Now Playing: RALPH – 'Last Time'

Wednesday, October 16, 2019
Photo by Mariah Hamilton

Our favourite Canadian pop-queen RALPH always comes through with something special and she's done it again with her latest single 'Last Time'. Her catchy new track is a preview of her upcoming EP, Fantasies & Flashbacks, which is due to be released on November 13th. 

RALPH's open and honest single explains getting back together with an ex, even if it's just for one last time — usually inspired by some good ol' liquid courage. On the track, she said:

"We all know break ups are brutal. You miss your ex like crazy and spend so much time and energy trying to get over them, regardless of who broke up with whom. But when you inevitably see them at a bar or at a party, you’re suspended in this dreamy moment where the only thing that matters is touching them again and reliving those familiar moments of tenderness and passion. ‘Last Time’ is about ignoring that inner voice saying “don’t do it” because even though you know giving in will make everything more complicated, the temptation is too sweet."

Listen to 'Last Time' by RALPH below.

Written by Amy Smolcic (@amysmolcic)

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Now Watching: Girl Ray – 'Girl'

Photo by Laura McCluskey

There's so much to love about London-based trio Girl Ray and once again, they've delivered with their track 'Girl'. If you love Girl Ray as much as we do, they're currently working towards their new album Girl, which will be released via Moshi Moshi on November 8th. If their latest cut 'Girl' is anything to go by, the album is set to be an absolute treat. 

Directed by Crusoe Weston, the video for 'Girl' sees Girl Ray escape on a blissful and adventurous road trip ⁠— if you're feeling drained out by the week, the video will leave you inspired to jump in the car and go on an adventure this weekend. Overflowing with summertime vibes, the gorgeous tune captures feelings of love, infatuation, complicated romances and everything in-between. If you're looking for a song to make you feel warm and fuzzy inside, you've found it with 'Girl'.

Watch the video for 'Girl' by Girl Ray below.

Written by Amy Smolcic (@amysmolcic)

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Interview: beabadoobee Talks Growth and Her New EP Space Cadet

Tuesday, October 15, 2019
Photo by Jordan Curtis Hughes 

London-based artist beabadoobee continues to evolve as an artist and her third EP Space Cadet (released via Dirty Hit) showcases her growth as a songwriter and musician. The EP was expected to be released this Friday, but instead, she released it earlier overnight. She's as open as ever on her new release, with her words on the EP's five tracks appearing like pages straight out of her diary. Along with sharing Space Cadet, she's currently on the road with Clairo for her North America and Canada dates. A few weeks ago, we spoke with beabadoobee about pursuing music full-time, Space Cadet and the cathartic power of music.

You're currently on the road with Clairo, how has it all been going?

It's been really cool! Also really overwhelming because I just kind of finished school, but I'm getting more comfortable every single day, so that's a good thing.

I write these songs in my bedroom and the fact that I can share them with a lot of people helps me. It's really therapeutic for myself and hopefully it kind of makes people feel less alone as I can feel like shit too.

Do you have a favourite show that you've played so far on the American tour?

So far it has been Milwaukee. The crowd was super nice to me and Eliana, who plays bass, and we had a little cry beforehand. We were really emotional and really homesick. We played and it was probably one of my best shows because I guess we kind of felt the music a lot. We didn't really care about what everyone thought. We just sang and just played, it made us feel so much better, because we were really sad beforehand.

And probably Chicago too. We hung out with some Chicago peeps the day after and they were really cool and really nice and they showed us around the city.

Have you noticed a difference between crowds back home and in America?

Oh yeah, definitely! In London, the kids have some weird crackhead energy where they literally do not care if they get injured (laughs). When we tell them to mosh, moshing to them means flying across the venue to the right side to the left, literally just a riot. I think in America kids think moshing is jumping on the spot, which is cool too. But I guess Americans are way more chilled than London kids, London kids literally just do not care if they get injured at a show.

Since finishing school, music's now your full-time gig. How's it been?

It's been really cool. It's something that I really love doing, and now I get to do it full-time. It's pretty liberating to have this opportunity to get to do what I love every single day. It's just pretty sick. But it's also kind of overwhelming because I've just been thrown into it very quickly. I write a lot of songs in my bedroom, so to step outside that can be scary. This [the American tour] is one of the first things I've done since graduating and I've never been to America before. It's really hard to process, but I'm also super grateful for everything that's happening.

Was there a moment at school when you realised that you wanted to do music full-time?

I remember the specific moment where I kind of knew I didn't want to conform to education and shit like that. It was a meeting about universities and my dad was being hella serious about, "Oh, you need to know about universities you want to go to".

And then I was just like, "No, I want to do music and I'm going to do music. I'm going to write songs." All I did when I got home from school was write songs. During that time, I wasn't even signed yet, I was just doing music as a hobby and as a fun thing. I didn't take it seriously. But I was like, I kind of want to focus on it a bit more and probably not go to uni. That was when 'Coffee' was getting a bit of recognition and I was like, "I really want to make this a thing".

Honestly, though, I also really would love to become a nursery teacher, it's something I'm really passionate about.

You have your EP Space Cadet coming out soon, and though the first two EPs were incredible, this one really shows your growth as a songwriter. How do you think you've evolved as a songwriter and as an artist across the three EPs?

I think I've become so much more comfortable with the kind of sound I’m doing. I'm just becoming more comfortable with the songwriting process and the type of route I want to take my music. I've tried exploring every element of music that inspired me. For Patched Up, Simon and Garfunkel inspired me. Then I started liking Sonic Youth. Then for Space Cadet, It was very Pavement-inspired, also Dinosaur Jr, My Bloody Valentine, The Cranberries, and all my favourite bands all mushed into one. Also growing as a person helps me grow as a musician more.

