Now Playing: Alfie Templeman – 'Happiness In Liquid Form'

Thursday, April 9, 2020
Photo by Blackksocks

17-year-old Alfie Templeman had a breakthrough year in 2019 and he’s on track for another big year of impressive tunes if his brand new single ‘Happiness in Liquid Form’ is anything to go off. Released via Chess Club this week, the track was co-written with Justin Young of The Vaccines.

‘Happiness in Liquid Form’ presents a different side of Alfie, with him embracing disco-inspired grooves, resulting in a track that’s addictive from start-to-finish. On the single, he said, “Happiness…’ is the most colourful sugary disco-pop song I’ve put out so far. It came about so easily one day in the studio with Justin from the Vaccines and his right hand man Will and by the end of the day we knew we had something special on our hands. It's a tough time for everyone right now so hope this brings a little happiness into people's lives!”

Listen to ‘Happiness in Liquid Form’ by Alfie Templeman below.

Written by Amy Smolcic

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Now Playing: Madge – 'Ethanol'

Wednesday, April 8, 2020
Photo by Cameron Tidball-Sciullo

Experimental-pop artist Madge has today shared a new track, this time coming through with ‘Ethanol'. During the past few years, Madge has solidified their position as one of the most exciting DIY producers on the rise, especially with previous singles such as ‘Headshot’ and ‘Cry a Lil’, as well as 2018-released EP Fight or Flight Club — ‘Ethanol’ is yet another intriguing addition to Madge’s enthralling discography.

On ‘Ethanol’, Madge said, “Inherited trauma as compulsive self-destruction. For every garbage fire I put out in my brain, I find myself dumping gasoline on another. I find myself wondering if I just accept this state of things. I created this song with Lecx Stacy who brought in the grit and grime to my vision. Mixed and mastered by Chance Lewis.”

Dive into the world of Madge by listening to ‘Ethanol’ below.

Written by Kristy Smolcic

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Now Watching: Melenas – 'No puedo pensar'

Tuesday, April 7, 2020
Photo by Dani Canto

Hailing from Pamplona, Spanish quartet Melenas are getting ready to share their new album Dias Raros, which will be out in the world on May 8th via Trouble In Mind. Appearing on the album will be their previous single ‘3 segundos’, as well as their most recent slice from the record ‘No puedo pensar’.

Sung in Spanish, the magnetic track is about being lost in your own thoughts and trying to work through all the noise happening internally. On the single, the band said, “Waking up with an idea that has been looping around your brain since you went to sleep and stays there all day long, day by day. Who hasn’t been in that situation? Well, this is what this song is about: being in a mental block, emotionally down and trying to get out of that washing machine of thoughts, even if you have to take shortcuts.”

The video, directed by Patxi Burillo and Lucía Salas, was shot on Super 8 at the Igeldo funfair in Donosti, Spain. The visuals for ‘No puedo pensar’ brings to life the nostalgic and melancholic energy of the track. For the video, they wanted to build upon what they reflect on in the lyrics, including the feeling of being stuck in a mental loop.

Check out ‘No puedo pensar’ by Melenas below.

Written by Amy Smolcic 

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Now Playing: POZI – 'Whitewashing'

London-based band POZI  last month unleashed their latest single ‘Whitewashing’, which comes under 12 months since sharing their debut album PZ1. Their brand new single is also a preview of their upcoming EP 176, which is due on May 8th via PRAH Recordings.

The band’s feverish new single has also been accompanied by an animated video that captures the story behind ‘Whitewashing’ of being stuck on a drive with a friend where they’re attempting to impose their bigoted views on you and there’s no escape.

On the creative process of ‘Whitewashing’, vocalist and drummer Toby Burroughs said, “We wanted to start fully utilising Rosa’s voice as, adjacent to the other vocals, it really adds another layer to our music. Much of the jamming sessions were spent working around a way to weave this into the sound we’d already created. As we’re all singers and writers, if someone has something that they want to say in a song, it’s great for us to be able to share the lead vocal around.”

Check out ‘Whitewashing’ by POZI below.

Written by Kristy Smolcic

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Now Watching: CHAI – 'NO MORE CAKE'

Friday, April 3, 2020

Dynamic Japanese band CHAI unveiled another catchy single recently, this time sharing ‘NO MORE CAKE’, which is their first new track since releasing their 2019 album PUNK. The video, directed by Hideto Hotta, features scenes of the four-piece using cake batter and frosting to paint their faces.

According to the band, the single is their take on wearing makeup. Mana from CHAI said, “We feel like that you should wear makeup that you feel suits you. Wearing makeup shouldn’t be based on the orders of someone else.” Yuuki also added, “Doing your makeup to look like another person is the same as applying cake to your face.”

In the video, they wanted to expand on the idea that makeup can be a form of art, Kana notes, “We wanted the theme for this music video to be ‘makeup meets art.’ That’s why at times we had our faces looking like cake and then expressed as art.”

Watch ‘NO MORE CAKE’ by CHAI below.

Written by Kristy Smolcic 

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Now Playing: Happyness – 'Ouch (yup)'

Wednesday, April 1, 2020
Photo by Holly Whitaker

With the release of their third album Floatr coming up quickly on May 1st, London-based band Happyness has unveiled another cut from their forthcoming album with their brand new single 'Ouch (yup)'. The single will join previous tracks 'Seeing Eye Dog' and 'Vegetable'.

