PLAYLIST: LGBT History Month 2021

GIHE Co-founder & Switchboard Co-Chair Tash Walker has put together some poignant words to introduce our LGBT History Month Playlist:

“As a society we all have to strive to be better allies, to not make the same mistakes that we have made in the past, to learn and to evolve so that we move towards a more equal society for all. Learning more about our untold histories is essential for this. February is LGBT History Month, so we’ve created a playlist for you as the perfect accompaniment to all that learning!

But remember it’s not just about the famous names, it’s about all LGBTQIA+ people who lived, whether they were out or unable to be open, they are all part of history, they have all shaped where we are today. This LGBT History Month, have a look for those unsung heroes, lift up their stories and learn more about their hidden lives.

By delving into LGTBQIA+ history, we learn so much about the struggle and fight for equality – the discrimination, the victimisation, the love, the support, the strength – it’s all a part of who we are today, as queer people, as allies, as people. You have to learn from the past to understand what community, allyship and support really mean. The stories you discover will make you laugh and cry – from sex, to police raids, to the HIV/AIDS pandemic, to censorship – it’s all there! It’s so important that we look back, honour, remember, celebrate and mourn for all that has happened in our LGBTQIA+ history, so that we can all work together for a more equal future. A good place to start is by listening to The Log Books podcast – untold stories from Britain’s LGBTQIA+ history and conversations about being queer today.”

If you need support during LGBT History Month or at anytime in the future, you can always reach out to Switchboard LGBT+ via their website or by calling 0330 330 0630.

Take some time to scroll through our track choices below and make sure you hit play on the Spotify playlist at the end of this post!

 

SOPHIE – ‘It’s Okay To Cry’
With the tragic news last week of SOPHIE’s sudden passing, I felt it was necessary to pay tribute to her as we celebrate LGBT History Month. An inspirational pioneer in both electronic music and for Transgender artists, she is gone far too soon, so please don’t hold back in shedding a tear as you listen to the beautifully poignant ‘It’s Okay To Cry’. (Mari Lane)

Planningtorock – ‘Non Binary Femme’
This track is take from one of my favourite albums of all time, Planningtorock’s Powerhouse. Unarguably paving the way for not only a better understanding of what those words mean, but also leading in acceptance for transgender and gender non-conforming people. Planningtorock and their music has unquestionably helped me on my own gender identity journey and I’m sure many others. (Tash Walker)

Bishi – ‘Don’t Shoot The Messenger’
For the Southbank Centre’s 2019 Meltdown Festival, Kate and I had the privilege of meeting Bishi. An incredibly talented singer, electronic rock-sitarist, producer and performer born in London of Bengali heritage. She is also the co-founder of WITCiH: The Women in Technology Creative Industries Hub, a platform elevating Women & Non-Binary in tech through commissions, performances & panels. (TW)

JD Samson & Men – ‘Who Am I To Feel So Free’
Having been part of GIHE faves Le Tigre, genderqueer musician, artist and activist JD Samson is a constant inspiration. Taken from Men’s 2011 album Talk About Body, ‘Who Am I To Feel So Free’ offers a joyous celebration of having the freedom to be yourself. (ML)

LIINES – ‘Sorry’
Manchester post punks LIINES continually impress with their deep, intense bass lines, the gritty, commanding growl of vocalist Zoe McVeigh and Leila O’Sullivan’s consistent pummelling beats. Propelled by a thrashing sense of urgency, ‘Sorry’ will captivate the ears with its punk-fuelled bewitching allure. (ML)

Big Joanie – ‘Cut Your Hair’ & Charmpit – ‘Bad Attitude’
Putting these tracks from two fab UK based feminist punk groups together as they were shared on a split single release for iconic record label Kill Rock Stars last year. We’ve made no secret of our love for Big Joanie or for Charmpit here at GIHE, and we are all collectively inspired by the incredible work they do on and off stage. Check out Decolonise Fest and First Timers UK to see just some of the vital creative projects they’re involved in. (Kate Crudgington)

Problem Patterns – ‘Terfs Out’
Belfast Feminist punks Problem Patterns are big faves of mine and Kate’s, and with ‘Terfs Out’ showcase the true meaning of Feminism – being inclusive of ALL women, including our Trans sisters. Taken from last year’s Irish compilation album A Litany Of Failures, Vol. III, ‘Terfs Out’ rages with a seething angst-driven energy, poignantly asserting that “LGB is nothing if not for the T”. A perfect call for solidarity and one which is needed now more than ever. (ML)

