All posts by tonyrounce

Party Fears: OK. No Problem – single of the week

Reviewed by Tony Rounce

It’s been far too long since we had any new music from Party Fears

Exactly one year has gone by since the Berlin-based duo of Maggie Devlin and Eilis Frawley  (and their regular studio collaborator, bassist Lisa Roller) brought us the estimable ‘Dog Star’, and almost two since their eponymous debut album arrived to serve notice that PF were (and are!) much more than the sum of their parts as a band. 

Finally as 2019 draws to a close Maggie and Eilis treat us to a new offering that upholds the exceptional quality of their previous work, and that shows exactly why they are such big favourites at Loud Women Towers.

Catchy and up-tempo, with a mighty chorus and positive, upbeat feel throughout, ‘OK. No Problem’ is a shining example of PF at their finest. Like all the best pop songs it clocks in at around two and a half minutes, the final minute of which is instrumental. Given the high quality of Maggie’s singing, you might wish there was a little more of it, although the driving, wordless second half of the track IS jolly exhilarating, to be sure. She has such a terrific voice that she could probably sing the instructions on how to microwave a ready meal and make it sound vibrantly thrilling…

Maggie’s buoyant delivery of the song’s lyric – darker than might seem apparent from a first listen – and her jangly, jagged guitar playing are perfectly complemented by Eilis’ busy percussive patterns, criss crossing from traditional thumping rock bets to swishy, splashy disco with the greatest of ease. Together they bring the same irresistible drive to this highly recommended track that they bring to their far-too-infrequent UK live shows…

…And how lovely would it be for us all if Party Fears could accompany the release of this fine new offering with another tour soon?

A long time coming it might have been but ‘OK. No Problem’ is more than worth the wait.  We’re a couple of weeks late in featuring it here – but it’s out now, and you can buy it as a digital download from Maggie and Eilis’ Bandcamp.

Please also keep up with Party Fears’ adventures past, present and future on Facebook!

LEMONDAZE: NEON BALLROOM – SINGLE OF THE WEEK

Reviewed by Tony Rounce

If you have seen Lemondaze live (and if you haven’t, you should) you will be accustomed to their all-embracing aural onslaught – a densely crafted audio soup, with layers and layers of rippling, swirling guitars providing the musical counterpoint to Isis De Chastelain and Rosie Heard-Edwards’ ethereal, other worldly vocals. 

More than three years on from forming in their hometown of Cambridge, North London’s finest SlightlyDelic transplants have finally released their debut single. Please believe me when I say that the wait has been more than worthwhile.

‘Neon Ballroom’ presents a huge sounding, thoroughly compelling musical landscape that puts your ears in the presence of something very special indeed.   The track gets very close to replicating the live Lemondaze experience and, while it may sound a little cleaner in the studio than it does on stage, it accurately captures a young and very exciting band on their way to many greater things in the very near future. What it lacks in instant hooks or sing-along choruses it makes up for with an audacious, in your face, wall-of-sound immediacy.  To know it is to love it is to want to play it again. And again. And again…

A fan on the group’s Facebook page hears hints of Curve, Cocteau Twins, Lush and similar in their work   (Me, I hear early Public Image and Grateful Dead, but I feel it unlikely that those comparisons really exist anywhere other than in my mind). Lemondaze themselves identify their music as ‘shoe: gaze’, but I feel they are underselling themselves a tad with this description.

Nobody will be gazing at their shoes while ‘Neon Ballroom’ is playing…

‘Neon Ballroom’ will be available via all major streaming platforms from November 15th. Lemondaze are playing a hometown gigs at the NCI Centre in Cambridge on November 26 with more planned in early 2020.  Follow them on Facebook for future developments!

The group photo is a Jack Fieldhouse/Rosie Heard-Edwards collaboration.

