ALBUM: Big Joanie – ‘Sistahs’

DIY punks Big Joanie release their debut album Sistahs today, and it’s a mix of the personal and political; coupled with riotous rhythms and a sistah-hood ethos. Recorded at Hermitage Works Studio with producer Margo Broom, and released via Thurston Moore and Eva Prinz’s new label (The Daydream Library Series), Sistahs is a strong debut from a band who have been actively working on and off-stage within London’s DIY scene for years.

Together, Steph, Estella & Chardine have been busy running the Decolonise Fest for punks of colour, volunteering at Girls Rock Camp, and leading the Stop Rainbow Racism campaign, which works to stop racist performances in LGBTQ venues. Their combined pro-active efforts have resulted in the creation of 11 songs that tackle issues of self-motivation, race, equality, and letting go of unhealthy relationships.

The pensive and highly relatable opening track ‘New Year’ brims with a quiet yearning to kick start something, to stop waiting. It’s followed by ‘Fall Asleep’, with its infectious bass lines and wicked guitar riffs. The introduction of electronics 1:44 minutes in is ultra cool, and was inspired by the likes of Joy Division and New Order (which is why Producer Margo added a wall of synths and drum beats).

‘Used To Be Friends’ is an anthem everyone can sing with confidence, with a sarcastic smile and no real sense of aggro – just the care free attitude of someone who’s shed the skin of an unhealthy acquaintance. ‘Eyes’ is a cacophony of guitars, percussion, and recorder. It’s one of the first songs guitarist Steph wrote aged nineteen, inspired by her disdain for “working a part time job handing out over-priced artisan bread at Waitrose”.

‘Way Out’ is a wonderful, reverb-soaked, 90s-esque tune, whilst the brief ‘Down Down’ spirals along with its driving percussion for just shy of two minutes, before the surf-pop-style ‘Tell A Lie’ lifts listeners up again. Much like ‘Used To Be Friends’, ‘Token’ laments an unhealthy friendship, although this time it’s about the feeling of ‘tokenism’ experienced by people of colour, when middle class white people decide to befriend them as a lame act of liberalism. Following track ‘It’s You’ was born from a bad situation. After the lead singer from Steph’s first band (My Therapist Says Hot Damn) left just three days before their next gig – ‘It’s You’ was one of the many songs she had to write from scratch to play at the show.

The penultimate ‘How Could You Love Me’ will have you swaying from side-to-side as it rings out in “60s girl group style”, whilst closing track ‘Cut Your Hair’ is a vulnerable but optimistic ode to predicting a relationship is over before you or your partner are willing to admit it. Despite their breezy, confident nature; the contexts of Big Joanie’s songs are powerful because the relay the struggles of everyday – whether that’s having your mind turned to mush by a boring job, falling out with yourself, or others around you. They’re three women of colour talking about their life experiences to the backdrop of marching beats and punk-inspired riffs – and that’s something the world needs plenty more of in our opinion.

Order your copy of Sistahs here. Follow Big Joanie on Facebook for more updates.

Kate Crudgington
@KCBobCut

Track Of The Day: Suzie Stapleton – ‘Yesterday’s Town’

If “delay-laden guitar riffs and dusty vocals” are your thing, then Suzie Stapleton‘s new track ‘Yesterday’s Town’ is going to tick all of your listening boxes. Born in Australia, Stapleton relocated to London in 2015 and has kept a busy recording schedule on various projects between tours and opening for acts such as Mick Harvey, Mark Lanegan and Boss Hog.

Earlier this year, Stapleton appeared on Lydia Lunch & Cypress Grove’s unlikely covers album Under The Covers (Rustblade Records) lending her voice to several of the tracks. This project was spawned via Stapleton’s collaborations with Cypress Grove on The Jeffrey Lee Pierce Sessions Project (feat. Iggy Pop, Nick Cave, Debbie Harry, Thurston Moore).

To celebrate the release of her new single, Suzie has made ‘Yesterday’s Town’ available as a free download for her fans, which can be accessed via www.suziestapleton.com. She will also be playing a London launch show on November 8th at The Old Blue Last, with more dates live dates to be announced shortly. Until then, you should listen to ‘Yesterday’s Town’ below and follow Suzie on Facebook for more updates.

Photo Credit: Steve Gullick

Kate Crudgington
@KCBobCut