Acid Cherry reveal their ultimate playlist of rock classics and “unhinged sensitivity”

Brisbane band Acid Cherry’s go-to playlist is one of “little nuances”, “intense emotions” and “unhinged sensitivity,” offering a perfect accompaniment to their latest single Prisoner.  

Earlier this month, Acid Cherry released Prisoner, the sort of punkish, angsty track that might be spun by the protagonist in an early-aughties teen movie. Laced with masterful heavy metal asides and grimy vocals, the Brisbane band’s first single of 2023 vacillates between pop-punk melodies, 90s grunge and nu-metal, with lyrical storytelling detailing a nightmarish experience with sleep paralysis.

Founded on the back of doubt from peers who claimed that “‘women can’t play heavy music,’”, the all-female Acid Cherry have — deservedly or not — had to prove themselves with each successive release, and its feat they’ve more than achieved since the arrival of their debut EP Nyctophilia in 2022. With Prisoner as evidence, the four-piece show no sign of confining either themselves or their music to preconceptions, and their listeners are all the better for it. 

Acid Cherry 'Prisoner' single
Credit: Radical Imaging

Below, we caught up with Acid Cherry for a chat about their ultimate playlist, spanning fellow women juggernauts like Alanis Morissette and the female-fronted Hands Off Gretel, as well as rock inspirations like Korn and Pearl Jam. Scroll down for the complete playlist run-through, and head here to listen to their latest single Prisoner. Elsewhere, catch Acid Cherry at their official single launch event at Tomcat in Fortitude Valley on April 15.

Alice in Chains – Grind 

Joey: Alice in Chains will forever be one of the bands closest to my heart and soul. I thought  long and hard before choosing a track, but Grind is one of my more recent discoveries. Their  self-titled album shifts in my ranks of which are their best, usually below Dirt and Facelift, but this track has a lot to appreciate. I love the constant momentum from the second the  song starts in the main riff and the wailing guitar and layers in the vocals during the verse especially. 

Red Hot Chili Peppers- Californication 

Nic: Red Hot Chili Peppers may not be the inspiration for Acid Cherry’s music, but some of  their songs certainly influence my drumming. Californication contains some very cool ghost notes and off-beat snare hits that I have incorporated into Prisoner. It is extremely fun to play  and I can never have a solo practice session without jamming to Californication at least  once. 

Alanis Morissette – You Oughta Know (Jimmy the Saint blend)/Your House A Capella

Brooke: Alanis was an obvious choice in my mind. I can remember listening to the Jagged Little Pill album on repeat on a 12-stack CD player in my Mum’s Mitsubishi. I have chosen  this version of You Oughta Know mainly because of the hidden acapella track at the end.  The raw vulnerability shown in the track inspired me vocally, from the vibrato to the  intentional voice cracks. I like to use these vocal dynamics in Acid Cherry as I think it suits the unhinged sensitivity of our songs. 

Korn — Here to Stay

Zoe: This song hits hard and brings out a physical response in me every time I listen to it. I  love the drive that the bass and drums have in this song and I feel like this style of music is  reflected in Prisoner. I’m not saying we sound like Korn or anything but I do feel that Prisoner reflects our Korn phase back then (and still currently) as a band, and every time I hear Prisoner I’m going to hear all the little nuances that was inspired from this band in general. 

Soundgarden — 4th of July 

Joey: This was the first Soundgarden song that really grabbed me and made them my  favourite band to this day. To me it has everything a great song should, from crushing riffs to  the poetic lyrics. The depth to some of the lines still surprise me to this day, even after a good five or so years of listening to them. I’m still considering getting “Light a roman candle and hold it in your hand” tattooed onto my body to seal the deal. 

Pearl Jam — Jeremy 

Nic: Pearl Jam’s songs such as Jeremy and Alive speak to me on many different levels.  Listening to Pearl Jam makes me feel very intense emotions, and I am always instantly  transported to a different world once I put on my earphones and close my eyes. The drums  written and produced by Pearl Jam is definitely one to admire and take inspiration from. 

Alice In Chains — Love, Hate, Love

Brooke: What can I say, Love Hate Love is one of the biggest inspirations of them all for  me. I hadn’t been so paralysed by someone’s vocals like Layne’s in this track. The melody is  haunting and powerful, written perfectly to fit the essence of the song. I have Layne to thank  for the vocal techniques I use today. The drop mouth technique, vocalized screams and over-pronouncing my vowels are common methods I find myself subconsciously using in Acid Cherry’s powerful, dark songs.

Deftones – My Own Summer 

Zoe: This song is so angry and powerful. Every time the chorus comes in it’s just this wall of sound that’s loud and aggressive. We wrote Prisoner differently to how we normally write music and stripped it way back so the bass would be driving the majority of the song. When the drums, guitars and vocals come in with full force in the choruses, it hits like a wall of  sound the same way Deftones does.  

Melvins – Revolve 

Joey: The Melvins are definitely one of the grunge bands of the 90s that I believe should get  more attention. The sludge elements of their tracks is something I like to take into my own  music, including when I wrote the instrumentals for the demo that would evolve into our new  release Prisoner on my bedroom floor one day. My own bass style and tone draws  massively from the Stoner Witch album and this song. If I could choose to have written one  bassline, it might just be this one. If you’re a fan of grunge and want to dig a little bit deeper, go dive into their very expansive discography. If I can bring even a little bit of their grunge  goodness into our songs I would be incredibly happy.  

Nirvana — Smells Like Teen Spirit 

Nic: This particular song is the first among the grunge rock genre that I ever learned on the drums. Smells Like Teen Spirit introduced me to the joys of playing grunge rock, in which  Acid Cherry’s music partly falls into. I enjoy the fact that the drum part is simple to play, but extremely catchy. I choose to introduce beats that fit well with the band’s songs, that are not only easy but also have a consistent booming and powerful backline. 

Korn – Falling Away From Me  

Brooke: Falling Away From Me I would say inspired the vocals and lyrics for Prisoner the most, especially for the verses. Korn’s songs have an ability to stir you up emotionally; to find that thing from deep within that’s been tormenting you, rip it out and wear it on your  sleeve for the world to see. I have always admired the hoarse lazy-like vocals Jonathan Davis uses. I find it can really enhance a song when used in the right places. Having that slurry talk type vocal was something Acid Cherry hadn’t tried before, and it worked perfectly for the sleepy, hostile manifestation of ‘Prisoner’. 

Hands Off Gretel – Bigger Than Me  

Zoe: This song is written by one of my biggest inspirations of all time. I remember the first time I heard Lauren screaming on her tracks I immediately fell in love. The fact we were  blessed enough to have crossed paths with a singer/screamer like Brooke and formed this band makes me immensely appreciative that we can write music similar to the track; Bigger  Than Me. The dissonance in this song inspired me to write dissonant lead lines that felt drunk and intentional. Lauren is my biggest inspiration and feels like a big sister that I can listen to and scream along with. It just makes me immensely grateful that we can write our  own angry girl songs and hopefully be big sisters to our own listeners.