GIHE: Albums Of 2019

It’s that time of year again when we look back at some of our musical highlights, and what a year for new music it’s been! From empowering guitar anthems, gritty electro beats to dreamy indie-pop – our ears have been pretty lucky! Earlier this week, we shared our favourite tracks and now we’re sharing our most loved albums of 2019. Read our choices below, and a listen to our mega playlist at the end of this post!

Little Simz – Grey Area
Probably my most listened to album of the year, Little Simz’s Grey Area is such a poignant, empowering collection from the London artist. A necessary and stirring listen, with powerful feminist anthems such as ‘Boss’ and ‘Offence’, as well as more reflective tracks such as ‘Therapy’, it’s just been the perfect soundtrack to 2019’s anxieties and injustices. Grey Area makes me feel like there’s hope, like there’s power in being a woman. Listening to it, I’ve been known to strut down the street, headphones in my ears, fists clenched and feel momentarily inspired and indestructible – “I’m a boss in a fucking dress”.
(Mari Lane – Managing Editor/Co-Founder)

Le Butcherettes – bi/MENTAL
A vivid exploration of maternal relationships and enduring grief, Le Butcherettes‘ fourth album bi/MENTAL is a potent infusion of almighty vocals, hefty guitar riffs, and commanding percussion. Released via Rise Records, bi/MENTAL is an ode to front woman Teri Gender Bender’s mother, and I had the privilege of speaking to her about this, and many other things when I interviewed her earlier this year. ‘give/UP’ is my favourite track on the record, and it gave me goose bumps when I heard it live at Moth Club earlier this year.
(Kate Crudgington – Features Editor/Co-Founder)

Suggested Friends – Turtle Taxi
Any follower of Get In Her Ears will be aware of my love of Suggested Friends; and, having been completely addicted to their eponymous debut release over the last couple of years, and having being utterly charmed by them at numerous gigs in that time, I was extremely pleased to welcome the birth of Turtle Taxi this year. Filled with the band’s totally dreamy harmonies, the album addresses themes ranging from love and trust, to politics and the end of the world, with each track oozing the band’s infectious jangly scuzz. Faith Taylor’s distinctive crystalline vocals are honestly some of the most beautiful I’ve ever heard, and the band’s luscious twinkling melodies and stirring raw emotion never fail to break my heart a little, in the best of ways. (ML)

Kim Gordon – No Home Record
With her inimitable vocals and uncompromising style, Kim Gordon‘s first solo album, No Home Record, is a multi-textured offering that snarls, bites and sedates in equal measure. Released via Matador Records, it’s an intriguing, heavy, eclectic gem that fascinates me more each time I listen to it. I was lucky enough to get a signed copy from Kim Gordon at Rough Trade too. #FanGirl (KC)

Bat For Lashes – Lost Girls
As we nauseously hurl towards not just the end of the year but the decade, it’s fitting that Bat for Lashes delivered my record of the year. Lost Girls is nostalgic, brimful of anthemic and anachronistic loneliness of millennial life. We saw a huge ’80s renaissance in 2019; from films — IT, Wonder Woman — to TV — Stranger Things, American Horror Story, and to me, Lost Girls is the musical response. Whatever it is about the ’80s that takes those of us over 30 back, I don’t know. But it’s ever present. And this record captures that strange sense of longing.

Listening makes me long for a time when technology wasn’t up to par and not all homes had a computer. It makes me yearn to rent video epics like The Lost Boys and Flight of the Navigator and Gremlins. Like I could just drop everything to knock on a friend’s door to see if they want to come outside to play in the hazy sun of an endless summer. Ironically, it makes me think about not thinking. About being free and having hope or no need to search for it. Before anyone fell in love or, if lucky, lost anybody or anything. For 38 minutes, Lost Girls makes me remember what’s gone. Em Burfitt (Contributor)

ZAMILSKA – Uncovered
A ruthless, beguiling take on the forces that influence and overwhelm us, Polish Producer ZAMILSKA‘s Uncovered is a densely hypnotic record permeated by the artist’s fascination with levitation. The result is thirteen richly textured tracks that seethe with “the anxiety of what we want vs what we get”. ‘Hollow’ is my favourite track, and I’m hoping I get the chance to hear ZAMILSKA’s music live in 2020. (KC)

