PLAYLIST: July 2021

The GIHE team have unearthed some more new music gems for you to listen to on our July Playlist! There’s an eclectic mix of alternative tunes, synth-pop bangers and raucous guitar anthems for you to enjoy. 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.

Amy Winehouse – ‘Me & Mr Jones’
“What kind of fuckery is this?” – one of my all time favourite lyrics, courtesy of Amy Winehouse. This month marked ten years since her untimely death and gave us all a chance to reflect on her iconic musical legacy. Charming, intelligent and rib-achingly funny, but simultaneously plagued by addiction, alcoholism and bulimia, Amy Winehouse’s altruistic talent is one that simply can’t be rivalled. RIP Amy. (Kate Crudgington)

Babeheaven – ‘Lovefool’ (The Cardigans Cover)
Babeheaven are a band who do wonders with their covers and this one is no exception. Singer Nancy Andersen’s voice just beautifully falls over the music every time, the perfect accompaniment to this sweltering summer where we just have to slow down. (Tash Walker)

Abra – ‘Roses’
This song has been spinning its way around all of my playlists over the last month. Released back in 2015, I always have space for a return listen for Abra. The way a song sounds six years later is part of the beauty of it, especially the lyrics on this one – “You taste best when you are in full bloom” – turn up your dials for a big slice of distilled electro pop. (TW)

Evil House Party – ‘Head Held High’
I love this captivating synth-pop tune from Copenhagen-based duo Evil House Party. Taken from their debut EP Grand Theft Audio, which is set for release on 24th September via Third Coming Records, the track is a heady, bittersweet reflection on personal uncertainty and laments the struggle of trying to survive in the real world whilst also trying to fulfil your dreams. (KC)

Maria Uzor – ‘Innocence’
The latest solo release of Maria Uzor (also one half of GIHE faves Sink Ya Teeth), ‘Innocence’ offers an other-worldly soundscape propelled by glitchy electronic hooks and drum ‘n’ bass reminiscent beats. Interweaving a whirring ethereal splendour with shades of the likes of Grimes with a unique soul-fused drive, I just can’t get enough of its blissful, euphoric energy and bewitching allure. Innocence And Worldliness, the upcoming EP from Maria Uzor, is set for release on 27th August. (Mari Lane)

John Glacier – ‘Icing’
This song! Coming in at 1.44 a song has never left me desperate for more, obsessed is an understatement. East London’s John Glacier released this as a teaser from the forthcoming 12-track project SHILOH: Lost For Words, due on 30th July. (TW)

Moor Mother ft. lojii – ‘Shekere’
Having released her debut album Fetish Bones back in 2016, musician-poet-artist-workshop facilitator Camae Ayewa – aka Moor Mother – has now announced her upcoming new album, Black Encyclopedia Of The Air. Taken from the album, latest single ‘Shekere’ features Philadelphia rapper lojii and is propelled by a stripped-back, jazz-infused musicality as it oozes a swirling, stirring allure and immersive, soulful drive. As poetically poignant lyricism is set against the captivating flow of the instrumentation, an exquisitely enthralling, and undeniably necessary, battle-cry is created. Black Encyclopedia Of The Air, the upcoming album from Moor Mother, is set for release on 17th September via ANTI-. (ML)

Witch Prophet – ‘Makda’
I have Tash to thank for introducing me to the majestic sounds of Ethio queer hip-hop fusion artist Witch Prophet. ‘Makda’ is a celebration of the Ethiopian Queen of Sheba and the accompanying video for the track is all about showcasing “the power of Black women and mothers.” (KC)

Piroshka – ‘V.O’
Taken from Piroshka’s brand new album, Love Drips and Gathers, ‘V.O’ offers a poignant tribute to 4AD’s late in-house art director and graphic designer Vaughan Oliver. A swirling, ethereal soundscape, sparkling with a captivating, shoegaze-tinged splendour, the track reflects not only on Miki Berenyi’s memories of Vaughan, but also her experience of attending his funeral last year – with many of the lyrics inspired by speeches that she heard on the day. Find out more about Piroshka and their new album in our recent interview with Miki here. (ML)

Praises – ‘A World On Fire’
This shadowy track by Toronto-based Praises is such a hypnotising listen. The new project of Jesse Crowe (formerly one-half of Beliefs), ‘A World On Fire’ “imagines a diaspora and a war, whilst tackling other ideas of mortality, identity and love.” The track is taken from Praises’ upcoming EP, EP4, which is set for release on 5th August via Hand Drawn Dracula. (KC)

