ALBUM: Helen Love – ‘This Is My World’

After spending thirty years hidden behind a pair of shades, Welsh indie-pop legends Helen Love have released their most personal album to date. The band’s tenth LP, This Is My World is a reflective, intimate record that explores ageing, loss and front-person Helen Love’s childhood – a departure from their typically joyous odes to punkers and disco dollies.

Full disclosure: I’ve been obsessed with Helen Love for over half my life, so it feels pretty revelatory to hear such personal lyrics. ‘Seaside Town’ is a wistful take on life in a small town, while ‘Clearing Out Mum’s House’ deals with grief and the memories wrapped up in a place. 

This isn’t just Helen Love’s most open album, but it’s their most accessible too. The dizzying, “happy hardcore” beats they’re known for are turned down in favour of a punkier, more melodic and guitar-led sound. Songs like ‘Go-Kart’ are simple and stripped right down, so you can really focus on the vocal and lyrics. That said, the band prove they can still get the party started with the closing title track ‘This Is My World’ – a Pet Shop Boys-esque banger that really shines, combining an infectious ’80s-inspired groove with a poignant, introspective lyricism.

As Helen explains, “Getting older, life changes. Children grow up and leave home, loved ones pass away, friends move on. It’s easier to look back and harder to push forward…it’s not all bubblegum punk rock disco around my house anymore, but in truth, of course, it never was…

By inviting the listener into their world with this punk-driven, powerful record, Helen Love are at their most relevant and relatable here. A fitting album for the post-lockdown era, it’s reassuring to know that even Ms Love’s life isn’t all Casio keyboards and confetti canons.

This Is My World, the upcoming album from Helen Love, is set for release on 28th January via Alcopop! Records.

Vic Conway

LISTEN: Stereo Club – ‘Parma Violet Gin’

Having only formed earlier this year, Cardiff-based trio Stereo Club have now charmed our ears with their brand new debut single.

Propelled by the silky, crystalline vocals of Ines Duartes, ‘Parma Violet Gin’ oozes a dreamy sunny haze as lilting indie-folk melodies flow with a sparkling, heartfelt energy. With a blissful, shimmering grace, it’ll uplift the spirits and leave you longing for woozy summer evenings on the beach. Of the track, the band explain:

“… it’s based around a group of kids fantasising about achieving their dreams. The song takes the listener on a journey with the characters; from growing up in the suburbs of their hometown, to performing on the world’s biggest stages and drinking colourful cocktails.” 

Produced by Jim Lowe (Stereophonics, The Charlatans, Nick Cave), ‘Parma Violet Gin’ is available to listen to now:

Mari Lane

Introducing Interview: The Bug Club

Following support from the likes of BBC 6 Music’s Marc Riley for debut single ‘We Don’t Need Room For Lovin’, Welsh trio The Bug Club have now shared recent single ‘Check Mate’ ahead of the release of their debut EP Launching Moondream One later this month.

Delivering their uniquely uplifting, frenetic brand of garage rock, The Bug Club provide the perfect soundtrack to these increasingly sun-filled days. Propelled by a vibrant, driving energy, ‘Check Mate’ oozes a playful sense of euphoria as gloriously scuzzy hooks race alongside blissful harmonies.

We caught up with bassist and vocalist Tilly to find out more…

Hi The Bug Club, welcome to Get In Her Ears! Can you tell us a bit about yourselves?
Hi, thanks for having us! We’re a three piece based in Caldicot, South Wales. Dan is actually from Kidderminster but the rest of the band is based in Caldicot so we just say that. I (Tilly) play bass and vocals, Sam plays guitar and vocals and Dan plays drums. My favourite colours are orange and green, Sam likes orange too and Dan likes yellow and blue. Our special skills are: I’m good at losing things, Sam’s good at guessing the time and Dans good at getting his car stuck in the mud. 