Trash KitHorizon
Trash Kit have been faves of mine for a while now; another band to have brought their joyous energy to us at The Finsbury, their 2014 album Confidence was all kinds of wonderful and this year’s Horizon is no different. Filled with an eclectic array of musical influences, including Rachel Aggs’ love of guitar music from Zimbabwe, each track on the album oozes the band’s trademark shimmering effervescent joy and swirling sparkling energy whilst interweaving twinkling hooks, tribal jangly beats and funk-fused bass lines. With its sunny, euphoric vibes, it offers the perfect remedy to all 2019’s despair. (ML)

Aldous Harding – Designer
Aldous Harding’s third album is the Kiwi goth folk artist’s pop LP. Sure, the videos may be unsettling and uncanny, the songs may have titles like ‘The Barrel’, ‘Heaven is Empty’ and ‘Damn’, but check out the folk lilt of ‘Fixture Picture’ and ‘Zoo Eyes’. Having been following her for quite some time, it felt, initially, a little unnerving to see her move away from the more sombre and abrasive territory of 2017’s self-titled debut Party. But watching her at a sold-out Brudenell Social Club, in front of a rapt audience, made me realise the majesty of these songs and their own soft power. On stage, Harding was her typical idiosyncratic self, and that perhaps is the key to her albums. She does what she wants. Who knows what she’ll do next? John McGovern (Contributor)

Witching Waves – Persistence
One of the most exciting bands I’ve come across in the last couple of years, Witching Waves have been wowing me with the immense frenetic energy of their live shows on more than one occasion. And, on seeing them support Suggested Friends (see other favourite album choice) at The Shacklewell Arms a couple of months back, I decided to pick up the shiny yellow vinyl of Persistence. Propelled by propulsive racing beats, their energy-fuelled post-punk oozes a visceral power, with tracks such as ‘Disintegration’ and ‘Best Of Me’ showcasing perfectly in-sync musical layers, as Estella’s driving bass and Mark’s metallic melodies accompany Emma’s frenzied rhythms and raw impassioned vocals. I can’t wait to hear what the trio have in store for us in 2020. (ML)

Black Belt Eagle Scout – At The Party With My Brown Friends
This year, Katherine Paul debuted an overwhelmingly captivating and forward-facing second record under her project name Black Belt Eagle Scout. With lush indie-rock/alternative tones met with echoing vocals and non traditional percussion, Katherine speaks from her crucial voice as a radical indigenous queer feminist. At The Party With My Brown Friends is a profound look into friendship, desire and longing through a lens that has lived through hardship on a cultural scale. Aligned with the pain of the people Katherine represents, Black Belt Eagle Scout exposes a necessary reality. A sonic melancholic marriage between the celebration of life’s lightest moments and an ongoing heavy and fighting heart. In a political climate where indigenous voices continue to fight to be heard, At The Party With My Brown Friends hosts an imperative statement. Make room for the mighty and influential voice of Katherine Paul. Jillian Goyeau (Contributor)

FKA Twigs – Magdalene
FKA Twigs seems to re-emerge whenever my heart’s taken a bit of a beating and I’m always so relieved when she does. Magdalene is inspired by heartache and the figure of Mary Magdalene, an unlikely heroine who Twigs uses to explore the strengths and weaknesses of her femininity. Both the master and the muse, she is re-inventing what it means to be a performer, an artist and a woman in the music industry. Her accompanying Magdalene Tour was a breath-taking spectacle and I can’t imagine a time when I won’t be enthralled by her.
(KC)

We’ve updated our Tracks Of 2019 playlist with some songs from our favourite albums of the year. Have a listen now!

Mari Lane / @marimindles
Kate Crudgington / @kcbobcut
Em Burfitt / @fenderqueer
John McGovern / @etinsuburbiaego
Jillian Goyeau / @jillybxxn

PREMIERE: Kate Stapley – ‘Hermit’

“I’ve been pissing like a racehorse,” confesses Bristol-based songwriter Kate Stapley on the opening lyric of her new single ‘Hermit’. It’s a blunt beginning, but her soft voice quickly draws listeners in to her poignant, slightly hungover reflections on allowing yourself to be tender again in a new relationship.

Set for release via Breakfast Records on 6th December, ‘Hermit’ forms part of a Double A-side, with both songs produced by Oliver Baldwin (Aldous Harding, PJ Harvey). These tracks are the first that Stapley has shared since her 2018 EP, Centella, and they flow in her trademark vulnerable, yet optimistic vein.

