PREMIERE: Robin Kester – ‘Cigarette Song’

Following her 2018 debut, and with plenty of plays on Spotify as well as US station KCRW, Netherlands artist Robin Kester has now announced the release of her upcoming EP This Is Not A Democracy. 

Taken from the EP and featuring Conor O’Brien from Villagers, new single ‘Cigarette Song’ reflects on a broken marriage. Propelled by the subtle ethereal power of Kester’s vocals alongside lilting twinkling melodies and a poignant reflective lyricism, it oozes a stirring, heartfelt emotion reminiscent of the likes of Laura Veirs or This Is The Kit. A truly dreamy ballad, it’s impossible not to get caught up in the swirling majestic splendour of ‘Cigarette Song’.

 

This Is Not A Democracy, the upcoming EP from Robin Kester, is out 11th September via independent label AT EASE.

Mari Lane
@marimindles 

Photo Credit: Lisa Brammer

 

Guest Blog: Lazy Queen

Having received acclaim from the likes of Wonderland and Nylon, Oslo-based Lazy Queen have recently caught our ears’ attention with the hooky surf-rock energy and jangly scuzz of latest single ‘Sober’. Reflecting on the complex nature of addition, it explores the ongoing struggle of sobriety in an addictive personality.

Having struggled with displacement throughout their life, Lazy Queen front-person Henrik has now moved from the US to Oslo, and is starting to feel in a better place. As a Non-Binary artist, they are a huge advocate of supporting the LGBTQ+ creative community and have performed at local Pride events a number of times.

Here, in our latest Guest Blog feature, Henrik reflects on their journey to self acceptance through music… 

I’ve been asked to write about my journey to self-acceptance through music, but I’m finding it increasingly hard to get anything down on this page. It feels similar to being at the hairdresser, having no choice but to stare at yourself in the mirror for an hour straight, and all of a sudden everything just looks.. odd, out of place and not like you. I honestly think it would be hard to write an article about how I achieved being comfortable with myself, because I still don’t know if that’s something I can claim to be. I don’t think I’d be far off in saying that I experience at least a moment of some shade of self hatred every day, but it’s got better, and along the way I’ve come to realise that for me it’s as much about the work as the end point. And obviously, writing and creating in Lazy Queen and other projects has been a major part of the process. 

Music has always been my form of expression in some way or another. My notebook is where I process my thoughts, feelings and impressions; in the rehearsal space, or in the tour van is where I get to be close, open and honest with my closest friends/family; and the stage is where I get to fully express myself in ways I’m not always able to in real life. For having been a fairly private and closed off person for most my life, I find it endlessly confusing and amusing that I now often end up airing out personal insights, struggles and developments in songs to be heard by, for the most part, strangers, before I actually open up about it to the people around me. My process has always been to internalise, but music showed me that there was an alternative, where the end-point isn’t necessarily completely closed off and isolated. 

Growing up, I used to envy people who could unashamed – confidently and eloquently expressing their inner thoughts and ideas at any given time, feeling like I would never be able to do that; I felt like I lacked something very integral to relationships. Now, with a bit more life experience, and a somewhat more nuanced view of people in general, I realise that I’ll probably never get to that same space, that that’s totally fine, and also that maybe those people weren’t quite as straightforward  as they might’ve seemed at the time. It doesn’t have to be all or nothing, in the way that I thought it did.

Writing and performing has given me a safe space to process, and a door to open when I was ready for it, and it’s a practice that has slowly followed me into my everyday life. I’ve always been an introspective and shielded person, and at the same time pretty invested in picking apart my own thoughts and patterns – though it took me hitting some major lows before I did anything about it. After a brush with death a couple of years ago I started to realise that I absolutely needed to open myself up more, also outside of the music. I think I’ve come a long way since then, but it’s still still far from easy. I feel like I fuck up every other day, and on those days I feel like a fucking hypocrite trying to write things like this.

I was talking to my friend Chloe (our tour manager) the other day, and she said something to the effect of: you’re at the same time one of the most open and closed off people I know. I’m not sure what to do with that, but it sure feels like the shoe fits. I don’t hold the answers, but if anything, I believe honesty, openness and an attitude of “fuck the taboos” have saved my life.

Massive thanks to Henrik for sharing his thoughts with us! 

Lazy Queen’s latest single ‘Sober‘ is out now.

Photo Credit: Lukka Fogie

PLAYLIST: July 2020

Our July playlist is filled with some dream-pop gems, alternative electronic sounds and the usual dose of indie & rock guitar tunes. Take some time to scroll through our track choices below, and make sure you hit play on the Spotify playlist at the end of the page.

 

Bitch Falcon – ‘Gaslight’
Dublin trio Bitch Falcon are probably going to block me if I keep tagging them on social media talking about how much I love this latest single. ‘Gaslight’ is a stirring reflection on the way we perceive other people’s truths, full of seething bass lines, savage guitar licks, crashing percussion and Fitzpatrick’s powerful yet melodic vocals. (Kate Crudgington)

LibraLibra – ‘Lonely Girl’
Following their immense last single ‘Juicy Lucy’, GIHE faves LibraLibra have now shared the next single taken from their upcoming new EP. Propelled by a gritty, swirling energy ‘Lonely Girl’ combines a whirring ‘80s-infused electro groove with the band’s trademark thunderous beats and frenzied hooks, as front woman Beth Cannon’s vocals soar with a magnetising power. With a tongue-in-cheek wit and seething, riotous drive, it’s another genre-defying anthem from the Brighton band. Hail Mary, the upcoming debut EP from LibraLibra, is set for release on 14th August. (Mari Lane)

The C33s – ‘Harpurhey Hostility’
The latest single from Manchester trio The C33s, ‘Harpurhey Hostility’ is a reflection on an area of the band’s hometown named “the worst place in England” by Manchester Evening News back in 2007. Propelled by a frenzied punk-infused drive, the track is filled with gritty surf-rock riffs and the raw impassioned power of drummer Judy Jones’ vocals, as it builds to with an instantly infectious raucous energy. (ML)

Wife Patrol – ‘Let’s Hang Out’
Set to release their debut album Too Prickly For This World on 4th September, Indiana-based Wife Patrol explore everything from power structures, toxic culture, friendship and bad weather in their music. ‘Let’s Hang Out’ is their debut single, and it’s filled with punchy beats and catchy riffs. (KC)

Abbie Ozard – TV Kween
“Hopefully this song will make people feel a little less alone when they’re feeling super insecure” says Manchester-based songwriter Abbie Ozard. ‘TV Kween’ is full of dream-pop tinged guitars and feel-good vibes, despite the track being based around feelings of insecurity. (KC)

Highnoon – ‘Lens’
Philadelphia indie-rock outfit Highnoon – fronted by Kennedy Freeman – create dream-pop, alt-rock inspired sounds. The band will be releasing their 2019 record Semi Sweet on cassette for the first time on 31st July via Oof Records, and 10% of all tape purchases will go towards Vamos Juntos — a community-led, Latinx immigrant organization in South Philadelphia fighting for human rights as workers, parents, youth, and immigrants. You can pre-order the tape here. (KC)

All Things Blue – ‘Dicking Around’
The latest single from L.A’s All Things Blue, ‘Dicking Around’ offers a swirling, dreamy soundscape, oozing a twinkling sense of calm. Soaked in immersive layers of psychedelic hooks and whirring electronics, providing the backdrop for India Coombs’ luscious majestic vocals, it’s the perfect accompaniment for a socially distanced sunbathe on a summer’s day. Get Bit, the debut album from All Things Blue, is out 23rd October. (ML)

Show Boy – ‘Turn It On’
Inspired by the spark of excitement that comes with meeting a new friend or starting a new relationship, ‘Turn It On’ is propelled by a jangly groove and vibrant sunny energy. With shimmering keys and Jovis’ distinctive impassioned vocals, this latest offering showcases his knack for creating perfectly catchy slices of colourful pop. Following his debut release last year, and with acclaim from the likes of Tom Robinson, ‘Turn It On’ is taken from Show Boy’s upcoming EP, Ishtar Lion. (ML)

Gymnast – ‘Ghost’
Based between Manchester and Rotherdam, Cathy Wilcock and Chris Lyon – aka Gymnast – create super dreamy slices of dark electro pop. With glitchy synth hooks and and a soaring majestic energy, ‘Ghost’ reflects on feelings of transition and the concept of liminality. I just can’t get enough of its swirling, captivating splendour. ‘Ghost’ is taken from Gymnast’s latest album Experiments In The Revival Of Organisms, which is out now. (ML)