The track was written amongst the chaos of Brexit as a way to help deal with everything that was happening and process what was going on in the world. On 'Ouch (yup)' they said, "It’s about processing the stuff you leave behind, and not getting complacent and not assuming anything. We were going through some massive life changes around the time we wrote this song, and Brexit was happening (remember that!) It’s about disbelief I guess. And the slow excruciating dawning of reality :/ Reality is a weird rush, the truth sets you free. Those kinds of things."

Listen to 'Ouch (yup)' by Happyness below.

Written by Amy Smolcic 

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Now Playing: Squid – 'Sludge'

Tuesday, March 31, 2020
Photo by Machine Operated

Squid, who were one of 2019's best breakthrough bands, are back at it again with a brand new single, this time coming through with 'Sludge'. Not only is it their first track of the year, but the single is also their first-ever offering with Warp Records, after recently signing with them.

'Sludge' was produced by legendary producer and Speedy Wunderground's own Dan Carey, who also produced their incredible EP Town Centre last year. The track originally came to life after a soundcheck before a show supporting Wire. In true Squid style, 'Sludge' is another experimental slice of magic, with each second feeling like an adventure into the unknown — the genre-defying number blends elements of post-punk, funk and everything in-between. The kaleidoscopic track also features Ollie Judge's now-signature and distinct vocals.

Listen to 'Sludge' by Squid below.

Written by Kristy Smolcic

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Feature: The Anatomy of 'Twilight Of The Idiots' with The Holy

Friday, March 27, 2020

At the beginning of March, Finnish band The Holy revealed two new tracks with 'Twilight Of The Idiots' and 'No Trial In The Dark'. Both singles are the band's first taste of brand new music since releasing their debut album Daughter in 2018.  Both singles are set to appear on the their sophomore LP Mono Freedom, due for release on Septmeber 18th via Playground Music. Eetu from The Holy explores 'Twilight Of The Idiots' for us below. 

We wrote ‘Twilight Of The Idiots'... as the first song during the first sessions we had after our previous album tour. I had the piano melody in my head and the main idea of what the song would be about. We came up with the arrangement really fast and we didn’t change it during the process. It was one of those songs that felt right from the beginning. This song also sets the tone for the whole album; it’s more bright and light-hearted.

The story behind 'Twilight Of The Idiots' is... I read random articles on Wikipedia almost every day and one time, I came across an article about Twilight Of The Gods, which means ‘the destruction of the gods and the world in a final conflict with the powers of evil’ and that sounded kind of like today with all these world leaders and all the right-wing movements and the rise of nationalism. It's now more like the twilight of the idiots. The song also tries to build up some revolutionary fantasies beside. 

My favourite lyric is... 

There is no kind of hatred 
That is dead in here
Don’t show any feelings or 
They'll rip you apart

For me, that is just how things are now and maybe always have been. And it is extremely sad. When something evil goes down somewhere, it rises on the other side. You might try to fight it, but the modern trolls are everywhere and so organized. They can rip your life into pieces in a second. So many just choose to be silent.

It was made... it was mostly recorded in two old Finnish schools. One in Porvoo, which has a proper studio built-in, and another one in Tyrväntö, which doesn’t have any studio equipment, we just use it more as a space for guitar recordings. It has a big concrete cellar with a really cold and long ambience. It gives the guitars a cutting reverb and edge which I personally love so much. The song needed to rip while being gentle.

Our main inspiration was... can’t say we had any one or two clear inspirations for this. I think we had an inner urge to write this kind of song after touring with the last album which sounded very different. I think bands often start to do something totally different after long periods of touring. You need to feel something new and reinvent yourself after that massive amount of self-repetition. We always try to aim for new territories when making new music. I hope it will never turn against us.

It sounds best when... listened to very loud or while played live. The song needs to move actual air while being played. It has to be a physical experience to get the most out of it. Crank the speakers up and watch out from the window. Let the tense feeling we had while making it translate. It needs a wide highway. 

Listen to 'Twilight Of The Idiots / No Trial In The Dark':

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Now Playing: Egyptian Blue – 'Nylon Wire'

Brighton-based post-punk band Egyptian Blue are back with a brand new single, this time coming through with ‘Nylon Wire’ — the single is set to appear on their forthcoming EP Body Of Itch via YALA! Records, due for release on April 10th. The EP follows in the footsteps of their impressive debut EP Collateral Damage.

‘Nylon Wire’ might only be only 2:19 minutes long, but each second is as electrifying as the next — the track has the intensity and ferocity that’s fast become an Egyptian Blue speciality. According to Andy from the band, the track came together quickly after a jam session, “Some of our tracks take weeks of configuration, others take minutes.”

As a whole, the EP is set to reflect on their frustration with today’s world and all the unsettling things our day-and-age brings.

Listen to ‘Nylon Wire’ by Egyptian Blue below.

Written by Kristy Smolcic

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Feature: The Anatomy of 'Mikkel' with Gaygirl

Photo by Cali Titmas

South London's Gaygirl are getting ready to share their debut EP Pleasurehead on April 24th via Permanent Creeps — but until then, they've served up a taste of what to expect with their abrasive and thrashing new track 'Mikkel', which they shared earlier this month. Bex Morrison from Gaygirl recently took some time out to dissect the single for us below.

We wrote ‘Mikkel'... to appeal to the micro-masses.