You said online that you really loved your new music because it sounds like what you would listen to on your playlists. Is that important for you to constantly listen to music and be surrounded by sounds that you're inspired by?

Oh yeah, I've always wanted to make music that reminds me of the music I love, it's always been a big goal of mine, you know, to make a song that I would listen to myself. Like if I didn't know me and I found 'I Wish I Was Stephen Malkmus' on Spotify, I'd bang out that tune, (laughs) I'd put that on my playlist.

'I Wish I Was Stephen Malkmus' was named after the legend himself, what inspires you most about Pavement?

Just absolutely everything about Pavement. I love the way Stephen Malkmus plays the guitar, the way he sings, I am just so intrigued by Pavement. I kind of mimic it in the song, I guess it's deffo a very obvious tribute to Pavement.

Outside of music, what are some things you find yourself drawn to when trying to keep inspired?

I watch a lot of movies, like a shit ton of movies. I also love hanging out with my friends and just watching a lot of shows.

I grew up on every eighties film you could ever think of because my mom was obsessed with them.  St. Elmo's Fire, Some Kind of Wonderful, Pretty in Pink, and they're just some of my favourite movies. And I also love Tom Hanks, so pretty much every Tom Hanks film.

How would you say Space Cadet captures where you're at in life right now?

I think Space Cadet was written at a time where I started accepting myself and I was becoming much more sure about myself. I was calm and I stopped giving a shit about what people thought. It was during a period where I started not caring about what people were thinking and that's when I wrote most of the songs.

I can't really say that now because I guess I go through waves where I feel great and then feel crap. So Space Cadet, that was during a really good time in my life when I was like, "Yeah. Fuck everyone. Fuck what everyone's doing, because I'm just going to do this and then do that".

Just like the EPs that came before it, Space Cadet is very personal and reflective. Does it make you nervous being open and candid?

It can feel very strange. I'm quite open, and I've become used to expressing myself. I've had a lot of counsellors throughout life and I've become more comfortable talking about myself and being honest about how I feel, it's something that comes naturally with my songwriting.

You mention being honest and that's something you can really feel as a listener when hitting play on your music — how important is it for you, as both a person and an artist, to prioritise authenticity above anything else?

I never really think much of it, it's something I just do. When I write my music, it's coming from a vulnerable place and it feels like therapy. It's like giving myself some peace of mind. When I write a song, it gets what I'm feeling out of my system. It helps me a lot. I do it as I know I need some help or an outlet and music helps me express myself. If I didn't have music, I don't know what I would have done so I'm glad it's in my life.

The therapeutic element of music is so powerful. I've read online that some places call your music 'therapeutic alt-rock', what's your take on that?

That sounds like a pretty cool genre. I obviously don't want to limit myself with genres and kind of keeping myself in one genre, but if that's what people think it sounds like, I'm not complaining because that sounds really cool. I guess it is very therapeutic, because it's therapeutic to me. And with the alternative rock element, that connects to my inspirations, which is hard to avoid — there's a lot of similar chord progressions inspired by artists I listen to on Space Cadet

To finish up, what do you hope listeners get out of their listening experience of Space Cadet?

I hope it helps listeners with self-acceptance. Hopefully, people listen to the music and are inspired by my growth as an artist and how much I've changed through every EP I've released. Even listen to it lyrically and get that it's okay to feel this way. I wrote Space Cadet during a time where I was starting to accept myself.

Compared to my other EPs, I focussed more on instrumentation on Space Cadet. I wanted to focus more on the sounds. A lot of effort went into the EP and I'm proud of how much I've grown musically.

Written by Amy Smolcic (@amysmolcic)

Listen to Space Cadet by beabadoobee:

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EP of the Week: Yenkee – Cannibal Tree

Monday, October 14, 2019
Photo by Fergal Hennessy

This week's feature EP is Yenkee's new EP Cannibal Tree, which was released mid last month via Bride Valley Records. Spanning four tracks, the EP features a chilled-out blend of indie-rock, psych-rock and 60s and 70s rock. Despite the dreamy energy of the EP, it's also home to George Cooney's (Yenkee) rich and reflective lyricism.

Cannibal Tree opens up with the title track, and instantly, the blend of Yenkee's delicate vocals and soft acoustic guitar will make you feel like you're amongst clouds. It's the type of song that you wish you could bottle up. Though the track is mostly quiet and meditative, there's an underlying groove in-between the mellowness. Next up is 'Would You Rather?', which will leave you wanting to quit your job to chase some Californian sunshine. 'Would You Rather?' is beaming with sunshine and it's absolutely infectious.

The last portion of the EP includes 'Pearl' and the closer 'Maybe'. Yenkee's vocals are fragile yet beautiful on 'Pearl' ⁠— the soulful track's defining element is his captivating guitar arrangements. 'Maybe' is the perfect ending to Cannibal Tree and encapsulates everything that's special about Yenkee's music in just over three minutes.

Take some time out of your day to soak up Yenkee's dazzling EP Cannibal Tree, you won't regret it.

Written by Amy Smolcic (@amysmolcic)

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Now Playing: The Criticals – 'Just for the Weekend'

Photo by Jasmine Archie
The weekend may be over but that doesn't mean that you can't enjoy The Criticals most recent single 'Just for the Weekend'. The Nashville-based band have shared hit after hit this year, including their previous offerings 'Good Lookin', 'Treat Ya Better' and 'Kate Moss' — 'Just for the Weekend' is yet another fine addition to their growing collection of impressive singles.

Upbeat and vibrant, you feel all the goodness from 'Just for the Weekend' from the very moment that you press play. The track reflects on a relationship between two people who are struggling to communicate with one another. The band shared on the track, "The edges are softer, but somehow still incendiary," also that it follows "the story of two people in a relationship, trying to make it work, but the boundaries are too restrictive."

Listen to 'Just for the Weekend' by The Criticals below.

