INTERVIEW: She Makes War

Bristol-based artist She Makes War (aka Laura Kidd) has been busy creating music that fuses fun and freedom over the last few years. Her buoyant attitude and blistering guitar riffs have seen her build a loyal following across the UK, and with the release of her new album Brace For Impact just around the corner (October 5th), it seems this following is set to multiply further. We caught up with Laura to talk about her new record, her upcoming UK tour, the good & bad sides of social media, and why it’s worth giving DIY recording a shot…

Your new single ‘Devastate Me’ is a total banger. Can you talk about the inspiration behind the track?
Thank you! I’ve always written music about the dissonance caused by living a digital life in an analogue body, and for me that’s really increased in the last few years. Social media has enabled me to build an audience, but even as someone who is aware of its negative effects and strives to keep a balance, it has had an increasingly terrible effect on my ability to concentrate, and I hate that I spend too much time scrolling and too much time reading stuff that I don’t need to read.

‘Devastate Me’ questions the intention behind our obsession with sharing – it’s not that I don’t think we should share at all, but I’d like us to ask ourselves why we’re doing it. I see reflexive photography everywhere – people not even giving themselves a moment to see what’s in front of them before snapping it. I think learning to be present is so important, and being on your phone when spending time with loved ones is the height of rudeness.

All that is why the video is a bouncy tribute to analogue communication and community spaces – the local postbox I send all my merch orders from, an old red phonebox turned into a book swap and food bank donations hub, a wooden boat in the kids play area of my local pub garden and St Nicholas Market, all in Bristol.

You’re due to release your new album Brace For Impact on October 5th. What can fans expect from your new record?
An exhilarating, riffy journey through my thoughts on love, loss, grief, body image, self confidence and mindfulness. Chunky guitars, beautiful strings and heartfelt lyrics.

That sounds great! I read that you overcame a broken foot in order to write this record?
Yes! Everything was going really well with the release of my third album Direction Of Travel, I was happy, I was running long distances, I was getting booked to play exciting gigs and festivals and then BAM! I had an accident and was struck down. That was a really tough summer. I’m very proud of this album because it’s a result of me working through a reasonably deep depression and lethargy caused by shock, physical pain and resentment at my situation, working super hard to regain my mobility through near-daily yoga and making myself sit down and write the songs amidst all sorts of financial concerns.

Once an album is finished and I get a bit of time and space away from it I can slowly start to view it as something separate from me, and each one has its own distinct character. Brace For Impact is the most expansive album I’ve ever made, it’s kind and big hearted and urgent and strong and beautiful.

It’s great that you took something so negative and turned it in to something so positive! Do you have a favourite track on the album?
I love them all very much, but at the moment my favourite song is ‘Strong Enough’, which I wrote about two specific peoples’ experiences, but is a message to anyone going through a mental health crisis. All of the new songs are stories from real life that have a more far reaching message of care for all concerned.

‘Love This Body’ is another favourite – the riff is so grinding and intense and the lyrics are about how devastating it is to me that people – women in particular – spend so much time worrying about what they look like. The song is about myself; I’ve had issues about this stuff from a young age and only recently have started to come to terms with the fact that my body shape is nothing to be ashamed of or to hide. People can be very cruel. We live in a society where airbrushed semi-naked female bodies are in our faces all the time via advertising, and band photos regularly depict the male members fully clothes and the women crouching down in hot-pants and platform heels. What are we supposed to do with all this information?

You’re embarking on a tour to promote the album, with our favourites Dream Nails and The Menstrual Cramps joining you on a couple of dates. What is it you like about these bands? How did you come across them?
Their energy, their freedom and the fact they care so much about spreading their message. Music has to be far more than some pretty noise coming out of some pretty faces to hold my interest. I’d been hearing about them online for ages, so when it was time to put together a bill for the album tour it was obvious who to ask. I’m just lucky they were available! The tour spreads across three weeks so on the first leg I’m joined by Eliza Rickman, an incredible artist from the US, the following week is with Dream Nails and the last four shows are with The Menstrual Cramps. I can’t wait!

