PLAYLIST: September 2018

Summer’s over and so is festival season, but fear not! Our brand new September playlist is here to to brighten up your day. This month is shaping up to be something special sound-wise, 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…

 

Noga Erez – ‘Cash Out’ (feat. SAMMUS)
The idiosyncratic voices of Tel Aviv’s Noga Erez and Philadelphia rapper SAMMUS combine in superb style on this new track, which is the perfect follow up to Erez’s previous knockout single ‘Bad Habits’. Together, the pair “call out the contradicting and chauvinistic pressures piled on women through consumerist society” with defiant, seething flair. I cannot stop listening to this total T.U.N.E. (Kate Crudgington)

Basement Revolver – ‘Heavy Eyes’
‘Heavy Eyes’ is the new single from Canadian indie-rock trio Basement Revolver taken from the debut album (also called Heavy Eyes) which was released in August via Fear of Missing Out Records. The track is about feeling tired and how hard life is when you’re in that tired state…PREACH. I love the track’s rhythmic percussion with those distant vocals pushing me into that hypnotic hazy state. (Tash Walker)

Twist Helix – ‘Graphite’
Taken from their upcoming debut album, Twist Helix’s new single ‘Graphite’ is a song about the artist feeling frustration as she cannot articulate an authentic vision of her city. A sweeping, cinematic offering, it juxtaposes dynamic, synth-heavy beats with a twinkling musicality and the soaring impassioned vocals of front woman Bea Garcia. Ouseburn, the upcoming album from Twist Helix, is out 5th October. (Mari Lane)

Fears – ‘Blood’
Flitting between Belfast and Dublin, Irish musician Fears (aka Constance Keane) creates sublime electronic-based soundscapes. I first heard ‘Blood’ on The Irish Jam, and I’ve been haunted by her melancholy soundscapes ever since. I’ll definitely be keeping tabs on this talented newcomer. (KC)

Ah! Kosmos – ‘Wide'(feat. Özgür Yılmaz)
Atmospheric guitar, captivating percussion and hypnotic vocals melt together on Ah! Kosmos’ new single. The track is taken from her upcoming second album Beautiful Swamp, which is set for release on October 5th via Compost Records. Born in Istanbul and now based in Berlin, Ah! Kosmos (aka Başak Günak) is a sound designer, producer and multi-instrumentalist. She sweeps listeners up in to a rapture with her intense soundscapes filled with rhythmic guitar melodies, and her collaboration with guitarist Özgür Yılmaz on ‘Wide’ is another stunning example of this. (KC)

Koschka – ‘The Flood’
The new single from Berlin-based Koschka, ‘The Flood’ oozes a sweeping grandeur and haunting, majestic power. Inspired by themes of ephemeral love, acceptance and regret, it flows with twinkling keys as the impressive range of Koschka’s resonating vocals soar across a luscious soundscape with an effervescent grace. Truly spellbinding. (ML)

Okay Kaya – ‘Habitual Love’
Okay Kaya who hails from Norway has only recently popped up on my radar, but I’m so glad she did. Currently in the process of releasing a series of loosely-connected, slightly disconcerting music videos for her album Both – manifesting themes such as love, voyeurism and trauma as another physical body. This is my favourite of the releases so far – ‘Habitual Love’ whose gentle beats and Sade like melodies take on a life of their own when you watch the video. However you consume this…it’s fantastic. (TW)

The Menstrual Cramps – ‘The Smash’
Raw, righteous, and a rallying cry against pervasive capitalist and patriarchal oppression: The Menstrual Cramps’ released their sophomore album Free Bleedin’ at the end of August, and it drips with irrepressible anarchy and wit. ‘The Smash’ is the second track on the record, calling for a political and personal revolution. The lyric “Theresa May don’t even masturbate” is a personal fave here. (KC)