How did you initially decide to start creating music together?
Me and Sam weren’t enjoying Uni so we decided to pack it in and start a band. we have been playing on and off since school but our shit time at Uni really gave us a kick up the arse to start doing something we actually wanted to do. Sam and Dan attended the same Uni so that’s how we drafted him in.

You’re about to release your debut EP Launching Moondream One at the end of this month – are there any particular themes running throughout it? 
We decided to name the EP after the last song on it. Ben’s (Mr Ben and The Bens) art is really cool so we thought it would be good to give him free rein and let him do whatever came to mind when he heard the words Launching Moondream One. I guess the theme stemmed from there and became quite spacey. 

We love your jangly, uplifting garage-rock sounds, but who would you say are your main musical influences?
Ideal band/musical scenario at the moment is Patti Smith and Jonathan Richman on lead vocals, Peter Paul and Mary on backing vocals, Mike Bloomfield on lead guitar, rhythm section from the Violent Femmes and they only ever play ‘It’s Only Life’ by The Feelies.

You’re from a small town in Wales – in ‘normal’ times, how is the music scene down there? Do you get the chance to see much live music? 
There’s a bunch of good bands but it’s too small for any venues so we all just go to Newport, Cardiff and Bristol. We’re sandwiched between all those places so we get to see a load of bands when we’re not skint.

How have you been connecting with your audience and other musicians during the pandemic?
We’ve been laying pretty low and luckily managed to record between lockdowns to get this EP done. The connecting will hopefully start happening now the world is feeling better. Marc Riley has been really great to us though and has showed some strangers our songs which we are eternally grateful for!

And has there been anything/anyone specific that has been inspiring you, or helping to motivate you, throughout these strange times? 
We have quite enjoyed being able to write a bunch of stuff with no real reason or aim of doing anything with it. There is only so many times a walk to the old windmill stays fun though so.. Beans on Toast, the hit live Saturday morning TV show is our new favourite thing. It’s made by a bunch of the people involved with Bingo Records and has no business being that good and funny. Go find it on YouTube!! 

How do you feel the music industry is for new bands at the moment – would you say it’s difficult to get noticed?
I like to think that if you try and make stuff that you think is good, be nice and when you’re ready try and reach out to people that you would genuinely like to work with, then things will probably work out alright. If you want to get noticed that is. I think being in a band feels mostly the same at whatever level you’re doing it at. You’re playing the same songs with the same people so don’t put too much time into the other bit. But who the heck am I!?

As we’re a new music focused site, are there any other upcoming bands that you’d recommend we check out?
There’s so many we love at the moment I can’t think on one we wouldn’t recommend! Also with the lack of gigs lately I’d happily watch any person make any noise for about £6 at the moment. Melin Melyn, HMS Morris, Potpourri, Twin Stranger and Sub Cultures will all blow your dick off though. 

Finally, what does the rest of 2021 have in store for The Bug Club? 
Well we’re hoping to retire off the earnings from this small EP and live expensively in Devon perhaps. But Plan B is to release another something later in the year and play live as much as possible until then! Our biggest dream is to go to Margate and play a big gig with everyone at Bingo Records, that would be heaven. We can only dream.

Massive thanks to Tilly for answering our questions!

Mastered by Eddie Al-Shakarchi, Launching Moondream One, the upcoming debut EP from The Bug Club, is out 30th April via Bingo Records. It will be released on a 7” orange vinyl and comes with the added extras of a comic book, a packet of ‘moon dust’ and secret bonus downloads that differ with each copy.

STILL SPINNING: The Joy Formidable – ‘The Big Roar’

Our Still Spinning feature focuses on records that we consider to be iconic – whether that’s for popular, or personal reasons – and celebrates our enduring love for them. Get In Her Ears Co-Founder & Features Editor Kate Crudgington talks us through why Welsh alternative trio The Joy Formidable’s debut album, The Big Roar, released in January 2011, is still one of her most influential listens today.


