Growing up I was huge on my punk rock music and like a lot of teenagers who went through that notorious ’emo phase’ I absolutely adored Paramore’s front woman Hayley Williams. I remember going to see them live and being in absolute awe at finally getting to see one of my favourite bands live… “like wow they’re actually real!”
Long gone are my emo-fangirl days and naturally my music taste has changed. Scrolling through a recent playlist I made on Spotify one fine Tuesday morning, I was struck by one obvious fact about the bands that I am currently listening to… and that fact is majority of them have woman lead singers.
Thinking back to my early teenage years the only band I can remember listening to often that had a woman lead was in fact Paramore, I guess in the particular genre of music I was listening to it was just more common to have male front man. Flashing forward to my December 2017 playlists that would say the complete opposite and what can I say other than the front woman of today and killing it.
Actively on Spotify everyday looking for new artists, I have taken my top five front woman bands that you NEED to get familiar with in 2018 because the way these bands are going you’re going to hear about them anyway…
1 – Marmozets
With the lead vocals of Becca Macintyre at hand, Marmozets produce an energising rebellious rock vibe that I am completely obsessed with. Their song ‘Play’ caught my attention back in August and I soon worked my way through their debut album ‘The Weird and Wonderful Marmozets’ – the only way I can describe this album is it makes me want to start rioting… but in a good way y’know? Guitar led and attention grabbing vocals to accompany strong lyrics, Marmozets are definitely a go to for any rock music fan.
Check Out their recent release: ‘Major System Error’
2 – Anteros
The first thing that actually attracted me to Anteros was their unusually funky artwork for their singles. My theory was if I liked what I seen, surely I would like what I hear? My theory was correct. The artwork for their music accurately represents their sound that is described as ‘bitter dream pop’. Lead vocalist from Laura Hayden grew up in the beautiful city of Barcelona – which would explain the Spanish lyrics sneaking into their banger of a tune ‘Drunk’. Anteros have a very vintage yet up to date sound that pretty much just makes me want to dance even if I am sitting at my work desk on a Monday morning – job done lads, pop up to Glasgow anytime!
Check Out Their Recent Release: Love
3 – Wolf Alice
Admittedly, I had actually heard of Wolf Alice for a while before actually getting around to listening to them. Commuting to work one morning, good ol’ Nick Grimshaw played catchy tune ‘Don’t Delete The Kisses’ and straight after that I checked out their most recent album ‘Visions Of A Life’ . Vocals of lead singer Ellie Rowsell add to a similar rebellious vibe of the Marmozets but with a more 90’s indie rock twist, Wolf Alice are a must for any grunge lover.
Check out their music video for ‘Beautifully Unconventional’
4 – Pale Waves
When Matty Healy of The 1975 posted a short clip of song ‘Television Romance’ on his instagram I automatically dived onto Pale Waves social media and checked them out. Instantly attracted by the 80’s pop yet very emo sound, I was hooked from the first listen. Front woman Heather Baron-Gracie sings with a beautiful yet almost haunting voice which just fits in perfectly with their gothic inspired image. I definitely think this is a band to be watching in 2018. If you are a fan of the The 1975, then I am 110% sure you’ll be a fan of up and coming Pale Waves.
Check Out Their Recent Music Video: New Year’s Eve
5 – Chvrches
Pronounced ‘Churches’ is you’re having a little bother with the out of character ‘V’. Ah yesss, Chvrches have been around for a while and for a while they have been playing repeatedly on my music playlists. Scottish artists with a sound that is described as frosty electro-pop, what I absolutely love about Chvrches is how simply amazing the vocals from front woman Lauren Mayberry are. Just wow. To my delight the band have announced to play at TRNSMT festival in 2018 which means, quote; ‘a poppier and weirder’ album is coming our way and we can’t wait!
Check out this amazing cover from our fellow Scottish natives:
“WOMAN ARE MADE TO BE LOVED, NOT UNDERSTOOD.”
Megan tells us that the song is inspired by being ‘that girl’ with the septum piercing and kicker boots in mayfair: “Imprisoned in the image of what a female should be. I can’t, won’t and do not have any desire to fit the bill. I am not the norm, love me anyway?”
Beautiful voice with a strong attitude. LOVE.
Want more from Megan?
SoundCloud – @meganlillymusic
Instagram – @meganlillymusic
Facebook – @meganlillymusic
Twitter – @meganlillymusic
When asked to discuss their work, a composer will often feel a shudder down their spine. This is made all the more awkward, when I have made quite an intriguing life out of interviewing (or interrogating) composers about this same very question. The question is probably quite so baffling for a composer because our living is spent almost as a double life. Living with a piece until it is fully grown, but never really hearing it alive. Then the other half is hearing pieces or musical ideas from our past. Almost like Scrooge’s infamous Christmas visitings, these spectres haunt us and remind us of what we were. Alternatively, it may just be because, composers like myself just simply prefer listening to music that is not our own.
