This Saturday 23 May sees the 5th Balcony Festival – this time in aid of The Music Venue Trust‘s #saveourvenues campaign. The show will be free to view via a number of established independent UK blogs who have collaborated to create this event – including right here, LOUD WOMEN! We’ve partnered up with the best damn venue in the UK for the event, the awesome Le Pub in Newport, and we’ve got an exclusive lockdown set from the amazing drummer Eilis Frawley this Saturday.
Viewers are encouraged to make a donation to the charity if they can afford to do so.
As the self-appointed President, Secretary and Treasurer of the Anything To Do With Party Fears Fan Club, I received the recent news that the duo’s powerful percussionist EilisFrawley and singer/frontsperson Maggie Devlin were going their separate ways with extreme dismay. However, one happy bi-product of Eilis’ amicable departure means that we will all have twice as much interesting music to look forward to in the future – and ‘interesting’ is a perfectly understated word with which to describe Eilis’ debut EP ‘Never Too Emotional’, from which the dubby, claustrophobic and ever-so-slightly sinister (in a good way, if there is one!) ‘leave the house’ is the newest ‘single’…
Actually it’s much more than merely interesting, to be honest. It’s normally good to be able to offer some comparisons to existing music for reader reference, but you won’t have heard a lot like this before, however much music you’ve heard so far and however long you’ve been listening. The best I can offer you is a collation of 60s beat poetry and Lou Reed’s Metal Machine Music, but even that isn’t really or nearly accurate.
The combination of raw synth topped, voluminously percussive soundscapes and laconic, semi-philosophical spoken word – not rapping, exactly, more meaningful discourse – is out of the ordinary, and it does takes a bit of getting used to at first. However, once you lock into what Eilis is doing here, it’s hard not to be impressed with the outcome. What that is cannot easily conveyed in print, so please do click on the link and see if you don’t agree that I am right.
Eilis has been releasing songs from this project on her Bandcamp page over the past few months, each new issue helping to build a big picture of what she’s aiming to do with her solo project. Her label’s press release says that the EP “touches on topics of social structures, feminism, mental health, creative insecurities, personal tragedies, and the psychological impacts of living abroad” (in case you didn’t know, Eilis is Australian and I believe she is still based in Berlin) and indeed it does, both acutely and obtusely. Now it can be heard as a whole thing, its potency has never been more apparent. If it doesn’t hit you round the ears with immediate effect, please do persevere – you WILL connect with it, and vice versa, in good time. Both refreshing and provocative by turn, it brings something new and interesting to the table, and I’m sure you will thank me later for insisting that you do so.
As well as creating these invigorating musical episodes, Eilis has also been playing her own solo shows in the UK and elsewhere recently and is due for more of the same soon. I for one am intrigued as to how this will all translate to a live medium, so I can hardly wait….
“Never Too Emotional” is out now on Reckless Yes records and can be found on most if not all of your favourite streaming services.
You might know EilisFrawley as the drumming powerhouse behind our favourite Berlin indiepoppers PartyFears. It’s her flipside solo project which is making waves across Europe at the moment – ‘spoken word meets drumming’ is the vibe and you can catch her this very evening in fact at Earth, Hackney, London (it’s free too – go!) The tour continues in Sheffield, Manchester, Leicester and Leeds. All info on Facebook.
Eilis’ single ‘illusions’ is out now on Reckless Yes records – a beautiful ambient soundscape to dive into, with home-hitting lyrics:
Busyness will kill us …
In the meantime, we asked Eilis 5 pressing questions …
1. For people who’ve not seen you play solo before, what can they expect from you on this UK tour?
Strong and off kilter with stories about growing up, living abroad, the fluctuation in mental health and thoughts on discrimination, merged in a soundscape of drums, spoken word and synths. On stage I’m creating a dark atmosphere broken by catchy melodies, all held together by powerful and intricate drum beats. My live set is diverse, brutally honest and should encourage women* with similar experiences to speak up.
2. Fill in the blanks …
“My sound is like the lovechild of Battles and BrianEno with a bit on the side from CameraObscura”
3. Give us your artist manifesto in no more than 20 words.