Interview: Cro Cro Land Founders, Angela and Julia

We’re currently getting extremely excited about Croydon’s brand new multi-stage festival, Cro Cro Land!

Organised by Croydon residents Angela Martin and Julia Woollams, the festival aims to promote gender equality in both its line-up and staff, is championing a number of local bands and artists, and is working in conjunction with a number of grassroots organisations and charities, including Lives Not Knives.

Paying host to some of our current favourites, including Nova Twins, Chorusgirl, Fightmilk, ARXX, Berries, Jetstream Pony, Bugeye and many more, we’re proud to be involved in helping out at the festival, and will even be spinning a few tunes on the day!

So, prior to everything kicking off on 6th April, we caught up with organisers Angela and Julia to find out more…

Hi Angela and Julia, welcome to Get In Her Ears! Can you tell us a bit about yourselves?
Angela: I’m a member of the band Bugeye, music activist and co-founder of the Croydonist and Cro Cro Land Festival.
Julia: I’m a graphic designer mainly working in the charity and arts sector. I’m also the other founder of the Croydonist, which is a Croydon cultural blog, as well as co-founder of Cro Cro Land.
Angela: We’re also married, so partners in crime in every sense!

You’re currently organising Cro Cro Land –  Croydon’s brand new multi stage indie music festival – which is super exciting! What inspired the idea to do this?
A: Lots of things really. We’ve always been inspired by the fact that Croydon has such a rich musical history. It’s the birthplace of punk for one thing, and so many other great musical happenings such as Dubstep and Grime.
J: It used to be a place on every band’s tour schedule, but with venue closures, Croydon has sort of fallen off the map. We want to change that.
A: In recent years, we’ve seen so many people come together and form collectives for the greater good of music. DIY zines, podcasts, new promoters, dedicating their own time at no financial gain to try to impact change. There has been a real fight to improve the gender balance at festivals and ensure that women are fairly represented. This is an area that we feel very strongly about, and so we decided we wanted to get involved and create an event that took all of these things into consideration, paid artists fairly, as well as bringing together a number of grassroots collectives together under one roof.

How did you go about picking the fantastic line-up for the festival?
J: The line-up was a mixture of recommendations from grassroots collectives such as yourselves, The Zine UK, Benumu and Kick out the Jams – to name but a few – plus our own wishlist and artists applying via the festival submission page.

And what would you say has been the hardest part about organising a festival?
A: Where to start! I guess it was difficult not knowing whether we would be successful in our funding applications or not. Festivals aren’t cheap to put on after-all. However, the Arts Council National Lottery Grant was approved, and Croydon Council have also confirmed financial support, so we feel pretty blessed right now.

The line-up is filled with some of our favourites such as Nova Twins, The Lovely Eggs, ARXX, Bugeye and Chorusgirl! And what strikes me about the festival and makes it stand out at the moment is the great gender balance of the line up – was there an intentional and specific decision to do this, or did it just naturally pan out that way?
J: It came quite naturally to be honest. We did go back and look at our list of potential bookings to make sure we met this pledge, and found that we were pretty spot on from the word go.

And how do you feel about the general lack of female headliners at a lot of big festivals at the moment?
A: I think it’s quite disappointing. I totally get that if someone wants to put on a festival and pay for it, they should be able to book whoever they want, but there is still a level of responsibility that falls to promoters to address gender issues. On a positive note, the PRS Keychange initiative is making a dent in there, with a number of festivals pledging a gender balanced bill. I know there’s still a way to go on this, but the more festivals that treat this as the norm, then ultimately it pressures others to also follow suit.

It’s great that you’re hosting a festival in Croydon, somewhere that doesn’t yet have many music events, in comparison to areas in North and East London – will there be a focus on local bands at the festival?
J: There certainly is. We are supporting local talent as well as running a mentoring programme with our charity partner Lives Not Knives. The mentoring programme will be offered to those who have experienced social exclusion and/or victims of crime with a special focus on women in the community.

And for any upcoming bands/artists looking to apply for the festival next year, do you have any tips?
A: Get in early. We plan on launching the new application process a couple of months after this year’s event, so keep an eye on our socials. I guess what we look for are bands that are supportive of the scene in general, and not just focused on their own agenda. If you like other bands’ content, retweet, comment and share, then we want to hear from you. To make a difference in this industry, it’s about working together. We don’t believe in popularity contests of who has the most followers on Twitter. Because that’s kind of bullshit at the end of the day. What counts is how active you are, if we like your music, and think you have potential.

What are you most looking forward to about Cro Cro Land?
J: When it’s finished. Just kidding. I guess once the festival is in full swing we might be able to relax – hopefully!
A: I’m looking forward to the moment before the doors open and everything is in place. It’ll be a real emotional feeling, as I think everything we’ve been through to get here will really hit home.

How do you feel the music industry is for new bands and artists at the moment – would you say it’s difficult to get noticed?
A: The UK is a hard market. There’s many pros and cons. The biggest con is trying to get the big labels to listen. They want bands to have already made it to a certain level before getting involved. The pros are that a huge number of people are saying ‘fuck that’ and creating their own industry. There’s a great network of bands that all support each other, promoters who work their arses off to make shows a success and create noise about the bands. It’s working too and we’re starting to see bands breaking through at long last.