But I am merely pondering now. If I were to describe myself as a composer, I think all I can is point towards my past and growth as a person; to try and make sense of it. My musical journey has definitely been an odd adventure. My composition studies started in the Royal Welsh College of Music and Drama, where I had the sheer joy of studying with Peter Reynolds. Obviously, I had the joy of working with the other teachers in the department, but Peter was a particularly strong influence on me. A Freudian would likely point to Peter’s habits of never talking about his own music has also been a habit I picked up from him. I digress again. During my time in RWCMD, I became susceptible to multiple extremely strong and intriguing voices. Jonathan Harvey, Horaţiu Rădulescu, Georges Bataille, and the Baltic. The Baltic is not a singular mass, but it is a strong influence on me indeed. What I admired about all of these people/countries was the fact they simply stand in a curious and nuanced position, for many various reasons, which is an extremely admirable thing considering humanity’s demand for conformity and uniformity.
After my years of study in RWCMD, I had ventured east. Studying with the remarkable composer, Marius Baranauskas. While in Vilnius, I was forced to do a lot of soul searching, either because of being significantly older than when I was a wee pup starting out, but also because moving to a new country does make you highlight various things about yourself you did not realise or had not attempted to address. Firstly, it was surreal to discover what elements of my character were very British. That was a shock to my system. The second, and probably most significant, was realising how Autistic I actually am. Having been diagnosed rather young, and gaining a lot of support, and having a rather formidable mother; I was able to adapt to the world – simply because the world is not Autistic friendly. So, for years, I was able to grown and adapt and overcome everything, to the point where I could almost pass for human. But when you move abroad, and no longer have the strategies to cope the little niggles and flickers of Autism coming roaring to the fore. What highlighted this for me, was the fact my ability to understand Lithuanian grew astonishingly quickly, to the point where I can read and listen fluently; but my ability to speak was still hindered. To this day I still speak like a child. What I had discovered, without the familiarity of my native language, I had lost the ability to adapt, and my fear of communication came to the fore.
Ultimately, what this has meant is it has forced me to address something, that I few years ago I desperately wanted to avoid. Being an ‘Autistic Composer’. I had avoided this for so long, namely because I am strongly aware of Britain’s need to pigeon-hole everything, so I never wanted to be labelled as such; and I also never wanted to ‘achieve’ success due to being the token Autistic/disabled individual. But having to address this head on in recent years, has allowed me to view it in a new light. The thing I ultimately discovered, was the simple fact there are not any historic autistic composers (what I ultimately mean, is composers of the past may have been Autistic but were never diagnosed and historic diagnosis realistically serves to romanticise Autism). Whereas women, POC, and LGBTQ+ composers had their history stolen either through simply being ignored, or through more horrific instances; the Autistic community do not need to remedy vicious acts from the past, but however have the opportunity to invent what it means to be an Autistic composer. Which is probably the greatest liberation I have found in my creative life so far.
My music simply is, its hard to describe what I am doing, because the notes are there due to the necessity the music demands of it. I have no illusions of control over the music, so I simply allow it to be. Alongside my work as composer, I have done everything I can to celebrate and discuss things I greatly admire having been writing a blog on Baltic composers, as well as writing singular articles for magazines, journals, and conferences discussing many elements from composition and disability, female composers in the Baltic, Rădulescu’s piano concerto ‘The Quest’, or my love of Jonathan Harvey. Beyond this, I was fortunate enough to recently be appointed ‘Trainee Artistic Director’ of the Hebrides Ensemble, so that will open up some very interesting results in the coming months. So who knows what the future holds. All I know is I am an Autistic composer.
– Ben Lunn
Check out more of Ben’s work…
Soundcloud – www.soundcloud.com/benlunnmusic
Blog – www.balticgems.blogspot.com
Website – www.benlunncomposer.tumblr.com
Anyone for a free gig in the city centre? Essentially, when you put the word ‘free’ and ‘gig’ together, the answer is always going to be “HELL YEAH”. The ‘Dr Martens Presents’ tour hit Glasgow yesterday and who is more fitting to headline the stage than our very own Edinburgh born, Nina Nesbitt.
I have been a huge fan of Nina since I first heard the likes of ‘Apple Tree’ and ‘Stay Out’ way back in 2012. Since releasing her first album ‘Peroxide’ in 2014, the still very young songstress had taken a step away from pop star life and went down a more song writing career route. After a year on the down low, her ‘Modern Love’ EP was released in February 2016 demonstrating a completely different approach to Nina’s acoustic sound and displayed a more suburban pop vibe. Flash-forward to October 2017, Nina is back and up on the Dr Marten’s stage playing new songs such as ‘Moments I’m Missing’ and ‘Best You Had’.
Appearing a little shy on stage at first, Nina settles into her set and demonstrates her raw musical talent and flowing voice. Previewing two new songs named ‘Empire’ and ‘Somebody Special’ that she told the crowd she wrote in Nashville earlier this year. Nina’s recent songs explore similar themes to her previous work such as; growing up, relationships and ambition. What I think I love so much about Nina Nesbitt as an artist is that she isn’t afraid to write and sing about feelings that we as people do experience at some point in our life, but we are perhaps too afraid to admit. I don’t know if it’s maybe the fact I am of a similar age or the fact we have both grown up in Scotland, but every song she releases I find nostalgic and I can easily relate to in some way.
Yesterday’s Dr Marten gig was short but sweet and definitely gave Glaswegians a little taste of what is to come from the 23 year old songstress in the next year. We’re super excited about the new music and we can’t wait to hear more!
Nina Nesbitt has three up coming UK tour dates in November and will be playing Art School in Glasgow on 22nd November 2017.
Grab your Tickets here: