Posts Tagged ‘goth’

Darkwave project, Distance H has dropped their new single & video featuring Marita Volodina, ‘Waters Of Woe’.

‘Waters Of Woe’ addresses the necessity to overcome the pain and anguish of broken promises, by others or by oneself, making the promised lands inaccessible. It’s the saving distance to escape collapse when the time comes for resignation and abandonment. It’s also the distance to be taken with our ghosts, (past or present), which haunt the mind and the memory.
To free yourself from the stigmata of the past, to emancipate the psyche into the present. That is ‘Waters Of Woe’.

Parisian producer/artist, Manuel H once again invites a feature singer, Marita Volodina, for the new single.

It’s vintage goth with a contemporary spin. It’s also a cracking tune. We dig it, and you can check it out here:

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Gothic/occult wave duo Raven Said has just unveiled their new EP, Chants To Dissolve.

Chants To Dissolve is about the spiritual essence that represents a certain alchemical phase of Solve (a transitional process between the Nigredo and Albedo phases in basic Alchemy).

On the abstract, the EP represents the invisible and inaudible flattering of a butterfly’s wing to the deafening roar of the inescapable wave of the coming future. Physically, it’s an effort aimed at changing the composition, without an exact result In a philosophical context. This means that the future is not defined and there is only the possibility of one or another existence; a certain point of polyfurcation, a set of evolution.

With pulsing vibrations of guitar and synths transformed into elegant canvases in cold tones, Raven Said is the flexible fusion of darkwave / goth rock / post-punk; the musical expression of symbolic mysticism and psychology.

Check ‘Immersive Waves’ from the EP here:

The founders of the band – Andrey and Maria united for creation of old school Goth Rock / Occult Wave project. One of the most famous poems of the American romantic writer E. А. Poe inspired the band’s stylish title.
Raven Said accumulates the energy of Second Wave Goth Rock and complements this with elements of Post-Punk and New Wave to form their original modern sound.

Musically, Raven Said takes inspiration from the likes of Rosetta Stone, Nosferatu, Witching Hour, The Cult, Mephisto Waltz, Cinema Strange among others. Raven Said’s lyrics focus on occultism, attraction to the world beyond and following into the realm of the unconsciousness themes.

Raven Said has served as a support act for cult artists such Golden Apes (DE), The Danse Society (UK), Das Ich (D), My Own Burial (ES), Murnau’s Playhouse (FI), Moon Far Away (RU), Orplid (DE), Larva (ES) etc.

Raven Said has received considerable acclaim and recognition. The band has participated in numerous online, print and radio interviews and has been reviewed in various online and print publications worldwide. They have also taken part in online festivals – Absolution NYC, Goth for Sanctuaries, ARG-Fest & Luna Negra.

2017 saw the release of the EP, Seven Deadly Tapes which was well-received both in Russia and abroad. In 2020, the band released the LP, Beyond the Darkest Hour on the UK label, Secret Sin Records.

Broadening the forms of traditional Goth rock, Raven Said are experimenting with new shapes and themes having the artistic charm and authentic visual aesthetics.

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It’s a wet and blustery and very northern night in York, but this eagerly-anticipated rescheduled show from The Birthday Massacre, which sold out this intimate 150-capacity venue long ago has brought the old goths out of the woodwork like a swarm of woodlice, and with doors advertised as being as an early 7:00, it’s busy on my arrival at 7:20, and despite Witch of the Vale not due on till 7:45, already the front rows are solid.

The synth-heavy, mood heavy Cleopatra Records signings Witch of the Vale deliver a magnificent set of dark brooding ambient with ethereal vocals and combine spacious moody soundscapes and introspective vulnerability. There are strong hints of Zola Jesus, but also so much more. Harder edges and industrial percussion grow in force as the set progresses. They don’t do chat, they don’t do audience connection, but they do very much do moving, haunting atmospherics. Toward the end of their forty-five minute set, they cover Nine Inch Nails’ ‘Hurt’ in an industrial shoegaze style, and it’s good. In fact, it’s all good, although instrumentalist Ryan’s denim shorts spoil the look a bit .