Finally, as we’re a new music focused site, are there any particular new bands or artists from Croydon that you’d recommend we check out?
A: Hmmm, let me see! There’s Jetstream Pony, The Weird Things, Bears in Trees, who are all good fun. As for other bands that we are playing non-stop, check out Tiger Mimic, Kath & The Kicks and Feral Five. We’re a bit in love with all the bands on our bill though.

Thanks so much to Angela and Julie for answering our questions, we can’t wait to see you on 6th April!

Cro Cro Land takes place at Urban Xchange, Croydon (a minute’s walk from East Croydon station) on 6th April. For tickets and line-up details, check out their website.

Listen to our Cro Cro Land favourites playlist here:

Albums Of The Year 2018

Despite being a pretty scary year in the grand scheme of things, 2018 has actually been exceptionally great for new music. Our ears have been filled with sonic delights of all genres, providing necessary catharsis and enjoyment. 

So, it was pretty hard to pick our favourite albums of 2018. But, from luscious indie-pop to thumping electro-punk and eerily dystopian soundscapes, here they are… 

Fightmilk – Not With That Attitude
Following utterly infectious singles such as ‘Pity Party’ and ‘Bank Of Mum And Dad’, this year GIHE faves Fightmilk signed to Reckless Yes and released their truly fantastic debut album Not With That Attitude. Delving deep into subject matter such as the end of relationships, summer crushes and the general feelings of anxiety that come with everyday living, each and every offering on Not With That Attitude is an angst-driven gem; a perfect antidote to life, with a nostalgic nod to the emotions of our younger selves.

I can safely say, although the album was only released last month, it’s been one of my most listened-to of 2018; I just can’t get enough of its luscious, punk-infused indie-pop gems. From the scuzzy tongue in cheek wit of anti-love song ‘4 Star Hotel’, and the jangly riffs and immensely catchy, silky smooth refrains of pop anthem ‘Dream Phone’, to the twinkling heartfelt splendour of personal favourite ‘Solving Crimes In Sweden’, there isn’t a dull moment to be found.

An utterly life-affirming, and completely addictive, collection, Not With That Attitude is not only one of my favourites of 2018, but will hold a special place in my heart for years to come.
(Mari Lane – Managing Editor/Co-Founder)

Gazelle Twin – Pastoral
A unique artist with razor sharp vision and uncompromising creativity; Gazelle Twin (aka Elizabeth Bernholz) combined glitchy beats, menacing samples and an uncanny new costume on her new album, Pastoral. Released via her own label Anti-Ghost Moon Ray, the record marked another transformation for the performer; this time she exhumed England’s “rotten past” and questioned its uncertain future.

I’ve been following Bernholz since the release of her sophomore record Unflesh in 2014, and between Motherhood and curating another two atmospheric records (2016’s Out Of Body & 2017’s audio/visual project Kingdom Come), she eventually released Pastoral – and it was totally worth the wait. Her altruistic style is one that can’t be mimicked – even though she herself is a master at adopting the traits of others, and transforming in to a new species of performer who offers brutality and intrigue in equal measure.
(Kate Crudgington – Features Editor/Co-Founder)

Anna Calvi – Hunter
Along with already being a massive fan of Anna Calvi’s music and eager to hear the follow up to One Breath, I wasn’t prepared for just how much I would love the new record. I’d like to say it’s just a personal thing. Mostly because I’m a writer and there’s a branch of us who only speak about how things make us feel (of which I’m one) but also because Hunter was, at its core, a queer and feminist record.

Hunter is the kind of album I would have given into l’appel du vide for as a teenager: a queer album by a queer artist I love, full of tracks bathed in the queer beauty of art. Of course, queerness is far from all the record is, but every track drips in it and its adjacence to the power of love and of sex and of raw, integral passion untouched by any hand and only feelings.

Because of that and the magnificence of tracks like “Wish” and “As a Man”, Hunter is undoubtedly my record of the year.
(Em Burfitt – Contributor)

Sink Ya Teeth – Sink Ya Teeth
Having marked them out as ‘Ones To Watch’ last year, it certainly seems that Maria Uzor and Gemma Cullinford – aka Sink Ya Teeth – have proved us right throughout 2018; this year has seen the Norwich duo receive acclaim from BBC 6 Music’s Steve LaMacq and The Guardian, support big names such as Chk Chk Chk and Eton Crop, and release their banger-filled debut album.

Filled with addictive, pulsating beats and ‘80s-inspired dance-pop hooks throughout, the album is an epic sonic journey from start to finish. From the pounding energy and funk-fused bass hooks of singles such as ‘Pushin’ and ‘If You See Me’, to the swirling, whirring soundscapes of ‘Glass’ and ‘Complicated’, each track is an utterly infectious slice of thumping electro-punk. And add Uzor’s smooth, soaring vocals to the mix, and what you have is something completely unique and truly exquisite.
(ML)

Haiku Salut – There Is No Elsewhere
For many it will be hard to imagine how an instrumental album can so clearly communicate a message, not just a feeling evoked by sound but a clarion call. On their third album Haiku Salut manage just this though – their most cohesive work to date There Is No Elsewhere is beautiful in sound and theme, as it reflects the dramatic landscape of their Derbyshire home and combats the societal narrative of division with a love-letter to togetherness.