Tirzah – ‘Tectonic’
Anyone who knows me/has asked me what I’m listening to over the last couple of years will have given you one answer: TIRZAH. She’s recently announced the release of her new album Colourgrade which I am counting down the days to. This song ‘Tectonic’ is totally hypnotic, starting with a conflicting drone before her vocals arrive, rougher than we’re used to, all adding to the music’s intensity – and don’t even get me started on the lyrics. Needless to say, this track gives me FEELS. (TW)

Täpp – ‘Aquaria’
The latest release from Jazztronica/hip hop/ classical collective Täpp, led by classically trained jazz violinist Rebekah Reid. This track is lifted from their debut album, named after the winner of Season 10 of RuPaul’s Drag Race – ‘Aquaria’ is an anthem created to empower women, transgender/gender non-conforming people and the LGBTQ+ community, encouraging them to step into their light and “shine like the gifts they are to the world.” Can’t argue with that. (TW)

Tiiva – ‘Bones’
Is it even a GIHE playlist if I don’t include a Tiiva track? I’m a big fan of all their releases so far and ‘Bones’ is no exception. The London-based producer has crafted another captivating soundscape full of atmospheric beats, hushed vocals and summery synth sounds. (KC)

Planningtorock – ‘Gay Dreams Come True’
This song gives nothing but pure gay joy, a pleasure to hear it pouring out of any speakers. Planningtorock has to be the most consistent creator of absolute dance tunes right now. I LOVE IT. What vibes, what fun. (TW)

cheeky – ‘SPADES’
cheeky is a classically trained pianist, queer non-binary producer based in Philadelphia. This track ‘SPADES’ is taken from their recent EP The Tower. Constructed of mostly percussive sounds sampled from their piano, cheeky says this song is “about struggling with self love.” Definitely check out their new EP, it’s a bittersweet exploration of their musical influences and includes a bewitching cover of ‘Nightingale’ from Disney’s Cinderella. (KC)

FLOSSING – ‘SWITCH’
FLOSSING is the new project from Heather Elle, formerly of Bodega and The Wants. I love her candid, moody sound on her debut single ‘SWITCH’, which explores her own sexuality and “the deviant nature of men.” I can’t wait to hear her new EP Queen Of The Mall, which is set for release on 10th September. (KC)

Ailsa Tully – ‘Sheets’
Ahead of the release of a new EP next month, Welsh artist Ailsa Tully recently shared poignant single ‘Sheets’. Flowing with a shimmering, stripped back musicality, ‘Sheets’ combines lilting melodies with Tully’s crystalline, honey-sweet vocals. Oozing an immersive, delicate emotion and sparkling grace, there is something uniquely captivating about the juxtaposition of the vocals and the rippling instrumentation; the gentle build up and crescendo evoking images of waves delicately crashing against swathes of sand. Holy Isle, the upcoming EP from Ailsa Tully, is set for release 20th August via Dalliance Recordings. (ML)

CMAT – ‘2 Wrecked 2 Care’
Irish pop sensation CMAT says this song is based around the idea of what “would have happened if Sheryl Crow ever had to work in a TK Maxx” – absolute lols. I love everything CMAT creates and I can’t wait to see her live for the first time at her sold out show at The Troubadour in November. (KC)

Bad Waitress – ‘Strawberry Milkshake’
The latest single from Toronto based Bad Waitress, ‘Strawberry Milkshake’ blasts into the ears with pulsating hooks and thrashing beats, as Kali-Ann Butala’s seething vocals soar with a riotous power. Propelled by a gritty energy and frenzied, empowering drive, it’s a wonderfully sinister – hell-raisingly raucous yet fuzzily catchy – punk-fuelled anthem. Of the track, the band comment: “Strawberry Milkshake’ is saccharine sweet, milky pink terror. On the surface it’s sexy and enticing – but there’s a poisonous sludge bubbling just beneath.” No Taste, the debut album from Bad Waitress, is set for release on 3rd September. (ML)

Pretty Happy – ‘Sudocream’
Centered around the Cork-centric story of a girl who is suffering from alcohol poisoning in the Mercy Hospital whilst her partner sits across the road in the Franciscan Well pub, Pretty Happy’s ‘Sudocream’ kicks and screams with the kind of frustration, panic and anxiety that can’t be soothed by the childhood medicinal staple it’s named after. It’s a frantic, witty, cathartic burst of art punk noise from the Cork trio, lifted from their recent EP Sluggers Bridge, released via Art For Blind Records. (KC)

