Tag Archives: She Makes War

2012 Albums of the Year: Part Two #10 – #6

14 Dec

2012 Albums of the Year 10 to 6

Here we are again, on an album countdown extravaganza. It’s part two of our three-part look at our 15 favourite albums of the year. Today we will be revealing who took the number 10 – 6 spots (numbers 15 – 11 are here).

As we mentioned before, this is a list of favourites and reflects our somewhat eclectic tastes only. No science or voting was used to determine the order, just simple listening and enjoying.

Let’s crack on with numbers 10 – 6.

10. Conveyor – Conveyor

Conveyor

It’s clear thatConveyor love sound and they love to take and manipulate it; bending, shaping and twisting it until it feels just right. On first listen of their eponymous debut album it may appear that some are quickly discarded so they may play with another, veering off on a sonic tangent heading for who knows where. Listen again and you’ll not only wonder how they could have gone anywhere else, but you’ll hear the bubbling undercurrent of that which they left behind, echoing through the hills and valleys of this new soundscape. On Conveyor, sound begets sound. This is not a difficult album to enjoy; loving it is easy to do. Choruses are as catchy as a childhood virus and just as difficult to shake; “Short Hair” in particular is immune to vaccination and will live within your head for weeks. As will “Mom Talk”; we never thought we would be singing along with lyrics like “Hey Mom,/Hey Mom/Hey Mom/Hey Mom/Hey Mom/Hey Mom/What do you want to talk about today?” but we do each and every time the album is on. Conveyor is an album full of intricate and complex sounds that feel so simple and inviting, playful yet intense.


Buy it from: Conveyor

9. She Makes War – Little Battles

Little Battles

On her second album, Little Battles (and technically her second album on this list after her appearance as part of The Penelopes) Laura Kidd, aka She Makes War deals with the struggles and turmoils faced across life’s turbulent journey. Her beguiling, almost choral vocals are often looped to create light harmonies that sit atop layers and layers of sound. Her dark around the edges pop music is complemented with smooth, almost a cappella ballads which nestle amongst the solemn and the upbeat. Warm melodic harp sounds give way to cold and forceful staccato drum beats. Tonally the record flits from steel like assurance to crystal fragility, raw and edgy to tender and soft. It is an album we have come back to time and time again this year and one that never fails to capture and entice us.


Buy it from: She Makes War

8. 2:54 – 2:54

2.54

It has to be said, nostalgia has played a pretty big part in our adulation for the debut album by 2:54. The two Thurlow sisters, Hannah and Colette, have managed to reach deep inside us and flick the switch marked ‘early teens, getting properly excited by music for the first time’. Growing up in the early nineties with indie in the middle of a peak period makes us instantly predisposed to loving an album that is full of reminisces, not least Collette’s Toni Halliday-esque vocals that swoop over the dark and stormy guitar lines. That is not to say that nostalgia is the only reason we love the album, not at all. It’s just a great record, full of songs that swell into darkness and break into light, though mostly it’s about the dark. The neo-gothic sound that is growing in popularity is given additional beauty here by the sense of space and serenity contained within. It would be worthy of a place on our end of year list even if it didn’t remind us of our youth, but it does so it gets to go even higher.


Buy it from: iTunes

7. Toy – Toy

toy

Toy is an album that quickens the heart with excitement. The psychedelic proggy guitars are all hazy wavy wonderful, lifting you up on a swirling mass of krautrock indie. It’s a kaleidoscope of sound that cascades into your ears from all angles. The seven minutes-plus “Dead and Gone” is a prime example of how the sound builds and drops, swirls, spins, discombobulates and puts you back together again. Evidently Toy recorded their self-titled debut in a studio besieged with smoke machines and lasers to recreate the magic of their live shows, perhaps more bands should do the same if the results are always as exciting as this.