The Slugs: Wet – EP Review

Reviewed by Tony Rounce

Thank you, Molly Energi. Had you never mentioned The Slugs in a recent Loud Women post, I might not have checked them out on Bandcamp. And had I not become immediately smitten by the Walthamstow-based duo’s delightful songs and cheerfully shambolic approach to music making, I would not be here today to extol the virtues of their most excellent new digital EP “Wet”.  I owe you a pint at the very least, Molly…

You’ll either get the Slugs, or you won’t.  I can’t imagine there’ll be too much middle ground on drummer Phoebe and guitarist Liberty’s approach to making music. They are unlikely to be shortlisted for musicians of the year, and their singing can perhaps best be described as ‘endearingly charming’. But rather like the great Jonathan Richman in his pomp, the Slugs have an indefinable something that is immediately endearing and that makes you want to hear lots of what they have to offer.

“Wet” is the duo’s third EP in the space of 14 months, and while it doesn’t have anything on it to quite match the brilliance of ‘Snails Are Cunts’ from their 2018 debut “Open Your Lugs! Here Comes The Slugs!” there’s still plenty to put a smile on your face across its five tracks and 13 minutes.

In keeping with the title, all five selections carry an aquatic theme. If you have ever wondered to yourself “what is wet?” Phoebe and Liberty might have the answer you are looking for in track 2 – piss is indeed wet, as you will know.

It’s their sage recommendation that you “get (your) ‘Factor 50 on” when you go “swimming in the summer in the Ladies Ponds”, and that seems like sound advice from any perspective.

You don’t have to be “Happy As A Clam” to shake your shell to “Do The Mollusc”, but they make it sound like such fun that you would be a right misery guts if you didn’t want to frug with the Slugs.

Between the lively opener ‘Splash’ (kinda does what it says on the tin) and the reflective finale ‘Mint Green’ (it’s all mint to the Slugs, and I know where they are coming from) there’s bags of fun to be had. Just pick a track and get stuck in…

Not all music needs to be cerebral. The Slugs truly ARE girls who just wanna have fun. Their songs may not carry the same vital social messages that inform the work of, say, Dream Nails and/or the Menstrual Cramps, but however serious life gets (and let’s face it, it’s not a barrel of laughs at the best of times) it does all of us good to have a fling occasionally and this is the perfect record to help you turn any frown upside down…

The Slugs’ three EPs are all available digitally now via Bandcamp Phoebe and Liberty are supporting Nun Habit this coming Friday (November 1) at Dalston’s Victoria pub, and Barry the band next Thursday (7/11) at Sister Midnight Records in Deptford.  Follow The Slugs on Facebook for further news of future musical events. }

Gaptooth: Sharp Minds, Raised Fists – LP REVIEW

Reviewed by Tony Rounce

“Peer assessment”. A practice they employ at my teenage daughter’s school, where she and her classmates are called upon to mark each other’s work.  And something I now find myself doing with “Sharp Minds, Raised Fists” – the latest album from Hannah Lucy p.k.a. Gaptooth. 

Y’see, when she’s not being Gaptooth, Hannah is a fellow member of Team Loud Women. Which could’ve been a bit tricky for me, if I hadn’t liked the album. Fortunately I do. Very much so. And I suspect that I am not going to be the only one to speak of it in glowing terms this month.

In a live environment, Gaptooth is a band. But on record (well, CD and download) it’s basically all Hannah, apart from some very occasional assistance with guitar parts. You may have caught Gaptooth’s set at Loud Women 4 recently. If you did you could not have been anything other than mightily impressed with Hannah’s pithy, funny, intelligently crafted lyrics, sung in her own attractive ‘London’ voice, and the immediate ear-friendliness of her tunes. Now you can relive them in the comfort of your own home. It’s my recommendation that you do so, and as soon as possible.

The absence of ‘real’ instruments on “Sharp Minds” does not detract from the excellence of the repertoire, the high quality of Hannah’s writing, or the strength of her poptastic melodies. Its dynamic opener ‘Post-Patriarchy Disco’ raises the bar for feminism in music, while the quite brilliant near-closer ‘Why I Left You Outside Pizza Express’ will resonate with anyone who has ever felt pressured to be half of a romantic partnership, just because everyone in their circle of friends expects them to.