The story behind ‘Mikkel'... has nothing to do with somebody called Mikkel.

My favourite lyric is... 'Did I mistake good for suffer' — something we can all relate to; hindsight and viewing things in a different light when it's too late.

It was made... with the idea of building tension that never quite resolves.

My/our main inspiration was... our main inspiration didn't just come from one place — the song has a 90's grunge-esque vibe, which we maintained using harsh/dry guitar tones. However, we also wanted to contrast this sound with something quite far removed from the genre, so we used an Ebow guitar effect at the end of the song which kind of sounds like a warped accordion. We all find inspiration in changing the direction of a song by taking it somewhere less expected and creating an overall shift in atmosphere by the end of the track.

It sounds best when... you put your speakers in the bath and roll around on your tummy.

Listen to 'Mikkel' by Gaygirl below:

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Feature: Sorry are in a league of their own

Thursday, March 26, 2020
Photo by Sam Hiscox

There's no denying it, North London’s Sorry are in a league of their own. Their long-awaited debut album (and arguably one of the best albums of 2020) 925 can be described as a bubbling cauldron swirling with intoxicating and peculiar ingredients that they’ve concocted themselves. As inventive and unique as Sorry are, their music never feels forced or overcooked — they ooze an understated level of cool. There’s no hidden act, they appear exactly as they are and somehow amongst the chaos, they’ve been able to balance the art of not taking themselves too seriously with knowing exactly what they want to do.

Before Asha Lorenz and Louis O’Bryen, who started making music together after meeting at school, were Sorry, they were known as Fish. But according to Lorenz, it wasn’t a matter of changing direction, it was just a formality — another artist had the name and there was pressure on the then up-and-comers to change it. “We had to change our name because there was another person called Fish, the music has never changed though.”

Approximately three years ago, they signed a deal with Domino, which came as a result of an email sent by Lorenz. Instead of rushing into an official EP or LP that they didn't feel ready for, they went down the unorthodox path of sharing two visual mixtapes — titled Home Demo​/​ns Vol I and Home Demo​/​ns Vol II respectively. Home Demo​/​ns Vol I was described by the band at the time as “a collection of fibs and fables, thoughts and opinions. Parables and problemos. Personal and public.” Their early offering provided a taste of what they were capable of, both sonically and visually. The first mixtape also features early renditions of ‘Ode To Boy’ and ‘Snakes’, both also appear on the album

The momentum continued with their second mixtape, released in 2018. Lorenz notes that in the beginning, they weren’t focused on the formal process of releasing music, they just wanted to get music out there after working on an abundance of demos. “We have loads of demos at home, even now we’re always making music at home. The mixtapes were a way for us to put music out there for free for people to listen to.”

The mixtapes that came before 925 allowed them to naturally figure out the direction that they wanted to take before jumping in a studio. Their earlier singles weren’t indicative of what they wanted Sorry to sound like — mainly due to being too guitar-heavy, they didn’t want to be another 'guitar band’. They also needed to find the right person to work with, which they found in James Dring — who has previously worked with the likes of Gorillaz and Nilüfer Yanya. Lorenz admits that they wanted to refine the demos and expand on them as opposed to working with completely new songs. “By the time we got to the album, we knew we wanted a good balance of studio recording and making music at home. We wanted to polish and expand the demos we already had instead of starting again. We also had to find the right person."

They might sound more polished due to recording in a studio, but Sorry's original fabric is still very much intact on 925. Though their earlier singles were much more guitar-heavy and rock-leaning, it’s something they’ve moved away from, instead, moving towards a more eclectic approach. When you ask Lorenz about Sorry’s take on genre, it’s clear that it isn’t something they force upon themselves —  the sound is a natural progression of the song’s narrative or the mood they’re trying to present, it’s not something they overthink.

One of the many reasons why their palette is unpredictable and always fascinating is due to the fact that their influences come from an array of sources — on 925, they cite the likes of poet Hermann Hesse as an influence, as well as Aphex Twin and Tony Bennett. Lorenz says there’s never one particular thing that inspires them, “It’s never one specific thing that we’re drawn to. Movies and books always inspire us, but so do our friends as well.”

Film is the first artform that comes to mind when listening to the album. Each of the tracks could easily find themselves in a film noir soundtrack. Just like the cinematic style, the songs are reminiscent of the dim hours of the night when the rest of the city is fast asleep — picture rain-slicked streets, smokey alleys, seductive protagonists and a lurking and unshakable shadow, and then hit play on 925.

Just like their mixtape days, the visual element of Sorry is just as important as the sonic experience of their music. All the singles from 925 have been released with a video, including this week’s single ‘As The Sun Sets’, which is a gloomy take on Louis Armstrong’s ‘What A Wonderful World’. The album’s first cut ‘Starstruck’ features a borderline-NSFW glitchy cam-style video, ‘Rock ‘n’ Roll Star’ stars Lorenz impersonating Elvis and ‘Snakes’ sees Lorenz and O’Bryen get inevitably eaten by a snake who has been sizing them up. Each of the videos end with a quick preview of the next single that’s set to follow, leaving listeners in anticipation of what’s coming next.

Just like the music, the videos are of their own doing — though they collaborate with their creative friends, they have creative control of videos just like they did when they created the mixtapes, that hasn't changed. Lorenz said on making their videos, “It’s nice to be able to do what you want. With the videos, it gives listeners another look into the world of the song.”