At the tender age of nineteen, I discovered The Joy Formidable through a crush I was trying to impress. Naturally, that crush faded over time, but my sheltered ears had been introduced to a new world of music outside of the charts. It’s that priceless personal affiliation with the songs on The Joy Formidable’s debut album The Big Roar that’s kept me listening to the record for the last decade.

Formed of Ritzy Bryan, Rhydian Dafydd & Matt Thomas, The Joy Formidable dropped The Big Roar in January 2011, two years after their debut EP A Balloon Called Moaning, and twenty year old me fell head over heels in love with it. I bought the limited edition boxset which included the album, a pin badge, a CD of live recordings and a piece of Ritzy’s smashed guitar. I worked part-time in retail earning minimum wage back then, so it took a hefty chunk out of my pay-check, but I felt like I’d struck gold.

The record was littered with singles I already knew – ‘Whirring’, ‘Austere’, ‘Cradle’ & ‘The Greatest Light Is The Greatest Shade’ – so listening for the first time flooded me with familiar excitement. As the title suggests, The Big Roar rips and roars with vital, visceral urgency, plunging listeners into overwhelming waves of sound before allowing them to resurface and breathe again. At the time, I thought it was a bold move to open an album with a 40 second cacophony of indiscernible clacking noises, but it laid the foundation for the spiralling opener ‘The Everchanging Spectrum Of A Lie,’ which rushes the ears with swelling riffs and urgent vocals. This track, along with ‘I Don’t Want To See You Like This’ brim with cathartic guitar wails and commanding beats, encouraging listeners to be “courage’s child” and break away from the past.

I remembered the stomping rhythms of ‘Cradle’, Austere’, ‘The Magnifying Glass’, ‘Chapter 2’ and ‘A Heavy Abacus’ because I’d heard the band play them live. After seeing The Joy Formidable headline The Garage in Islington in 2009, I remember leaving the venue with the overwhelming feeling that I’d seen something that was going to change my life. I know that sounds dramatic, but watching Ritzy Bryan shredding her guitar, singing lead vocals and thrashing her white-blonde hair around the stage with her bandmates galvanized my idea of what a guitar band should be, and quite frankly, who I wanted to be – I wanted to be just like her.

When I used to frequent the dancefloor at The Pink Toothbrush on a Saturday night – one of the only alternative clubs in my home county of Essex – DJ Darren B would play ‘Whirring’ in its entirety so my friends and I could thrash about to it. The thudding drum beats and punchy lyrics kept me stomping on those floorboards for hours. Even now, I can remember pushing open the double doors to enter the club, hearing a Joy Formidable song playing and feeling like I’d truly arrived at a place of happiness. Maybe I’m just overly sentimental, but the trio provided the soundtrack to so many of my clearest memories.

My ribs still remember the thrill of being hit by the ear-swelling sounds of ‘Buoy’ when I heard it live for the first time at Kentish Town Forum. From the subtle allure of Ritzy’s opening guitar riffs, to Rhydian’s dense buzzing bass lines, it’s an all-consuming aural blur. I love the way they spit the last lines “And you should have talked / and you should talk too / ’cause in twenty years / you’ll be a fucking mute” – their urgency complimented by dizzying riffs and Matt’s relentless percussion. Bassist Rhydian takes the vocal lead on ‘Llaw=Wall’, which like ‘Buoy’ has a colossal drop in.

The opening track on A Balloon Called Moaning, but the closing one for The Big Roar, ‘The Greatest Light Is The Greatest Shade’ still sounds as shadowy and hypnotic today to me now as it did back in 2009. It’s a song that I’ve turned to at so many different points in my life, that my heart overflows with nostalgia when I hear it.

After penning such a passionate essay about The Big Roar, it might surprise you to know that I didn’t review the album when it was first released. When I looked up some reviews by respected music publications, one labelled it a “brit-pop” revival record, but I don’t think that’s the best comparison to make. The most important thing is, The Joy Formidable just sound really fucking good on this album.

Listen to The Big Roar on bandcamp or Spotify.

Kate Crudgington