Track Of The Day: Jemma Freeman and the Cosmic Something – ‘Helen is A Reptile’

Having captivated us with the kaleidoscopic sounds of their last EP Someone Else To Blame, as well as completely blowing us away on numerous occasions with their immense live show, Jemma Freeman and the Cosmic Something have now shared a magnificent new single.

Drawing on the subjects of OCD and suicidal ideation, ‘Helen Is A Reptile’ describes a human lizard hybrid realisation of dark thoughts that can creep through victims’ minds and taunt them when they’re most vulnerable. Written after Jemma had been experiencing days of insomnia, the track is propelled by a primal, whirring energy as immense swirling hooks accompany their raw, impassioned vocals.

A soaring slice of sparkling psych-rock with shades of ‘70s glam, ‘Helen Is A Reptile’ oozes all of Freeman’s trademark hypnotic majesty, creating an other-worldly sonic delight, whilst drawing attention to the extremely pressing issue of mental health.

Featuring Wendy Rae Fowler and Martina Ziewe, and directed by Black Triangle, you can watch the new video for ‘Helen Is A Reptile’ here:

Buy ‘Helen Is A Reptile’ for what you can afford on Bandcamp now. And catch Jemma Freeman and the Cosmic Something live for the single launch, along with GIHE faves Scrounge and Eyesore and The Jinx, tomorrow 2nd May at The Windmill Brixton.

And, not only is ‘Helen Is A Reptile’ a treat for the ears, but it’s accompanied by an utterly unique, handmade lathe cut vinyl. There are only 55 copies of the vinyl and each one has been individually hand cut by 345 vinyl in Brighton. The covers are all unique and each have a piece of lino flooring from the video set attached. On the other side, there is a unique lino print designed and printed by Jem and numbered by hand in their South London home. They will be available only at the launch party and 10 will be held back for a special silent auction online, the winners to be announced on Friday 3rd May, all proceeds will go to charity Music Support UK – a charity supporting those in any area of the UK music industry suffering from addiction, emotional and mental health issues. All details of how to get involved in the auction below:

  • There are ten 7” singles available to buy online via this blind auction.
  • The ten largest bids submitted to the auction will be the winners.
  • You can only bid once in this auction, but if you’re interested in buying multiple copies please  also say how many you’d like to buy at the price you bid. If your bid ends up in the top 10 we’ll try to accommodate your request for multiple copies, subject to availability.
  • Auction begins at midnight on 2nd May and ends at 23:59 (UK time) the same day. Bids received outside of these times will not be entered into the auction.
  • Send your bid to us in a private message via the JF&TCS Facebook page. All bids received via other means (public comments on fb posts, email, other social media, carrier pigeon) will not be entered into the auction.
  • Bids must be placed in £GBP.
  • JF&TCS will keep the retail price of the single to cover manufacturing costs (£10), plus P&P expenses from each winning bid. The rest of the money bid will be donated to Music Support UK. 
  • All bids placed are binding commitments to pay the price bid for one copy of the 7” single. Please don’t bid more than you’re prepared to pay.
  • Winners will be notified as soon as possible via email after the auction ends. We’ll also send you a PayPal invoice for the amount bid so you can pay for your 7”.
  • The names of the winners will be published by JF&TCS in a FB post as soon as possible after the auction ends, once sales have been finalised (unless you prefer to remain anonymous – please let us know if so). 

Mari Lane
@marimindles

Live Highlights of 2018

Despite being a pretty scary year in the grand scheme of things, 2018 has actually been exceptionally great for new music. And seeing live music has, as ever, provided a necessary catharsis and enjoyment; forever giving us something to look forward to. 

