GIHE: Albums Of 2020

It feels strange to be celebrating anything in 2020, but the GIHE team want to shine a light on some of the brilliant music that’s been released against the odds during the last 12 months. If you, or your band managed to release a full length record, Congratulations! You should be super proud. If you didn’t manage to write anything new this year though, we fully understand and we’ll still be here to sing your praises when you feel ready to write again.

In the absence of live shows where we’d normally celebrate the release of an album, we’ve coped by dancing around our living rooms, miming underneath our face-masks and telling as many people as we can on our Zoom calls to listen to these records. So, in alphabetical order, here are ten albums that helped us get through 2020 (with some honorable mentions at the end because we’re a little bit fed up of restrictions this year…)

Bitch Falcon – Staring At Clocks
Released via Small Pond Records in November, Staring At Clocks is a blistering cacophony of grunge, post-punk and shoegaze inspired sounds from Dublin trio Bitch Falcon. Effortlessly switching from a savage scream to a sublime extended yearning, front woman Lizzie Fitzpatrick’s elastic vocal ability never fails to impress and my admiration for her natural talent swells with each listen. Her intuition is matched by Nigel Kenny’s razor sharp cymbal strikes and Barry O’Sullivan’s brooding bass hooks. Equal parts gritty and graceful, I’m properly in love with Bitch Falcon’s debut album and no, I will not stop talking about it. Listen to Staring At Clocks via bandcamp or Spotify.
(Kate Crudgington – Features Editor)

Bugeye – Ready Steady Bang
A long-standing fave of GIHE, Bugeye have previously wowed us with their vibrant live shows, including performing for us at The Finsbury and at Cro Cro Land, a festival put together by front person Angela Martin in my hometown of Croydon. They’ve also received plenty of acclaim from the likes of Radio X’s John Kennedy and BBC Introducing, and rightly so. Ready Steady Bang is like nothing you’ve heard before; a vibrant fusion of disco, punk and everything in-between, all fused together with magnificent energy into a relentlessly riotous and utterly uplifting collection. This explosive debut fizzles with a wonderfully unique colourful pizazz as the band reflect on the state of the world today. Raging with Angela’s gritty, snarling vocals and whirring electro hooks, alongside crunching riffs and poppy harmonies, each track is a total earworm. Reminiscent of nineties indie legends Elastica, with shades of the retro energy of Blondie, it’s an album oozing a sparkling majesty that’ll charge you up and leave you ready to face whatever 2021 has in store.
Ready Steady Bang is out via Reckless Yes Records, listen on bandcamp or Spotify.
(Mari Lane – Managing Editor)

Dream Wife – So When You Gonna… 
To be honest, I was a little apprehensive about the release of this year’s sophomore Dream Wife album. I had been so completely enamoured by their 2018 eponymous debut that it seemed impossible not to be disappointed, but how wrong I was. So When You Gonna… is both uplifting and poignant in equal measure. From the heartfelt and relatable stirring emotion of album closer and pro-choice anthem ‘After The Rain’ to the immersive inspirational power of ‘Validation’ and fun-filled playful energy and trademark charisma of ‘Hasta La Vista’ and the album’s title track, it proves that Dream Wife are here to stay. With this latest collection, they’ve come back more empowering, passionate and truly joyous than ever.
Listen to So When You Gonna… via bandcamp or Spotify.
(ML)

Gordian Stimm – Your Body In On Itself
I remember thinking “yessss this is a bit of me!” when Gordian Stimm’s (aka Maeve Westall of itoldyouiwouldeatyou) experimental gem of a record first dropped into my GIHE inbox in April. Released via independent Leicester-based label Amateur Pop, Stimm’s debut album is a vivid exploration of bodily autonomy. There’s an enjoyable violence underscoring their vision; a gleeful, sometimes painful dissecting of the self and the social cues that either help construct or dismantle it. At times reminiscent of early Passion Pit or Crystal Castles, Your Body In On Itself is a wonderful collection of distorted, dance-able beats that I continue to enjoy even after multiple listens. The cassette tape is cute af too.
Listen to Your Body In On Itself via bandcamp or Spotify. (KC)