The way Sorry conjures up sounds or comes up with video ideas is something they don’t overshare, and quizzing them on it isn’t going to get you very far — and to be frank, they don’t need to explain what they do in great detail, it’s all right there for all us to appreciate on 925.

Written by Amy Smolcic (@amysmolcic)

925 will be released via Domino on Friday, 27th March. Click here to get the album once it's available. 

Watch 'As The Sun Sets':

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Now Playing: Document – 'The Spy Who Came In from the Cold'

Thursday, March 19, 2020
Photograph by Nina Rädel/Bands on Film (@bandsonfilm)

Manchester up-and-comers Document late last month came through with their impressive single ‘The Spy Who Came In from the Cold’ — this week, they're set to reveal even more music, with their debut EP A Camera Wanders All Night due to be released tomorrow, March 20th.

In an interview with Yuck! Magazine last month, Alex from the band noted that the track was inspired by John le Carré’s novel of the same name. He said on the single, “It highlights themes closely followed in the book, such as the idea of mortality, ideological divide caused by cold war politics and betrayal. The main focus of my attention when writing the song was to convey the alienation that the protagonist Leamas faced throughout the story, which is a state that I believe a lot of people face in today's society.”

If you love Document’s sharp lyricism and intricate songwriting as much as we do, be sure to check out their EP tomorrow — until then, listen to ‘The Spy Who Came In from the Cold’ below.

Written by Kristy Smolcic 

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Now Watching: Choir Boy – 'Toxic Eye'

Photo by Karen Judith Davis

With the release of their new album Gathering Swans coming up in the next few months, Choir Boy this month shared a preview of what’s to come with the album’s latest cut ‘Toxic Eye’. The album will be unleashed on May 8th via DAIS. 

The band’s tender offering is home to dreamy and breezy sonics partnered with an infectious melody and reflective lyricism. On the single, Choir Boy’s Adam Klopp said, “What can be done when paranoia and negativity pervade every aspect of your life? You feel burdensome to loved ones and the planet is clearly doomed. ‘Toxic Eye’ provides a simple solution: Gouge your toxic eye.”

‘Toxic Eye’ was released alongside the accompanying video, which was edited by Klopp, and filmed by Annie Avila and Andrew Aguilera. Capturing the nostalgic energy of the track, the video features scenes of the band standing out wearing black and red amongst their orderly surroundings, including the local park, neighbourhood streets and mountains. 

Watch ‘Toxic Eye’ by Choir Boy below. 

Written by Kristy Smolcic 

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Feature: The Ingredients of Friends! with Alien Tango

Photo by Kirkpatrick Buffet

London-based Spanish artist Alien Tango last week unleashed his newest EP Friends!. Featuring an enthralling and colourful mix of experimental, eccentric-pop and everything in between, there's a lot to love about Alien Tango. Alberto García aka Alien Tango recently took some time out to dive into the influences behind his third EP below.

Japanese anime intros
The first song on the EP, ‘COUNT ON ME’, is a fake anime intro song. I love a lot of intros from shows like Dragon Ball, Bleach, etc. and I’ve always found it funny how they always share the same structure. I made ‘COUNT ON ME’ respecting that structure. There’s even a bit of the song where the title of the series is supposed to be. The lyrics are made-up words that sound like Japanese but actually mean nothing.

Toni’s flat
The whole EP was recorded during my second year in London, living with the band’s then bass player, Oso Peligro, who is one of my best friends. The song ‘Friends!’ is a sort of love letter to him. We spent thousands of hours either travelling back-and-forth to Spain or moving from one place in London to another, sleeping together on inflatable mattresses covered with coats. The most fun we could have was when our friend Toni would invite us to his fancy flat in Liverpool Street and have parties there. It’s all in the lyrics.

A perfume ad
The arpeggios in ‘Heavenly’ are inspired by the arpeggios in a perfume ad I saw on TV. I only caught it two or three times and never found it on the internet, but I loved how eerie they sounded.

The uni’s library
Our flat in London didn’t have heating or internet, so we spent most of the time in the uni’s library which was like heaven on earth. It smelled really good, was super clean and warm. I made some of the parts of the EP including the majority of ‘Golden Days’ in there, with my laptop keyboard and headphones, while procrastinating for uni assignments.

Wario Land 2 and 3
I caught a chest infection and spent days in bed playing Wario Land on my computer, with a Game Boy emulator. The music on it inspired 'Golden Days'. I can’t help but imagine Wario jumping around and smashing bricks every time I listen to it.

Watch 'Heavenly':

Check out Friends! by Alien Tango below:

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Now Playing: The Lounge Society – 'Generation Game'

Wednesday, March 18, 2020
Photo by Piran Aston

Speedy Wunderground are back with a brand new single, this time partnering with up-and-comers The Lounge Society. ‘Generation Game’, SW034, is the first-ever single for the Hebden Bridge band. The single will be officially released digitally on March 27th and on 7” on April 24th.

The band linked up with Speedy Wunderground via email. Since the band are all aged between 16-17 years old, they had to get permission to skip their maths exams so they could record with the label's own Dan Carey. For The Lounge Society, the chance to work with Carey and the label was a dream come true. “I don’t think it’s sunk in yet that we’re releasing a single with Speedy. It’s always been a dream for all of us to record with Dan Carey and release with Speedy. We love their ethos and all the music they’ve put out in the past, it’s a great scene.”

On ‘Generation Game’ the band said, “‘Generation Game’ means a lot to all of us, and we feel it’s an ideal introduction to us as a band. To us the lyrics reflect what we’re all about – shedding light on topics and events we feel are criminally ignored - and for it to be our very first offering to the world (especially through Speedy) really helps get that across. Once we’d finished the take we all stopped dead and looked at each other (and Dan) and he just said ‘that’s it, that’s the one’. I think we were all a bit shocked but the energy was there on the recording and we completely trusted him!’”

Become acquainted with Speedy Wunderground's newest single and The Lounge Society’s first single below.

Written by Amy Smolcic (@amysmolcic)

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Interview: The Wants on Container and the immersive experience of music

Photo by Madison Carroll 

Brooklyn-based band The Wants provides an immersive listening experience that transcends sound — the band’s bold and riveting debut offering Container is an all-encompassing record that’s home to evocative songwriting, distinct and textured sonics as well as carefully considered visuals, all of which essential for processing the album in its entirety. When speaking to Madison Velding-VanDam of The Wants, it’s clear that he and the band set out to create a place with their music — one where music is almost tangible and stimulates all of your senses.

Though The Wants have been getting much more attention recently, the trio featuring Madison Velding-VanDam, Heather Elle and Jason Gates, aren’t exactly newcomers. According to Velding-VanDam, over half of Container features material that they’ve been working on for almost ten years. “We finished the record in our minds before we finished this version of it.”

He isn’t afraid of holding onto ideas and material until it feels right. “If there's a sound or an idea that catches me, I'll hold onto it, and I'll just keep hacking away. I have been hacking away at a thousand demos, so I'm just trying to figure out a place for those over time.”

Even if it’s close to a deadline, they want to ensure that whatever they’ve created is right for them — which was the case for Container, with the band making alterations to the album until the very last minute. “We’re the kind of people that are just never going to stop toiling. Something that will end up finalized might not resemble what it started as whatsoever, because the beat changed entirely, or the melody changed or even the lyrics.”

Before exploring the possibility of creating a full-length record, the band created an EP first — it eventually ended up being discarded when they decided it wasn’t what they wanted The Wants’ first offering to sound like. Council Records, the band’s label, allowed them the freedom to move towards a full-length record instead. “They kind of let us go on the journey and be like, ‘Hey, we want to do a full length. Can we do that? We have these new ideas’.”

The original EP wasn’t completely a wasted endeavour — not only did it ultimately help guide what they wanted to do with Container, but an untitled track from it will be making an appearance on the band’s next album. “The track ended up being completely redone and being one of our favorites for our next record that we're working on right now,” he said.

Much of the recording process for Container happened in their respective spaces, many times their bedroom studios. However, they did venture out, finding refuge away from Brooklyn’s bustling and overcrowded music scene in an unconventional makeshift studio — a shipping container located outside of a factory in Brooklyn. HANJIN, the container, gave the band their own private nook where they could experiment with sounds at often peculiar hours. Though the container prevented the noise of the outside world from distracting them, it wasn’t exactly quiet, “Sometimes people would come to our rehearsals and be like, ‘What the hell are you guys doing in here?’ Because you can definitely hear outside of it,” said Velding-VanDam. He also notes that they would often have trouble directing Uber drivers to the “creepy parking lot”.

“I’ve been making music in my bedroom my entire adult music-making life and our drummer Jason is an engineer and has always worked in studios.  We have a really deep interest in good sound. The eccentricity of the container suited us,” he said.

An aspect of the experience of digesting music which the band wanted to hone in on was how it could potentially translate into a live setting. “The album really came to life once we made the decision that it would more so reflect our live performances, where there are interludes, and we're trying to have everything flow into the next song,” also adding, “For us, it was important to have the album playable live. Even though there's some sort of tricks and stuff happening that are very hard to pull off live, like samples. We had to figure out a way to do that, that was organic and exciting.”

The consideration of how the album could transition into the band’s live show assisted with cohesiveness. The album was constructed to consume as a complete entity, from beginning to end. The experience of Container is reminiscent of a “lucid dream” says Velding-VanDam. From an outsider’s perspective, a vivid lucid dream is the best way to describe the experience of Container — it’s a record where you’re aware and awake from the beginning right through to its final moments, and pushing the skip button on a track would disrupt the continuity and cohesiveness of the dream sequence.

According to Velding-VanDam it was necessary to place emphasis on the singles, but they didn’t want them to be placed alongside each other on the album. “I think that since it's our first record, we wanted to keep standalone singles as a strong component — not having songs start like a transition, kind of fade out into the beginning of the next one.” On the album, this is evident for ‘Fear My Society’ and ‘Container’, both prefaced with startling instrumentals that set the scene for what’s to come.

The band’s appreciation of ambient music, as well as soundtracks, played a part in influencing those prominent and defining pieces and interludes on Container. “We really love soundtrack music as well as composers like William Basinski, Steven Rice. Heather and I really love ambient music. Especially Hildur Guðnadóttir. I think some of the best music being made right now is ambient instrumental music.”

The Wants’ dedication to maintaining cohesion wasn’t only essential sonically, but also visually. Playing a paramount role in the visual experience of the album was artist and photographer Madison Carroll, who assisted them with the cover art for the album and singles, video content and a photobook accompanying the album. “She has an encyclopedic knowledge of still photography and she shoots exclusively in medium format film,” said Velding-VanDam.

