Five Favourites: Why Bonnie

The latest full-band project from Texan artist Blair Howerton, Why Bonnie released their debut Water back in 2018 and have now returned, announcing their upcoming EP Voice Box, set for release next month.

Title track and lead single, ‘Voice Box’, oozes sunny uplifting vibes as shimmering hooks and Howerton’s rich, luscious vocals flow with a soaring emotion; a truly dreamy offering fuzzing with a dazzling, effervescent charm.

We think one of the best ways to get to know an artist is by asking what music inspires them or influences their writing. We caught up with Blair, who has shared her “Five Favourites” – five albums that particularly resonate with them. Check out her choices below, and make sure you watch Why Bonnie’s new video for ‘Voice Box’ at the bottom of this post.

Liz Phair – Exile In Guyville
I first heard this album in college and haven’t found anything to top it since. I‘d grown up with her big pop hits, but this album was a totally different vibe. She blended that classic ’90s angst with heartfelt sweetness so beautifully and all of the melodies are really subtle yet effective. The whole sound felt very familiar but in an exciting way. I’ve listened to the track ‘Explain It To Me’ maybe a thousand times and I never get sick of it. The album is also really long and has a really good variety of sounds, so I recommend it for anyone that’s currently self isolating!

Fleetwood Mac – Rumours
This album will always remind me of my childhood. Out of all of the classic rock albums that I grew up with, this one was the most formative. Stevie Nicks was my idol growing up and we have the same birthday, so I’ve always felt weirdly connected to her. ‘Dreams’ is one of those tracks that will always bring me back to being seven years old on a beach in Galveston, Texas, twirling around with a towel doing my best Stevie impression. Also, that bass line is catchy as hell. 

Dear Nora – Three States: Rarities 1997 – 2007
This was my first introduction to Twee and the genre really resonated with me. This album in particular was sweet and sentimental but still had a fun, kinda sloppy, and whimsical edge to it. It’s poetic but not pretentious, and always puts me in a good mood.

The Breeders – Last Splash
Kim Deal is just a true fucking icon. Last Splash has such a good blend of disjointed scuzzy rock and pop sensibilities, which is something we strive for in our music. It’s the epitome of noise-pop and I believe it paved the way for a whole genre. Obviously we love Pixies as well, but The Breeders really honed in this sound in such a brilliant way.

Pavement – Crooked Rain, Crooked Rain
Picking the best Pavement album is like talking about politics or religion with your family at Thanksgiving. Crooked Rain was my first introduction to Pavement, so that’s kind of the main reason for choosing it. What makes this record so special (and inspiring) is really the way they combine (both from a songwriting and performance standpoint) catchy, earworm-y melodies with absolute chaos. Pavement is such a special band because they’re able to mix seemingly contradictory elements into songs that you find yourself humming on a walk, in the grocery store, or waiting for the train. Tongue-in-cheek lyrics that with a beautiful guitar melody, dissonant guitar noise with heartfelt lyrics, or trying to play jazz as a slacker rock band. They remind me that it’s ok to not take yourself too seriously, and in doing that you can end up making music that’s incredibly catchy, inspiring, and meaningful. They kind of invite the listener to apply whatever kind of meaning they want to the songs, and inspire me to write whatever I’m feeling like playing or singing, knowing that it’s ok if a wrong note or nonsense lyric (or several) find their way onto the record. 

Massive thanks to Blair for sharing her Five Favourites with us! Why Bonnie’s new EP Voice Box is out 10th April via Fat Possum Records. Watch the video for the title track:

Photo Credit: Pooneh Ghana

PLAYLIST: October 2018

The dark winter nights are creeping in, but our brand new October playlist is filled with bright, vibrant new sounds from a range of unusual and inspiring new artists. If our selections are anything to go by, the October 5th is THE date to release a record, and we’re excited to share our track selections with you. Take some time to scroll through our words and hit play on the Spotify link at the bottom of the page…

Health (feat. Soccer Mommy) – ‘Mass Grave’
I’m obsessed with this new track from L.A. noise rockers HEALTH, which features the divine vocals of Soccer Mommy. Produced by Corin Roddick (Purity Ring), ‘Mass Grave’ is a haunting fusion of alarming synths, apathetic vocals and spaced out percussion. (Kate Crudgington)

Kill J – ‘Strange Fruits of the Sea’
Kill J’s latest offering tackles issues of immigration and racism, with a subtle nod to Billie Holiday’s  iconic ‘Strange Fruit’ (1939). Speaking about the track, Kill J explains: “It’s a protest song about boarders, walls, barbed wire fences, and people trying to survive on small boats crossing the Mediterranean Sea. While some people dream of just surviving their journey across the boarders, others dream of wealth and power at the expense of others”. I’m a big fan of Kill J’s defiance, which she explores through hypnotising electronics. ‘Strange Fruits of the Sea’ is taken from her upcoming album Superposition, released 5th October via Nettwerk. (KC)

Pip Blom – ‘Come Home’
Catchy AF, ‘Come Home’is the latest single from Amsterdam favourites of mine Pip Blom, taken from their upcoming EP Paycheck which is out on 5th October. I had the pleasure of seeing these guys support The Breeders earlier in the year at the Roundhouse, an abundance of energy and an abundance of hair. Catch them if you can, they’re playing all over the UK this November including The Lexington on the 22nd. (Tash Walker)

Big Joanie – ‘Fall Asleep’
‘Fall Asleep’ is the latest single from Get In Her Ears faves Big Joanie, I only heard this for this first time a week or so ago but it’s firmly got into my head.  They’ve recently announced their debut album Sistahs is going to be released this November by The Daydream Library Series, and I can’t wait to hear the record in full! (TW)

Gold Baby – ‘What Party?
Having charmed us with their with their twinkling charisma and catchy offerings live at The Finsbury, East London’s Gold Baby have now shared new single ‘What Party?’. Reflecting on self-induced boundaries and the limits we often place on ourselves, ‘What Party?’ is propelled by a scuzzy, sparkling energy. Catch Gold Baby live at The Shacklewell Arms on 5th October. (Mari Lane)

Mammoth Penguins – ‘When I Was Your Age’
Having finally been lucky enough to catch Cambridge-based Mammoth Penguins supporting Adult Mom at The Shacklewell Arms last week, my love of their 2015 album Hide and Seek has been freshly revived, and I once again cannot stop listening to it. Fronted by Emma (also known for playing bass for GIHE faves Suggested Friends, and being part of the wonderful Indietracks Festival team), live the band ooze an utterly infectious, shimmering energy, with a highlight being the highly relatable (and seemingly appropriate – it’s Emma’s birthday) ‘When I Was Your Age’. Reflecting on the common pressures of growing up and habits of people to constantly compare themselves to each other, it’s a twinkling slice of impassioned indie-pop, fitting perfectly into the band’s collection of dreamy, scuzzy, emotion-filled delights. A totally uplifting set that stands me in good stead for crying the night away (in a good way) to the lush sounds of Adult Mom. (ML)

Chorusgirl – ‘No Goodbye’
Following 2015’s wonderful self-titled debut, GIHE faves Chorusgirl have now announced their long-awaited new album Shimmer And Spin, and we couldn’t be happier for them. Taken from the album, new single ‘No Goodbye’ is filled with jangly hooks and sunny uplifting beats, despite perhaps a lingering dark undercurrent. As Silvi’s distinctive, lush vocals soar throughout, effervescent harmonies and impressive driving riffs flow, creating Chorusgirl’s utterly unique, shimmering sounds. Another truly dreamy slice of sparkling garage-pop, ‘No Goodbye’ proves that it’s impossible to listen to Chorusgirl and not feel instantly better. Shimmer And Spin, the upcoming new album from Chorusgirl, is out 16th November via Reckless Yes. (ML)

Praa – ‘Y’
This new single from Praa was released at the end of September, and it’s all about questioning our human connection with virtual relationships maintained via our screens. I think it’s a beautiful example of modern neo-soul. Thank you Praa. (TW)

Hazel Iris – ‘A Prince’
‘A Prince’ by classically trained Hazel Iris, is a totally enchanting piece of music, loaded with emotion and fusing classical, indie folk, and a bit of jazz. Her debut album Nine Sisters is due out on 26th October and she’ll be performing at St Batholomew-the-Great in Smithfield’s on the same date, which will no doubt be a mesmerising show. The track’s not up on Spotify just yet, but you can listen to it below (TW)

