Five Favourites: Becky CJ

Having received support from the likes of 1883 Magazine and Amazing Radio, as well as being featured in the likes of The Independent and Huffington Post for her ‘Tinder Nightmares’ TikTok series, queer artist Becky CJ has now shared her poignant new single. Ahead of the release of her upcoming EP next month, ‘I Think I’m In Love With My Best Friend’ oozes a heartfelt splendour and twinkling emotion, creating a shimmering and stirring slice of alt-pop.

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 Becky to ask about her “Five Favourites” – five albums or songs that have shaped her as a musician. Check out her choices below and scroll down to listen to ‘I Think I’m In Love With My Best Friend’ at the end of the feature.

Susanne Sundfør – Ten Love Songs
Hearing Susanne Sundfør for the first time was a big moment for me. She truly epitomises what I love in music; drama, musicality, unpredictability and emotion. This album has been on repeat for me for years, in particular ‘Delirious’ and ‘Fade Away’. The way she explores this ’80s synth pop sound but pairs it with her classical influence and singer/songwriter style is just magical to my ears. Each song on the album does something different and takes you somewhere else emotionally. I predominantly remember seeing her play most of the album at Latitude Festival in 2015 and literally just crying throughout. I think she felt like one of the first contemporary female artists that I felt represented the musical world that I wanted to inhabit.

Alison Krauss and Union Station –  Paper Aeroplane
Alison Krauss was an artist who we listened to a lot growing up; both my parents were massive fans of her beautiful voice and songs. This album for me is one that I can listen to from beginning to end and I never get bored. I think I’ve always had a bit of a soft spot for country/bluegrass music and this album marries those elements perfectly for me. Alison Krauss’s voice is one of my all time favourites and on this album it just melts me. My favourite track is ‘Lay My Burden Down’, which is a song about releasing yourself of worries, and it’s just super feel good.

Frank Ocean – Channel Orange
This is another album I can listen to from start to end, sing along to most of the lyrics and never ever get bored of. There is literally just no one like Frank Ocean, his songwriting is mesmerising. I feel this album covers a whole host of genres and experiments so much with song form but somehow still feels like a cohesive piece of art. ‘Bad Religion’ was the song that I think initially gripped me the most, the lyrics were so vulnerable and the melody so emotional, but it was still so cool. That has to be the perfect combination for any song, right?! I think the common denominator for me in loving something is connecting to the vocal performance and me oh my, Frank’s is something else.

James Blake – ‘Into The Red’
I really love the whole Assume Form album but I wanted to highlight this song in particular as it has such a special place in my heart. I know that sounds super cringe but I don’t know how else to describe my love for this song. The lyrical concept is just genius, the idea that you love someone so much that you’d go into the ‘red’ (debt) for them is so unique but somehow so relatable!? I connect so deeply to the lyrics and then add to that James’ incredible vocals, production that is out of this world and a super unique arrangement, and I am sold. I was getting together with my partner around the same time as listening to this song on repeat so it always reminds me of her. We went to see him play at the Brixton Academy and were GUTTED because he didn’t play this one live.

Joni Mitchell – Rainy Night House
My dad played me this song when we were on holiday when I was about 13 or 14. I remember curling up on the sofa, putting the headphones on and begrudgingly listening in that way you do when your parents want to show you something at that age. I listened to the whole song, then listened again and then again. I had never properly listened to any Joni Mitchell, I knew the classics but hadn’t taken the time to get to know any more. The storytelling was so absorbing, I couldn’t believe that in this three minute song she’d basically told me the beginning, middle and end of a story and I felt I knew all the characters. Since then I’ve always gone back to listen to this song when I’m feeling introspective or in need of a reminder of true, classic song writing.

Massive thanks to Becky for sharing her Five Favourites with us! Ahead of the release of her upcoming EP Woman next month, listen to ‘I Think I’m In Love With My Best Friend’ now:

Track Of The Day: Noha Saré – ‘Lost’

An evocative alt-pop tune that embraces vulnerability and smoulders with assertiveness, Amsterdam-based songwriter Noha Saré has shared her latest single ‘Lost’. Taken from her upcoming EP which is set for release later this year, the track fuses elements of R&B and electro-pop alongside Noha’s soulful vocals to reflect the way in which our moods shift when we’re contemplating our future.

“Everybody has their own demons and it’s okay to talk about it,” Noha explains. “Almost everyone has struggled with not knowing who they are, what they really want in life or where they’re headed. I got better in finding peace with who I am, including all the ups and downs, by accepting that it is okay to be scared and insecure and it’s okay to not know where you’re heading”. Through her atmospheric beats and smooth vocals, Noha makes a musical truce with her inner turmoil and leans into the unknown with impressive flair.

‘Lost’ is also accompanied by a striking set of visuals, directed by Noha’s best friend and visual artist Izak Berman. “My internal fight is embodied by 8 female performers,” she explains. “Two of them engage in a game of attraction and repulsion. The video shows an enchanting oscillation between pleasure and pain, past and future, hope and disbelief. Within a surreal composition, which seems to be somewhere between a dream and reality, showing the obscure side of my world.”

Watch the video for ‘Lost’ below.

Follow Noha Saré on Spotify, Instagram & Facebook

Photo: Kick van Doorn

Kate Crudgington
@KCBobCut

ALBUM: Noga Erez – ‘KIDS’

A stylish, swaggering collection of songs that explore personal growth, morality and what it means to disconnect from, or reconnect with the world around you, Tel-Aviv producer & pop renegade Noga Erez has shared her second album KIDS. Released via City Slang, Erez has worked closely alongside her collaborative & life partner Ori Rousso to create this razor sharp, intensely catchy record that proves she’s got the musical mileage she sings of.

Since the release of her acclaimed debut album Off The Radar in 2017, Erez & Rousso have been busy working on the songs that form the tracklist for KIDS. “These are songs about what we inherit from past generations, how we pass things on,” Erez explains. “KIDS talks about humanity’s potential for both beauty and destruction.” Through her witty lyrics, slick production and commanding beats, Erez blazes a unique trail through these binary opposites, acknowledging the darkness along with the light.

Opening the record with a sample of her Mother’s voice exhaling “Kids these days,” Erez hits the ground running with the triumphant sounding ‘CIPI’. Despite admitting to feeling depressed and pessimistic throughout the track, the joy of the lyric “You think you are the boss of me / when most the time, you’re my bitch” centres Erez as the ringmaster of this provocative, intuitive showcase of sound. On ‘VIEWS’, Erez & Rousso stylishly explore the absurdity of paying for exposure on social media. Collaborating with LA-based hip-hop artist Reo Cragun, her clear vocals glide over slick beats and pop hooks to create an infectiously powerful anti-fakeness anthem.

When we interviewed Erez back in 2019, she spoke of dealing with an “inner violence” and how her art helps her deal with her own internal conflicts. These sentiments resonate deeply after listening to ‘You So Done’. It’s a resilient, emotionally charged offering that delves into her memories of a toxic relationship that she started having un-nerving flashbacks about. “What a joke, what a joke you made me / What’s a Queen to a Joker, tell me?” Erez taunts over spacious beats and warped electronics. She has transformed this inner violence into a powerful lament that radiates with artistic confidence – exposing the chinks in her emotional armour with a poignant, polished flair.

On the infectiously upbeat ‘End of the Road’, Erez explores the thrill of the unknown via her commanding beats and slick rap verses, casually shrugging off the tight grip of human mortality. Following track ‘Bark Loud’ sees this “underdog” pack a serious rap punch with her effortless flow, whilst the trippy, jazz infused beats on eponymous track ‘KIDS’ featuring San Francisco MC BLIMES are intoxicating. Erez & Rousso’s spirited duet ‘Story’ explores the way our personal history can affect our behaviour towards those we love. The pair take life’s challenges on the chin together (quite literally in the accompanying video) and shine a spotlight on the grit and the joy that’s needed to maintain a close relationship.

The free-flowing ‘Knockout’ smoulders with Erez’s formidable charisma, and contrasts beautifully with the buoyant ‘NO news on TV’. “I don’t wanna look at my phone anymore” she muses in the track’s opening line, fatigued by the constant flow of bad news. But rather than encouraging listeners to switch off from the world, Erez highlights that this apathy is an unhealthy privilege, and one that many communities do not have. The fierce sounding, politically charged ‘Fire Kites’ melts into the brooding, deceptively sweet ‘Candyman’, before the record closes with the soft sounding, aptly named ‘Switch Me Off’.

A truly impressive record that spotlights her talent as a producer, vocalist, MC and performer; Noga Erez’s new album KIDS pulses with an authentic, unique energy. Erez & her partner Rousso have created an uncompromising musical force that ignites the ear drums, and transforms the personal and political into a formidable piece of art.

 

Follow Noga Erez on bandcampInstagramTwitterFacebook & Spotify

Kate Crudgington
@KCBobCut

PLAYLIST: March 2021

It’s been another long month of lockdown here in the UK, but the end is in sight with lighter evenings and the chance to see more than one friend in public on the horizon. The GIHE team have unearthed some more new music gems for you to listen to on our March Playlist. It’s an eclectic mix of indie anthems, alt-pop gems, intriguing electronics and raucous 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 this post.

Follow GIHE on Spotify to hear all of our previous playlists too.

Grandmas House – ‘Small Talk’
This thumping new track from Bristol-based punk trio and GIHE faves Grandmas House speaks for itself. ‘Small Talk’ explores the times when you’ve had to unwillingly engage in idle conversations with strangers at the bar, when all you want to do is sit and have a pint with your friends. (Kate Crudgington)

ARXX – ‘Deep’
The new single from GIHE faves ARXX, ‘Deep’ offers an empowering ode to leaving behind all your anxieties and getting what you want. Propelled by a sweeping, impassioned energy, it interweaves an electro-infused, glitchy sound with the duo’s signature ferocious drive, instantly hitting you with its raw, anthemic rush and gritty, sensual prowess. A swirling slice of rousing power-pop. (Mari Lane)

CLAMM – ‘Liar’
Melbourne punk trio CLAMM are gearing up to release their debut album Beseech Me on 9th April, and single ‘Liar’ is a crash course in what to expect. “The song is about mental health,” the band explain. “It’s about wanting to break through a pattern of thinking that isn’t necessarily positive. It’s about dealing with an internal monologue that isn’t always telling the truth.” Through their thrashing guitars and relentless percussion, the band beat back their doubts on this raucous offering. (KC)

Gender Chores – ‘Night In The Woods’
A slice of fast-paced punk-pop, and inspired by a video game of the same name, ‘Night In The Woods’ reflects on slum landlords and the high costs of living in the city. As the Belfast band ooze a swirling, playful energy, the track builds to an immense whirring cacophony. A raging punk anthem, truly of our times; despite being coated in a buoyant, quirky charm, it’s no less powerful in its explicit enraged message. (ML)

CYNICS – ‘Idiots’
This high energy single from London-based four-piece CYNICS is lifted from their recent EP, restless in comfort. The band will be releasing a second EP in April, so keep your eyes peeled for that. (KC)

Du Blonde and Ezra Furman – ‘I’m Glad That We Broke Up’
Du Blonde joins forces with Ezra Furman on latest track ‘I’m Glad That We Broke Up’ which is an absolute tune released ahead of Du Blonde’s upcoming LP Homecoming, due on 2nd April. “It’s our take on a 60s girl group/glam rock explosion,” Du Blonde explains. “I feel like Ezra and I have been travelling towards a duet for years and we finally got our shit together.” (Tash Walker)

deep tan – ‘camelot’
Taken from their upcoming debut EP, deep tan’s ‘camelot’ is propelled by the majestic whirr of sparse hooks and throbbing beats, building with a quirky hypnotic splendour and fizzing tension. As swooning vocals glide across the angular soundscape, it creates another truly captivating sonic delight from the post-punk trio, leaving you longing for more of their exquisite stirring allure. (ML)

People Club – ‘Take Me Home’
The title track from their upcoming EP which is set for release on 7th May, this single from Berlin-based indie outfit People Club is about the realisation of mortality in old age. It’s an upbeat offering, but it explores the cynicism that often plights the elderly after losing their loved ones and being left alone with their regrets. (KC)

ĠENN – ‘Mackerel’s Funky Mission’
Taken from their upcoming EP Liminal, ‘Mackerel’s Funky Mission’ is the latest single from Brighton-based ĠENN. Propelled by a quirky, playful energy and eccentric, colourful charisma reminiscent of the likes of The Orielles, it races with scuzzy hooks alongside the raw, gritty vocals of front woman Leona. Building to a fuzz-filled, psych-infused cacophony, it showcases all there is to love about ĠENN – a band set on continually developing their compelling sound and enrapturing our ears with their unique fantastical spirit. Liminal, the new EP from ĠENN, is out tomorrow 30th March via Everything Sucks Music. (ML)

45ACIDBABIES – ‘Mommy’s Favourite 1’
Following the success of last year’s ‘3 (Walk With Me)’, ‘Mommy’s Favourite 1’ is the latest single from Dutch band 45 ACIDBABIES. Propelled by a vibrant, playful energy, it races with swirling layers of sound creating an instantly infectious, danceable cacophony. As scuzzy, electro-driven hooks race alongside the soaring sultry power of Sophia De Geus’ vocals, a psychedelic haze ripples, creating an uplifting sonic fusion. (ML)

Boudicca’s Bass Service – ‘Egypt’s Over There’
This is the latest single from Somerset based 19-year-old Georgina Cotteril aka Boudicca’s Bass Service. I love her laid back vocals, trippy synths and the feel-good vibes of this track. Speaking about ‘Egypt’s Over There’, Georgina explains: “This song is about realising you’re doing fine, all things considered…this song brings with it the new growth of spring and provides a resting spot, a much needed escape, amongst the craziness of your mind – and the current world in which we live in.” (KC)

Notelle – ‘Doctor Sign’
Nashville-based, nightmare-pop artist Notelle’s latest single ‘Doctor Sign’ was heavily influenced by the intense, shadowy sounds of Nine Inch Nails. Writing the track was a form of emotional exorcism for Notelle, who gave herself permission to “lean into some unattractive emotions” on this new offering. (KC)

Debby Friday – ‘Runnin’
Vancouver-based audio-visual artist Debby Friday blends intoxicating rap verses, trippy beats and snaking rhythms together on this eccentric anthem about self-expression. Full of commanding rhythms and jagged synths, ‘Runnin’ marks a new musical direction for Friday, moving away from her abrasive earlier work into more sultry, effervescent territory. Dripping with unfazed confidence, Friday’s synth-rap tune smoulders with autonomous vibes. Love, love, love it. (KC)

Loraine James – ‘Simple Stuff’
This is the first single from Loraine James’ new album Reflection, which is set for release on 4th June. ‘Simple Stuff’ is a minimal, cathartic plea for equality and acceptance as a black, queer woman. I love the criss-crossing drums and Loraine’s straightforward vocals on this track. (KC)

Mykki Blanco – ‘Free Ride’
The latest single from queer pioneer and musician/rapper extraordinaire Mykki Blanco, ‘Free Ride’ was written back in 2018 after Blanco had just ended their first long-term relationship. Co-produced by FaltyDL and Hudson Mohawke, it oozes a funk-fuelled uptempo musicality and glistening soulful refrains alongside Blanco’s trademark flowing lyricism. Appearing less brash and perhaps more sentimental in sound than some of their previous offerings, it loses none of their distinctive wit and poignant spirit. The video for “Free Ride” was directed by Hannah Rosselin, produced by DIVISION, watch it here. (ML)

Ci Majr – ‘Guillotine’
This is the latest track from Atlanta-based, emerging non-binary artist Ci Majr. Taken from their upcoming debut EP Side Effects, set for release on 16th April, ‘Guillotine’ is a shimmering pop anthem about cutting off your own ego in order to grow in a new relationship. (KC)

Sofia Kourtesis – ‘La Perla’
One of my absolute favourite songs at the moment! Inspired by the sea and her father (written when he was dying of leukemia), the result is a kaleidoscope of synths and deep house. Kourtesis describes the song as about feelings that can’t be captured with words – ‘La Perla’. (TW)

Gemma Cullingford – ‘Wide Boys’
Known as one half of GIHE faves Sink Ya Teeth, musician and songwriter Gemma Cullingford has now announced the release of her debut album this summer. Taken from the album, ‘Wide Boys’ reflects on the need for us to wake up and take back control from those in power. Driven by a racing energy and interweaving immense hooks, including a fiercely flowing flute solo, it’s an instantly catchy funk-fuelled call to arms for these desperate times. (ML)

Elsa Hewitt – ‘Inhaler’
This new single from London-based, experimental electronic producer & GIHE favourite Elsa Hewitt soothes my tired mind. It’s taken from her upcoming album LUPA, which is set for release via Cargo Records on 30th April. (KC)

Fears – ‘vines’
Another poignant meditation on some of her darkest hours, Dublin-born London-based musician Fears aka Constance Keane penned her latest single ‘vines’ before she experienced a breakdown. Through her tentative beats and soft vocals, Fears taps into her pain and offers listeners a chance empathise and heal alongside her. I’m excited to hear her debut album Oíche when it’s released on 7th May via her own label, TULLE. (KC)

Penelope Trappes – ‘Nervous’
A graceful, evocative soundscape that tentatively traverses the inner thoughts of an anxious woman, this single from Australian-born Brighton-based artist Penelope Trappes is taken from her new album, Penelope Three. Set to be released on 28th May via Houndstooth, the track ripples with a sense of mystery and disquiet, both of which are beautifully reflected in the accompanying video. (KC)

Beckie Margaret – ‘FF’ 
Inspired by the Bob Marley quote “I don’t have that type of richness. My richness is life, forever,” ‘FF’ is the latest single from Essex songwriter Beckie Margaret, released via Cool Thing Records. Her voice melts me every time I hear it, and this lush, atmospheric new offering is no exception. (KC)

Ailbhe Reddy ft. Sacred Animals – ‘City Unfolds’
Dublin alt-folk artist Ailbhe Reddy and producer Darragh Nolan aka Sacred Animals have teamed up for this atmospheric new offering ‘City Unfolds’. Lyrically based on Ailbhe’s own experience of being close to a panic attack in the back of a taxi on her way to play a festival in Barcelona, the pair blend tentative keys and atmospheric beats to work through this heightened state of emotion. (KC)

Shamir – ‘DsharpG’ (Sharon Van Etten cover)
Shamir’s cover of Van Etten’s ‘DsharpG’ is just beautiful and will appear on Epic Ten, a special 10th anniversary edition of Van Etten’s second album, Epic. (TW)

Flock Of Dimes – ‘Hard Way’
Taken from her second solo album Head Of Roses, ‘Hard Way’ is the latest single from Wye Oak’s Jenn Wasner aka Flock Of Dimes. Reflecting on the power of the subconscious to hide truths from ourselves, it combines glitchy elements of modulated synths with a lilting musicality and the smooth, emotion-rich splendour of Wasner’s vocals, creating a truly exquisite enchanting soundscape. (ML)