They were inspired by the likes of artists such as Jo Ann Callis, who has surreal takes on domestic life. He notes, “She focuses on things that seem mundane but then are really intensified.” Visually, the pair were also inspired by contemporary photographer Alec Soth, who focuses his photographs on American life. “He goes to forgotten places, sometimes in middle America, captures the people that are living in parts of this country that aren't really seen as much.”

They travelled to parts of middle America, including where Velding-VanDam is originally from. “I'm from middle America, from the Detroit area, called the ‘Rust Belt’. And a lot of our visuals were captured in the Detroit area and Ohio. We wanted to pair the sort of elements of American iconography of motels and lost industrial spaces of the midwest with the sound to give them a stronger context.”

by Madison Carroll  

by Madison Carroll 

by Madison Carroll 

Along with capturing intriguing and thought-provoking visuals that possess the cinematic quality of a David Lynch film, some of the visuals are very personal for Velding-VanDam — with them deciding to include photos of his father’s home in the accompanying photobook. “Some of the images are very personal to me, including the images of my father's home, who died of complications related to opioid addiction, which is a big part of the struggles in our country at this point. And his home was in one of these spaces and reflected a lot of the deteriorations that are happening to people without a lot of economic opportunities and are in many ways struggling.”

Velding-VanDam and the band are determined to raise the bar once again, both sonically and visually, for their next full-length offering, which we can expect sometime in the near future. “We wanted Container to be an immersive project and I think we did our best for this first outing. we're still inspired by this same challenge and we're ready to go at it again for our next record.”

Written by Amy Smolcic (@amysmolcic)

Purchase Container by The Wants (including the accompanying photobook) here

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Now Watching: Dream Wife – 'Sports!'

Monday, March 16, 2020
Photo by Sarah Piantadosi

London-based trio Dream Wife, featuring Alice Go, Bella Podpadec and Rakel Mjöll, have returned with a brand new single, this time coming through with their full-throttle new track 'Sports!'. The single follows a busy last couple of years for the band, which has included the release of their critically acclaimed self-titled debut album in 2018, as well as supporting tours with the likes of Garbage, Sleigh Bells and The Kills. 

Along with 'Sports!', they've also shared some exciting news that they've got a new album on the way — titled So When You Gonna…, it will be released on July 3, with Mjöll saying on the record, "It’s an invitation, a challenge, a call to action."

Speaking on their self-directed and self-produced new video, the band said, "Sports!' sits on multiple levels; of satire and celebration, of nonsense and commonsense, of the body and the mind, of IRL and digital. The video simultaneously plays with and celebrates 'sports' through multiple levels of reality and non-reality; exploring the nonsense of sports, toying with the seriousness of competition and the rigidity of rules while also asserting how important it is to be in your body, the joy of being in a team, the purpose in doing something for the sake of doing it, the endorphins and the sweat."

Watch 'Sports!' by Dream Wife below. 

Written by Kristy Smolcic 

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Feature: The Anatomy of 'One More July' with prettything

Photo by Tom Lewis

Melbourne-based artist, Bella Venutti, who you might be familiar with from IV League, has shared her second single under her solo moniker prettything. 'One More July', her newest offering, is a reflective track about how certain times of the year can impact emotions. To celebrate the single's release, she explores it more in detail below.

I wrote 'One More July'… After participating in an event held in Northcote at Open Studio called ‘Heavy Sleeves’ in which a musician and a writer respond to each other’s work and perform the pieces. I was assigned a poem by my close friend and frequent collaborator Meg Duncan entitled ‘All of My Julys’ and the song as it is today is a direct response to it.

The story behind 'One More July' is… The song is about how certain times of the year can drum up big feelings and memories of events and relationships that occurred at that time in years before. July, being in the thick of our Melbourne winter is a time when I feel especially introspective and am drawn to recall the past versions of myself who have made me who I am today.

My favourite lyric is…  “This city drags me around by my ear like an attention seeking child”

I love the visual of this lyric, it perfectly sums up the way that I was so quickly drawn to anything and anyone that made me feel important and seen when I was younger out of aimlessness/self-consciousness.

It was made… With my good friend Edvard Hakansson at his studio in South Yarra over a few days. The process was extremely collaborative and I feel like we struck the perfect balance of executing my initial vision and improving and building on ideas when needed.

My main inspiration was… Having quite a retro-futuristic feel, I drew inspiration from both old and new for this track. I love artists like Ariel Pink’s use of gated reverb on drum machines, whispery double-tracked vocals from artists like Clairo and Jay Som and also had 80s power ballads like Vienna by Ultravox and the dream-pop soundscapes of bands like Cocteau Twins on the brain.

It sounds best when... I feel like this song’s final form will be getting played at an extremely daggy formal or prom. I can fully see Molly Ringwald busting a few moves out to this song at the big conclusion of a John Waters movie!

Listen to 'One More July' by prettything below:

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Now Watching: Ohmme – '3 2 4 3'

Sunday, March 15, 2020
Photo by Ash Dye

Chicago-based Ohmme, featuring Sima Cunningham and Macie Stewart, are currently getting ready for the release of their new album Fantasize Your Ghost on June 5 via Joyful Noise Recordings — until it's time to blast the album on repeat in a few months, they've unveiled a taste of what's to come with lead single '3 2 4 3'.