In between there are 8 more songs that deal with harassment (‘Red Flags’ aimed at a sleazebag who is “Toxic, And Not In The Britney Sense”), confrontation (“I’m Going To Mention The Unmentionable”) anxious self analysis (“Did I State My Case? Did I Do My Best?” worries the central character of ‘Rewind And Replay’), domestic and ethnic violence (the sample-driven ‘They Cut, We Bleed’, here in two impressive mixes) and much more besides. All of them demanding your attention, and all of them more than worthy of it.

There isn’t room to examine each song in detail, but if you want just one highlight to sell you on the album I have the very thing right here. ‘Mixtape Song’’s ultra-poignant memoir of a youthful, bygone romance literally had me reaching for the Kleenex. I would imagine most of us will have had (or will at sometime have) ‘the relationship’ that we look back on with wistfulness, and wonder how the other person’s life has progressed since.

“Though I Never See You Now
I Still Believe In Certain Bonds That Never Break
So Send Me Your Co-Ordinates
I’m Making You A Tape.”

Haven’t we all at least wanted to do that for one person at least once? Kudos (and then some) to Hannah for articulating the sentiment so beautifully.

Photo (c) Keira Anee Photography

Bright and brash, filled with songs that any of our top tunesmiths would be proud to put their names under the titles of, “Sharp Minds, Raised Fists” comes to you with the 100% emphatic endorsement of this particular Loud Woman. I enjoyed it so much that I immediately purchased a physical copy of the CD from Bandcamp, even while I was reviewing it here from the sound files there. And what’s more I fully intend to follow up by investing in as much of Gaptooth’s back catalogue as I can lay my hands on, as quickly as I possibly can.

Now that IS positive “Peer Assessment” for you….

“Sharp Minds, Raised Fists” is available via Bandcamp right now. Hannah promises that Gaptooth will be playing more gigs in early 2020 if not before. Follow them on Facebook for all upcoming Gaptooth news.

Photos courtesy of and reproduced with kind permission.

Breakup Haircut – 10 question interview

The newest kids on the block reveal all to Tony Rounce

If you’re looking for a brand new band to fall in love with, Breakup Haircut is available at a moment’s notice.

The London based four-piece is indeed very new, having only played their first gig in May of this year, but they are winning new fans and making new friends every time they play, and have just released their first EP “What Did You Expect? I Got It Off The Internet” – a fab collection of warm and witty Super-Pop that will appeal to anybody and everybody who loves the kooky quirkiness of early Television Personalities or Jonathan Richman and the Modern Lovers, with a side order of Shonen Knife.

The immensely likeable quartet recently submitted to LW’s 10 Question Interview  (12 actually…) As you will see, they have a fair bit to say for themselves…

How did Breakup Haircut come together? 

Ishani, Delphine, and Ripley: We started in a Facebook thread on the First Timers group. Ripley put a call out for band members, and that’s how Ishani and Delphine joined – and after a couple of museum dates, it was locked in. It took a bit longer for us to find a drummer – but we ended up doing a serendipitous swap where someone’s brother tried out with us, and then he joined his sister’s band instead and we ended up with their ex-drummer Jordan – we’ve been together ever since.

Jordan: I was sitting at work, and I got a message. A band I was in for a few minutes had recommended me, BH’s previous drummer had split and they wanted me to try out. I did, and the rest is history in the making.

Who or what inspired you to take up music initially?

Jordan: I wanted to play trumpet like my granddad, but didn’t have the patience, same with guitar. The drums were the only things that I seemed to not struggle with. 

Ishani: I grew up in the middle of nowhere, and never really had any friends. I took up the piano when I was four because my brother did it and I thought he was the coolest, but by my teens I’d started to realise that if I wasn’t going to have friends I may as well make stuff, so I kind of set about trying to learn as many instruments as I could. 

