GIHE: International Women’s Day 2021

Happy International Women’s Day! A day to highlight and bring awareness to the issues facing women around the globe, as well as a time to celebrate the women we love too. This year’s theme is #ChooseToChallenge – and here at Get In Her Ears we take that to mean that in order to create a more equal world, we must be constantly challenging accepted ‘norms’; constantly seeking to change and improve society in any way we can. In the words of the inspirational Angela Davis: “I am no longer accepting the things I cannot change. I am changing the things I cannot accept.

At Get In Her Ears this International Women’s Day, we’re celebrating both women and non-binary folk who have inspired and motivated us throughout this particularly challenging year. We want to make clear that we are inclusive of ALL women. Inclusivity is at the core of what we do: it’s the reason we started, it’s what drives us, and it’s something we will consistently strive for as long as we exist. To be explicitly clear, we always have and always will stand against transphobia – it is unacceptable. We send our love, support and solidarity to ALL women out there, and celebrate those gender nonconforming people fighting for acceptance. 

Have a read about the consistently inspiring women and non-binary people who have been keeping us going this year, and listen to the accompanying playlist – including tunes by, or linked to, the people featured. And feel free to get in touch with us on socials about the women who have inspired you this year!

Kathleen Hanna
I couldn’t really put together an International Women’s Day feature without including Kathleen Hanna. Being a constant inspiration always, throughout the last year I’ve needed to find strength in her empowering charisma and motivating force more than ever, and treated myself to the 20th anniversary re-issue of the Bikini Kill EP on one of the amazing bandcamp days last year. As well as inspiring me with the riotous power of music, over the last couple of years Kathleen has also set up ‘Tees 4 Togo’ – a business that sells t-shirts designed by and depicting different artists, with 100% of the money raised going to Peace Sisters, a non-profit started by Tina Kampor. Peace Sisters’ mission is to provide equal education for girls in Tina’s hometown, Dapaong, Togo. Each shirt sold is $40, which is how much it costs to send a girl to school in Togo for one year. The sweatshop-free tees are collaborations between the artists and the performers who inspired them.
(Mari Lane)

Big Joanie
Is it even a GIHE feature if we don’t include Big Joanie? Authors, activists, musicians and all round punk icons, these grrrls are a constant source of inspiration to the GIHE team. From organising Decolonise Fest, continuously speaking out against racism and sexism in the alternative music scenes, to creating the perfect soundtrack to rage and rejoice to, Big Joanie are an unstoppable force for change. Their work on and off stage is remarkable. Vocalist & guitarist Stephanie Phillips is releasing her new book Why Solange Matters later this year, drummer Chardine Taylor Stone will be releasing her book Sold Out: How Black Feminism Lost it’s Soul in 2022, and bassist Estella Adeyeri is busy recording podcasts and working with the Girls Rock London team.
(Kate Crudgington)

Lucy O’Brien (author of She Bop)
Getting to interview and virtually meet Lucy O’Brien twice this year was such a pleasure. 2020 saw the release of her book She Bop in celebration of the 25th anniversary of the original publication, a book that shows how much Lucy has documented, highlighted and pushed for better representation of women, transgender and non-binary people in music through her writing. Most recently she has co-written Skin’s Memoir It Takes Blood and Guts, which was also released in 2020 (read our interview with Lucy and Skin here). Lucy O’Brien – an inspiring woman, with an inspiring career who, lucky for us, shows no sign of slowing down.
(Tash Walker)

I will never get over seeing the Get In Her Ears name in PRINT and that’s all thanks to author & music journalist Lucy O’Brien. She included us in a new chapter in the 25th anniversary edition of her book She Bop last year and I’ve been making my way through it since then. Tash interviewed Lucy for one of our radio shows and I was so impressed by her knowledge, articulation and kindness when it comes to reporting and acknowledging the often forgotten history of women and non-binary people’s contribution to popular music. Definitely pick up a copy if you’re able to. (KC)

Kae Tempest
Coming out as non-binary last year, Kae Tempest not only completely blew me away at the last gig I went to (exactly a year ago at BBC 6Music’s International Women’s Day celebration at The Roundhouse), but their recently released book On Connection has been a wonderfully insightful, and strangely comforting, read in these worrying times. Reflecting on the connection between people and the unifying feelings that art can create, they discuss how connection should be a collaborative, communal feeling. Sharing deeply personal experiences and discussing times that they’ve felt particularly disconnected, it’s such a relatable and moving piece of writing. It is also the only book I’ve managed to read properly this whole year; I’ve really struggled with just the things that they discuss throughout – with feeling focused and connected – and so to be able to read something that is both poignant but also short and simply put together, has been just what my mind has needed. (ML)

Peaches
Last year, I interviewed the trailblazing Peaches for a Nine Songs feature on The Line Of Best Fit. She spoke about her favourite music and I spent most of the time nodding enthusiastically at her reasons for loving The Runaways, Missy Elliott and Roberta Flack. One thing that’s got me through the last year – and every other year, really – is talking to people who are not just passionate about the music they make, but the music they love by other artists too. The unfiltered admiration you can have for a band or musician is so pure and so important, and it’s definitely something I have grown to cherish over the years. (KC)

Beth Cannon (LibraLibra)
International Women’s Day happens to fall in Endometriosis Awareness Month (a condition where tissue similar to the lining of the womb starts to grow in other places, causing many painful symptoms and often affecting people’s lives significantly). And, as someone who has struggled with the symptoms for a number of years, I’m always inspired by talking to other people who have gone through similar experiences. This year, I discovered that Beth from one of our favourite bands, LibraLibra, has suffered with incredibly severe Endometriosis – to such an extent that, at the beginning of this month, she has had to have a very significant and invasive operation. However, throughout all the pain, treatments, stress and life-changing decisions that she has been under this year, she has continued to fight – to be an incredible force of nature, through both the immense power of her musical creations, and her openness and effervescent strength of spirit through her inspiring and motivating social media posts. (ML)

Planningtorock
I remember being in the Hoxton Radio studio in 2018, listening to Tash talk so passionately about how Planningtorock’s fourth album Powerhouse was resonating with them. Tash’s joy was infectious and I found myself listening to the record and hearing this incredible artist dive deep into their own gender identity with such playfulness and charm. Tash & I saw Planningtorock live at Queen Elizabeth Hall at Southbank Centre in 2019 and it was marvellous. We even ran onto the stage with loads of other fans at one point, looking around in disbelief and loving every minute of it. (KC)

SOPHIE
With full acknowledgment that SOPHIE’s identity was rooted in being SOPHIE, by naming SOPHIE in this piece I am not placing any identity on SOPHIE understanding that SOPHIE asked to be identified as SOPHIE. Someone who pushed the boundaries of music, of sound, of electronica, of what it means to be queer – a person who changed music for the better, by not living and reflecting in a nostalgia but pushing, reaching for a future. A future that SOPHIE saw through SOPHIE’s lens and through SOPHIE’s music; we got a glimpse of it too and for that we should be forever grateful. (TW)

FKA Twigs
I’ve been a fan of FKA Twigs since first been utterly captivated by the innovative sweeping sounds of ‘Two Weeks’ from 2014’s LP1, but I never knew that much about her. That is until I listened to her speaking with Louis Theroux on his Grounded podcast earlier this year. Not only was hearing her speak about her latest album Magdalene and how she found its inspiration in strong women – namely Mary Magdalene and her little known strength and achievements – particularly poignant, but hearing her speak openly about her experiences of abuse was immensely moving. Her honesty and openness about what she went through with Shia LaBeouf has been incredibly inspiring and a source of strength for many who are going through similar experiences. Public figures such as FKA Twigs being vocal about the issue of abuse is essential in enabling others to feel able to do this, and I feel a huge amount of admiration and gratitude to her for telling her story; opening up this vital conversation and giving a voice to survivors who so often remain unheard. (ML) 

Divide and Dissolve
Fuelled by Takiaya Reed’s doom-ridden saxophone notes and Sylvie Nehill’s phenomenal percussion, instrumental activists Divide and Dissolve have a sound that flows with a unique gargantuan grace. Designed to erode the foundations of colonialism and liberate the land for indigenous communities, their recent album Gas Lit smoulders with a righteous fury. Not only are they immensely talented musicians, they are also incredibly kind. Each time I’ve reviewed their music for our website, they’ve been quick to message via the GIHE socials to say a sweet and sincere thank you. (KC)

Sarah Lay (co-founder of Reckless Yes)
For a few years now, the label Reckless Yes has been a source of some of our most favourite artists – currently home to the likes of LIINES, Breakup Haircut, Bugeye, The Other Ones, The Crystal Furs and more – and co-founder Sarah continues to inspire us with her hard work and consistent dedication. Working ethically with all the artists on the label, making sure they are paid and treated fairly, Reckless Yes is supported by a membership that fans can sign up to and receive benefits, and is continually working on how it can be a force for social good: not only benefitting the artists on the roster, but holding environmental values as a fundamental part of their work. A one of a kind label run by a super wonder woman, who deserves to be celebrated for the consistently exceptional work she does and the invaluable help she gives upcoming artists. (ML)

Amateur Pop Inc.
A small record label based in Leicester working exclusively with artists of marginalised identities, Mari & I are huge fans of the musical output of Amateur Pop Inc. Run by Emily & Alex, it’s been a joy to interact with them and the artists they support. I recommend listening to Gordian Stimm and Boarder, and Mari would recommend listening to Kermes too! (KC)

Babywoman Records
We had Babywoman Records founder Charlotte Carpenter as a guest on our GIHE radio show a few years ago, and it’s been wonderful to see her create her own label and platform to help other women release their music. To celebrate International Women’s Day this year, Babywoman Records are launching a special four episode podcast series celebrating women in roles across the music industry. Each day between 8th-11th March, they’ll have a guest discussing their work. Speakers include Producer Steph Marziono, Warner Brothers’ A&R rep Holly Manners, musician Eliza Shaddad and Managing Director of Palm Bay Music Kimberley Anne. Visit the Babywoman Records website for more info here. (KC)

Amaroun
A long term favourite at Get In Her Ears, Amaroun consistently delivers a stirring power juxtaposed with an impassioned energy in each of her creations, and – throughout 2020 – she released a a number of poignant and empowering reflections on being a queer woman today. As well as captivating us with her tunes, over the last year Amaroun has also shared some of her insightful inspirations and thoughts on the industry with us in two of our Instagram Live sessions, and continues to be a massive inspiration in all she does. This year, in addition to working on her debut album, Amaroun has been running Black Queer Joy – a series of queer led sessions harnessing the power of community to call upon our ancestors as we heal, reclaim and find self-acceptance. The next session is this Wednesday, 10th March – details here. You can support Amaroun and her innovative journey at her Patreon page. (ML)

Arlo Parks
Arlo Parks has already achieved so much, especially over the last year, where we saw her release her debut album, Collapsed In Sunbeams, and her songs becoming the go-to hum on everyone’s lips. But what has resonated with me above all else is the depth of her lyrics – her mastery of language that she uses to delicately tell these stories with such feeling, as the music envelopes around you. So beautiful and often so sad. (TW)

Stereo Sanctity PR
Kate & Frankie who run Stereo Sanctity PR are absolute diamonds. Not only are their press releases informative, well-written and superbly formatted, the artists they represent are some of my personal favourites too, so it’s always a good day when I see an SS email at the top of my GIHE inbox. They’re assertive without being pushy and genuinely take the time to get to know your music taste so they can tailor their pitches to you. They represent an immense amount of talent, including Noga Erez, Hilary Woods, Penelope Trappes, Debby Friday, Desire, Anna B Savage, Spellling, Jenny Hval, Lotic, Katie Gately, Skating Polly, Zola Jesus and more. (KC)

Bimini Bon Boulash
I’m sure I don’t need to go into detail about who Bimini Bon Boulash is, but I have been falling more and more in love with them (and Tayce, but that’s another story…) throughout the latest season of Ru Paul’s Drag Race UK. As someone who has watched all the previous seasons of the competition, I have found this latest UK series to be a real breath of fresh air, largely thanks to Bimini. Openly discussing their non-binary identity and how this has affected their life, as well as supporting other contestants with discussing theirs and their struggles with society’s imposed gender norms, Bimini has given a voice to many and has apparently inspired a number of young viewers of the show to come out to their parents. Innovative not only in what they stand for, but in their incredible talent on stage, and their exquisite, unique style, Bimini has opened many people’s eyes as to what drag is, and what it can be: “I consider the concept of gender as a spectrum and I float somewhere in the middle… With drag, I don’t see what I do as female impersonation or illusion, more an expression of my identity and how I feel on the inside...” (ML)

Melanie Simpson (The Irish Jam)
I’ve been contributing to The Irish Jam’s New Music Sunday section for just over a year now. Based in London but celebrating music by Irish artists, the crossover of favourite bands between the GIHE team & The Irish Jam team is huge. I’ve enjoyed chatting to hosts Kealan, Niall, Rob and Mel on and off air for a while now, but Mel in particular is always quick to join me in fan-girling over Kynsy, CMAT and Celaviedmai. From drunkenly telling her about my admiration for Taylor Swift at The Jam’s 2018 St. Patrick’s Day gig when we first met, to buying tickets to CMAT’s debut London gig this November, Mel & I are well on our way to becoming true music gal pals. (KC)

Julia Woollams and Angela Martin (founders of The Croydonist/Bugeye)
Having been ‘locked down’ for pretty much a year now, I’ve come to value my home and its surrounding area in a new light. Being limited to the local area, it has been wonderful to discover new places for my daily walk, and it is has been thanks to The Croydonist that I have discovered a number of hidden Croydon gems; I had never known about Selsdon Woods or South Norwood Lake, for example, until seeing them featured on Croydonist’s Instagram, and they are both beautiful spots, unlikely rural escapes close to home. So, thank you to Croydonist founders Julia and Angela for keeping my love of Croydon going throughout the pandemic! Angela also contributed the most essential and uplifting of soundtracks for 2020 with her band Bugeye’s vibrant, energy-fuelled album Ready Steady Bang. (ML)

Girls Rock London
I wish Girls Rock London had existed when I was a teenager. They do incredible work to support girls, trans and non binary youth who have an interest in making music, but who may not have the funds or confidence to take that interest further. Through mentoring schemes, workshops and band camps, they provide an incredible level of support whilst offering attendees an opportunity to make friends and enjoy learning a completely new skill set. Find out more about their work here. (KC)

Mary Anne Hobbs
Having to work from home for the most part of a year has had its benefits. One of which has been being able to listen to BBC 6Music during the quieter moments of the day, especially my favourite show – Mary Anne Hobbs. Playing such a diverse range of music, from obscure electro to raging metal, she exudes such a passion and enthusiasm about all the tunes she showcases that is both refreshing and uplifting to hear. Hearing someone with such a genuine love of new music and sincere dedication to promoting upcoming artists is wonderfully inspiring, and I think more people in the industry could do with being a bit more like her! So, thank you Mary Anne, for being such a positive force – a consistently elevating accompaniment to my days – at a time when I need it more than ever. Also, what’s not to love about a show that has an ‘All Queens Mix’ at the start of every week?! (ML)

You Know Who You Are…
This last year has been a challenge for everyone, of varying degrees, but what comes out of difficulties endured collectively is a strength in connection. The end of 2020 was one of the most challenging times for me, but I have never felt more loved and supported in my life. So, to all the women and non-binary people who have been there for me over this last year, from family and friends, to all those in between, as someone who has struggled to love themselves for so long, you have all shown me the way, thank you. That includes my two GIHE babes – Kate and Mari, I love you two dearly. (TW)

Mari & Tash (GIHE babes)
Typing through the tears as I think about how much I have learned from you both, and how much I’ve laughed with you both over the last five and a half years. Here’s to many more weekends of gigs, chats about our favourite music and fancy beers with names I can’t pronounce properly. I’ll love you both forever. (KC)

Cindy Crudgington (My biggest fan)
Hi Mum! Probably wouldn’t have made it this far without your eternal love, patience and support. Thanks for always listening to our radio shows, reading my reviews & interviews (you’re welcome for the Noga Erez intro) and for listening to me rant on about how many emails I have to get through every weekend. I love you. (KC)

Holly and Sarah Crudgington (My younger sisters)
Hi Twinny Pigs! Thanks for holding my hand as I get over emotional at Wolf Alice gigs, raging with me in the mosh at the Ho99o9 shows and for always taking the +1 spot on the guest list for bands that I’ve bored you to death about for years. Here’s to many more conversations about how banging the soundtracks to the first two Twilight films are. Love you both. (KC)

GIHE Super Women, Tash & Kate
I couldn’t talk about the women who’ve helped me survive the year without including these two. Not only are they the best friends I could ask for, but they really do inspire me every day. They have both overcome the many challenges this year has brought with a grace and strength that I continue to admire, and both have an unwavering commitment to what they are passionate about. Tash’s work supporting LGBTQ+ people as co-chair of Switchboard and now sharing the community’s stories with the insightful and informative The Log Books podcast is absolutely incredible, and has taught me so much. Kate’s dedication to sharing new music through her amazing writing, and managing to remain so brilliantly organised, is admirable, and being able to regularly rant and rage with her about the world is something I’m forever grateful for. Tash and Kate, you’re a dream team and I cannot wait to see you at a Get In Her Ears gig one day soon, and hatch some exciting ventures for the future!

There are so many more women – both who I know and love personally, who have supported me through this year, and more well-known (Michaela Coel, Adriene Mishler, Phoebe Bridgers, Nadine Shah, Reni Eddo-Lodge) – who I could write about here, but there are only so many hours in the day… For now, I will leave you to celebrate the amazing women in your life!
(ML)

Massive thanks to ALL the wonderful women and non binary people in our lives – we see you, and we love you!

Listen to our accompanying IWD playlist here:

GIHE: Ones To Watch 2021

Whilst 2021 may not be looking too promising in the grand scheme of things at the moment, the array of amazing new music to look forward to is giving us some hope. So many fantastic bands and artists over the last year have been getting us through the nightmare of 2020, and here we’ve selected just a few who’ve made a particularly lasting impression, and who we’re hoping to hear a lot more from over the next twelve months.

Following our Tracks, Albums and Highlights of 2020, here’s our Ones To Watch in 2021…

deep tan
With acclaim from the likes of The Quietus, NME, So Young and BBC 6Music already under their belts, Hackney based trio deep tan have been enchanting our ears this year with their immersive, hypnotic splendour. First capturing our attention with the swirling grace of 2019’s ‘Air’, they continued to cast their majestic spell over us with this year’s ‘deepfake’ – a poignant comment on the worryingly sexist ways the strange internet phenomenon is used in society. Fusing together the cold-wave side of post-punk with their trademark eerily captivating allure and illustrious, swooning French and English vocals, deep tan have already shown their knack for creating utterly bewitching, sonically complex, soundscapes. I expect their dreamy, effervescent charm to continue drawing in more listeners throughout 2021.
Listen to deep tan on Spotify or bandcamp now. 
(Mari Lane: Co-Founder/Managing Editor)

CMAT
I have The Irish Jam radio show to thank for introducing me to CMAT! The pop sensation released some stellar singles throughout 2020, including ‘Another Day (KFC)’ – a bop about crying your drunken heart out in a chicken shop – and ‘I Wanna Be a Cowboy, Baby!’ – a witty, melancholic anthem about struggling with urban isolation. I interviewed her via Zoom earlier this year and she was just a joy to chat with (read the full thing here.) Even though things still look shaky for the music industry in 2021, I reckon CMAT will release more singles that manage to hit the nail on the head, and I hope that she’ll continue to be a stand-up comedian via her Twitter and Instagram accounts too.
Listen to CMAT on Spotify or bandcamp now. 
(Kate Crudgington: Co-Founder/Features Editor)

Amaroun
Having already caught the attention of BBC 6Music and BBC Introducing, Jay Brown – aka Amaroun – spent the first part of 2020 releasing a new single each month. With each single touching on a different theme surrounding life as a queer woman, she has had us hooked on her scintillating alt-pop. From the poignant, swirling power of ‘Rise’ to the gentle romanticism and playful wit of love song ‘Scarlet’, and the grimey groove of latest single ‘Highest Head’ (a collaboration with Jung Mergs), Amaroun never fails to impress with her unique creations – in equal parts soulful and gritty. I can’t get enough of her stirring, effervescent power, and I’m excited to hear what she has in store for us in 2021.
Listen to Amaroun on Spotify or bandcamp now. (ML)

Divide and Dissolve
Formed of Takiaya Reed and Sylvie Nehill, Divide and Dissolve create eerie, thunderous instrumentals designed to rouse their listener’s state of awareness into questioning what it means to be truly free. I was thrilled to see the duo were back releasing new music this year and that their new album Gas Lit – the follow up to 2018’s Abomination – will be released in January 2021. With their dense and intriguing sounds, Divide and Dissolve are instrumental activists who seek to disrupt toxic white supremacy, reclaim indigenous rights and invite others to join their fight. Their elegant, doomy battle cries will be the perfect soundtrack to 2021.
Listen to Divide and Dissolve on Spotify or bandcamp now.
(KC)

Nuha Ruby Ra
With her diverse range of influences, background in art and satire, and the unique style of both her fashion choices and music videos, Nuha Ruby Ra feels at once a familiar composite of acts from the darker end of alt-pop, and something completely fresh. With two singles released earlier this year, Ra has recently dropped what looks to be a breakthrough. ‘Sparky’ is a tale of escapades in a post-punk, dark synth-pop style, the track is her first release on her new label, Brace Yourself Records, and is taken from the forthcoming EP, How to Move. Ra has been a burgeoning, if slightly less prominent artist for sometime, having appeared on stage with a number of indie favourites, including Warmduscher, but the spotlight seems to suit her perfectly. With her latest release having got radio airplay almost from the minute it was released, and a string of tour dates already planned for live return, don’t be surprised to see Nuha Ruby Ra’s name up in lights in 2021.
Listen to Nuha Ruby Ra on Spotify or bandcamp now.
(John McGovern: Contributor)

KIN
Having first charmed our ears when they played their second ever gig for us at The Finsbury back in January 2019, London trio KIN are already receiving plenty of acclaim for their euphoric alt-pop sounds. As evidenced by receiving over 70,000 streams on Spotify for recent bewitching single ‘Sharing Light’ (and nearly that many for other singles ‘L.O.V.E’ and ‘Wander & Lost’), they seem to be quickly rising to success; their alluring majesty providing a soothingly cathartic listen for fans of all genres. Consisting of Grace, Ritu and Adam, KIN have already completely stolen our hearts, both with their exquisite celestial soundscapes and their unwavering dedication to consistently championing fellow females in the industry. I cannot wait to hear more from them in 2021, and I’m quite sure I’m not alone in my excitement!
Listen to Kin on Spotify now.
(ML)

ZAND
Self-proclaimed “ugly pop” star ZAND creates delightfully wicked tunes that take down slut-shamers and whorephobes, whilst revelling in the joyful feeling of not fitting the mould. The Blackpool-based artist has cultivated a defiant sound and image for themselves, mixing their sweet vocals with savage rap verses laid across warped and wonderful electronics. They’ve got a lot to say and I’m looking forward to hearing more from them in 2021.
Listen to Zand on Spotify now.(KC)

King Hannah
Although I did feature King Hannah as One To Watch last year too, I think it’s completely necessary to include them again. Not only does 2020 not really count anyway, but I think it’s fair to say that, with the immediate success of their recently released debut EP Tell Me Your Mind And I’ll Tell You Mine and signing to City Slang Records (also home to Noga Erez, Lampchop and Laura Gibson), King Hannah are now on the cusp of something very, very exciting… I first fell in love with the Liverpool band (thanks to our writer, John!) on hearing their debut single ‘Crème Brûlée’ (which now has over 60,000 streams on Spotify) back in 2019 – its sweeping, ethereal power and majestic musicality completely casting me under its spell on first listen. And now the entirety of the EP remains utterly compelling; with shades of the likes of War On Drugs propelled by the unique melancholic splendour of Hannah Merrick’s vocals, it’s an emotion strewn listen, oozing a stirring, bewitching allure.
Listen to King Hannah on Spotify or bandcamp now. (ML)

CIRCE
London-based dark-pop artist CIRCE had me under her spell from the moment I read that her track ‘Ten Girls’ was inspired by Margaret Atwood’s novel, The Handmaid’s Tale. Her debut EP She’s Made Of Saints is a majestic blend of her bittersweet vocals, cinematic electronics, her feminist awakenings and obsession with the dark side of LA glamour, epitomised by tracks like ‘Dancer’ on which she explores the dangerous allure of Californian cult The Source Family. She’s crafted this mysterious, David Lynch inspired image that fits her sound perfectly too.
Listen to Circe on Spotify or bandcamp now.
(KC)

Ailbhe Reddy
Ireland-based artist Ailbhe Reddy made her debut appearance on the indie circuit in 2016. However, it was 2018’s beautifully poignant single ‘Shame’ which introduced me to Reddy’s sharp songwriting. Having completed the checklist of performing at various UK festivals, Ailbhe Reddy was poised to make the leap across the pond with a slot at SXSW festival before 2020 pressed pause on the live music industry. Despite the setback, Ailbhe Reddy provided the soundtrack of my lockdown 2.0 with her debut album Personal History. An introspective snapshot of everyday emotional turmoils, coupled with a polished production, Personal History is Ailbhe Reddy’s armour to march back into the live music scene in 2021.
Listen to Ailbhe Reddy on Spotify or bandcamp now.
(Nicky Lee-Delisle: Contributor)

New Pagans
Another Irish Jam find! Belfast-based New Pagans’ debut EP Glacial Erratic is an impressive collection of urgent, considered, intensely catchy songs that challenge the norms surrounding relationships, history and gender roles. The band take the best elements of post-punk, grunge and indie rock and transform them into beautifully melodic noise, and this is epitomised on ‘Yellow Room’, the single they released shortly after their EP. They’re currently working on a full length record, so fingers crossed they’ll be able to share that with us in 2021.
Listen to New Pagans on Spotify or bandcamp now.
(KC)

Fräulein
Having only come across Fräulein earlier this year, through seeing them perform a stripped back ‘live’ set for Hanni from ARXX’s Coming Out Staying In festival back in April, I’m already a big fan of the duo’s raw, visceral sound. Oozing a captivating dark energy, this year’s singles ‘Drag Behind’ and ‘Mary’ are propelled by the gritty power of Joni’s raw sweeping vocals, as abrasive, grunge-infused hooks steadily build an increasing tension with the help of Karsten’s immense beats. With shades of the mysterious allure of underrated ’90s band Slint, Fräulein offer a unique, spellbinding majesty. A new favourite, in ‘normal’ times, I’d be booking Fräulein for a gig with us at The Finsbury as soon as possible, but for now I will have to settle for listening to ‘Drag Behind’ on repeat, and dreaming of the day I can witness their dark energy live in a room full of sweaty fans.
Listen to Fräulein on bandcamp now. (ML) 

GIHE: Personal Highlights Of 2020

2020 has been a year unlike any other and we’ll be glad to see the back of it, but before we wave goodbye, the GIHE team would like to share some of their personal highlights. Thanks to everyone who has been following, reading or listening to GIHE this year. It really does mean the world to us and we couldn’t do this without you.

Shared Highlights

Seeing the GIHE name appear in a PHYSICAL BOOK was a landmark moment for the team this year. Music journalist Lucy O’Brien mentioned us in her 25th anniversary edition of She Bop, a fantastic book that explores the role of female artists and how they’ve helped to shape the music industry. You can buy your copy here.

Fellow GIHE Co-Founder Tash Walker was super busy recording & producing series 2 of The Log Books throughout 2020, a podcast which explores the history of the LGBTQ community via the phone archives of LGBT+ charity Switchboard. Tash is a co-chair at Switchboard and she is dedicated to celebrating and supporting the LGBTQ community through her work with them, and through her work with GIHE. She is one of the most resilient, informed and hilarious people we know and it’s a privilege to work alongside her and call her a friend. The Log Books are a truly necessary listen for all.

Now for some personal highlights…

Kate Crudgington (Features Editor)

GIHE usually takes up a big part of my life, but it was a lifeline for me during March of this year when the government text me (lol) telling me to shield for 12 weeks. Thanks to the magic of the internet, I was able to talk to the people who were making the music that was distracting me from the panic-inducing headlines, reminding me what a huge privilege it is to have access to this amazing platform.

As our followers already know, Lockdown 1.0 instantly put a stop to our weekly GIHE new music shows on Hoxton Radio. We had 16 weeks off air, so when it was “safe” for me to go back in to the studio in July I was buzzing with excitement (which you can hear in my voice if you listen back to the show here.)

Like most platforms during the pandemic, we embraced technology and started interviewing artists over Zoom instead of inviting them in to the studio for the usual chat and live session. We managed to get time with Jessica Winter, BISHI, Lucy O’Brien, Tessa from Girlhood, Julia-Sophie, Lizzie from Bitch Falcon, Grave Goods, Problem Patterns, ZAND, Hannah from PELA, Seraphina-Simone & Penelope Trappes. It was so lovely to see Tash in person in the studio most weeks, and while we both missed seeing Mari a great deal, her weekly track contributions to the show still made it feel like a GIHE team effort.

At the beginning of the year, I was invited by Niall Jackson, one of the hosts of Riverside Radio’s The Irish Jam, to be a contributor to their New Music Sunday section. Co-hosted by Kealan, Mel and Rob, The Irish Jam is a London based radio show that celebrates and promotes music from Irish artists. The crossover of favourite bands between GIHE & the Jam is huge and something I’ve enjoyed chatting to the team about both on and off air. They’ve introduced me to the likes of CMAT, fears, Denise Chaila, Silverbacks and Celaviedmai, whilst I’ve shared tracks by Kynsy, Party Fears and CAMI with them. Listening to their show on a Sunday evening continues to be a wonderful distraction from life.

Who could’ve predicted that bandcamp would become the musical hero of 2020? When the streaming platform announced that on the first Friday of every month they’d be waiving their fees so that 100% of profits would be going directly to artists, my newsfeeds were awash with new music recommendations. Moving home to Essex from London in March meant I actually had some expendable income to buy new records, so I was furiously typing bespoke recommendation threads on Twitter every time the date rolled around. bandcamps’ generosity meant you were able to genuinely support your friends (and the artists you secretly wish you were friends with) during a truly depressing year for music.

Normally, we’d be picking our live music highlights too, but for obvious reasons, we’ve hardly been to any gigs this year. Mari had to cancel half of the gigs GIHE she had booked pre-pandemic and it’s fucking depressing to not know when it will be (properly) safe for her to book more. That’s why I feel incredibly fortunate to have wedged in one last GIHE gig before Lockdown 1.0. GIHE worked together with Sofar Sounds to put together a special International Women’s Day gig at their Hackney HQ in March, with Beckie Margaret, Amahla and Indian Queens on the bill. It was so exciting (and nerve-racking) to host the evening with fellow GIHE pal Tash too. Even if I’d had a year full of gigs, this one still would’ve made my highlights list.

One last gloat – I published some of my all-time favourite features on our website this year. My Zoom interviews with the wonderful A.A Williams, the hilarious CMAT and the ultra talented Lido Pimienta are well worth a read.

Mari Lane (Managing Editor)

It goes without saying, most of the highlights I’d normally mention at this time of year were not able to go ahead in the void of 2020. They would normally consist of the monthly gigs that I host at The Finsbury, whereas this year I was only able to put on two before Covid hit. And, in addition to having to cancel at least seven of our regular gigs, we were pretty heartbroken to cancel what would have been our very first festival, due to take place in July. However, I did manage to fit in a couple of memorable live experiences before being confined to being permanently pyjama clad; my only weekly highlight being our regular beer delivery from Croydon’s Art & Craft bar.

The first gig I hosted this year felt particularly special. Personal Best headlined a night filled with all the best vibes. Drawing the night to a memorable close, front person Katie Gatt dedicated their set closer to the queer community. As a sea of buoyant voices joined in with “I wanna kiss you in the street / where everyone can see / ’cause this is what we look like,” the poignancy of the lyrics was overwhelming and an empowering sense of unity took hold. The night also included the shimmering folk-strewn offerings of Athabaska, the quirky energy and sparkling charisma of Nun Habit and the sun-drenched swirling anthems of Hurtling. There is nothing quite like that joyous sense of togetherness that comes from hosting gigs filled with like-minded wonderful people.

I was also lucky enough to fit in seeing one of my all time favourite bands with a few of my all time favourite people. The last time that Tash, Kate, Paul and I were all together pre-Covid was for Sleater Kinney at Brixton Academy – a pretty special night. Not only did I get to see the legendary Carrie Brownstein deliver her distinctive gritty, scuzz-filled riffs alongside Corin Tucker’s unmistakable swooning vocals in the flesh, conjuring up massive feelings of awe and nostalgia, but they were supported by one of our favourite current bands. The second time we’d seen Big Joanie on the Brixton Academy stage (the first being opening for Bikini Kill last year!), they showcased just how deserving they are of their rising success; with their unique, raw, post-punk soundscapes and poignant lyricism, they delivered an absolutely incredible set. A truly memorable night.

My last ‘outing’ before lockdown was to the BBC 6Music festival for International Women’s Day at The Roundhouse. An epic line-up consisting of some incredible women and non-binary folk that I’m incredibly grateful I got to witness before everything fell apart. In addition to the immense poignant power of Jehnny Beth, the utterly beguiling splendour of Nadine Shah (who I fell in love with there and then), and the completely mind-blowing presence of hero Kim Gordon, Kae Tempest delivered a fiercely moving, truly breath-taking headline set.

And then gigs were gone. To be replaced by online streamed “events” which I think have had mixed reviews over the last few months – they’re of course no replacement for the “real thing” and it’s hard to feel motivated to “attend” things when you’ve been on the sofa in your pjs for weeks. However, I have managed to organise a few GIHE Instagram ‘Takeovers’, featuring some of our favourite bands and artists. From ARXX’s drum and guitar lessons, LibraLibra’s quirky tele-sales style feature and Tiger Mimic’s interviews with others on the scene, to inspiring chats with Amaroun, Eckoes, Foundlings and Husk, beaut “live” sessions from Gold Baby, Scrounge and KIN, and King Hannah’s EP run through, I feel grateful that so many creatives have wanted to be involved.

It’s a strange time, no doubt, but one which is made that much better by a sense of togetherness within the community. One positive from all this really has been the mutual support and genuine care that I’ve seen musicians and those within the industry show for each other.

John McGovern (Contributor)

On the one hand, there’s been almost no gigs, no festivals, much fewer physical releases and closed record shops. On the other, BBC 6Music’s response helped me stay indoors and make the most of my furlough life. Lauren Laverne‘s show was extended to cover the late morning, running to nearly double the length of most of the other shows on the station and basically saw her appointed as chief mood-lifter for the BBC’s flagship alternative music station. Amongst the days of uncertainty, where even leaving the house offered the risk of serious illness, with no guarantee of a job at the end of the summer, having Lauren there to soundtrack breakfast/brunch made a world of difference. It produced a kind of odd stasis: the background radiation of a pandemic, but an excellent range of music, usually featuring a smattering of classics, new music and obscure gems. The only disappointment was when the schedule reverted back to usual come the end of lockdown. Hopefully, that same semblance of normality will be back for us all, soon.

Thanks to everyone who took the time to read our highlights!

You can read about our GIHE Albums of 2020 here and our GIHE Tracks Of 2020 here.

Keep an eye out for our Ones To Watch in 2021 feature next week!

PLAYLIST: November 2020

We’re almost out of Lockdown 2.0 here in the UK, but whether you’re feeling excited or apprehensive about the changes the new government measures will bring, our November playlist is here to help distract you. There’s an eclectic mix of alt-pop delights, atmospheric electronic soundscapes and some shimmering indie and alternative 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.

GENN – ’23rd March’
The latest single from Brighton based trans-national band Ġenn, ‘23rd March’ is propelled by whirring hooks, capturing the charismatic energy of the band’s magnificent live show, as it builds with a sultry power to a gritty grunge-fueled seething anthem. ‘23rd March’ is taken from Ġenn’s upcoming EP Liminal, set for release next year on Everything Sucks Music. (Mari Lane)

Nervous Twitch – ‘Tongue Tied’
The latest single from the Leeds three-piece, ‘Tongue Tied’ is a comforting ode to “Self-reflection and amazement over the contradictions in life”. Propelled by scuzzy surf-rock inspired hooks and an instantly catchy uptempo musicality, it’s a colourfully retro slice of uplifting punk-pop. ‘Tongue Tied’ is out now via Reckless Yes. (ML)

Tired Lion – ‘~Cya Later~’
Aussie band Tired Lion have just shared their new album Breakfast For Pathetics and it is SO. GOOD. I love frontwoman & guitarist Sophie Hopes’ voice and this track is apparently one of her favourites on the record – it also happens to be one of mine too. (Kate Crudgington)

Francis of Delirium – ‘Lakes’
“The main idea in ‘Lakes’ is that we are all fed by other people (or other “rivers”) to eventually form who we are, one large lake fed by other water streams, one community,” explains Francis of Delirium’s songwriter Jana Bahrich. Taken from their upcoming EP Wading, which is set for release next February, this single continues to show Bahrich’s talent for writing poignant guitar tunes about the interweaving nature of life. (KC)

King Hannah – ‘Meal Deal’
Liverpool’s King Hannah have just released a complete beaut of a debut EP, the magnificence of which is showcased perfectly in ‘Meal Deal’. Inspired by an unsuccessful flat-hunting mission, it’s steeped in an all-encompassing ethereal splendour as the utterly spellbinding majesty of Hannah Merrick’s vocals flow alongside swirling War On Drugs-reminiscent hooks. Tell Me Your Mind And I’ll Tell You Mine, the new EP from King Hannah, is out now via City Slang. Watch the homevideo for ‘Meal Deal’ here. (ML)