Happy Accidents – Sprawling
Probably my most listened-to full album of 2020, Happy Accidents’ Sprawling follows 2018’s equally addictive Everything But The Here And Now. Since first falling in love with the band back at Indietracks of the same year, I’ve been continually seeking comfort in their sparkling creations. Now a duo made up of Phoebe Cross and Rich Mandell, Happy Accidents have showcased all there is to love about them in this latest collection. An album about “getting out of your head and allowing yourself to connect with others on a fundamental level”, it offers a perfect juxtaposition of honey-sweet vocals, swirling jangling melodies and luscious harmonies, all delivered alongside the heartfelt emotion of the reflective, relatable lyricism, making it impossible not to get utterly immersed in. With Rich and Phoebe taking turns with the lead, each track maintains the glistening warmth and twinkling uplifting charm that first drew me to the band. And now I can’t seem to stop listening; forever seeking soothing catharsis in Happy Accidents’ shimmering, Sprawling indie-pop.
Listen to Sprawling via bandcamp or Spotify.
(ML)

Hilary Woods – Birthmarks
Inspired by field recordings, images from post-war Japanese & wet-plate photography and the secret life of trees, Hilary Woods’ second album Birthmarks is a cohesive set of shadowy soundscapes that smolder with quiet intensity. Released in March via Sacred Bones, the Irish multi-instrumentalist collaborated with Norwegian experimental noise producer Lasse Marhaugher to create a record that was “of the body…a more physical record” than her previous work. She crafted eight fleshy, twisted, charged lullabies that are laced with a mix of hushed vocals, melancholy strings, saxophone sounds, distorted drone noises and Okkyung’s exquisite cello playing. Recorded over the course of two years between Galway and Oslo whilst Woods was heavily pregnant, Birthmarks feels like her most personal and powerful record to date and I’ve thoroughly enjoyed listening to it this year.
Listen to Birthmarks via bandcamp or Spotify. (KC)

Indian Queens – God Is A Woman
Described by lead vocalist & guitarist Jennifer O’Neill as “a late night record”, London trio Indian Queens’ debut album is a sublime offering, designed to dissolve uncertainty and soothe anxious minds. Released via Cool Thing Records in April, the band have written thirteen dizzying tracks that are as driving as they are delicate, providing a welcome rush of blood to the head every time they’re listened to. I love everything about this band and I’m so glad I got to hear them live again in March before the rest of 2020 got cancelled.
Listen to God Is A Woman via bandcamp or Spotify. (KC)

Nova Twins – Who Are The Girls?
Us GIHE grrrls collectively agreed that this is a stunning debut album. Nova Twins’ battle cry for equality and diversity on Who Are The Girls? resonates long after the record stops spinning. Amy Love & Georgia South are a force for fun, for fury and – most importantly – for change in an industry that still “struggles” to book women as headliners at major festivals. This album, released via 333 Wreckords in February, is a collection of thundering bass lines, uncompromising rhythms and wicked riffs. It’s an aural uppercut that proves the London-based duos talent and instinct for writing anarchic anthems. Nova Twins always have us riled, re-energised, and ready to ask for more.
Listen to Who Are The Girls? on Spotify. (KC)

Screaming Toenail – Growth
Having blown us away with the impassioned magnificence of their live show at The Finsbury last December, anti-colonial queer punks Screaming Toenail have become firm favourites here at GIHE, and their message is more resonant now than ever before. Opening with a jarring recording of reports of trafficking migrants and “swarms” of refugees coming across the Mediterranean seeking a better life, Growth starts as it means to go on: honest, politically charged and utterly necessary. Combining shades of ‘80s post-punk with the band’s raw magnetism and angst driven drive, the album covers poignant subject matter, ranging from institutionalised racism and damaging hetero-patriarchal norms, to “little old ladies shoplifting from Boots” and other inspiring female figures such as Diane Abbott and Reni Eddo-Lodge. Growth is truly a soundtrack to our times. Fuelled by a motivational cathartic rage, it starkly reminds us that on returning to “normality”, we need to create a new normal. One in which voices like Screaming Toenail’s can be amplified to the max; one in which we prioritise creating safe, queer, inter-sectional communities and spaces for people to share their art together.
Listen to Growth via bandcamp or Spotify.
(ML)

Sink Ya Teeth – Two
Long time GIHE faves who first completely took our breath away playing for us live at The Finsbury a few years back, Norwich duo Sink Ya Teeth brought some groove-laden joy to this nightmare year with their second album, appropriately titled Two. Having been booked to play our very first Get In Her Ears festival that would have taken place this summer, being able to listen to all the unique dance-punk soundscapes throughout this album offered a bit of consolation. Blowing us away with the soaring, sparkling majesty of each track, they continue to mark themselves out as truly innovative in their craft. From the synth driven glitchy hooks of ‘Somewhere Else’ to the immense funk-fuelled groove of ‘The Hot House’, everything the duo create oozes an infectious shimmering energy, showcasing Maria Uzor and Gemma Cullingford as the ultimate dream team in both songwriting and performing.
Listen to Two via bandcamp or Spotify.
(ML)

Honorable mentions:
A.A. Williams Forever Blue
Ailbhe ReddyPersonal History
ByenaryByenary
The Crystal FursBeautiful and True
Diet CigDo You Wonder About Me?
Dream NailsDream Nails
Lido PimientaMiss Colombia
MOURN – Self Worth
Nadine ShahKitchen Sink
No HomeFucking Hell
Phoebe BridgersPunisher
REWSWarriors
WaxahatcheeSaint Cloud
The Fight Is Not Over (Live album feat. Problem Patterns, Sister Ghost, Strange New Places, Gender Chores)

Get In Her Ears w/ Bitch Falcon 10.12.20

Kate and Tash were back in the Hoxton Radio studio for the first time since Lockdown 2.0 ended in the UK, with a FULL playlist of new tunes from women & non-binary artists. Kate also caught up with Bitch Falcon’s vocalist & guitarist Lizzie Fitzpatrick to talk about lockdown life in Dublin, the band’s debut album Staring At Clocks, how much she loves Lady Gaga’s Chromatica and Bitch Falcon’s upcoming live-stream gig in collaboration with ‘Together With Electric Streams’ on 27th December (info and tickets here.)

Listen back:

Tracklist
Cyndi Lauper – She Bop
Dead Naked Hippies – Curiosity (Dawn)
CIRCE – Dancer
Bicep – Apricots
Tierra Whack – Peppers and Onions
Serena Isioma – Stop Calling The Police On Me
Miss Grit – Dark Side Of The Party
Elaine Malone – You (1000 Beasts Remix)
Biig Piig – Feels Right
Lime – Fever
About Bunny – Special
Amaroun (& Jung Mergs) – Highest Head
ZAND – Slut Money
STRAIGHT GIRL – Limón
Bitch Falcon – Gaslight
**Bitch Falcon – Interview with Lizzie Fitzpatrick**
Smoothboi Ezra – My Own Person
Magic Island – Easy Babe
Nervous Twitch – Tongue Tied
Big Joanie – Cut Your Hair
Charmpit – Bad Attitude
Maria BC – Adelaide
Nilufer Yanya – Crash
pink suits – Fake Great Britain
Petrol Girls – I Believe Them (Solidarity Not Silence)
Zola Jesus – Krunk
Kin – Wander & Lost
Party Fears – Time in Space
Taylor Swift – Blank Space

ALBUM: Bitch Falcon – ‘Staring At Clocks’

An apt title for 2020, but one that would still resonate without the current social hellscape we’re living through, Bitch Falcon’s debut album Staring At Clocks is a blistering cacophony of grunge, post-punk and shoegaze inspired sounds. Set for release via Small Pond Records on 6th November, the Dublin trio’s first full length record sees them effortlessly galvanize their melodic tendencies with their trademark heaviness, resulting in a visceral yet graceful collection of noise.

Bitch Falcon have been cutting their teeth on the Irish and UK live circuits for the past few years, sharing stages with Girl Band, Fontaines DC, Torche, Black Peaks and Pussy Riot, as well as playing live for GIHE back in 2017. Since then, the band have been carefully channelling their formidable live presence into polished recordings, and Staring At Clocks is proof that they’ve mastered this craft. Opener ‘I’m Ready Now’ is an affirmation of this, filled with drummer Nigel Kenny’s racing beats, Barry O’Sullivan’s thundering bass lines and Lizzie Fitzpatrick’s powerhouse vocals.

‘Sold Youth’ intoxicates with its swirling grungy melodies, followed by the rapturous splendour of ‘Turned To Gold’. Despite being about the exhaustion that comes with stretching yourself emotionally thin for a loved one, the restless riffs and charged percussion on ‘How Did I Know?’ provide a fierce catharsis. The eponymous ‘Staring At Clocks’ is permeated by Fitzpatrick’s dreamy vocals, building towards a riotous outro full of bruising bass lines, manic guitar sounds and relentless drums. Exploring the fleeting feelings of running away and escaping your situation, ‘Test Trip’ is a formidable fluctuation of soothing and abrasive elements.

Effortlessly switching from a savage scream to a sublime extended yearning, Fitzpatrick’s elastic vocal ability never fails to impress throughout the record, and admiration for her natural talent swells with each listen. On ‘Martyr’, ‘Damp Breath’ and ‘Gaslight’ in particular, there’s even echoes of the mighty Bjork during her ‘Army Of Me’ era. Fitzpatrick’s intuition for knowing exactly when to unleash a cord-ripper, or to lull listeners with a hushed intonation is matched by Kenny’s razor sharp cymbal strikes and O’Sullivan’s brooding bass hooks and epic closing track ‘Harvester’ is a clear amalgamation of these talents.

An enviably strong debut, Staring At Clocks is propelled by gritty riffs, urgent vocals and a striking awareness of what it means to take your time, to reflect on what you’ve been through and to charge on through the dissonance. Bitch Falcon should take pride in this immense first full length offering and we can’t wait to hear it live when the coast is eventually clear.

Pre-order your copy of Staring At Clocks from bandcamp.

Follow Bitch Falcon on Instagram, SpotifyFacebook & Twitter for more updates.

Kate Crudgington
@KCBobCut

PLAYLIST: October 2020

Whether you’re feeling apprehensive about the darker evenings after the pesky BST clock change, or you’re fed up of the ongoing Covid-restrictions that are full of contradictions, our October playlist is here to distract you. There’s an eclectic mix of dancing beats, atmospheric electronics, indie and alternative guitar tunes and some seasonal Halloween pop treats! Take some time to scroll through our track choices below and make sure you hit play on the Spotify playlist at the end of the page.

Nina Simone – ‘I Put A Spell On You’
The inimitable Nina Simone and her rendition of ‘I Put A Spell On You’ was an obvious choice for a Halloween-esque track, and it gives me goosebumps whenever I hear it. (Kate Crudgington)

Phoebe Bridgers – ‘Halloween’
Fun fact – I’m in love with Phoebe Bridgers. I more or less constantly have one of her songs running through my head, and spend a lot of time musing about how cool she is. So, for our October playlist it seemed only right to include her ode to the spooky season. Taken from her recent (perfect) album Punisher, ‘Halloween’ oozes Bridgers’ majestically haunting vocals and spellbinding splendour. And with the opening lyrics “I hate living by the hospital / The sirens go all night”, as someone who lives round the corner from Croydon hospital, I feel a deep hard relate on each listen. (Mari Lane)

Two Tribes – ‘Cruel Sensuality’
Full of commanding beats, jagged synths and soaring vocals, Two Tribes‘ latest single is a cathartic oscillation between emotional resilience and the unexpected apathy that comes with the ending of a relationship. Taken from their upcoming EP, which is set for release in 2021, the London-based trio blend vivid electronic textures with jolting rhythms to create an anthemic new sound. (KC)

CIRCE – ‘Ruined Your Sons’
A dark-pop gem that challenges toxic masculinity, ‘Ruined Your Sons’ is the latest single from London-based artist CIRCE. It’s taken from her upcoming debut EP She’s Made of Saints, which is set for release via Jazz Life on 25th November, and it’s a cinematic reflection on the apathy and disillusionment young men face while living under the thumb of patriarchal society. (KC)

Beckie Margaret – ‘Divine Feminine’
“’Divine Feminine’ is a song for people who stop you reaching your highest self,” explains Essex songwriter Beckie Margaret. “I wanted to write a sonically aggressive song that reflected this idea.” Through her commanding sounds and effortless vocal delivery, Margaret balances this aggression with elegance as she warns those trying to silence her to “stay out of my way.” 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)

Arlo Parks – ‘Green Eyes’
‘Green Eyes’ is the latest single from GIHE fave Arlo Parks. The track is taken from her debut album Collapsed In Sunbeams, which is set for release on 29th Jan via Transgressive Records. She’s yet to release something that don’t collectively adore here at GIHE, and I can’t wait to hear the full record next year. (KC)

Sans Soucis – ‘Air’ 
I have Kate to thank for sending this song my way, the latest single from the London based artist Sans Soucis and I cannot get enough of it. ‘Air’ evolves sonically under pitch perfect vocals, to put forth a message of protest against an era of human disconnection and destructive self-doubt. (Tash Walker)

Rihanna – ‘Disturbia’
Disturbia by absolute babe of babes Rihanna, taken from her 2008 album Good Girl Gone Bad: Reloaded. I think this is one of her best songs to date and I’m resurrecting it as a little Halloween treat for you all. (KC)

Eckoes – ‘The Light’
Alongside strobing synths and shimmering guitars, in ‘The Light’ the truly spellbinding power of Eckoes’ vocals soars, lulling the listener into a cathartic sense of hypnosis with its alluring grace. And we’re super excited that, having blown us away playing for us live at The Finsbury a few years back, Eckoes will be joining us for a special Instagram takeover next Wednesday 4th November – keep your eyes peeled on our socials for details! (ML)

Penelope Trappes – ‘Eel Drip’
A goose bump inducing, emotionally charged electronic soundscape, ‘Eel Drip’ is the title track from London-based, Australian-born musician Penelope Trappes’ recent EP. It’s a dark, delicate rumination on accepting the inevitability that our lives will all be touched by death at some point, and I’m a little bit obsessed with it. (KC)

Witch Prophet – ‘Tesfay’
‘Tesfay’ translated as “my hope” from queer artist Witch Prophet, inspired by the memory of Witch Prophet’s late grandfather who raised five daughters as a single father in Ethiopia after the passing of her grandmother. Instead of focusing on the traditional roles for women in his day, he pushed his daughters towards education and empowerment – a radical move for the time. The video is fantastic as well, go check it out. (TW)

LIINES – ‘On and On’
One of the latest singles from GIHE faves LIINES, ‘On and On’ reflects on not being able to express your true feelings. Oozing the band’s trademark dark, brooding power, it builds to a high-octane climax of raging riffs and throbbing bass lines, propelled by the utterly commanding vocals of Zoe McVeigh and a punk-fuelled bewitching allure. ‘On and On’ is the B-side to new single ‘Sorry’’, out on 6th November, with a limited number of black 7” vinyl editions available for direct mail order and through independent record shops, via Reckless Yes. Pre-order via LIINES’ Bandcamp now. (ML)

Bitch Falcon – ‘How Did I Know?’
Is it even a GIHE Playlist if I don’t include a Bitch Falcon track? (Long answer: no.) The Dublin alternative trio have shared this new single ahead of the release of the debut album, Staring At Clocks, on 6th November via Small Pond Records. Vocalist & guitarist Lizzie says this single is “an expression of frustration around someone I love and their problems. When someone you love is at the edge of your grasp, it can be so terrifying that your reaction is to let go.” (KC)

Total Rubbish – ‘What’s Your Damage?’
The latest single from Philadelphia-based trio Total Rubbish, whose sound reminds me a little bit of Garbage or L7 – which is never a bad thing. ‘What’s Your Damage’ is featured on their upcoming EP Triple Negative, which is set for release on 20th Nov via Born Losers Records. (KC)

Middle Kids – ‘R U 4 Me?’
With an uplifting jangly groove, Aussie band Middle Kids offer a swirling emotion and warm melodies with latest single ‘R U 4 Me?’. A perfect burst of sunny energy for this time of year, it’s a scuzzy indie pop anthem, leaving me excited to hear what this trio have in store for us next. (ML)

Landshapes – ‘Drama’
The new single from GIHE faves and one of our first guests on the radio show back in 2015, Landshapes, ‘Drama’ reflects on the imbalance of emotional labour that’s often seen between men and women. Soaring with a whirring synth-filled musicality and sweeping electro-driven hooks as the lustrous distinctive power of Luisa Gerstein’s vocals flows, it’s set to captivate on first listen with its majestic, funk-fuelled groove. ‘Drama‘ is out now, along with accompanying single ‘Let Me Be‘. Both are taken from Landshapes’ upcoming new album, Contact, set for release on 20th November via Bella Union. (ML)

Miri – ‘Just Breathe’
The latest single from London artist MIRI, ‘Just Breathe’ was released to coincide with Mental Health Awareness Day earlier this month. Reflecting on the negative impact some social media can have, whilst delivering a message of love and hope, it’s propelled by a soothing, soulful splendour and emotion-strewn majesty. As the soaring heartfelt power of Miri’s distinctive vocals flows, it’s filled with an uplifting musicality, oozing an endearing sense of hope. Of the track, MIRI explains: “Just Breathe is my message to anyone struggling mentally to please reach out for help. We are living in an incredibly stressful and intense time especially with the pandemic.” (ML)

Lande Hekt – ’80 Days Of Rain’
‘80 Days of Rain’ “is about moving away and missing someone, and how that person taught me to get angry about climate change,” songwriter Lande Hekt explains. It’s a humble, emotive guitar tune about the state of the planet, lifted from Hekt’s upcoming album Going to Hell, which is set for release on 22nd January 2021 via Get Better Records. (KC)

Swallow Cave – ‘Cold Moon’ 
‘Cold Moon’ comes from Bristolians Swallow Cave. Reflecting on mental health, I love the intonation in the vocals that resonate in those long guitar chords, reverberating right into my soul. It’s out now via Sad Club Records. (TW)

Bel Cobain & Lex Amor – ‘At The Bay’
‘At The Bay’ is a beautiful track that was made as part of a Hackney based community movement called The Silhouettes Project. They’re shining a light on artists in the shadows and protecting local spaces from gentrification. The Silhouettes Project provides an open space – a recording studio and live venue (located within the Total Refreshment Centre in Hackney, London) – where MCs, singers, musicians and producers can connect and create. (TW)

Thigh High – ‘Go Slow’ 
The latest single from queer glam-rock band Thigh High and I’m loving it. It’s a song about wanking, masturbating, about that annoying moment when your dildo’s batteries die and you have to raid the remote control. Incredible. Turn up those dials. (TW)

Spill Tab – ‘Santé’
‘Santé’ by LA-based, French Korean artist Spill Tab is intimate bedroom-pop at its best, mixing hypnotic dark-pop vocals with an urgent throbbing bass. Nice. (TW)

Tokky Horror – ‘Sleeper’
Dance-punk trio Tokky Horror have shared two new bangers just in time for Halloween. The explosive ‘Sleeper’ is one of them, with Demonoid Phenomenon – a Rob Zombie cover – being the other. You can download both from their bandcamp page now. (KC)

Lady Gaga – ‘Monster’
Taken from her 2009 album The Fame Monster, this track by Mother Monster herself is guaranteed to get me dancing at a Halloween party (even if that party consists of only me in my bedroom due to the current covid-19 restrictions.) (KC)

Pet Wife – ‘.B.L.O.O.D.O.R.A.N.G.E.’ 
PET wife, are a trans/nonbinary couple and art-pop duo from Bushwick, Brooklyn. This single, ‘.B.L.O.O.D.O.R.A.N.G.E.’ is accompanied with an incredible music video which you can watch here, that they describe as an homage to the vampire lesbian exploitation films of the 1970s with an all-trans/gender non-conforming crew and queer cast. Loving this track! (TW)

Soho Rezanejad – ‘Half The Shore’
The new single from Danish artist Soho Rezanejad, ‘Half The Shore’ is a beautifully ethereal soundscape. With Rezanejad’s work often rooted in mythological storytelling, this latest offering oozes a spellbinding majesty that’ll captivate on first listen. A much needed sea of calm. ‘Half The Shore’ is taken from Rezanejad’s upcoming album Perform And Surrender, set for release on 4th December via Silicone Records. Listen to the track here. (ML)

Sonic Youth – ‘Halloween’
The unmistakable sound of Kim Gordon’s voice over these eerie, strung out guitar sounds should be enough to create a wonderful sense of dread for you all this Halloween weekend. (KC)