Ripley: When I was a kid, lessons were too expensive and none of my family is musical. I was big into emo, pop punk and metal but all those bands seemed to be playing music in these big, expensive inaccessible settings. Then I got into horror punk and seventies punk in my mid teens. The bands were all quite small and DIY. The old-school punk attitude and disregard for having had formal teaching and just picking up an instrument, making your own clothes and art and just having a go, made me realise I could just have a go too. And a lot of the small venue and DIY style music videos of the horror rock bands at the time like Zombina and the Skeletones were a big inspiration to me to save up for my first guitar.

Delphine: I used to learn music when I was small, and later learnt to play the guitar when I was a teenager with the idea of being in a band. It was all about punk and heavy metal for me. Cut a long story short: never made it into a band, prioritised sports over music.

About a couple years back my pen friend Claire told me about the Rock Project, so I started learning the guitar again. I eventually realised that making music is good for the soul, so stuck with it and joined First Timers.

What motivates your songwriting?

Jordan: I do the bash bash bash, not the la la la. I’m trying to write something but it’s difficult when you can’t play guitar or sing or formulate coherent ideas.

Ishani: When I was younger I tried to make more complicated and structurally difficult music – now I just want to write music that people can kind of relate to and chuckle at. I think of the songs I write as like a musical version of the millennial dark jokes that have arisen as everyone’s grown a bit more open about being sad all the time. I frequently semi-kid about never using more than seven chords in a song.

Ripley: What we do is quite collaborative, and I like how we support each other’s ideas. A lot of the time someone brings some an idea, riffs, a composition, some lyrics, into the room, and then everyone starts writing their own parts and we form it into a finished song as a group. It’s really fun. And sometimes you bring an idea and it ends up different to how you expected it, but usually in a totally awesome way you might not have thought of yourself. I’d never written songs before this band, musically or lyrically (only a few riffs and a few lines of lyrics here and there), now I’ve done both! 

Delphine: A mix of fear, anger, anxiety and PTSD from my music theory-learning years. Mostly it’s about putting feeling somewhere other than bouncing between my chest and my brain. Also, proving wrong quite a few people I met along the way. I haven’t written a song yet; I’m hoping to finish my first one before 2020. It takes me quite some time to write.

Who do people tell you that you sound like? And who would you be happy to be compared to?

Jordan: Literally no one has ever said anything to me about who we sound like. I don’t even know who we sound like. Can someone please tell me who we sound like so I can listen to them?

Ishani: We get called pop punk a lot. We’ve been compared to Martha, Martha and the Muffins, Skating Polly, Slutever – loads of people. I personally aspire to write songs that are kind of a crush mix between the simplicity and catchiness of blink-182, and the vulnerability and relatability of Worriers.

You’re still at a relatively early stage with your gigging, but what would you say is your best/most favourite gig you’ve played to date?

Jordan: I don’t have a favourite but every gig we play has a memorable moment or something that you remember. It’s strange how you don’t really remember the show but remember the toilets of a venue.  

Ishani: I’ve really enjoyed loads of them! I really liked playing the Imaginary Friends Collective – it was a kind crowd, the sound guy had a pun for a name (Paul of Sound), and I brought this cute little tub of bubbles on stage to blow periodically.

Ripley: Most gigs have had at least one element I’ve enjoyed a lot. To be honest First Timers Fest is probably still my favourite, just for being one of the most overwhelmingly positive experiences of my life, not just for gigs.

Delphine: Our most recent gig with Panic Pocket, Talulah Paisley, and Charmpit for For The Sake Of Tapes. It was just sooooo much fun!

Your dream line up on any show you might play in the future would be? 

Ishani: Camp Cope would be super cool to play with, some of our friends have played with them recently and that seems wild. Sleater-Kinney make for a really aspirational support slot. The Mountain Goats, just to exist near them for a little while.