Buy it from: Toy

6. Roman Ruins – Homebuilding

roman ruins

If someone had told you that the guy who drums for Beach House on tour would release an album of his own, that it would be brilliant and even better than the Beach House album released that same year, you would probably have told them to get some sleep as they were obviously overworked and talking crazy. That is exactly what has happened though with Graham Hill’s (aka Roman Ruins) debut album, Homebuilding. It was largely written while Hill was on tour with his pregnant girlfriend left behind and the result is an album of rare beauty about growing a family and home. Delicate ambient sounds blend into soft 80s electro beats while the vocals gently rock you as if a babe in arms. More than any other, Homebuilding is designed to be experienced as an album in its entirety rather than as a collection of tracks. The narrative thread is woven throughout and the vinyl (which is stunning) has even been cut with no gaps so you can listen to it as one continuous piece of music. It is simply gorgeous.


Buy it from: Roman Ruins

We’ve hit number 6 in our countdown, come back tomorrow to find out which albums made it into our Top 5.

2012 Tracks of the Year

10 Dec

2012 Tracks of the Year

Over the last three weeks we had a look ahead at 15 artists we recommend you Listen Out For in 2013. This week it is time to look back a bit as 2012 fast draws to a close. Over the next few days we will countdown our EPs and Albums of the year but today we start with our 20 favourite tracks.

We have purposefully used quite a loose definition of ‘tracks’. We are not looking at singles only but tracks that were released in one capacity or another over the last 12 months. These are the tracks that stood out and stayed with us across the year, we hope you like them and hopefully even find some you hadn’t heard before.

20. Lovepark – “How Do I See?”
The debut release from Brighton based Lovepark was a perfect track for late summer evening listening, and despite the onset of winter, it still sounds as lovely as ever. The warm, dreamy sounds gently nudge and probe into your subconscious, simultaneously relaxing you while stirring something from within. Not bad for four skater boys who met on the ramps of Burgess Hill.


19. Dare Dukes – “Meet You On The Bus”
Dare Dukes is blessed with the ability to perfectly encapsulate the minutiae of everyday life in the most charming and endearing manner. Of “Meet You On The Bus” he said, “I was trying to capture the great American leaving-on-a-jet-plane narrative the comes up again and again in popular music, and I was trying to run it through the brains of modern-day Romeos and Juliettes looking for escape from all the things that Romeos and Juliettes get fed up with”. Which is a good thing, because it is exactly what he achieved in such a sweet and catchy way.


18. Eye Emma Jedi – “Sin”
There is something slightly antipodean about the opening guitar lines of “Sin” which we just love and the rest of the track is damn fine too. It’s frenetic indie-pop a-go-go with full on festival bounceability that blasts along at breakneck speed revving up the guitars as it goes. Brilliant stuff from a brilliantly named band.


17. Wall – “Magazine”
Utterly enchanting, Wall’s voice is as soft and refreshing as the cool side of the pillow and as fragile as crystal, perched delicately and perfectly atop her sparse, muted soundscapes. It’s no wonder her debut single, “Magazine” was snapped up for release by the label arm of Black Cab Sessions in double quick time.


16. MS MR – “Hurricane”
Introspective without wallowing in self-pity or melodrama, “Hurricane” is a fantastic twist on the classic pop of yesteryear. It deals with the emotion of a breaking or broken relationship but via self-analysis rather than by proclaiming remorse and undying love for the other party. The production too is stunning, it’s about as clean as we have heard all year and is the kind that could make almost any system sound amazing.


15. She Makes War – “Minefields” (Alphabet Bands session)
A little bit of a cheat we admit, but as much as we love the original version of “Minefields”, this stripped back acoustic version that She Makes War recorded for us earlier in the year is just stunning. It is just gorgeous and we fell more than a little bit in love with it, it being our first ever session just made it even more special.


14. Seasfire – “We Will Wake”
We weren’t the only people to love “We Will Wake”. It didn’t take long for it to burn up the Hype Machine chart and hit the top spot. It takes their trademark haunting melodies and glitchy sounds and adds in a huge, anthemic Hurts-style pop hook that just builds and builds. The gentle darkness that has been ever present in their sound thus far has been cracked by a ray of light pop breaking through, it sounds fantastic.


13. Of Monsters And Men – “Little Talks”
“Little Talks” is a great pop song, when you first hear it you have to sit up and take notice. We love the boy/girl duet, and it’s so vibrant and colourful. This was the first track we heard from Of Monsters And Men and it made us stop what we were doing and go and find everything else we could of theirs and ultimately resulted in their album being imported from Iceland.


12. Public Service Broadcasting – “Waltz For George”
“Waltz For George” consistently knocks us sideways with its haunting and harrowing elegance. Other tracks on The War Room may get more recognition and plaudits, but as great as they are, they lack the emotional resonance of “Waltz For George”, which highlights the realities of warfare and the price that must be paid even in victory.


11. Superhumanoids – “Geri”
“Geri” is one of those tracks that just goes round and round in your head on a never ending loop. It’s so damn catchy and infectious. The melody, the light electronica, the beat, the vocal counterpoint of the male and female duet (which gets us every time) is all rather special.


10. Arrange – “Caves”
Listening to “Caves” is akin to catching the faint scent of something from your past on the breeze as you stride along. Without realising why, memories and emotions have been stirred within you and you just have to stop for a moment to take it all in and compose yourself. The soft, haziness of Malcolm Lacey’s vocals waft around while ambient beats and electronics move deliberately below. It’s music for an early morning walk in the autumn, just as the sun rises and the dew drops glisten. Haunting and melodic it is absolutely beautiful.


9. Rhye – “The Fall”
“The Fall” is a velvet smooth recounting of a relationship that is crumbling and the ache to feel just one moment more of tenderness; “My love, make love to me one more time before you go away” is the lament. It is awash with a mid-life crisis feel, the element of looking across at grass that is greener and wondering how you ended up here, all delivered in a rich and beguiling package.


8. Olympians – “It Was Words That Sunk Our Ship”
Full of rousing harmonies and popping rhythms layered over intricate guitar and synth lines, “It Was Words That Sunk Our Ship” just edged out “The Dictionary” as our favourite Olympians track of the year. Arriving as part three of their acclaimed Book Club project “It Was Words” further illustrated the bands rapid growth and their ability to create intricate and intelligent sounds.


7. Vuvuvultures – “Ctrl Alt Mexicans”
Vibrant, fractious guitars jump over pulsating, relentless beats and skittering electronics. Named after one of the samples used within in, “Ctrl Alt Mexicans” is a fantastic track of pulsating and edgy darkness. It whips along at pace, taking you with it as it rocks out and jumps around.


6. Milly Hirst – “Rose”
Taken from Milly Hirst’s eponymous debut EP, “Rose” is just sublime, a track of real beauty. As delicate as its subject, wistful and heartfelt it leads you, floating to meet this Rose, to see her and understand her. Its porcelain fragility is divine and makes you want to just close your eyes and drift away on her voice.


5. Haim – “Don’t Save Me”
“Don’t Save Me” is so infectious that people could well die from it. Hear it and you want to dance, preferably in a not-quite-groovy-but-still-really-fun 80’s way, like Springsteen when he dances with Courtney Cox in the “Dancing In The Dark” video. It is just a great pop track that will have you up from your seat and grooving like a loon.


4. Nikki and the Dove – “Somebody”

Speaking of great pop tracks, with “Somebody” Nikki and the Dove has leant over and drawn from the well once reserved for Prince, and the result is an absolute gem. There is so much crammed into less than 3 minutes, it’s like they have taken the best elements of every great pop song of the last 30 years and crammed them together, taken a giant hit and blown out a perfect smoke ring of utter pop magnificence.


3. 2forJoy – “Michaela”
2forJoy’s Ruth Ivo has one of the most enchanting and heartbreaking voices we have heard in a long time. On “Michaela” it is soft and gentle, exciting but somehow distant; tinged with an overwhelming melancholy as she sings of a lost friend. Intermittent electronics and percussion build a perfectly brooding, wistful atmosphere for the vocals to melt into. It’s a wonderful piece of low-key, haunting pop music and one that we absolutely adore.


2. Embers – “Hollow Cage (live performance)”
In just the last couple of weeks, Manchester based Embers have exploded across the internet, taking no prisoners on a path of unrelenting critical acclaim. It is entirely justified as well as on “Hollow Cage” they build sound like a cinematic narrative. Layers are added and woven in as the song progresses and evolves. Recorded in a monastery, the acoustics help add to the scale of the sound, which seems to expand and contract at will. Vocals and strings escalate, rising up to the top of the vast ceilings and filling every nook and cranny above and crypt and cellar below. There is drama and intensity on a grand scale, emotional and honest. Had they released this just a month before, the Blog Sound of 2013 longlist would probably have looked a bit different.


1. Spring Offensive – “Not Drowning But Waving”
We said at the time of release that Spring Offensive’s epic “Not Drowning But Waving” could well end up as our track of the year, and so it has. Its anger, fear and guilt all flow like the tide that plays so central a role in the song’s narrative. From the understated tick-tocking of a clock at the start, through the soft remorseful recounting of the situation, the intense rousing worry of the denouement and onto the resigned coda of culpability and consequence; everything is exquisitely crafted and considered. “Not Drowning But Waving” is a stirring and emotional tidal wave that pulls at your heart and threatens to suffocate your soul. It is a magnificent track and one truly deserving of its place as our favourite of the year.

Stepping up to The Big League: The Penelopes Interview

23 Nov

Throughout history, the relationship between England and France has been the very essence of Love/Hate with both nations falling in and out with one another at the drop of a hat. We are like friends whose primary form of communication is taking the piss out of one another. Both admire and enjoy aspects of the other but equally dislike and mock many others. One recent export from France that we are really enjoying at the moment is The Penelopes.

Originally from just outside Paris, much less glamorous than it sounds evidently, the duo moved to England just over a year ago to flee the stagnant music scene in France and to establish themselves as part of the vibrant indie-pop culture in London. It is obviously working for both Axel Basquiat and Vincent T as, following the release of their latest album, Never Live Another Yesterday, earlier this year, they are about to embark on a UK tour in support of The Human League. When we caught up with Axel last week, he was in the middle of programming lighting sequences for their sets and understandably excited about the chance to play with one of his childhood heroes.

While it may appear that their success and burgeoning reputation have come about quick smart, it has been a long journey for the pair who lived two floors apart, ” I was living on the second floor in the council estate and Vincent was living on the fourth floor”, in a depressing, industrial suburb just north of Paris. Friends since childhood, Axel and Vincent have known each other since the age of two and have pretty much hung out together ever since. ” We grew up together we were listening to the same music together; we were neighbours, and good friends you know. We are almost brothers”, Axel explains, his English spoken perfectly through his thick French accent.

”We want to make people dance”

Their love and appreciation of English music, specifically the music of New Order, The Human League and Depeche Mode, has been well documented. It was born in part from an affinity they felt with the grey and depressing industrial nature of northern English cities, particularly Manchester and Sheffield, and the ”working class heroes” of these bands. It was the kinship they felt and their fascination with the English that led them to start playing music, that and a significant amount of ennui.

“It’s a kind of common story in rock and roll, because we were just bored, you know?” Growing up with ”nothing to do in our city”, the pair turned to music and started copying and playing like their new idols. Soon though their horizons were broadened and they cast their musical net further afield, no longer happy just to sound like the records they grew up with or tell the stories they had told. We started to investigate, we started to listen to more music, disco music, dance music as well. We started to put these influences inside the music because for us, it’s silly to repeat exactly the same thing. You know it’s really silly, The Pioneers, we love them but we didn’t want to do the same thing. We just wanted to incorporate new electronic things in this, referencing the older influences [but] we don’t want to be revival (sic)”.

The references are certainly there but not as overt as you might imagine. There is a lot of bounce and energy to their music, ”We want to make people dance”, while retaining the sometimes dark and melancholy undercurrent in the words, ”I like when the lyrics are a bit twisted”, Axel explains. He likes to counter positive and uplifting music with a darker message, ”People maybe don’t realise at the time [...] in fact it’s more about loneliness and revenge and this kind of thing.

“I don’t like when things are black or white. You are dancing but there’s something a bit melancholy inside, it’s a bit weird. I like that”.

In France on the radio, they only play shit

The pair found that recognition came early for them, they were named 2007’s Best Discovery at the French Qwartz Electronic Music Awards, but they still didn’t feel as though they were connecting or that they fit in the French scene. It is a subject that many would be wary of discussing, for fear of causing offense. Not Axel, he speaks freely and with a refreshing honesty, as if we were old friends catching up after a long time apart. We are talking on the phone but it is easy to imagine him speaking with stereotypical French nonchalance, offering a dismissive shrug of the shoulders as he assesses the French music scene, ”[In France] on the radio, they only play shit you know?”.

The move to England came as they felt their options and opportunities were limited by the conservative nature of the French music industry. While they were liked and revered by the ‘hipster’ and ‘taste maker’ community, it was never going to be enough to provide them the success they craved. ”We want to be more popular” and in France, it was not going to happen. According to Axel, ”for 30 years, the music on the radio is the same” and for all the popularity of the likes of Depeche Mode, there was no French equivalent as they could not break through. The likes of Air and M83, he argues, have had to leave France to become successful. So they set sail for England, where they already felt like they belonged having grown up on our music and where the chance to cross over may be increased as”the frontiers between the underground and the mainstream is a lot [smaller]”.


Since arriving in London, the pair feel their sound has evolved further. The writing, Axel says, has become more structured and precise and the sound is better than ever thanks in part to the higher standard of studios in England. Mostly though, it is the way we work and write that has helped the most. ”It’s in the DNA of the British. How to write good songs, how to write the harmonies. We don’t hear this kind of thing in France, you know? We don’t have that in our DNA. For you guys it’s really natural”.

There are, says Axel, ”a lot more professional people” in England. ”In France a lot of people pretend to be able to do things but we are, you know, we are a Mediterranean country, so [there are] a lot of big mouths” He is keen to stress that his negativity towards the music industry in France is not symptomatic of how he sees the entirety of his homeland mind you. ”I love France, I love the French food, and the wine, but in terms of production they are less good, that’s obvious”.

One of the ‘professional people’ the pair has been working with recently is Alphabet Bands favourite, Laura Kidd, aka She Makes War, who provided backing vocals on the album, features in the video for “Now Now Now” (above) and is joining the band on tour. Like us, Axel is smitten, “She is incredible. She’s just perfect. She works fast, faster than me; she is a lot more professional than us.”

“Laura is very important for me on stage, in terms of the energy that she brings; I’ve learnt a lot with Laura”.

On stage of course means supporting The Human League, which came about entirely by surprise. Axel still isn’t entirely sure how it came about, he believes that a producer in Sheffield thought they would be a good fit for the band and sent some material in. The Human League and their management liked what they heard and soon after an email dropped into The Penelopes inbox, inviting them to join the tour.

For Axel, whose sentences tend to trail off as if his mind can speak English a lot more quickly than his mouth, talking about it makes him giddy and excited. ”When I was in my suburb in France I never think that I would… I’m a fan, you know? It’s the kind of band I love, they are modern you know, they were avant-garde, that’s the point. I like the fact that they reinvented pop music, I love this thing, so yes it is a huge honour for us to… When we received the email we were literally crying, to tell you the truth! You know…. it’s impossible! We are fans. They are in our top six or seven bands you know? We love them!”

It is quite the story. Two kids from a poor, depressing suburb north of Paris who grew up listening to, empathising with and loving The Human League. They start to play music of their own, broadening their horizons and experimenting with their own sounds but never forgetting those bands they loved as children and they let their influence seep into their new sound. Excited and desperate for greater exposure and recognition they cross the sea and work to become successful. Then, as they strive for the big leagues, their wildest dreams come true as another league entirely comes into view and now they begin a new journey in support of their idols, The Human League. They may now be adults, professionals, making their own music to entertain audiences across the world but deep down they are still those two excited kids from just outside Paris, having fun listening to the music that they love.


The Penelopes tour, supporting The Human League, begins tonight (Friday 23 November) in Brighton and culminates in Norwich on 11 December. Dates and ticket details are available at The Penelopes website.

Watch: She Makes War – “Minefields”

26 Oct

What happens next?

No, seriously, what happens next? Cliffhanger videos are nothing new but this new promo for “Minefields” from She Makes War has us scratching our heads with so many unanswered questions and countless possibilities of what might occur immediately after the track stops.

The clip features Dana Jade, Cajita and Ben Murray as the She Makes War band and even without the intrigue it would be great band video on its own. You already know we love the track so this one has been filed under ‘ace’.

“Minefields” is available now from the She Makes War Bandcamp page on a pay-what-you-can basis for a digital download or £10 for a hand-numbered limited edition Postcard set physical edition (only seven left when we last looked).

Oh, and one last thing. WHAT WAS THE BOMB SQUAD DOING IN THE VIDEO?



