GIHE: Ones To Watch 2023

2022 saw its fair share of highs, and lows…but if there was one positive to take away, it’s the immense amount of incredible new music that’s been released, and the hope of even more sublime offerings from some wonderful new bands in 2023.

So, following our Tracks Of 2022, Albums and EPS of 2022 and Personal Highlights 2022 features, we’re now sharing our ‘Ones To Watch’ for 2023 – Just a few of the amazing bands and artists who have impressed us throughout 2022, and that we predict will be reaching ears far and wide next year. Have a read of our choices, and make sure you give them all a follow to keep track of their unmissable achievements over the next twelve months.

 

Jemma Freeman and the Cosmic Something
Although Jemma Freeman is certainly no newcomer to the music scene, having released their acclaimed debut album, Oh Really, What’s That Then? back in 2019, and previously played with swirling indie-pop collective Landshapes as well as featuring in Wendy Rae Fowler’s band, I feel like over the last twelve months, they have really found their stride. With the release of their new album Miffed via Trapped Animal Records, they’ve showcased their ability to create immense, kaleidescopic soundscapes perfectly, garnering support from the likes of Mojo Magazine, plus airplay from Radio X’s John Kennedy, BBC 6 Music’s Steve Lamacq and Amazing Radio’s Charlie Ashcroft along the way. And they remain one of the most impressive live acts I’ve ever seen; we were lucky enough to have them headline for us back in October, and their utterly unique hypnotic majesty and psychedelic allure blew me away, just as it had done the first time I saw them live back in 2018. 
(Mari Lane: Co-Founder & Managing Editor)

Midwife
Watching Madeline Johnston aka Midwife perform to a sold out crowd at Cafe Oto for her debut London show last year felt like a privileged form of voyeurism. Fans were granted permission to enter the New Mexico-based musician’s dream-like, melancholy world, in which introverted tendencies and unrequited yearnings blur and clash with the urgent desire to find connection and understanding. Musing into her telephone mic with her soft vocals, it felt like Midwife was in dialogue with an unknown person at the end of the line, the distance between the two entities simultaneously expanded and minimised as she sang into the receiver, in front of a room of silent strangers. I was deeply moved by her music and I’ve been thinking about the gig ever since. You can read my full live review here, and make sure you check out Midwife’s most recent album Luminol too. It is absolute Gloomy Girl Heaven
(Kate Crudgington: Co-Founder & Features Editor)

Hypsoline
I’m ashamed to say I was a bit late to the Hypsoline party this year, but thankfully – due to Currls suggesting they play with them at their EP launch last month – I can now say I’m a fully fledged super fan of the Brighton band. In the run up to the gig, I was pretty much totally addicted to the fuzzy, sparkling allure of their debut single ‘Space Babe’, and afterwards I realised there was even more to love about them than I’d previously anticipated. It was a true joy to witness the twinkling, swirling energy and scuzzy charm of each of their eclectic, but equally catchy, offerings. And I can’t wait for them to continue to surprise and captivate me (and the rest of the world) throughout 2023. (ML)

Alien Chicks
Mari booked Brixton-based post punk trio Alien Chicks as one of the support bands for our faves Bad Sidekick for our final GIHE gig of 2022, and their sound knocked the hangover right out of my skeleton. Not only were they totally in sync with each other, relentlessly smashing out their angst-ridden anthems, their guitarist & vocalist was also playing with a broken hand, which is punk af. I can’t wait to hear more from them this year. Grab a ticket to their biggest headline show to date yet at The Lexington in April here. It will be worth every single penny. (KC)

Fräulein
I’ve made no secret of my huge love of London-based duo Joni and Karsten – aka Fräulein – since first being introduced to them in 2020 by Hanni from ARXX, and so it’s been really wonderful over the last twelve months to see them go from strength to strength, and get some of the widespread acclaim that they truly deserve. As well as the release of their debut EP A Small Taste, they’ve wowed us live at two of our GIHE events with their utterly unique and fiercely powerful live set. The duo have also shared stages with the likes of The Mysterines, Thee Quasi and deep tan, and – with acclaim from the likes of The Line Of Best Fit and Fred Perry Subculture – it’s been fantastic to see the positive reception they’ve received and the number of new fans they’ve gained. And this year’s already looking promising with a support slot with none other than total legends Big Joanie booked for 11th January at The Garage, and – I’ve been assured – new music on the very near horizon… 2023 is going to be the year of Fräulein, and I could not be happier for this immensely talented, consistently dedicated, truly innovative (and just plain lovely) duo. (ML)