The album moves their intricate and fascinating music on. Here we get a more deliberate and incredibly thoughtful play between analogue and electronic, a blurring of the line between musician and instrument as organic and digital interlock. Community is roused through the clever use of brass bands, while rhythms incite and encircle swells of feeling.

There Is No Elsewhere is a remarkable work from a band who should be considered a national treasure.
(Sarah Lay – Contributor)

TAYNE – Breathe
With a sound as distracting as the shade of pink that creator Matthew Sutton paints his lips with for their live shows; TAYNE’s debut album is a vital, abrasive, cathartic listen fuelled by abrasive synths and explosive pay-offs. TAYNE’s music is some of the most interesting and altruistic I’ve heard all year; blurring the lines between industrial, synth-pop, shoe-gaze and alternative; a visceral cacophony of synth textures and drum patterns, alongside Sutton’s hair-raising screams. It’s an emotional exorcism with a pop sheen, and I’m very glad it dropped in to my inbox at the beginning of this year.
(KC)

First Aid Kit – Ruins
It’s easy to dismiss ‘break-up albums’ as being forty minutes of wallowing in self-pity, however Ruins deals with the whole spectrum of emotions which comes with grieving a relationship without any of the bitterness – demonstrating a gentle strength which we can all relate to. Personal favourite ‘Rebel Heart’ introduces us to the darkness, before the uplifting harmonies of ‘It’s A Shame’ show the empowerment which comes with self-reflection, whilst the twinkling melodies of ‘Fireworks’ convey that common nostalgic, rose-tinted outlook with a chorus worthy of belting out in the shower.

If music reflects the journeys we all embark on in life then Ruins beautifully encapsulates the complexities of relationships. It reassures us that it is normal to feel a wide-range of emotions all at once – that it is okay to be vulnerable.
(Nicky Lee-Delisle – Contributor)

Hilary Woods – Colt
A contemplative, carefully crafted record which schools listeners in how to come undone: Hilary Woods’ debut album is an exquisitely painful exploration of grief, separation, and abandonment. The Dublin-based artist signed to altruistic label Sacred Bones to release her first full-length record, and the partnership is one I wholly approve of. Comfortably overlapping both acoustic and electronic genres, underneath all of Woods’ melancholy sounds there lurks a quiet power: a power that comes from being honest about genuine pain. When I saw her perform live at St. Pancras Old Church earlier this year, I was overwhelmed with emotion and felt too shy to approach her after the gig at the merch stand, where I bought a copy of her album. If I had, I definitely would’ve thanked her for making such a beautiful, rewarding record.
(KC)

Dream Wife – Dream Wife
It’s hard to find a band who have been as consistently brilliant in 2018 as Dream Wife, and their self-titled debut is a case in point. From Fall meets ESG psycho-drama ‘FUU’, high-school Stooges ‘Let’s Make Out’ and Toni Basil gone garage ‘Hey Heartbreaker’, you might think it’s all a blast. But the group can emote too – ‘Love Without Reason’, ‘Somebody’ and ‘Fire’ showing off their pop qualities. It’s all kept simple, and that’s Dream Wife’s genius.
(John McGovern – Contributor)

The Lovely Eggs – This Is Eggland
Ever since being completely blown away by The Lovely Eggs at Indietracks Festival this summer, I’ve been more or less obsessed with the Lancaster duo. Lucky enough to catch their utterly immersive set for a second time at The Scala this Autumn, I’ve had their This Is Eggland album pretty much on loop throughout 2018.

From the swirling, psychedelic cacophony of tracks such as ‘I Shouldn’t Have Said That’, to the uplifting lo-fi fuzz and anthemically catchy spirit of ‘Hello I Am Your Sun’ and ‘Wiggy Giggy’, the album oozes a frenzied, riotous energy and spiralling sense of urgency throughout. With Holly Ross’ blunt realism and scathing retorts to all the dickheads out there, The Lovely Eggs stand out as one of the most relevant bands around – echoing the feelings of the many, with their subtle social commentary and refreshing cynicism providing an apt accompaniment to the eccentric musicality of This Is Eggland.
(ML)

The Soft Moon – Criminal
The second Sacred Bones album to make my list this year is The Soft Moon’s Criminal. It’s a gripping, teeth-grinding, ultra-cathartic affair; and when heard live it’s a different beast entirely. I have all the time in the world for men who explore their mental states through the medium of music, and listening to Criminal feels like an exploration of this kind. The Soft Moon (aka Luis Vasquez) takes memories of childhood trauma, misplaced guilt and self-hatred, and allows himself to “cross the line” and produce a truly breath-taking collection of industrial, electronic soundscapes here. I’ve had ‘Burn’ on repeat all year long.
(KC)

Chorusgirl – Shimmer and Spin
Following 2015’s wonderful self-titled debut, this year GIHE faves Chorusgirl released their long-awaited new album Shimmer And Spin, and we couldn’t be happier for them. Chronicling a tense year, created during a period of crippling anxiety and a relentless string of bad luck and bad news, the new album is the result of immense hard work and dedication from Silvi, Faith, Udo and Michael. Of the writing process, Silvi explains: “There was barely a month without bad news on a personal and wider level, and at the end of that year, my anxiety started to spike badly. The album became a very important anchor. Every note and lyric were raked over and looked at twice; we were hacking and honing away at the songs for months, trying to craft some sort of sculpture of our state of mind.”