Read More
Winning The Battle: She Makes War Interview / In Session… She Makes War – “Minefields” / Album Review: She Makes War – Little Battles

Winning The Battle: She Makes War Interview

20 Jul

We all know that Celebrity culture is everywhere these days. Being famous is seen as a legitimate career choice by many who are no longer hindered by the need for some kind of talent to be seen as special by the masses. Society’s obsession with fame and the celebrities, from A-list right through to Double-Z list, has engendered a sense of entitlement amongst a large proportion of the adored. From full on diva demands, vast entourages and crazy rider requests from the uber-stars, to the age-old ‘don’t you know who I am?’ from anyone who has ever been on TV for whatever reason, reality often appears to be something our idols are detached from. Perspective, modesty and humility can be no more than words in a dictionary to some so it is refreshing when you meet someone whose feet are firmly planted on the ground, who appreciates what they have and the people around them, who works hard to achieve their ambitions and who has an opinion, rather than press-speak learnt by rote.

Laura Kidd is one such person, exceptionally easy to talk and warm to; she is very down to earth and open. Relaxed and chatty, she engages enthusiastically on all subjects of discussion and offers reasoned and articulate opinions in response. Like her approach to her life as a musician, she is pragmatic and considered, willing to listen to others and take on board what they say. Respect is given where it is due and deservedly asked for in return and she can be quite forthright about where she feels it is lacking. Like her singing voice which exudes both fragility and strength, she gives glimpses to both vulnerability and vigour.

Performing now as She Makes War Kidd had previously travelled the world as a professional bassist, playing to thousands of people as part of a live band for numerous artists. While many could have been swept away by it all, Kidd saw it for what it was; a job that would pay the rent and put her on the road to becoming a performer in her own right. Already writing her own music, she took time to learn from the experience and used it to help her move forward as an artist and musician. “They weren’t there to see me but that doesn’t matter”, she explains when we meet. “It doesn’t matter at all, it [was] just such a brilliant experience, learning so much really from the people I was playing for”.

“I don’t necessarily feel that my music owes me a living …….I don’t think you get one chance or one opportunity with your music”

Breaking out, going her own way if you like, was always the plan but it was to be done on merit. There was no consideration of using the artists she had performed with as a stepping stone or launch pad for her own career. As she approached the planned launch of her debut album as She Makes War, Disarm, she was working as a session musician with an established artist and considered pushing back its release. ”I didn’t want it to look like I was piggy-backing on them” she admits.

With her second album, Little Battles, released to the world and acclaimed by critics and fans on both sides of the Atlantic, she is unquestionably an established artist in her own right, yet her pragmatism remains. As does her passion for other media and work. She Makes War might be gaining Laura recognition and support from across the globe but it is not the only string to her bow or way of making money. ”What I do for work is mainly I’m a camera person, an editor and an events photographer and I do lots of social media stuff, lectures and things which all of which I love”.

Her expectations and wishes are modest and reasonable, ”I definitely wanna engineer it much more so that She Makes War’s the main thing or at least the musical output is the main thing and then everything else just supports it”. She aspires to have her music make up three-quarters of her income, and that’s income she needs to live, not three-quarters of a multi-million pound salary with endorsements and the like making up the remainder. That sense of entitlement that we mentioned exists within so many young artists these days is nowhere to be found.

“I don’t necessarily feel that my music owes me a living. I think I can make some money or at least I can cover my costs and that’s really what I wanna aim to do. I don’t think you get one chance or one opportunity with your music, I wanna be a career artist so I wanna keep releasing albums. One a year, one every two years, ‘till I’m an old lady and as long as I’ve got stuff to say”.

”People either love that term or they hate it but I don’t care cause I like it, I think it really describes what I do cause it’s not happy, shiny, lovey-dovey pop music”

Playing to less than the hordes she got used to on the road with others is not a cause for frustration or disappointment either. On the contrary, she gets genuinely excited by the crowds she can pull in, because it is she they have come to see. Her album launch show in an area of London not easily accessible by public transport exceeded her expectations, and she was blown away by the turnout, explaining that she thought it would take another year to draw that sort of crowd. Kidd understands it can be a slow journey to build a solid and sustained fan-base, ”if I can retain my current fan base and grow that over time then that’s wonderful”, especially on your own with only the money you personally make (or that you can raise via the likes of PledgeMusic) to put into it; it’s not something that fazes her.