Having witnessed an uncountable amount of women/non binary folk being awesome on stage this year, it was hard to pick out our highlights … But, from some of our DIY faves, to Fever Ray and Courtney Barnett (and – yes – Indietracks Festival features twice, it’s that great), here are a few events that stood out as particularly special for us… 

Witch Fever Live @ The Finsbury, January:
2018 has been of year of many incredible gigs, not least our own gigs that we’ve been lucky enough to host at The Finsbury. And, whilst I have a massive amount of love and pride in all the gigs we’ve hosted, the year kicked off with a pretty immense one. Manchester’s Witch Fever, who made two six hour coach journeys to be with us, treated us to their frenzied, raucous offerings with an incredible, un-matched power. As front woman Amy’s incredible, snarling energy stole the show, we were all left completely in awe of this band’s formidable intensity. And they weren’t the only amazing band of the night; joining them was the empowering force of The Nyx, the grunge-fuelled energy of ARXX and the gorgeous pop-punk of Militant Girlfriend.
(Mari Lane – Managing Editor/Co-Founder)

Fever Ray @ The Troxy, March:
Fever Ray’s fierce, focused, sold out performance at the Troxy proved she’s an inimitable talent with a vision, generosity, and energy unlike any other. In Fever Ray’s space, no-one is an outsider: everyone is welcome in her warped and wonderful world. Emerging from the lights in her trademark “I heart Swedish girls” t-shirt and bare scalp, from start to finish the sound was flawless. Each lyric, synth sequence and drum beat was more distinct and discernible than the next – if you weren’t there, you definitely missed out.
(Kate Crudgington – Features Editor/Co-Founder)

Petrol Girls @ Shacklewell Arms, April:
Mari and I were so excited to see the brilliant Petrol Girls live for the first time this year, and they did not disappoint. Loud, lethal and life-affirming: their headline show was a raw, frenzied, furious affair. The band packed out the venue with the help of their friends Pretty Pistol and Screaming Toenail (our new favourite band), and played our favourite track ‘Touch Me Again’ with all the ferocity and energy we’d come to expect from this brilliant band of activists.
(Kate Crudgington)

Indian Queens @  Robert Smith’s Meltdown Festival, June:
Hackney trio Indian Queens performed to a packed out Purcell Room at The Southbank Centre this year, after being hand-picked by The Cure’s Robert Smith to play his (exceptionally well curated) 2018 Meltdown Festival. The band delivered a mesmeric, sharply executed performance that ended in a well deserved standing ovation. I felt like I’d witnessed something truly special from the Cool Thing Record signees when I left the building, and I look forward to catching them again in 2019.
(Kate Crudgington)

Indietracks Festival (and its sense of community), July:
There is the smell of long past years in the carriage as the rails clackity-clack below you, the signalman waves from the box as you pass, and behind the sidings crammed with moss-windowed rolling stock the natural amphitheatre of the main stage hoves into view.

Indietracks is hidden away but for those in the know its not just the boutique festival quietly winning at line-ups, its home. Not only welcoming and familiar, but full of friendship and love. The diversity of the billing, the cute touches and culture-clash between trains and music will delight newcomers but the community sustained between years – by the festival and railway volunteers, each band, every festival-goer – is something to be really astounded by. At a time when togetherness feels more elusive, but is ever more vital, Indietracks should be both celebrated and cherished for the community its nurtured and welcomes home each summer.
(Sarah Lay – Contributor)

Indietracks Festival (and the diversity of its line-up), July:
With our ongoing disappointment at the lack of diversity on the majority of mainstream festival line-ups this year, I was particularly excited to discover Indietracks – one that refreshingly, consistently, champions DIY bands and artists of all genders and genres. And, I wasn’t to be disappointed; the weekend – set in the idyllic Midland Railway Centre near Ripley in Derbyshire – exceeded all expectations.

Ask me about any of my favourite bands of 2018, and they were probably playing at Indietracks Festival. From an array of glorious indie-pop (Wolf Girl, Colour Me Wednesday, Happy Accidents, Worst Place), Feminist punk (Dream Nails, The Baby Seals, Dream Wife) and all the scuzzy, dreamy sounds in-between (Ghum, Sink Ya Teeth, Sacred Paws, Girl Ray), every single band I saw filled me with an empowering sense of joy and blissful gratitude. And I think all those I saw consisted of female identifying/non binary artists.