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Witch of the Vale

“What’s up Yorrrrrk?” I slump a little inside as Vanilla Sugar struts onto the stage. From the off, there’s lots of posing, hands up cheerleading… Suddenly, maybe three songs in, the urban cybergoth pop karaoke gets dark. That is to say Pretty Hate Machine NIN meets Kelis with direct and fairly juvenile lyrics, and while she’s got an impressive light show, it’s still urban cybergoth karaoke. ‘Listen York I want you to vibe with me now’ toots the skitzy mall goth, and while she may call it horror pop, it’s ultimately r’n’b with dayglo, pink hair, and zips, and the overreliance on backing including backing vocals which make t difficult to determine what’s actually being done live rather undermines the impact of the handful of decent tunes she does actually have, There’s lots of tongue out and Instagram posing – but not a lot else.

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Vanilla Sugar

The Birthday Massacre are as straight up goth as they come in terms of image, and have spent the last twenty-three years mining a seam of technoindustrial / electro / dark pop / goth.

This is a small stage for a big band, and I don’t just mean in terms of dimensions. Back home, they’d just played the 600-capaccity Lexington in Toronto; two nights ago it was the 200-capacity Lexington in London. The 150-capacity Fulford Arms, with its low ceiling and low stage very much epitomises the concept of ‘intimate’. But they absolutely revel in it, as do the crowd.

There’s an overpowering smell of Deep Heat at first, but that’s swiftly replaced by the tang of perspiration. It’s hot, hot, hot! Amazingly crisp, dense sound. Keytar! Instant clapalong to #’Destrpyer’ which lands early.

They repeatedly describe it as cozy, and that’s hardly surprising in context) but seem genuinely enthusiastic to be playing this intimate show with lots of handshaking and high-fiving. As they slam out relentless poppy choruses and phat chunky riffs. The drums are so tight they sound programmed, and despite the apparent chaos onstage, they’re pristine tight. It’s a proper pea-souper of a smoke show, too.

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The Birthday Massacre

I’d be entirely immersed were it not for the fact the bearded ponytail-sporting guy in front of me is an irritating end, extravagantly waving one arm while clenching his girlfriend’s waist tight with the other and dancing and singing along as if to prove he’s an uberfan. Uberfanny, more like.

‘Precious Hearts’ thuds hard, while ‘Crush’ is an anthemic slow burner. ‘Enter’ is lighter and brings giggles in the first verse. Sara does get a bit lost in the songs at times, bit rides it well, and she ventures into the crowd for hugs. It’s a hot a sweaty crowd. Fans are out. My eyeballs are sweating. Recent cut ‘Fascination’ still sounds a bit Paramore to my ears, but ‘Pins and Needles’ brings a thick industrial chug.

They do the no-departure encore, and respect is due for that. Everyone knows that going off to be clapped back on is nothing more than ego-stroking bollocks, and it’s welcome to see bands acknowledge that.

‘Falling Down’, the second song of the non-encore is a decent pop song, and they finish a high-NRG set with ‘In the Dark’. And it’s a job well done: they sound great and the energy is on fire. Wednesday nights don’t get funner than this.

Danny Elfman has unveiled a brand new music video for Boy Harsher’s remix of ‘Happy’, the latest visual to accompany his recent remix album ‘Bigger. Messier’ [Anti- / Epitaph]. Complete with unsettlingly saccharine smiles, laughter and cheerleading choreography that feel like a warped VHS tape unearthed from the deepest depths of the 1980s, the music video brings to life the duo’s darkwave pop rendition of the song with the help of directors Muted Widows and Elfman’s creative director Berit Gwendolyn Gilma.

Watch the video here:

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The release comes just in time for Elfman’s highly anticipated back-to-back concerts on October 28th and 29th at The Hollywood Bowl in Los Angeles, CA, both of which will feature Boy Harsher as a special guest. Entitled Danny Elfman: From Boingo to Batman to Big Mess and Beyond!, the live concerts will see Elfman presenting expanded, full-length versions of his internet-breaking, critically acclaimed performances at Coachella Music and Arts Festival earlier this spring. His first official career-spanning headline performances, both nights at the iconic Hollywood Bowl will feature Elfman backed by the same rock band, orchestra, and choir that he played with at Coachella, as they perform songs from Oingo Boingo; his solo career, including his 2021 album ‘Big Mess’; as well as a plethora of his film scores and television themes from Alice in Wonderland, Batman, Edward Scissorhands, The Nightmare Before Christmas, The Simpsons, and more.