What are your anticipations for this tour?
I love performing live, and while I find it impossible to write and record around gigging, it’s frustrating having to miss out on that audience connection for long periods of time when I’m making albums. I start feeling like I’ve disappeared! A lot of the venues on the list are old favourites, so it’ll be great to return with my incredible live band and knock peoples’ socks off around the country.

You record in your own bedroom studio in Bristol. Would you recommend this DIY approach to other girls or women who are looking to record their own music? What are the pros and cons of this method?
I write and demo all my songs at home, yes. I write while recording actually, so as not to forget anything but also to be able to easily play around with arrangements and parts. Once a rough demo is done I go back and do a “posh demo”, where I write and record all the parts – drums, bass, guitar, keyboards, lead vocals, backing vocals…then when the time comes I take all this into affordable studios to re-create them bigger and better with the help of my brilliant engineer.

I love working in this way because I can be as creative and take as much time over the initial writing and production as I like, without having to explain to anyone why I want another five vocal tracks or whatever, and carefully craft every note in the arrangement for maximum emotional resonance. It saves a lot of expensive studio time, because I know what I’m going to be recording, but also means the end result sounds exactly how I want. Of course, extra ideas will pop into my head when I’m in the nice studio, but they’re just the icing on the cake because the main work is done.

I’d recommend to people of all genders to learn to record themselves, whether that’s in a really simple and basic way or more involved. Anyone can learn to do simple multi-track recording, and it’s always better to have at least a little bit of technical knowledge when you’re working with someone else so you can explain to them what you’d like to achieve. More than anything though, I’d like to see people admitting that they don’t know everything, and realising that’s ok! What’s the point in staying quiet and pretending you know something because you think you’ll embarrass yourself in front of someone else? If that person is rude because you admit you don’t know how to do something, find someone else to work with. It’s better to learn by doing.

What’s the Bristol music scene like? How does it compare to other cities you’ve played in?
I hear about this elusive Bristol music scene a lot (usually from interviewers!), but I’ve never really seen it…there are a few artists who are doing their own thing very well, and perhaps there are micro scenes localised to friendship groups, but unfortunately we don’t have many small venues for people to come up in and start gathering an audience together from, so I’m really glad I started my project in London. Having moved here from Herne Hill six years ago, Bristol still feels tiny to me. It’s definitely my home, and I love living here, but musically I think of it as my creative HQ and my jumping off point to travel everywhere else. It’s always lovely to return though, and it’s worked out brilliantly that the big hometown gig is happening on the last night of the tour. It’s going to be a big party!

Your visuals seem equally as important as your music when it comes to your performances. Is this part of your “make art in every day life” ethos? Can you talk about the inspiration behind this?
The music is by far the most important thing when it comes to my performances, but I made the decision a long time ago to use the opportunity to dress up and create something different from the everyday for my shows, something that matched the drama and glitter of my songs. It’s not a different character – it’s the real me, just…more! I do try and lead as creative a life as possible, on and offstage, it makes everything feel more meaningful and satisfying. I struggle with unanticipated dips in mood like everyone else, and I find it’s those little things that really help centre me again and give me focus. I write in a diary most days, I draw and I try to take beautiful photographs.

Finally, As a new music blog, we’re always looking for recommendations about new bands and artists we should be listening to. Who are you listening to at the moment?
I’m excited about upcoming albums from Marissa Nadler, Cat Power and Suede, the new Breeders album is INCREDIBLE and I find myself returning again and again to both Marika Hackman albums, Memories Are Now by Jesca Hoop (the rest of her albums are stellar too) and my beloved Nirvana, Pixies and Blur.

Huge thanks to Laura for answering our questions!

Pre-order She Makes War’s new album Brace For Impact here.
Grab your tickets for one of her tour dates here & follow She Makes War on Facebook for more updates.

Photo Credit: Ania Shrimpton

Kate Crudgington
@KCBobCut

LIVE: Skating Polly @ Sebright Arms, 10.09.18

As a rule, especially now I’m fast approaching mid-thirties-dom, I generally try to avoid Monday night gigs – they tend to set a precedent of low energy and enhanced apathy for the rest of the week. But last Monday, I decided to make an exception for my favourite sibling punk-rock trio, Skating Polly. And I’m extremely glad I did.

Kicking off the two-band line up at Bethnal Green’s Sebright Arms are GIHE faves The Menstrual Cramps. Delivering their topical tongue-in-cheek wit and immense, politically-charged force, they succeed in astounding the crowd. With their refreshingly uncensored, genuine passion, they seem to have refined their seething set even since I last saw them play for us a couple of months back; they’re a band who are now more relevant and necessary than ever before, continuing to refine their musical prowess to blast their message into our ears.

Marking themselves out as favourites when we caught them a couple of years back, putting on an immense live set at The Lock Tavern, Skating Polly‘s Kelli and Peyton have since recruited brother Kurtis on drums, to create an even bigger, high-octane sound. Delivering their trademark combination of honey-sweet melodies with gritty, whirring hooks, 2016’s ‘Pretective Boy’ starts the set. And immediately they draw in the packed out venue with their immense buoyant energy and understated subtle power.

Although I had been blown away seeing Kelli and Peyton as a duo, with the added volume of one extra person, they’re able to blast into the eardrums with a fuller, all-encompassing sound that hits you with a sublime force from the start. And it doesn’t make it any less impressive or immersive either; the two front women continue to swap vocal responsibilities and instruments throughout the set, with Peyton and Kurtis swapping roles for one song too. Skating Polly are a band who continue to keep us on our toes, showcasing their exciting, multi-faceted sound and unique, impassioned stage presence.

Treating us to an eclectic mix of songs new and old, each and every moment of this jam-packed set is full of raw emotion, with this band’s intense snarling energy and ferocious vocal delivery blowing me away throughout. From new tracks such as ‘Free Will At Ease’ (inspired by a “shitty ex boyfriend”) and the seething grunge-fuelled power of ‘Camelot’, to 2016’s ‘Perfume For Now’ (about a guy who accused Kelli of being a creep when she was just 13) and the immense grit of ‘Stop Digging’, each and every offering is an exciting, intoxicating sonic delight.

Fiercely staring into the crowd and shouting “throw your mother-fucking hands up!”, Kelli tops things off by launching into the sweaty (and incredibly smelly!) sea of fans for an epic surf, bass and all. A glorious end to a glorious night of live music. Once again marking themselves out as going against the grain, Skating Polly deliver an empowering sentiment, uniting anyone who doesn’t want to coincide with the confines of society’s limitations.

Definitely worth venturing out on a Monday for; far from apathetic and energy-less, the night leaves me feeling motivated and refreshed, having been in the presence of such formidable women in music.

Mari Lane
@marimindles

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)

ALBUM: The Menstrual Cramps – ‘Free Bleedin’

Raw, righteous, and a rallying cry against pervasive capitalist and patriarchal oppression: The Menstrual Cramps‘ sophomore album Free Bleedin’ drips with irrepressible anarchy and wit. Following 2017’s excellently named debut We’re Not Ovaryacting, the four-piece have returned with fourteen new tracks that systematically strip away the hateful forces that threaten to hold these riot grrrls back.

Front-woman Emilia has a vocal range that ricochets between dangerous, disinterested, screeching and savage. From opening track ‘Boycott The Lot’, she begins calling out corporations including The Sun, Amazon, and the dairy industry; whilst urging listeners to avoid all interaction with these dishonest establishments. She’s backed by the formidable Cooper Rose on guitar, as well as the equally formidable rhythm section comprised of drummer Beth and bassist Robyn.

Intelligence and piss-taking combine in memorable style on second track ‘The Smash’, which calls for a political and personal revolution amidst lyrics such as “Theresa May don’t even masturbate”. The girls continue their take down on following track ‘Neo Nazi’, which acts as a warning and a defiant middle finger to any fans of punk music who confuse the genre with outdated, fascist ideals. As Emilia so aptly says: “Nazi cunts need to disappear” – and we couldn’t agree more.

Up next on The Menstrual Cramps’ “bullshit we shouldn’t have to address, but will do anyway” list is toxic masculinity. On ‘Boyz Will Be Boyz’, the girls urge men to take responsibility for sexual assault and “do something about it”, instead of hiding behind the all-to-familiar saying and remaining complacent. What follows is an unorthodox and unexpected ode to long-haired, liberal lads and lasses. On the pop-ier sounding ‘Long Haired Babe’, Emilia delightfully declares “guys with long hair make me scream, guys with long hair make me cream”. That’s the great thing about this record: one minute you want to punch a hole through a patriarchal wall, and the next you just want to lay back and show yourself some sweet self-love.

Cue next track, ‘Mutual Masturbation’. It’s as fabulous and filthy as it sounds; celebratory (guitar) strums and raucous percussion combine with Emilia’s lyrics about defying shame and spending some time on yourself. The girls dial up the sarcasm on ‘I Like That Top’, a track which laments the comments made by dull housemates who insist on making passive aggressive remarks about your lifestyle and fashion sense. The band switch back to full on assault mode on ‘Idols’, calling out the inadequacies of the biggest icons in the industry and stripping them of their God-like status. It’s eye-opening and entertaining in equal measure, with trademark Menstrual Cramps bite.

Guitarist Cooper takes lead vocals on the seemingly tender-sounding ‘Tinder Girl’ which tackles a very modern dating dilemma: “I don’t want nothing serious, but I think I want more than this”, before the self-explanatory ‘Tory Scum’ kicks in. It’s a punishing anthem about the policies crippling the working class under Theresa May’s Government. It bleeds in to the aptly named ‘Killin Us’, which shouts back against poor mental health services that have inevitably been affected by Tory budget cuts to the NHS. Things get a bit Orwellian on ‘Phone Hack’, but the severity of the message is made more palatable by a garage-pop-esque rhythm.

Penultimate track ‘No Means No’ challenges male entitlement and bodily autonomy. Emilia’s spoken word style lyrics about consent, rape, and sexual assault make things crystal clear here, and her vicious and wailing delivery of “Nooooooo!” towards the close of the song leaves no room for interpretation. Body positivity is promoted on closing track ‘Bush’ which champions natural hair growth with the simple lyric “let my bush be free!”. Bleedin’ furious, Bleedin’ funny, and Bleedin’ eye opening; The Menstrual Cramps latest record provides the perfect soundtrack for any feminist activist to rage and recover to.

You can listen to Free Bleedin’ on Spotify

Follow The Menstrual Cramps on Facebook for more updates.

Kate Crudgington
@KCBobCut

Track Of The Day: Skating Polly – ‘Camelot’

Following the release of their genre-transcending fifth album The Make It All Show, Tacoma-based trio Skating Polly return with a brand new video for album track ‘Camelot’.

Blasting into the eardrums with intense, pulsating basslines and the impassioned screech of Kelli Mayo, ‘Camelot’ is a seething, grunge-fuelled anthem. Oozing a thrashing power, it perfectly tears apart the misogynistic nature of American frat-boy culture with an empowering energy.

Of the video Mayo expands:

There are so many moments throughout that always make me smile… I love the little kids, love the unfortunate crowd surfer who did not get caught – he’s okay! – and Arrow and Henri from Starcrawler had me cracking up through out the whole shoot. Those two are powerhouses, they never run out of energy. Also Allison Wolfe from Bratmobile crowd surfed for the first time ever in the video!” 

Watch the wonderfully frenzied video for ‘Camelot’ here:

The Make It All Show is out now. Catch Skating Polly live:

10th Sept – Sebright Arms, LONDON (with faves The Menstrual Cramps supporting!
11th Sept – Le Pub, NEWPORT
13th Sept – The Thunderbolt, BRISTOL
14th  Sept – Firebug, LEICESTER
15th Sept – Broadcast, GLASGOW
16th Sept – Hare and Hounds, BIRMINGHAM
17th Sept – Yardbirds Rock Club, GRIMSBY

Mari Lane
@marimindles

Get In Her Ears Live @ The Finsbury w/ The Menstrual Cramps, 08.06.18

Following a host of super amazing bands playing for us recently – including LIINES, Witch Fever, The Magnettes, H.Grimace, Ghum and Dream Nails  – we were back at The Finsbury on Friday for another jam-packed night of the best new music.

Kicking off the night, Bad Sidekick kindly stepped in to fill the shoes of Salvation Jayne who sadly had to pull out. But what a way to start the night: the trio absolutely blow us away. As charismatic front-woman Cooper Rose oozes her seething, Northern twang over immense, thrashing beats and raging riffs, I’m reminded of early Arctic Monkeys with a unique, gritty edge. New favourite band alert!

Next up Brixton’s Coltana bring their visceral energy to the stage, delivering their riotous punk-rock anthems. Propelled by frenzied, whirring hooks and the magnetic charm of Cat’s impassioned spoken word vocals, it’s a set filled with wit and infectious energy as the band treat us to their wonderfully ferocious offerings.

Penultimate band of the night, Weekend Recovery, draw in a loyal army of fans with their contagious energy and endearing warmth. Racing with uplifting hooks and the angst-driven power of front-woman Lori’s vocals, each track is an instantly catchy, perfect slice of punk-pop at its finest.

I’ve been waiting a long time to see headliners The Menstrual Cramps. and – on finally having the honour – they don’t disappoint. From the topical, tongue-in-cheek wit of tracks such as ‘Hashtag Sad Penis’ and the empowering, feel-good vibes of ‘Make Girls Feel Good’, to the immense, politically-charged force of ‘Frack Off’ and ‘Cull The Tories’, their fantastic, fist-clenching force never ceases. As Emilia leads the band with her uncensored, genuine, seething passion, The Menstrual Cramps give a welcome voice to the anger we’re all feeling about the way society’s headed. An intense outpouring of emotion, The Menstrual Cramps’ set combines activism with musical prowess, reminding us all why we need bands like this now more than ever.

Huge thanks to the four AMAZING bands who played for us on Friday. And catch us next month at The Finsbury on 13th July, when we’ll be joined by The Empty Page, MeMe Detroit, Jemma Freeman and The Cosmic Something and Jetstream Pony!

Words: Mari Lane / @marimindles
Photos: Em Burfitt / @fenderqueer

PLAYLIST: June 2018

We’re mid-way through 2018, and we’re ready to share another playlist packed with fresh new sounds for your very eager ears! Take some time to scroll through our track selections, hit play on the Spotify link below, and let your ears fill up with the glorious new sounds of June…

Fever Ray – ‘If I Had A Heart’
Fever Ray were one of the headliners of Field Day this year and it could not have been a better end to the festival, hypnotic beats, terrifyingly warped vocals and an explosive stage performance. Gender bending outfits, with reverberating sound all whipped up together by the psychedelic and endorphin inducing visuals. When this track started I lost my mind – wow wow wow. (Tash Walker)

Catgod – ‘Keep My Promises’
Lead by sibling duo Robin and Catherine, Catgod’s new single interweaves swirling folk-tinged melodies with trip-hop inspired beats. As Robin’s soaring vocals are perfectly complemented by Cat’s exquisite harmonies, it showcases the band’s unique musicality in a cinematic soundscape that’ll captivate on first listen. Heartbeat In My Hand, the debut EP from Catgod, is out 22nd June. (Mari Lane)

Dott – ‘Bleached Blonde’
Galway’s Dott have released the perfect single for girls who love sunshine, surfing, and super-catchy garage pop anthems. The track is taken from their upcoming album Heart Swell, which is set to be released via Graveface Records on 8th June. It’s not on Spotify yet, but you can watch the video for it below. (Kate Crudgington)

S4U – ‘Heart’
‘Heart’ is the latest single London-based duo S4U (Something For You) taken from their upcoming Mixtape Heart 2 Say, which will be released via Different Recordings on 6th July. Looking forward to that a lot… I’m loving S4U’s new low-slung R&B experimental electro with some heavy 90s influences. Of the track S4U says “Curved, Parallel conscious, sub conscious, the synergy of heart and mind generates wise choices that benefit all. In other words as you appreciate that which is appreciating you. It is a wonderful thing to hold someone as your object of attention while you feel that G force Roses in Britain” Lovely. (TW)