Written by Amy Smolcic (@amysmolcic)

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Now Watching: Hana Vu – 'Outside'

Photo by Sham Scott

Los Angeles artist and producer Hana Vu might only be 19, but she's creating music well beyond her years. Along with upcoming tour dates, including an appearance at The Great Escape's First Fifty showcase in London next month, she's also prepping for the release of her sophomore EP Nicole Kidman / Anne Hathaway, which is due on October 25th via Luminelle Records. She has also shared the video for her most recent single 'Outside', which was directed by Peter Ferris Rosati.

In her words, 'Outside' is "about the disparity between the perceived and inner self." She also said, "I’ve come to find out that the identity of an ‘outsider’ has become a performed personality that everyone subscribes to." For the video, she ventures outside the four walls of her bedroom and performs on her bed in a range of different settings outside of her comfort zone.

Watch the video for 'Outside' by Hana Vu below.

Written by Amy Smolcic (@amysmolcic)

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Now Playing: Cigarettes After Sex – 'Falling In Love'

With their new album Cry currently on its way, Cigarettes After Sex recently shared a preview of what's to come with 'Falling In Love'. The single follows the release of their previous single 'Heavenly'. The album is due for release on October 25th via Partisan Records.

According to Greg Gonzalez of Cigarettes After Sex, 'Falling In Love' was inspired by his long-distance relationship with his girlfriend. He actually began writing the music for the song before their relationship but needed one last ingredient to make it complete — being in love. On the song, he said, "I think there’s something cosmic about this one. I wrote the music before our relationship started. I wasn't in love at all then, I was just writing about love and what it'd be like to be in love again. Two years later I actually fell in love again, and that’s what it took to finish the song."

The euphoric track captures their passionate love through a series of poetic lyrics like, "When I hold you close to me / I could always see a house by the ocean / Last night I could hear the waves / As I heard you say, "All that I want is to be yours."

Listen to 'Falling In Love' by Cigarettes After Sex below.

Written by Kristy Smolcic 

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Feature: Ingredients of If Not, When? with bdrmm

Friday, October 11, 2019
Photo by Sam Joyce

Today marks the release of bdrmm's debut EP If Not, When? via cult shoegaze label Sonic Cathedral and we're incredibly excited. Hailing from Hull, the up-and-comers signed with Sonic Cathedral after playing one of their Social Service nights. Though there seems to always be new shoegaze sounds floating around, no one is doing it like bdrmm. Across each of the six tracks, their debut EP captures everything that's so special about their sound. To celebrate the release of the EP, the band took some time out to explore the influences behind their debut for us.

Washed Out – Paracosm
Ever since hearing 'Feel It All Around' in the opening credits of Portlandia, Washed Out have always been a big influence when I started creating music for bdrmm. I adore the blend of electronic music and guitar work, and the way Ernest Greene’s vocals glide along the tracks effortlessly. The track 'Weightless' from this record had a huge impact on me when writing tracks for the EP, especially 'The Way I Want'.

Ryan Smith (Lead Singer & Guitar)

Protomartyr – Relatives In Descent
This album has been playing on loop in my head for just over a year now (help). I can't remember an album I've seshed so hard since I discovered the Stone Roses as a teen. I saw them live in our hometown (Hull) last year just after they released this and they completely blew the roof off. As a drummer, Alex Leonard has to be one of the best I've ever seen in person. The drum parts he writes are incredible, tracks such as 'A Private Understanding', 'Here Is The Thing' and 'Windsor Hum' where he perfectly balances intricacy and simplicity. Never overbearing the song with over the top drum fills, but instead complementing it beautifully. Everything is exactly where it needs to be.

Luke Irvin (Drums)

Neu! – Neu!
It’s hard to imagine my life without this album now, and it’s one of our greatest touchstones whenever we decide to write new music. Quite a lot of our songs start out as jams and end up getting cut into the shape of song, so Neu! really allowed us, as a band, the freedom to experiment with new structures and ideas that we wouldn’t have even considered beforehand. The idea of trying to create something beautiful out of a less than inspiring setting is definitely an ideal that hits home within the band too.

Jordan Smith (Bass)

Neutral Milk Hotel – In An Aeroplane Over The Sea
I think when I first heard this I had spent my childhood listening to Blur and Oasis (Blur good, Oasis bad) so it was a completely new sound for me at the time. It's definitely one which I sat and learned to play in my bedroom. I wouldn’t say it's influenced the EP, but it's influenced the way I play guitar (quite strummy). Lyrically, especially 'The King of Carrot Flowers Pt 1', it's as good as anything I've ever heard. I always liked the line “dad would dream of all the different ways to die, each one a little more than he would dare to try....” because I'm jolly like that

Joe Vickers (Guitar)

Yo La Tengo – Painful
It was around the time of the formation of bdrmm that I kinda really begun to discover this band, and namely this album. I quickly fell in love with their concoction of noise pop, bittersweet lyricism and subtle, but powerful use of synth and organs. When I dig out this album now it still has the same haunting effect as that first listen.

I remember one drunken evening (probably more like morning by this point) myself and Ryan were listening to opening track 'Big Day Coming', and having some deep ass conversation along the lines of “imagine writing and playing a song like this, you’d just wanna cum” this likely led to the birth of EP track 'The Way I Want'.

Danny Hull (Synth)

Listen to If Not, When? with bdrmm below:

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Now Playing: MorMor – 'Won't Let You'

Photo by Micaiah Carter

Toronto-based artist MorMor will have the hairs on the back of your neck standing with his enthralling new single 'Won't Let You'. The track continues his impressive year of music, which has included singles such as 'Outside' and 'Some Place Else', as well as his EP Some Place Else.