Chuck SJ
Chuck SJ is a huge part of the London DIY punk community and their commitment to their art and activism is something that deeply impresses all of the GIHE team. They released their epic punk album, Resist Recharge Revolt at the end of last year, and it’s a riotous, eclectic manifesto of political and personal rebellion, spotlighting Chuck’s immense talent as a songwriter and a producer. I’ve yet to see them perform live, but that’s something I’m hoping to change in 2023! Listen to their album via bandcamp here. (KC)

Collars
Another band I’ve been a bit late to the party with, but am so incredibly grateful to have discovered over the last few months. Stepping in as main support for Currls at their EP launch last month fairly last minute, Cambridgeshire based Collars have become my new heroes. Having released their debut album Clyde in 2022, they’ve received plenty of acclaim from the likes of BBC Introducing, and have been wowing crowds across the country with their totally mind-blowing live set. As Kane simultaneously pummels the drums whilst blasting out whirring hooks on guitar, Dan exudes a captivating charisma as her powerful vocals soar (sometimes with the help of a megaphone) – it’s no understatement to say it’s unlike anything you’ve ever seen before. Keep your eyes and ears peeled for more from them this year… (ML)

CIL
Tash and I caught enigmatic artist CIL when she supported t l k at The Jago in Dalston at the end of March last year. She’s a composer, poet and producer who manipulates sound via a motion-controlled synthesizer. Watching her gracefully move her hands around the altruistic equipment was hypnotising, as was listening to her deeply calm, soothing voice. Definitely check her out, her performance is unlike anything I’ve ever witnessed before. (KC)

So, even if you may be feeling apprehensive about 2023, at least there’ll be some fantastic music to accompany it! Massive thanks to all who supported GIHE throughout 2022, it really means the world. And huge thanks too to all the amazing bands and artists who’ve soundtracked it, and who will continue to soundtrack 2023!

GIHE: Personal Highlights Of 2022

We’ve already shared our Albums & EPs Of 2022 and Tracks Of 2022 features, but now the GIHE team have put together a round up of some of their music related highlights from the past twelve months.

At the risk of jinxing absolutely everything, 2022 has been a positive year for GIHE! From the brilliant lineups Mari organised for our monthly gigs at East London venues The Shacklewell Arms, Sebright Arms & The Victoria, to the monthly Soho Radio shows that Kate & Tash produced and hosted, the GIHE gals were grateful to feel connected – either through the internet or in real life – to our friends and followers, and that’s what our Personal Highlights of 2022 reflect.

Read below for a recap of some of our favourite bits of the year. Huge thanks to everyone who has supported GIHE. We’ll see you in 2023. x

 

Team Highlight: Being interviewed for Clash Magazine

Journalist McKenzie Morgan kindly took the time to speak to us about how we started GIHE, our ethos as a platform and how much we cherish being a part of the underground music community. Her thoughtful write up emphasises the importance of safe spaces at gigs and supporting the artists we love in order to help them to break through into more public spheres.
You can read the full article here.

Featuring on Craig Charles’ 6Music show for Trunk Of Punk

Mari, Tash & I were over the moon when we were invited to represent GIHE on BBC 6Music’s Trunk Of Punk feature at the beginning of December. As a team, we picked some of our favourite punk tunes, including ‘Oh Bondage, Up Yours!’ by X Ray Spex, ‘Day and Age’ by Problem Patterns and ‘Sainted’ by Big Joanie. Speaking to Craig Charles over the phone was a surreal experience, but telling him the punk spirit was “undeniable” and getting the GIHE name out on the airwaves was such a joy. Thanks to everyone who tuned in and who sent nice messages afterwards!
(Kate Crudgington – Co-Founder & Features Editor)

The Women’s Work Showcase at Oh Yeah Music Centre in Belfast

A community led, human-centered approach to promoting and supporting women & non-binary people in music, the Women’s Work Showcase at Belfast’s Oh Yeah Music Centre was stacked with impressive live performances that displayed the fresh talent of the Northern Irish & Irish music scenes.

Mari & I were invited over to DJ, and we were so impressed by the eclectic lineup, featuring CHERYM, Aoife Wolf, Clara Tracey, Winnie Ama and Susi Pagel, as well as GIHE faves Fraulein, the formidable Sprints and rapper Don Chi.

Watching headliners Problem Patterns live for the first time really was a special moment for me too. Their set was full of jokes, joy and raging punk anthems, all directed at the patriarchal forces that attempt to crush minority communities who are asking for the respect they deserve. It was amazing to watch Alanah, Beth, Bev and Ciara tear up the stage together and firmly establish their status as one of the most important and powerful live bands of the moment.