Notelle – ‘Bugs’ 
Nashville-based “nightmare-pop” artist Notelle has shared her latest single ‘Bugs’, and I love its industrial-tinged production and her wispy vocals. Notelle wrote this song after a break-up when she felt like part of her ex was still invading her body in some way. She will be donating all proceeds from streaming revenues from the first two months of the single to support the Black Live Matters x Police Defund Movement. (KC)

Amaroun – ‘Scarlet’
Following the poignant power of last single ‘Rise’, GIHE fave Amaroun has now shared the latest in a string of singles that she’s releasing each month of 2020. With each single so far touching on a different theme surrounding life as a queer woman, ‘Scarlet’ is a love song, reflecting on Jay’s “obsession” with red-heads and the story of how her and her partner met. With a sunny, danceable groove and glistening energy, ‘Scarlet’ is an instantly uplifting slice of alt-pop. Amaroun will be ‘taking over’ our Instagram next Wednesday 29th July at 7pm – make sure you tune in! (ML)

grouptherapy – ‘Raise It Up!’
LA-based grouptherapy’s latest single is so, so catchy! Vocalist Jadagrace explains: “’Raise It Up!’ is a not so subtle reminder to know your worth and require your coin! We’re leaving undervaluing yourself in the last decade. You’re that bitch and you deserve more.” We back that statement 100%. (KC)

Tokky Horror – ‘Girlracer’
The new project from ex-Queen Zee vocalist Zee Davine, Tokky Horror’s debut single is a wild blend of drum & bass beats, dance music rhythms and punk-infused energy. Of the track, the band explain: “Girlracer’s unashamed appreciation of fast cars and loud music is a tongue-in-cheek to every boy who thinks they’re better than us.” (KC)

REWS – ‘Today We’re Warriors’
A defiant guitar tune designed to empower and motivate listeners into action, REWS latest single mixes heavy riffs and catchy melodies to help spark the fires of personal revolution. Lifted from the band’s upcoming second album Warriors, which is set for release on 7th August via Marshall Records, the track is accompanied by two music videos, an official video that shows front-woman Shauna running through the wilderness, and a fan video directed by GIHE photographer Jon Mo. The fan video also features one of the GIHE grrrls (spoiler: it’s me/Kate). You can watch both here. (KC)

Gender Chores – ‘Territory’
A reflection on the predatory nature of men in the music industry, ‘Territory’ is the latest single from Belfast’s Gender Chores. Driven by jangly punk-infused energy, and with a seething rage coated in sugar-sweet vocals (“Fuck you and your second chance!”), it’s one of four immense anthems taken from The Fight Is Not Over, a collaborative record with songs from Problem Patterns, Strange New Places and Sister Ghost. In addition to Gender Chores, it’s an impassioned collection of live songs from each of the bands, encapsulating an empowering and uplifting energy, addressing the need to continue pushing for more inclusive and diverse spaces. The Fight Is Not Over was recorded by Rocky O’Reilly and is raising money for The 343, an Artist-Focused, Feminist-led, Queer Arts Space in East Belfast. Read our interview with the four bands and find out more about the project here. (ML)

Cat SFX -‘Doom Generation’
Buzzing bass lines and direct lyrics dominate Cat SFX’s debut single. Of the track, Cat explains: “‘Doom Generation’ is a commentary on my personal experiences of mental health issues, big pharmaceutical companies and their ‘cures’, the massive pressure that’s put on my generation by social media and a reality TV culture that dislocates us from our feelings.” (KC)

Ganser – ‘Emergency Equipment & Exits’
Chicago-based Ganser are set to release their new album, Just Look at That Sky, via Felte Records on 31st July and this single features on the record. Alicia from the band explains: “The song and video are both about feeling estranged from reality and choosing nothing over too much – the floor drops out, and you only have yourself to deal with.” Watch the accompanying video here. (KC)

Mieko Shimizu – ‘Lazy Light’
The latest single from Japanese, London-based artist Mieko Shimizu, ‘Lazy Light’ flows with luscious chilled vibes and the distinctive honey sweet vocals of Shimizu. As an other-worldly effervescent soundscape is created, it oozes a comforting warm glow, reminiscent of something that could be found on the Twin Peaks soundtrack. The perfect accompaniment for hazy summer days. I Bloom, the latest album from Mieko Shimizu, is out now. (ML)

Five Favourites: Girl Friday

Set to release their debut album next month, LA’s Girl Friday create genre-bending indie rock, reflecting on life on as young musicians in the 21st century. Juxtaposing dystopian leanings and feminist ideals with a scuzzy optimistic spirit, with grit and sparkle in equal parts, they represent an upcoming unique, empowering force and a new favourite for sure.

