At the time of writing, Hurtling remain one of alt-rock’s best-kept secrets. If you’ve been lucky enough to stumble across one of their searing sets in tiny London venues, or possibly at Loud Women Fest 2019, this album will come as a welcome reminder of the layered and intense sound these three unassuming people seemingly effortlessly forge onstage. If you’re one of the many who’ve not yet made their acquaintance, however, well. You’re in for a treat.
Each member of the band is exceptionally talented and you may have spotted one or more of them augmenting the live sound for artists like My Bloody Valentine, GrahamCoxon, CharlotteHatherley etc. But together, playing their own songs, they’re a formidable force, an actual super-group.
From the opening track, Start, with its Pavement-esque guitar riff and slightly off-kilter drums riding along in a cart behind, this record sounds like a road trip across a desert, somewhere in America, with friends driving together in a tripped out convoy, bouncing over bumps in the road, racing each other gleefully, overtaking, pulling apart, careering back together again.
The sounds across the whole album are gorgeous – rich, fuzzy guitar and bass, sometimes drenched in reverb, always warm, riffs and beats and vocals always landing just right with just the right amount of space between. And everything flows, like water through channels full of interesting edges and varied depths, burbling playfully, sometimes smooth and fast sometimes gurgling around a stone or a tree.
When Memory Cassette starts up it sounds like a radio hit coming over the car stereo; a slice of west coast summer punk/pop, with a tipsy riff to fall over for. Next comes the darkly intense Feel It, where singer/guitarist Jen Macro’s voice ranges from gentle and pure to a slightly stifled scream…
“so it begins / pulling out limbs / FEEL IT!”
Summer is known from live sets as the epic one with the big psychedelic rock out ending. “Let’s start on an even keel / let’s touch what we cannot feel / my heart wouldn’t even say” sings Jen and you feel your heart softly break, before the chorus lifts you up and then that big ending makes all the hairs on the back of your neck stand up.
But the stand out track is possibly Alone, with its beautiful guitar picking, dreamy chord modulations and, towards the end, lush harmonies. “Now here I stand in the sand drawing a line / between what’s yours now and used to be mine.” It sounds ready made for a film, for the scene with the rain pattered night-time drive home, the heroine looking sadly out of the window, etc, ad lib to fade. Surely it’s only a matter of time?
Hurtling – Future From Here will be released by Onomatopoeia on 18 Oct 2019
A blissfully tired and wee-bit-emotional Sunday following what must be one of my very favourite LOUD WOMEN gigs of all time last night – our 4th birthday celebrations at the Hope & Anchor, with performances Hagar the Womb, Rabies Babies, The Menstrual Cramps, I, Doris, The Other Ones, and Smalltown Tigers. Pure punk rock mayhem, cake everywhere, clothes-swapping, crowd-surfing, all-grrl-mosh-pitting, wall to wall good vibes – we thoroughly birthdayed.
Hopefully someone will post some proper photos of the night, but in the meantime here’s my phone snaps!
Our lovely friend Tony Rounce was, of course, in attendance, and wrote this beautiful post about the evening that was too gorgeous not to share …
I’ve mentioned before that I believe we are living in a new Golden Age for live music.
Anyone doubting my word should have been at the Hope and Anchor last night for Loud Women’s 4th birthday party.
It was rammed to the roof, mind you, but you would have been most welcome and I’m sure a space would have opened up for you.
Five hours of fab bands from locations as far apart as Rimini and, er, Bristol.
Some of the best music you could have heard anywhere in the U.K. last night.
Some of the nicest people you could spend 5 hours in a room with.
All coming together to celebrate the fourth birthday of an impressive collective that exists to promote and further the cause of women/womxn/non-binary/LGBTQ+ in music.
In its four years Loud Women’s live profile has progressed from putting on small gigs in small rooms like the Hope to presenting probably the best and best organised one day annual festival on the planet – this year’s September event showcased 21 bands and singers in 10 hours across two adjacent venues in North London. LW has established itself internationally with overseas chapters across the globe, and has inspired many others across the U.K. to promote the regeneration and growth of a vibrant music scene.
My hat and my whole head is off to the indefatigable Cassie Fox for founding and maintaining the high profile of such a fantastic thing as LW. I am inordinately proud of my own very modest contributions to Team Loud Women as a writer and reviewer, and grateful for the opportunities to say nice things about nice people.
The ‘nice people’ on stage last night all brought plenty to the party, and I am delighted to have added The Other Ones and Italy’s Smalltown Tigers to the ever growing list of ‘bands I must see again in a hurry’. It’s a bit unfair to single anyone out for special commendation but the Menstrual Cramps – to my mind, one of the most important bands to have emerged in the last 40 years – were in unbeatable form (as they usually are, to be fair) and ignited an outbreak of pogoing the likes of which the Hope’s cellar probably hasn’t seen since the late 70s. My own pogoing days may be long gone, but I was there in spirit…
Props, too, to Rabies Babies, LW’s own delightful ‘in house’ combo I, Doris and a back from the dead but very much alive Hagar The Womb. They all did their bit to make the evening fun for one and all and it would have been that much less fun for the absence of any of them.
Oh, and I won the raffle. A couple of times! As sure as I’m a Doris I swear to you it wasn’t fixed…
These are great times to have catholic tastes in music. I’m glad that I still have the energy to be a part of what’s going on and, more importantly perhaps, to feel a part of it.
LW is doing God’s work and I am sure she’s totally impressed…
Words and photos by Keira Anee – Miss June + Pretty Sick at the Lexington, London, 10 October 2019
Openers PrettySick are from New York, and playing live tonight with double bass.