'Won't Let You' is a track that's overflowing with love and admiration, and you can feel it as soon as you press play — the passionate single features moving lyrics such as, "Let me borrow your love, closer / Before we start losing wonder / I can see the days are numbered / Colours seems to fade every time I wanna say." The repetition of the words 'Loving you' knocks you down each time you hear them.

Feel the love with MorMor and his new single 'Won't Let You' below.

Written by Amy Smolcic (@amysmolcic)

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Read our interview with MorMor back in June 2019 here

Now Playing: Mysie – 'Sweet Relief'

Photo by Ayman Chaudry

Mysie has followed the release of her captivating debut EP Chapter 11 with her exquisite new single 'Sweet Relief'. The up-and-comer has music in her blood and is the granddaughter of a renowned Ugandan jazz musician. Each new song she releases showcases her ability to use music to tell spellbinding stories.

Home to grand and mesmerising vocals, 'Sweet Relief' sees Mysie reflect on non-romantic love. On the single, she said, "'Sweet Relief' is a celebration of a non-romantic love; a love for nature and the world around us” Mysie explains. “I was inspired by three birds sitting together in a tree in Somerset, being, and it was a vivid moment for me."

Listen to 'Sweet Relief' by Mysie below.

Written by Amy Smolcic (@amysmolcic)

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Now Playing: Johnny Kills – 'Help Me Out'

Thursday, October 10, 2019

London/Brighton three-piece Johnny Kills have shared a slice off of their forthcoming debut EP Panic with their latest single 'Help Me Out'. The EP is due for release on November 20th via Killing Moon.

'Help Me Out' is a reflective song that most people in their early twenties can relate to, including facing all those major questions and trying to figure out what you want to do. On the track, Tim from Johnny Kills said, "It’s about getting to a stage where you have some big life questions - what career do I want? Where do I want to live? What do I really care about? - to which the answers are all a resounding 'I don't have a scooby, mate'. It's about having a blank slate in front of you and it just freaking you out, and hoping someone else will sort it all out for you."

Listen to 'Help Me Out' by Johnny Kills below.

Written by Amy Smolcic (@amysmolcic)

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Now Playing: Football FC – 'Big Time'

Wednesday, October 9, 2019

We're a couple of months late to the party, but we just stumbled across Football FC and their entrancing single 'Big Time', which was released back in August. The band from Bristol, who are signed to Permanent Creeps Records, have been getting a bit of buzz and are without a doubt ones-to-watch.

On their most recent single 'Big Time', the band are able to unite polished and sharp vocals with lo-fi sounds, including fuzzy guitars and a gritty bassline. This very fine slice of post-punk lures you in from the very moment you hit play, and once you're inside the world of 'Big Time', there’s no going back. Football FC have only been a band for just under a year and 'Big Time' is an exciting taste of what they can do.

Listen to 'Big Time' by Football FC below.

Written by Amy Smolcic (@amysmolcic)

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Now Playing: Talk Show – 'Ankle Deep (In A Warm Glass Of Water)'

Photo by Matt Wylder

London-based up-and-comers Talk Show last week unleashed their explosive new single 'Ankle Deep (In A Warm Glass Of Water)' via Council Records. Their new single follows on from their incredible debut offering 'Fast & Loud', which was released back in March. They've also shared the video, which was created by animator Thomas Sharp.

Their full-throttle new single merges elements of post-punk with a sound that's reminiscent of an action-packed country western film. 'Ankle Deep (In A Warm Glass Of Water)' is chaotic and mighty, yet also reflective — the track's lyrics appear as a stream of consciousness, and you can't help but feel glued to every word. 

Harrison Swann of Talk Show said on the single, "On the surface ‘Ankle Deep (In A Warm Glass Water)’ probably appears to be a song that’s solemn, or filled with frustration. In reality, it’s more of a collage of different situations and feelings. It fell together and wrote itself, and I suppose that’s kind of what the song ended up being about. It’s a collection of lines knitted together, that seemed to naturally make sense next to each other. For any collage to work you’ve got to recognise all the individual parts, whilst simultaneously seeing the bigger picture and ‘Ankle Deep…’ is a reflection on this."

Check out 'Ankle Deep (In A Warm Glass Of Water)' by Talk Show below.

Written by Amy Smolcic (@amysmolcic)

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Feature: Ingredients of Queen Of Hearts with Sahara Beck

Tuesday, October 8, 2019
Photo by Jeff Anderson Jr.

Last week saw Brisbane-based art-pop artist Sahara Beck release her brand new EP Queen of Hearts. Across the EP's five tracks, she brings an infectious energy that's hard not to love. Along with oozing confidence, the release also showcases her reflective and open style of songwriting. To celebrate the release of the EP, she takes us through how Queen of Hearts was made.

Step 1: Initial Inspiration/prep
Write 50 songs over a year and a half and put them all in a folder to choose from when you are ready to create another record.

Fall in and out of "like" a few times.

Discover St Vincent's music for the first time, cook her music on high rotation in your earholes for about 2 weeks or until the flavour has sunk into your mind irreversibly. While you are doing this, keep Santigold, Etta James, Queen, Kimbra and Meg Mac on slow cook in the background of your subconscious.

Start to realise that you too are a bad bitch. You can be anything you desire.

Step 2, part 1: Second guess yourself
(Now this step will come up a lot in this recipe, I know it seems like nonsense but just let it happen as it is essential recognising what you really want)

“Maybe I’m crazy for ever thinking I could maybe pull off such a sound that has grown in my head.”

“People will laugh at me.”

Step 2, part 2: 
Remember you love this and therefore you have no choice so it must be done and tell your anxiety to just take a seat and keep its mouth shut while you are doing your thing.

Step 3: Tony Buchen
Now, Tony Buchen is a very rare flavour that actually (fun fact) was first found in Sydney but now the Tony Buchen flavour has been seen more and more over in the United States and is found in a specific area of Los Angeles called Silver Lake.

Show Tony Buchen where your songs are and explain to him how you want them to taste and feel (as you have never made a meal like this and you know that he is the Master Chef of this sound you are trying to perfect).

Now that you have established where your musical meal is currently and where you want it to be, add 8 weeks of Tony Buchen one on one time with you and your music.

Mmmm it’s starting to look good.

Step 4, part 1: Second guess yourself
“Should I have just kept making the folk music that I am used to making?”

“Maybe I’m the only one that thinks this sounds good.”

Step 4, part 2: 
Remember you have no choice, you love this and it must be done and tell your anxiety to just take a seat and keep its mouth shut while you are doing your thing.

Step 5: The look
For this part of the recipe, I personally enjoyed the flavour of Michelle Pitiris and Jeff Anderson Jr. Two very spicy, unique and striking flavours.

You want to come across like the queen that you feel like singing these songs so you show them references you have built up of St Vincent and others that use this block colour effect through their photography.

Pose it up and throw a handful of Michelle Pitiris and Jeff Anderson Jr. on the top.

Listen to Queen of Hearts by Sahara Beck below:

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EP of the Week: TRACE – Like Hell

Monday, October 7, 2019
Photo by Elizabeth Miranda

Though we already featured TRACE's new EP Like Hell (P.S. read all about the influences behind it here), we thought it deserved another serving of love. Spanning six truly remarkable tracks, the release showcases her growth as a songwriter and artist. Over the course of the EP, the LA-based artist explores family, friendships, heartbreak and everything in-between. 

The EP opens with the musing sounds of 'All My Friends'. The track reflects on friendships, as well as the impact social media and life online might have on those relationships. It also captures feelings of loneliness and isolation with her words 'where did all my friends go?' leaving you with chills and a sea of thoughts. Next is 'Missing Me', which is a captivating slice of dark pop. Home to fierce words, TRACE comes through triumphant on the heartbreak anthem. 'Crushing' is a soaring number that talks about rejection and letting someone know that you're not into them. 

Towards the middle of the EP, we're met by 'When I Was Young'. The introspective track will give you goosebumps from the very moment that you press play. The EP moves into 'Make Me Laugh', which is another badass track that features sharp and scathing words. Like Hell concludes with the release's title track, which proves to be a magical ending to an exquisite release by TRACE. 

TRACE's special sophomore EP takes listeners through the inner workings of her mind, as well as what it’s like to navigate relationships and the many forms that these relationships take. 

Written by Amy Smolcic (@amysmolcic)

Listen to Like Hell by TRACE below:

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Now Playing: Barrie – 'Drag'

Photo by Rachel Cabitt

Barrie, led by Barrie Lindsay, has shared a taste of new music with 'Drag'. This year saw the release of Barrie's debut album Happy To Be Here, and at around the same time, they also announced that they were changing the band's structure, moving from a five-piece to a solo-act.

Barrie will be releasing a new EP called Happy To Be Here (Ext), which will feature alternative versions of previously released tracks 'Chinatown' and 'Clovers', as well as two new songs, including 'Drag'.

'Drag' features Barrie's signature dreamy sound and everything we've come to love about them. Lindsay's delicate and airy vocals appear like a gentle breeze and tenderly glide over the instrumentals with ease. If you're looking for a cure for those Monday blues, look no further than the ever-so-enchanting 'Drag'.

Listen to 'Drag' by Barrie below.

Written by Amy Smolcic (@amysmolcic)

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Feature: Ingredients of Like Hell with TRACE

Saturday, October 5, 2019
Photo by Elizabeth Miranda

Los Angeles-based artist TRACE has just unleashed her magical sophomore EP Like Hell. The release features six stunning tracks that reflect on where she is at in life. TRACE continues to refine her craft and find her voice and her sophomore offering showcases the ways she has grown as an artist. To celebrate its release, she takes us through the influences behind it below.

Paris is my favorite city. I try to visit often and the last time I did was naturally inspired and it was right before I was really in the thick of my EP. I knew it was going to be a fall release and so I knew wanted to project a more “fall-like” than summery and energetic (with the exception of 'Crushing' of course) vibe. There’s a lot of nostalgia and a slight sense of arrogance too that play a big part in the writing and so in a way, I not only love Paris, it deeply influences my writing.

Reevaluating Friendships
The first single 'All My Friends' was hard to release because it addressed something I didn’t want to admit. That people change, but more importantly that I changed and sometimes you have to let go of some friendships because they don’t feel life-giving or mutually cohesive anymore. It’s been sad but good. I guess it’s also called “getting older.”

Petra Collins’ “A Love Story” 
'All My Friends' visually was inspired by this short video she did for Selena Gomez. It has a moody, hazy, kind of odd vibe that I really love. I usually put a lot of stress on how I’m going to present myself/work aesthetically and remember wanting to be somewhere in the vain of like if Petra Collins liked primary colors and did a video for Gucci in 1999...

My Childhood
Kind of casually traumatic but I was really moved to face some real bruises in my past life. I revisited my childhood and the memories I usually skim through so often and ended up writing a song about my relationship with my dad which really sparked the overall theme of my EP. I have a couple of songs on the record that really set the tone for the EP title track. Calling it “Like Hell” means I’m no longer interested in holding onto people, ideals, dreams, etc. that don’t belong to me.

Listen to Like Hell by TRACE below:

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Interview: No Rome on the Art of Self-Expression

Friday, October 4, 2019

London-based Filipino musician No Rome channels his creativity in an array of ways — music is his primary form of self-expression, but he's also drawn to the visual world, whether it's photography, film, or art. Today, he has shared his new single 'Talk Nice', which follows his recent run of shows in Australia, New Zealand and Asia with The 1975. Whilst he was in Melbourne, we sat down with him to talk about how he has adjusted to playing in front of bigger crowds, genre, how visuals inspire him and collaborating. 

