Sleeping Beauty single and mixtape
Fortuna POP! - 19 January
The new single by the North East’s most exciting new band MARTHA, is “Sleeping Beauty”, a playful song about siblings' gender anxiety under the stifling constraints of stuffy parenting! A call to let kids be kids and to let toys be toys. Taken from the album “Courting Strong” which was recently included in NPR's best 50 albums of 2014.
Hailing from Pity Me near Durham, vegan straight-edgers MARTHA released their debut album Courting Strong in May via Fortuna POP! Providing energetic, impassioned pop punk, Martha are informed by 90s indie rock and Scandinavian anarcho punk. The album, produced by MJ from Hookworms, is laden with harmonies and interchangeable vocals whilst still retaining the energy and excitement of the band’s live shows.
To accompany the single, Martha have lovingly curated a DIY punk mixtape. From the perfect indiepop of RADIATOR HOSPITAL'S “Blue Gown” (featuring lead vocals by WAXAHATCHEE's Katie Crutchfield) to the frenetic fervour of “Felt (Enacted)” by Cardiff's TWISTED, Martha have collected gems from a wildly vibrant and totally global DIY punk community. To close the mixtape, Martha have included a cover of Bad Mood by the beloved and now sadly defunct Cheeky.
1. Martha – Sleeping Beauty
2. Radiator Hospital – Blue Gown
3. Art Sorority For Girls – Cecille B. Demille pt. 3
4. Chrissy Barnacle – Nightride
5. Delay – Don't Worry Now
6. Twisted – Felt (Enacted)
7. Trust Fund – We'll Both Apologise
8. Martha – Bad Mood (Cheeky Cover)
ALBUM - Courting Strong out now on Fortuna POP!
Hailing from Pity Me near Durham, vegan straight-edgers MARTHA have just signed to Fortuna POP! and will be releasing their new album ‘Courting Strong’ at the end of May. Providing energetic, impassioned pop punk, Martha are informed by 90s indie rock and Scandinavian anarcho noir. The album, produced by MJ from Hookworms, is laden with harmonies and interchangeable vocals whilst still retaining the energy and excitement of the band’s live shows.
Formed in 2011 by siblings Naomi (bass, vocals) and Nathan Griffin (drums, vocals) with J. Cairns "JC" (guitar, vocals) and Daniel Ellis (guitar, vocals), Martha have fast become a staple of the UK DIY pop scene. There are many competing stories as to the origin of their band name but it’s a fact that the very last passenger pigeon on earth was called Martha. When she died, the whole species became extinct.
Decamping from the North East to record the album at Suburban Home Studios, Leeds, the band enjoyed the freedom of being in the studio and experimenting with MJ’s equipment to produce unexpected sounds. The process saw them opening up to new ideas and, feeling more confident in their own abilities, allowing a wider range of dynamics.
Taken from a line in the song Gin and Listerine, the album title “Courting Strong” is an expression that was used to describe couples who were getting really serious. As Nathan says: "There’s the old cliché that when you’re young you think you’re invincible and that everything will last forever - the album is about looking back and reflecting on past moments in your life, past friendships and relationships, accepting the uncertainty and fragility of those things and moving forward positively."
"The overarching theme of the album is ‘growing up weird’. It’s a semi-autobiographical story about growing up in a small town, with a sense of not fitting in but on the way finding people who share that feeling and forming really strong bonds. It’s about clinging to a sense of belonging and about being proud of who you are and where you are from, as well as the community of which you are a part. It’s an album for the people who stayed in their hometown, and for the people who still go back and visit."
Martha’s melodic punk pop celebrates being an outsider whilst being part of a community. The album touches on uncertainty, fear and loneliness whilst exuding an effervescent sense of excitement and joy. There’s darkness beneath the pop surface - but there are also songs about teenage antics, drinking, courting and having your heart broken – everything a good indie record should have.
In 2014 Courting Strong was included as one of NPR's favourite albums of the year. The single “Sleeping Beauty” recently won Steve Lamacq's Rebel Playlist vote on BBC 6music by an overwhelming majority and the NME ran an exclusive premiere of their "Sleeping Beauty" Mixtape, featuring a host of their DIY punk favourites.
