Hannah Rose Kessler: I Really Wanna

Review by Julie Riley of I Am HER

Hannah says of herself that she is ‘dryly witty, autobiographical and skilled at creating melodies that will act as earworms for days’. This track evidences this in spades. It is been in. my head for many days and will remain so for many more.

Not only is this song excellent in it’s own right, but its utter sass and swagger bear all the hallmarks of being the perfect them tune to a cult classic such Killing Eve or Luther.

Hannah cites influences as wide as Nick Cave, Carpenters, Debbie Harry and Sonic Youth – varied, classic, iconic. However whatever Hannah has taken from these greats what she has put out here is all her own. In addition, not only does she write and perform this song but she records and mixes it all herself too. She is a highly competent and confident producer, unafraid to deliver near silent moments where the track and vocals are stripped back to the bare bones and is all the fuller for it. She layers in each instrument track like garlands round a Christmas tree, then the odd notes punch through and sparkle like exquisite baubles.

HRK explains that:

This track starts off as being about getting stuck in a cycle of drinking too much and being out too long, with a sort of drunken hazy style. It then becomes clear that the song is about the pain of realising that being alive isn’t like how films and fairytales made it seem, and instead the vast majority of us tend to live our entire lives just about scraping by. It ends with a semi-resolution to keep on trying.’

This is true but paradoxically the song also transports you to a Hollywood cult film where drinking too much, staying out late and being that person just scraping by IS glamorous. This is in a way mimicked by the very clever video created in lockdown. Hannah herself is an enigmatic screen goddess, wrapped in red chiffon. The other people in it are equally enigmatic characters as they each do their own dance to tell their own story. Slinky and sassy like the song.

‘I really wanna’ is indeed an Earworm and it makes you really REALLY wanna write one like it or be more like Hannah.  It has made me resolve to try.

Find Hannah Rose Kessler on Facebook

Ana de Llor: Penelope – video premiere

Delighted to bring you today the premiere of ‘Penelope’, the powerfully-sexy new video from Lisbon-born, London-based avant-pop artist Ana de Llor. She says of the track:

“Have you ever wanted to use your own body to furiously wash away the stain someone left on you? I believe those thoughts and those actions are seen as unbecoming when they come from a woman but men have always been given the freedom to be as a sexually liberated as they so desired.

“As a woman, I feel we are not allowed be as sexually liberated, the same way Penelope wasn’t in the Odyssey. It was expected of her to turn down any suitors that came on to her while her husband was away on an indefinite journey that amounted to 20 years in the end. While away he made the decision to move on and lay with Goddesses, nymphs and common girls alike. I wanted to imagine a world where Penelope moved on and chose to be happy instead. Where she put her needs and her desires first.”

Find Anna de Llor on Twitter Instagram Web

Bryony Williams: I Can Be – track of the day + interview

Just what we need right now: some positive, empowering pop! With a message of “be you, have fun, and to hell with what others may think”, Wolverhampton’s Bryony Williams releases today ‘I Can Be’ on London indie label Beth Shalom Records, and it’ll be the lead single of her upcoming 3rd EP, State I’m In. We had lil chat with Bryony.

The song has a refreshingly upbeat message. Was this written before the lockdown? And, if so, do you think the message applies even more so to the world we now find ourselves in?

This song was written before lockdown. In fact it was recorded in January just before I hopped on my one-way flight to Bangkok, where I intended backpacking for a few months round SE Asia and then heading to Melbourne to set up camp and try my music luck in the Aussie scene. So this track was intended to be self-released just to keep the clock ticking so to speak. And the song was intentionally to remind myself while travelling that, what I’m doing, and not having any responsibilities or plans to commit to a career or housing or anything like that is a-okay. Whatever I choose to do is valid even if it isn’t the conventional expectations that are put upon you, and to own it! Be bold. Get that confidence. Satisfy your life, not others. So I think the message definitely still applies and hopefully to more people now during the world we’re in because it’s forced people to reassess their stability and to reflect on where they’re at, what they’re doing, do they want to continue down this route or is this the unexpected get-away card to change direction? So many questions yet zero answers, which again is why this song is important. It recognises that really, as long as you’re having fun and you’re being your best self, that’s all there is to it.

Tell us about the recording!

Since my 2018 EP, Conscious, I have used Matt Pinfield from Grandflat Recordings as my producer. We were first introduced years ago through my first musical venture, Field Harmonics, where he played live drums for us sometimes. Though once disbanded, I then put my solo music as top priority and throughout this time we have developed such a healthy work/friend relationship. His home studio is here in Wolverhampton where we both live. It’s just so nice to be able to pop over for a ‘cup of tea consultation’ where we can bounce off ideas to each other and get so encouraged and energised, that before you know it we are mic’ing up the drum kit and spending the next 2 days bashing out a song and dancing around the cramped, but cute and camp studio.

It’s hard to plan anything at the moment, but all being well, what are your musical plans from here?

Despite it being a very uncertain time regarding the live gig economy and if press are still operating due to furlough etc. I think I’ve struck gold almost. Like I said, this single was just going to be flounced around a bit, where there was going to be very little push behind it and I didn’t necessarily care because I was living my best life backpacking. But I did return home to the UK after a couple months because of Covid-19 and that’s when my friend, Joe Booley, reached out and boom! After one Zoom meeting, he was sending a contract over and not just for a single, but we had excitedly (like little kids) expanded our horizons and committed to releasing my 3rd EP via his label, Beth Shalom Records. This is super exciting for me because this is my first time ever working with a label, where previously I have self-released and found it hard to give up creative control. But I have definitely moved away from that and I am very happy to give away some responsibility. 

