Air Waves is the musical pseudonym of Brooklyn-based songwriter, Nicole Schneit. Back in April last year, the third Air Waves album, Warrior, was released. The record was inspired by the battles so many of the people in Nicole’s life were fighting; whether that was Nicole’s mother tackling fallopian cancer (now thankfully in remission) or Nicole herself fighting for her, “rights, dignity and acceptance”, as a queer woman. The album’s themes are perhaps brought into sharper focus, by the presence of the looming spectre of a president who is a threat to so much of the progress Nicole’s home country has made. The song Gay Bets was written in the aftermath of the 2016 election, “about being gay and being proud and open. I was thinking about hate crimes spiking and the current state of the world…I was writing a fuck you to Trump, for trying to take away queer rights, women’s rights, people’s rights”. Those anxieties and fears are present across the album, with closing track, Blue Fire, (inspired by the Adrienne Rich poem The Will to Change) acting as the records moment of tranquility; a plea to both Nicole and the listener to remain calm, to know that things can change, and hope can find a way.
Featuring contributions from the likes of Kevin Morby, Katie Von Schleisher and Meg Duffy, Warrior was a collection that was as powerful musically as it was lyrically. It was a record that never settled into a musical pattern, flittering between indie-pop, alt-country and driving electronics. It’s perhaps the pulsating title track that serves as the album’s centre-piece, with a little help from Kevin Morby’s languid backing vocal, the track become a sparkling call to arms, propelled along by a steady snare-drum and twitchy synth-line. As Nicole repeats the line, “saddle up on your horse get ready to go, you’re a warrior, you’re a warrior”, you can’t help but feel compelled to get up and do something, to fight whatever demons and doubts you have, and to win, whatever the odds. This is a thrilling album, and one that unquestionably deserves to be heard; this is one warrior we should all be willing to get behind.
During a recent European tour, Nicole took some time out to put together a playlist, on the delightfully simple theme of, songs I like, featuring the likes of Smog, Cate Le Bon and of course, Crazy Town.
1. Smog – Held
The instrumentation is so driving and powerful, and I love the lyrics “I want to be held like a new born baby.”
2. Bruce Springsteen- Tunnel of Love (My band mates choice)
Beautiful portrayal of the human condition
3.Cocteau Twins- Cherry Coloured Funk
What’s not to love about all Cocteau Twins songs?
4. Fatima – La Neta
I just discovered this artist and love the composition and lyrics. Super sexy song.
5. Cate Lebon- Are You With Me Now?
This is the perfect song lyrically and musically.
6. Joan Armatrading- Never is Too Late
7. Desireless – Voyage, Voyage
On a ferry from France, to London listening to this French hit.
8. Sybille Baier – Tonight
Shes one of my favorite songwriters!
9. Can- Vitamin C
10. Crazy Town – Butterfly
What’s funny song. And my band mates know all the words.
Warrior is out now via Western Vinyl. Click HERE for more information on Air Waves.