Peach Club – ‘Boy In A Band’
A gritty, raging attack on those ‘boys in bands’ that we’ve all come across – those disgusting guys who use their self-proclaimed ‘fame’ to take advantage of young women – ‘Boy In A Band’ rages with a raw ferocity, thrashing hooks and driving beats, building with a frenzied energy to a riotous anthem, blasting into the ears with a racing sense of urgency. And rightly so. We need voices like Peach Club’s now more than ever; a voice that gives motivation and inspiration to girls and women to speak out and be heard in order to prevent the damaging actions of certain boys in bands continuing to be swept under the carpet within the music industry. And we cannot wait for Peach Club to headline our Blogtober event at The Finsbury on 12th October! (RSVP here(ML)

Fightmilk – ‘Four Star Hotel’
Fightmilk have now signed to Reckless Yes and announced the release of their truly fantastic debut album Not With That Attitude (due November 2nd). Taken from the album, new single ‘Four Star Hotel’ is a scuzzy, sparkling anti-love song spiced with a tongue in cheek wit and refreshing cynicism. Another immensely catchy, instant smile-inducing slice of luscious punk-infused indie-pop at its finest. And we cannot wait for Fightmilk to play for us again at The Finsbury on 14th December! (RSVP here). (ML)

Dolls – ‘Sugar Free’
Prepare to have your bubble well and truly popped by the sound of DOLLS’ latest single ‘Sugar Free’. The London-based duo have delivered another catchy slice of grunge-pop glory, alongside the news they’ll be releasing their debut EP Pop The Bubble on September 21st. (KC)

Value Void – ‘Babeland’
I just think this is such a tune. ‘Babeland’ by London trio Value Void is taken from their upcoming debut album set for release on 26th October via Tough Love, which they’ve described as “a luxuriantly deep, shag pile-warm, analogue proto punk collection”. This particular song is about one night in a pub when everything looked grim except for two very attractive men kissing. I love the hazy dreamlike sound which for me was the perfect accompaniment to the hazy warmth of this London Summer. (TW)

Dott – ‘Wedding Song’
Taken from their recent album Heart Swell, Dott’s ‘Wedding Song’ is a poignant ode to love in all its forms, and a celebration of Ireland’s vote to legalise Same Sex Marriage in 2015. The Galway-based band will be headlining our first Get In Her Ears Night at The Five Bells on October 26th (RSVP here). (KC)

IDER – ‘Body Love’
I could listen to this song over and over and over. Such beautifully intricate harmonies, carefully weaved together over the course of ‘Body Love’, I’m left wrapped in the song’s self-affirming message each and every time. I’ve picked this track because I’m going to be seeing IDER play at The Village Underground on 2nd October, and I cannot wait. (TW)

Tirzah – ‘Gladly’
Beautifully understated, gently hypnotic and lyrically touching. I cannot get enough of Tirzah right now, and you know what, it’s not just this track…but the whole album Devotion. What can I say…I am hopelessly devoted. Cringe statements aside, please go listen if you haven’t already, your life will be better for it. (TW)

INTERVIEW: Pillow Queens

After walking in circles following Google Maps trying to find The Irish Cultural Centre last Friday, I arrived to interview Dublin-based Pillow Queens before their gig for The Irish Jam. As I walked in to their dressing room, Guitarist/Bassist/Vocalist Sarah greeted me with: “Kate, you’re two minutes late! We were worried about ya!”. I cracked up, and was instantly calmed by her openness (and secretly impressed by her adherence to the clock). The conversation flowed effortlessly from there.

Pamela (Guitar/Bass/Vocals), Rachel (Drums/Vocals), Cathy (Guitar/Vocals) and Sarah were all friendly, funny, and super relaxed throughout the interview, and we chatted for what felt like no time at all about gigs, their recent EP release, and what it was like to be surrounded by dogs on the set for their recent music video ‘Favourite’ (Spoiler: it was a dream come true).