My Idea – ‘Stay Away Still’
The latest single from New York duo Nate Amos and Lily Konigsberg – aka My Idea – ‘Stay Away Still’ is a perfectly jangly slice of lo-fi, indie-pop. I’m a big fan of this track’s luscious, sunny melodies and the way it juxtaposes a deadpan wit with a dreamy, twinkling energy. ‘Stay Away Still’ has been released with accompanying single ‘That’s My Idea’ ahead of the duo’s debut EP, set for release on 30th July. (ML)

Softcult – ‘Spit It Out’
I’m a big fan of this lush, swirling guitar tune from Canadian duo Softcult. Formed of Ontario-based twins Phoenix and Mercedes Arn Horn, this new single gently encourages listeners to face up to, and reject their unconscious bias. Check out the accompanying video for it here. (KC)

Meggie Brown – ‘Dusty Smells’
The first song to be taken from London-based Meggie Brown’s upcoming new EP, ‘Dusty Smells’ is a nostalgia-inducing anthem for anyone struggling with their identity. With shades of the likes of Aussie fave Courtney Barnett, it juxtaposes Brown’s deadpan-yet-poetic reflections with a sparkling musicality as scuzzy hooks flow with a lilting energy, offering an uplifting glimmer of hope. Of the track, Brown – who has recently come out as transgender – explains: “Coming to terms with one’s gender identity has been both beautiful and challenging during this lockdown. When I wrote and recorded ‘Dusty Smells’ I wanted it to match through sound how non-binary those emotions and realisations were.” HOME, the upcoming EP from Meggie Brown, is set for release later this year. (ML)

th’sheridans – ‘Awesome Summers & Kate’
The latest single from indie-pop duo th’sheridans, ‘Awesome Summers & Kate’ is taken from their upcoming career-spanning compilation. Propelled by scuzzy hooks, jangly drum-machine induced beats and a swirling, danceable energy, it reflects on the tentative anticipation of possibilities as restrictions start to lift. With shades of the stripped-back hype-pop/dance-punk of Le Tigre, it offers a perfect smattering of effervescent euphoria – something that is much needed in these uncertain times. Pieces Of General, the upcoming compilation album from th’sheridans, is set for release on 10th September via Reckless Yes. (ML)

Death Valley Girls – ‘Sanitarium Blues’
A refreshingly honest reflection on mental health struggles, Death Valley Girls’ latest single ‘Sanitarium Blues’ was inspired by vocalist Bonnie Bloomgarden’s stay at a professional institution amidst a serious battle with her own mental health. Propelled by the soaring, gritty power of Bloomgarden’s vocals, it’ll soak you in its fierce, reverb-strewn riffs that rage with a frenzied, angsty drive. Oozing a sludgey, grunge-fuelled fuzz with a swirling psychedelic allure, it’s an instantly bewitching and eerily immersive creation. Street Venom, the re-issued album, is set for release on 30th July via Suicide Squeeze Records. (ML)

Ms White – ‘Fuck Men’
I’m ashamed to say that I hadn’t heard of Ms White until recently, when Belfast artist F.R.U.I.T.Y thankfully introduced me to her by including this track in their recent Five Favourites feature for us. A wonderfully empowering anthem from the Trans artist, the name really speaks for itself: I challenge you to listen to this and not feel motivated and ready to face the world. (ML)

Interview: Duchess

With acclaim from the likes of BBC Radio 1 and 1Xtra, South London artist Duchess writes from the heart; creating rich soulful ballads reflecting on her childhood of frequently moving from place to place, her experiences in London, and love and life in general.

Having released her debut EP Early Days back in March, she has now shared a special acoustic version of the collection. With her distinctive impassioned vocals at the forefront, oozing a raw heartfelt emotion, it showcases all there is to love about this upcoming artist.

We caught up with Duchess to find out more…

Hi Duchess, welcome to Get In Her Ears! How are you doing?
I’m good thanks – wish it was a bit more sunny though!

What initially inspired you to start creating music?
I’ve always been around music growing up. My mother would always have the stereo on in the morning with her all-time favourite CDs, from Tracy Chapman to Lauryn Hill, and my dad always played Bob Marley and Gregory Isaacs.

What made you decide to release an acoustic version of your EP?
I’m in love with live music and instrumentation, so it was really important to me to have an acoustic version of the EP. I feel it allows you to focus on the voice of the artist and gives you a whole different vibe to dive into. It reminds me of small or intimate shows and concerts with stripped back production.

What other acoustic albums or versions do you love?
I’m a big fan of Amy Winehouse’s acoustic version of Back To Black and ‘I Gotta Find Peace Of Mind’ from Lauryn Hill’s Unplugged album. I really enjoyed Summer Walker’s cover of ‘Fake Love’ too! 