Hanya – ‘Lydia’
Having previously captivated our ears playing for us live on more than one occasion, Brighton band Hanya have now shared a brand new single. Flowing with shimmering hooks and an effervescent, ethereal grace, ‘Lydia’ showcases the stirring emotion of Heather Sheret’s rich, glossy vocals alongside a swirling musicality, creating a beautifully dreamy slice of shoegaze-tinged indie; a soothing soundscape oozing a blissful tranquillity. (ML)

Thallo – ‘Mêl’
This is a lush offering from Welsh songwriter Thallo, sung in her native tongue. Of the track, she explains: “‘Mêl’ which is Welsh for ‘Honey’ is about fearing inevitable heartbreak, but only making a feeble attempt to avoid it and resist temptation.” Check out her latest single ‘The Water’ too. (KC)

Naz & Ella – ‘No (Doesn’t Mean Convince Me)’
Having just announced a new EP set for release this Spring, Naz & Ella have now shared a poignant new single. Reflecting on the all-too resonant theme of sexual harassment, ‘No (Doesn’t Mean Convince Me)’ oozes a gritty, grunge-infused aura alongside the duo’s traditional folk-inspired musicality. Tinged with an eerie majesty with shades of grunge pioneers Alice In Chains, it’s a beautifully stirring offering, exuding a subtle, stark power. Find out more in our recent interview with Naz & Ella. (ML)

Ayoni – ‘Unmoved (A Black Woman Truth)’
‘Unmoved (A Black Woman Truth)’ was released last year, but I only heard it for the first time recently. Described as her most vulnerable song to date, the song is about her journey and the struggles she’s endured as a Black woman growing up. In Ayoni’s words “This song is my every uttered whisper and prayer. It is every heartbreak, micro-aggression, breakdown in the bathroom, and every swallowed fit of rage. But most importantly it is every single moment I remembered the walking poems that are my Black sisters, the breathing reasons to continue fighting to forge a path forward. So here I remain unmovable and unmoved.” (TW)

Clever Girls – ‘Stonewall’
“I wrote ‘Stonewall’ about the distribution of emotional labour in relationships and what is often asked of us AFAB (assigned female at birth) individuals based on our perceived gender identities,” explains Clever Girls’ front person Diane Jean. “It’s really my own anthem of rebellion – against my own perfectionism and against the constant inner monologue that tells me to adapt to others’ needs and expectations.” I love this track, which is taken from the band’s recent album, Constellations. (KC)

Johanna Samuels – ‘Single File’ (Elliott Smith Cover)
Iconic riot grrrl label Kill Rock Stars turns 30 this year! To celebrate, they’re releasing a string of cover singles under the title Stars Rock Kill (Rock Stars), where several artists from around the world will cover tracks from the label’s expansive back catalogue. This dreamy cover of Elliott Smith’s ‘Single File’ by Johanna Samuels is their latest celebratory offering, full of lush vocals and soft guitars. (KC)

Amy Ellen – ‘This Life’
Dublin-based indie musician Amy Ellen says ‘This Life’ is about “loosing someone who meant something to you, but also appreciating those who come into your life and stick around.” She embraces life’s bittersweet nature via her clear vocals and rich guitar sounds on this single. (KC)

Vox Rea – ‘Dufferin Ave.’
Always a sucker for some silky sax, this latest track ‘Dufferin Ave.’ from Vancouver-based Vox Rea delivers with an abundance of ambience. As we look to warmer and lighter evenings, I’m looking forward to listening to this song glisten out over those hazy nights. (TW)

Nadine – ‘Hair Up’
An aspiring singer & rapper from Sudan who’s currently based in Cairo, Egypt, Nadine wrote this R&B-tinged offering after she spent a week living in sweatpants during quarantine. It’s a chilled tune that celebrates feeling confident in your natural state. (KC)