We think one of the best ways to get to know a band is by asking what music inspires them or influences their writing. So, we caught up with the whole of Girl Friday – Libby, Sierra, Vera and Virginia – to discuss the five albums that have made the biggest mark on them. Check out their choices below, and watch Girl Friday’s new video for ‘Public Bodies’ at the end of this article.

Libby:
Beck – Odelay
Definitely not any deep cuts here, but I definitely feel like Beck’s Odelay has had a huge influence on me personally. I remember sitting in my high school’s library eating lunch alone and feeling so emboldened by the bassline in ‘Minus’ and the really nonchalant vocals in ‘The New Pollution’. This album is so special to me. I think it was a benchmark of my adolescent years when I felt so ugly, out of place, and generally full of doom. It was kind of the start of when I started to feel like I could actually pursue the making of my own music.

Sierra:
Tonight Alive – The Other Side
I was completely dumbfounded when I discovered Tonight Alive in middle school. I remember sitting in the back of my English class, thinking I was very cool with my hood up, playing their music videos on repeat from my phone and daydreaming that I was in the band. Jenna McDougall is a huge hero of mine in terms of songwriting and vocal performance, and this album is the prime example for me. She blends merciless vitriol with an emotional vulnerability that lends her so much power. I’m convinced no one could ever stop her from doing exactly what she wants. Yes, this album brings me back to being 15 in my Sleeping with Sirens t-shirt with the sleeves cut off (bless); yes, I listen to it now and still hear snippets from my own life echoed back at me; yes, I am crying as I play it and write this.

Vera:
The Velvet Underground – Loaded
If we’re talking perfect records here. I mean that’s just an endless giving tree of joy. I associate it with a time in my life of freedom and youth and young love. 

All:
Kills Birds – Kills Birds
Sierra: We went to Kills Birds’ album release show at The Bootleg, and my mind was completely blown. I remember looking around and realizing that everyone else’s jaws were sitting comfortably next to mine on the floor. The drama! The percussion! The delivery! What more could you ask for?
Virginia: Kills Birds is one of those bands whose music is impossible to listen to without moving or singing along. Their songs are refreshing but have a familiarity that makes them feel like they’ve been around since the ‘90s.  The whole album is fantastic from top to stop, but my favourites are ‘Only Yellow’ and ‘High’. 

Virginia:
St Vincent – Actor
I’ve listened to this record so many times. I remember taking a trip to LA when I was 15 (which was a very foreign place to me at the time), stumbling into Amoeba Records and walking out with that pastel mess of a CD. From the start it’s filled with a ghostly choir, woodwinds galore, and slinky drums and guitar all topped by Annie Clark’s creeping vocals. There are increasing hints of agitation and noise throughout the song then at 2:33 the floodgates of distortion are opened and the song becomes incredibly glorious and huge. Every song has such rich textures and really takes you for a ride. I love to close my eyes and allow myself to get lost in the cinematic fever dream that is Actor. The feeling I get from listening to that album is the experience that I want to create in the music I make. I want people to listen to it in their headphones when they feel trapped and find an escape. I want them to blast it driving in their neighbourhoods and scream along and feel so cool. I want them to remember the first time they heard it and tear up because it’s brought them so much joy and comfort and courage over the years (which is the current situation that I’m surprised to find myself in oops). Thank you Annie, and in the off chance that you happen to hear Androgynous Mary, happy listening and enjoy. I think we’ve truly made a little treat and I’m proud to release it into the world.

Massive thanks to Girl Friday for sharing their Five Favourites!

Girl Friday’s debut album Androgynous Mary is out 21st August via Hardly Art. Watch the new video for latest single ‘Public Bodies’ now:

Photo Credit: Al Kalyk