As you may be aware, at Get In Her Ears we celebrate wonderful female artists every single day! So, you may feel that there’s no real need for us to remind you on International Women’s Day to recognise them. But, as much as we try, days like today still seem necessary for society to take a minute and recognise not only the achievements of all the fantastic womxn in the world, but also to draw attention to the ongoing injustices and ingrained sexism that still sadly exists in 2019.
So, this International Women’s Day, we’ve put together some of the female/non binary artists that we feel have been pivotal in pushing forward womxn and equality in music over the last year. Read about why each of them inspire us, and listen to the super mega playlist below…
Aretha Franklin – ‘Respect’
I just couldn’t not include Queen Aretha, who the world sadly lost in August last year. She remains one of the most influential artists the world has ever known; a beautiful soul who changed music forever, as well as campaigning for civil rights throughout her life.
Nova Twins – ‘Lose Your Head’
A lesson in cutting loose and walking on the wild side, South East London duo Nova Twins provided us with this mind-melter of a track earlier in the year. Last year, we were lucky enough to have Amy & Georgia come into the Hoxton Radio studio for a chat, and they blew us away playing live for Loud Women at The Lexington too. Their raw, abrasive, genre-defying tunes are consistent favourites here at Get In Her Ears, and I’m sure they’ll bring the noise again at Cro Cro Land next month!
Noga Erez – ‘Bad Habits’
Tel Aviv renegade Noga Erez has been a favourite of ours ever since blowing us away with 2017’s Under The Radar. Last year’s ‘Bad Habits’ is a snarling tirade of anger, spoken through gritted teeth, exhibiting an intense defiance in both Erez’s lyrics and her music: “I’m no-one, but who the fuck are you? Huh?” she repeats, as the beats of Ori Rousso – her partner, co-writer, composer & producer – helps it mutate in to a “gritty, truth-seeking alt-pop” anthem – culminating in Erez’s vicious “Fuck you” at the close of the song.
Mavi Phoenix – ‘Bite’
We’re massive fans of Austrian artist Mavi Phoenix’s dreamy lo-fi electro offerings, and even bigger fans of all she does to promote LGBTQ+ rights. We were lucky enough to have a chat with her on our radio show last year, listen back here.
Little Simz – ‘Boss’
I’ve been a little late to the Little Simz party, but now I’ve found her, I don’t know what I did without her immense power in my ears. Having released her debut album A Curious Tale Of Trials + Persons in 2015 via her own independent label, she has continued to defy genres and receive acclaim over the last few years. And now, with her completely mind-blowing brand new album, Grey Area, she proves once again that she’s an incredible force to be reckoned with, with her ferocious, empowering anthems. She sums it up perfectly in this track: “I’m a boss in a fucking dress.”
Pussyliquor – ‘MY BODY.MY CHOICE.’
Bringing their pure, uncensored female rage with a wild, punk-fuelled passion, Pussyliquor’s ‘My Body.My Choice’ gives an urgency to its explicitly important message. Having played for us at The Finsbury last year, they immediately filled the venue with the heaving bodies of an army of moshing fans, their intense riotous power, tongue-in-cheek wit and empowering messages of equality being delivered with a fierce energy and searing, colossal force.
The Menstrual Cramps – ‘The Smash’
The Menstrual Cramps pretty much sum up the current state of things with each of their topical, tongue-in-cheek offerings and empowering, feel good vibes. Taken from their incredible album Free Bleedin’, ‘The Smash’ blasts out the all-too-relatable refrain of “It’s time we took back the floor, kick the Tories out the door – we want a revolution”. Oozing an immense, politically-charged force as vocalist Emilia’s genuine, seething passion shines through, The Menstrual Cramps combine activism with musical prowess, providing an essential soundtrack for all womxn right now.
Big Joanie – ‘Fall Asleep’
DIY punks Big Joanie released their debut album Sistahs last year, and it’s a mix of the personal and political; coupled with riotous rhythms and a sistah-hood ethos. Recorded at Hermitage Works Studio with producer Margo Broom, and released via Thurston Moore and Eva Prinz’s new label (The Daydream Library Series), Sistahs is a strong debut from a band who have been actively working on and off-stage within London’s DIY scene for years.
Alice Bag – ’77’
Taken from last year’s poignant album Blueprint, punk legend Alice Bag brought together a dream team for her single ’77’. Featuring Riot Grrrl queens Kathleen Hanna and Allison Wolfe, plus an appearance in the video from Shirley Manson, it draws inspiration from Dolly Parton’s 1980 proto-feminist workplace comedy ‘9 to 5′, commenting on the gender pay gap that still plagues society. Filled with seething, punk-driven riffs, the women not only rage that “I make 77 cents and it’s not right / It’s bad for women!”, but make the point that “it’s worse if you’re not white”. As Bag poignantly sneers “… don’t pretend that we’re paid equal… You wrote the script / But I’m writing the sequel”, ’77’ is an empowering, inspiring call to arms to unite against the patriarchy and make the changes needed for equality, in the workplace and beyond.
Peach Club – ‘Boy In A Band’
I first became aware of Norwich Riot Grrrls Peach Club seeing them support The Tuts at The George Tavern a few years back, and they continued to blow me away headlining for us at The Finsbury last year. With a raw ferocity, thrashing hooks and driving beats, ‘Boy In A Band’ builds with a frenzied energy to a riotous anthem, blasting into the ears with a racing sense of urgency. And rightly so. We need voices like Peach Club’s now more than ever; a voice that gives motivation and inspiration to girls and women to speak out and be heard in order to prevent the damaging actions of certain boys in bands continuing to be swept under the carpet (or even accepted as the norm) within the music industry.
Queen Zee – ‘Boy’
Making weirdness into wonderful, inclusive, explosive new tunes, GIHE favourites Queen Zee shared their debut self-titled album last month, and it was every bit as glorious as we’d hoped. Album highlight ‘Boy’ is an anthem for trans-gender rockers and their allies who refuse to be ignored, or oppressed by transphobic or homophobic attitudes. “You can try and bury my head in the sand, but that won’t make the body at the surface a man’s” sings Zee, as manic guitar and heart-pounding drums smash out for just shy of five minutes. A poignant offering that gleefully cuts down any of the forces that attempt to stand in the way of equality.
Lizzo – ‘Juice’
Another utterly empowering and ferociously fun offering from GIHE favourite Lizzo, ‘Juice’ is filled with all the refreshing wit and funk-filled grooves that we’ve come to know and love from the Minneapolis artist. With Lizzo’s joyous, body-positive spirit and its immensely infectious, ’80s reminiscent hooks, ‘Juice’ is the ultimate feel-good anthem for women everywhere.
Tirzah – ‘Gladly’
Beautifully understated, gently hypnotic and lyrically touching. I cannot get enough of Tirzah right now, and you know what, it’s not just this track, but the whole album Devotion. What can I say… I am hopelessly devoted. Cringe statements aside, please go listen if you haven’t already, your life will be better for it.
Gazelle Twin – ‘Hobby Horse’
A unique artist with razor sharp vision and uncompromising creativity; Gazelle Twin (aka Elizabeth Bernholz) combines glitchy beats, menacing samples and an uncanny new costume on her latest album, Pastoral. Gazelle Twin delivers her Pastoral vision through grinning but gritted teeth. Her altruistic style is one that can’t be mimicked – even though she herself is a master at adopting the traits of others, and transforming into a new species of performer who offers brutality and intrigue in equal measure.
Pitou – ‘Give Me A Glass’
So gentle, so beautiful, and so delicate. ‘Give Me A Glass’ by Pitou is taken from her EP I Fall Asleep So Fast, released via Mink Records. I think this track is just mesmerising, and it probably helps that it was the first song I listened to after meeting my niece for the first time. So here’s to raising that glass to the new addition in my family!
HAVVK – ‘Glass’
Last year, GIHE faves HAVVK (formally HAWK) marked their rebrand with the re-release of their bewitching single ‘Glass’. Originally written in 2015, and released in the run up to the Irish Marriage Equality Referendum, ‘Glass’ addresses themes of conflict and resolution. Oozing an eerie subtle power and magnetising grace, it showcases HAVVK at their most exquisite – doing what they do best; combining activism with their unique musical prowess. And front-woman Julie doesn’t stop there; she has also co-founded SelfMade – a platform to explore DIY music in Ireland through performance, discussion, and art, and last year launched Female Fronted Drawn Together – a project through which she has created a playlist of admirable female bands/musicians and created an illustration to accompany each song.
Courtney Barnett – ‘Nameless, Faceless’
Courtney Barnett is probably my favourite, and most relatable, lyricist. She has a unique ability to tackle everyday life with a perfect wit and raw honesty; that, combined with her woozy vocals and infectious jangly melodies, makes for an utter dream. Taken from last year’s Tell Me How You Really Feel, ‘Nameless, Faceless’ is a refreshingly honest take on male chauvinism; with lyrics inspired by Margaret Atwood – “Men are scared that women will laugh at them, women are scared that men will kill them…” – it perfectly sums up why we still need International Women’s Day.
Wolf Alice – ‘Yuk Foo’
Seeing Wolf Alice perform under the sparkling mirror-ball lights at their Alexandra Palace headline gig in 2017; I swooned so hard I thought I might drown in my own heart-shaped tears. And I couldn’t be happier for them winning the 2018 Mercury Prize this year; extremely well deserved from Ellie Rowsell and co., and a promising step in the right direction for female bands and artists at award ceremonies.
Dream Nails – ‘Vagina Police’
“Your body is not your own, you are public property…” our favourite Feminist Punk Witches rage in last year’s ‘Vagina Police’. A formidable offering from the band that proved once again just why we need Dream Nails in our lives; a group willing to combine activism and music to form a unifying force against the patriarchy; a group who create sparkling, energy-filled tracks that succeed in inspiring and motivating girls everywhere to get to the front and make our voices heard.
Bikini Kill – ‘Rebel Girl’
We don’t need to say how inspirational Kathleen Hanna, Bikini Kill and the whole Riot Grrrl movement are to us. But what we will say is that we’re are over the moon excited to all be going to see Bikini Kill live this June! Literally dreams can come true…
Listen to our International Women’s Day playlist on Spotify, and catch us for our IWD party tonight at The Finsbury. We’ll be joined by ARXX, The Baby Seals, Scrounge and Rainbow Corp, and will also be raising money for fantastic charity The Outside Project.