Recently, you've had the chance to play bigger stages whilst on the road with The 1975. How has it been for you playing in front of larger crowds?

It's been quite nerve-wracking, but it's so much fun too. It's just like, these are really big shows and this is my first ever big tour. It's definitely fun, but it's also very much like, 'oh my god' existential crisis mode.

I know that sometimes it’s a bit of a clichè term, but you've gone from being a 'bedroom artist' and making songs in such intimate spaces and now you're taking them to bigger crowds. What's it been like adapting to that move?

Even if the show is bigger, I still want to keep it a bit intimate. I always still try my best to just be myself on stage. But as much as I wanted the shows to be something super special, right now, it just feels good to be on stage and just hype up, and have some fun. But it's definitely a big step from being 'a bedroom producer' to then having 15,000 to 20,000 in front of you.

Do you have much recollection of the first big show that you played?

My first big show was with The 1975. I remember it very, very well. We were backstage and at first, I was like, "This is going to be easy. I've played shows." And then I saw the crowd and I'm like, "I've played a shows but I've never done anything like this" (laughs), and I was like really, really nervous. My palms were sweating and shit. Oh my god. But it was definitely fun. I think that UK tour was actually pretty fun though. Just getting a bit wasted all the time, but I mean fuck it, it's a show.

Are you getting more confident on stage now?

I think it's been a while since then. Especially when we did the American tour. I don't know exactly, but that's when I felt like, all right, yeah, I'm getting used to this, so it's cool. I feel I can step on stage and do my thing now without having to doubt it a lot like, 'was I fucking dumb at that last performance?' I mean I'm still worried about how I play and how I perform and how I sound, but I think it's gotten a bit better since then.

Is there anything that you're looking at bringing into your own live shows that you've witnessed from touring with The 1975, or anything that you're into visually at the moment? 

Definitely. That's why I'm really looking forward to doing my own shows as much as this is super fun and also inspiring in terms of the crowds and the music and the performance, and watching The 1975. They've been doing this for years and I've been doing it for around a year. I've learnt a lot from their shows and watching them on-stage. 

I've noticed a lot more recently that there are a lot more fans online talking about how your music has connected with them. What's it like for you to see that kind of feedback when your music comes from such a personal place?

I honestly really, really love it. It inspires me to keep making more music and better art. At the same time, I also try to not really dwell on the comments a lot, just because I'm a sensitive person and if I feel like when I see something bad, I'm like 'oh fuck, I quit, I quit, I'm done' (laughs). But no, it's good to be aware. I love the fans, I still feel a bit awkward saying "Oh yeah, I got hella fans or whatever." But the support I get is just thrilling for me. I feel like, oh wow, there's actually people that really connect to it in the same way that I connect to the music. I just love writing music. Like I said, playing the show is a bonus, for me, I just love making music, I like doing all kinds of shit. That's what's important to me.

What I love about your music is that it's hard to put into a genre. I think that's it's great that you can't just label your art as one thing. Is that how you've always approached music? 

I think it's just me being a fucking weird-ass person. I pick up the guitar, and if I want to make a rock song, I make a rock song, but I want to base it off of how I would personally do it, you known, my own take of it. For years, I would always go home, write a song, or play around with instruments. It's a therapeutic thing. I'm also influenced by shoegaze music, R&B, hip-hop, rock, I'm obsessed with The National as well. I like to put together all the sounds I love into one box and all the stuff I like to hear. It's kind of 'no-genre' but there's still a style that I'm trying to make. I want to contribute something to music sonically. 

This year, 'no-genre' has made a comeback. Would you say that genre is starting to become less relevant, especially now with the rise of music streaming?

Exactly, so much of it is about mood too, like 'mood playlists'. Having a standard rock playlist is more rare now. I absolutely love it, honestly, because when I was younger, there always was a scene. If you're a rock person, you couldn't wear baggy clothes and had to stick with your people. I like that there's no more of that. It's just about making music that you feel like making and creating an art piece that's you, having your own style is what matters now. I really love that, because self-expression is so much easier now. Music is supposed to be some sort of self-expression. I feel with that, there's less pressure. Just do what you fucking want, put it out if you want. Wear whatever clothes you want, you could be rocking the most punk clothes but be making hip-hop music, that's super sick. I'm totally a fan of making whatever the fuck you want to make.

You mentioned The National already, but was there anything else that you were really into when you started experimenting with music?

Broken Social Scene. I always say it, but I love them because I feel like they shaped me when I was a kid, My Bloody Valentine, Loveless, that specific album, and the MBV album. Kevin Shields is a genius. A lot of people were against what he was doing, but he made a sound that nobody wanted to fucking do, just because they were afraid. He had 300 pedals that he wouldn't really bring to the show, but on the record, he'd use all of them. I think that has inspired me sonically so much. He wasn't afraid to experiment with effects or even songwriting, he used a whammy bar to play his guitar, so everybody's like, 'this is so much wham', but now it's shaped so many bands today. I also love Nirvana and Joy Division, but also Tupac, Biggie, there's so much. 

How about other art forms? Do you ever feel drawn to other art forms outside of music?

I think that inspires me way more than music does. One of my first heroes was Andy Warhol. I remember hearing this story about him when he died. Somebody, I think it was one of his assistants, found a box and it was filled with Polaroids. Basically, his whole life he shot it in Polaroid, just because he was so married to his art. He knew that when he was going to die, he wanted to die with style, you know what I mean? It's not like he knew 'if I die, and people look back at my memories it's all going to be in Polaroid, so everything's well shot'. When I heard about that, I was so inspired. Christopher Nolan and the Wong Kar-wai films too. I started writing when I would see my favourite movies. I would think about how would I score it. I still base everything off of films still, I'm heavily inspired by that. 