The audience will be transported into Elfman’s vision and magical world; with his haunting compositions brought to life on stage and enhanced by visuals on the big screen. Fans who didn’t make it to the Coachella shows or those who were there and want to experience an extended version won’t want to miss it.   

The release of this music video also arrives on the second anniversary of the release of Elfman’s original version of ‘Happy’, serving as a full circle moment for him and a return to the origin of his expansive and wildly ambitious Big Mess project: the track that ignited it all two years ago. A biting social commentary, ‘Happy’ marked the first taste from Big Mess upon its initial premiere in October 2020 and saw the 4x Oscar nominated, Grammy and Emmy Award-winning artist deliver the unexpected yet again – just as he has all throughout his incomparably prolific career.   

Following the release of ‘Happy’ along with several other dynamic singles and aesthetically inventive videos, Elfman officially debuted ‘Big Mess’ in June 2021 to widespread acclaim. Clocking in at 18 tracks, the kinetic double album finds Elfman breaking bold new ground as both a songwriter and a performer while joining forces with drummer Josh Freese (Devo, Weezer, The Vandals), bassist Stu Brooks (Dub Trio, Lady Gaga, Lauryn Hill), and guitarists Robin Finck (Nine Inch Nails, Guns N’ Roses) and Nili Brosh (Tony MacAlpine, Paul Gilbert).  

Always continuing to push the envelope, Elfman then unveiled ‘Bigger. Messier.’ this past summer –a brand new genre-defying album of remixed and reimagined versions of music from ‘Big Mess’. The 21-track project is comprised of collaborations and guest vocal features from a sprawling array of artists including Trent Reznor, Iggy Pop, HEALTH, Kaitlyn Aurelia Smith, Zach Hill of Death Grips, Xiu Xiu, Squarepusher, Ghostemane and many more. With the help of his collaborators Gilma and Stu Brooks, and his longtime manager Laura Engel, Elfman enlisted a unique arsenal of artists to use the original Big Mess songs as their canvases and experiment in their own distinct voices.   

Both ‘Big Mess’ and ‘Bigger. Messier.’ channel the riveting unpredictability that has pulsed through all of Elfman’s projects to date, from his early days with the theatrical Mystic Knights to the rock band Oingo Boingo, to his prolific work scoring over 100 films & television series including Marvel’s new blockbuster Doctor Strange in the Multiverse of Madness, Noah Baumbach’s buzzing new film White Noise, and Tim Burton’s highly anticipated new series Wednesday.

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Photo by Jonathan Williamson

Christopher Nosnibor

Well, if you’re going to do goth, it’s best if you go all-out on it. Cleveland-based electro-goth rock collective Dispel certainly don’t toy with half-measures.

‘Flames of Greed’ is the lead single from their second album, Inferno (out on October 12th).

As the title may suggest, the album is based on Dante’s seminal text, and the premise is that ‘Dispel follows Dante and his guide Virgil down each layer of the Nine Hells, dedicating a song to each level of mortal sin. Sprinkled with diabolical personalities from ancient mythology and fantasy literature, this undertaking took two years to complete.’

‘The Flames of Greed’ is an interesting hybrid of pulsating electro pop and dark disco, spiky post-punk and high theatre, with Ravensea’s semi-operatic vocal dominating the insistent drum-machine driven electro grind that pulsates away relentlessly and it’s compelling, multisensory, especially when accompanied by the video…

Ah, the video, directed and edited by filmmaker Rafeeq Roberts, which ‘sees vocalist Ravensea play the part of the diabolic and tormenting empress of greed Fierna, her powerful voice serenading the fallen souls who succumbed to greed in the material world, delivering their eternal fate in Hell’.

It’s epic, and no mistake. And given the inspiration and subject matter, it’s entirely fitting.

This isn’t simply goth or a cliché rendering of any goth template: Dispel fully embrace presenting high art and literature, and when so much is dumbed down to nothing, it’s welcome, and the presentation is impressive.