So, whilst it still seems to be unusual to attend bigger festivals these days and not encounter ingrained misogyny or disrespect of some kind, Indietracks felt like a different world; a safe, joy-filled world, and one jam-packed with all the best music (plus owls and parrots!).
(Mari Lane)

Qween Kwong @ Rough Trade East, July:
I remember this gig for several reasons. Firstly, because I arrived soaked in sweat and rain from the downpour that briefly broke the overwhelming summer heatwave, and secondly because I was lucky enough to interview Queen Kwong before her set. She was just as cool (and as cutting) as I’d imagined her to be, and her live performance was a visceral, loud, defiant example of her songwriting talent.
(Kate Crudgington)

Wendy Rae Fowler @ The Finsbury, September:
I won’t lie; prior to Wendy Rae Fowler headlining for us at The Finsbury this September I was overwhelmingly excited and a little nervous. I’ve been a huge fan of her work over the years, and to have her play for us stands out for me as a particularly special moment (or 45 minutes) of 2018. Immediately creating a captivating, cinematic atmosphere, she filled the room with a majestic sense of wonder, delivering a soul-grabbing, breath-taking set that I’m truly honoured to have hosted.
(Mari Lane)

Courtney Barnett Live In Berlin, November:
Touring her second album, Tell Me How You Really Feel, Courtney Barnett was a sight to behold this year: quite literally. I looked on with envy when the Deal sisters provided backing vocals for ‘Nameless, Faceless’ at the BBC’s Biggest Weekend Festival. But, fortunately, a trip to Berlin also included seeing Courtney live at the city’s Huxleys Neue Welt venue. Seeing the songs played on a larger scale, contrasting with the more laidback atmosphere of songs taken from her debut and early EPs highlighted Barnett’s brilliance and renewed my appreciation of her songwriting.
(John McGovern – Contributor)

 

 

 

Get In Her Ears Live @ The Finsbury w/ Wendy Rae Fowler, 14.09.18

Following a host of super amazing bands playing for us recently – including LIINES, Witch Fever, The Magnettes, H.Grimace, The Menstrual Cramps and Thunder On The Left  – we were back at The Finsbury on Friday for another jam-packed night of the best new music.

Kicking things off, the absolutely stunning Caswell returns to play for us – full band in tow – after captivating us all last year. As her silky smooth, luscious vocals soar alongside deep pulsating beats and twinkling soundscapes, she charms the crowd with the uplifting, sparkling splendour of her catchy creations.

Next up, utterly immense duo Belle Scar take to the stage. Delivering her sweeping, majestic offerings, Geeta casts her spell over us all an instant. As the intense power of her spectacular vocals ooze a beguiling grandeur alongside innovative, mind blowing hooks, she shimmers and shines with a unique grace.

Penultimate band of the night, the many members of After London, treat the jam-packed venue to their anthemic alt-rock with an infectious, uninhibited energy. As front woman Francesca’s gritty, soulful vocals cascade over swirling riffs, the band draw us all into their high-octane creations, cementing themselves as definite ones to watch.

Finally, Wendy Rae Fowler and her band (including GIHE fave Jemma Freeman) take to the stage, immediately capturing our attention with a completely immersive presence and innovative soundscape. As Fowler’s deep, resonant vocals soar with a spellbinding power, whirring hooks and tribal beats create a captivating, cinematic atmosphere, filling the room with a sense of wonder; a soul-grabbing, breath-taking set that I’m truly honoured to have hosted.

Massive thanks to all the artist who played for us on Friday – it really was an amazing night of live music, and we’re so grateful to have you all play for us!

Catch us next month at The Finsbury for our Blogtober event on 12th October with Peach Club! It will also be our website’s first birthday, so make sure you come and join in the celebrations!

Words: Mari Lane / @marimindles
Photos: Jon Mo / @jonmophoto

 

PLAYLIST: April 2018

Another month, another brand new playlist brimming with fresh music! We’ve been (gladly) overwhelmed by the amount of brilliant new sounds bursting in to our ears this April, and we wanted to share our favourites with you here. Whether you’re in to the idustrial/electronic beats of Zola Jesus, the anti-fascist punk glory of Dream Nails, or if you’re breaking in to “mumble rap” with Tierra Whack…there’s something here for your listening pleasure. Scroll down to the playlist below & enjoy! 