Despite oozing a darker undercurrent than previous offerings, Shimmer And Spin showcases Silvi’s distinctive, lush vocals throughout, as effervescent harmonies and impressive driving riffs flow, creating Chorusgirl’s utterly unique, shimmering sounds. From the sparkling garage-pop of tracks such as ‘No Goodbye’ and ‘In Dreams’ to the simply spine-tingling soaring emotion of personal highlight ‘Stuck’, this album – and the determination that went into creating it – showcases exactly why Chorusgirl are one of my favourite bands of the last few years.
(ML)

LIVE: The Lovely Eggs @ The Scala, 28.10.18

Ever since being completely blown away by Lancaster duo The Lovely Eggs at Indietracks Festival this summer, I’ve been absolutely desperate to see them again. And so it was with excitement that I headed to The Scala to do just that last Sunday.

Following an energy-fuelled set from Mush and the spot-on wit and social commentary of Rob Auton (a refreshing first time I think I’ve seen a spoken word artist/stand up supporting a band at a gig), Holly Ross and David Blackwell take to the stage. Kicking off with the scuzzy, racing force of This Is Eggland’s ‘I’m With You’, the duo’s immense punk-infused spirit and explosive sonic fusions continue throughout.

As Ross informs us that this is day ten of a ten day tour with a five year old son in tow, she blows her nose, takes a swig of Strongbow and confirms that she’s not standing for any of “this arm-folding shit” at the front, encouraging us all to dance and let loose – it is a Sunday night after all. Becoming my ‘new hero’ at Indietracks in the summer, tonight – with this refreshing honesty and no-fucks-given attitude – the title remains firmly hers, with all her brash, inspiring charisma and no-frills-yet-empowering presence.

Continuing with whirring hooks, and immense, thrashing beats, a swirling, psychedelic cacophony is created as tracks such as ‘I Shouldn’t Have Said That’ and ‘Magic Onion’ ooze a wonderfully eccentric, relentless energy. And, as the uplifting lo-fi fuzz and anthemically catchy spirit of ‘Hello I Am Your Sun’ and ‘Wiggy Giggy’ fill the venue with a mass of bouncing, singing fans, an infectious sense of joy spreads throughout as David and Holly play the two sides of the room off against each other.

With their blunt realism and scathing retorts to all the dickheads out there, The Lovely Eggs stand out as one of the most relevant bands around (and one of the most exciting to see live), echoing the feelings of the many, with the subtle social commentary and refreshing cynicism of the likes of ‘Fuck It’ and ‘People Are Twats’. Without being explicitly political, the message and poignant relatability behind each offering creates a tremendous feeling of unity amongst the crowd; the duo appearing to be able to word what’s in our heads in a perfectly concise and witty way.

There is a moment of explicit political realness and urgency, however, when Holly talks about The Lancaster Music Co-op’s pending eviction – a non-profit making community organisation that has been providing music rehearsal rooms, equipment hire and recording facilities to the people of Lancaster and surrounding areas for the past 33 years, the co-op recently received an eviction notice from Lancaster City Council. So, Holly and David are amongst many names in the industry currently fighting to save it and raise awareness to help fight the eviction – sign the petition here.

Closing the set with the frenzied, riotous energy and spiralling (seasonal) magic of ‘Witchcraft’, The Lovely Eggs have once again delivered a truly impressive and utterly immersive set, leaving me eager to make it a hat-trick and catch their glorious offerings and honest charm live again very soon.

Mari Lane
@marimindles

 

LIVE: Indietracks Festival, 27/07/18 – 29/07/18 (PART 1)

With our ongoing disappointment at the lack of diversity on the majority of mainstream festival line-ups this year, I was particularly excited to have found out about Indietracks Festival (thanks to a number of bands I know who all highly recommended it) – one that refreshingly, consistently, champions DIY bands and artists of all genders and genres. And, I wasn’t to be disappointed; the weekend – set in the idyllic Midland Railway Centre near Ripley in Derbyshire – exceeded all expectations.

After one of the hottest, and longest, drives of our lives, we finally arrived. Hurriedly setting up our tent at the best campsite we’ve ever been to (Golden Valley Camping and Caravan Park), I was relieved to make it to the site just in time to catch first band of the weekend, the ever lovely Worst Place. Having previously charmed us at one of our events at The Finsbury (a little bit of theme throughout the weekend…), they soon spread their contagious, effervescent joy with their truly dreamy, sparkling brand of infectious indie pop, with shades of the sunny energy of Best Coast or Alvvays. And, with their youthful charisma and witty rapport with the crowd (“Don’t swear in front of the kids… Actually, it’s ok, they’re cool festival kids!”), they’re simply impossible not to love.

Following a tasty – and reasonably priced – pint of local beer, next up are another band who never fail to make me smile: Sacred Paws. Treating us to one delectable, danceable delight after another, front woman Rachel Aggs bounces across the stage with a whirring energy as their vibrant melodies flow seamlessly alongside lush harmonies and thrilling, racing beats. As the whole front field fills with smiling faces and buoyant bodies, I’m left grinning cheek to cheek at the utterly uplifting experience of seeing one of my favourite bands live on a sun-filled evening, surrounded by like-minded people and good vibes a plenty.

