Infectiously joyous, Martha holds a supreme aptitude for crafting endearingly honest, heartfelt and tender pop-punk gems that are always an absolutely uplifting experience to witness live. This evening sees the Durham four-piece play their biggest headline show to date at Heaven. Ahead of the gig, we caught up with Nathan Stephens-Griffin to find out about five tracks that have influenced them.
Earlier this year Martha released their third record Love Keeps Kicking, offering some of their most vulnerable songwriting yet and with this bringing a certain reassurance and strength across the tracks. At the core of their latest release, and of the band, is an undeniable optimism and emphasis on “the importance of growth in a stunted world”, in spite of everything going on right now; witnessing Martha’s continued evolution since Courting Strong back in 2014 has been an absolute pleasure to behold and for a band who’ve created such a strong sense of community around them we’re always going to be excited for whatever comes next.
With the last tickets flying out for tonight’s show, make sure to get one whilst you still can! In the meantime enjoy their latest music video alongside this choice selection of tracks.
Allo Darlin- My Heart is a Drummer
Allo Darlin invited us to support them in London back in 2012 just after we had started. We were huge fans and it was such a big honour to play with them (as well as Tigercats who were also supporting that day) and it was our first real direct experience of that London indie pop scene. This summer at Indietracks we covered this song and it was so fun to do. Allo Darlin influenced us hugely especially in the way the lyrics weave in everyday stuff and pop culture references, as a means of exploring and understanding ones self and the world.
Dwight Tilley Band- Looking For the Magic
We first heard this song in a horror film (called ‘You’re Next’) where it is used in a really interesting and effective way throughout, and almost becomes a motif of the movie. It’s perfectly chosen in that context and has this really haunting atmosphere for what is ostensibly a power pop song, and we were listening to it a lot when we were writing Love Keeps Kicking, so much so that it gets referenced in the song ‘Sight For Sore Eyes’.
Masshysteri- Låt Dom Hata Oss
We’ve worn our Masshysteri influence on our sleeve proudly since day one, and even covered one of their songs (in the original Swedish) on our split with Benny the Jet Rodriguez a few years ago, but this song is so fucking great, and the vocal harmonies definitely influenced the song ‘The Void’ in particular from our latest album Love Keeps Kicking. The lyrics translate roughly as “let them hate us, just as long as they fear us” which is just a brilliant outsider anthem to shout along and pogo along with. Great DIY punk band.
Rockpile- When I Write the Book
This is just a really great power pop song about heartbreak from Nick Lowe who is basically the master of that kind of thing. As well as the music which is so catchy and melodic, Nick Lowe’s lyrics influenced a lot of the lovesick vibes of the record: the chorus of this song goes: “when I write the book about my love, it will be about a man who’s torn in half, about his hopes and ambitions wasted through the years, the pain will be written on every page in tears”. Smashing!
Blink 182- Wendy Clear
It might sound daft, but Enema of the State really did impact my life hugely when it first came out. It was before streaming was a thing, so it was harder to find bands and took more investment (of time and money) to really get into stuff. Before that I’d felt like everything I liked was ultimately someone else’s. As puerile, problematic and silly as some of the lyrical content was, with hindsight, Blink 182 were one of the first bands that I really felt belonged to me and my friends. We’d be lying if we said the new record didn’t take influence from Blink’s ability to craft perfect pop punk bangers.
Martha plays Heaven this evening, last remaining tickets here.
Photo credit: Sonny Malhotra