And while content is king and image only counts for so much, presentation definitely matters. Dispel have got it all going for them here.

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Dispel

Christopher Nosnibor

There’s a queue up the two flights of stairs half an hour before doors, and the front two rows are packed out long, long before Weekend Recovery are due on, a mere fifteen minutes after opening. Tonight’s event is something of an oddity. LA rock act Starcrawler, who are something of a hot ticket and have been since their emergence in 2015, being hailed as the saviours of rock ‘n’ roll – like so many before, and likely many to come – are playing a handful of UK headline dates in between festivals, with All Points east in London on August 28th and End of the Road on September 3rd. Having sold out Norwich and Liverpool at £15 a ticket, Leeds is a late addition to the tour, and free entry. It’s Friday night and of course it’s packed, and likely would have been if they’d charged, which is why this seems odd, even if they’re treating it as a warmup for End of the Road.

There’s nothing remotely warm-uppy or stop-gap showy about tonight, and there’s a buzz from the outset.

Weekend Recovery open with ‘There’s a Sense’, one of their poppier, woohoo-ey tunes, followed by a beefy ‘No Guts’ and they do a decent job of grabbing the crowd. Lori busts some Quattro moves as has become her style, and they look confident on the bigger stage with the larger audience. It’s the thick, fuzzy bass that fills the sound throughout the set, and they really seem to have hit their stride as a three-piece of late. Bringing on guest a vocalist for new song ‘In the Crowd’ it goes unexpectedly ragga/ska before piling into a lively rendition of ‘Going Nowhere’ that makes for an energetic finale to a set that no doubt won them some new fans, and deservedly so.

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Weekend Recovery

I know nothing about main support Genie Genie, but they seem to have plenty of fans already, and the Bauhaus ripping off Bowie glam gloom schtick is no real surprise, although one guy with a laptop strutting around being menacing at the start of the set rather is. Then the band’s other dozen members flood onto the stage wielding saxophones galore. It’s high theatre, but highly derivative, as the black-mulleted singer tears his tattered t-shirt from his scrawny white torso as the brass honks and parps over quivering organ pipes. All the ham and oversized crucifixes can’t compensate the mediocre material with cornball schlock horror cabaret about Jack the Ripper, guv, and of course, they go down a storm as half the room chant along with endless nananana hooks and the like. There’s no accounting for taste.

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Genie Genie

The crowd are baying for Starcrawler for a good five minutes before they arrive, and hell, they arrive. Side on, I’m badly placed for photos as lithe-as-anything beanpole Arrow de Wilde is practically a sliver from this angle and keeps vanishing behind the mic stand. What the band deliver is proper old-school rock ‘n’ roll, an assimilation of glam, punk, and hair rock played with a flamboyance and an energy that’s infectious. The crowd are rabid.

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Starcrawler

As the set progresses, I find myself growing less enthused: the band are lively but the moves swiftly become predictable and the material is average, and I find myself quite unmoved by the spectacle. Perhaps people are distracted by the appearance and delivery, and as such are oblivious to the fact that this is pretty middling rock fronted by the lovechild of Courtney Love and Mick Jagger. There’s no question that they’re completely committed to putting on a show, and they play hard, but there’s minimal interaction with the adoring audience. Maybe they’re too cool for that, but in a 350-capacity venue it feels a little bit superior – but, viewed from another angle, it’s a band worthy of the 2,000+ capacity O2 kicking out their festival. Either way, it’s hard to really fault Starcrawler: they deliver a solid set of proper old-school rock, and the fans love it.

5th August 2022

Christopher Nosnibor

Lately, I’ve been seeing people on the Internet bemoaning the number of ‘lockdown’ albums, and even the emergence of ‘lockdown’ novels, questioning the need for anything that recreates, recounts, reflects upon or is otherwise set during the most recent of historical events. They all seem to make more or less the same case – that we all went through it, it was bad enough, and there’s no need to harp on or relive it. But artists tend to process and comprehend the world and their experiences of it through the act of creation, and just because we all experienced the pandemic and various lockdowns, no two people will have had the exact same experience or the exact same psychological response. Besides, isn’t more or less all art some form of response or reaction to the human condition, or otherwise a reflection thereof? No-one beefs about an excessive amount of war novels or poems or various genre novels, like crime or sci-fi or fantasy. Perhaps it’s because they prefer escapism to real life.