The Menstrual Cramps – ‘Make Girls Feel Good’
Combining activism with musical prowess, The Menstrual Cramps provide a captivating force that we all need now more than ever.  With their fist-clenching ferocity, racing catchy hooks and a tongue in cheek wit, they create truly infectious punk-rock anthems. And this track is no exception – an epic dose of empowering energy, with lyrics like “you always look like such perfection that you don’t even need to try”, it’ll leave you feeling good and ready to take on the world. And we CANNOT WAIT to see The Menstrual Cramps headline for us at The Finsbury on Friday(ML) 

Slowcoaches – ‘Found Down’
Having previously captured our hearts with the totally epic, anti-toxic-masculinity anthem ‘Complex’, Slowcoaches are back with a new single. Racing with a seething energy, ‘Found Down’ hits your ears with its scuzzy riffs and the raw, angst-driven vocals of Heather Perkins. Oozing an immense, punk-fuelled power, it’s a perfect blast of raging honesty that we need now more than ever. (ML)

Placebo – ‘Scared Of Girls’
I scored tickets to Placebo’s Meltdown gig at Southbank Centre (curated by Robert Smith) and although this will be the fourth time I’ve seen them (quit bragging Kate), my heart is still beating double time with joy at the prospect of potentially hearing this track live. I imagine this song title accurately describes how most men feel when they see me dancing to it on a night out… (KC)

The Joy Formidable – ‘Dance Of The Lotus’
This is the band responsible for getting me in to alternative music a decade ago, so when I heard new single ‘Dance Of The Lotus’, my inner 18 year old imploded. They’re playing Robert Smith’s Meltdown Festival on the same day as NIN, and they’ll be playing at one of my favourite venues, The Lexington, in August. I missed out on tickets for both, so if anyone wants to help a girl out…I write good reviews… (KC)

Hilary Woods – ‘Inhaler’
‘Inhaler’ is the first single from Hilary Woods’ upcoming debut solo album Colt, which is set to be released via my favourite label Sacred Bones Records on 8th June. It’s a pensive, delicate, melancholy track about her struggles with homesickness, and it’s going to sound beautiful live when ringing out against the walls of St Pancras Old Church on 11th June. (KC)

VTR – ‘Soul To Skin’
‘Soul To Skin’ is taken from Brixton duo VTR’s recently released EP of the same name via Dream Diary. So sultry, so smooth, so seductive. This track reverberates around my ears giving me so much audible pleasure, very excited to hear more from these two in the future. (TW)

Barrie – ‘Tal Uno’
The new single from Brooklyn’s Barrie, ‘Tal Uno’ is filled with jangly hooks and swooning vocals, creating a totally dreamy, twinkling soundscape. As glistening synth-filled melodies glide alongside glitchy beats, it’s impossible not to float away in the shimmering, psychedelic haze that Barrie create. (ML)

ELA Lindsey – ‘Healing Me Slow’
This is the debut track from Nashville’s singer-songwriter ELA Lindsey who found her musical passion later in life starting at the age of 29. She says that by releasing this single she hopes to inspire other women to start their artistic journeys later than the typical industry standard usually allows. ‘Healing Me Slow’ has been firmly stuck in my head over the last couple of weeks, starting with her sweet and gentle vocals, then breaking down into this dark electro synth laden TUNE. With all the hooks and loops I could ever want. INTO IT. (TW)

Tigercats – ‘Candy’s Tailor’
Tigercats’ new single ‘Candy’s Tailor’ is filled with twinkling, jangly melodies and uptempo, calypso-like beats. Flowing with raw vocals and rich layers of sound, it’s an utterly uplifting summer anthem, and I’m already getting pretty excited about seeing these guys at Indietracks Festival next month! Pig City, the new album from Tigercats, is out now. (ML)

Nine Inch Nails – ‘Ringfinger’
I only discovered the true glory of NINs last year (always late to the party, when will I learn?) but I’m seeing Trent Reznor & co twice this month – at Meltdown Festival & The Royal Albert Hall – and I am nerve-shreddingly excited. ‘Ringfinger’ is one of my favourite tracks on 1989’s Pretty Hate Machine, and although they’re unlikely to play it live – I’ll still be bouncing off the walls in anticipation leading up to the gigs. (KC)

Photo Credit: Slowcaoches shot by Priti Shikotra