Hello Girls. You’re playing a gig for The Irish Jam at The Irish Cultural Centre in London tonight (Friday 16th), alongside Tayne, Video Blue & Delorentos. What are you anticipating from tonight’s show?

Cathy: Fame…

Sarah: …and inevitably fortune. Today’s the release of our new record (State Of The State) which is coincidental, but it’s a very big day for us. What are we anticipating?

Rachel: A bit of craic?

Cathy: Definitely a bit of craic. We’re also anticipating breaking all of the gear we borrow off the other bands.

Sarah: We haven’t brought anything with us. We’re sharing everything. Sharing, borrowing, stealing…

Cathy: I just showed up with a plectrum and was like “I’ve arrived!”

Pamela: I guess we’re anticipating more London fans as well?

Sounds cool. You’re also in town for St Patrick’s Day tomorrow too. What are your plans?

Pamela: We’re in Camden all day. We’ve got an acoustic set at Voodoo Rays, and then we’re playing the Dr Martens boot room.

Sounds like a good day. What would you be doing if you were back in Ireland?

Pamela: Staying. Away. From. Town. (laughs)

Oh really, is it that bad?

Pamela: It gets pretty hectic. Loads of the roads in and out of town are closed, so it’s hard to get anywhere. Usually on St Patrick’s Day I go to my friends house and we get all of his couches and we put them out in the back garden, and we take the TV out there too and we chill out and watch movies.

Cathy: Why, is it always sunny or something? (laughs)

It won’t be this year….the ‘Best From The East’ is back so it’s going to snow…

Congratulations on releasing your EP State Of The State today (16th)! How are you planning to celebrate the occasion?

Pamela: We’re probably going to be quite tame this evening because we have gigs tomorrow…

Sarah: We’re quite tame generally speaking though. Even last year when we were on tour, I was always like “alright girls, come on, time to go to bed!” (laughs)

Cathy: That didn’t mean that we weren’t hungover though…

Pamela: I didn’t drink for most of the tour really.

Rachel: What? How did I miss that?

You were drunk?

Cathy: (To Pamela) You did fall down the stairs though…

Pamela: Ughh yeah, I did do that. No wait, I fell up a step! I think we’ll just celebrate by having a good time, and hopefully making people buy our record.

Sarah: We sold our first one today! The record is so nice. You know when you see an album on your computer screen and you’re like “that looks like it could be amazing” and then you see it in real life, and it’s just like “Oh my God, it’s actually perfect”.

Pamela: They probably don’t have any songs on them or anything, but they look cool (laughs)

I’ll be grabbing one after your set this evening!

On a surface level, your songs are upbeat and catchy, but your lyrics touch on darker emotions like guilt, paranoia, and frustration about situations you’re trying to change. Do you think it’s important to take negatives emotions like this and turn them in to something positive? Is it a conscious decision you make when you’re writing new music?

Pamela: I know it’s something I definitely do, because I absolutely love writing pop songs. I love being like “d’ya know what? I’m gonna make people sing along to a song that’s actually really fucking sad”. That’s the way I’ve always done it. I love seeing people bobbing away and singing and being really happy, but if you actually listen to the lyrics, you’ll realise I’m dead inside (laughs)

That’s my favourite kind of music! It’s like you’re tricking people…

Pamela: Yeah definitely. I love listening to sad music as well, but sometimes I feel inclined not to listen to it just because it kind of puts you in to a warped sadness. You want to divulge when you’re sad, but you don’t want to get sad, so if I’m like that I’m sure other people are like that too. Which is why I want to trick them. So if you want to listen to a banger that will make you dance, well, I’ll give you that…but I will also give you all my emotional baggage too.

Nothing wrong with that. I’ll take the baggage. Do you each have a favourite song on the EP, or one that you’re most proud of?

Sarah: For me, it’s ‘Puppets’. I know that’s narcissistic because it’s the song that I sing on and it’s a song that I wrote, but for me it’s a song that I’d listen to even if it wasn’t by us. That’s probably because I find it to be really relatable, obviously, because I wrote it (laughs), but I think it was due to me learning song-writing techniques whilst being in the band.