As the accompanying blurbage explains, ‘This album is a reflection of the dark days the world has seen in recent years. It’s about the tragedies many of us have faced and the effort to find the will to fight on. We remember those we have lost because it is through them that we carry on into tomorrow’.

Strange Days is pitched as ‘a symbolic re-birth for the project, returning with a new zeal to create and perform’, and it’s not short on pumping beats and rippling synths. What sets it apart from so many other industrial / electropop / darkwave hybrids is Voicecoil’s vocal: it’s in that gothy baritone region, but for all of that, and the sense of performance and theatre that comes with those well-established genre tropes, his delivery had a certain emotional depth and sincerity that lifts the songs to another level.

So where ‘Versterbrogade’ comes on like a dance remix of a Depeche Mode in terms of its musical arrangement, and the verses observe the popular style of singing in the throat, a wheezy, grit-edged monotone, the verses unleash the hook and some ‘proper’ singing with heart and soul, and in doing so breathes life into the bleak experience of life where days drift and fade into one another. ‘Speak in Sine’ brings a harder-edged beat and a starker atmosphere, and it sits well with the themes of dislocation and alienation which run through the lyrics. ‘No Easy Reply’ is remarkably sensitive, not to mention accessible, and Strange Days has some great tunes, from the expansive, pulsating yet reflective ‘Why’ to the brooding piano-led curtain-closer of ‘Drift’.

While electronic music – particularly of that dark pop / industrial / goth disco persuasion – can often suffer from feeling sterile, detached, robotic, and impersonal, Strange Days is anything but. It possesses a certain warmth, a humanity, that resonates on numerous levels.

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4th August 2022

Christopher Nosnibor

Back in November of last year, I gave ‘What If I Were the Boy?’ by The Vaulted Skies a massive double-thumbs up, having previously raved about their debut EP, No Fate back in 2018. And now ‘What If I Were the Boy?’ has been rereleased, this time as a remix courtesy of Mark Saunders, whose eye-poppingly extensive discography includes work with The Cure, Lloyd Cole, Depeche Mode, Siouxsie and the Banshees… and many others, including some truly huge names like David Bowie, but those I’ve picked out are relevant is they’re illustrative of his longstanding links with post-punk, of which The Vaulted Skies are emerging contemporary exponents. But Saunders also has a long history of wording on radio-friendly and more dance-orientated material, and it’s fair to say that his remix of ‘What If I Were the Boy?’ brings these two threads together very neatly.

The song itself draws on contrasts in its take on a ‘nostalgic tale that is filled with reflection and regret’, inspired by an encounter experienced by vocalist/guitarist, James Scott., who recounts how “In college, I was paired up in an acting assignment with one of the popular girls. She propositioned me and in doing so, verbally and indirectly alluded to a very troubled home life. I wish I’d recognized the cry for help underneath it all. This song captures the desperation I have felt when wondering what became of her.”

Saunders sensitively preserves the stark, haunted angst of the original, but subtly packs some extra oomph and wraps it in a dark disco groove. The chunky gothy bass of the original is smoothed into a more dancefloor-friendly sound, the drumming – the cymbals in particular – is slickened down and given a more buoyant disco twist. If the original sounded in some way tentative, despite its solid assurance, then the remix rolls it all out and effortlessly stretches it past the seven-minute mark in vintage 12” single style.

If the grit and flange of the driving guitar in the chorus is backed off a bit in favour of a more even sound, well, it works, as does the cleaner vocal treatment. In short, this version may lack the ragged punch of the original, but it by no means does The Vaulted Skies a disservice, and will likely be a major step toward connecting the band with the larger audience they so richly deserve.

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Christopher Nosnibor

Having just spent a depressing afternoon hearing the new Interpol album for the first time, I decided I needed cheering up. Scanning my immense backlog of releases for review – and, with new submissions landing faster than I can open emails, let alone download and listen to albums, I realise that Hanging Freud’s album has been lurking unplayed for far too long for an album I’d been excited to hear since ‘Antidote/Immune’, released as a taster of album number six, Persona Normal back in June last year, landed in my inbox.

