• HONEYBLOOD •
For Honeyblood frontwoman Stina Tweeddale, the title of her band’s second album came from somewhere close to her heart, literally. “I have those words tattooed on my ribs,” she smiles. “I guess you could call it a war cry; to have the faith to never let yourself be defeated.” ‘Babes Never Die’ is not a shy motto, and one that’s triumphant sentiment rings throughout Honeyblood’s exceptional sophomore record. “The title is my own mantra,” Stina explains of the follow-up to their eponymous 2014 debut, which landed in many of the year’s most revered Best Of lists, with perfect score reviews from everyone from NME to DIY. “I think it’s something I tell myself every day. Indifference is a plague. Giving up and turning a blind eye will be the end of us. Never before has that been more true than now. Perhaps we should stare straight into the face of what frightens us and say that we will never let them win. When I use the word ‘Babe’ I don’t see it as gendered. I just wanted to share the phrase and the power it gives me. Saying that, like most Honeyblood lyrics, it is vaguely facetious.”
From the thundering intro bars of the opening title track it’s clear it’s an album that’s bite will live up to is bark. It’s an album that feels like it’s on a mission. One that won’t let go. But if the Glasgow band -Stina, alongside drummer Cat Myers- have created anything of a signature atmosphere, its one that’s as playful as it is impassioned. Over ‘Babes’…’ 11 tales of drama, horror, lust and laughs, never has that been more true.
Check out the video to opening track and Honeblood mantra ‘Babes Never Die’ here:
• CUCKOOLANDER •
Hailing from Dorset and surrounded with a musical family- a middle sister with a talent for songwriting and a mother who spent a fair amount of time on the road as a backing vocalist singing for Roger Chapman and The Shortlist. Cuckoolander’s world was always immersed in music; her older sisters were talented musicians and had their own band, but forbade Cuckoolander to be part of it. “They were such jokers, they even managed to convince me I was adopted”. This left their younger sibling an outsider, watching from the shadows, and convinced she had no musical talent. However, at the age of ten- Cukoolander plucked up the courage to learn drums and piano, and eventually make music like her heroes- her family.
Cuckoolander was introduced to live music as a toddler, watching her mother performing regularly at shows and festivals whilst she was growing.. Later in life when Cuckoolander starting studying music, her mother would often take her to shows across Dorset immersing her in the wonders of psych, jazz fusion and funk artists such as Roy Ayers and Joe Zawinul and Bootsy Collins. Being so exposed to such an intensely diverse musical live scene proved to be a kick starter for Cuckoolander joining bands and making music, particularly the jazz musicians; “The skills of these musicians went way over my head, but it inspired me to practice hard and not to be so afraid of performing, because even the best make mistakes sometimes”.
Flash forward, and Cuckoolander begins to tour as a session musician- mainly playing drums and heading out on the road with other artists. It was around this time that Cuckoolander began to write some new music, born out of her wanting to embrace songwriting in her own right. As the first song to evolve during this new process was ‘Dumb Dee Diddy Dumb’- which sums up Cuckoolander’s feelings of “passion and frustration with music” and feelings of creative guilt whilst she was touring with other artists. “I have been writing songs since I was fifteen, but Dumb Dee Diddy Dumb was the first song that I wrote and I actually liked”. Cuckoolander picked up the bass guitar for the first time and began to pen more music which formed her first self-titled EP released.
For her latest track, “Beating Myself Up,” the singer teamed with Rostam (ex Vampire Weekend) on production to release a delicate sonic missive via Charli XCX’s imprint Vroom Vroom Recordings. Give the music video a watch below.
• HEATERS •
It’s not been too long since the release of “Holy Water Pool” – Heaters’ debut, a crushing, revelatory psycho-surf-rock anointment-as-album – there are no apparent signs of distress to the engine that powers this Michigan-made vehicle of sound. To the contrary, Heaters are operating at a higher horsepower than ever before, as evidenced by their second album in under a year “Baptistina.”
“Baptistina” glimmers to a greater degree than anything Heaters have previously unleashed, a full-spectrum sheen that shines across the full panorama of righteous reverb riots. Heaters are in full control of their machine from the opening, looped-lunacy of “Centennial” to the final crash of “Seafoam,” forty-six minutes later – and yet the result of this increase in control can be heard as a willingness to crash their ship completely. But have faith in the pilots – Heaters are living for the next ride.
“Centennial” rides the wave effortlessly, setting the tone for the album in full, hovering in the atmosphere above strutting, Bolan-blasts of riff-rock-lift-off perfection before letting the edges drift and blur, exploring the gravitational pull of less solid ground. Check it out live in session with KEXP in our featured video here: