GIHE: Albums & EPs Of 2021

After sharing our Tracks of 2021 last week, the GIHE team want to shine a light on some of the brilliant Albums & EPs that have been released during the last 12 months. These records kept us dancing around our bedrooms/living rooms/home offices, miming underneath our face-masks and distracted us momentarily from the uncertain world we’re currently all living in.

So, in alphabetical order, here are our top Albums & EPs of 2021 (with some honorable mentions at the end…)

ALBUMS

Adult Mom – Driver
Consistently my most listened-to artist over the last couple of years, Adult Mom aka Stevie Knipe creates the most beautifully heartfelt music. Although I had thought it would be hard to follow the perfect relatable emotion of their debut Momentary Lapse Of Happily, and 2018’s Soft Spots, this year’s Driver does not disappoint. With the lilting musicality and raw emotive splendour of each track, the album has been in my ears on literally a daily basis since it came out in March; I have sought comfort in the luscious depth of Knipe’s vocals and found myself fully immersed in the album’s twinkling grace. I’m sending extra love to Stevie at the moment, as they were diagnosed with breast cancer earlier this year and are currently having to undergo treatment. I can’t wait to hear more gorgeous music from them when they’re ready. (Mari Lane – Co-Founder)

Blonde Maze – Something Familiar
I’m honestly not sure how I would have got through the last two years without the sound of Blonde Maze in my ears daily. Even before her debut album Something Familiar came out in Autumn, I had been completely addicted to her utterly dreamy creations – ever since she’d been a guest on our radio show about five years ago. To have a full LP filled with her exquisite soundscapes has been just what I’ve needed recently. Bathing the ears in shimmering ripples of dreamy reflection, each luscious track is a perfect cathartic tonic. My album of the year – it’s been the beautifully calming and delicately uplifting soundtrack I’ve so needed. (ML)

Divide & Dissolve – Gas Lit
Released via Invada Records in January, instrumental activists Divide and Dissolve’s second album Gas Lit continues their sonic mission to erode the foundations of colonialism and white supremacy. Produced by Ruban Nielson of Unknown Mortal Orchestra, the record is an aural purging of injustice, fuelled by the diversity of Takiaya Reed’s doom-ridden saxophone sounds and Sylvie Nehill’s phenomenal percussion. It flows with a unique gargantuan grace that unsettles and soothes my cells every time I hear it. I had the pleasure of interviewing Takiaya about the album earlier this year too, which you can read here.
(Kate Crudgington – Co-Founder)

Du Blonde – Homecoming
With Homecoming, Du Blonde gave us the DIY stadium rock record we didn’t know we needed. After becoming disillusioned with the music industry, they wrote, recorded and produced this album of swaggering, empowering anthems for outcasts. A bag of contradictions, it’s both silly and serious, wonderfully weird yet radio friendly. A powerful record, I love the way Homecoming embraces self-destruction and self-love. It has a proper punk energy and inspires you to get shit done on your own terms – after you’ve had a dance, of course.
(Victoria Conway – Contributor)

Fears – Oíche
An intuitive artist who has transformed her darkest moments into graceful electronic soundscapes, Fears aka Constance Keane shared her poignant debut album Oíche (meaning “night” in Irish) in May. Released via her own label TULLE, the Irish-born, London-based musician balances her intense ruminations on trauma alongside delicate synth loops and tentative beats to shine a light on a personal metamorphosis. Much like the coarse fabric she used to create her altruistic dress on the album’s artwork, Fears allows her lived experiences to take up space and permeate this record, which swells with unflinching honesty and elegance. Oíche is a collection of shadowy lullabies that span five years of emotional territory, and the result is a truly immersive and enlightening body of work. (KC)

Fightmilk – Contender
Following 2018’s Not With That Attitude, this year total faves Fightmilk released their second album Contender via Reckless Yes, and it was everything I could have hoped for. With new bassist Healey and a perhaps more ambitious musicality than previous releases, this year’s album marks a maturing in sound for the band, whilst maintaining their trademark anthemic power-pop energy. Filled with the perfect balance of jangling melodies, an endearing, refreshingly honest lyricism and shades of a raw tongue-in-cheek wit, the album covers themes from space travel and capitalism, to love, heartbreak and self-loathing, all the while oozing a raw emotion and the band’s distinctive, quirky charisma. With all the scuzzy musicality and shimmering energy we’ve come to know and love, Contender showcases a band that are continuously refining their sound and, in the process, consistently continuing to win my heart.
(ML)

Gazelle Twin & NYX – Deep England
Inspired by the tracks that formed Gazelle Twin aka Elizabeth Bernholz’s 2018 album Pastoral, Deep England is a dark fable that serves as a warning to listeners not to get swept up in national apathy. Whilst Bernholz’s unique vision of Britain’s past was brought vividly to life on her original record, with the support of the NYX drone choir her vitriol is able to take its fullest, most nerve-shredding form. Together, they present their altruistic vision of Britain in its “post-truth” sphere, embroidering a new tapestry of sound for these jarring and uncertain times. Deep England is a phenomenal artistic accomplishment; a shadowy, graceful collection of sounds that radiate with unease – truly unlike anything you’ve heard before. (KC)

LINGUA IGNOTA – SINNER GET READY
“And all that I’ve learned / is everything burns” laments Lingua Ignota aka Kristin Hayter on ‘Pennsylvania Furnace’, the fourth track on SINNER GET READY – an apt sentiment for a record that blazes with a unique orchestral agony. Released via Sargent House, Hayter’s fourth full length offering is an emotional exorcism inspired by the severe brand of Christianity in rural Pennsylvania where she currently lives. Its strictness permeates her vision to the core, with her sensational vocals remaining the lifeblood of SINNER GET READY. She uses her voice to devastating effect, harrowing up the soul with her effortless ability to switch from a soft, divine cry to a cord-ripping, desperate plea. A stunning record that I’ve returned to many times this year. (KC)

Little Simz – Sometimes I Might Be Introvert
Sometimes I Might Be Introvert is an outstanding album, ambitious and sprawling while maintaining the punchy immediacy of expression synonymous with Little Simz’ earlier work. She confidently glides between styles, from epic Scott Walker-style arrangements to afrobeat grooves, which form mere backdrops to the artist’s lyrical acrobatics. Simz enumerates the anxieties, troubles and triumphs of her life and career throughout the album’s 19 tracks – this album already has an undeniably classic quality. It is a singular expansion of the possibilities of hip-hop, of pop music more generally, and an unrepentantly fantastic album of Baroque ambition and fabulous execution. (Lloyd Bolton – Contributor)

Lunar Vacation – Inside Every Fig Is A Dead Wasp
The latest album from Atlanta-based Lunar Vacation, Inside Every Fig Is A Dead Wasp oozes a shimmering allure throughout. As each track treats the ears to whirring hooks and a sparkling musicality, I just fall more in love with Grace Repasky’s honey-sweet crystalline vocals on each listen. Floating seamlessly with an ethereal splendour, a stirring melancholy ripples on a seemingly serene surface, creating a perfectly dreamy collection. With shades of Alvvays or Best Coast, Lunar Vacation have fast become one of my most favourite bands of 2021. (ML)

New Pagans – The Seed, The Vessel, The Roots and All
An intuitive rumination on the personal and the political, New Pagans’ debut album The Seed, The Vessel, The Roots and All is a gritty, deeply poetic consideration of inequality and social injustice. Released via Big Scary Monsters, the Belfast band’s first full length record dives into the paraphernalia surrounding religion, romance and women’s pain, and resurfaces having transformed these tired archetypes into aural talismans of strength and defiance. I’m such a big fan of everything they’ve released so far and I’m hoping to hear these songs live at some point in 2022. (KC)

Noga Erez – KIDS
The GIHE team collectively adore Tel-Aviv producer & pop renegade Noga Erez’s second album, KIDS. It’s a stylish, swaggering collection of songs that explore personal growth, morality and what it means to disconnect and reconnect with the world around you. Erez has worked closely alongside her collaborative & life partner Ori Rousso to create a razor sharp, intensely catchy record that proves she’s got the musical mileage she sings of. Through her witty lyrics, slick production and commanding beats, she blazes a unique musical trail that pulses with authentic energy, spotlighting her talent as a producer, vocalist, MC and performer. What a star. (KC)

Nova Twins Presents: Voices For The Unheard
Driven by their desire to spotlight the work of underrepresented artists of colour in the heavy music scene, Nova Twins aka Amy Love and Georgia South put together this blistering collection of alternative anthems with the help of Dr Martens to showcase this eclectic range of talent. Featuring tracks by Big Joanie, Khx05, Loathe, Oxymorrons & LutSickPuppy, the record is a fun, furious blur of noise from 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 music they wish they had heard growing up. A proper gem of a record that’s introduced me to some brilliant artists this year. (KC)

pink suits – political child
Having completely blown us away with their riotous, seething energy at our first gig at The Shacklewell Arms earlier this month, queer Margate duo pink suits released their debut album political child, in the Spring. With just drums, a guitar and the riotous force of their voices, Lennie and Ray offer an inclusive feminist rebellion to bring about radical change – with each powerful track on the collection, they deliver a seething, all-too-poignant social commentary on the increasingly terrifying state of the UK right now. Throughout political child, pink suits offer a perfect riotous catharsis; an immense formidable force, coated in a rousing cacophony. The duo have provided an utterly necessary soundtrack for these times; a rallying cry to make our voices heard and fight for an upheaval of a neoliberal society. (ML)

Wolf Alice – Blue Weekend
Each time I’ve tried to write about Wolf Alice’s third album, Blue Weekend, I’ve fallen short of the words to describe how profoundly comforting I find it. Emotional, but with a few grunge ragers thrown in there too – plus a lyric that everyone should adopt as a mantra “I am what I am and I’m good at it / and you don’t like me? Well that isn’t fucking relevant” – Ellie Rowsell’s magnificent, elastic vocals and poignant lyrics effortlessly stretch across the record. I listened to Blue Weekend twice a day for over a month, discovering something new every time I let its cinematic sounds wash over me. Pure musical escapism that’s rooted in real fucking feelings. Properly sublime stuff. (KC)

EPs

Ailsa Tully – Holy Isle
Long term favourite of GIHE, Welsh artist Ailsa Tully released her EP in Autumn this year. Offering four exquisite slices of stirring folk-strewn indie, Holy Isle showcases Tully’s ability to reflect on feelings of vulnerability and loss with a gently uplifting, sparkling grace. As the collection flows with a shimmering, stripped-back musicality, the juxtaposition of Tully’s crystalline, honey-sweet vocals and the gentle lilting melodies creates a delicate, captivating majesty. As the beautifully rippling instrumentation glistens with a heartfelt splendour, I can’t help but become utterly immersed in the raw emotion and poignant, resplendent charm of Holy Isle in its entirety. (ML)

Aisha Badru – The Way Back Home
Having previously charmed our ears with the soothing sounds of last year’s ‘Soil’s Daughter’ and 2018’s poignant debut album Pendulum, singer-songwriter Aisha Badru released her EP The Way Back Home earlier this month. Flowing with twinkling, folk-inspired hooks alongside Badru’s rich, soulful vocals, each track oozes an immersive, heartfelt emotion. With a gentle, lilting energy and shimmering grace, a sweeping majestic splendour soars throughout this beautifully stirring collection as it soothes the mind with its gently uplifting allure. (ML)

Bitch Hunt – Shapeshifter
Having formed at First Timers Fest in 2017, London based non-binary band Bitch Hunt have since played live for us and been lovely guests on our show on Soho Radio. This year they released their debut EP Shapeshifter, via Reckless Yes. A shimmering collection of five lo-fi, yet heartfelt, offerings, it reflects on themes ranging from nostalgia and relationships, to gender and identity, delivered with a wonderfully scuzzy musicality and twinkling energy. Treating us to their effervescent, stirring brand of unique punk-pop, Bitch Hunt have crafted a collection that is beautifully poignant, whilst offering a welcome glimmer of optimism and solidarity. (ML)