Dream Nails – ‘Kiss My Fist’ 
An aural uppercut to those who antagonize the LGBT+ community, this single from GIHE faves Dream Nails is a riotous stand against homophobic violence. The band penned the track days after they saw the news that queer couple Melania Geymonat and Christine Hannigan were attacked by a group of teenagers for refusing to kiss on a London bus in 2019. Guitarist Anya Pearson spoke poignantly about how the news affected her: “As a queer woman, I live in fear of violence every day because of my sexuality and the way I look. In the UK, anti-LGBT hate crime has surged in the past five years. We released ‘Kiss My Fist’ in honour of all the queer people trying to get from A to B without getting beaten up. Our message to homophobes and transphobes is clear: ask us to kiss again and we will eat your brain.” (KC)

Gossip – ‘Standing In The Way Of Control’
This is an absolute ANTHEM that is guaranteed to get me on to any dance floor. Bith Ditto’s voice is so powerful and so defiant on this track. A proper indie banger that you can belt out whenever you’re feeling overwhelmed. (KC)

pink suits – ‘Fake Great Britain’
Margate based queer punk-rock duo pink suits incorporate politically driven rage, dance and even theatre into their work, exploring issues of sexuality, mental health and a resistance of binary gender. Propelled by a frenzied, angst-driven power and scuzzy hooks, ‘Fake Great Britain’ is a queer punk anthem inciting us to get up, make our voices heard and fight fascism with all our might. (ML)

Kermes – ‘Peeling Off The Rind’
The latest single from Leicester queercore outfit Kermes, ‘Peeling Off The Rind’ reflects on feelings of unity and togetherness, and their importance in resistance. With front person Emily’s raw, seething vocals driving the track’s poignant, impassioned power, it’s a much needed slice of uplifting catharsis. (ML)

Partner – ‘Big Gay Hands’
I’ve been a bit in love with Canadian duo Partner since seeing them live at The Victoria a few years back, supported by faves Charmpit and Suggested Friends. Taken from their latest album Never Give Up and reflecting on “a wild night on the town filled with queer desire”, ‘Big Gay Hands’ epitomises the duo’s playful sense of fun in an epic, uplifting rock anthem. (ML)

ARXX – ‘Call Me Crazy’
The latest single from GIHE faves, Brighton duo ARXX, ‘Call Me Crazy’ showcases Hanni and Clara’s more reflective side. A heartfelt reflection on mental health struggles, at a time when this topic is more resonant than ever before, it builds in emotive splendour to an epic, pop-strewn ballad. (ML)

Foxgluvv – ‘Beautiful, Dirty, Rich’ (Lady Gaga Cover)
A glamorous cover of Mother Monster’s fabulous original 2008 single, London-based queer hungover pop artist Foxgluvv has paid homage to LGBTQ+ ally Lady Gaga by crafting this funky re-working with producer by Scott Colcombe. Her cover has all the spirit and sass of Gaga’s original, with a slight disco-pop twist. It’s not on Spotify, but you can watch the fab accompanying video to the track below. (KC)

Robyn – ‘Dancing On My Own’
Robyn is an outspoken ally for LGBTQ+ rights. I think it’s important to recognise the role that allies play within LGBTQ+ history and the movement’s continued fight for equality. Being an ally is about educating yourself, it’s about listening, being visible, challenging inequality and helping to educate others. Being an ally isn’t just about LGBTQ+, it applies to any under-represented, marginalised section of society worldwide. As Stonewall says “If we want to live in a world where people are accepted without exception, we all need to be part of the solution.” (TW)

Mykki Blanco (feat. Princess Nokia) – ‘Wish You Would’
This is a song from an artist who I feel needs no introduction, a queer pioneer who is doing amazing things for LGBTQ+ rights as well as being open about their positive HIV status. Mykki Blanco is also such an incredible artist and his music is just oh so gooooood. (TW)

Tyler Holmes – ‘Actors’
I’ve only recently become acquainted with artist Tyler Holmes, but I have fast fallen in love with their poignant, affecting and utterly unique sweeping electronic soundscapes. Holmes has spent a lifetime crafting their own Black, Queer narrative by pushing the limits of their imagination, and is set to release their new album next month – I cannot wait to immerse myself in it. They have also just shared a cover of SOPHIE’s ‘BIPP’. Check it out on bandcamp now. (ML)

Hercules & Love Affair – ‘Blind’
This track is so important me, taken from Hercules & Love Affairs’ self-titled album released in 2008, which I was obsessed with. Growing up I don’t remember any out famous LGBTQ+ women in music, so seeing Kim Ann Foxman who was part of their line-up on the album -so confident in her sexuality – it made the biggest of impressions on me. The music isn’t bad either. ‘Blind’ is without a doubt the theme tune to me fully embracing my sexuality, feeling proud of who I was and strong enough to come out happily in all aspects of my life. (TW)

