ALBUM: Nova Twins Presents ‘Voices For The Unheard’

A year after the release of their debut album Who Are The Girls?, Nova Twins have returned to share Voices Of The Unheard, a charity compilation LP that’s bursting with righteous energy. Driven by their desire to spotlight the work of underrepresented artists of colour in the heavy music scene, the duo (formed of Amy Love and Georgia South) have put together a blistering collection of alternative anthems that showcase an eclectic, tenacious range of talent.

Following their ‘Voices For The Unheard’ Spotify Playlists, an open letter to the MOBO Awards and their online conversations about racism and sexism in music, Nova Twins naturally gravitated towards curating an album that followed up these narratives. Dr Martens Presents (a multi-disciplinary initiative supporting emerging creative talent) brought their idea of a record to life, providing the funding for the physical release of the compilation on limited edition vinyl via Blood Records. Voices For The Unheard is only available for pre-order until 1st March and all profits will be donated to The Black Curriculum, a charitable initiative working to get black history on the UK school syllabus. It’s a deeply political record in many ways, but it’s also a gargantuan distraction from these important issues too.

Amy & Georgia kick things off with their thunderous single ‘Taxi’, filled with Nova Twins‘ trademark distorted bass lines, jagged riffs and ferocious lyrics. Narrowing the track-list down to twelve must have been tricky, as their stellar Spotify playlists include songs by Ho99o9, Bob Vylan, Sampa The Great and Rico Nasty, but the band have tried to give a platform to artists who are rooted in their underground scenes, whether that’s in the UK or further afield.

‘All My Friends’ by Canadian four-piece The OBGMs is a manic mix of punk and garage rock, followed by the gritty charm of Connie Constance‘s ‘Monty Python’. Her track is probably the quietest on the record, but her skill for subtle song-writing punches just as hard as the the visceral metal & hip hop beats on ‘Cross Me’ by Dallas-based UNITYTX. The track burns with corrosive fury, the final lyric “This is rock music motherfucker!” epitomising what Voices Of The Unheard is all about.

The thumping beats and pulverizing synths on ‘Goatmeal’ by New Yorker LustSickPuppy and the intense punk & rap cacophony ‘Scared’ by duo Death Tour both blitz by in under two minutes. Guttural groans, strung out vocals and feverish riffs fuel ‘Aggressive Evolution’ by Liverpool-based Loathe, and their fury is matched by the genre-defying sounds of ‘Green Vision’ by New Yorkers Oxymorrons, who dominate the ear drums from start to finish.

Brit trio Pussycat and The Dirty Johnsons keep things rolling with their classic rock rhythms on ‘Ain’t No Pussy’, followed by the dense beats and incredible vocals on ‘Trouble’ by North Carolina-based queer/trans artist Khx05, who impresses more each time they’re listened to. Washington rapper Zhariah mixes glitchy beats and candid lyrics on the biting ‘Bitch Boy’ before the infectious rhythms of black feminist punk trio Big Joanie bookend this eclectic mix of rap, rock, punk, metal and electronic music. We’ve waxed lyrical about how much we love Big Joanie before on GIHE, and the infectious rhythms on their Hermitage Works live rendition of ‘Fall Asleep’ still have us chanting the chorus in unison every time.

Listening to Voices for the Unheard should rile you up and re-energise your appetite for heavy music. The album showcases a group of artists who have been galvanized by their individual experiences of discrimination, but who are now united in their attempts to create the authentic, exciting music they wish they had heard growing up. Nova Twins’ battle cry for equality and diversity was loud and clear on Who Are The Girls?, but it’s echoed long after the record’s release. The duo are a force for fun, for fury, and most importantly: for change in an industry that is still dominated by white faces.

You can choose to be part of the solution and help to change this by listening to Voices for the Unheard, following the artists on the track-list and continuing to share the conversations that initially fueled the record’s development.

Pre-order your copy of Voices for the Unheard here.

Click on the name of each artist/band to head to their individual Spotify pages.

Kate Crudgington
@KCBobCut

PLAYLIST: Galentine’s Day 2021

Grrrls, it’s one of the best days of the year – GALENTINE’S DAY! Coined by Parks and Recreation character Leslie Knope (played by Amy Poehler) back in 2010, Galentine’s has since been recognised by girls across the globe and used as a light-hearted platform to celebrate the girls and women who enrich our lives.

To celebrate, we’ve chosen tracks from some of the many female-identifying artists who inspire us and we’ve put them all together in one big playlist. We’re all about self-love & sisterly (not just cis-terly) love today, so scroll down, press play and share the Galentine’s joy!

 

Bikini Kill – ‘Rebel Girl’
This one goes out to my GIHE gals, Tash and Kate! A song about having the coolest best friend, by ultimate heroes Bikini Kill, you should listen to it at full volume and celebrate all the “queens” of your world this Galentine’s. (Mari Lane)

Nova Twins – ‘Thelma & Louise’
An iconic duo singing about another iconic duo! The GIHE team love everything that Nova Twins are about. Not only do they make genre-defying, loud music that makes our cells scream, the pair are vocal about the lack of visibility and support for women of colour in the heavy & alternative music scenes. They’re releasing a new compilation album on Blood Records titled Voices Of The Unheardwhich aims to spotlight just some of the amazing artists of colour in the scene who deserve more recognition. Featuring tracks by Big Joanie and The OBGMs, it’s set to be a superb listen and all profits will be going to The Black Curriculum too.  (Kate Crudgington)

X-Ray Spex – ‘Oh Bondage! Up Yours!’
We are all so, so, so excited to see the new documentary Poly Styrene: I Am A Cliché that celebrates the life of the X-Ray Spex frontwoman. This track always reminds me of GIHE and  Tash & Mari when I hear it. I’m very grateful for all the hard work and friendship they put into running this platform with me. (KC)

T-Bitch – ‘Dressing Up’
Southend-based feminist punks T-Bitch deliver a much needed dose of defiant self confidence on this belter of a track. If you can’t dress up on Galentine’s Day, when can you? Underscored by a strong and necessary message of support for trans women, ‘Dressing Up’ is a middle finger to anyone who tries to stop you from being your true self. As the band put it: “It’s not about pleasing them, it’s about pleasing yourself / Fuck those insecurities, leave them on the shelf!” (KC)

The Other Ones – ‘Forever Young’
The latest single from GIHE faves The Other Ones, ‘Forever Young’ races with a swirling, euphoric energy, oozing a sunny sense of nostalgia with honey-sweet harmonies and scuzz-filled riffs. This uplifting anthem is an irresistibly catchy slice of shimmering punk-pop, reflecting on how “anything feels possible” when you have the right person with you. (ML)

Diet Cig – ‘Roadtrip’
Flowing with Alex Luciano’s luscious honey-sweet vocals, infectious jangly melodies and all the twinkling energy I need now more than ever, Diet Cig’s ‘Roadtrip’ (taken from 2017 album Swear I’m Good At This) reflects on a fun, carefree trip across the country with friends, with nostalgia-inducing lyrics and an uplifting sunny charm. What I wouldn’t give for a roadtrip with loved ones right now…! (ML)

Chastity Belt – ‘Joke’
This was one of the bands I discovered at the start of GIHE, all those years ago, and it just reminds me so much of what it was like at the start of it all. All these years on here’s to my two GIHE gals Mari & Kate, and all of the jokes we’ve had along the way. (Tash Walker)

ARXX – ‘The Cat Song’
At first listen, a song about appreciating our feline friends (which I have done LOADS throughout the last year, as any of my Instagram followers/Poppy fans will be aware), I think this cute song from our fave gal duo ARXX is also about the love we have for our friends. As Hanni sings “I’m going to hold you up like this”, I think of how my friends hold me up throughout the bad times and good. And there’s added actual cat sounds – what’s not to love?! (ML)

Vagabon – ‘Every Woman’
Over the last year, I’ve completely immersed myself in the soothing sounds of Laetitia Tamko, aka Vagabon. And this song seems the perfect ode to all the strong women in your life this Galentine’s. As Tamko’s rich distinctive vocals soar with a reassuring tenderness, reflecting on how “all the women I meet are tired…” she speaks out for all women who have been told they are not enough as they are, offering a gentle cathartic release for all of us ‘gals’ who are so tired of patriarchal norms. (ML)

Girlhood – ‘It Might Take A Woman’
Tash introduced me to the glorious sounds of Girlhood last year and we were lucky enough to have vocalist Tessa join us for a Zoom chat for one of our radio shows too. I remember the call so clearly, because Tessa’s passion for her music radiated through the screen. She was such a joy to talk to. She also paid me a very nice compliment when I was trying to pose for a promo screenshot we were taking. An absolute babe through and through. (KC)

Queen Latifah ft. Monie Love – ‘Ladies First’
After I kept going on about listening to the Slowburn Podcast about 2Pac & Biggie Smalls, Mari recommended I watch Netflix’s documentary Hip Hop Evolution. It’s an epic look at the origins and development of the genre, featuring big names and many artists I didn’t know anything about. One name that did strike a chord though was Queen Latifah. She released this track in 1989 with Monie Love and it’s a BANGER. The lyrics say it all: “Some think that we can’t flow / Stereotypes, they got to go / I’mma mess around and flip the scene into reverse / (With what?) With a little touch of Ladies First” (KC)

Aretha Franklin & Annie Lennox – ‘Sisters Are Doin’ It For Themselves’
It it even a Galentine’s playlist if this absolute classic isn’t on it? These two talented women coming together to sing about equality and independence never fails to make me feel good. It may have been released in 1985, but the lyrics are just as relevant today. (KC)

CMAT – ‘I Wanna Be a Cowboy, Baby!’
This charming slice of country-pop from Irish artist CMAT is a heartfelt, witty lament about urban isolation and wanting to be free from societies patriarchal shackles. She just wants to exist with the confidence of a cowboy, unafraid to down a whiskey at the bar and stagger home safely. “Wanna go to my first rodeo, what’s that cracked up to be? / I wanna stop relying on men who are bigger than me” she sings, pining for the freedom that’s naturally afforded to men, but rarely extended to women. I love everything CMAT releases and will continue to stalk her on Twitter for the rest of 2021. (KC)

Piney Gir – ‘Puppy Love’
With fond memories of Piney Gir charming our ears at the last gig we hosted on Valentine’s Day last year, ‘Puppy Love’ oozes a honey-sweet romanticism and shimmering catchy melodies. Nostalgically harking back to the simpler times of crushes and the pain of first (‘Puppy’) love, the track also reflects on the common metaphor for depression – the ‘Black Dog’ – its all-consuming nature, and the struggles of mental health. A poignant and infectious offering, it could just be the perfect, bitter-sweet, accompaniment to the mixed feelings that go hand in hand with the love-filled celebrations of the next couple of days. (ML)

Girl Ray – ‘Friend Like That’
An ode to friendship, ‘Friend Like That’ flows with the trio’s colourful energy as jangly syncopated beats flow alongside the distinctive soothing allure of Poppy Hankin’s vocals and funk-filled pop-inspired hooks, creating a dreamily uplifting offering. Of the track, the band explain: “This is a friendship anthem. Reminds us of a really smashing high five with great contact. In music, friend love is often overshadowed by romantic love and IT’S JUST WRONG. This one goes out to the mates of the world.” (ML)

Chromatics – ‘Girls Just Wanna Have Fun’
A great cover of a great track. ‘Girls Just Wanna Have Fun’ always reminds me of a story about this 60 year old Italian woman who walked into her local fire station as she was having trouble with her lock. When the firemen asked the woman where she lived, thinking she’d locked herself out of her house, she lifted her sweater and showed them her chastity belt. (TW)

Beckie Margaret – ‘Divine Feminine’
“’Divine Feminine’ is a song for people who stop you reaching your highest self,” explains Essex songwriter Beckie Margaret. Through her commanding sounds and effortless vocal delivery, Margaret elegantly balances her emotions as she warns those trying to silence her to “stay out of my way.” I absolutely love everything this young woman writes and I can’t wait to hear her debut album, which she’ll be releasing through Cool Thing Records at some point in the future. (KC)

Carole King – ‘You’ve Got A Friend’
Celebrating its 50th birthday this year, Carole King’s Tapestry continues to be one of my most favourite albums. It’s my mum’s favourite too, and I have many memories of singing along with this uplifting message of unity and platonic love with her over the years, both reaching for the tissues when we saw it live in the musical Beautiful. So, this heartfelt anthem goes out to her, my all time favourite gal, who inspires me every day and I miss so much right now. (ML)

CIRCE – ‘Ten Girls’
London based dark-pop artist Circe is inspired by the films of David Lynch, the brutality of Margaret Atwood’s fiction and the soundtracks to Stranger Things and Baz Lurhmann’s Romeo & Juliet. This single takes its title from a quote from The Handmaid’s Tale. Of the track, Circe explains: “[Atwood’s novel] is a poetic but disturbing view of women living in a dystopian oppressive world. This chimes with my own fractured generation of cancel culture, swipes of sex, and revenge porn.” I’m obsessed with Circe’s debut EP She’s Made Of Saints, which is full of sweeping, cinematic gems. (KC)

Robyn – ‘Dancing On My Own’
‘Dancing On My Own’, and what’s wrong with that!? Often I prefer to dance on my own. More space. Robyn is also an outspoken ally for LGBTQ+ rights, and we all know romance isn’t just for the heterosexuals out there! So whether you honour Galentine’s, Valentine’s, or even Palentine’s Day; make sure you have a good old dance. (TW)

Lady Gaga & Ariana Grande – ‘Rain On Me’
I am dying to hear this on a dance-floor at some point! Until then, I’ll settle for my new flatmate Rachel telling Alexa to play it at random intervals during the day. (KC)

Lizzo – ‘Like A Girl’
Turning the common derogatory phrase ‘Like A Girl’ on its head to create something wonderfully empowering, this is another ferociously fun offering from GIHE fave, Lizzo. With references to other powerful women of colour, including Lauryn Hill and Serena Williams, it’s the perfect ode to the power of being female and the power felt when women unite. So, this Galentine’s Day, I’ll leave you with the Lizzo’s words of wisdom: “If you fight like a girl, cry like a girl, do your thing, run the whole damn world”. An ultimate feel-good anthem for women everywhere. (ML)

Lotic – ‘Burn A Print’
With a name that means to “to inhabit rapidly moving water,” Lotic’s chaotic yet fluid soundscapes truly embody her passionate, fighting spirit. Her mission is to “live life to the fullest by not giving a fuck about what anybody thinks” and she communicates that with defiant flair on this track. (KC)

Britney Spears – ‘If U Seek Amy’
I just thought that this Galentine’s Day would be a good opportunity to show some solidarity with wonder woman Britney Spears. I’m sure most of you have heard about the new documentary ‘Framing Britney Spears’ – a film investigating the conservatorship arrangement that has been in place since 2009, declaring Spears unfit to manage her own personal affairs, and the grossly unfair ways in which she has been treated over the years. With her independence being so extremely restricted by a terrifying patriarchal system (and her own father), it highlights the awful ways that society can find to assert control over women. This Galentine’s Day, and all other days, we stand with the #FreeBritney campaign by singing along to one of her most controversial songs. (ML)

Destiny’s Child – ‘Girl’
I re-watched the video for this Destiny’s Child track recently with tears in my eyes, because they’re just so nice to Kelly in it?! The bit where Beyoncé wipes the tear from her cheek… *sobs* This 2004 banger is pure girl power all the way through. (KC)

PLAYLIST: LGBT History Month 2021

GIHE Co-founder & Switchboard Co-Chair Tash Walker has put together some poignant words to introduce our LGBT History Month Playlist:

“As a society we all have to strive to be better allies, to not make the same mistakes that we have made in the past, to learn and to evolve so that we move towards a more equal society for all. Learning more about our untold histories is essential for this. February is LGBT History Month, so we’ve created a playlist for you as the perfect accompaniment to all that learning!

But remember it’s not just about the famous names, it’s about all LGBTQIA+ people who lived, whether they were out or unable to be open, they are all part of history, they have all shaped where we are today. This LGBT History Month, have a look for those unsung heroes, lift up their stories and learn more about their hidden lives.

By delving into LGTBQIA+ history, we learn so much about the struggle and fight for equality – the discrimination, the victimisation, the love, the support, the strength – it’s all a part of who we are today, as queer people, as allies, as people. You have to learn from the past to understand what community, allyship and support really mean. The stories you discover will make you laugh and cry – from sex, to police raids, to the HIV/AIDS pandemic, to censorship – it’s all there! It’s so important that we look back, honour, remember, celebrate and mourn for all that has happened in our LGBTQIA+ history, so that we can all work together for a more equal future. A good place to start is by listening to The Log Books podcast – untold stories from Britain’s LGBTQIA+ history and conversations about being queer today.”

If you need support during LGBT History Month or at anytime in the future, you can always reach out to Switchboard LGBT+ via their website or by calling 0330 330 0630.

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!

 

SOPHIE – ‘It’s Okay To Cry’
With the tragic news last week of SOPHIE’s sudden passing, I felt it was necessary to pay tribute to her as we celebrate LGBT History Month. An inspirational pioneer in both electronic music and for Transgender artists, she is gone far too soon, so please don’t hold back in shedding a tear as you listen to the beautifully poignant ‘It’s Okay To Cry’. (Mari Lane)

Planningtorock – ‘Non Binary Femme’
This track is take from one of my favourite albums of all time, Planningtorock’s Powerhouse. Unarguably paving the way for not only a better understanding of what those words mean, but also leading in acceptance for transgender and gender non-conforming people. Planningtorock and their music has unquestionably helped me on my own gender identity journey and I’m sure many others. (Tash Walker)

Bishi – ‘Don’t Shoot The Messenger’
For the Southbank Centre’s 2019 Meltdown Festival, Kate and I had the privilege of meeting Bishi. An incredibly talented singer, electronic rock-sitarist, producer and performer born in London of Bengali heritage. She is also the co-founder of WITCiH: The Women in Technology Creative Industries Hub, a platform elevating Women & Non-Binary in tech through commissions, performances & panels. (TW)

JD Samson & Men – ‘Who Am I To Feel So Free’
Having been part of GIHE faves Le Tigre, genderqueer musician, artist and activist JD Samson is a constant inspiration. Taken from Men’s 2011 album Talk About Body, ‘Who Am I To Feel So Free’ offers a joyous celebration of having the freedom to be yourself. (ML)

LIINES – ‘Sorry’
Manchester post punks LIINES continually impress with their deep, intense bass lines, the gritty, commanding growl of vocalist Zoe McVeigh and Leila O’Sullivan’s consistent pummelling beats. Propelled by a thrashing sense of urgency, ‘Sorry’ will captivate the ears with its punk-fuelled bewitching allure. (ML)

Big Joanie – ‘Cut Your Hair’ & Charmpit – ‘Bad Attitude’
Putting these tracks from two fab UK based feminist punk groups together as they were shared on a split single release for iconic record label Kill Rock Stars last year. We’ve made no secret of our love for Big Joanie or for Charmpit here at GIHE, and we are all collectively inspired by the incredible work they do on and off stage. Check out Decolonise Fest and First Timers UK to see just some of the vital creative projects they’re involved in. (Kate Crudgington)

Problem Patterns – ‘Terfs Out’
Belfast Feminist punks Problem Patterns are big faves of mine and Kate’s, and with ‘Terfs Out’ showcase the true meaning of Feminism – being inclusive of ALL women, including our Trans sisters. Taken from last year’s Irish compilation album A Litany Of Failures, Vol. III, ‘Terfs Out’ rages with a seething angst-driven energy, poignantly asserting that “LGB is nothing if not for the T”. A perfect call for solidarity and one which is needed now more than ever. (ML)

Dream Nails – ‘Kiss My Fist’ 
An aural uppercut to those who antagonize the LGBT+ community, this single from GIHE faves Dream Nails is a riotous stand against homophobic violence. The band penned the track days after they saw the news that queer couple Melania Geymonat and Christine Hannigan were attacked by a group of teenagers for refusing to kiss on a London bus in 2019. Guitarist Anya Pearson spoke poignantly about how the news affected her: “As a queer woman, I live in fear of violence every day because of my sexuality and the way I look. In the UK, anti-LGBT hate crime has surged in the past five years. We released ‘Kiss My Fist’ in honour of all the queer people trying to get from A to B without getting beaten up. Our message to homophobes and transphobes is clear: ask us to kiss again and we will eat your brain.” (KC)

Gossip – ‘Standing In The Way Of Control’
This is an absolute ANTHEM that is guaranteed to get me on to any dance floor. Bith Ditto’s voice is so powerful and so defiant on this track. A proper indie banger that you can belt out whenever you’re feeling overwhelmed. (KC)

pink suits – ‘Fake Great Britain’
Margate based queer punk-rock duo pink suits incorporate politically driven rage, dance and even theatre into their work, exploring issues of sexuality, mental health and a resistance of binary gender. Propelled by a frenzied, angst-driven power and scuzzy hooks, ‘Fake Great Britain’ is a queer punk anthem inciting us to get up, make our voices heard and fight fascism with all our might. (ML)

Kermes – ‘Peeling Off The Rind’
The latest single from Leicester queercore outfit Kermes, ‘Peeling Off The Rind’ reflects on feelings of unity and togetherness, and their importance in resistance. With front person Emily’s raw, seething vocals driving the track’s poignant, impassioned power, it’s a much needed slice of uplifting catharsis. (ML)

Partner – ‘Big Gay Hands’
I’ve been a bit in love with Canadian duo Partner since seeing them live at The Victoria a few years back, supported by faves Charmpit and Suggested Friends. Taken from their latest album Never Give Up and reflecting on “a wild night on the town filled with queer desire”, ‘Big Gay Hands’ epitomises the duo’s playful sense of fun in an epic, uplifting rock anthem. (ML)

ARXX – ‘Call Me Crazy’
The latest single from GIHE faves, Brighton duo ARXX, ‘Call Me Crazy’ showcases Hanni and Clara’s more reflective side. A heartfelt reflection on mental health struggles, at a time when this topic is more resonant than ever before, it builds in emotive splendour to an epic, pop-strewn ballad. (ML)

Foxgluvv – ‘Beautiful, Dirty, Rich’ (Lady Gaga Cover)
A glamorous cover of Mother Monster’s fabulous original 2008 single, London-based queer hungover pop artist Foxgluvv has paid homage to LGBTQ+ ally Lady Gaga by crafting this funky re-working with producer by Scott Colcombe. Her cover has all the spirit and sass of Gaga’s original, with a slight disco-pop twist. It’s not on Spotify, but you can watch the fab accompanying video to the track below. (KC)

Robyn – ‘Dancing On My Own’
Robyn is an outspoken ally for LGBTQ+ rights. I think it’s important to recognise the role that allies play within LGBTQ+ history and the movement’s continued fight for equality. Being an ally is about educating yourself, it’s about listening, being visible, challenging inequality and helping to educate others. Being an ally isn’t just about LGBTQ+, it applies to any under-represented, marginalised section of society worldwide. As Stonewall says “If we want to live in a world where people are accepted without exception, we all need to be part of the solution.” (TW)

Mykki Blanco (feat. Princess Nokia) – ‘Wish You Would’
This is a song from an artist who I feel needs no introduction, a queer pioneer who is doing amazing things for LGBTQ+ rights as well as being open about their positive HIV status. Mykki Blanco is also such an incredible artist and his music is just oh so gooooood. (TW)

Tyler Holmes – ‘Actors’
I’ve only recently become acquainted with artist 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 is set to release their new album next month – I cannot wait to immerse myself in it. They have also just shared a cover of SOPHIE’s ‘BIPP’. Check it out on bandcamp now. (ML)

Hercules & Love Affair – ‘Blind’
This track is so important me, taken from Hercules & Love Affairs’ self-titled album released in 2008, which I was obsessed with. Growing up I don’t remember any out famous LGBTQ+ women in music, so seeing Kim Ann Foxman who was part of their line-up on the album -so confident in her sexuality – it made the biggest of impressions on me. The music isn’t bad either. ‘Blind’ is without a doubt the theme tune to me fully embracing my sexuality, feeling proud of who I was and strong enough to come out happily in all aspects of my life. (TW)

KERAI – ‘desire’
KERAI is the project of nonbinary/trans producer & writer Sasha Wilde and co-producer Julian Wharton. Influenced by Russian new wave, Scandinavian electronica and Lithuanian folk, the duo blend pitch-manipulated vocals, punchy beats and edgy noise to create their haunting sounds. Their debut album Show Me a Future Where I Can Live is an intense electronic exploration of Wilde’s childhood. Growing up queer in a hostile post-soviet environment, Wilde has channeled their fears and hopes into this “serious shape-shifting” record, and I’m so glad it dropped into my GIHE inbox. (KC)

Gordian Stimm – ‘Though My Love Is Always Still’
I am such a huge fan of everything  Gordian Stimm (aka Maeve Westall of itoldyouiwouldeatyou) releases. They’ve crafted so many experimental gems in the last year, from their debut album Your Body In On Itself, to this single for Amateur Pop Inc.’s compilation record, their offerings are intensely eclectic & so well produced. Definitely check out their new instrumental EP Flirty Lucre for Public Sector, on bandcamp too. (KC)

The Crystal Furs – ‘Comeback Girls’
Oregon queer indie-pop band The Crystal Furs last year released their second album Beautiful and True. Taken from the album, ‘Comeback Girls’ is a twinkling offering, flowing with uplifting shimmering synths, honey-sweet vocals and scuzzy hooks. (ML)

Rookes – ‘Liminal’
Having wowed us live more than once, London based Rookes is fast becoming known in the industry for her fearless exploration of queer-female identity. Taken from 2019’s EP of the same name, ‘Liminal’ offers a beautifully uplifting pop ballad twinkling with a dreamy warmth. (ML)

Marika Hackman – ‘Realti’ (Grimes cover)
Taken from last year’s Covers album, Marika Hackman’s rendition of the Grimes classic adds her own ethereal, soothing touch to the original, oozing a spellbinding majestic splendour. (ML)

Landshapes – ‘Drama’
One of the first guests we ever had on our radio show, Landshapes last year released their first album in five years. Taken from the album, ‘Drama’ reflects on the imbalance of emotional labour that’s often seen between men and women. Propelled by a steady, jazz-infused bass-line, it soars with a whirring synth-filled musicality as the lustrous distinctive power of Luisa Gerstein’s vocals flows.
(ML)

Bronski Beat – ‘Smalltown Boy’
Released in 1984 at the height of the AIDS crisis by openly gay Bronski Beat, ‘Smalltown Boy’ is a heart-breaking story given an empowering beat. In 2020 I worked on the second season of a podcast called The Log Books all about LGBTQ+ history, covering the years from 1983 to 1991, when the HIV/AIDS epidemic hit the UK, this seems like a brilliant way to look back and think of that time – through all the pain and loss, there was love and laughter and most importantly DANCING! Happy LGBT+ History Month! (TW)

Jackie Shane – ‘Coming Down’
We’ve played Canadian soul-singer Jackie Shane multiple times on the GIHE radio show, and included her on many a playlist and we’re certainly not stopping now! Jackie was a pioneer for transgender rights in the 60s & 70s, a time when being your true self was not always welcomed, or accepted. (TW)

Arlo Parks –  ‘Black Dog’ 
I cannot get enough of Arlo Parks and her mesmerising music, so full of emotion I get lost in every second. ‘Black Dog’ is a frank, heart-breaking insight into the the darkness of depression. Mental health awareness within the LGTBQIA+ communities is so important, especially with rising levels of isolation and loneliness. Asking for, or reaching out for help is so important and totally OK to do. The more we can look out for each other, the more we can show people that asking for help is a sign of strength not weakness. (TW)

Perfume Genius – ‘Without You’
I wanted to include the heart-string tugging ‘Without You’ on here to dedicate to anyone who’s ever lost someone. With the pandemic and the recent (rightful) attention being drawn to the effect that the HIV/AIDS crisis has had on the lives of so many in this country with the release of Channel 4’s It’s A Sin, I’ve been thinking a lot about grief and the ways to support each other through it. (ML)

Frank Ocean – ‘Chanel’
Such a great song. As you may or may not know, Frank Ocean came out back in 2012 to mixed but mainly positive responses. Although he’s not technically a hip-hop artist, he is very much part of the community and this was a positive step for LGBTQ+ artists not only in hip-hop, but also on a much wider scale. (TW)

Ma Rainey –  ‘Prove It On Me Blues’
Unarguably the mother of blues Ma Rainey, this taken from 1928, a song that is very possibly one of the first references to queer lesbian culture. Where Ma Rainey, a queer woman sings, “Went out last night with a crowd of my friends. They must’ve been women, ’cause I don’t like no men.” An essential to any LGBT History Month playlist. (TW)

Follow Get In Her Ears on Spotify to listen to our previous playlists featuring more LGBT+ artists.

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!