The release / review cycle is in itself a pressure we would all do without, since albums by their nature have a slow diffusion. In an accelerated world, PR campaigns are over a month or so after release, and I suspect that under the current model of pre-release hype followed by a rapid burndown, most releases shift 90% of their units within the first months of release, before things taper off and pretty swiftly drop off a cliff. But I digress, as I’m prone to doing.

Persona Normal is not the kind of album you’d expect to provide joy, but, in context, it’s a welcome reminder that there are still bands who are at a more advanced stage in their career delivering albums that channel difficult emotions and explore them in real depth.

‘Cureseque’ is a term that’s passed into parlance to make a shorthand reference to anything that draws inspiration from The Cure, but it’s trouble some and rather inadequate given the band’s range. More often than not, it seems to translate as ‘lots of layered synths like Disintegration’. Not so Persona Normal, an album that condenses the style and atmosphere of the unparalleled trilogy of Seventeen Seconds, Faith, and Pornography into a single set. The atmosphere is bleak, and the production sparse, but there’s some monumental percussion that’s more akin to Pornography.

It opens with the droning, wheezing synth of ‘Too Human’. It’s pitched against a trudging, monotonous drum beat with a dominant snare, and this provides the backdrop to a gloomy yet elegant vocal that aches with resignation, before ‘We Don’t Want to Sleep’ pounds in on a rhythm reminiscent of ‘A Strange Day’, and this is around the level of the bleak, brooding atmosphere. It’s thick and heavy with angst.

But then, amidst the doomy, droning synths and metronomic, motorik drum machines, Paula comes on with the sass of Siouxsie, with her enunciation and her glacial cool post-punk intonations. And as such, while Persona Normal really is pretty fucking bleak, dense, and dark, it’s uplifting to hear an album that so perfectly captures the spirit of the bands from which it draws unashamed influence. Elsewhere, I’m reminded of Chelsea Wolfe and Pain Teens; ‘Is This Why?’ may be sparse in its arrangement, but the sound is full, expansive, epic, and there’s something graceful and plaintive in its inward searching. An in an album of wall-to-wall quality, ‘Immune’ stands out as a snarling post-punk beast with the sharpest of hooks – and it’s all in the delivery.

More often than not, the sounds and overall sound and delivery convey so much more than words alone – and the production only enhances the experience. It’s dense, dark, drum-heavy, and even in the middle of a heatwave, it’s an album that will chill you to the core.

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Following the release of her successful 2022 debut single, ‘Tiptoe,’ ‘Bite My Tongue,’ BEX teases whispered vocals, edging riffs, and a stomping chorus – an explosive follow-up to say the least.

Talking about the meaning behind the track, BEX tells:

“’Bite My Tongue’ is written about times I have not stood up for myself. In the last couple of years I have been really finding myself and it has caused me to reflect back to times where I didn’t truly know who I was or what I stood for, times where I bit my tongue instead of sharing my opinion. Musically it’s riffy and simple, it has that raw punch in the face, I love all my songs to be simple and short.”

Produced by Sam Cramer, with a double bass feature from Bex and live band member Josh, across ‘Bite My Tongue,’ BEX brings out a hook packed with adrenaline. The music video was filmed by a canal in Guildford, by videographer Olivia Brisset and self-directed by BEX. The video comes with disturbing glitchy visuals shot in a retro filter, and masters a cool DIY look.

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Originally titled, as ‘Chez,’ ‘Bite My Tongue,’ is now a track that stands as a mantra for BEX, and you too. Emphasising just how important it is to her to stand proud, speak up for the things she cares about and to not be afraid, BEX tells:

“Always stand up for yourself and share your opinions, but at the same time listen to others. ‘I’ll hold it in so you have fun’ I think this lyric is important because it reflects how I used to not speak so I wouldn’t upset anyone or ruin anyone’s night even if I was having a bad time. SPEAK, always speak, don’t hold back, share what you wanna share, just don’t be a dickhead. ”

BEX plays Y Not Festival – Scruff Of The Neck Tent, UK on 29th July

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BEX