed to capture exactly the kind of music that we wanted to make. Every song on that comp is great, but ‘Julia Survived’ has always stood out to me. It has that visceral punch of emotion that I crave in music, and the overlapping vocal harmonies were definitely a big influence on our songwriting. Nicola Leel is up there with Corin Tucker from Sleater-Kinney in my “people I wish I could sing like” rankings.

Taking Back Sunday – ‘You Know How I Do’ (Hannah – guitar/vox)
I first got into Taking Back Sunday when I was in sixth form because the drummer in my band really wanted to cover ‘Cute Without the E’ and I’ve never looked back. Their first album, which this track opens, is pretty much without flaw in my eyes and I struggled to pick just one song from it. Something I really love about it is the sheer quantity of vocals; Adam Lazzara barely lets up for a second, singing over almost every section of every song, with John Nolan pitching in frequently for some really effective back-and-forth segments. I think we have a pretty different sound to Taking Back Sunday, but they’re always on my mind whenever I’m trying to structure a song, and especially when I’m writing vocal parts.

Dinosaur Jr. – ‘Little Fury Things’ (Josie – vox/guitar)
First hearing You’re Living All Over Me as a teenager was a genuinely life-changing moment. It exemplified everything I love about guitar music: heavy riffs, soaring solos, ear-scraping noise and, most of all, beautifully expressive rhythm-playing. It was the latter that had the biggest influence on my playing; messing around with different harmonies and chord combinations is my favourite thing to do with a guitar and has formed the basis of my songwriting. ‘Little Fury Things’ is the best example of this. After the pummelling drum intro and aural chaos of the opening section, the plaintive guitar and melancholy vocals of the verse completely disarm you. To me, this song is the best demonstration of the immense dynamic power of a distorted electric guitar.


Huge thanks to Junk Whale for sharing their Five Favourites with us! New EP, Caught In The Act Of Looking Weird, is set for release on 8th July via Reckless Yes. Watch the brand new video for latest single ‘Pilebox’ here:

Photo Credit: Tom Turner

FIVE FAVOURITES: CRONICLE

Swedish artist CRONICLE may have cut her teeth playing in punk-pop band Tantrum to Blind, but now she’s exploring her song-writing talent through the medium of brooding electronica. CRONICLE (aka Melanie Mohlkert) has shared three singles to date, with her most recent offering ‘Bruises’ focusing on the aftermath of a relationship.

We think one of the best ways to get to know a new artist is by asking them what music inspired them to write in the first place. We caught up with CRONICLE 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 her track ‘Bruises’ at the end of this post.

 

1. Taking Back Sunday – Where You Want To Be
Taking Back Sunday is the band I still call my favourite band of all time. It’s kind of funny actually, because the first time I heard one of their songs I was like “What the hell is this noise?” but I was 13 years old and my (really cool) cousin who’s just one year older than me was super into them, so I was intrigued.

Then diving into their music opened up a whole new world for me. I was already a big fan of bands like Nirvana, The Offspring, Millencolin and Good Charlotte, but these guys were just something else. Their angsty and raw vocals with intense, emotional lyrics that literally have no filter at all, backed with sick guitar riffs and energetic drums just made me FEEL so much. It was like an amplifier to your heart and soul at that age and to be honest, it still is. I love this band so much. I feel like their way of phrasing what you want to say in lyrics, their guitar riffs and emotion will always be one of the core pedestals in me as a songwriter. Being able to show how you can be hurt and vulnerable with your music but at the same time saying “f*ck you” is definitely something they taught me about, and I’m forever grateful for that.

2. Ellie Goulding – Halcyon Days
This album is f*cking incredible. I actually can’t remember when I came across it first, I think it might have been that I fell in love with Ellie’s song ‘Figure 8’ and after that, checked out the whole album and damn, I couldn’t stop listening to it. It definitely was my first proper introduction to the electronic pop world and those kind of soundscapes. I think there are parts of this album that are pretty similar to the whole emo alternative rock elements I’m so in love with. To be honest ‘Figure 8’ would make a sick emo rock song, but here the electric guitars are kind of replaced with heavy synthesisers instead. I think that’s what I fell for. I also love, love, love the vocal production, how her voice is often used as an instrument. Then there are these rough organic sounding instrumentals, mixed with amazing electronic sounds. Ellie has generally really inspired me and been a big role model as the badass female solo artist that she is. I’m not a huge fan of the direction she’s taken musically over the last few years, but she’ll always have place in my heart.

3. K.Flay – Life As A Dog
I think it was in 2014, when my band had split up and I started getting really into electronic music that some friends of mine sent me a link to K.Flay’s tunes. They had just been doing Warped Tour in the US and got to know her because she was playing the festival too. They were like “Mel you’re gonna LOVE this chick” and oh my, they were right. I was hooked by the first synth that hit my ears in ‘Make Me Fade’ and K.Flay’s amazing whisky voice, smart, full of attitude lyrics and awesome beats. There’s also some electric guitars and bass, cutting through the production here and there and it’s simply a mix of everything I love.

The fact that she’s this awesome smart rapper just makes her pretty much royalty to me. Her Majesty K.Flay – the Queen of everything. I was at her first ever London show when she supported Lights and nobody really knew who she was. I had brought some friends with me who really dug her too after my passionate introduction and we were in the back of the room, jumping and singing along to her set. Her manager caught our little private party in the crowd and had to come up and ask how we knew about her. Then the craziest thing of this story here is that I actually got to support her when she had her first headline show in London and that was my first ever Cronicle show!

4. Twenty One Pilots – Blurry Face
I remember seeing ads on YouTube for their music videos and I thought to myself that there was just something really cool and real about them. After checking out the album I was a fan for life. I feel like I’ve always been really drawn to artists who are genuine and speak the truth in their music and these guys definitely do that. They also know how to write BANGERS. This is my “pick me up” album. It’s the one that I turn on loud as f*ck in the morning to get me going, to get my mood right for the day. I also love driving (read speeding) and skating to it. They are incredible musicians, performers and Tyler’s lyrics are just something else.

I will forever regret that I missed Reading Festival a couple of years ago when they played it. I was sat home behind my laptop watching their set online and even just through the 13” screen their show was absolutely mind-blowing. I also really respect how much hard work they’ve put into their career in terms of playing shows, touring so much of the world before they “made it”. They’re the real deal and I’m stoked to see how huge they are today, it gives hope to someone like me.

5. Lana Del Rey – Born To Die
What can I say, how can you not love this album? Lana is an incredible songwriter and she really knows how to drag you into her world and turn you into an addict. This album is the soundtrack to my summers spent broken hearted and lost. It made them more beautiful somehow. I’m so captivated by her voice and lyrics and again, the production is a mix of organic instruments and electronic elements – my favourite thing. Lana is sharing sadness and pain in a proud way and there’s just something so empowering about that. I feel proud to be a woman with a broken heart not afraid to share my deepest pain because of her.

Thanks to Melanie for sharing her favourites with us!Follow CRONICLE on Facebook for more updates.

Kate Crudgington
@KCBobCut