Track Of The Day: Fears – ’16’

Transforming her ruminations on a troubled past relationship into an elegant, exquisitely raw new offering, Irish musician and producer Constance Keane aka Fears has shared her latest single ’16’. Released via her own imprint TULLE, the track is a combination of meditative synth loops, tentative beats – inspired by the traditional Irish bodhrán drum – and the instrumentals of her late friend, classically trained cellist and trans rights activist Sophie Gwen Williams, which all mesh together to create a truly soothing, magnetic soundscape.

Accompanied by a beautiful video, shot in The Maharees in County Kerry in south west Ireland and directed by Zoe Greenway who performs alongside Keane in punk band M(h)aol, the visuals are a poignant tribute to Williams too.

“Sophie was an incredible artist and a very close friend of mine,” Keane explains. “We did a filmed performance together last March, thinking we’d get a chance to record it ‘properly’ in a studio, but she passed away before we could. Zoe and I dedicate the video for ’16’ to her memory. I had made her a dress for the original performance out of pink tulle – the same fabric I have with me in the video. She was a really inspirational and encouraging person, and I wanted to create something that shows how I carry her with me, even though I no longer have her physically here.”

Using her art as a canvas to express and process her grief, Keane’s soft vocals and candid lyrics – “It’s been a while since I cried / unusual for me / normally once a week / since we were 16” – combine to create a delicate, shadowy landscape for her listeners to dwell in. On her debut album Oícheshe underwent a significant and moving personal metamorphosis and now with ’16’ she continues to shapeshift and thread her own experiences into immersive, illuminating sounds.

Fears will perform live in London as part of a TULLE Collective showcase on 7th May at Chat’s Palace. Watch the video for ’16’ below.

Sophie Gwen Williams was an acclaimed performance artist, classically trained musician and trans rights activist from Northern Ireland who co-founded We Exist, a charity which raises vital funds to help trans people across the UK pay for healthcare costs. She was also the chair and one of the original members of The 343, a Belfast-based queer art collective. Here she also founded 343 radio, which is Ireland’s first ever queer radio.

Follow Fears on bandcampSpotifyInstagramTwitter & Facebook
Follow TULLE on Instagram & Twitter

Kate Crudgington
@KCBobCut

LISTEN: M(h)aol – ‘Gender Studies’

A rumbling cacophony of post-punk noise designed to dismantle the misconception that gender is binary, Irish feminist post-punk band M(h)aol have shared their latest single ‘Gender Studies’. The title track from their debut EP, which is set for release via TULLE on 29th October (digitally) and 15th January (physically), the song is a brief but powerful statement on the empowering feelings that come with challenging gender norms.

Currently based between Dublin, London and Bristol, M(h)aol (pronounced “male”) are formed of Róisín Nic Ghearailt, Constance Keane, Jamie Hyland, Zoe Greenway and Sean Nolan. Together, the band aim to rattle the male dominated post-punk scene with their urgent, gritty sounds, with previous singles ‘Laundries’ and ‘Asking For It’ being the perfect instigators for this pursuit. Now with ‘Gender Studies’, M(h)aol have further cemented their statement against toxic patriarchal standards, rejecting damaging gender stereotypes.

Accompanied by a monochrome video that contrasts traditional images of femininity with cutting lyrics about an individual’s frustrations & realisations about gender constraints, ‘Gender Studies’ seethes with a righteous fury whilst also offering a raw catharsis, recognising the freedom that comes with choosing to see past patriarchal boundaries.

Watch the video for ‘Gender Studies’ below.

M(h)aol UK Tour Dates
1st November – Rough Trade, Bristol
2nd November – The Hug And Pint, Glasgow
3rd November – The Talleyrand, Manchester
4th November – The Shacklewell Arms, London

Follow M(h)aol on SpotifybandcampFacebookTwitter & Instagram

Photo Credit: Susan Appleby

Kate Crudgington
@KCBobCut

LISTEN: GIHE on Soho Radio with Fears 28.07.21

Tash, Kate & Mari were back on the NYC & Culture channel on Soho Radio‘s airwaves for their third GIHE show! They played a mix of golden oldies – including a tribute to the late Amy Winehouse – and new music tunes from some of their favourite women, non-binary and LGBTQ+ artists.