 

Zola Jesus – ‘Bound’ 
Artist & Producer Zola Jesus has shared an eclectic set of new tracks & remixes on Okovi: Additions, and ‘Bound’ is one of many sonic treats on this project. This release follows her 2017 critically acclaimed album Okovi (via Sacred Bones Records), and features remixes by a diverse cast of artists including; Johnny Jewel, Katie Gately, Wolves in the Throne Room, and Joanne Pollock. I’ve had this track on repeat since I first heard it in March, and I’m happy to stay ‘Bound’ by Zola Jesus’ sounds. Read our review of the album here(Kate Crudgington)

Wendy Rae Fowler – ‘Svengali’ 
Having previously worked alongside the likes of Queens Of The Stone Age, Mark Lanegan and UNKLE, American artist Wendy Rae Fowler has now released her new solo album, Warped. Taken from the album is the utterly bewitching ‘Svengali’. Filled with sweeping layers of sound and the cinematic grace of Wendy’s vocals, it’s a truly captivating creation. Read our review of Warped here(Mari Lane)

Rhye – ‘Please’
I was lucky enough to get tickets to see Rhye perform in London this week, back in our ears after a four year hiatus.  What a treat. When they played this track I felt like I was melting into Heaven’s floor (apt), so incredibly gentle, sensual and intimate. I can never get enough of the gender-fluid vocals of Mike Milosh, now more so than ever. (Tash Walker)

Girls Names – ’25’
Taken from their upcoming new album, Belfast’s Girls Names’ new single ’25’ is a brooding, shoegaze-reminiscent sonic delight. Filled with sweeping, reverb strewn layers of synth-heavy sound and the dark, swooning vocals of Cathal Cully, it oozes a twinkling, ethereal haze alongside eerie undertones. An intensely captivating offering, it’ll have you hooked on first listen, and desperate to hear the album in full. Stains On Silence, the new album, is out 15th June. (ML)

Henry Green – ‘Another Light’ 
I recently reviewed Henry Green’s debut album Shift, and I felt like every track was a helpful reminder to inhale, exhale, and try to exist in the moment. His gentle electronics and intuitive lyrics have helped me to slow down (whilst still moving at full speed) this month, and I’d recommend him to anyone that needs a ‘Shift’ in perspective. (KC)

Black Gold Buffalo – ‘Magnets’
Keziah Stillwell’s vocals blaze in full glory on the mesmerising ‘Magnets’, which is a swirling fusion of bass, guitar & electronics that prove Black Gold Buffalo have a knack for writing atmospheric dark-pop songs. Their debut album is released today via their own label Buff Rekkids, and we’ve been swooning over it ever since. Read our review here(KC)

Lamb – ‘Gabriel’
I was recently reminded of Lamb after we put together our alternative Best of British playlist this week. Gabriel is a solid blast from my past taken from their album What Sound released back in 2001, which was my soundtrack of that summer.  Listening to Rhodes’ distinctive and emotive vocals wavering over the top of a medley of string samples and gentle beats, this song marks the beginning of my love for electronic music. 15 going on 16 and very sexually confused. All the feelings, all the emotions and all the hormones in the world. (TW)

Maria Kelly – ‘Small Talk’
Filled with smooth, celestial vocals and folk-tinged melodies, Irish artist Maria Kelly’s ‘Small Talk’ is a majestic, emotion-strewn offering. Written during a storm blackout in her hometown, the song parallels the nature of a storm with her own feelings of social anxiety. Double A-side ‘Small Talk’/’Dark Places’ is out 27th April via Veta Records. (ML)

Fenne Lily – ‘On Hold’
Since I saw her live at The Islington pub a few months ago, Fenne Lily’s sad but sublime music has played on my mind (as has her sharp wit and dry sense of humour). ‘On Hold’ is the title-track from her debut album (released today), and it makes my spirits sink and soar whenever I listen to it. The accompanying video is a charming ode to small acts of kindness too. (KC)

Courtney Barnett – ‘Never Tear Us Apart (Rehearsal Room Recording)’
A beautiful stripped back cover of INXS’ ‘Never Tear Us Apart’ by Courtney Barnett. I love this simple recording of her performance, finding myself completely entranced by our Aussie fav. This song was released for an Apple commercial in support of marriage equality – here here. (TW)