Ripley: Sheer Mag, Worriers, RVIVR and Screaming Females (I would like faint with excitement – ultimate fantasy dream line-up). Also I’ve really gotten into ARXX‘ s music since first hearing their music at Loud Women Fest 2019, and would love to play on a line-up with them someday.

Delphine: It might be crazy and unlikely, but I would love to be sandwiched between AFP, Bad Cop/Bad Cop, and First Aid Kit.

First record you bought? And the most recent one?

Jordan: I think it was ABBA’s Greatest Hits; I bought it as a present for my mum. I wasn’t very interested in music as a child and just listened to what my mum and grandma played, which was mostly various disco tracks and Elvis. Does anyone buy music nowadays? I mean, buy our EP, because it’s great. I think the last music I paid direct money for was the Goodtime Boys EP: Are We Now or Have We Ever Been. You can tell it’s post-hardcore, because the name is long and brooding.

Ishani: The first record I ever bought was Green Day’s Dookie. My brother had it on constantly so I bought my own copy when I was like, 11. More recently, the last thing I spent money buying was actually a copy of our EP for my dad!

Ripley: Smile by L’ Arc~En~Ciel on CD was my first. The last record I bought was Compilation (I, II & III) by Sheer Mag on vinyl.

Delphine: My first buy was AC/DC’s Ballbreaker, and my last purchase was one by Efa Supertramp.

First band you saw? And the most recent one? 

Jordan: I think the first gig I remember going to was the Taste of Chaos tour when I was 13/14. It was Gallows, Killswitch Engage and The Used. I think the first band on was We Are the Ocean, so they’re the technical first. I remember getting punched in the stomach by a large bald man and having beer spilled over me. I can’t really remember the last gig I went to either. I think it was Don Broco. I punched a large bald man and threw beer on him.  

Ishani: The first band I ever saw was Busted! A friend of mine kind of dragged me into it, but I do remember having a good time and standing on a chair, and I think I was nine. The most recent band I saw was Instant Bin.

Ripley: The first band I ever saw was Bullet for my Valentine, and I was at a gig last Sunday featuring Cecilia and our First Timers mates, Bitch Hunt, Trouble Wanted, and Temps Sec.

Delphine: The Rolling Stones for their 40 Licks tour was my first ever gig. Most recently I saw Tacocat!

Your all time favourite bands?

Jordan: Everytime I Die (The Big Dirty is why) and Primus, they’re varied enough where you can find a little bit of what you need at any given time. 

Ishani: Right now one is probably Kimya Dawson. I think she’s spectacularly honest and cool, and influenced me a lot in realising that being genuine can be a really good thing that people actually like and enjoy. Quite similar to the Mountain Goats. I am also in a really big Boney M phase right now; I like a good bop as much as anyone else.

Ripley: Pat Benatar, because her eighties rock was the soundtrack to my early teens when I lived in America. I love their guitars, and they’re such badasses – I desperately want to see them play live. And MCR, because emo was a huge part of my musical development, and their music has aged pretty well over the years (in my opinion). I also love the horror and fantasy concepts in some of their songs, as well as their energy.

Delphine: Green Day and Yellowcard. Both had albums that I discovered at times of great darkness (respectively American Idiot and Ocean Avenue), and both got me out of difficult times in my life. 

As a not-yet-full-time band, what do you do when you’re not being Breakup Haircut?

Ishani: Outside of my day job, I run a book drive for London’s homeless shelters, work in a music and arts centre for adults with learning disabilities, run music making and karaoke sessions in inpatient wards, and I did Girls Rock London this year. I’m also in a couple of other bands, and I swing dance and am also in a classical choir. 

Ripley: When not doing band stuff, I like drawing, practicing kung fu and being an archer in medieval re-enactments over the summer. I work in tech. I think most of my colleagues are mildly bemused by my band stuff in general, but overall supportive!