Irish musician & Tulle Collective co-founder Fears aka Constance Keane also joined them to talk about the reaction to her beautiful debut album Oíche, her upcoming gig plans, and how watching Love Island and Mary Kate & Ashley’s 2002 rom-com When In Rome have helped her through periods of lockdown & Covid-induced isolation.

Listen below:

Tracklist
Amy Winehouse – Me & Mr Jones
Babeheaven – Lovefool (The Cardigans Cover)
Abra – Roses
Evil House Party – Head Held High
Maria Uzor – Innocence
Witch Prophet ft. Stas THEE Boss – MUSA (Remix)
Alewya – Sweating
Denise Chaila – 061
Seraphina Simone – Skin
PET Wife – Sword
Smoothboi Ezra – Without Me
My Idea – Stay Away Still
WILLOW ft. Travis Barker – transparentsoul
Fears – Fabric
**Interview with Fears**
Pixie Cut Rhythm Orchestra – I Didn’t Love You When I Said I Did and I Don’t Now
F.R.U.I.T.Y – U.P.S
Tirzah – Tectonic
Gazelle Twin – Changelings
Bad Waitress – Strawberry Milkshake
Pretty Happy – Sudocream
Catherine Moan – Drop It!
Crisp&Classy – Boom Bay
BAXTR – In Pop We Trust
Sugababes – Same Old Story (Blood Orange Remix)
Planningtorock – Gay Dreams Come True

ALBUM: Fears – ‘Oíche’

An intuitive artist who has transformed her darkest moments into graceful electronic soundscapes, Fears aka Constance Keane has shared her debut album Oíche. Released via her own label TULLE, the Irish-born, London-based musician balances her intense ruminations on trauma alongside delicate synth loops and tentative beats to shine a light on a personal metamorphosis.

Much like the coarse fabric she used to create her altruistic dress on the album’s artwork, Fears allows her lived experiences to take up space and permeate this record, which swells with unflinching honesty and elegance. Oíche, meaning “night”, is a graceful collection of shadowy lullabies that spans five years of emotional territory for Fears, and the result is a truly immersive and enlightening body of work.

Since it was written & recorded in the music room of the hospital she was once an inpatient in, opener ‘h_always’ has remained untouched. “I’m black and blue / on the inside too” she softly repeats, juxtaposing her emotions alongside ward paraphernalia and atmospheric guitar lines, capturing a mindset that is revisited, dismantled and rebuilt over the course of Oíche.

She taps into the fluctuating nature of her mental health with magnetic synths and soft percussion on tracks like ‘bones’, ‘daze’, ‘vines’ and ‘Blood’, each embellished with vocals that ache with gentle sincerity. Her cyclical, buoyant synth loops mirror intrusive or recurring thought patterns, whilst her lyrics capture the mental push-and-pull of processing, accepting and learning to let things go. This is epitomised on ‘Fabric,’ which resonates deeper each time it’s listened to.

Her moving account of gripping her knees tightly while confessing “I’m so sorry for the mess I a made” on ‘dents’ is deeply affecting and marks a change in the record’s tone. The instantly mood-lifting ‘Brighid’ – a home-recording of Fears’ sister and late Grandmother in casual conversation – invites listeners to share in an intimate family moment. It beautifully precedes ‘tonnta’, where Fears weaves memories of her Grandmother into her lyrics, crafting a fitting tribute to the person who originally taught her how to sew.

The resilience of her familial relationships are acknowledged on the album’s poignant closing track ‘two_’. Whilst it centres around Fears’ own experiences of self-harm, the repeated sentiment “If not for my family / I’d never have healed” is deeply moving. It’s this unwavering love and support – whether from others, or mined from deep within herself – that’s helped to shape Oíche and why it’s such a cathartic, cohesive collection of songs.

It is a privilege to listen to this considered, intensely personal record.

Order your copy of Fears’ debut album Oíche here

Follow Fears on bandcampSpotifyInstagramTwitter & Facebook
Follow TULLE on Instagram & Twitter

Kate Crudgington
@KCBobCut