Sit Down – ‘Honeysucker’
Oh. My. Word. There’s no force on earth that could make you sit still or indeed Sit Down to the sound of this Brighton duo (pictured above). The pair released their knockout debut EP Cheap Luxe at the end of March, and ‘Honeysucker’ is my go-to track. Filthy, furious, and sweet as hell. Read the full review here(KC)

Queen Zee – ‘Victim Age’
It was Transgender Day of Visibility on 31st of March (thanks to Tash for informing me), so it feels apt to support Queen Zee and all that she and her band mates stand for. They’ve been taking down trolls and tearing up stages across the country with their live shows, and I can’t wait to see them again at their sold out Sebright Arms show on April 26th. Long live Queen Zee! (KC)

Dream Nails – ‘Vagina Police’
“Your body is not your own, you are public property…” Dream Nails front-woman Janey rages in the refrain of our favourite Feminist Punk Witches’ ‘Vagina Police’. Oozing the poignant message that women are not allowed to have control over their own bodies, it races with the band’s trademark punk-fuelled energy and the riotous power of Janey’s seething, impassioned vocals. Another formidable offering that proves once again why we need Dream Nails in our lives, and makes us even more excited to see them live at The Finsbury for GIHE on 13th April! (ML)

Tierra Whack – ‘Mumbo Jumbo’
A twisted reflection of mumble rap and hip-hop, I cannot get this song out of my head and I especially love the ambiguity around what she’s saying, making it so much easier for me to join in.  Quietly. Mumbo Jumbo came out last year but I was recently introduced to her in the wake of her outstanding performance at SXSW. Soooo godamnnnn gooood. Need I say more? (TW)

BARQ – ‘Sassy Mouth’ 
One half of their new double A-side, Dublin band BARQ’s ‘Sassy Mouth’ is inspired by the courage and resilience of Ireland’s Repeal The 8th movement and the perils of online debate. Oozing the soaring power of front-woman Jess Kav’s soulful vocals alongside immense funk-fuelled beats, it’s a powerful, and empowering, call to arms. (ML)

ALBUM: Wendy Rae Fowler – ‘Warped’

For most of us, a musical life spent mixing with the great and good of US alt.rock and British trip-hop might be sufficient. But following a twenty year career of collaborations with Queens Of The Stone Age, Mark Lanegan and UNKLE, Wendy Rae Fowler now brings us her debut solo album: Warped. Now based in the UK, and collaborating with London’s finest (including GIHE fave Jemma Freeman), Fowler has tied together the strands of alternative, experimental rock, from both sides of the Atlantic – and her album has both the cinematic feel of US desert/post-rock and the gloomy clouds of its British cousin.

Opener ‘Hollow’ is an infusion of post-punk and post-rock, with its throbbing electronic motif, aching guitar and vocal distortion in the style of Fever Ray. It’s a style that appears later, on first single ‘Svengali’, although with a darker, fairytale opener, and a move into a trip-hop feel at its close.

 

‘Volcanic’ takes things in a more ethereal direction, still carrying the sense of Bjorkian electronic interference in its spacey heft. Elsewhere, there’s the legacy of other female performers – the goth folk of PJ Harvey’s Is This Desire? and To Bring You My Love on ‘Lying in the Sun’ and ‘Red Dust’; Nina Simone on the cover of ‘Plain Gold Ring’.  

The latter encompasses an element of psych’s dark blues with its multi-percussion particularly reminiscent of GOAT. Second single ‘Run’ and ‘This is Not a Love Song’ take the listener to a twisted version of the old Wild West, with smatterings of twanging guitars and Rawhide cowboy backing vocalists.

Finally, the album concludes with the glistening shine of ‘Hollow Ground’ – a brooding epic instrumental whose electric lights twinkle through a bassy city smog, conjuring a tumble-twist in the mind’s eye of landscapes, both urban and natural. It’s a fitting conclusion to an album of light and shade, of space and density.

A powerful and moreish cocktail of cinematic sounds and bewitching vocals, Warped is a kind of neo-noir soundtrack to a movie that should, but doesn’t yet, exist. Rae Fowler’s sense of narrative is as strong as her musical nous, and her debut is a brilliant continuation of an already storied career.

Warped is out 30th March.

John McGovern
@etinsuburbiaego