Delphine: Being the one scientist always coming to work with a guitar. I juggle a lot of hobbies, but between the band and roller derby, my life is full!

Can you offer some sage advice to other young singers and musicians who have the will to make music, but can’t yet find the way?

Jordan: Practice, and practice things you’re not a fan of. 

Ishani: I think for us, and maybe for others, it’s important to keep the focus on having fun and making noise and being around each other and trying new things – and delegating or outsourcing the things we have to in order to keep this a happy place for us. I’ve grown a lot as a person in this band – it’s been my first actual positive experience with teamwork maybe ever, because loads of the time teamwork as an adult is just segmented and ugly. Finding the right people is integral to that.

Ripley: If a situation isn’t working for you and is making you unhappy, it’s OK to bail. It’s not failing, and you will be fine. No matter how talented and motivated the other people are, if they’re not treating each other right, it’s not worth it and you shouldn’t have to put up with it. What I like so much about this band is that we’ve got a good mix of commitment and motivation, but also most importantly, we prioritise looking out for each other and check in to make sure everyone feels included and happy. It means we can trust each other, and also have lots of fun together.

Delphine: Don’t worry about what others say – think about your music as telling your truth. Just take that leap. 

How would you like history to remember Breakup Haircut in 100 years time?

Jordan: As the premiere hairstyle worn by the richest and most powerful elites who live simultaneously on the Earth and the Moon. When searching all the unique and powerful styles to choose from, they see a small link to our music.  

Ishani: Fondly. As people who provided a laugh and a shoulder to cry on and maybe even a place to go, if you need it. It would mean a lot to be a comfort blanket band.

Ripley: Like all bands from times past, in BBC4 music docs. But also hopefully just as music that people can enjoy and hopefully relate to and associate fun times and good memories with. 

Delphine: The band that talked about feelings and vampires, and had the most fun. Fame and fortune would also be nice…

BH are playing at the Finsbury in London on Friday October 11th and Weenfest at DIY Space For London on October 26th, More gigs will hopefully be forthcoming soon! The ‘What Did You Expect? Etc.’ EP is available digitally from Bandcamp (https://breakuphaircut.bandcamp.com/releases) and as a limited edition physical CD from the band at their gigs.

The Regrettes: How Do You Love? – album review

Reviewed by Tony Rounce

I first saw The Regrettes playing live on the flat roof of a Whole Foods store in Austin, Texas in March 2017. I wasn’t so much beguiled by their sound as bowled over.  I couldn’t wait to see and hear more, or to get home and tell our Kim about this great young band that I knew she was going to love. They are a perfect ‘entry level’ band for anybody who wants to dig deeper into the world of Loud Women – as demonstrated by the aforementioned 14-year-old, who has become an ardent fan of ARXX and Dream Nails off the back of her first (and second, and third…) Regrettes gigs last year.

It’s somewhat mind-blowing to realise that the Regrettes have been a band for nearly 5 years, and that their vocal focal point and primary songwriter Lydia Night is still a few weeks short of her 19th birthday.  Despite significant personnel changes along the way the group has hung in there to grow a real fan base through regular touring, and to nurture a genuine love affair with its audiences.  The recently released “How Do You Love?” is the second full Regrettes album, and it’s very much the worthy addition to their discography that fans old and new will have hoped for…

It’s not a lie to say that the Regrettes are only half the band they used to be.  Since they released their debut long player  “Feel Your Feelings Fool” almost 3 years ago, drummer Maxx Morando and bassist Sage Nicole Chavis have both moved on, as has Chavis’ first replacement Violet Mayuga.  The group’s personnel might be something of a revolving door, but their sound has remained constant, with Night and guitarist/vocalist Genessa Gariano staying true to the Regrettes’ pure powerpop musical manifesto. “How Do You Love?” segues seamlessly out of “Find Your Feelings Fool”, with much the same sort of tantalisingly tasty, loud pop treats that the Regrettes 1.0 built the reputation on that earned them the early support of our own Kate Nash, among others.