One of the few bands of the weekend that I haven’t seen live before, Friday’s headliners The Lovely Eggs blow me away with their immense, raucous offerings. Slightly more cynical, yet no less great, than the evening’s previous acts, vocalist/guitarist Holly Ross fast becomes my new hero. With a refreshing honesty and spot-on wit, her between-song banter (and necking of bottles of water) is matched only by the wonderfully eccentric energy and vibrant riotous delivery of each and every track. Leaving me desperate to make seeing them live a regular occurance, the duo’s insightful and charismatic lo-fi psych sounds are the perfect end to the perfect start of this perfect festival.

After a little boogie to some bangers, thanks to Des Was A David Bowie Fan DJs in the indoor stage (I literally ran inside to the sound of Le Tigre being played), we head back to the tent to prepare ourselves for another day of blissful sounds.

Being one of the first to arrive on site on Saturday, we have some time to spend with the owls and parrots (yes, there are owls and parrots at this festival!), before heading to the indoor stage to check out Belfast-based Strange New Places. With their luscious, folk-tinged punk pop offerings, reflecting on mental health and queerness (and Conor Oberst lyrics), they’re a truly gorgeous way to start a Saturday, and a band I’ll definitely be hoping to hear a lot more of in the future.

Another band who’ve graced our Finsbury stage and wowed me with their immersive live performances numerous times, GIHE faves Ghum kick things off on the outdoor stage with a bit of their unique gothic energy. Simply captivating as always, they treat us to a set of songs old and new, drawing in an attentive and intrigued crowd as their sweeping splendour oozes from the stage. As a wave of pride comes over me, it really is wonderful to see these women take on a festival for the first time and absolutely nail it! As front woman Laura’s magnetising charisma draws you in, and the band’s sweeping atmospheric dark-pop floats into the ears with a majestic grace, Ghum prove they’re a band who deserve to be heard – and have most certainly made some new fans with this stunning performance.

Although I was actually meant to be heading to the church next, we end up back in the indoor stage (it’s where the beer is), and happen upon Happy Accidents – a happy accident, if you will! And I couldn’t be more glad we did. With their instantly uplifting pop-punk offerings and delicious harmonies, they’re a true delight to have accidentally come across. Having waited four years to play the festival, they encourage us to “keep the head-nodding going” throughout, and how could we not? They’re just so buoyantly head-nod inducing with their shimmering creations. And, when asked to boo for the camera for a video they’re making, I find it quite impossible – sorry guys, if there’s someone in the crowd with a big stupid grin on their face, it’s probably me, it’s just the effect you have!

After a short break to enjoy some of the fantastic vegetarian food on offer at the festival, Colour Me Wednesday treat our ears to their luscious honey-sweet harmonies, sunny, twinkling energy and instantly catchy jangly melodies. Priding themselves on their DIY feminist ethos, they succeed in brightening up a drizzly afternoon with their truly enlivening offerings and empowering spirit.

I pull myself away from Colour Me Wednesday to catch some of the dreamy sounds of Nightflowers. Over the last few weeks I’ve been totally addicted to their infectious latest album Wild Notion, and so it’s a delight to be able to sing along to it live. Fronted by the dazzling sparkle of Sophia Pettit, the band deliver a set filled with a vibrant energy and perfect, shimmering indie-pop.
 

Although there’s only a certain number of adjectives to describe just how wonderful all the bands at Indietracks were, I’m going to continuing using them more in part two of my review of the weekend (featuring Dream Wife, Dream Nails, Sink Ya Teeth, Girl Ray and more…) Coming very soon!

Mari Lane
@marimindles

Top Ten To Watch At Long Division 2018

Wakefield’s largest festival of music and culture, taking place across multiple venues in the city, Long Division returns this weekend 1st – 3rd June, after a break in 2017, with its largest and most diverse lineup yet.

One of the partners of the festival this year is Leeds organisation, Girls That Gig, who have taken over and will be curating a stage at the festival. Dedicated to promoting women in music, they’re an organisation after our own hearts, so we asked events manager Jenny Bunn to give her top ten recommendations for the weekend…

The Bleeding Obvious:
As a self confessed “queerdo”, Jessica Rowbottom’s The Bleeding Obvious is an LGBT+ driven musical trinket box of genres, collaborations and “whatever she found in her parents’ music collection.” Interspersed with comedy and stories of her real life experiences, the blend of orchestral, electro and spoken word amongst many others brings a unique take on a contemporary musical project.

The Bleeding Obvious is playing at Long Division on June 2nd at The Red Shed at 1.45pm.

Kermes:
If the weather is as overcast as you’d typically expect in Britain, you’ll want to get down to see Kermes to cheer yourself up. If the weather has decided to treat us to a rare moment of sunshine, you’ll want to get down to see Kermes to dance and have fun. Poppy with a dash of sad punky roots, the eight-legged pop monster that is Kermes will light up your afternoon up and maybe make you forget that it isn’t all doom and gloom.

Kermes is playing at Long Division on June 2nd at The Red Shed at 6.45pm.

Charlotte Hatherley:
If you were into alt-rock in the late ’90s and early 2000s, there’s no doubt you’ve at the very least heard of Ash. Guitarist Charlotte Hatherley’s latest project is a world away from her alt-rock roots with Ash; her most recent release ‘Hook You Up’ is melodic vocals and electro escapism at its finest.

Charlotte Hatherley is playing at Long Division on June 2nd at Wakefield Cathedral at 7pm.

Chloe Juliette Beswick:
Dreamy hypnotic whimsical melodies from Wakefield, the home of Long Division itself, Chloe Juliette Beswick ever so delicately manages to catch a little bit of ’90s grunge in her DIY dream pop.

Chloe Juliette Beswick is playing at Long Division at the Beer Exchange. Time TBC.


Genevieve Walsh:

One of the best parts of Long Division is the sheer diversity of the acts, and Genevieve Walsh is no exception to this. Bringing with her a wealth of spoken word and poetry experience garnered through running Halifax’s longest running poetry night, she tours and workshops poetry in the North of England. Her own unique brand of punk poetry (not to mention fabulous blue hair) is a refreshing interlude that embraces weirdness, rhythm and honesty.

Genevieve Walsh is playing at Long Division on June 2nd at Neon Workshops at 3.40pm.

Fig By Four:
It’s always good to have a chilled out solo project when you’ve been involved in some of the Leeds scene’s most well known local bands over the past few years. You may know of Sarah Statham through Esper Scout, Crake and Living Body or for what she’s done for the Leeds DIY music community, but Fig By Four stands up fantastically on its own with captivating earthy reverb-y vocals and acoustic folksy guitar lines. Definitely one to check out.

Fig By Four is playing at Long Division on June 2nd at Wakefield Beer Exchange at 6.15pm.


Galaxians:
It’s hard to believe that Galaxians came into being in 2012 and not in the mid ’80s. Mixing synths with live drums and vocals, you’ll be back in the age of charismatic energetic synth-pop with a hint of disco as soon as they start playing. Get the Duffer Brothers on the phone, we’ve found the latest addition to the soundtrack of Stranger Things season three.

Galaxians are playing at Long Division on June 2nd at Warehouse 23 at 6.30pm.


The Lovely Eggs:
Wonderful and weird, The Lovely Eggs are an egg-cellent eggs-ample of the fusion of modern day riot grrrl with neon bright psychedelic weirdness, and are bringing their fifth album This Is Eggland to Long Divison. Oh, and maybe check out their website – there’s a petition up there to stop ‘fake encores’ from happening in the modern music scene and an entire page dedicated to reminding us all that people are tw*ts. Cracking.

The Lovely Eggs are playing at Long Division on June 2nd at Warehouse 23 at 10.15pm.

Peaness:
With a name that’s toeing the line between cutesy and inappropriate, Peaness are a harmony laden indie pop trio or “pea pop” as they like to call themselves. Spreading “peas and love” through their sunshiney happy-go-lucky vibes, they’ve already played alongside the likes of The Cribs, Muncie Girls and PINS and are definitely on the rise – keep your eyes on these ladies, 2018 could very well be the year they explode onto the UK Music scene.

Peaness are playing at Long Division on June 2nd at The Red Shed at 7.45pm.

Wiyaala:
Ghana’s finest Wiyaala cites Madonna and Tina Turner as two of her biggest influences alongside afro-pop and tribal folk music. Combining songs written in her native Sissala and Waale dialects with English, she has used her voice to speak out against child marriage, poverty and sanitation issues in parts of Africa. Oh and I should probably mention that, as a member of the international all female band GRRRL, she’ll be performing at the closing ceremony of the Commonwealth Games in Australia this year. Impressive.

Wiyaala is playing at Long Division on June 2nd at The Red Shed at 8.45pm.

Huge thanks to Jenny at Girls That Gig for her recommendations!

Long Division Festival takes place in Wakefield this weekend, 1st – 3rd June, more info and tickets here.

Record Store Day 2018: GIHE Picks

It’s the most wonderful time of the year… That’s right, Record Store Day. The excitement, the unity of eager queuers, the smell of that shiny black vinyl as you release it from its sleeve, the empty pockets at the end of the day… But most of all, the music. A day dedicated to celebrating our favourite music, and those wonderful shop-owners who provide us with so much of it.

Ahead of the big day this Saturday (21st April), we thought we’d share some of the special releases that we’re most looking forward to this year. From the emotion-strewn nostalgia of classics by artists no longer with us, to some not-yet heard releases from some of favourite new bands, here’s what we can’t wait to get our hands on…

Mari Lane:

Soundgarden – A-Sides
The day I learned that Chris Cornell had tragically left us all too soon also happened to be the day I was diagnosed with Endometriosis. I remember the day well. I listened to Soundgarden’s A-Sides on the way to and from the clinic, trying to find release in a band in whom I’d sought comfort on such days for the last 20 years. And, as I gazed out of the train window, I soon forgot my health worries as the realisation of what an immense loss the world had just suffered hit me. 

It may seem dramatic being so affected by someone you’ve never met, but I guess I’ve always found something particularly therapeutic about Chris Cornell’s voice. From the raging passion of ‘Jesus Christ Pose’, ‘Outshined’ and ‘Rusty Cage’, to the heartbreaking desperation of ‘The Day I Tried To Live’, ‘Pretty Noose’ and ‘Fell On Black Days’, it’s always been something I’ve sought refuge in; a voice that’s stirred a feeling in me that few other artists ever have.