Ah! Kosmos – ‘June’
Taken from her new album Beautiful Swamp (due 5th October via Compost Records), ‘June’ is another example of Ah! Kosmos’ stunning ability to create powerful, rapturous soundscapes. Born in Istanbul and now based in Berlin, Ah! Kosmos (aka Başak Günak) is a sound designer, producer and multi-instrumentalist – and I can’t wait to review her new record for the website this week. (KC)

Aisha Badru – ‘Splintered’
Following the lush, enveloping sound of previous single ‘Bridges’, New York’s Aisha Badru returns to charm our ears with a sparkling new offering. A call for people to take control of their lives‘Splintered’ flows with the beautiful, sweeping splendour of Badru’s delicately emotion-strewn vocals. Oozing a majestic grace, alongside twinkling melodies and a soaring musicality, it’s filled with a raw emotion that’ll send shivers down the spine on first listen. Pendulum, the latest album from Aisha Badru, is out now. (ML)

Varley – ‘Lonely Were The Days’
Reflecting on the ever-growing demands of today’s society from the effects of social media and the pressure this puts on a whole generation to “be something”, ‘Lonely Were The Days’ is an instantly infectious slice of dreamy alt-pop from Berlin-based Varley. As pulsating beats propel the track alongside the shimmering splendour of front woman Claire-Ann’s vocals, a captivating soundscape is created, leaving you no choice but to bask in its glorious, glistening glow. Catch Varley playing for us live at Notting Hill Arts Club on 1st December alongside Alyss, Elsa Hewitt and Temples Of Youth! (ML)

Art School Girlfriend – ‘Distance (Blank)’
Art School Girlfriend is the moniker of producer & multi-instrumentalist Polly Mackey. Her latest single ‘Distance’ is taken from her recent EP Into The Blue Hour, which was influenced by her move from London to the seaside town of Margate. I love her calm vocals and subtle, yet grand use of synthesizers on this track. She makes being “in over [your] head” sound so, so appealing. (KC)

TAYNE – ‘Sacrifice’
This TAYNE track dropped in to my inbox in January, and it’s been swirling around my head ever since. I’ve also been singing the lyrics incorrectly for the last nine months (the chorus is “I want hope”, not “I want her” as I initially thought) – but I’m not going to let a blip like that stop me from praising this synth-laden, noise-pop gem. TAYNE are celebrating the release of their debut album Breathe at The Old Blue Last on Thursday 4th October (with support from Birthmarks & Volkova Sisters). It’s a free gig, and you can pick up a copy of the clear magenta vinyl (which features ‘Sacrifice’) on the night, ahead of its official release on 2nd November. Us Get In Her Ears girls will all be there, so we’ll see you at the bar! (RSVP here). (KC)

LIVE: PINS – The Garage, London 08.11.17

“Iggy Pop couldn’t make it tonight, so you’ll have to make do with me instead” joked PINS‘ bassist Anna at the band’s headline London show last night. She was introducing ‘Aggrophobe’, the collaborative track which catapulted PINS in to public consciousness earlier this year. Needless to say, she aced Iggy’s spoken word parts, and along with band-mates Faith, Lois, Sophie & Kyoko; proved that PINS are a band with an uncompromising, sparkling talent.

Fresh off the back of supporting The Breeders on their European tour, the girls were glammed up and ready to give the crowds plenty of their thunderous post-punk sounds. Opening their set with the hypnotising ‘Trouble’, the crowd were swaying in time to the snaking bass lines and devious guitar, before they were treated to several new tracks that boasted stomping percussion, and plenty of PINS’ trademark commanding lyrics. 2012 single ‘LUVU4LYF’ sounded as sharp and vital as their new offerings, as did iconic Wild Nights track ‘Young Girls’ which the band closed their set with.

The glorious ‘Bad Thing’ – the title track of their most recent EP – bled perfectly in to latest single ‘Serve The Rich’, which is laced with rallying cries and bold bass lines. Vocalist Faith delivered her lyrics with effortless confidence and charisma, and became the human catalyst for dancing when she moved from stage to barrier to interact with fans. ‘Girls Like Us’ gave her the perfect opportunity to do this, and members of support band Madonnatron didn’t hesitate to scale the barriers and join her for a dance on stage.

PINS’ gigs are always polished, fist-pumpingly good affairs that prove these Manchester post-punks are the coolest girls in town, with a sound that’s equal parts ferocious and fun. Make sure you get involved next time.

Follow PINS on Facebook for more updates.

Photo Credit: Andrew Benge

Kate Crudgington
@KCBobCut