Huge thank you to the staff at the Oh Yeah Centre, the attentive sound engineers and to the amazing Charlene Hegarty who invited us over to share in the joy of Women’s Work. From listening to traditional Irish music whilst having pints of Beamish and shots of Baby Guinness at The Sunflower pub, to the poignant black cab tour of the city with our guide John, our time in Belfast was beautiful. (KC)

Deer Shed Festival 2022

Prior to this year, it had been a while since I’d attended a festival. So, in 2022 I was desperate to find one that was as lovely as possible and suited my needs of being perhaps a little older than the average festival-goer, without missing out on any of the best new music.

Sadly, the last festival I went to in 2018, and my favourite ever festival experience – Indie Tracks – did not survive Covid, and so I was looking for a replacement; something equally as inclusive, chilled-out, family friendly and of course, hosting plenty of amazing female and non-binary bands and artists. And then I came across Deer Shed… Highlighting a real family-friendly focus, whilst hosting an incredible range of exciting new artists, the North Yorkshire based Deer Shed perfectly filled the festival-shaped-void I’d been feeling for the last few years.

Whilst day one saw highlights ranging from the majestic splendour of Nadine Shah and stirring allure of Billy Nomates, to the vibrant electro-punk of Straight Girl, day two treated us to an absolute dream of a line-up; while the exquisitely choreographed set and glistening stage presence of Self Esteem completely blew me away, CMAT and Denise Chaila exuded an immersive, joyous energy. And on day three, the swirling emotion of ME REX and colourful charisma of The Bug Club made for a glorious Sunday.

So, thank you Deer Shed – not only did you offer a fantastically dreamy line-up consisting of favourites old and new, but the warm, family-focused vibes and inclusive sense of unity that persisted throughout the weekend was a particularly heartwarming to experience.
(Mari Lane – Co-Founder & Managing Editor)

The Great Escape Festival

After missing out on festivals due to lockdowns, Covid cancellations and being struck down with illness myself, I was thrilled to return to Brighton for The Great Escape this year. It’s my favourite festival for discovering new music and it’s a running joke among the GIHE team that I always come back and tell everyone how “GREAT” the Great Escape is.

Our photographer Jon Mo & I had a blast running around town catching bands, including favourites Fraulein, ARXX, CMAT and Projector, as well as discovering new talents Brimheim, CIEL, Lido Pimienta and Softcult. You can read my full review of the weekend here. I’ll definitely be back for the 2023 edition. (KC)

Favourite Soho Radio Interviews & Website Features

Running a non-profit music platform alongside a full-time job can be stressful, but I never take for granted the access GIHE gives me to having direct conversations with artists who make my favourite music. It’s such a privilege to be able to discuss someone’s creative processes with them, and I’m humbled every time an artist takes the time to openly share their thoughts with me.

For our Soho Radio show, we had the wonderful Ailbhe Reddy come into the studio to chat about her music and fangirl over Avril Lavigne, and total heroes Big Joanie also spoke to us again about their superb second album, Back Home.

My website interviews with Brimheim, Gazelle Twin, Stefanie from Brutus and GIHE faves Nova Twins are all some of my favourite features to date, and the conversations we had all left a lasting impression on me this year.

GIHE Live: ARXX, Fräulein & Lusa Morena – The Shacklewell Arms

Although all the gigs we host are special to me, and all the amazing bands that play for us completely blow me away, having total faves ARXX return to headline for us in July was quite a stand out. Having hosted them a number of times over the years, and with the duo having had such a fantastic 2022 – with airplay on BBC 6Music and Radio 1, as well as support slots with the likes of The Subways and The Big Moon – it felt really special that they’d want to come and play for little old us again!

Treating us to an eclectic set, offering some of their more poppy recent releases alongside the grungey edge of some of their older songs (plus a surprise ‘Sk8r Boi’ cover with special guest Beth White), they filled The Shacklewell Arms with a euphoric sea of admiring fans – smiling and singing along in blissful unity. A truly memorable night – with not only ARXX, but two more of the most exciting bands around, Fräulein and Lusa Morena – filled with the best of vibes; I even found myself crying silly little tears (of joy and pride) as the epic headline set drew to a close. (ML)

GIHE Live: Charmpit, adults & Bitch Hunt – Sebright Arms

Another stand out gig I hosted this year came in the form of DIY legends Charmpit’s last ever London show, and it was an absolute honour to host this special occasion. With support from the scuzzy punk-pop of Bitch Hunt and indie ‘tweecore’ outfit adults, it was truly a wonderful night – with familiar faces from the community coming together to celebrate a band who have been such an inspiration and joy for so many.