The accompanying video was directed by Alejandra Villalba García, who set out to capture the song's meaning of witnessing your neighbour change and trying to process these changes.

García said on the video, "I thought that the first half of the video should be about them staying still trying to resist change as the scenery around them changes quickly. The tall dark figure represents change and how it keeps getting closer to them until there's no escape. When they fight with another version of themselves, the newer versions are the ones that win because they embrace change."

Watch '3 2 4 3' by Ohmme below.

Written by Amy Smolcic (@amysmolcic)

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Now Playing: Far Caspian – 'Today'

Saturday, March 14, 2020

This week, Far Caspian, the project of Irish singer, songwriter and producer Joel Johnston, has returned with another captivating new single, this time sharing 'Today'. Released via Dance To The Radio, the track comes after an impressive twelve months of releases for Far Caspian, including EP The Heights and single 'July'.

The single came to life after Johnston was working on new music. When it wasn't working out, he decided to discard it and work on something else instead. 'Today' was inspired by a build-up of moments, Johnston said on the track:

"It’s a simple song about how I was feeling coming off tour - missing my friends, not feeling connected to anything or anyone apart from the boys in the band and spending too much time on my phone. A lot of the time on tour you mostly experience either massive waves of euphoria from playing and shaking loads of hands or serious boredom and mundanity from sitting in a van for 12 hours scrolling through Instagram. And then you end up crashing pretty hard once you get home and I was definitely in that mindset when I wrote this."

Listen to 'Today' by Far Caspian below.

Written by Amy Smolcic (@amysmolcic)

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Album Review: Porridge Radio – Every Bad

Friday, March 13, 2020

Every Bad, the sophomore album of Brighton outfit Porridge Radio, is an invitation into the mind of singer, guitarist and songwriter Dana Margolin — at times the experience is gentle, like tender waves delicately meeting the shoreline, but for the most part, it's chaotic and unpredictable, reminiscent of the destructive waves of a tsunami. Margolin is a master of taking any emotion, whether it's good or bad, and turning them into something you can physically feel beyond the boundaries of sound.

The evocative power of water is probably the best way to describe the emotional listening experience of Every Bad. It has moments of unpredictability — just like the unknowing destructive force of mother nature. On the album, things may appear calm for a brief moment, but then Margolin unleashes a rapturous wave of roaring vocals stopping you in your tracks instantly. This can be felt on songs like 'Sweet', where she utters words like "I am charming I am sweet," in a mantra-like fashion before upping the intensity without anticipating it. Then there's '(Something)', which feels like it's building towards something ominous deep beneath the surface.

Throughout the course of Every Bad, it feels as if Margolin is speaking her words into existence. This can be felt on tracks like 'Circling', which then seamlessly transitions into '(Something)'. 'Circling' was inspired by the motion of water, with Margolin saying on the track, "I was thinking on the idea of willing things to be okay by repeating that they are, because I need them to be. I tried to follow the feeling of the flow of waves, and how they keep coming in endlessly, washing everything away without judgment, and then bringing it back again."

Some of the songs on Every Bad appear so personal that you feel like you're invading Margolin's privacy by listening to them — it's a privilege that she has shared her most fragile moments with us. The multi-layered 'Lilac' starts moderately calm before the repetition of the words, "I'm stuck," lurk in the background demanding that their presence be known. The words, "I don't want to get bitter / I want us to get better / I want us to be kinder to ourselves and to each other," are especially important. The song builds up like water reaching its boiling point in a kettle before ending abruptly and without knowing when it's going to happen.

It's okay to not have life totally figured out and the album reaffirms this. The opener 'Born Confused' features the words "Maybe I was born confused so I don't know what's going on / Maybe nothing's going on," capture this. 'Give/Take' is home to a sea of confusing feelings, accurately portraying what it's like to be left clouded by your own questions and self-doubt.

Porridge Radio's emotional closer 'Homecoming Song' might repeat the words "There's nothing inside," but there's a lot to unpack from your listening experience of Every Bad. The album shows that it's possible to be both fragile and fearless, guarded yet assertive, and that you can be confused but also know exactly what you want. The band's sophomore offering is a masterpiece that will give anyone who embarks on the album's journey an experience that they won't forget.

Written by Amy Smolcic (@amysmolcic)

Listen to Every Bad by Porridge Radio below:

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Now Watching: GUM – 'Out In The World'

GUM aka Jay Watson will leave you spellbound with his exquisite new single 'Out In The World'. Released via Spinning Top Records, the track was also released on 7" vinyl alongside a cover of Ballroom's 'It's A Sad World'.

'Out In The World' sees Watson muse about feelings of isolation. He said, "'Out In the World' is about wanting to give up and never talk to anyone ever again after something goes wrong. Some people have that feeling all the time - it’s crippling and isolating." Also adding, "It sounds like light coming through half-shut blinds. It’s not possible for all, but for me, I force myself to go out again, or get on stage, or do whatever it is I have to do to keep moving on."

Appearing like a daydream, the single's accompanying video features enchanting scenes of Watson spending time alone. The video was directed by Canadian filmmaker Laura-Lynn Patrick.

Watch 'Out In The World' by GUM below.