Here we have 14 smart servings of pristine American Pop that flirt with all areas of the band’s proclaimed influences, from Bikini Kill to the Ronettes to Lesley Gore and even Elvis. A baker’s dozen and one top-notch tunes, none over the four-minute mark and most under three, just like all good pop songs should be. Love songs, diatribes, barely disguised autobiographies, all anchored to the kind of naggingly familiar riffs that might make you think you’ve heard them before, but probably haven’t. 

Highlights include the love song ‘Pumpkin’, a kind of musical mash-up of the Kinks and Del Shannon with a frosting of Joan Jett in Night’s semi-sneered delivery. (Surprisingly our Joanie does not figure in the band’s admitted list of influences, but you can hear hints of her in every track – and particularly the ‘I Love Rock ‘n’ Roll’-like ‘Has It Hit You’ – whether the band meant it that way or not). ‘I Dare You’ is propelled by a Motownesque ‘You Can’t Hurry Love’-like groove, ‘Stop And Go’ is the love child of the Shangri-Las and the Ramones, ‘More Than A Month’ the ultimate in teenage breakup anthems – I can’t list all the highlights, but there’s plenty to be going on with there and if you don’t like at least some of those, you’re probably not going to like the rest of this altogether splendid album much anyway…

The Regrettes will be back in the UK for a nationwide tour in November – and, incredibly have announced this week that they will return for yet another tour in March 2020. The venues they are playing are getting bigger every time they come, so if you haven’t seen them yet, now might be a good time to splash out on a ticket before it’s Wembley Arena or nothing…

ARXX: Wrong Girl, Honey: EP review

Review by Tony Rounce

One of the nicest surprises at Loud Women 4 was finding a brand new ARXX EP on the merch table. I had asked both Hannah and Clara in the summer if there would be any new physical product coming this year to follow 2018’s still-incredible “Daughter Of Daughters” mini-album, but they had been surprisingly reluctant to comment… 

…Et voila, there it was, and here it is – four songs and five tracks, conveniently bagged and tagged as “Wrong Girl, Honey”.  An item that nobody with even a passing interest in what’s really happening in music today can afford to be without.

ARXX have already issued two of the tracks,  ‘Iron Lung’ and, more recently ‘Y.G.W.Y.W’ – a lyric line from which gives the new EP its title – through all the usual stream-able platforms, and have accrued an enormous number of ‘listen’s that way.  As well they deserved to for making two of the very best singles that 2019 has brought us.  Both tunes are among the highlights of any and every ARXX live set, and on record (well, CD) they sturdily reinforce the passionate aggression of Hannah and Clara’s stage presentation.  If you don’t yet know either song, you need to remedy that immediately. 

The two ‘singles’ are joined by two more previously unrecorded songs – one fairly new, and one fairly not so new. The powerful yet melancholic ‘Swallowed The Sun’ has been a feature of ARXX’ live sets since the spring. On record it is also a compelling showcase for Hannah’s mighty vocal and emotional range, simultaneously reinforcing my own belief that Clara’s command of her kit makes her one of the best – if not THE best – one-person rhythm section out there right now. 

‘The Storm’ by contrast, is a song from the pre-Clara days of ARXX that the duo resurrected to great effect for Loud Women 4.  There are two versions of it here, both of them delightful. If you didn’t make LW4, and thus haven’t heard it yet, imagine the Shangri-Las backed by AC/DC and you’ll have a pretty good idea of what you’re in for.

ARXX are currently in the midst of an ongoing European tour that takes them all over the UK and runs through to the end of October, finishing with a homecoming gig at Brighton’s excellent Hope & Ruin pub on October 22nd.   The “Wrong Girl, Honey” EP is officially released at the beginning of November, but should be available at most if not all of their upcoming shows.  Please feel free to consider it an essential purchase.

Find ARXX on Facebook