With fond memories of having them play for us at The Finsbury back in 2017, Charmpit delivered a set of career-spanning classic DIY anthems, oozing all the sparkling charisma and vibrant energy we’ve come to know and love. And, despite the sadness at it being the last time we were together in a room dancing to Charmpit, it was a truly joyous occasion – celebrating all there is to love about this inspiring, adorable and innovative group whose uplifting bubblegum pop tunes have healed, helped and motivated so many. (ML)

Live: Slothrust & Calva Louise – Elsewhere, Brooklyn, NYC

Lucky enough to finally travel to New York for my honeymoon, two years later than planned, this April, I wanted to find some live music to see whilst out there. And, on seeing that Manchester based long-time faves Calva Louise were playing on the Friday after we arrived at well-known Brooklyn venue Elsewhere, I thought it would be a nice coincidence to get tickets for that. So, I investigated headliners Slothrust… And soon became a mega super fan.

Having listened to last year’s album Parallel Timeline (plus other singles such as ‘Horsehoe Crab’ and Crockpot’) on repeat for the month leading up to our trip, when the night came to see the two bands, I was extremely excited… and justifiably so. Following the fierce, sparkling energy of Calva Louise, I found myself completely captivated by Slothrust’s scuzzy, raw emotion and the utterly immersive, no-frills charisma of front-person Leah Wellbaum. It was just one of those special nights where you’re left speechless; feeling all the fuzzy, warm joy of having experienced the dreamiest of sets, knowing that you’ve found your new favourite band.

Needless to say, I continue to be a mega, super fan (now proud owner of a the beautiful Parallel Timeline on vinyl), and was lucky enough to catch Slothrust live again in London this summer – this time with other long-term loves, Berries. (ML)

Live: The Cure – Dublin Arena

The Cure played Dublin’s 3 Arena on Dec 1st and all my Christmases had come early! A gentle tone of anticipation was set for the upcoming Songs From a Lost World album with sounds of low thunder and a backdrop of a beautiful starry night. When the band appeared through the atmospherics, I was “happy as a girl”. We waited so long, and now they were here, launching into a new song ‘Alone’, which captivated the audience and carried us with them into an almost three hour set, where they filled with our emotions with songs.

The light show was spectacular, with each song having a stunning visual. A wonderful surprise was the chance to hear five new songs, which had been showcased earlier on the tour, but to hear them in person and see Robert Smith’s emotive delivery was very dear to me; an ultimate Cure experience. The night was finished by two encores (!) filled with all the favourite hits (everyone knows and loves at least one Cure song!) New and old fans left the venue with their hearts full, knowing that in a world where The Cure exists, we will never be lost. (Fi Ni Aicead – Writer) @gotnomoniker

LISTEN: GIHE on Soho Radio Highlights Of 2022 (13.12.22)

Tash and Kate were back on Soho Radio’s airwaves for one final time this year, playing some of their favourite tracks that were released in 2022 by female, non-binary and LGBTQIA+ artists! They enthused about the eclectic mix of tracks on the playlist, spoke about their favourite gigs of the year and named their No.1 album of 2022 at the end of the show. Mari also offered some of her end of year “musical musings” including tracks by ARXX, Fraulein, Petrol Girls and Blonde Maze. There’s a few alternative Christmas tracks thrown in for fun, ’tis the season after all!

Huge love to everyone who’s tuned into our shows this year. Thank you for your support. We’ll be back on air in January 2023. Take it easy until then! x

Listen back below:

 

Tracklist
Poly Styrene – Black Christmas
Alien Chicks – Woodlouse
Jadu Heart – Freedom
Sudan Archives – Selfish Soul
Tomberlin – happy accident
Brimheim – Favorite Day Of The Week
Charlotte Adigery, Bolis Pupil – ceci n’est pas un cliché
Jockstrap – Greatest Hits
O Hell – I Watch The Women
AGAAMA – Blackbox Oracle
Maria Uzor – Cockstrutter
Nilufer Yanya – Midnight Sun (Sampha remix)
Noga Erez – Nails
meet me in brooklyn – Yaya Bey
Brutus – Victoria
Big Joanie – Happier Still
Problem Patterns – YAW
Porridge Radio – Back To The Radio
Jenny Moore’s Mystic Business – Woman Is A Word (Please tag f__choir insta)
Joe Goddard – Gabriel
Trills – Feels Good
Ethel Cain – Gibson Girl
Phoebe Troup – says the thought to the feeling
Ailbhe Reddy – Shitshow
Petrol Girls – Baby, I Had An Abortion
Fraulein – Drag Behind
ARXX – The Last Time
Blonde Maze – Forever Sun
NAMELESS TWIN – My Eyes Went Black
The Joy Formidable – My Beerdrunk Soul Is Sadder Than A Hundred Dead Christmas Trees

GIHE: Albums & EPs Of 2022

After sharing our Tracks Of 2022 earlier this week, the GIHE team want to shine a light on some of the brilliant Albums & EPs that have been released during the last 12 months. These eclectic records resonated with us on many different levels, and we’ll be talking about them long into the future! Huge thanks to all of the bands and artists who submitted music to us this year.  

So, in alphabetical order, here are our top Albums & EPs of 2022 (including multiple Honorable Mentions at the end, because we couldn’t resist…)

ALBUMS

adults – for everything, always
Following the release of their EP The Weekend Was Always Almost Over, back in 2018 and the split Space Armadillo EP with fellow GIHE faves Bitch Hunt in 2020, South London band adults released their debut full length album this year, and I couldn’t have been more happy about it. Showcasing their trademark jangling melodies and buoyant scuzzy energy, and covering topics ranging from the pressures of living in a Capitalist society and mutual aid, to crying on coaches; each track perfectly juxtaposes poignant subject matter with an irresistibly blissful, catchy musicality. I just can’t get enough of adults’ fuzzy, frenetic drive, and was happy to be able to catch them live twice this year. First, supporting Charmpit at their last ever gig that we hosted back in July, and then at their own album launch at new favourite venue The Cavendish Arms last month.
(Mari Lane – Managing Editor & Co-Founder) 

Bad Sidekick – Daily Lottery
Formed of Cooper Rose, Robbie Jenner, Joe Blount and John Blount, Bad Sidekick create alt-rock anthems inspired by the nuances of everyday life. Based between London, Leeds and Bristol, the band released their debut album Daily Lottery this year, and it quickly became a GIHE favourite. Full of gritty riffs, sardonic wit and Cooper’s charming Leeds/Bristolian intonation, the record covers everything from the grind of daily existence (‘Daily Lottery’) to the love we have for our pets (‘Lemon Eyes’), and showcases the band’s talent for writing relatable, riotous guitar anthems. It was great to catch them live again, headlining for us at The Shacklewell Arms earlier this month too. The GIHE team are all big fans!
(Kate Crudgington – Features Editor & Co-Founder)

Big Joanie – Back Home
Like Angelica Ellis’ altruistic artwork that adorns the cover – which is a nod to the embroidered wall hangings popular in Caribbean homes post-Windrush, depicting drummer Chardine’s nephew at the barbers – Big Joanie tenderly and intricately weaved personal and political threads into their superb second album, Back Home. As activists and role models who formed their own musical foundations in the DIY punk scene, the black feminist punks have proved themselves to be a formidable force for change, truly devoted to creating a space for others who have felt ignored in the past. On Back Home, the trio have expanded on the lo-fi punk cacophonies and have introduced bold, bright synth textures and the altruistic violin sounds of experimental art-rock artist No Home across the record. The result is still distinctively Big Joanie, but they sound bigger and better than before – and that’s what earned them a nomination in the groundbreaking new Alternative Music category at the MOBO Awards this year. Legends. (KC)

Breakup Haircut – Punk Dancing For Self Defence
Firm favourites for a while now, First Timers Fest alumni Breakup Haircut released their debut album Punk Dancing For Self Defence this year via Reckless Yes, and I couldn’t have been happier. A collection of joyously lo-fi pop punk reflecting on themes ranging from social anxiety and break-ups, to bi-erasure and existing in a Capitalist society, the band’s colourful charisma and sparkling charm shines through each track Whether you need cheering up with some buoyant danceable anthems, or simply want to immerse yourself in the band’s raw emotion and relatable, resonant reflections on life, it will provide you with the aural comfort needed to have survived 2022. We had the pleasure of hosting Breakup Haircut live, not once but twice this year, and each time it was a total joy. (ML) 

Brimheim – can’t hate myself into a different shape
“I felt like I’d been in this black muddy place, not able to see anything and kind of drowning,” Brimheim explained in an interview with me earlier this year, when discussing the songs that formed her debut album, can’t hate myself into a different shape. Mined from a “deep depression hole” during a global pandemic, the Danish artist has crafted an intricately observed collection of life-affirming songs that chime with relatable melancholy. It’s a poignant reflection on love in all its forms; romantic, platonic and the hardest type to articulate and master: self love. It’s a beautifully bruising unravelling of vulnerability, and I have returned to it again and again over the past 12 months. I am deeply grateful to Brimheim for making this poignant piece of art. (KC)

BRUTUS – Unison Life
From the moment I heard Stefanie Mannaerts vocals on ‘Dust’, I knew I was going to be obsessed with Belgian heavy trio BRUTUS’ third album, Unision Life. It’s a visceral, deeply engaging record exploring growth, resilience, and the inevitability of change. Stefanie’s unique vocals are underscored by her phenomenal percussion, band mate Stijn’s rapturous guitar riffs and Peter’s brutal bass lines. With so many potent songs on the tracklist, it’s hard to pick favourites, but ‘Chainlife’, ‘Brave’, ‘Dust’ and ‘Victoria’ have been rattling around my skull for the past few months. I had the privilege of interviewing Stefanie about the record on the eve of it’s release, where she told me that ‘What Have We Done’ is her personal favourite, as it accurately captures the essence of what went into the creation of Unison Life. Seeing the band perform live at The Garage was further proof of their immense talent. (KC)

Charlotte Adigery and Bolis Pupul – Topical Dancer
Not only one of my favourite albums of the year, this was also one of my favourite interviews that I did back in March now on our Soho Radio show. What a debut album this was! A rollercoaster ride in the most danceable music, delivering lyrics that cover issues we need to be addressing right now. I had the absolute pleasure of interviewing Charlotte, where we talked about the album, the therapeutic process of making music and the use of laughter to tackle complex topics, and her lovely little baby Rocko also joined us for the chat which was so cute! You can listen back to that interview here.
(Tash Walker – Digital Editor & Co-Founder)

cheerbleederz – even in jest
DIY ‘supergroup’ Cheerbleederz just have a knack of completely hitting my jangly indie-pop sweet spot every time, and so the fact that they released their debut album this year was a definite highlight. A collection of uplifting and relatable ‘anxiety anthems’, even in jest showcases the band’s ability to create wonderfully scuzzy, tongue-in-cheek reflections on everyday life with a fizzing energy and effervescent raw emotion. I just love how they’re able to combine this fuzzy, uptempo musicality with poignant sentiments, and album track ‘carbon copy’ may also contain my favourite lyric of the year: “I wish that I was friends with Yvie Oddly” (I really do). (ML) 

Chorusgirl – Collapso Calypso
Following 2015’s self titled debut and 2018’s Shimmer and Spin, Chorusgirl made her much-anticpated (by me especially!) musical return this Autumn with her latest album, Collapso Calypso. As each electro-tinged swirling soundscape flows with a sweeping majestic grace, the album reflects on poignant, heartfelt subject matter with glistening celestial charm. With the lilting allure of the likes of The Cure or Cocteau Twins, but maintaining an utterly unique shimmering splendour, it’s a truly captivating collection. Silvi has said that she wanted the album to be like a “hug in sonic form”, and that’s just what it is: a beautifully immersive catharsis. (ML) 

Ethel Cain – Preacher’s Daughter
I’ve been obsessed with the runaway rogue narrative of Ethel Cain since I heard her single ‘Crush’ at the end of 2021. After playing her EP, Inbred, on repeat, I was thrilled to see that the American songwriter was releasing her debut album, Preacher’s Daughter, this year. Permeated by a palpable sense of lust, her evocative lyrics, reverb-heavy instrumentation and stunning vocals make for truly divine listening. From opening track ‘Family Tree (Intro)’, through to the sultry ‘Gibson Girl’ and stunning ‘Ptolemaea’, it’s the most sensual of sermons that absolutely sets my cells on fire every time I listen to it. Seeing Ethel Cain perform live at Heaven earlier this month was also an experience I will never forget. Long live Mother Cain. (KC)

Hinako Omori – a journey…
Differing from her 2019 EP, Auraelia – which was inspired by her experience of intense migraines that were accompanied by auras and other visual distortions – London-based musician Hinako Omori’s tranquil debut album seeks to further understand the physiological effects that music and sound frequencies have on the body. This exploration includes field recordings with binaural heads, tampering with mood-altering frequencies and inspiration from the Japanese practice of shinrin-yoku aka “forest-bathing.” Her music seeks to connect with and understand the human condition in intricate and invigorating ways. She’s crafted a series of beautiful soundscapes that are underscored by patience, empathy and kindness. a journey… is a gift to listeners who need respite from the overwhelming stresses of daily life, and it was a pleasure to interview Hinako about it, and hear her play the record live at the Purcell Room at Southbank Centre this year, accompanied by the London Contemporary Orchestra. (KC)

Jockstrap – I Love You Jennifer B
Jockstrap’s brilliant debut album, I Love You Jennifer B, includes one of my favourite songs of 2022, ‘Greatest Hits’. The whole album is a kaleidoscopic soundscape that bounces from genre to genre, twisting and turning in your ears, showcasing the true musical talent of the duo. Nodding to the 70s, the 90s, and it all gets shaken up appropriately by two kids of the 00s. (TW)

Porridge Radio – Waterslide, Diving Board, Ladder To The Sky
One of my favourite albums of 2022! There is so much emotion in each song, in each guitar string, in each drum beat, in the strained-by-the-weight-of-it-all vocals. It calls to me and my inner teenage emo, and I answer every time by pressing play and turning up that volume dial|! It is so rich and I have not yet had my fill, so I will keep bathing. I also got to see Porridge Radio this year at End of the Road Festival and they more than delivered. Consider this an all time favourite album, and not just for this year. (TW)

Real Big Sky – Real Big Sky
Full of reverb drenched riffs, enigmatic vocals and shiver-inducing cymbal smashes, Real Big Sky’s debut album is a swirling collection of heavy guitar tunes that brood with quiet intensity. Beginning as a form of distraction during the Covid-19 lockdowns for songwriter Sara Kleppe, Real Big Sky was initially a solo project which she worked on in her bedroom in Hackney. Sara relocated back to her native Sweden in 2021, but with the help of friend and long-term collaborator Luca Romano – who also played drums and was on recording, mixing and production duties for the record – she has developed Real Big Sky’s sound to its fullest and most fluid yet. It’s a blissful mix of melodic noise that I wholeheartedly recommend. (KC)

SASAMI – Squeeze
From the moment I heard SASAMI’s industrial-tinged “rage dance” anthem ‘Say It’, I thought “this is a bit of me”. Taken from her second album, SQUEEZE, it’s the perfect introduction to her thrilling mix of metal, folk and grunge inspired sounds. “I feel like everyone has a dark metal side that they don’t know is there, until they find the right access point,” the L.A based musician told me in an interview earlier this year, and I couldn’t agree more. With heavier music genres being predominantly populated by white male faces, SASAMI’s SQUEEZE is an authentically heavy record, which offers a fresh take on the diversity and intricacy of metal music. The title track features GIHE fave No Home as well! (KC)

Scrounge – Sugar, Daddy
I still remember the first time I saw Scrounge perform live so clearly. Mari booked them as the opening act for a GIHE gig at The Windmill, and I was mesmerised by the South London duo’s gritty, relatable anthems. Their debut mini album, Sugar, Daddy, showcases all that they’ve achieved to date, with their cutting lyrics, intense riffs and fraught percussion reflecting the everyday hardships vocalist Lucy sings about. I found myself a bit choked at the end of the record, with tracks like ‘Starve’ and ‘Forward’ really hitting a nerve. Lucy & Luke are dedicated to making music on their own terms, and it’s been a joy watching them achieve so much over the past few years. Please, please buy this album. All of the GIHE team endorse it. (KC)

Sudan Archives – Natural Brown Prom Queen
I’ve been lapping up Sudan Archives’ album Natural Brown Prom Queen all year. It’s an amazing ride showcasing her incredible talent, with my particular favourite track being ‘Selfish Soul’. She is also an incredible performer, smashing out her skills on the violin in a consistently mesmerising performance. Black women artists so rarely receive credit deserved for technical innovation in music-making outside of vocal talent, and I hope we’re seeing a shift in that now with the likes of Sudan Archives, Lizzo and reflections on historic talents from music made by ESG, to Ma Rainey. (TW)

VERO – Unsoothing Interior
Creating anthems with shades of 90s alternative icons like Sonic Youth, VERO’s aim is simple: “write the best fucking songs, have the best energy and show people that we’re having fun.” Saturated with brooding bass lines, swirling riffs, stinging lyrics and sultry vocals, that’s exactly what the Stockholm-based trio achieve on their debut album, Unsoothing Interior. From the anxious ‘She’s Scared Of Everything’ to the defiant ‘BEG!’, to the yearning ‘Heather’, the band juxtapose these energies across the record with distinctive flair. Get. It. In. Your. Ears. Now. (KC)

EPs

AGAAMA – Wandering Worlds
I took a real shine to this EP from Birmingham-based artist, composer, vocalist and producer AGAAMA after hearing her captivating single ‘Sarehole Mill’. Reflecting on everything from physical locations to our relationship with A.I (‘Blackbox Oracle’), Wandering Worlds is a brooding, meditative blend of atmospheric electronics, jazz-inspired orchestral arrangements and AGAAMA’s evocative vocals. This EP is as vast and altruistic as the collective memories that informed it. Definitely immerse yourself into AGAAMA’s unusual universe of sound. (KC)

Beckie Margaret – CIAGA Vol. 1
An unassuming, poetic collection of songs that ruminate on the shifting nature of love, Essex-based songwriter Beckie Margaret’s EP, CIAGA Vol.1, is a carefully crafted and deeply affecting listen. Released via my favourite label Cool Thing Records, these songs beautifully showcase a young woman learning how to fully express her feelings, not shying away from the pain or frustration that often accompanies the process. Through her emotive lyrics, distinctive vocals and tender, melodic guitar sounds, Beckie gently exposes her most intimate and passionate thoughts across the record, learning to trust her instincts when it comes to romantic infatuation. I cried the whole way through my first listen. (KC)

Currls – Hello, My Name Is
It was a total honour to host Currls’ EP launch earlier this month at the Shacklewell Arms, especially having hosted their first London headline London show back in November last year – to be involved with launching such a fantastic EP into the world was a real privilege! With a colourful charisma and rich, empowering energy, each track offers a catchy slice of twinkling, scuzz-filled rock, with the band’s own unique zest and soulful allure. With a gritty power, each enlivening offering proves Currls’ worth as a compelling band on the rise. (ML)

Dayydream – Bittersweet
An intuitive, affecting collection of songs that drift through the exquisite highs and intangible lows we experience on the path towards emotional resilience, Chloe Trappes aka Dayydream’s debut EP is a comforting and blissful ode to feeling in all of its intensity. Filled with delicate guitar strokes, dreamy vocals and affecting lyrics, the Glasgow-based songwriter ruminates on distance and desire across five tracks, and the way these things can shift our perspective towards others, and towards ourselves over time. ‘Wasn’t’ is my favourite track. (KC)

Fräulein – A Small Taste
Having first come across Joni and Karsten aka Fräulein via an online festival that Hanni from ARXX hosted during 2020’s lockdown, I was instantly utterly obsessed. Having finally released their debut EP, A Small Taste, this year, the duo have gone from strength to strength throughout the last 12 months, and deservedly so. I just can’t get enough of the gritty power of Joni’s raw, sweeping vocals and Karsten’s immense beats. They’re able to combine abrasive, grunge-infused hooks with a mysterious allure, creating something truly unique and fiercely powerful. Fraulein are one of the most impressive bands I’ve ever come across, and I cannot wait to see what they do next. (ML) 

Julia-Sophie – Feels Like Thunder
I have Tash to thank for introducing me to the wonderful Julia-Sophie. Feels Like Thunder is a hypnotic, poetic listen that profoundly moved me the first time I heard it. Julia-Sophie’s wonderful blend of soft vocals, haunting electronics and altruistic beats makes for perfect listening, with ‘Dial Your Number’ being the stand out track for me. She’s been a guest on our radio show twice, and each time she’s been so open and earnest about the emotions and processes that go into creating her art – something the GIHE team always appreciate. (KC)

Me Rex – Plesiosaur
Having been fans of Me Rex for a few years now, it was wonderful to finally catch them live at Deer Shed festival this year; and they were just as lovely as I could have hoped for. And this year’s EP Plesiosaur is also extremely lovely. Following last year’s innovative album Megabear, throughout the EP, a swirling raw emotion oozes alongside jangling melodies and luscious harmonies, creating a rich, soothing catharsis. With each track offering a stirring lyricism and impassioned energy, I could immerse myself in Me Rex’s glistening musicality forever. I am VERY excited that Me Rex will be headlining our next live show at Shacklewell Arms on 10th February, with support from Dream Phone and Jen Denitto. Get your tickets here! (ML)

t l k – Strength In Tenderness
Independent Bristol-based artist & producer t l k’s ethereal EP, Strength In Tenderness, is an intoxicating blend of ambient, melancholic, jazz-inspired sounds. Creating the record gave the artist space to process their experiences of trauma, loss and selfhood, providing a beautiful backdrop for listeners to do the same. Tash & I saw t l k and CIL perform live in Dalston and we were both in awe of their effortless ability to captivate their crowds. I always return to the track ‘IWNU’, but the whole EP is worth your attention. (KC)

Honourable Mentions

Berries – How We Function
The Big Moon – Here Is Everything
The Bug Club – Green Dream in F#
Chuck SJ – Resist, Recharge, Revolt
CMAT – If My Wife New, I’d Be Dead
Forever Honey – Could I Come Here Alone (EP)
HALINA RICE – ELISION
Horsegirl – Versions of Modern Performance
Kee Avil – Crease
Maria BC – Hyaline
Muna Ileiwat – Twenty-Seven
No Home – Young Professional
Nova Twins – Supernova
Partner – Time Is A Car
Peaness – World Full Of Worry
Pearly – Silver Of The Mirror
Proper. – The Great American Novel
SEA CHANGE – Mutual Dreaming
Sprints – Modern Job (EP)
Stainwasher – The Outer Layer
Tomberlin – i don’t know who needs to hear this
Wet Leg – Wet Leg
x/o – Chaos Butterfly