GIHE: Ones To Watch 2022

It’s safe to say 2021 has been a tough one… But if there’s one positive to take away from this year, it’s the immense amount of incredible new music that’s been released, and the hope of even more sublime offerings from some wonderful new bands in 2022.

For our final annual end of year round-up, we’re sharing our ‘Ones To Watch’ for 2022… Just a few of the amazing bands and artists who have impressed us throughout 2021, and that we predict will be reaching ears far and wide next year… Have a read of our choices, and make sure you give them all a follow to keep track of their unmissable achievements over the next 12 months.

Cherym
Derry trio Cherym are one of my favourite discoveries of the year. Having had their EP Hey Tori pretty much on repeat over the last few months, seeing their gig at Paper Dress Vintage in October left me buzzing with a joyous sense of nostalgic euphoria – not only because it was my first gig since Covid, but because of the band’s unmatched exuberant energy and fiery spirit. Each of their songs is a perfect ​​master class in pure, perfect punk-pop – instant singalong anthems. I just can’t get enough of their empowering energy and bubbling, sugar-coated scuzz. And, having now been featured in Kerrang!, and with plans to play at SXSW this Spring, it seems they’re definitely ones to keep your eyes and ears out for in 2022! 
(Mari Lane – Co-Founder)


Pretty Happy 
I still crack up when I think of Pretty Happy guitarist Abbey Blake commenting “you’re the first person to say we have genuine talent” when I told them how great I thought their music was back in September. Together, Pretty Happy – aka art-punk trio Abbey, Arann Blake and Andy Killian – create riotous, tongue-in-cheek offerings often centred around their observations and experiences of living in their home county of Cork, Ireland. I had their EP Sluggers Bridge on heavy rotation during 2021, chanting along to ‘Sea Sea Sea’ and ‘Sudocrem’ as loudly and obnoxious-ly as possible. The band should hopefully be supporting Gilla Band on NYE if restrictions in Ireland allow, and I’m keeping my fingers crossed that they’ll make it over to the UK in 2022 so I can see them live for the first time.
(Kate Crudgington – Co-Founder)


BAXTR
Blasting out the pink, fuzzy energy we’ve so needed this year, and having received acclaim from the likes of BBC Introducing, London trio Floss, Bash and Keiko – aka BAXTR – have fast become one of my favourite bands of 2021. With sunny, uplifting singles such as ‘In Pop We Trust’ and ‘Grace On Fire’, the band showcase their knack for combining a kitsch, honey-sweet pop allure with a fierce, frenzied rock spirit, consistently delivering an effervescent, euphoric power with each frenzied, fun-filled floor-filler. A band on the rise for sure, I can’t wait to host BAXTR playing live for us at The Shacklewell Arms on 24th February, along with headliners Jenny Moore’s Mystic Business and Sheffield band Potpourri. Get your tickets on DICE now. 
(ML)


Grandmas House
Since I heard the opening riff of ‘Always Happy’ by Bristol trio Grandmas House, I have been hooked on their sardonic, thumping post-punk sounds. Formed of Yasmin Berndt, Poppy Dodgson and Zoë Zinsmeister, the band combine gritty guitars, powerhouse percussion and visceral vocals to create intensely relatable anthems. Watching them live at The WIndmill in Brixton was a real joy this year and I look forward to insisting Mari buy their last tote bag at the merch stand at more of their gigs in the future.
(KC)


Queen Cult
Following acclaim from the likes of BBC Introducing for their debut single ‘Shindigger‘, and support for explosive recent offerings ‘Show & Tell’ and ‘A Song About Consent’ from big names such as Bang Bang Romeo, Cheshire band Queen Cult have been fast making a name for themselves this year. Consisting of front person Maisie Johnson and bassist Leila Jacklin, as well as Brodie Carson on drums and Piers Jarvis on guitar, the band pride themselves on their LGBTQ+ identity and sharing their queer, politically-charged messages with the masses, and I cannot get enough of their seething, gritty energy and riotous, angst-driven power. And, with a tour with GIHE faves LibraLibra set for January, it seems as though many more people will be being lured to the band’s fierce colossal spirit and instantly catchy musicality very soon. 
(ML)


Brimheim
I have Mari to thank for bringing Danish artist Brimheim to my attention this year, after she played her shadowy, sublime single ‘poison fizzing on a tongue’ on our radio show. Brimheim’s buoyant second single ‘hey amanda’ is a gentler, but equally as emotive track that showcases her talent for capturing a moment in its purest form. I’m so excited to hear her new album, the magnificently titled can’t hate myself into a different shape, when it’s released in January 2022.
(KC)


45ACIDBABIES
Dutch garage-pop punks 45ACIDBABIES have been providing a welcome quirky, fizzing soundtrack throughout 2021. Having previously shared stages with the likes of Sleigh Bells and Blood Red Shoes, with singles such as ‘Mommy’s Favourite 1’ and ‘Only Class6 From Now On’, they have showcased their ability to create perfectly catchy, danceable anthems. With each single offering a wonderfully obscure cacophony propelled by a swirling energy and vibrant honey-sweet allure, the band have already gathered a huge fan-base in their native Holland (with over 685k streams of their music on Spotify this year), but I predict that 2022 sees them headed for world domination… Watch this space! 
(ML)

Lilith Ai
Self-described as “a singer-songwriter who performs poignant tales of modern city life,” Lilith Ai writes relatable guitar tunes exploring turbulent emotions in a humble and engaging way. She was modest, self-deprecating but incredibly warm and open to talking about all aspects of her life and art when I spoke to her about her album, Folk You Hard, earlier in the year. Loud Women also awarded her their prestigious Hercury Prize Award for the record, which is further proof she’s definitely one to watch in 2022.
(KC)


The Menstrual Cramps
Having been massive fans of raging queer punks The Menstrual Cramps since 2017’s debut album We’re Not Ovaryacting, and had the honour of hosting an epic night of them playing live for us at The Finsbury back in 2018 as well as having them as guests on our radio show, we have been wallowing in a Menstrual Cramps-less void for the last couple of years as the band were on a little hiatus. But, at the beginning of this week, just when we thought all was lost and we’d given up any hope of 2022 being better than the last two years… The Menstrual Cramps announced their return! Joining front person Emilia and drummer AJ, the band introduced two new members, Abi and Zam, and have promised new music for us. I cannot wait for more of their politically-charged, immensely empowering anthems! 
(ML)

Check out our Tracks Of 2021, Albums & EPs of 2021 and Personal Highlights now. Massive thanks to all who’ve supported GIHE this year, it really means the world. And huge thanks too to all the amazing bands and artists who’ve soundtracked it, and who will continue to soundtrack 2022!

Track Of The Day: BAXTR – ‘In Pop We Trust’

Following buoyant releases such as ‘Grace On Fire’ and ‘Bloom’, and having received acclaim from the likes of BBC Music Introducing, London trio Floss, Bash and Keiko – aka BAXTR – are back with a blast of pink, fuzzy energy, guaranteed to put a smile on your face and leave your ready for sunny days and balmy evenings with friends (if this rain ever stops!).

Propelled by an anthemic, uplifting energy, ‘In Pop We Trust‘ is a wonderfully joyous ode to all things pop and the happiness that it can bring. Oozing an effervescent, euphoric power as vocalist Floss Mackintosh’s rich, impassioned vocals soar, it combines a kitsch honey-sweet allure with racing, raucous hooks, creating a frenzied, fun-filled floor filler. A totally necessary, blissfully vibrant accompaniment to your Friday, firmly cementing BAXTR as a band on the rise; and I cannot wait to find out what they have in store for us next.

Of the meaning behind the track, Floss expands:

“I was on my way back from Specsavers. Thanks to my new goggles I was able to read a sign that said “In *something* we trust”. I can’t remember exactly what it was advertising, as I filled in my own blank immediately; Thinking to myself, what is it I trust in? What has never let me down…?
To me, it feels as if this song is our theme tune. After the year we’ve all had, now more than ever I think we should all be revelling in the things that truly bring us bliss. If pop music does that for you… then crank this song!”

‘In Pop We Trust’ is out now, but keep your eyes peeled for a wonderfully wacky new video being shared next week!

Mari Lane
@marimindles

PLAYLIST: February 2021

We’ve made it through the first two months of 2021! Despite the current lockdown here in the UK, the GIHE team have been busy unearthing more new music gems to help you get through these long and tedious days. We’ve put together an eclectic mix of alt-pop gems, atmospheric electronics and gritty guitar tunes on our February playlist.

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.

 

Scrounge – ‘Leaking Drains’
The new single from South East London duo Lucy and Luke – aka Scrounge – ‘Leaking Drains’ offers a stark soundscape reflecting on the state of society at the moment. Propelled by Lucy’s raw, snarling vocals and slashing guitar alongside Luke’s immense, thrashing beats, it builds to a colossal cacophony before coming to a disconcerting, abrupt end – only adding to the stirring tension that has built up throughout. Oozing a ferocious power, the duo have created something that is striking both in its jarring potency and rage-driven force.
(Mari Lane)

HAVVK – ‘Home’
The first single to be shared from HAVVK’s upcoming new album, ‘Home’ is a stirring reflection on appreciating those closest to you. Propelled by a shimmering ethereal fuzz, the track showcases the soaring celestial majesty of front woman Julie’s vocals, as they float with an impassioned splendour over scuzzy hooks and a gritty, driving energy. Fusing together tinges of ’90s grunge-fuelled angst with twinkling shoegaze sensibilities and the band’s own unique poignant grace, it’s a truly captivating soundscape. (ML)

Softcult – ‘Another Bish’
Informed by their love of Bikini Kill and Smashing Pumpkins, alternative duo Softcult blend atmospheric guitars, energetic percussion and bittersweet vocals to create their hazy, antagonistic sounds. Formed of Ontario-based twin sisters Phoenix and Mercedes Arn Horn, this single ‘Another Bish’ was born from their desire to resist and relieve the pressures of existing in a patriarchal music industry. I had a lovely chat with the grrls over Zoom a few weeks ago which you can read here. (Kate Crudgington)

New Pagans – ‘Harbour’
A tenacious celebration of women’s strength and resilience throughout pregnancy and childbirth, New Pagans’ latest single ‘Harbour’ is based on the experiences of vocalist Lyndsey McDougall’s pregnancy with her own daughter. Full of the Belfast band’s trademark urgent riffs and catchy melodies, it’s an empowering examination of the fears and triumphs that accompany this unique time in a woman’s life. I can’t wait to hear New Pagans’ debut album, The Seed, The Vessel, The Roots and All, when it’s released on 19th March. (KC)

Grandmas House – ‘Always Happy’
A thumping post-punk anthem that seethes with sardonic wit, ‘Always Happy’ is the latest single from Bristol-based trio Grandmas House. Released via Brace Yourself Records, the track is a raucous juxtaposition of the confident image we project externally to others, when internally we often feel the complete opposite. (KC)

Pretty Happy – ‘Salami’
A wise-cracking anthem about the complexities of processed meat, ‘Salami’ is the new single from Cork art-punk trio Pretty Happy. Full of sarcastic lyrics, gutsy vocals and crashing percussion, the track is a ridiculously good off-kilter banger that rambles through the band’s many absurd thoughts and feelings about the pork-based snack. (KC)

Hadda Be – ‘Another Life’
Complete with a refreshed line-up and new name, Hadda Be (formerly Foundlings) bring their shimmering joy to latest single ‘Another Life’. Despite the track’s somewhat melancholic sentiment – “it covers me in worry, now that’s all I ever know” – it’s buoyed by an infectious jangling energy as scuzzy hooks whirr alongside frenetic beats and Amber’s rich vocals. An uplifting slice of indie-fuzz-pop that’ll leave you longing to dance along to its sparkling sounds live. (ML)

Lauren Auder – ‘Heathen’
“I think this may be my favourite song I’ve ever worked on,” explains London-based songwriter Lauren Auder about this track, and I can see why. ‘Heathen’ is actually my first introduction to her sound, but what an intro it is! It mixes everything I love about electronic music – yearning vocals, urgent beats, rapturous synths and guitar noises – it’s all here and it gives me goose bumps every time I listen. Definitely check out Auder’s new EP, 5 Songs For The Dysphoric, if you’re into this. (KC)

Tyler Holmes – ‘Nothing’
I’ve only recently become acquainted with Tyler Holmes, but I have fast fallen in love with their poignant, affecting and utterly unique sweeping electronic soundscapes. Holmes has spent a lifetime crafting their own Black, Queer narrative by pushing the limits of their imagination and their innovative ability to fuse together genres to create truly stirring, instantly immersive sonic trips is showcased perfectly on ‘Nothing’. Holmes is set to release their new album next month via Ratskin Records. Watch the video for ‘Nothing’ here. (ML)

SPIDER – ‘Water Sign’
Born in Nigeria but raised in Dublin, London-based twenty-one year old SPIDER blends jagged electronics and brooding guitar riffs alongside her distinctive vocals to create her evocative sounds. Her focus is on how a track makes you feel – whether that’s a feeling of power, fluidity or chaos – and on ‘Water Sign’ she weaves these emotions into a cohesive, stirring electronic soundscape. (KC)

Roma – ‘Stay Like This’ (Tiiva Remix)
I’ve been following queer artist & producer Tiiva since I heard their re-working of Despicable Zee’s ‘We Won’t Stop’ last year, and I’m continuously impressed by their instinct for choosing talented and interesting artists to collaborate with. Tiiva reached out to songwriter Roma during lockdown after hearing her track ‘Stay Like This’ and the pair have worked together to create this lush, dreamy electronic tune. Roma originally wrote this song from the perspective of her daughter, exploring what it means to grow up in a modern world and Tiiva overcame their own adult cynicism to create this woozy new remix. (KC)

Show Boy – ‘Turn It On’
Following 2019’s Surreal, London artist and producer Show Boy has today released his much awaited brand new EP Ishtar Lion. A wonderfully eclectic collection, the EP showcases Show Boy’s knack for blurring genre boundaries, combining influences from across the musical spectrum to create perfectly catchy offerings oozing an uplifting, vibrant energy and heartfelt emotion. Driven by the soaring power of his unique vocals, ‘Turn It On’ interweaves an intricate musicality with a sparkling soulful splendour, resulting in a euphoric ode to new beginnings. (ML)

Callaz – ‘Queima Essa Ideia’
Recorded in Berlin and produced by the brilliant Ah! Kosmos, the title of this latest single from songwriter Callaz translates roughly as ‘Burn That Idea’. Based between Lisbon and Berlin, Callaz has recently released her second album, the brilliantly titled Dead Flowers & Cat Piss, and it’s full of her soft vocals, candid lyrics and alt-pop soundscapes. (KC)

Grove – ‘Ur Boyfriend’s Wack’
Bristol-based hyper-pop artist Grove blends chaotic synths, warped beats and wicked rap verses on this high octane track ‘Ur Boyfriend’s Wack’. Taken from their debut EP, QUEER + BLACK, this song forms part of Grove’s aural journey through their experiences of being young, black and queer. (KC)

Ci Majr – ‘Summer Drug’
Ci Majr is an emerging non-binary artist from Atlanta and this new single ‘Summer Drug’ is a flirty, joyful dose of dancing beats and smooth vocals. Of the track, Ci explains: “I think a lot of us have been in a place where we’ve been hurt from a relationship and have a hard time opening up again…so this song is saying ‘yes, you can absolutely satisfy my physical needs but we’re not taking it further than that’; likening ‘using’ someone for their body just like you’d use a drug of some sort.” (KC)

Desire – ‘Zeros’
The latest single from Desire, ‘Zeros’ will capture the ears with its sweeping celestial aura. As a majestic, electro-driven soundscape provides the backdrop for Megan Louise’s honey-sweet soaring vocals, glitchy beats and twinkling hooks create a truly moreish offering, oozing an ethereal, effervescent grace. Of the track, Desire explain: “As the calendar pages fly by, we are all reaching for a new normal on what sometimes feels like an endless loop. The cyclical music echoes flashback sequences of a recurring dream.” (ML)

Blonde Maze – ‘Fade Into You’
An exquisite rendition of a Mazzy Star classic, Blonde Maze’s ‘Fade Into You’ oozes all the poignant, rich emotion of the original, whilst adding her own unique blend of soaring electronics and uplifting chiming beats to create something truly euphoric steeped in its own ethereal splendour. Another blissfully cathartic creation from Blonde Maze, showcasing her ability to take an already beautiful track and transform it into something that is completely, undeniably, and majestically, her own. (ML)

Kalbells ft. Miss Eaves – ‘Pickles’
A dreamy tune about escaping a romantic pickle, ‘Pickles’ is a delightful new offering from cosmic-pop collective Kalbells, featuring rapper Miss Eaves. Kalbell’s will be releasing their new album Max Heart on 26th March, which they describe as a “portrait of badass women harnessing their improvisational magic.” (KC)

pecq – ‘Stranger’
‘Stranger’ is the debut single from Oxford psych-pop duo pecq, aka Nikò O’Brien and Hannah Jacobs. It’s a delicate, lush soundscape which the pair wrote, produced and self-released through their own label, Upcycled Sounds Records, earlier this year. pecq are set to release their debut EP, also called Stranger, this summer. (KC)

Jenny Moore’s Mystic Business – ‘Woman Is A Word’
A cover of Empress Of’s ‘Woman Is A Word’, this latest offering from the six-piece choral punk ensemble highlights the power of voices coming together in unity. Oozing a sweeping, celestial splendour, the many vocals flow together in harmony, propelled by an upbeat, jazz-infused musicality. Adding their own unique euphoric energy to the poignant sentiment and soulful passion of the original, Jenny Moore’s Mystic Business have created an emotive and empowering rendition. (ML)

BAXTR – ‘Grace On Fire’
The latest single from London-based trio BAXTR, ‘Grace On Fire’ reflects on the feelings of helplessness that come with seeing someone you love suffer. A sweeping, uplifting slice of alt-pop it oozes nostalgic tinges harking back to the anthemic indie classics of the early noughties, whilst maintaining its own unique shimmering power. As Floss’ honey-sweet vocals flow with a celestial majesty throughout, the track builds with explosive, soaring riffs and a swirling heartfelt emotion to create something truly stirring. (ML)

Samantha Crain – ‘Bloomsday’
Taken from her upcoming new EP, I Guess We Live Here Now, Samantha Crain’s latest single ‘Bloomsday’ is a poignant slice of Americana combining beautifully strummed melodies and a stirring warmth. As the impassioned subtle power of Crain’s rich vocals ooze shades of the raw emotion of Sharon Van Etten, twinkling hooks flow with a rustic charm to gently grace the heartstrings. I Guess We Live Here Now, the upcoming new EP from Samantha Crain, is out 9th April via Real Kind Records/Communion Records. Watch the video for ‘Bloomsday’ here. (ML)

Ex:Re – ‘Where the Time Went’ (with 12 Ensemble)
This song stopped me in my tracks when I first heard it. The title, Elena Tonra’s vocals and lyrics, composer Josephine Stephenson’s cinematic string arrangements – they all resonate so much deeper during this extended period of lockdown. ‘Where The Time’ went is one of ten beautiful tracks on Tonra’s new collaborative album, Ex:Re with 12 Ensemble, and it’s accompanied by a wonderful music video that she directed too. Watch it here. (KC)

Hannah Peel – ‘Ecovocative’
I’m very late to the Hannah Peel party, but I’m in love with her ambient electronic soundscapes. This single ‘Ecovocative’ is lifted from her upcoming album Fir Wave, which is set for release on 26th March via Peel’s own label My Own Pleasure. (KC)

 

Track Of The Day: BAXTR – ‘Grace On Fire’

Following last year’s ‘Bloom’ and ‘Feathers’, London trio Floss, Bash and Keiko – aka BAXTR – have now returned to uplift our ears with their latest buoyant single.

Reflecting on the feelings of helplessness that come with seeing someone you love suffer, ‘Grace On Fire’ is a sweeping slice of alt-pop. Propelled by an uplifting energy, it oozes nostalgic tinges harking back to the anthemic indie classics of the early noughties, whilst maintaining its own unique shimmering power. As Floss’ honey-sweet vocals flow with a celestial majesty throughout, the track builds with explosive, soaring riffs and a swirling heartfelt emotion to create something truly stirring, leaving you longing for more of BAXTR’s infectious energy. Of the track, singer Floss expands:

“This song is semi-autobiographical. I have been both ‘Grace’, and the person watching ‘Grace’ suffer. I know what it’s like to look on and helplessly whilst someone goes through a painful transition. In my limited experience it seems that watching someone suffer, for whatever reason, can be full of so many different emotions. I’ve come to realise that the only thing that is true in every case, every time, is that it’s not your job to save someone else. Nobody wants to witness the fall of a great monument and symbol of hope and faith (ie: someone you believe in). We mostly all want to believe we can prevent that from happening to someone we love, but sometimes we can’t.
These days, I try not to overlook those simple yet precious 3 words that did so much to help douse my own flames… ‘are you ok?’

‘Grace On Fire’ is accompanied by a twinkling new video, filled with bubblegum pastel-hues, perfectly conveying the effervescent emotion of the track. Watch it now:

Grace On Fire‘ is out now, and was produced by Tristan Ivemy (Frank Turner, Lottery Winners).

Mari Lane
@marimindles