What are some of your favourite movies?

One of my favourite movies ever is The Truman Show. As well as a movie called Fallen Angels by Wong Kar-wai, It's such an amazing film. Another one would be Palo Alto by Gia Coppola. I can go on for days. Lost in Translation. It has Kevin Shields on the soundtrack, I'm like 'well how much more perfect can it get?'. Add in Jesus and Mary Chain, Bill Murray, Scarlett Johansson, I mean come on, it's just such a good movie.

How do you think visuals can amplify the stories within your music?

You know when you watch a video, and it just works so well, you can't really imagine the song in another perspective, unless you've listened to the song first and then seen the video? That's how it's always worked for me. In a way, I've always wanted to interpret the mood and capture it visually. I still have performance videos on the internet, but in real life, I'm a shy ass person. But that's what music videos are for though. I just enjoy channelling the world visually, not just for the fans or people, but for myself as well. When I hear a song that I like, I love to experience the visuals too. I love cover art too. I have always been obsessed with album art, it's one of the things that got me into buying vinyl and CDs. Sometimes I wouldn't know the band, I just buy it just because that album art looks so sick, so I check it out and find out that I love the music too. But if it sucked, it's still nice to put in my room anyway. 

Would you say visuals give you another form of release or escape?

Definitely. I enjoy making a world that people can feel like they belong to. Something that can help channel the meaning of the song in a different way. It's a different form of peace and joy that music gives me. 

I know a lot of people probably bother you about asking when you're going to release an album, but I personally love that you've shared EPs first. It's allowed you to showcase different aspects of your art without the pressure of an album. What have you liked about working on EPs as opposed to just diving into an album?

I have always been an album guy, but the thing is, an EP is an album with no pressure because you’ve got only four, five, six songs. It's a collection of songs, or pieces of songs, that I really find interesting. I do enjoy making EPs, but I think I'm really looking forward to doing an album. I just want to start making bigger pieces of art. I'm putting out a new EP soon, which is more of a mixtape of collaborative studio sessions with people that I'm fans of. I always have the album in my pocket, literally, it's just about finding the right time or the right people to work with. Mindset is so important too, and what I want it to end up as. 

Is it something that you want to happen naturally?

For sure. EPs are so fun now with streaming, but you can't just keep putting out EPs. An album is dedication, you've got to be dedicated to doing it properly. You've got to be devoted and make sure this it's the right time, or just waiting for the right ideas.

Ever since signing with Dirty Hit, you've had the chance to collaborate with a lot more people, whereas before you were collaborating online. What's it been like collaborating more and working on more music, even if it's for someone else?

I like writing music in general. Sometimes I have ideas that don't necessarily work for me. Sometimes I have ideas that I feel like would work better if it was for another person. It's kind of cool to be writing songs for other people too. I'm still a fan of writing songs for other people. I feel in a way, it's also made me grow, knowing where to fit myself in musically and sonically. If I would make a rock song, how would a rock song be for me, or an R&B song. Hearing other people do it, hearing a person sing the song that I wrote beautifully and I'm like, 'wow, this is so good'. It's nice to be the one sitting at the back watching your art come to life. Sometimes you get stuck on your own, you start putting pressure on yourself so much, but then you step out, write a song for somebody and then it comes beautifully. I get a different kind of high from it, so it's definitely really cool.

Do you prefer working in solitude or collaborating?

Solitude, definitely. I'm such an introvert. I've started enjoying having people around the room, but if it's a new person, I'm like 'oh my god, my anxiety, fuck this person hates me'. But it usually ends up fine. I grew up writing music in my bedroom, I went to studios when I was younger too because I was in a music school so I had to go to studios to work on some music. I've always found it nice if it was just me and some people that I know, instead of having a huge party at the studio, like 'yeah invite everybody you know'. Although I love collaborating a lot. I've started to be more open. Before I used to be so self-centred and just be like, 'I'm never going to let anybody touch my art'. But it's actually nice to have another ear for it. You spend so much time looking at it and then another person comes in and actually amplifies it and makes it beautiful. I'm more comfortable with doing a solo writing session and then making it more collaborative after I've done my end of it. I'd have to finish up by myself and then hand it over to the next person. 

Are you constantly inspired and working on new music or do you have breaks?

I've been taking more breaks recently. Before I was just like 'let's do this, let's do that,' But then that's when the creative block comes in because then you force yourself to be in this zone. I think it's why I like producing and songwriting. Sometimes I'm bored, of making beats or whatever, then sometimes I'm like, all right, I really want to write a song. But definitely, wanting to make music is one thing that I can't get rid of. It could be just banging on some drum beats or something. It has to happen. I don't have to record it, I could just be playing my guitar.

And to finish up, whenever someone listens to your music, what do you hope they feel?

Depressed (laughs), no, for me, that's why I love it, I find it easier writing sad songs. I'm just being real and I feel like people connect to it. You know that thing where you can't say what you want to say, so somebody else says it for you and you feel some sort of relief? It's like that. I know my songwriting and it's personal, and I'm doing stuff that sometimes I would only know the reference and would only be aware of what I’m talking about, but I feel like people just relate to it in a way. I feel like I want them to take home some sort of relief. Music is meant for relief. Right now, that's what I feel, that's my intention. I really like the bigger picture. I want to talk about something deeper in my music. 

Written by Amy Smolcic (@amysmolcic)
Photos by Kristy Smolcic (foilo)

Listen to 'Talk Nice':

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Now Playing: The Ninth Wave – 'Human Behaviour'

Photo by Stuart Simpson

Glasgow's The Ninth Wave have delivered a spine-tingling number with their brand new single 'Human Behaviour'. The single is the final taste from the second part of their album Infancy before they unveil it in its entirety on November 15th.