BLAB – Word of Mouth
Formed of three previously released singles and a brand new track, Southend-based BLAB‘s debut EP is the sound of a songwriter fully embracing their own choices and leaning into the raw power of each moment. Released via Cool Thing Records, BLAB aka Frances Murray combines direct lyrics with infectious guitar riffs to push past personal and political frustrations, providing her listeners with sharply observed judgements on both. (KC)

Deep Tan – Creeping Speedwells
With acclaim from the likes of NME, So Young and BBC 6Music, Hackney-based trio deep tan have been favourites here at GIHE for some time now, and we’ve been very much enjoying their debut EP Creeping Speedwells, which was released this summer. Propelled by glitchy beats and whirring, twinkling hooks, each track captivates the ears with the trio’s compelling seductive allure. Flowing with fuzzed-out shades of ’90s trip-hop, whilst maintaining a unique sparkling edge and gently haunting majesty, the whole collection offers a spellbinding, rousing splendour that’ll immerse you in its dark, psychedelic haze. (ML)

Hilary Woods – Feral Hymns
I saw the title of this EP, listened to 30 seconds of it and downloaded it IMMEDIATELY. Released via Sacred Bones, Feral Hymns by Irish multi-instrumentalist Hilary Woods captures a relatable sense of gloom across five instrumentals that she worked on with collaborator Lasse Marhaug. Woods describes her ambiguous sounds as “A collection of hymns set at dusk…Unspoken bonds, primal pain, cyclical patterns, unsent love letters.” I find her melancholy, fleshy sounds intensely moving and I can’t wait to hear the new full length record she’s currently working on. (KC)

Jenny Moore’s Mystic Business – He Earns Enough
Featuring members of Trash Kit, F*Choir and Bamboo, Jenny Moore’s Mystic Business are a six-piece choral punk ensemble who released their debut EP in October. A poignant collection covering themes such as the struggles of living in a patriarchal, capitalist society and the fears women and gender minority people face when walking home alone, He Earns Enough showcases the soaring, harmonious power of voices coming together in unity. With each track propelled by an anthemic, mystical energy, the collection offers a simple, yet stirring, message, oozing a sweeping, celestial splendour that’ll bewitch the listener instantly with its eerily enchanting allure. (ML)

M(h)aol – Gender Studies
I was blown away by the power of Irish post punks M(h)aol when I saw them perform their debut EP live at The Shacklewell Arms in November. The brooding, shadowy sounds on Gender Studies vehemently reject outdated attitudes and social constraints concerning gender, identity and equality. It’s a vital, much needed antidote to toxic patriarchal standards, providing listeners with a cathartic exhale of fury and freedom. (KC)

TOKKY HORROR – I Found The Answers And Now I Want More
GIHE writer Jay Mitra penned a great review of dance-punk trio TOKKY HORROR’s debut EP earlier this year, branding it “a cyber goth masterpiece that hits you as hard as MDMA” – and they’re not wrong. Packed full of manic electronics and pounding beats, I Found The Answers And Now I Want More is a whirlwind of EDM energy that’s impossible to sit still to. (KC)

Honourable Mentions

Alex Loveless – Phone Keys & Wallet (EP)
Arlo Parks – Collapsed In Sunbeams
BISHI –Let My Country Awake
CHERYM – Hey Tori (EP)
Elodie Gervaise – Syzergy (EP)
Elsa Hewitt – LUPA
Grace Petrie – Connectivity
Halsey –If I Can’t Have Love, I Want Power
Maria Uzor – Innocence and Worldliness (EP)
Me Rex – Megabear
Naoko Sakata – Dancing Spirits
Nun Habit – Hedge Fun (EP)
Okay Kaya – The Incompatible
Penelope Trappes – Penelope Three
SPELLLING – The Turning Wheel
Tirzah – Colourgrade
YAY MARIA – OYEZ
WILLOW – Lately I Feel Everything

Introducing Interview: th’sheridans

Following a decade on the scene, indie pop duo th’sheridans have recently released an epic, career-spanning compilation – Pieces Of General combining both old favourites and some newer treats. Showcasing their knack for creating scuzzy hooks, jangly beats and a swirling energy, the album offers reflections on poignant issues whilst oozing an uplifting effervescent euphoria. Whilst harking back to old favourites with a shimmering sense of nostalgia, the duo have managed to evoke a stirring resonance for right now; a sparkling call to arms, oozing a quirky, colourful spirit.

We were lucky enough to chat to the band to find out more… Have a read!

Hi th’sheridans! Are you able to tell us a bit about how you initially started creating music together?
We met at Bongos?! World Music Society in 2010 where we played “international folk” covers that ended up sounding more like a big indie band. The first thing the two of us really played together was an arrangement of the Italian partisan song ‘Bella Ciao’ (which may some day emerge as a b-side). And after trying out a batch of original sheridans songs, everybody agreed to do band.

I love your scuzzy, sparkling sounds but who would you say are your main musical influences?
Thank you so much! We put a lotta thought into the sounds and textures we use, so it’s lovely whenever that resonates with someone. Our songwriting really comes out of the Ramones playbook in that the songs can usually be broken down to a set of chords and a pop/R&B melody. As well as the broader ‘70s New York scene, ‘90s Riot Grrrl is a huge influence – especially Ladies, Women and Girls, Bratmobile’s second record. It’s key in terms of figuring out how to express and own our values in the songs, while keeping the hooks as tasty as possible! Klezmer music, Papa T. (Julia’s dad), and The Velvet Underground’s drone all play a big part in our arrangements, especially with the viola. Lastly (although this could easily spin out into a whole encyclopaedia…), artists like Hundred Waters, Beth Orton and Metric have really helped us hone how we incorporate electronic elements like drum machines and synthesisers.

You’ve just released your new career-spanning compilation album – ‘Pieces Of General’ which is super exciting! Are you able to tell us a bit about this? What made you decide to put together this collection of songs new and old?
This album really came out of conversations we had with Reckless Yes after signing with them in 2020. We were thinking about how we could best introduce ourselves to their audience while also capping off the DIY phase of our work. So Pieces Of General is basically greatest hits for a band that’s had… no hits, with some new tracks mixed in. The key thing for us was to sequence it as a coherent album, which only really became possible through Livio Beroggi’s incredible remastering work. Getting the chance to present these songs in this way has been truly wonderful, and having the label stand by and co-sign our work has meant so much to us personally.

And how have you found recording and promoting an album during these strange times?
Day to day, it’s honestly felt quite abstract, which is tough. But it’s also been a blessing to have this project to work on, especially with such wonderful collaborators. Having the remastered tracks coming in from Livio, or seeing Nestan Mghebrishvili’s artwork and design take shape – those were moments of total joy. Promotion’s been an unusual vibe (when is it not?), and at times it’s felt like folks have had more energy to get down and engage with something – and at times less. And that’s okay, we’re all trying to survive right now. But we’re grateful for where our work’s been given space or shared, and we’re particularly appreciative of Reckless Yes’s efforts to get our stuff further out there.

How have you been connecting with your audience and other musicians during the pandemic?
It’s been v. v. difficult. We’ve definitely missed the energy of a scene, of seeing friends do their thing and being inspired by that. The divisiveness of the UK government’s “it’s all up to you now, so fight amongst yourselves!” policies has been especially painful. We haven’t been rehearsing or taking bookings in the pandemic, because that hasn’t been right for us, and that’s still where we’re at. Bitch Hunt put it so well in a recent interview, where they pointed out that “it’s just less visible when people are not-doing-stuff.” Meanwhile, virtual connection has definitely felt more meaningful, whether that’s social media or ZOOM calls.

And has there been anything/anyone specific that has been inspiring you, or helping to motivate you, over the last couple of years?
Absolutely! In terms of craft or artistic practice, artists working in other media have been an increasingly big deal for us in how we approach our work as a band. Over the last few years, that’s included Frida Kahlo, Jean-Michel Basquiat, Diane Arbus. Exploring how someone develops, refines, unpacks, diverges from, expands on the themes in their work is just endlessly interesting – and where you find connection in that, it’s such a precious, beautiful experience. Same goes for how an artist lives their values – lately that’s been writers like Cecil Castellucci, artists like Bianca Xunise, and the folks over at wildly rad UK record label Amateur Pop Incorporated. And on that level of inner work, cultural workers like adrienne maree brown, Layla F. Saad, and Prentis Hemphill offer invaluable insights and pointed, necessary challenges. All their podcasts come highly recommended by yr local sheridans.

As a band keen to call out sexism and racism, how do you feel the industry is for new artists at the moment? Do you feel much has changed over the last few years?
There’s always values at work in any piece of art, the same way there’s always values at work in any conversation. And because of the overt and more transparent experience of fascism in recent years, we’ve felt the need to be increasingly direct and open about our values, as in songs like ‘I Don’t Wanna Be Dismembered‘. It’s also important to pair that kind of projection with practice and embodiment. And, while we name and explore the things we can speak to, we’re also trying to do the work around the things we don’t directly experience. As far as what we’ve seen lately, it’s a mixed bag(uette). Something we’ve noticed is a kind of values drift, particularly when it comes to specific intersections of marginalised identity (eg. white bands only paying attention to gender as a lens). And it’s hard to know how much it’s just the predictable co-option of whatever’s on-trend, or something else. Dr. Angela Y. Davis reminds us that even if it is just co-option, it means we’re getting somewhere. And at the same time, one of the biggest shifts has been witnessing the start of mainstream conversations that were previously totally off the table, specifically with regards to structural racism. And, as so many of those who have spoken truth to power have always underscored, one of the things that keeps us going is the idea that folks younger than us won’t have to go through the same things we have over the last decade or so.

And, as we’re a new music focused site, are there any other upcoming artists or bands that you’d recommend we check out?
A list! Shilpa Ray (‘70s New York vibes for the modern day, best scream outside of metal), Naz & Ella (grunge + indie + folk), Breakup Haircut (spooky pop-punk), Jemma Freeman and The Cosmic Something (cutting edge post-punk), Whitelands (shoegaze lives!), sweetbellechobaby (radical atmospheric pop), Bitch Hunt (emotionally real indie punk).

(Great choices – all GIHE faves!)

Finally, in addition to the release of your album, what does the rest of 2021 have in store for th’sheridans?
Anxiety and hibernation! We do have our next release already in the can though (a li’l late ‘80s throwback), and we’re currently figuring out which thematic batch of songs to get into next.

Massive thanks to th’sheridans for answering our questions!

Pieces Of General, the new compilation album from th’sheridans, is out now via Reckless Yes. Buy it on bandcamp now.

LISTEN: GIHE on Soho Radio with Bitch Hunt 30.06.21

Tash, Kate & Mari were back on the NYC & Culture channel on Soho Radio for their third GIHE new music show! They played a mix of golden oldies and new tunes from some of their favourite women, non-binary and LGBTQ+ artists.

London-based non-binary band Bitch Hunt joined them to talk about First Timers Fest, their recent EP Shapeshifter, working with their ultra supportive label Reckless Yes and their enduring love for Dave Grohl…

Listen below:

 

Tracklist
Kelis – Good Stuff
Lolawolf – Whole House
Täpp – Aquaria
Witch Prophet – Makda
HAVVK – Automatic
Lingua Ignota – PENNSYLVANIA FURNACE
WheelUP ft. Tiawa – Take Me Higher
Desire Marea – Tavern Kween
Sharon Van Etten & Angel Olsen – Like I Used To
Wet Leg – Chaise Longue
Varley – The Pressure
Girl Ray – Give Me Your Love
CMAT – 2 Wrecked 2 Care
Bitch Hunt – Eau Claire
**Interview with Bitch Hunt**
Th’Sheridans – I Don’t Wanna Be Dismembered
The Linda Lindas – Racist, Sexist Boy
BLAB – Eton Mess
Trouble Wanted – Lonely Cowgirl
All Day Breakfast Cafe – Old School Struggling
Cherym – Listening To My Head
Alice Hubble – Power Play
Blonde Maze x Attom – I Think About
HARD FEELINGS – Holding On Too Long
Seinabo Sey – Younger (Kygo Remix)
Joni Mitchell – All I Want

PLAYLIST: Pride 2021

As many of our regular readers will know, at Get In Her Ears we strive to support LGBTQIA+ artists all year round via our website, radio show and our live music nights. This Pride Month, we continue to celebrate and share the work of these artists, and take some time to reflect on the history & impact of LGBTQIA+ artists in music and in wider creative spheres too.

Our co-founder Tash Walker, who is also the Co-Chair of the charity Switchboard LGBT+ Helpline & co-producer of the award-winning The Log Books podcast, wrote this powerful intro to our Pride Playlist last year. We’re sharing her words again to let our LGBTQIA+ readers and allies know: we see you, we support you and we love you – this month, and every month. If you need support during Pride Month or at any time, you can always reach out to Switchboard LGBT+ via their website or by calling 0330 330 0630.

Tash: “It’s more important than ever to remember why Pride started. Remember the lengths the LGBTQIA+ communities have come, but more importantly, how far we still have to go. The LGBTQIA+ communities and their allies need to stand strong and united with each other, but especially the black and transgender and gender non-conforming communities.

Covid-19 and its multiple lockdowns have had an unimaginable impact on all of us, especially folks from marginalised communities – magnifying any existing situation people may be in from domestic violence to transphobia, biphobia, homophobia but especially loneliness and isolation. Something members of the LGBTQIA+ communities have been battling heavily against for a while now.

What Pride means to everyone within the LGBTQIA+ communities will be different, but as a queer person I stand and I protest for every single one of those people’s rights. For LGBTQIA+ rights, for anti-racism, for black people, for people of colour, for transgender and gender non-conforming people and every intersectionality in-between. We have to learn from our history and we have to work together where we support the human rights of each and every one of us. People should be free to live without fear of judgement or discrimination. People should not have to fear for their lives because of their sexuality, gender identity, race, socio-economic class, disability or religion.

If your pride flag doesn’t include black and brown stripes, it’s outdated. If your pride flag doesn’t include the transgender flag, it’s outdated. So wherever you are, at whatever Pride you are supporting, spread the word and make it known – equality is for everyone, but most importantly, black lives matter, trans lives matter, black trans lives matter.”

Read about our track choices for our Pride 2021 playlist below and scroll down to the end of the post to listen to it on Spotify.

Ma Rainey – ‘Prove It On Me Blues’
This 1928 song by Ma Rainey, who is unarguably the mother of blues, is possibly one of the first references to queer lesbian culture. 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+ playlist. (Tash Walker)

Jackie Shane – ‘Any Other Way’
We’ve played Canadian soul-singer Jackie Shane multiple times on our GIHE radio show, 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)

Big Freedia – ‘Judas’ (Lady Gaga Cover)
I’m absolutely loving Big Freedia’s cover of Lady Gaga’s ‘Judas’ which features on Gaga’s Born This Way Reimagined album, celebrating the 10th anniversary of her second record. Gaga has also enlisted the help of Kylie Minogue and Orville Peck to embellish her evergreen sentiments about self love, having the freedom to love anyone you want and to express that love however you want to. (Kate Crudgington)

Lido Pimienta – ‘Declare Independence’ (Björk Cover)
This is such a beautiful cover by Colombian-Canadian artist Lido Pimienta, released as part of Spotify’s Pride campaign. I was lucky enough to interview her last year about her amazing album Miss Colombia, and on this new offering her defiant spirit and powerful voice shine through just as brightly. Pimienta released this track as a statement of solidarity with the LGBTQ+ communities, and also for Colombian and Palestinian people struggling for freedom and dignity in their homelands. (KC)

Catherine Moan – ‘Fools’ (Depeche Mode Cover)
This is a fun, polished cover of a Depeche Mode b-side from Philadelphia-based electro-pop artist Catherine Moan. Her buoyant electronics and infectious rhythms give this slice of 80s alternative music nostalgia a welcome sultry twist. (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)

Hercules & Love Affair – ‘Blind’
Taken from their self-titled album released in 2008, the same year I attended London Pride for the first time, this 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)

SOPHIE – ‘Immaterial’
This track is taken from SOPHIE’s debut album and I love it. A pioneer of experimental music, often the producer behind so many other amazing tracks, remixes and artists. Described as disorientating latex pop which I think sums up my first experience of seeing SOPHIE live – intense at its best. (TW)

