Posts Tagged ‘Muncie Girls’

Lande Hekt

Lande Hekt wouldn’t call herself a role model. That would be weird. But she is someone whose words have become important to a good number of people. Across two albums and a slew of short-form releases with Muncie Girls, she has earned a rep as one of the most interesting, emotionally engaging writers in UK punk.

Her first solo full length, which follows up last year’s “Gigantic Disappointment” EP, relies on the trust found in that relationship between artist and listener. “Going to Hell” details Hekt’s experience of coming out as gay, and ranges from the all-consuming uncertainty of the opener “Whiskey” to golden hue of “Winter Coat”. All the while she attempts to foster a feeling of community for anyone who sees themself reflected back by the songs.

“That was in my head not just when I was writing, but when I was trying to push the theme on the record,” Hekt says. “I didn’t have anywhere near enough queer role models in bands that I listened to, and it had a negative impact in terms of my identity. Trying to put more queer music into the world is important to me, because you never know who might hear it. They don’t have to be young, it could be anyone who’s struggling with coming out or anything like that.”

She adds: “Things have begun to change in the past few years, which has also probably been important for me, to feel comfortable in talking about it in a scene that’s more welcoming. Ten years ago, it would have been a massive thing and would have alienated you as a band. Now, you can exist within multiple different scenes while also being gay, and not be singled out as ‘just a gay band’. I think it has changed, but I was definitely damaged by growing up in a heteronormative scene.”

“Whiskey” is an important moment. Its place at the top of the order isn’t an accident, and it lays the table both thematically and musically, finding Hekt stuck between stations in a personal sense while calling on the indie-rock-literate palette that she utilises throughout. “Is it meeting someone who’s not into bands? Is it weird that they still understand?” she sings during the chorus.

“I wanted to set the scene with that song because it is the truest one on there in terms of the theme of coming out as gay, and the one that grapples with the subject,” Hekt says. “With the last Muncie Girls album I put the song that scared me the most at the beginning. I think it’s a good rule of thumb. If you’re going to do something, commit to it. If I’d have been half-heartedly like, ‘This record’s kinda about coming out as gay but it’s kinda not…’ Then people would be like, ‘Okay…’ It makes more sense to put it at the top as something to be proud of.”

Going to Hell was recorded pre-lockdown in the Adelaide Hills with the Hard Aches’ Ben David following a tour of Australia. It is a solo record in every sense, with Hekt playing almost every note. “It’s Ben’s studio, so we weren’t restricted to times of the day and stuff like that,” she says. “We were able to get a little bit more down than maybe I would have recording in a commercial studio.

“We tracked a guide guitar and vocals and then I played drums along to that, tracked bass over it, then guitar, then vocals. It was pretty intense but also really rewarding because it’s 100 per cent creative control, and fucking around was really fun. It was a super immersive experience and I think we both just got a little bit creative with plugins and effects that we maybe wouldn’t normally have used.”

Chiefly, Hekt and David sought out a sound that felt honest. The record is a treasure trove of nods to her influences – from the Sundays’ gauzy guitar tones to the ringing jangle-pop riffs that light up “December” and “Stranded” – but it’s not artificial or forced. Gear-wise they wanted to maintain a level of unfussiness, generally pairing David’s road-worn Telecaster with a Twin Reverb, and tried to pull out atmospheric threads that had already been woven into the songs.

“We kept it super simple,” Hekt says. “One combo at a time, not going through three amps at the same time. We wanted a true sound for the guitars, with those obvious effects on top. It wasn’t a gear heavy record. We weren’t spending ages working through different heads.” She adds: “When I demo I tend to use a lot of reverb and delay. We did have a conscious decision of using a lot of slapback on the vocals, and we didn’t want any dry guitars on there.”

The Jenga-tower layering of Going to Hell is similarly drawn from Hekt’s increasing interest in intersecting guitar parts. Nominally the bassist in Muncie Girls, she has in recent years begun to play second guitar live to bring out that element of their sound. Here, those melodic feints and counter-punches are pushed front and centre as her vocals cut through the hustle and bustle.