“‘Hermit’ is a love song, celebrating those moments in a relationship when you finally have the bravery to embrace everything about yourself,” explains Stapley. “When you stop trying to hide the painful, embarrassing bits – realising you never needed to hide them in the first place.” Observations like this make Stapley’s music intimately disarming and effortlessly relatable.

“You suit me so well / You be my hermit / And I’ll be your shell,” she muses during the chorus, over gently plucked acoustic guitars, and soft percussion. The song’s patient rhythm feels reflective of the self-acceptance Stapley has discovered and it’s wonderful to hear her lay bare her insecurities, transforming them in to new found confidence.

Listen to ‘Hermit’ below, and be sure to check out her second track ‘Hours’ tomorrow when they’re both released via Breakfast Records.

Follow Kate Stapley on Facebook for more updates.

Photo Credit: Simon Holliday

Kate Crudgington
@KCBobCut

FIVE FAVOURITES: Mira Lu Kovacs (5K HD)

Austrian experimental-pop group 5K HD shared their new LP, High Performer, in September earlier this year, and their feet have barely touched the ground since. They’re currently touring the new record across Europe, filling stages with a blend of their poppy, jazzy, prog-rock beats. Vocalist Mira Lu Kovacs is regarded by critics and peers as one of the most expressive voices in the scene, and with a team of multi-instrumentalists behind her, it’s easy to see why 5K HD are in such high demand. 

We think one of the best ways to get to know an artist is by asking what music inspired them to write in the first place. We caught up with Mira to ask her about her “Five Favourites” – five albums that have influenced her song writing techniques. Check out her choices below, and scroll down to watch the video for for 5K HD’s track ‘Crazy Talk’ at the end of this post.

 

1. Ani DiFranco – Evolve / Educated Guess
With Ani DiFranco I grew up! I remember I was 11 and my step father at that time played a mixed CD (it couldn’t have been a tape, it was the late 90s). He put on Ani DiFranco’s ‘Marrow’ right after Tori Amos’ ‘Cornflake Girl’, what a mix! I didn’t understand much, cause my mother tongue is German, so the only thing I grasped was the phrase “And where did you put all those letters that you wrote to yourself, but could not address?” I don’t know if it was her finger picking (or should i say ripping?) on her steely guitars, or her edgy playful singing? I think it was the seriousness of her songwriting, I felt spoken to. It was really magical. Later, I listened to all her albums. Now I would say my favourites are Evolve and Educated Guess, but to me Ani DiFranco is such a poet and what she does must be evaluated as a whole and not just one album. She inspired me endlessly, even if her sound aesthetic isn’t the one that I am looking for today.

2. Radiohead – Hail To The Thief
Hail To The Thief is maybe an atypical Radiohead album to start with, no? I think I listened to this one at the age of 14 and then traveled back in time to learn about Kid A, OK Computer and The Bends (which I only appreciated later in my musical career). Most Radiohead Hardliners don’t understand why this album is so special to me. But I think, again, the songwriting is especially good on this one and there is a new shininess in their sound with this album. Also – ‘Backdrifts’, ‘We Suck Young Blood” and “I Will “ (to date the only song I ever publicly covered – acappella) – what great songs to speak to a depressed teenager!

3. Aldous Harding – Designer
This one is quite new, and has been such an inspiration to me this year. I just love the boldness and uncompromising softness in Aldous Harding’s music. I didn’t allow myself this kind of softness for a while, and now I feel like it’s coming back. The allowance, it’s something that I was scared of, because: how else to defend myself? I thought I needed to be loud and clear and aggressive. I am that, too, but I need to allow the softness to comfort me, as well. I feel like the beautifully weird old/new voice of Aldous Harding reminded me of that part of me. Thank you ❤

4. Beth Gibbons – Out Of Season
I can’t believe I only found this album 3 years ago. What a production! What songwriting! What truth, what openness. Sorry, there’s not much else to say. She’s a genius. The arrangements are sparse and pompous at the same time. I think this is where I wanna go in the future and who I wanna be when I grow up.

5. Bon Iver – For Emma, Forever Ago
I think this was the album of a whole generation. It changed many things, not only musically, but also in the industry. The simplicity set new standards. The vulnerability in his voice was a new level of emotion. Whatever genius album Bon Iver made after this, this one is still one of the most brutally beautiful ones that there are.

Thanks to Mira for sharing her favourites with us. Follow 5K HD on Facebook for more info on their current tour dates.

Photo Credit: Ingo Pertramer