Track Of The Day: Varley – ‘Married With Bruises’

Having charmed us live at Notting Hill Arts Club a couple of years back, Berlin based Varley have now shared a courageous and vivid reveal – ‘Married With Bruises’ – taken from their 2021 album, Smalltalk and DMCs. With an impactful track title suggestive of Varley’s tender subject dive, the three-piece have found a divine formula for exposing poignant subject matter with compassion. 

As a testament to Two Thousand Years, ‘Married With Bruises’ is a raw look into generational patterns of patriarchy and misogyny. As a highlight from Smalltalk and DMCs, it is an indie-pop venture that lyrically pays testament to its delicate narrative while musically encouraging liberation with a communal, orchestral disposition. Smooth, reverberated guitar cast a stormy spell for Irish front woman Claire-Ann’s voice to dance upon as her effortless vocal authority draws listeners into the world of Varley. 

As vocal layers are intricately woven during the track’s chorus, ‘Married With Bruises’ shimmers as Claire-Ann’s frustration festers over the repeated mistreatments thrusted upon women, her “mother’s mother” and later, onto herself. The discomfort of being shoved around and controlled is felt by just listening to the honesty in her vocal delivery as it cuts through the lilting instrumentation for our undivided attention. Of the meaning behind the track, Claire-Ann expands:

“It weighs heavy on me sometimes when I see that I am being treated differently to my band mates. Is it because they have willies and I don’t? Or do I allow myself to be spoken to in a way that they would never accept? The one thing I am so grateful for is that my band mates see it too and they always have my back when they see it happening. I never really confront it but you can be sure I’m gonna write a song about it and that’s why ‘Married with Bruises’ is so special to me. It was my place to vent when I felt I was being treated differently or unfairly or being spoken to in a creepy way just because I am a woman.” 

Cinematic bass expands the universe of ‘Married With Bruises’ as the track’s bridge becomes a cathartic outro, ultimately spiralling into a thunderous soundscape filled with haunting nuances reminiscent of Angel Olson. Captured with such grace and vulnerability, it offers a captivating insight that is both singer-songwriter genuine and art-pop captivating.

Watch the stirring new video for ‘Married With Bruises’ here:

Smalltalk and DMCS, the latest album from Varley, is out now.

Jillian Goyeau
@jillybxxn

Video Premiere: Varley – ‘Proof’

Formed on the way home after a night of bowling, Berlin-based Varley have amassed more than 1.6 million plays, with their debut single ‘Roamer’ peaking at #23 in the Spotify Viral Charts. Following the equally captivating ‘Lonely Were The Days’, and having enchanted us with their live performance at one of our Notting Hill Arts Club showcases, the trio have now returned with a sparkling new offering.

‘Proof’ flows with chiming waves of synth and bright, infectious beats, providing a sweeping backdrop to Claire-Ann Varley’s luscious rich vocals, with shades of Aussie songwriter Julia Stone. A truly dreamy slice of ethereal indie-pop, it oozes a twinkling uplifting splendour that’ll stick in your ears on first listen.

Of the track, Claire-Ann explains:

“‘Proof’ was written just as Summer 2018 was coming to an end and tells the story of two people, who both know that whatever they have together is coming to an end but they are not quite ready to let it go. It follows them on their last adventure, their last road trip and their last few minutes together. It’s actually a positive song because even though they aren’t going to be together anymore, they still care about each other and want their last moments to count.

Filmed while the band were on a trip to New York, watch the nostalgia-tinged new video for ‘Proof’, for the first time, here:

‘Proof’ is out now via Seahorse Music. Listen on Spotify. Catch Varley live at the following dates:

23rd May – Auster Club, Berlin
24th May – Freundlich + Kompetent, Hamburg

Mari Lane
@marimindles

LISTEN: Varley – ‘Phantom Studies’

An understated, captivating listen: Berlin-based trio Varley have shared their new single ‘Phantom Studies’ released via Seahorse Music. It’s an introspective, atmospheric alt-folk gem that explores the breakdown of communication in a relationship.

Formed of vocalist Claire-Ann Varley and multi-instrumentalists Matthias Heising and Joschka Bender, Varley won us over with their stripped back live set at our at Notting Hill Arts Club gig last year. On their new single, the trio continue to give us goosebumps by delivering pitch perfect vocals over a hypnotic, dreamy soundscape.

Speaking about ‘Phantom Studies’, Claire-Ann explains: “Was it real? Did it actually exist and if so, did it exist in the way it appeared to me? ‘Phantom studies’ looks at the dynamic between two people who, although have the same daily routine, see things in a completely different way. It shows how memories can be warped and changed over time and how one person’s reality is not the same as another’s. It shows the breakdown in a relationship and communication and how sometimes even when we communicate our feelings they are not taken seriously”

If you’re a fan of Bon Iver, London Grammar or Daughter; then Varley’s music is definitely worth investing in. Listen to ‘Phantom Studies’ below and follow Varley on Facebook for more updates.

Kate Crudgington
@KCBobCut

Get In Her Ears Live @ Notting Hill Arts Club w/ Alyss 01.12.18

Get In Her Ears returned to West London’s Notting Hill Arts Club on Saturday night to host another successful night full of alternative electronic music. For our second gig at the venue, we chose Alyss to headline; with support coming from the brilliant Elsa Hewitt, Temples of Youth and Varley.

First up were Berlin-based trio Varley, who played a beautiful stripped back set to an appreciative, respectfully quiet crowd. Vocalist Claire-Ann Varley’s gentle, clear voice was perfectly accompanied by the acoustic & electric guitar sounds of bandmates Matthias Heising & Joschka Bender. When she cautiously asked for a little audience participation during one particular song, she was rewarded with attempts to mimic her soft voice, and the trio left the stage to well deserved and rapturous applause.

 

 

Up next were our favourites, electronic duo Temples Of Youth, who (as always) performed a stunning set. Jo & Paul’s blend of old and new songs – including ‘Darker Places’, the title track from their latest EP – captivated the crowd with their ambient guitar sounds and Jo’s standout vocals. We never tire of seeing these two live, and we were thrilled to have them on the bill with other talented electronic artists.

Penultimate act Elsa Hewitt was a one woman music machine. She played a hypnotising set, which included her latest single ‘Invisible Threads’. It’s always a pleasure to watch artists lose themselves within their own sound, and watching Elsa perform her intricate tuning and triggering, whilst simultaneously performing her soft vocals so seamlessly was a genuine pleasure to witness. We were so caught up in her soundscapes we lost track of time, and as we gently ushered her set to a close, electro-pop Queen Alyss took centre stage.

Clad in a shiny cape and black-rimmed hat, headline act Alyss dominated the stage with her powerful vocals and uncompromising attitude. Performing as a one woman band, she had the room packed full of fans who were dancing along to her pop hooks and bouncing beats.

Huge thanks to the bands and to Notting Hill Arts Club, and extended thanks to all those who donated their spare change on the door to National AIDS Trust on #WorldAIDSday – we appreciate your generosity!

Keep your eyes peeled for more gig announcements from us soon.

Photo Credit: Jon Mo Photography