“With Muncie Girls I write the songs on an acoustic and demo a second guitar in,” she says. “We then develop them into the parts they’ll become. I want to eventually play these songs with a full band, having two guitarists. I do like layering. As Muncie Girls have gone along we’ve written more prominent second guitar parts, so that’s in my mind as a typical four piece rock band setup where you can play around with differing melodies. It becomes more of a textural thing, and that’s probably built into me now through Muncie Girls.

Going to Hell achieves its goals because of Hekt’s honesty and her way with a crunchy indie-punk hook. It just works, and in that balance it has the capacity to reach those who might need to hear it. “It does help to have people making music that’s relatable,” she observes.

Lande Hekt’s “Going to Hell” is out on 22nd January through Get Better Records.

Lande Hekt, who you might recognize as a member of U.K. group Muncie Girls, strikes out on her own with a contemplative and personal song about her experience of coming out. “Whiskey” tips its cap in the direction of The Replacements but remains unique to Hekt as she takes control of her life and drops the pretence of being anything other than herself. She’ll dive deeper into her journey on debut album Going To Hell, due in January 2021.

Lande Hekt’s voice in music is one that’s socially aware yet often introspective, drawing awareness to serious issues but at the same time baring her soul. Much of Hekt’s compositions act as a personal diary of what’s going on in her life at any given time. This is evident in her discography with Muncie Girls, the band which she formed in her hometown of Exeter as a teenager and have released two critically acclaimed albums to date. This knack of combining her own experiences and feelings whilst highlighting larger socio-economic issues has carried through to her more contemplative solo material, which began life in an EP ‘Gigantic Disappointment’, self-released in 2019.

“Whiskey” is the lead single off Lande Hekt’s debut album, “Going to Hell” out January 22nd, 2021 via Get Better Records

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It’s probably not possible to dislike a record that opens with the lyric, “I’m so angry, I’m going to get a tattoo, that says ‘fuck Jeremy Clarkson, and fuck you too” . In case it passed you by, Exeter trio Muncie Girl’s 2016 debut ‘From Caplan To Belsize’ was one of the most special indie rock records to emerge . It was a record that recalled all manner of bands from an era when indie rock was called college rock (Veruca Salt, Throwing Muses, Buffalo Tom to name but three) and succeeded in every song delivering the feeling of a close friend leaning into your ear and telling you a secret. Muncie Girls were part of a gang of British bands who were of a similar ilk (Doe, Personal Best, Happy Accidents to name another three) who shared similar musical aesthetics and political concerns.

At the fulcrum of its brilliance was singer/bassist Lande Hekt, whose lyrical observations bounced from feminism, to Sylvia Plath, to the sort of political awaking that occurs when you realise you’ve spent a decade at school and you haven’t really learned anything of very much importance at all. This time round, there’s a more coherent theme to Lande’s songs. She’s largely concerned with the concept of health, largely of the mental variety. ‘Clinic’ will be familiar to anyone who’s ever woken up with a head feeling like a test site for Trident, only to be told by the doctor’s receptionist “there’ll be a three week wait”. Then there’s the frenzied ‘Picture Of Health’ which not only shares the viewing platform for the abyss with the aforementioned number, but serves as the best argument for fuzz pedals to be given out free to children we’ve heard all year. You’ve probably got a pretty good idea what songs like ‘Laugh Again’ and ‘Falling Down’ are about. Not that it’s relentless horror. The song ‘Bubble Bath’ uses actual bubbles as a musical instrument of sorts.

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released August 31st, 2018

Muncie Girls Locked Up

Short sharp and sweet with an acerbic undertone Muncie Girls return with a new video for their latest single ‘Locked Up’ from their forthcoming albumFixed Ideals which arrives via Specialist Subject 31 August 2018.