Serena Isioma – ‘Stop Calling The Police On Me’
“This song is about searching for peace outside of the society that doesn’t understand you,” explains Chicago-based musician Serena Isioma. “There was a heavy police presence in my household growing up. It was very toxic. Eventually, I stopped coming home altogether. I was much happier hanging out with my friends.” Isioma, a first generation Nigerian-American, neutralizes these hostile memories via ambient guitars and honeyed vocals. I’m so excited to hear their new EP The Leo Sun Sets, which is set for release later this year. (KC)

Amaroun & Jung Mergs – ‘Highest Head’
GIHE fave Amaroun’s latest offering sees the London artist teaming up with rapper Jung Mergs. Switching between the rich, smooth power of Amaroun’s soulful refrains and the fast-paced poignant spoken-word lyricism of Mergs, it builds with a gritty, grimey groove and whirring, fuzzy energy. (ML)

Rosé Petal – ‘Dripping’
I love this hypnotic new single from Rhode Island-based, alternative R&B/electro-pop producer and songwriter Rosé Petal. It’s a beautiful combination of sweet vocals, sultry beats and atmospheric electronics. (KC)

ZAND – ‘Inappropriate’
Self proclaimed “ugly popstar” ZAND has just released their new EP Ugly Pop, and ‘Inappropriate’ is one of several savage bangers on the record. ZAND’s wit and defiance in the face of their critics shines through in their candid lyricism and polished, yet punishing beats. (KC)

STRAIGHT GIRL – ‘Limón’
A vibrant, jagged electronic soundscape inspired by disjointed and self-critical thoughts, ‘Limón’ is the latest single from Leeds-based electropunk STRAIGHT GIRL. Released via Come Play With Me, the track is a cathartic new offering that sees the artist confront the darker parts of themselves and transform them into energetic, intensely danceable beats. (KC)

CIRCE – ‘Dancer’
An evocative dark-pop gem inspired by a morbid fascination with an infamous cult, London-based Circe’s latest single ‘Dancer’ is taken from her debut EP, She’s Made of Saints. The track is a sultry, cinematic tune exploring the dangerous allure of Californian cult The Source Family. I wholeheartedly recommend you listen to Circe’s EP if you’re a fan of any of the following: The Handmaid’s Tale, David Lynch or Stranger Things. (KC)

October and The Eyes – ‘Dark Dog’
New Zealand-born, London-based songwriter October and The Eyes recently shared her debut EP Dogs and Gods, and this dark, sultry single is lifted from it. Speaking about the track, October explains: “It’s about the uneasy feeling of being watched, that at any moment something bad could happen. There’s an anecdotal malformed dog who’s always near – limping, snarling, growling and drooling. It’s one you feel equally sorry for as you do fear it. You cannot outrun this dark dog, so you decide to make peace.” (KC)

Yumi And The Weather – ‘What Will Become Of The Wishing Well’
The latest single from Brighton based artist Yumi And The Weather, ‘What Will Become Of The Wishing Well’ flows with soaring rich vocals and twinkling uptempo vibes alongside glitchy beats and a driving energy. A soothing slice of alt-pop reminiscent of the electro-strewn grandeur of The Postal Service. (ML)

Elaine Malone – ‘You’ (1000 Beasts Remix)
A captivating, blissful lo-fi new offering from two of Cork’s freshest talents, ‘You’ is a beaut collaboration between songwriter & multi-instrumentalist Elaine Malone and electronic artist & producer 1000 Beasts. Led by Malone’s original beguiling vocals and lullaby-esque lyrics, 1000 Beasts has tentatively transformed the track with his distinctive percussion and the result is a magnetic soundscape that acts as an aural tonic for testing times. (KC)

Smoothboi Ezra – ‘My Own Person’
Smoothboi Ezra is an 18 year old songwriter, multi-instrumentalist and producer from Greystones, Ireland. This song is about “not being happy but not being able to do anything about it” which is the over-riding sentiment for most of 2020. I love this track and can’t wait to hear more from them in the future. (KC)

Hearts Beating In Time – ‘Simone’s’
The latest single from Berlin-based Hearts Beating In Time, ‘Simone’s’ offers a totally dreamy, twinkling soundscape. With elegant layers of shimmering synths alongside the glistening charm of Rebecca Theuma’s vocals, it’s an instantly captivating slice of immersive electro-pop. (ML)

Jenny Moore’s Mystic Business – ‘I Am Afraid’
Reflecting on how being alone as a female identifying person can be both scary and exciting, ‘I Am Afraid’ is propelled by funk-fuelled bass-lines and an empowering, shimmering energy. As it builds with the twinkling power of voices uniting together in harmony and jangling, playful percussion, it’s a poignant, impassioned ode to female strength and resilience. ‘I Am Afraid’ is out now via Lost Map Records. Watch the joyous new video here. (ML)

Pinlight – ‘Grow Slow’
The new single from Edinburgh-based hearing-impaired artist Jenny Laahs, aka Pinlight, ‘Grow Slow’ flows with an uplifting twinkling energy and luscious honey-sweet vocals. A refreshingly uptempo slice of sunny alt-pop, it’s the perfect danceable accompaniment to a solo lockdown living room rave. (ML)

Kama Vardi – ‘The Gate’
An uplifting slice of folk-pop, Kama Vardi’s ‘The Gate’ flows with a twinkling romanticism and joy-tinged lilting musicality. Oozing a captivating allure alongside the soothing splendour of Vardi’s vocals. Moonticket, the upcoming new album from Kama Vardi, is out now via Bread For Eskimos. (ML)