That is, 2 x bass equally distributed amongst two bassists! I think this is probably the first time I’ve seen a band use two bass, especially without guitar? Which I think definitely deserves a mention.
The band look like they’re having a great time and I was so happy when for their last song they covered ‘Hooch’ (i think?) by TheMelvins. I love this song, and singer Sabrina tore it up perfectly. You can listen to some of Pretty Sick’s music here
It goes without saying that I should probably end this by saying that Pretty Sick were… Pretty sick.
Wahh! After missing Miss June earlier this year, when their debut album came out at the beginning of September (and I loved it), despite so many great gigs happening last night (Ghum, anyone?) I had to be at The Lexington. From the start there was so much energy, the band members were friendly and personal with the audience, and there was also a pretty incredible one woman stage invasion. I wanted to be that woman, she looked ecstatic and I can see why! Miss June are here from New Zealand, they play all my favourites from the album and singles Twitch and Best Girl get a really, really overwhelming reaction from the crowd. I’m going to stop rambling now and dedicate this gig review (?) to the word ‘wow’.
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
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
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
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
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
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‘ smusic 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
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
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
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
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
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.
DIY collective Loud Women has been championing women in music since 2015 and on Saturday 12th October will be celebrating their 4th birthday with a gig at legendary Islington punk venue The Hope & Anchor with sets from Hagar The Womb, Rabies Babies, The Menstrual Cramps, I, Doris, The Other Ones, Mindframe and Smalltown Tigers.
We got in touch with LW’s Cassie Fox to talk about the upcoming anniversary and why, four years on we still need promoters like Loud Women on the DIY scene.
When did the idea of Loud Women first arise and why? Was there a particular incident that sparked it?It started as a one-off gig in 2015. Having played on the gig circuit for a little while, I was feeling frustrated at the amount of ‘man-band’heavy’ lineups all the time, and macho crowds. I was particularly tired of my all-female band always being the token women on the bill, and wanted to put on a fundraising gig with my friends’ bands that could be relaxed and inclusive and fun … so I did! Since then, a whole heap of media activity and community has organically grown around the events, but that ethos is still at the heart of what we do – putting on events full of awesome music and a no-bullshit atmosphere with womxn and non-binary people at the heart.Have you noticed any change in the representation and treatment of female musicians in the four years since LW began?On a small scale, yes – a bit! Certainly in the cosy bubble of the London gig circuit there seem to be loads of new opportunities for “bands who are not cis het white dudes” to play, with seemingly new promoters springing up every day, which is brilliant. Outside of London though, I’m still often told by touring bands playing LW gigs that it’s the first time in ages that they’ve not been the only women on a lineup. And outside of DIY music… there’s plenty of conversations being had about major festivals supporting female artists, but still very little noticeable difference in the gender balance on bigger stages.Can you take us back to the very first Loud Women gig? Who played and what was it like?It was 3rd October 2015 at the (sadly now closed) Silver Bullet in Finsbury Park. The headliners were Blindness (featuring our awesome friend Debbie Smith), with my then-band The Wimmins’ Institute, Argonaut, and Dream Nails. I didn’t know what to expect, and feared we’d be playing to an empty room … but was delighted to find the room full for the first band, Dream Nails, who were playing their first ever gig and had brought all their friends! It was the first time I’d been at a gig with a majority-female crowd – and oh the luxury of being 5’3″ and able to actually see the stage! There was a really fun atmosphere, and we raised a decent amount of money for Women’s Aid too. So it was a no-brainer to keep the momentum going and put on more gigs … and here we are!There have been hundreds of bands playing countless Loud Women shows over the past four years, are there any nights that particularly stick in your memory?The Little LOUD WOMEN gigs we’ve done for families have been by far my favourite! I’m a mum of two, and also a big kid myself, so I love any excuse to get extra glittery, get the balloons out, and start a little toddler moshpit! I loved seeing the kids enjoying music up close, invading the stage, seeing what the instruments feel like, and what their voices sound like down a microphone. And parents really appreciated getting to see ‘proper music’ without having to pay out for a babysitter. At one gig there was a particularly humbling moment when a little girl of about 9 grabbed the mic and gave an impromtu speech about how important it was for everyone to be included – I can’t wait to see if she reappears fronting a punk band in a few years!Aside from the gigs, what else has Loud Women been involved in?Our music blog loudwomen.org and monthly ezine have really taken off in the last few years, I’m really proud of those – we have a lot of contributors, so a lot of different voices and opinions and experiences, and they really help spread the word to audiences and influencers. We’ve also released compilation records – the latest of course being LOUD WOMEN Volume Two! Between the two albums there’s over 40 different bands – all killer – £5 each to you! loudwomen.bandcamp.com
With four years under your belts, what does LW have in store for the future? More of the same I guess, until there’s no need for LOUD WOMEN any more! Keep an eye on the LOUD WOMEN socials for news of exciting 2020 events …Loud Women’s 4th Birthday Party takes place on Saturday 12th October at The Hope & Anchor. More information and tickets, priced £8 + booking fee, can be found here.Check out Cassie’s Loud Women playlist featuring 49 artists who’ve played LW shows over the past four years:
Ireland’s Wallis Bird is celebrating the launch of her new album ‘Woman’ with a stunning performance you can enjoy from the comfort of your sofa. Bird says:
“I have recorded a full album concert of ‘Woman’ with a beautiful ‘one shot’ live camera performance in a former crematorium in Berlin – without any audience. It’s the most unique performance based project I’ve ever worked on and I’m so damn proud of the team that have recorded it because it looks and sounds great.”
‘Woman’ is out now via Mount Silver Records/Caroline International.