It’s kind if like what Pamela was saying, where you take negative feelings and turn them in to a sing-along, it’s an empowering thing. That’s really attractive to me. When I listened back to ‘Puppets’ I was like “God, I was so sad when I wrote this, but now it sounds so happy” and that just feels great.

Cathy: I’d say ‘Puppets’ too, because I felt like it was the most challenging song, and we all went outside of our comfort zones a bit. I’m just so happy with every track on the EP, there’s nothing I would change.

Rachel: It’s really hard because I love them all, but it has to be ‘Favourite’. I’m sorry Sarah (laughs)

Sarah: It’s okay! it’s not a competition. If Pamela and I ever had any sense of rivalry, it would be about how much Vietnamese soup we could eat in one sitting, I don’t think it would ever be anything to do with song-writing. What’s your favourite song Pamela?

Pamela: It’s not actually one of my own, it’s ‘Cuckoo’. I learned how to play the bass on that track. It’s the first song where I felt like I’d played the bass really well…

Rachel: That’s it! It’s the sense of accomplishment within the band. All of the tracks for me are absolute bangers because they’re about the coming together of the band.

Rachel: That’s why I like ‘Favourite’ so much. I had a sound for it in my head, and we achieved exactly that sound. I listen back to it and I get goosebumps, I’m like “Wow, we are soooo good!” (laughs). Peter helped us to get that sound as well. He’s our friend and he produced it.

Pamela: He really captured what we were looking for, and I don’t even know whether knew that was the sound we wanted? But it turned out really well and I’m so proud of it.

That’s great. Speaking of favourites, the video you released for the track is brilliant. Talk us through how that came about…

Sarah: We love dogs. We really, really love dogs! We met with the Director (Bob Gallagher), but initially we were a bit worried about working with external people on videos because it’s kind of a personal thing. Pamela directed the video for ‘Rats’, so we all had an input. But as soon as we sat down with the Director, he didn’t want to go with a romantic element so he suggested a dog show…and we were like “that’s the most perfect thing you could say to us”…

Cathy: We didn’t need to hear his other ideas. We were just like “That’s it. We’re going with the dogs”.

Sarah: I was like “Do you need any help? I will be at all of the dog shows if you need me to be there!” and I was. 7am the day after Christmas? I was like “Let’s do this, my Mum’s gonna drop me over…” (laughs)

Pamela: I wasn’t sure how he was going to make the parts filmed at the dog show and the parts filmed with the actors be cohesive, but now I don’t think you can tell who are the actors and who are the normal people? There are some just, normal people who are acting like they’re mad, like, there’s someone who smacks her head with her mobile phone….

Rachel: Is she not an actor?!

Pamela: No!

Sarah: Straight after that scene there’s a bit where a guy who wins the dog show blows on a woman’s hair, and although he’s an actor, but that’s improvised!

Pamela: And when we were filming at the National Show Centre, two of the people didn’t have dogs. They were just running around pretending to hold leads!

Rachel: I wish you and Sarah had been pretending to be the dogs… (laughs)

That really would’ve been really impressive. The footage looks great though!

You’re back in London at The Sebright Arms on April 10th…

Sarah: Ohhh, is that how you pronounce it? We were like “Is it Seh-bright?”

I say it like it’s “See-bright”. I hope that’s right? It’s in Hackney…

Cathy: Hackney? I can’t wait!

It’s a great venue. I’ll be there!

Sarah: Will you be late again? (laughs)

I’ll never be late to anything again after tonight…

After London, you return to Ireland to close your tour by playing your biggest headline show to date at The Workman’s Club in Dublin. It must feel pretty good to be finishing the journey with that in mind? It’s a pretty long tour as well…

Pamela: It’s going to be great, but we’re also going to feel tired, and a bit shite, and we’ll be a bit smelly…but our fans will be there, they know how bad we smell. So it’s going to be great!

