Track Of The Day: Half Waif – ‘Sodium & Cigarettes’

Sodium & Cigarettes’ is the latest single from Half Waif’s forthcoming album Mythopoetics, set for release next month.

Half Waif is the creation of New York based artist Nandi Rose whose ethereal vocals sail somewhere in the gap between Phoebe Bridgers, Kate Bush, and Sinead O’Connor. Producer Zubin Hensler makes the most of her unique talent, stripping the production right back to its bare bones and allowing Rose’s voice to be the star of the show. Rose has commented that Mythopoetics is the album she has been trying to make for ten years: “My voice is changing, and my confidence has reached a point where I feel that I can sing however I want; I’ve finally come to a place where I don’t have to conform to what I think other people want it to sound like”. ‘Sodium & Cigarettes’ is an incredible showcase for her newfound confidence.

A simple solo piano accompanies Rose’s tenuous vocal through the opening verse as the lyrics ponder “Do I deserve what’s coming to me?”, but this is ultimately a song of hope. The vocal gathers in strength and resilience throughout as Rose declares in the chorus “okay, give it another day”, giving a sense of needing to take a breath before re-entering the fray – a sentiment which will no doubt be familiar to listeners exhausted by Trump-era politics, the pandemic, and an endlessly grim 24 hour news cycle. Rose implores the listener to keep looking to the future.

As the song progresses, gentle reverb-laden backing vocals swell in the background as if powering up to meet the challenge, sparse staccato synths pepper the final verses as if waking up, and the resonance of a church organ fills the delicate space beneath Rose’s vocal. The track ends with Rose challenging the listener – “Is it too late now to start running?” – her tenuous vocal taking on ever more strength and depth as she uses a vocal effect reminiscent of The Japanese House. 

‘Sodium & Cigarettes’ is a song of hope, a challenge to us all to re-energise and take up the fight, a subtle and gentle awakening in the face of exhaustion and malaise.

‘Sodium & Cigarettes’ is taken from Half Waif’s fourth album Mythopoetics, set for release on 9th July via ANTI-.

Kate Sullivan

Photo Credit:  Ali Cherkis

Track Of The Day: Bad Waitress – ‘Strawberry Milkshake’

Following 2018’s EP Party Bangers, Toronto-based Bad Waitress have now announced their debut album. Ahead of the album’s release this autumn, the band have now shared a fiery new single.

An eerily raging anthem, ‘Strawberry Milkshake‘ blasts into the ears with its scuzzy, pulsating hooks and thrashing beats, as Kali-Ann Butala’s raw, seething vocals soar with a swirling, riotous power, reminiscent of the legendary Brody Dalle. Propelled by a gritty energy and frenzied, empowering drive, it’s a wonderfully sinister – hell-raisingly raucous yet fuzzily catchy – punk-fuelled anthem. Of the track, the band comment:

“‘Strawberry Milkshake’ is saccharine sweet, milky pink terror. On the surface it’s sexy and enticing – but there’s a poisonous sludge bubbling just beneath. It paints the picture of an all-American beauty pageant with buckets of blood as the cherry on top.

Watch the zombie-filled new video for ‘Strawberry Milkshake’ now:

No Taste, the debut album from Bad Waitress, is set for release 3rd September via Royal Mountain.

Mari Lane

Photo Credit: Kate Dockeray 

Track Of The Day: Fortitude Valley – ‘Cassini’

What is it about the North East that inspires such perfect pop? Following their 2019 debut, Durham’s Fortitude Valley return with an ode to NASA’s Cassini–Huygens satellite. ‘Cassini’ is two and a half minutes of blistering bubblegum punk that’ll have you simultaneously bouncing around your front room, while frantically scrolling back issues of ‘National Geographic’ for more information.

Frontperson Laura Kovic’s lyrics are witty, original and surprisingly heartfelt as she reflects on science’s ultimate rejection of Cassini after years of studying the satellite closely. “I just wanna know what it’s like down there,” she laments. As she sings, her sugary vocals collide ferociously with crunchy guitars and punky, pacey drums, like an astroid.

The band’s sweet, sing-song harmonies buoy Cassini’s impact further and make it clear that Fortitude Valley are something very special indeed. It’s hardly surprising, then, that the band are essentially an indie-pop supergroup with Kovic backed by the brilliant Daniel Ellis and Nathan Stephens Griffin from Onsind and Martha, and Night Flowers’ Greg Ullyart. With an album on the way in the coming months, they’re something to get really excited about. 

‘Cassini’ by Fortitude Valley is out now. Their self-titled debut album will be released on Fika Recordings on 3rd September.

Vic Conway

Track Of The Day: All Day Breakfast Cafe – ‘Old School Struggling’

An uplifting, disco-inspired ode to dealing with the pressures of everyday life, South London based disco band All Day Breakfast Cafe have released their debut single ‘Old School Struggling’. Fuelled by funky rhythms, jazzy instrumentation and Loucin Moskofian’s rich vocals, the track is a playful take on how we deal with the relentless cycle of trying to make ends meet whilst simultaneously trying to live our best lives.

Inspired by the same struggle that laid the foundations for disco music back in the 1970s, All Day Breakfast Cafe pay tribute to the empowering history of hope and hustling that sits alongside trying to survive and thrive in an unequal world. Inspired by the likes of Chaka Khan, Earth, Wind & Fire and jazz legends Art Blakey and Ella Fitzgerald, the band formed just before lockdown 2020 and have been busy working on their Their debut EP, Builder’s Brew (a play on Miles Davis’ psychedelic jazz album Bitches Brew) which they’re set to release this autumn.

If you’re familiar with the feeling of burnout, worrying about how you’re going to make your rent, and working a 9-5 alongside all of your side hustles, then ‘Old School Struggling’ will resonate with, and re-energise you too.

Listen to ‘Old School Struggling’ below.


Follow All Day Breakfast Cafe on bandcamp, SpotifyInstagram & Facebook

Kate Crudgington