Released for the first time on vinyl for Record Store Day 2018, A-Sides is a compilation album with songs spanning Soundgarden’s thirteen-year career. It was originally released on 4th November 1997 through A&M Records.

Haley – ‘Bratt’
Formally known as Haley Bonar, American artist HALEY has previously charmed listeners with 2016’s Impossible Dream and played on ‘Later… With Jools Holland’, as well as for the BBC 6 Music Festival in Glasgow. Now, under her new moniker, she recently shared ‘BRATT’. 

Propelled by uptempo, looped beats, it flows with a twinkling, ethereal haze and the subtle impassioned power of HALEY’s delicate vocals. Oozing an exquisite, emotion-strewn splendour, ‘BRATT’ sparkles with a shimmering, captivating grace, showcasing HALEY’s ability to create stirring, heartfelt creations.

‘Bratt’ will be specially released on a Memphis Industries 7″ for Record Store Day.

Courtney Barnett – ‘City Looks Pretty’/ ‘Sunday Roast’
Though I haven’t yet heard either of these singles yet, I have every confidence they’ll be worth the £9.99 I’m hoping to spend on Saturday. I’ve loved everything else Courtney Barnett has created, from 2013’s Double EP A Sea Of Split Peas (featuring the absolute self-love anthem that is ‘Lance Jr’) to the recent first taster of her upcoming album, ‘Nameless, Faceless’ – a refreshingly honest take on male chauvinism.

Courtney Barnett is probably my favourite, and most relatable, lyricist. She has a unique ability to tackle everyday life with a perfect wit and raw honesty; that, combined with her woozy vocals and infectious jangly melodies, makes for an utter dream, and I cannot wait to hear more from her.

 ‘City Looks Pretty’/’Sunday Roast’ is out on 12″ exclusively for Record Store Day via Marathon Artists. Tell Me How You Really Feel, the upcoming album from Courtney Barnett, is out 18th May.

Kate Crudgington:

Blanck Mass‘Odd Scene b/w Shit Luck’
Artists who release via Sacred Bones have been my obsession since listening to The Soft Moon’s latest album Criminal a few months ago, so I’m super keen to hear what Blanck Mass’s RSD release sounds like.

He came to my attention through Gazelle Twin, who contributed a remix of ‘The Rat’ to his latest EP, World Eater Re​-​Voxed. Here on ‘Odd Scene b/w Shit Luck’, the sonic punch of Blanck Mass manifests itself in “a couple of anti-macho pop songs” about a “pair of walking hardons” he observed at a truck stop whilst touring last year. The context will resonate with anyone who becomes enraged when they overhear ignorant people spouting trash in public (aka me).

Neither track will appear on a future Blanck Mass album, as the style deviates from his musical norm – making it the perfect release for RSD.

Odd Scene b/w Shit Luck is a 2 track 12″ released exclusively for Record Store Day via Sacred Bones.

L7 – Fast & Frightening
What’s the opposite of a ‘Shitlist’ – a hitlist? Well, that’s what Riot Grrrls L7’s Fast & Frightening album should be at the top of!

Since watching the ‘Pretend We’re Dead’ documentary (which Tash recommended to me), I’ve been listening to these punks on the regular. This album is filled with rarities, cover versions, tracks only found on compilations or one-off split 7″ singles, and plenty more.

It’s the first time the record’s been released on vinyl, and the perfect purchase for anyone who was lucky enough to score a tickets to their Electric Ballroom gig in Camden on 12th June.

Fast And Frightening is a 2LP out for the first time on vinyl for Record Store Day.

Rage Against The Machine – Democratic National Convention 2000
“Anger is a gift” – Zach de la Rocha’s powerful lines on ‘Freedom’ taken from RATM’s self-titled debut (released back in 1991) still burn with meaning and motivation. In the current political climate, I think we all need RATM more than we need oxygen most days.

This live recording of their protest concert at the Staples Center in Los Angeles in 2000 – attended by 8,000 people – is proof that Rage were a band unlike any other; politically informed, militantly organised and immensely talented.

Each time I think I’ve discovered all I need to know about this band, something like this crops up. They may have split back in October 2000, but their ideologies remain relevant and inspirational.

Live At The Democratic National Convention 2000 is an exclusive Record Store Day release of RATM’s concert in protest of the American political party system.

Em Burfitt:

Ask me? Record Store Day is one of, if not the best, day of the year. Christmas and even Halloween lose all appeal when faced off against independent record shops, limited release vinyl, and queueing. If Brits are the masters of queueing, then I consider myself a master of excitedly queueing on one particular day for records I woke up at 6am to find.

Last year, I added Patti Smith’s Hey Joe/Piss Factory and Anna Calvi‘s Live at Meltdown to my collection. Not to mention the free coffee offered ’round the back of Newcastle’s RPM, Reflex, and Beatdown Records (my “locals”). This year, it’s these releases that have all my attention.

