Coming Home For The First Time: Holly Mullineaux Guides Us Through The Making of Islands

All photos by Maximilian Hetherington

Its lush independence affectionately layered and shared as if in confidence, Islands is the intricately-conceived, intimate and charming debut EP from H.L. Grail — the solo-musical project of Portsmouth’s Holly Mullineaux. It feels like a natural, and by necessity more soft-edged, extension of her work in Goat Girl — she’s the bassist in that wonderful band — in which grand, psychedelic panoramas are exchanged for miniaturized and variegated ones. It’s excellent, and you can stream it here.

Ms. Mullineaux was very kind to share with us the inspirations she had whilst writing and recording the four-song work. Her selections are youthful, classic, sophisticated and experimental, and on Islands their influences are worn with a light grace.

We would like to thank Holly for putting this together, and we encourage you to listen to her music. Each of the following songs is wonderful. On March 9th she holds the EP’s release show at London’s The Ivy House, and tickets for that show can be purchased here. Now over to her…

Blonde Redhead: “Barragán”

I’ve always loved the understated nature of this opening/title track from Blonde Redhead’s 2014 LP. I’m a big fan of playing acoustic guitar parts with open strings and the ambient sound effects in the background create a really transportive atmosphere.

Adrianne Lenker: “anything”

This song does something funny to my insides every time. It was released around the time I was writing a lot of the songs on the EP and I love the imagery in the lyrics. ‘I wanna witness your eyes looking’ is one of the most simple yet beautiful lines I think I’ve ever heard in a song.  

Okay Kaya: “Ascend and Try Again”

This song is unapologetic in its stark simplicity, letting the words and emotions really shine through. The vocal melodies are really gorgeous as well. I had this song on repeat for a while so I think it fed into my writing process at the time. 

Aerial M: “Dazed and Awake”

When I showed my friend Euan (Hinshelwood) my demos, he used Aerial M as a reference for the vibe/recording. I loved the drawn-out nature of this track and the hypnotic mood it created. Going on long walks with this playing in my headphones is a really nice memory from the making of the EP. 

Tirzah: “Gladly”

Finally, this is probably one of my favourite songs of all time. It’s weird, woozy and stunningly beautiful. In fact the whole album (Devotion) is up there for me. Every part of it feels considered and is given space to be appreciated. Listening back, the lo-fi beats that trudge beneath Tirzah’s subtly acrobatic vocals and wonky keys probably informed the stunted samples on OTD, albeit subconsciously at the time. 

Island is out now on Underfoot Records.