Cathy: Do you not have a shower in your own house? (laughs). We’ve sold a lot of tickets apparently, so it’s all good.

As a new music blog, we always ask bands what new music they’ve been listening to. Are there any new bands or artists that you can recommend to us?

Cathy: I’m listening to Totorro. They’re a math-rock band from Belgium (I think).

Sarah: I’ve been listening to a lot of Soccer Mommy.

ME TOO! I missed her show at Moth Club earlier this month…

Sarah: She’s touring again in September, and we’re like “please can we support you? That’d be amazing”. I found her on YouTube and there were all these live sessions and I just think she’s great.

Rachel: You all know what I’m going to say…

P/S/C: Ailbhe Reddy!

Rachel: I can’t help it! She’s an Irish artist and she’s great. She knows I’m obsessed with her. She’s savage. And Phoebe Bridgers. Strangers In The Alps is my album of the year.

Pamela: There’s an Irish folk band called Lankum that I’ve been listening to who are great.

I’ll have to check them out! Finally, what does the rest of 2018 hold for Pillow Queens?

Sarah: Jesus, we’ve no idea…

Pamela: Festivals!

Sarah: Yes, but we haven’t announced them yet. I’m always living in fear of them just changing their mind last minute and just being like “mmm, no”

Kathy: We can say that one of the festivals is in the UK, and one potentially in Europe…

Sarah: I never went to festivals growing up because it was too expensive, but now we get to go for free!

Cathy: We’ll have the craic at festivals, and then I think we need to write.

Sarah: We have new ideas that are being shaped, and we’re actually just discovering now how we write together. Now all four of us are contributing to every stage of the writing process, so we’ve got a lot of learning to do, but a lot of really fun learning to do as well.

Thanks so much to Pillow Queens for answering my questions. You can buy State Of The State here, and you can catch them on their upcoming UK & Ireland tour. Click here for more info.

Kate Crudgington
@KCBobCut

WATCH: Pillow Queens – ‘Favourite’

Can’t decide what you love more: dogs, or new music? Have no fear: Dublin’s Pillow Queens have shared a video to accompany their recent single ‘Favourite’, and it’s a perfect combination of the two.

The band have explained the concept behind their dog-tastic new offering: “[it] was borne from the artistic insights of the wonderful Bob Gallagher, combined with our sheer passion and fondness for all things canine. The idea was to bring to life a work which followed the retro look of old Antiques Roadshow episodes, and was heavily influenced by Sabrina the Teenage Witch, Best in Show, and 80’s prom portraits or, in the case of this particular video, “pawtraits” of dogs and their owners. The National Show centre was the setting for the video while the individual “pawtraits” were shot in All Out Design Studios and feature a mixture of friends of the band and doggo-loving volunteers.”

‘Favourite’ is taken from Pillow Queens’ forthcoming EP State of The State, which is set to be released via Bristol-based Specialist Subject Records on 16th March. The band will be touring the UK & Ireland to celebrate their new record, starting with a show at the Irish Cultural Centre on the 16th alongside Delorentos, Video Blue & Tayne (RSVP here).

Check out the video for ‘Favourite’ below.

PILLOW QUEENS UK & IRELAND 2018 TOUR DATES

March 16th – London, Irish Cultural Centre
April 5th – Galway, Roisin Dubh
April 7th – Cork, AMP
April 9th – Bristol, Hy Brasil
April 10th – London, Sebright Arms
April 11th – Guildford, The Boileroom
April 12th – Brighton, Prince Albert
April 13th – Leeds, Chunk
April 14th – Manchester, Night & Day
April 15th – Glasgow, GLAD Cafe
April 19th – Clonakilty, Debarras
April 20th – Limerick, Dolans
April 21st – Dublin, Workmans Club

Kate Crudgington
@KCBobCut