”I don’t have any funding other than money I make myself through my work and not many musicians like saying that, they’d rather pretend that they’ve got loads of backing and everyone thinks they’re the best thing ever and I’m just a lot more realistic in that, I’m not shy to say ‘I’m not a well off person’, it is very sort of self made in that way”.

Her music suits her business model. It’s not something that is reliant on trends or that fits the current slash and burn mainstream model of music being a disposable commodity. She doesn’t make shiny pop, the kind where 90% of tracks appear on a perpetually rolling conveyor-belt and disappear off the end within a week. She makes ‘Gloom Pop’, a term we were previously not familiar with that Kidd herself coined to describe her sound. ”People either love that term or they hate it but I don’t care cause I like it, I think it really describes what I do cause it’s not happy, shiny, lovey-dovey pop music but it’s not not pop music either, it’s obviously pop music. I used to call it grungy pop music and then people got a bit too confused and started calling me grunge which is not appropriate in 2012 so I just call it gloom pop”.

It’s not a term we hate, but is certainly one we didn’t get to start with and one from which we drew some poor connotations. We expected her music to be much more morose and self-indulgent, bordering on emo. While it is introspective at times, it certainly doesn’t wallow in any way. We put this to her and she is receptive and considered. Our view, however misguided, is not dismissed and we are made to feel as if we have something to contribute, as well as being some more background on her thought process. ”For me gloom pop just implies genuine meaningful, heartfelt, but not happy”. It makes perfect sense when you say it like that.

“Bloggers are doing so much of a better job, spending much more time listening and really relating to it, and even if they don’t like it you can hear that they’ve heard it”

She is not as forgiving though about what she sees as a lack of respect, or even courtesy, from certain areas of the press. She is quick to point out that any criticism is valid and that she is not affected by poor reviews and she has been so open and honest that there is no reason to doubt her.

”My belief in my own music is not changed by someone’s bad opinion or someone’s good opinion. If someone says I’m amazing, I still feel the same about my music, if someone says I’m the worst shit they’ve ever heard, I still feel the same”. Her disappointment is when pieces are factually inaccurate or just lazily written or researched. Print articles in major publications that called Little Battles her debut album for example when the press release clearly identified it as her second, or another that read like the album hadn’t even been listened to as it completely misrepresented her sound.

”I can’t prescribe what people write about me and I don’t want to but that has pissed me off a little bit, especially when bloggers are doing so much of a better job, spending much more time listening and really relating to it, and even if they don’t like it you can hear that they’ve heard it”.

That’s not to say bloggers get off scot-free. The race to be first that so many us engage in is not a pastime Kidd is really a fan of. Album reviews going live within an hour of the record being made available to the press for example are particularly disrespectful. You can’t adequately comment on an album if you have barely had time to hear it, and it isn’t fair on the artist if you try to. An artist will work and craft and agonise over sounds, sometimes for years, and she feels (and we agree) that it is only a common courtesy to actually listen to an album a few times before you publish anything on it. The artist takes pride in their work and it sometimes feels, as we rush to post content and hopefully draw in readers before others, that the same cannot be said for the critic.

”I love the internet and I love digital publishing and I love digital photography and digital video and all this stuff but I’m still very conscious of the fact that you can put out untold amounts of shite on the Internet and clog it up. I’m quite careful about that. I don’t wanna put stuff out that’s just rubbish, whether it’s a blog post or even really a Tweet”.

It is that consideration, pragmatism and genuine goodness that helps set Kidd apart from other aspiring artists. She is quite prepared to graft to get where she wants, but she isn’t going to dump all over others to get there, nor does she expect it all just be handed on her. She may achieve her aspiration, she may not, but with her determination and realistic expectations, we fully expect to be hearing a lot more of Laura Kidd over the years. That her music is lovely will no doubt help a lot as well.

Read More
In Session… She Makes War – “Minefields” / In Session… She Makes War – “Exit Strategy” / Album Review: She Makes War – Little Battles / Watch: She Makes War – “Exit Strategy” / She Makes War Website

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