‘Locked Up’ could be partly interpreted as a list of things which are used to manipulate our fears and desires in order to keep us under control (locked up). Indeed the very things that we are told will free us or bring us joy could actually be viewed as tools of oppression, not unlike that story whereby prisoners build their own prison without realising its a prison and are so invested in it, they would defend it to the death!

Muncie Girls vocalist and guitarist Lande Hekt explained that ‘Locked Up’ does address a whole raft of things that she found bizarre about life, things “that we’re expected to not only accept, but celebrate. It’s kind of depressing really,” whilst also explaining that it relates to the prison system and claustrophobia. For a band who often write about the fucked up nature of the world and their difficulties embracing many of its aspects, they do so in a way that inspires, uplifts and offers hope, which is a rare gift.

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The Exeter, UK, punk band remain political and critical—on their sophomore record ‘Fixed Ideals’ while showing us what personally makes them tick. It is no secret that the Exeter, UK, punk band, which includes Hekt, Dean McMullen, and Luke Ellis, often draws inspiration from the American poet and novelist Sylvia Plath’s works and then craft eardrum-shaking rock songs from them. “Gas Mark 4” from their stunning debut, From Caplan to Belsize, is a referential of The Bell Jar, Plath’s first and most famous novel. The group is readying the release of their sophomore, Fixed Ideals, out August 31st via Buzz Records. At 13 tracks in length (cut down from a hefty recorded 19, Hekt says) it doesn’t feel long or linger too much.

“Falling Down,” Hekt wrote more personally about drinking, which she hasn’t done for almost a year. “‘Falling Down’ is funnily enough… I didn’t know what it was about,” she says with a laugh. “This happens a bit where I’ll write a song and not know what it’s about until, like, months later. But it turns out to be about is drinking. It’s about a hangover, which I didn’t realize. There’s a line in it: “Go to bed / Wake up smart.” So it’s kind of like talking about having a hangover and waking up the next day and knowing not to do it again.” The track is surprisingly tender, while at the same a bit biting about some dumb shit we usually do to get through our youth. The song sounds fuller, largely due to the three-piece trying their hand at a four-piece without any additional person. Hekt learned guitar in addition to playing bass. It’s a smart, pop punk tune—jaunty and cheeky, almost, with an earnest and infectious chorus that is absolutely sure to get stuck in your head.
Band Members
Lande, Dean and Luke

“Falling Down” is from Muncie Girls’ “Fixed Ideals” LP out August 31 via Buzz Records (US/CAN) and Specialist Subject Records (UK/EU).

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Muncie Girls have announced their triumphant second album, Fixed Ideals, set for release on August 31st (Buzz/North America, Specialist Subject /UK+EU, and Lost Boy/AUS). To celebrate, they’ve shared the video for lead single, “Picture of Health” .

The title, like the band’s first LP, From Caplan To Belsizewas inspired by the writings of poet Sylvia Plath, in this instance drawing from a line of Plath’s Sonnet: To Eva regarding “perfume, politics and fixed ideals.” It was produced by Muncie Girls’ longterm collaborator Lewis Johns (Funeral For A Friend, Rolo Tomassi, Gnarwolves) at The Ranch

From Caplan To Belsize, the debut album from Exeter’s Muncie Girls, was one of the better pop-punk albums of 2016, a heady fusion of razor-sharp lyrics and wonderfully subtle flourishes (not to mention endlessly sing-along-able refrains) that elevated the band’s four-chords-and-an-attitude into something special—and making our list of 2016’s best music along the way. Now they’ve followed it up with Fixed Ideals, an album that doubles down on the anthemic spirit of their earlier work while becoming more musically adventurous in both sound and style. With a lengthy recording process that found singer Lande Hekt often playing both guitar and bass during the songwriting, the group created a record that if excellent leadoff single “Picture Of Health” is any indication—will be even catchier and more inspired than the last.

“Picture of Health” is the lead single from Muncie Girls’ “Fixed Ideals” LP out August 31 via Buzz Records (US/CAN) and Specialist Subject Records