Arcade Fire – Arcade Fire EP
One of the first Arcade Fire songs I ever heard was My Heart is an Apple from the 2003-released Arcade Fire EP. This to the point in which I still tell people that my heart is both full and an apple. I won’t say Napster had anything to do with it, but in rural England in a place where No Cars Go in the early noughties, you do what you can. The Arcade Fire EP will be released for the first time on vinyl and if I don’t find this individually numbered Holy Grail by my favourite band in the world, I’m going to be quite sad.

Arcade Fire EP is out for the first time on 12″ vinyl for Record Store Day.

Daughter – Music Before The Storm
Life is Strange: Before the Storm was Daughter’s first deep dive into the world of scoring and as a massive fan of the game series wherein music is so much a part of the experience that it’s as big a character as the storm it speaks of. In a flagship store on Portobello Road this January, the instantly recognisable track Flawsbroke out of the speakers and my heart, filling it with kind of pain I want to experience again and again. Music from Before the Storm is a double LP that belongs with me, and I shan’t hear otherwise.

Music From Before The Storm will be out for the first time on 2LP clear vinyl for Record Store Day.

(Honorable mentions that will break my bank account: Twin Peaks (Music From The Limited Event Series – Soundtrack) and every single Bowie record available.)

John McGovern:

GOAT – Double Date OST
GOAT are at the forefront of the psych resurgence, and the elusive Swedes are rarely away from my thoughts, so it’s exciting to see them cross over into a more popular medium with the soundtrack to Benjamin Barfoot’s comic-horror. The disc is blood-red and features ‘Run to Your Mama’ amongst other tracks. I might even see if I can pick up a copy of the film on Blu-Ray somewhere – the band themselves appear in one scene which, from the trailer, looks suitably trippy.

Double Date will be limited to 500 copies on 10″ for Record Store Day.

The Heads – Everybody Knows We Got Nowhere
This is a re-issue of The Heads’ second album from 2000 and is widely considered to be the Bristol psych survivors’ best. However, I’ll be trying to get hold of a copy (on clear blue vinyl naturally) because the band’s set at Liverpool Psych Fest in 2015 led to me and my housemates making a new, old friend. He was dancing so curiously that we couldn’t help but say hello and have knocked around with him the last couple of years on-and-off. It’s been a while since I’ve heard from Jon B and there’s no Liverpool Psych Fest this year, and, to be honest, I miss him.  

Everybody Knows We Got Nowhere will be limited to 500 copies on clear blue vinyl for Record Store Day.

The Lovely Eggs – Eggland
I still haven’t got round to picking up wobbly lo-fi psych indiepoppers The Lovely Eggs’ fifth album but having observed their career at a distance, both fascinated and slightly daunted, this RSD release – in Special Fried edition, white vinyl with a yellow yolk centre – has me captivated. Single ‘Wiggy Giggy’ had heavy rotation on Marc Riley’s 6Music show (normally around the time I would actually be frying things for dinner) so it seems like it’s the time to crack on.

Eggland LP will be limited to 500 copies in a special hand-packed sleeve for Record Store Day.

Otoboke Beaver – Okoshiyasu!! Otoboke Beaver
Lately, I feel as though I’m being increasingly led to Japanese music. Gideon Coe played Otoboke Beaver’s ‘anata atashi daita ato yome no meshi’ on his show last month and I’ve been curious about this self-described ‘“Japanese girls ‘knock out or pound cake’ band” ever since. Okoshiyasu!! Otoboke Beaver was designed as an introductory compilation for Western audiences, and is a furious non-stop melee of punk and garage with songs written in Kyoto’s slang. Perfect for dinner parties then.

Okoshiyasu!! Otoboke Beaver, a compilation of Otoboke Beaver’s output from 2010-2015, will be released on solid pink 12″ for Record Store Day.

Finally, we’d like to give a special mention to Jeff Buckley – Live at Sin-é. We actually all singled it out as a particularly special record, and both Mari and John have written about what it means to them… 

John McGovern:
There’s two kinds of people in this world: people who desperately want a special edition version of the outré-emotional sound of young (and sadly departed) Jeff Buckley playing his heart out in the East Village’s most famous little dive, and people who are lying to themselves. I’m in the first category.

Mari Lane: 
I’d never been hugely into Jeff Buckley – I knew ‘Grace’ and ‘Hallelujah’, though having been brought up on Leonard Cohen, I had always favoured the original of the latter… However, in the early days of meeting my partner Paul, I would stay over and he would play music all night as he slept. One of his most-played night time albums was Jeff Buckley’s Live at Sin-é – an absolutely perfect collection of exquisite lullabies. Being a light sleeper, I would lie awake and listen to the gut-wrenching raw emotion of each and every syllable. From the heartbreaking pleas of ‘Lover You Should’ve Come Over’, to the poignant cover of Billie Holiday’s ‘Strange Fruit’ and the soaring, quivering emotion of ‘Just Like A Woman’, I challenge anyone with a heart and working tear ducts to listen to this album with dry eyes. It’s a truly special collection of spellbinding songs from an artist who left us much too soon.

 Live at Sin-é was Jeff Buckley’s debut release for Columbia Records in 1993. Exclusively for Record Store Day, it’s being released as a limited edition with four individually designed LP jackets and an eight page, full colour booklet of photos and liner notes.

Find info on all the Record Store Day releases here. And, in the run up to Saturday, have a listen to our Record Store Day playlist!


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