What was behind the choice to use guitar for ‘Elephant’, ‘When it All Falls Down’ and ‘Blame’ vs piano for ‘Why Can’t We’?
When I’m in the studio, I love to freestyle and see where the energy takes me, so we will always start with live instruments – I’m just so in love with the bass guitar. It was a bit of a no-brainer to get Fred Cox involved, as he really understands me, and the vibe I wanted to create with this project. He instantly got how we could strip everything back, but still keep it fresh, and it just felt natural that ‘Why Can’t We?’ was just piano.

How has growing up in a big family and moving around so much affected your music and artistic expression? Were you the sole musician/artist, or was music and art a big part of your family life?
I mean moving around a lot isn’t good for anyone, especially if you want to focus on something, so it was unsettling. But, wherever I lived, music was always there with me. I admit, it was hard to really focus on music when there were family priorities that came first, but I’m also happy I’m pursuing music, at this stage in my life – It feels right and I feel ready!! In the family, I’m the main one involved in music, along with my younger sister who often writes with me, but we are all connected to music in our own way

People compare you a lot to Minnie Riperton. Is she an influence and, if so, how? What other artists influence your music, and how?
Wow, I’m flattered. She is an amazing woman and I’m a big fan of her material – one of my favourites is ‘Inside My Love’ – it’s so beautiful. My main inspirations come from all kinds of places – Whitney Houston, Amy Winehouse, Michael Jackson, Gregory Isaacs, Lady Gaga – the list goes on, but they main thing is they have all showed me to always be me and believe in my message musically.

What music scenes are you into – offline and online?
Shoreditch is cool! There are some really good live and open mic nights if you want to discover something new and fresh. Online-wise, I love to watch other artists livestreams and special projects. I don’t have a particular genre or focus – as long as it’s good, I’ll tune in!

How are you connecting with your audience and other musicians during the pandemic?
I’ve been doing a few livestreams during lockdown which have been fun. But with social media in general, it’s been really good to connect with the listeners and other musicians. It’s defo sparked off a new wave of creativity in everyone.

As we’re a new music focused site, are there any other upcoming artists that you’d recommend we check out?
Yes of course! Check out Ray Vela (@rayrayvela) – she’s such a great bubbly character and has such a beautiful tone to her voice which is so soothing. And also Nia Wyn (@niawynmusic) – she’s got such a unique voice and I really enjoyed watching her live. We were on the same bill for a show at the beginning of this year, and she just blew me away.

And what else does the rest of 2020 have in store for Duchess?
Definitely new music which I’m very excited about! I also want to work with other artists more and create together – I’m interested to see what could come from it. And I know it’s probably a while from now, but I can’t wait to start performing live again.

Huge thanks to Duchess for answering our questions! 

The acoustic Early Days EP is out now via Lost Ones Recordings.

Illustrator In Residence: Natasha Natarajan – ‘Women That Changed My World’ (Part 2)

Natasha Natarajan is a British-Indian visual artist funding her autobiographical comic strip ‘FML Comics’ and zine habit through Graphic/Web Design, Illustration, Arts Administration, Education and a career that basically makes no sense on a CV. Natasha holds a BA in Indian History and has worked in the arts in Copenhagen and Scotland. She has recently moved home to London where she is whole-heartedly winging it. 

In the second of this new two-part series, Natasha shares some more of the women in music who have changed her world; telling us what they mean to her, and sharing a unique original illustration.

Women That Changed My World

When I love something it generates a lot of energy in me. In the past I’ve unhelpfully unleashed this energy on various people in my life. But drawing has become a wholesome and productive way for me to deal with it; it feels like a labour of love when I draw someone that’s important to me. I started drawing musicians in 2017 – I listen to their music and draw. As much as possible I try to find a photograph of them playing, rather than a press shot, because I think it’s important to me they’re doing what I love them for. I am so inspired and encouraged by the work of other artists. I hope you enjoy these renditions of the women I have loved!

Erykah Badu
We are all living in a cognitive-dissonance reality. We want to live a certain way or do a certain thing, and we don’t because we are emotionally attached to how the group thinks. The hive mentality takes over. But you know what’s right in your mind and your heart, and if you’re strong enough to detach from the hive then sometimes, just sometimes, you may be able to do the right thing.
Speaking in thevulture.com, 2018

Natasha says:
I just love this sound. I love the way it feels in my body. I will forever be thankful that this music exists and that I have been made aware of it. The combination of heavy bass and a soulful female voice makes me weak at the knees. Under the spell of this music I momentarily forget about my problems. All I want is candlelight and a hug from my speakers.