Written by Amy Smolcic (@amysmolcic)

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Now Playing: Sinead O'Brien – 'Fall With Me'

Photo by Zac Mahrouche

Our favourite post-punk poet and Limerick artist Sinead O'Brien is back with new music, this time sharing her enthralling track 'Fall With Me', released via Chess Club. The track was produced by legendary producer and 'UK Producer of the Year', Speedy Wunderground's own Dan Carey. 

According to Sinead, 'Fall With Me' is an invitation to surrender. "What would it be like to stand still in slow motion? To sink, even if just for a moment - to give yourself over to the pleasure of surrender."

On the single, she also notes, "The motif of a ‘head carousel’ rolls through the piece. I saw an image in a library which had all of these giant heads on a rotating wheel. It was such a statement, like a modern day counter response to the classical imagery of the scales, balance, zen. This image of ‘the self’; going around and around in a trap says so much about “now” actually. How to manage the wheel, gathering momentum while maintaining its equilibrium. How long can the head hold."

Listen to 'Fall With Me' by Sinead O'Brien below. 

Written by Amy Smolcic (@amysmolcic)

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Now Playing: Working Men’s Club – 'AAAA'

Photo by Andy Nicholson

UK band Working Men's Club this week announced their highly anticipated debut album, set to be released on June 6th via Heavenly Recordings. Featuring on the album will be their newly released single 'AAAA'.

When it comes to Working Men's Club, you can always expect the unexpected. Finding themselves somewhere between post-punk, industrial and electronica, the band continues to solidify their place as one of the most exciting and innovative emerging bands coming out of the UK right now. Their new track 'AAAA' fuses dizzying electronic drums, jagged and sharp synths and layers of absolute madness.

On the band's new music, Sydney Minsky-Sargeant said, "There’s not much going on, not much stuff to do as a teenager” he says. “It’s quite isolated. And it can get quite depressing being in a town where in the winter it gets light at nine in the morning and dark at four."

Listen to 'AAAA' by Working Men's Club below.

Written by Amy Smolcic (@amysmolcic)

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Interview: Porches on Rediscovering His Love For Music

Thursday, March 12, 2020
Photo by Clare Gillen

Porches may sound different on his new album Ricky Music, but he’s never felt more himself. “I wanted to get back to the place where I was making music out of the sheer love of it,” says Aaron Maine. Maine’s project Porches has undergone a series of changes during the past ten years since he’s been creating music under the moniker — in what began as an indie band, Porches has evolved into Maine’s solo project where genre doesn’t define his sound. His fourth album Ricky Music sees Maine reignite his love for music once again.

The album is daring and bold, and across its eleven tracks, he wanted to push the boundaries of what he’s made previously before. “I feel like you’ve just got to go nuts and get totally lost in it until you have some shit that you’ve never done before.” He set out to experiment as much as possible, which led to the inception of over one hundred tracks before settling on the final tracklist. Making an abundance of music is part of Maine’s usual process — it’s important to attempt every possibility and leave no stone unturned. “I make a ton of music and then at a certain point there seems to be five or six songs that work together and the image becomes much more clear of what resonates with me. Once that happens, the bigger picture comes into focus and I start dialling in.”

For fans of the albums that have come before Ricky Music, Maine reassures that experimentation or trying something different sonically doesn’t mean he is abandoning his music of old — instead, he’s showing the ways he has grown and evolved as an artist. It also ensures that the process of creating music stays interesting for Maine.

“I’m just obsessed with music. I love all sorts of music. I like experimenting a lot. I set myself up to be able to surprise the audience each time, but also surprise myself too. I do think there’s a thread to no matter what I create because it is me and my melodies and my voice, and that to me, ties it all together. I think the more music that I’ve put out publicly, the better picture someone would get of my brain, which is the idea of releasing music. It’s to paint an image of yourself for the listener.”

He wanted to return to the place he was at before he had any commercial success with his music, more so for himself. “I was digging to figure out how to inhabit the space I was making music in before I had commercial success. I was trying to get back there and make it for myself.”

This time around, he also wanted to expand on what he’s done before on a lyrical level. He wanted to take the changes and moments that have impacted him the most across the past two to three years and communicate them with sharper images and descriptions in his lyrics. Maine also wanted to use his words to showcase all the different sides of himself, not just his ‘sad’ side. “It never dawned on me when I was releasing music in the past that people would be like, “it’s so sad. All your songs are so sad.” That is part of the reality but there’s another part of me who loves to laugh too. I feel like my sense of humor is one of the most important things about me.”

He was determined to show that it’s possible to find humor even in the darkest of moments. “I wanted to figure out how I could do this lyrically.” Maine adds, “Making fun of myself in a dark place, including calling myself out for being super dramatic but then also having moments where you’re totally intoxicated with your emotions and you don’t really understand what’s going on, it’s just a frantic outpouring of emotion. But also having a little more clarity in these situations as well.”

For Maine, a lot of it comes back to connecting with others through his music. “It’s such a big part of why I go through the trouble of releasing music the way I do,” he says on his music resonating with others. He admits that before his music is able to connect with someone else, he needs to feel and connect with it first himself. "It serves me in a lot of ways before it’s able to reach anyone else. Music is such an important part of my life, it’s always there for me.”

He adds, “If I can connect with someone and make someone feel better or happier, that they’re not alone in experiencing some sort of pain, then it makes me want to keep doing it and reach even more people. Music is the fucking best.”

Porches' new album Ricky Music will be released on March 13th via Domino. Click here for more information. 

Written by Amy Smolcic (@amysmolcic)

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