KERAI – ‘desire’
KERAI is the project of nonbinary/trans producer & writer Sasha Wilde and co-producer Julian Wharton. Influenced by Russian new wave, Scandinavian electronica and Lithuanian folk, the duo blend pitch-manipulated vocals, punchy beats and edgy noise to create their haunting sounds. Their debut album Show Me a Future Where I Can Live is an intense electronic exploration of Wilde’s childhood. Growing up queer in a hostile post-soviet environment, Wilde has channeled their fears and hopes into this “serious shape-shifting” record, and I’m so glad it dropped into my GIHE inbox. (KC)

Gordian Stimm – ‘Though My Love Is Always Still’
I am such a huge fan of everything  Gordian Stimm (aka Maeve Westall of itoldyouiwouldeatyou) releases. They’ve crafted so many experimental gems in the last year, from their debut album Your Body In On Itself, to this single for Amateur Pop Inc.’s compilation record, their offerings are intensely eclectic & so well produced. Definitely check out their new instrumental EP Flirty Lucre for Public Sector, on bandcamp too. (KC)

The Crystal Furs – ‘Comeback Girls’
Oregon queer indie-pop band The Crystal Furs last year released their second album Beautiful and True. Taken from the album, ‘Comeback Girls’ is a twinkling offering, flowing with uplifting shimmering synths, honey-sweet vocals and scuzzy hooks. (ML)

Rookes – ‘Liminal’
Having wowed us live more than once, London based Rookes is fast becoming known in the industry for her fearless exploration of queer-female identity. Taken from 2019’s EP of the same name, ‘Liminal’ offers a beautifully uplifting pop ballad twinkling with a dreamy warmth. (ML)

Marika Hackman – ‘Realti’ (Grimes cover)
Taken from last year’s Covers album, Marika Hackman’s rendition of the Grimes classic adds her own ethereal, soothing touch to the original, oozing a spellbinding majestic splendour. (ML)

Landshapes – ‘Drama’
One of the first guests we ever had on our radio show, Landshapes last year released their first album in five years. Taken from the album, ‘Drama’ reflects on the imbalance of emotional labour that’s often seen between men and women. Propelled by a steady, jazz-infused bass-line, it soars with a whirring synth-filled musicality as the lustrous distinctive power of Luisa Gerstein’s vocals flows.
(ML)

Bronski Beat – ‘Smalltown Boy’
Released in 1984 at the height of the AIDS crisis by openly gay Bronski Beat, ‘Smalltown Boy’ is a heart-breaking story given an empowering beat. In 2020 I worked on the second season of a podcast called The Log Books all about LGBTQ+ history, covering the years from 1983 to 1991, when the HIV/AIDS epidemic hit the UK, this seems like a brilliant way to look back and think of that time – through all the pain and loss, there was love and laughter and most importantly DANCING! Happy LGBT+ History Month! (TW)

Jackie Shane – ‘Coming Down’
We’ve played Canadian soul-singer Jackie Shane multiple times on the GIHE radio show, and included her on many a playlist and we’re certainly not stopping now! Jackie was a pioneer for transgender rights in the 60s & 70s, a time when being your true self was not always welcomed, or accepted. (TW)

Arlo Parks –  ‘Black Dog’ 
I cannot get enough of Arlo Parks and her mesmerising music, so full of emotion I get lost in every second. ‘Black Dog’ is a frank, heart-breaking insight into the the darkness of depression. Mental health awareness within the LGTBQIA+ communities is so important, especially with rising levels of isolation and loneliness. Asking for, or reaching out for help is so important and totally OK to do. The more we can look out for each other, the more we can show people that asking for help is a sign of strength not weakness. (TW)

Perfume Genius – ‘Without You’
I wanted to include the heart-string tugging ‘Without You’ on here to dedicate to anyone who’s ever lost someone. With the pandemic and the recent (rightful) attention being drawn to the effect that the HIV/AIDS crisis has had on the lives of so many in this country with the release of Channel 4’s It’s A Sin, I’ve been thinking a lot about grief and the ways to support each other through it. (ML)

Frank Ocean – ‘Chanel’
Such a great song. As you may or may not know, Frank Ocean came out back in 2012 to mixed but mainly positive responses. Although he’s not technically a hip-hop artist, he is very much part of the community and this was a positive step for LGBTQ+ artists not only in hip-hop, but also on a much wider scale. (TW)

Ma Rainey –  ‘Prove It On Me Blues’
Unarguably the mother of blues Ma Rainey, this taken from 1928, a song that is very possibly one of the first references to queer lesbian culture. Where Ma Rainey, a queer woman sings, “Went out last night with a crowd of my friends. They must’ve been women, ’cause I don’t like no men.” An essential to any LGBT History Month playlist. (TW)

Follow Get In Her Ears on Spotify to listen to our previous playlists featuring more LGBT+ artists.

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