"Up in Durham, Martha are a perfect example of the (DIY) culture's independent, socially conscious values: this year they released their excellent debut album, 'Courting Strong' (produced by Hookworms' MJ), which was powered by anarchy, veganism and Irn Bru, according to their Bandcamp.... the single 'Sleeping Beauty'... tackles a serious subject (the gendered socialisation of children) with a sweet yelp." NME - Exclusive "Sleeping Beauty Mixtape: Stream
“One of Britain's best rock bands” - NPR.org - read feature here
“Martha are one of the most thrilling and likeable bands to emerge from the North East in god knows how many years” - Drownedinsound.com
“One of the best DIY pop albums of the year” - The Independent
I Miss You, I'm Lonely single:
Sleeping Beauty Mixtape:
Blisters In The Pit Of My Heart - Fortuna POP! - 8 July
Martha return with their second album Blisters In The Pit Of My Heart in July, via Fortuna POP! (UK/EU) and Dirtnap Records (US). Produced again by MJ from Hookworms, the album explores the difficulties in staying political, staying passionate and staying punk over the course of eleven expertly crafted pop songs.
Hailing from Pity Me near Durham, Martha play energetic, impassioned power pop with intricate vocal interplay and lush four-part harmonies, informed by 90s indie rock and contemporary garage punk. The band is comprised of J. Cairns (guitar), Daniel Ellis (guitar), Naomi Griffin (bass), and Nathan Stephens Griffin (drums). All four members sing and write the songs. Daniel and Nathan also play in Onsind, while Naomi also plays in No Ditching. Their debut album Courting Strong came out in 2014 and was included in NPR's top 50 albums of that year, winning them the epithet “One of Britain's best rock bands”.
If the band’s first album, Courting Strong, was about punks growing up, then Blisters In The Pit Of My Heart is about grown-ups staying punk. It's an album about trying to stay creative and passionate and making the most of everything in spite of the many obstacles that get in the way. It documents the way things like work, money, expectations and mental health issues can impact on your ability to do the things you want to do and be the person you want to be. It’s about resistance to those things. It's about finding strength and solace in friendships, love, and taking motivation from the people in your life who really inspire you.
As Nathan explains: “Playing music is something that is really important to all of us, but it’s also something that takes a lot of time and energy and emotional strain. This record is for everyone who leads a secret double life, devoting every weekend, every day of annual leave, all of their disposable income, every drop of creative energy to something as ethereal as music and art. It’s about persevering and still doing the things you love, even when most normal people can't understand why on earth you do it.”
Taking inspiration from such likely and unlikely sources as The Replacements, Heart, Billy Bragg, Thin Lizzy, Cheap Trick, The Go-Gos and Radiator Hospital, the album bursts into life with “Christine”, “a love song filtered through the messiness of anxiety and night terror” that takes inspiration from “Threads”, the British TV drama of the 1980s about nuclear war, and is followed by the rousing “Chekhov's Hangnail”, with backing vocals from Ellis Jones of Trust Fund.
The catchy “Precarious (The Supermarket Song)” finds romance in the washing powder aisle, while “Goldman’s Detective Agency” shows the band’s playful side as they re-imagine 19th century anarchist Emma Goldman as a private eye vanquishing corrupt cops and politicians. Nearly every song here is a potential single, from the infectious “Do Whatever” and “11:45, Legless In Brandon” to outsider anthem “The Awkward Ones” and the Billy Bragg / Coronation Street-referencing “Curly and Raquel”. The album concludes with “St Paul's (Westerberg Comprehensive)”, a song about being caught up in the toxic culture of a Catholic comprehensive school. “It’s for the kids who had the guts to be queer at school and for those who didn’t figure themselves out until they got out of school. “
Following a Glastonbury appearance last year at the personal invitation of Billy Bragg, the band will be playing UK dates in July and August before taking to the stage at End Of The Road in September. It’s going to be a busy old time for the band, what with double lives and everything, but, with passion and love dripping out of every second of Blisters In The Pit Of My Heart, you know they’ll find a way.