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!

LISTEN: Petrol Girls – ‘I Believe Them’ (Solidarity Not Silence)

A raucous anthem with a defiant and empowering message, Petrol Girls have shared their latest single ‘I Believe Them’. The uncompromising track has been released to raise funds for Solidarity Not Silence, who are a group of women fighting a claim of defamation made against them by a well-known musician. You can download ‘I Believe Them’ exclusively from bandcamp today to support their cause.

GIHE stands in solidarity with the women affected by the Solidarity Not Silence case. Read the powerful statement Ren from Petrol Girls has made about the track below, and scroll down to the end of this post to watch the accompanying video. #IBelieveThem

“We’re releasing this track to raise as much money as we possibly can for Solidarity Not Silence and to widen the network of people supporting the cause. Solidarity Not Silence is the legal defence fund for a group of women, including myself, who are being sued for defamation by a man in the music industry because of comments that we each made separately regarding his behaviour towards women. We’ve been fighting this case since December 2016 and desperately need help raising money for our legal costs. The only reason we’ve been able to successfully fight this case as long as we have is because we were able to come together and fundraise for our legal defence. Help us keep our legal representation all the way to court and win this!

“As one of the Solidarity Not Silence defendants, I’m limited in what I can say about the case whilst it’s ongoing. However, there’s nothing to stop me contributing to a wider conversation about sexual violence and the law – which is what this track, ‘I Believe Them’ is about.

“’How are we meant to protect ourselves?’ I find myself internally screaming this question, which is the chorus lyric, on a pretty regular basis. On the one hand, the criminal justice system consistently fails and often further traumatises survivors of sexual violence who decide to report to the police. This system clearly does not protect the majority of survivors and I personally do not believe it holds any answers in dealing with gender based violence. Then on the other hand, when survivors and their allies try to protect one another by speaking out about abusive behaviour, they become vulnerable to libel/ defamation law. And in both criminal and libel cases, the burden of truth is placed on the survivor. Literally what does the law expect us to do?

“There is, in practice, no legal aid available for the defence of a defamation case, which creates a dynamic whereby it is relatively easy for someone with money to silence those without. Money should not be a barrier to accessing justice and we refuse to allow our case to set a precedent for silencing marginalised voices in the music community and beyond. Please donate to/share our crowdfunder.”

Kate Crudgington
@KCBobCut

EP: Despicable Zee – ‘Atigheh Reimagined’

A captivating, left-field electronic exploration of dual heritage, motherhood and self-autonomy, Oxford-based drummer and producer Despicable Zee (aka Zahra Haji Fath Ali Tehrani) released her third EP Atigheh in 2019. Now, with the help of an eclectic mix of collaborators, Zee has shared a remix of the recording titled Atigheh Reimagined.

Released today (7th Aug) and available to buy on limited edition cassette on bandcamp, the remixes on Atigheh Reimagined are equally as compelling as the original tracks. Keeping the hypnotic qualities of the original, Tiiva’s treatment of opener ‘We Won’t Stop’ fuses smooth, breathy vocals together with dense yet ambient beats. Tiece’s layered vocals on ‘Counting Cars’ are beautifully atmospheric, while Jack Goldstein’s treatment of ‘Sidhe’ is an experimental cacophony of manic beats and synth textures.

The EP fluctuates from chaos to calm, as GIHE favourite Planningtorock gives the poignant ‘Clay Grouk’ an energetic, dance-worthy beat whilst still allowing space for the “silence” towards the close of the track. Dense beats and warped voice samples permeate Young Knives’ remix of the eponymous ‘Atigheh’, ending the record with a cathartic burst of intense noise.

Atigheh has helped me delve into my identity as a second generation immigrant” explains Zee. What started as a personal journey on her third EP has now evolved into a fascinating collection of varied identities on her Reimagined release.

Follow Despicable Zee on bandcamp & Spotify for more updates.
Zee also runs the Young Women’s Project (YWMP) which you can check out here.

Kate Crudgington
@KCBobCut

Track Of The Day: Sit Down – ‘Quarantine’

Having been blowing us away for a few years now with their immense explosive offerings, and with acclaim from the likes of BBC Introducing, Brighton duo Sit Down have now shared a brand new single, inspired by these scary, strange times we currently find ourselves in. Like artists the world over, the duo have had their tour dates and release plans for this year completely written off by the pandemic, and so have written a track venting their feelings of fear and frustration.

Propelled by a frenzied angst-fuelled power, ‘Quarantine’ is filled with scuzzed-out pummelling beats and reverb-strewn whirring hooks, alongside the swirling gritty force of Katie Oldham’s vocals. An intense slice of thrashing garage-punk, oozing a necessary raging energy; it’s the perfect “anthem of the apocalypse”.

Of the track, Katie explains:

We wanted to create something that expresses the frustrations and fears of living through something like this, but also shows the lighter side we can all relate to… This pandemic has bought the world to its knees, and while it’s absolutely terrifying, there is real unity in knowing the entire world is experiencing the same thing all at once. The jokes and memes and art people are making in this time are universally relatable and counters this fear of the unknown with communal understanding. This is our little offering toward that.

Listen to ‘Quarantine’ here:

‘Quarantine’ was released on 20th March, aka ‘Bandcamp Friday’ – a day in which Bandcamp waived all fees for creators to help support them in these difficult times. Guitarist Greg Burns expands: “It was a small gesture, but for struggling artists like us it’s made the world of difference… We’ve both got laid off from our jobs because of this crisis, but thankfully we sold more merch on that one day than I think we have in the last six months of shows combined.

Head on over to Sit Down’s Bandcamp page to support them now.

Mari Lane
@marimindles