'Human Behaviour' starts with Haydn's soft and introspective vocals, which have been partnered with the sounds of a tender piano. Though the track lifts in intensity once the chorus kicks in, the initial portion of the track presents a side that we haven't yet seen from The Ninth Wave. From the moment you press play, you'll be covered in chills and gripped onto every word. The Ninth Wave are never afraid of embracing vulnerability, and 'Human Behaviour' is yet another expressive and moving single by a duo who know how to capture emotions in their rawest form.

Listen to 'Human Behaviour' by The Ninth Wave below.

Written by Amy Smolcic (@amysmolcic)

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Interview: Spacey Jane on Connection and Community

“What’s going on and how are we even allowed to do this?” — Spacey Jane may be bewildered by the added attention on them, but no-one else is surprised. The last couple of months have been a whirlwind for the WA-based up-and-comers. From playing Splendour in the Grass, supporting Charly Bliss, BIGSOUND, finishing up a headline tour, the list goes on — to say that they’ve been busy is an understatement. Yesterday, they announced their biggest headline tour yet and are planning on finishing up the year in a big way. During their stop in Melbourne last month, we sat down with Spacey Jane to chat about what they’ve been up to and how they’ve been handling the attention.

Amongst the busyness, the band have undergone some changes, with previous band member Amelia leaving to pursue a career in medicine and sexual health advocacy. Peppa, Spacey Jane’s newest addition, arrived just before the band were swamped with shows and festival spots, “I feel like I definitely arrived at a great time. It’s a dream come true overnight, it’s really amazing,” she said on joining the band. Peppa’s first show was during their supporting slot during Charly Bliss’ Melbourne show in July as part of Splendour in the Grass.

Playing Splendour in the Grass was a major moment for the band, and since then, it hasn’t stopped for them. But if you think they’re bored of it just yet, you’re mistaken. Caleb said, “We haven’t reached a point where it's a drag though. I’m sure that time might come. Maybe once the tour is done and we get to sit down an process it, we’ll be like ‘holy fuck’.”

They’ve enjoyed the intimacy of the shows that they played on their recent tour, and with their current trajectory, the rooms will start getting bigger. “We love playing intimate shows. We’ve been able to meet so many great people and people who enjoy the music and are fans. We enjoy being part of the community. It’s something we always try and do,” said Caleb. Though the band joked that if the shows ever got too big, they might consider playing under a secret name.

Last month, they played BIGSOUND, which is an experience they enjoyed immensely — though the industry-focused event might be overwhelming for many, they joked that they want to go every year. Caleb said, “I don’t think we had any negative expectations, but we heard it was like an industry thing, but I don’t think we knew it was going to be so community-based and that we would meet so many great bands. We made a lot of friends and I think a lot of good things will come from it.”

Being a West-Coast-based band means that they don’t always get the opportunity to meet other people within the community. However, they enjoy living in Perth and the music scene over there. Kieran notes that Perth’s music community is a “beautiful melting pot of different ideas,” also adding that “Everyone in forced to interact with each other and we all bounce off one another, so it can feel like a little family.”

Being based in WA also means that they’ve been able to spend time practising and refining their craft. “One of the awesome things about Perth is that you can’t easily come and go. In Perth, we had to get really good first and had the opportunity to play a lot of gigs. We had to work hard and practice until we reached a point where it was worthwhile taking the shows east,” said Ashton. Caleb admits that Perth’s music scene is less genre-focused, “I feel like there are less genres in the city. Maybe there was a time where psych-rock was the huge thing, but there aren’t ten bands doing the same thing,” Kieran adds that artists in Perth are “individually celebrated".

They might joke about racking up frequent flyer points and being able to use airport lounges (thanks to their tour manager Jez), but they aren’t letting it get to their heads — the focus is still very much on creating music that resonates with people. If anything, the added attention means that their music is connecting with more people, which they value more than money or hype. “We’re thankful for the recognition, but I know personally for me, I’m focussed on two things  — playing shows and writing music. Making music that connects with people is the whole purpose of why we do this. I know it’s why I love doing this, it's such a unique opportunity,” said Caleb. He also talked about the first time people started singing along at their shows, “The first time I saw people singing along at our shows, I was like ‘whoa, this is mindblowing'."

Their streaming numbers have risen rapidly, with the band reaching over 145,000 monthly listeners on Spotify — some of which are coming from overseas from places like the UK and the US. Kieran said, “It’s happening in small degrees, Australia’s our main one, but we’re getting plays in the UK and the US. I don’t even know how that happened. We also made a playlist in America called ‘Rockin’ Vibes’.” Caleb adds that the rise in numbers is just another sign that their music is connecting with people, “I think it’s just another version of connection and engaging with people. If they’re listening, then maybe they might come to the shows too. Connection is everything to us.”

At the end of the day, in-between all the craziness, Spacey Jane are just a bunch of mates who love spending time with each other. Caleb said, “They’re all my best friends and the closest people I have. This band is my passion.” Peppa summed up the band’s entire mission, “Spacey Jane is an outlet for everything that happens in life, and we get to dance and make other people dance too. It’s just good times all around.”

Written by Amy Smolcic (@amysmolcic)
Photos by Kristy Smolcic (folio)

Live dates:
November 22nd - Prince of Wales, Bunbury
November 23rd - Fremantle Arts Centre, Fremantle
November 28th - Paddo RSL, Sydney
November 29th - Miami Marketta, Gold Coast
November 30th - The Tivoli, Brisbane (All Ages)
December 1st - Solbar, Sunshine Coast
December 4th - Uni Bar, Wollongong
December 5th - Transit Bar, Canberra 
December 7th - Howler, Melbourne 
December 8th - The Espy, Melbourne 
Sasami (US) and Vacations will be joining their East Coast dates. Click here for more information on the tour. 

Listen to 'Good For You':

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