Hanne Hukkelberg - Quiet Boy - Stutter Steps

Hanne Hukkelberg - The Whip.

Background - One of Norway’s most acclaimed, influential and vital artists, Hanne Hukkelberg returns in extraordinary form, with her first new single in five years — ‘The Whip’. Self-produced by Hanne herself, ‘The Whip’ is a complex, schizophrenic four minutes of supremely intelligent pop music. This will come as no surprise to fans of Hanne’s previous work, with the new single bringing her sound right up to date — sounding more relevant, and just as intriguing as ever, aligning with the electronically manipulated tendencies of modern pop music.

‘The Whip’ signals Oslo based Hukkelberg’s forthcoming fifth album, joining a nationally adored and internationally acclaimed back catalogue including ‘Featherbrain’ (2012), ‘Blood From A Stone’ (2009) and Norwegian Grammy Award-winning debut LP ‘Rykestrasse 68’ (2006). 

The new track straddles the divide between electronic and organic, both in terms of premise and production; contemplating a cyber society embroiled in, and consumed by, filtered reality. “The Whip is a combination of personal experience and a wider observation of society and how I feel people are living their lives, striving for this unrealistic idea of perfection,” Hukkelberg explains.

“I wanted to write about how nice – and necessary – it is to need someone. To be vulnerable in a society that encourages us to look like someone that has everything, all of the time, and doesn’t actually need anything.”

'The Whip’ features the stunning guest vocal of Highasakite’s Ingrid Helene Håvik – one of Hukkelberg’s many cohorts, with past collaborators including Todd Terje, Jaga Jazzist, Jenny Hval, and Emilie Nicolas. Website here, Facebook here.

'The Whip' mixes gorgeous synths and beats with delicious vocals, as the two elements bounce around each other. Maverick pop of sorts, that is incredibly addictive.


Quiet Boy - Supergirl.

Background - Quiet Boy’s ‘Supergirl’ developed from a very dark time in principal member and songwriter Gaz Tomlinson’s life. The track, taken from upcoming debut EP ‘Earwig’, works through negative and positive cycles of thought, with its slow burning tempo and acoustic lo-fi meets electro-glitch sound palette.

The song was initially an ode to Tomlinson’s partner, musician and performer Brigitte Aphrodite, and the loss of a major book of her poetry (‘Throwing words into the ocean’) on a night spent on a Hastings beach. The video revisits the same stretch of beach but the track takes on a new persona as ‘Supergirl’ confronts the misunderstanding and persecution of LGBTQ individuals and their relationships.

Gaz explains, “For the visual we wanted to subvert the surface meaning of the song. Supergirls can come in any form and be different things to different people. In this case this is what the song means to band member Alex Faye Braithwaite.”

He adds, “the song ‘sung by a man about a woman’ acts as a counterpoint to the video, where we see a ‘woman singing about a woman’. The words on her body express the stigma attached to her sexuality, and the bravery involved in washing them away”

Their 4 track debut EP ‘Earwig’ includes Amazing Radio and BBC Introducing favourite ‘Redeem’. There is much to delve into and savour, both musically and lyrically – the collection was produced (with Gareth Tomlinson and band member Russell Ditchfield) by Nick Trepka (Emmy The Great, Speech Debelle).

Quiet Boy is a collaboration between 5 musicians led by Tomlinson. They are: Gaz Tomlinson, Russell Ditchfield, Emily Sills, Alexandra Braithwaite and Stuart Roberts. With a series of festival appearances and shows across the UK including Glastonbury Festival in June, Quiet Boy are a must-see live. Website here, Facebook here, live dates on Beehive Candy's tour news page.

Lo-fi and at times quite spartan music, ensures that when the song ups the power, it also unleashes passion and emotion. 'Supergirl' beautifully defies specific categorisation, the video adds to that, it's not necessarily experimental, it is gorgeous.


Stutter Steps - Submarine.

Background - Stutter Steps debut new track 'Submarine' from their upcoming 12" Floored on Blue Arrow Records, due for release on June 2nd, 2017. Stutter Steps released their debut album on Wild Kindness records at the end of 2015. Group mastermind Ben Harrison, a curator at the Andy Warhol Museum in Pittsburgh, and collaborator with Dean Wareham (Galaxie 500/Luna/etc.), crafted one of the bittersweetest indiepop debuts in years. 

Critics who took the time to listen were stunned. With its jangling guitars and plaintive organ, its literate heartfelt lyrics and the skip in its step, Stutter Steps sounds like the missing link between early Flying Nun and the Go-Betweens (geographically, this would put then in the middle of the Tasman Sea and I hope they’ve got a boat).

They return now with a new six-song EP, Floored, on Blue Arrow Records, home of Jonathan Richman among others, that expands on the promise of the debut. Harrison has the rare ability to combine emotions in a song, so ‘Encino,’ with its wistful chords and lyrics of regret, becomes greater than the sum of its parts. The organ on ‘Weak Restraint’ makes you dance (Stutter Steps has never sounded more like The Clean than they do here) while the words make you weep. It would take a heart of orange granite not to be moved. Facebook here.

We featured Stutter Steps in March and the latest track 'Submarine' pretty much confirms our initial enthusiasm was well founded. Melodic with plenty of heartfelt vibes, it's another fabulous track.