So the lead single, I Can Be, comes out July 1st, followed by another single and then the EP itself, which is set to be out on September 25th on my first ever vinyl too! 

Though because of Covid-19, me and Matt Pinfield are currently remote recording the record so I’m very curious as to how this is going to turn itself out (but so far, so good).


Find Bryony Williams on Facebook / Instagram / Bandcamp

Gabi Garbutt: Genet’s Journey – track of the day

Today’s track of the day comes from Gabi Garbutt. ‘Genet’s Journey’ is out today, and Gabi says of it

“I see this song as a journey through the mind and body with Jean Genet, guiding you through the arteries and veins as well as illuminating your memories, joys and fears.  The human body in the song belongs to anyone you’re connecting with; finding the commonalities in your experience of being human.”

Drama Dolls: Favorite Girl – track of the day

Today’s track of the day is music to bounce around your bedroom to, hairbrush microphone optional. LA brat-punk Drama Dolls present ‘Favorite Girl’, out today, is the first release from their forthcoming EP Over The Shoulder / Boulder Holder

I fell in love with this band as soon as I read the description they gave themselves:

“Somewhere in between the Misfits and the Bangles, or a love child of the Ramones and the Go-Go’s, Drama Dolls sounds like a band with no fucks left to give.”

Follow @Drama DollsLA

Suzie Stapleton: We Are the Plague – video of the day

Today’s video of the day comes from Brighton’s Suzie Stapleton. ‘We Are the Plague’ is the title track on her forthcoming album on Negative Prophet Records via Cargo Records distribution. She says:

“No doubt coronavirus is a matter of grave concern, however, the biggest threat to humanity is humanity. Why have we been so quick to take drastic action on coronavirus yet drag our feet when it comes to dealing with climate change which could bring down not only us but the entire global ecosystem?”

Find Suze Stapleton on twitter facebook instagram 

I am HER: Big Monster

Review by Hannah Rose Kessler

I am Her, this self-described alt-punk rock duo pulls all the stops out with this track. With a warm, vintage guitar sound opening the track the listeners have only a sense of what is about to come. 

The “sparkling punk energy as fuzz-filled guitars are played with a seething passion” is transporting, as Julie Riley’s soft, yet powerful vocals chant the refrain “Big Monster”. The use of space within the song also gives the blooming melody space to explode. Jeff Townsin’s drums come in, giving the track a head-rushy quality. 

Listening to it, it feels like the perfect grunge track: deceptive mellowness covering the thrashing beast underneath.  Julie explains,

“this song was triggered by someone telling me their experience of an anxiety attack. It got me thinking how anxiety/stress is like a beast separate to us that stalks us and preys on us.”

and you can certainly feel that building sense of heady panic in your chest as the song progresses. 

All in all, the experience of “Big Monster” is a delicious assault on your senses. The dynamics and the energy are exactly what I want to hear, and the effect is truly exciting. It is highly recommended that you listen to this track as loud as you can safely do.

Julie (vocals guitar), formerly of 90s cult band Rosa Mota, originally formed I am HER as a solo project in 2016. A year later, she then paired up with Jeff Townsin (drums) and the duo have gone from strength to strength ever since. Their album Herstory received critical acclaim from the likes of Uncut and The Crack, as well as BBC 6Music’s Tom Robinson, BBC Radio London’s Gary Crowley and BBC Radio Wales’ Janice Long to name a few.

WATCH HERE: BALCONY FESTIVAL #6 IN AID OF THE MENTAL HEALTH FOUNDATION FROM 6PM ON SATURDAY 20TH JUNE

Thank you for watching Balcony.  Please consider making a donation to The Mental Health Foundation by clicking here.  Find out more about the fantastic work that they do supporting people with their mental health by visiting their website.

Stage Times (approx):
6pm: RtNmakesmusic – The Zine UK Stage
6.20: I am HER – LOUD WOMEN stage
6.40: Ailsa Tully – God Is In The TV Zine. Stage
7.00: Idealistics – Quarantini – Live Virtual Bar Stage
7.20: Fightmilk – Reckless Yes Stage
7.40: Sherika Sherard – Benumu Stage
8.00: Velvet Starlings – GigSlutz Stage
8.20: David Devant & His Spirit Wife – Joyzine Stage

Support Our Artists by Visiting Their Store Pages:

RtNmakesmusic: Facebook
I am Her: Bandcamp
Ailsa Tully: Facebook
Idealistics: Facebook
Fightmilk: Bandcamp
Sherika Sherard: Official Website
Velvet Starlings: Official Website
David Devant & His Spirit Wife: Official Webstore

Visit our partner blogs & promoters:

Joyzine
Louise Schofield
LOUD WOMEN
God Is In The TV Zine
The Zine UK
GigSlutz
Reckless Yes
Benumu
Crocroland
Sonic Tonic
The Bechdel Sound Test
Quarantini Virtual Pub
Louderthanwar

Balcony Festival returns for its sixth outing on Saturday 20th June – the online music festival has raised around £5,000 so far for causes including NHS Charities Together, Refuge and The Trussell Trust and donations received from this event will go to The Mental Health Foundation.

A collaboration between Joyzine and fellow UK blogs and promoters LouderthanwarLOUD WOMENGod Is In The TV ZineGigSlutzThe Zine UKBenumuCrocrolandSonic Tonic and Quarantini, the festival will feature exclusive performances from one band selected by each promoter and will be broadcast on www.joyzine.org and our partner blogs.

You can find out more on the Balcony Facebook and Twitter pages.

For all those who support putting women on stage, and turning up the volume