Find out more: Instagram / Spotify

Sara Tavares
“Be sure you love the art more than you love your ego and start working yesterday. Always be humble, speak less and listen more. Please don’t be vain and proud, it slows your evolution.”
– Speaking in meusemba.com. 2018

Natasha says:
Sara Tavares is a strong embrace on a sunny beach. She makes me want to get up and sway side to side in someone’s arms. I love the atmosphere her music creates. I was obsessed with the lyrics of the song ‘Coisas Bunitas‘ – “Say beautiful things to me… Tell me that my curly woollen hair reminds you of a queen’s crown…” They’re delivered in such a sexy way. The melody completely seduces me. It’s as if someone is flirting with me.

Find out more: Instagram / Spotify

 

Amy Winehouse
“I write songs because I’m fucked in the head and need to get something good out of something bad… There were things I couldn’t say to [Blake], but I never thought, ‘This would be a great song. Who’s going to hear this?’ I thought, ‘Fuck, I’m going to die if I don’t write down the way I feel. I’m going to fucking do myself in.’ It’s nothing spectacular.”
– Speaking in www.spin.com, 2007

Natasha says:
I have an Amy Winehouse poster on my bedroom wall – that’s the kind of fan I am. She gives me the confidence to have feelings and be crassly honest about them. I became fully and proudly female under her guidance. Her lyrical honesty and unpolished voice touch me deeply. She will always be my favourite jazz singer. I love the way she talks about music in the song ‘Half Time‘, it reminds me to be viscerally connected to my art form and helps me recognise the great privilege of having music in my life.

Huge thanks to Natasha for her inspiring words and truly beautiful illustrations! If you missed it, you can also check out Part 1 of her ‘Women That Changed My World’ feature here.

 Find out more about Natasha Natarajan at her website and Instagram page (and her comic Instagram page too). 

FIVE FAVOURITES: JEANA

Emerging London-based artist JEANA – who originally made music in Bedford with her siblings – has spent the majority of 2019 working alongside Producer Ginger Snaps to create her smooth, indie pop sounds. Her latest single, ‘Nameless’ is a polished offering that explores the feelings of vulnerability and of power when a toxic relationship comes to an end, and showcases the nineteen year old’s ability to rise from these ashes in Phoenix-like fashion.

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 JEANA 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 listen to her single ‘Nameless’ at the end of this post.

 

1. Amy Winehouse – Back to Black
Like a lot of people, this album was on repeat in my household for a few years when I was growing up as a child. We used to go to a bar on a beach in Spain, which always played this album & even though the bar has since shut we still refer to it as the Amy Winehouse beach. I love this album so much because I felt I could enjoy it as a child as well as enjoying it now as an adult for different reasons. The lyrics are so raw and are empowering I think. The memories are distant from when I first heard this album but I associate it with so many different good times, and i’m sure I can go back and relate to this album in more stages of my life to come.

2. Taylor Swift – Fearless
I found this album in 2011 as a young tweenager and I remember feeling like I had discovered the true meaning of music. I randomly found an iPod on a family holiday with only illegally downloaded Taylor Swift music on, Fearless being the only album. Of course, I rinsed all the songs and wanted to become Taylor Swift, this album actually encouraged me to start singing, pick up a guitar and started me writing (and I really did want to be Taylor Swift for a good 3 years!).

3. Catfish and the Bottlemen – The Balcony
At 14 years old I discovered Catfish and the Bottlemen, and wanted to be “Mrs Van McCann”. This album completely transitioned me from Taylor Swift’s biggest fan to the indie girl that started to go to gigs with her Sister. I’ve always loved indie music as it’s what I’ve been brought up on, but this is the first album I remember discovering myself, and loved like it was my own. It made me start to explore similar artists, and led me to the artists who influenced them.

4. Arcade Fire – Funeral
This album is one of my all time favourites, not only because its the soundtrack to my childhood but also because every song is a favourite. The songs are all such massive anthems and listening to it even though it was their debut, feels like a greatest hits collection. Seeing them live last year at Wembley arena just made me love them as a band even more. From the way they swap their instruments during their set, to the show being staged in a boxing ring – they bring such variety to a performance.

5. Ms. Lauryn Hill – The Miseducation of Lauryn Hill
A truly beautiful album that I discovered through working with my producer Ginger Snaps. Listening to this was my first step away from my indie/pop roots, and influenced my sound more towards RnB. The songs are so raw and vulnerable, it made me feel more comfortable putting my own honest feelings into lyrics. It has so much going on musically with the combination of reggae/latin beats. Since discovering this album early last year I’ve been lucky enough to see Ms. Lauryn Hill twice – at the O2 arena and Boomtown Fair.

Thanks to JEANA for sharing her favourites with us. Follow her on Facebook for more updates.