Announce 7” split single “You Maintain the Stain” / “Cut It Open”
Due 3rd May on Flying Nun Records
UK tour in May
inc. two London headline shows at Shacklewell Arms and Sebright Arms
Flying Nun’s Mermaidens have announced UK tour dates in celebration of their 7” split single “You Maintain the Stain” / “Cut It Open”, due out 3rd May.
The trio from Wellington, New Zealand will headline London’s Shacklewell Arms on 3rd May followed by a number of dates around the country, before returning to London’s Sebright Arms on 14th May. Dates are as follows:
Friday 3rd May – Shacklewell Arms, London
Saturday 4th May – Mother’s Ruin, Bristol
Monday 6th May – TBC, Chelmsford
Wednesday 8th May – Slocken, Leeds
Thursday 9th May – Bloc+, Glasgow
Friday 10th May – TBC, Edinburgh
Monday 13th May – Green Store Door, Brighton
Tuesday 14th May – Sebright Arms, London
Wednesday 15th May – Supersonic, Paris, France*
Friday 17th May – TBC, France
Saturday 18th May – Butcher’s Tears, Amsterdam, The Netherlands
Monday 20th May – Glockenbachwerkstatt, Munich, Germany
Tuesday 21st May – TBC, Leipzig, Germany
Wednesday 22nd May – Kantine am Berghain, Berlin, Germany*
Friday 24th May – TBC, Hamburg
Saturday 25th May – Privat, Cologne, Germany
* supporting Hand Habits
They also share a hair-raising new track “You Maintain the Stain”, a stern letter to “The Man” that resembles a big, subtle middle finger to the messed up power structures in this world. The stain refers to the deep-seeded microaggressions that so many experience. The stain is all that is bad.
“It’s about being assertive and having attitude – thus defying gendered expectations that women should handle situations in a calm, kind way,” explains bassist/vocalist Lily West.
Blow by deathly blow, “The Man” gets dragged through a hot sludge of heavy bass-filled corridors, overcut by Gussie Larkin’s angular, off-kilter guitar lines – a topical gnawing of teeth fresh from the kill.
“You won’t look me in the eye, you’re afraid I see you. You can’t hide. Your things cast a light… I see through you, I see right through…” sings West in a cold, certain voice over a series of hard hitting sonic bludgeons, emphasized by Abe Hollingsworth’s dynamic work on the kit. This is Mermaidens louder, more crushing and propulsive than ever. They are in their element, and at their most raw and confronting.
The earliest sketches of Wellington trio Mermaidens follows the story arch of how most bands start; through long-term friendship and bonding over music that shaped their salad days. For Mermaidens, it was an eclectic melting pot of PJ Harvey, Warpaint and Fugazi to name a few.
Together, childhood friends Gussie Larkin (guitar/vocals), Lily West (bass/vocals) and Abe Hollingsworth (drums) form a powerful trinity of unwavering creativity and relentless work ethic. Their time together as Mermaidens has been a fruitful one; a timeline consisting of two critically acclaimed albums, being signed to iconic indie label Flying Nun Records, and a wide range of live supports that include Sleater Kinney, Death Cab for Cutie, Lorde, Mac DeMarco, and The Veils.
The internationally acclaimed Perfect Body (which drew a 2018 Taite Music Prize nomination) saw their circle of influence expand to a new, global audience. With its progressive and cinematic stylings on angular post-punk and grunge, GoldFlakePaintsaid the record “should prove to be one of the summer’s most brilliant long-players,” while long-time music critic Graham Reid of Elsewhere confirmed it as “a real listening experience.”Clash Magazine praised the record for its “Noisy, scratchy, enigmatic songwriting.” But perhaps it was God Is In The TV that explained the commanding presence of the record best by saying “I can quite believe that some of their tracks have mystical properties.”
Come 2019 and the trio are set to release a body of new work. The first split single 7” “You Maintain the Stain” / “Cut It Open” is out 17th May on Flying Nun Records. The band are in a new space. We are in darker, more confrontingly uncomfortable territory.
Recorded at Blue Barn Recording Studio with long-time collaborator James Goldsmith (Perfect Body, Undergrowth), the trio’s new material was tracked in January 2018 before Larkin toured overseas with her heavy psych rock side project, Earth Tongue (with Ezra Simons). “It was a short recording process with close deadlines – a lot of the lyrics and guitar lines were put down in the studio or the night before. At the time it was difficult, but you forget about that. We like to churn things out,” says Larkin reflecting over the sessions.
“We’re getting braver. We’ve always had this visceral, graphic imagery in our heads, using the ocean and more gentle natural metaphors, but maybe we’re getting more confrontational,” says West. “There are themes of breaking, falling apart and coming back together.”
B side track, “Cut It Open” is a modal, lethargic ode to getting rid of the bad. It is a fitting follow up to the A side track. There is a sweet dissonance that comes across in Larkin’s modal melody and mimicked guitar line, which is guided by the wandering vocal part.
“You Maintain the Stain” and “Cut It Open” set a strong tone for what is to come. Mermaidens are in new terrain; exploring power and control in a confronting lens. They’re looking at the gatekeepers and dominators of the world, dissecting their power one song at a time.
You Maintain the Stain / Cut It Open 7” vinyl is available for pre-order now: https://orcd.co/youmaintainthestain