Mykki Blanco – ‘Free Ride’
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 their music is just oh so gooooood. (TW)

Desire Marea – ‘Tavern Kween’
This amazing track by Durban, South Africa-based artist Desire Marea was inspired by Desire’s aunts who went against social norms to find their own forms of freedom in the usually male-occupied taverns in their hometown of Amandawe. Desire explains: “It’s an ode to them, an ode for defiance and feminine manifestations everywhere, an ode to people who come alive at night, to people who enjoy being free and also an ode to people who are fierce about claiming their freedom.” The accompanying video is also sublime. (KC)

Witch Prophet – ‘Makda’
I have Tash to thank for introducing me to the majestic sounds of Ethio queer hip-hop fusion artist Witch Prophet. ‘Makda’ is a celebration of the Ethiopian Queen of Sheba and, as Witch Prophet explains, “the power of Black women and mothers” which she highlights in the track’s beautiful accompanying video. (KC)

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. (TW)

Ragdoll, Husk – ‘Throwback’
A collaboration between trans, non-binary artist and GIHE fave Husk and non-binary drag queen Ragdoll, ‘Throwback’ offers a wittily nostalgic dance anthem, sparking many fond memories for us millennials. A massively uplifting, fun-filled banger, complete with Husk’s smooth, soulful vocals and a wonderfully infectious groove, it’s a perfect accompaniment to any Pride party. (Mari Lane)

Crisp&Classy X Rookes – ‘Basic’
Electro-pop duo CRISP&CLASSY (aka producer Kat Knix and singer-songwriter Plushy) pride themselves on bringing sexual liberation and self-acceptance to the UK pop scene. Collaborating with GIHE fave, London-based artist and promoter of queer female identity, Rookes, ‘Basic’ is a vibrant, uplifting dance-floor anthem. Blasting into the ears with an explosive fizzing energy, it’s an effervescent ode to being yourself and silencing anyone who chooses to get in your way. (ML)

ARXX – ‘DEEP’
The latest single from GIHE faves Brighton duo ARXX, ‘DEEP’ is an empowering ode to leaving behind all your anxieties and getting what you want. Interweaving a more electro-infused, glitchy sound than previous releases with their signature ferocious grunge-fuelled drive, it instantly hits you with its raw, anthemic rush and gritty, sensual prowess. ARXX have now also released a number of remixes of ‘DEEP’ – including one by Dream Wife’s Alice Go. (ML)

Ci Majr – ‘Ultraviolet’
Non-binary Atlanta artist Ci Majr creates uplifting, emotion-filled pop anthems with a twinkling sensitivity. Taken from their latest EP Side Effects, ‘Ultraviolet’ sparkles with a heartfelt sense of hope alongside a scintillating energy and instantly catchy, shimmering hooks. (ML)

Alex Loveless – ‘Meet Me Tonight’
There’s something about Hackney-based DIY electronic artist Alex Loveless’ music that’s just effortlessly chill. ‘Meet Me Tonight’ is their latest single, but I would also recommend checking out their recent EP, Phone Keys Wallet too. (KC)

Amaroun – ‘Perish’
Amaroun talks about the themes she evokes in her music which consistently touch on her journey of being a black queer woman, overcoming struggles with sexuality and the importance of emotional honesty in music. In Amaroun’s words, “this track is an autobiographical reintroduction of myself”. It’s one of my faves. (TW)

BISHI – ‘Who Has Seen the Wind’
As part of Southbank Centre’s 2019 Meltdown Festival, Kate and I had the privilege of meeting Bishi. She’s 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)

STRAIGHT GIRL – ‘Limón’
Describing themselves as “fiercely and fearlessly queer,” Leeds-based electronic artist STRAIGHT GIRL is a master at exorcising their demons and developing them into their own brand of “grave rave” sounds. I love this track ‘Limón’ which is a vibrant, jagged soundscape inspired by disjointed and self-critical thoughts. (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 Itselfto this single for Amateur Pop Inc.’s compilation record, their offerings are intensely eclectic & so well produced. (KC)

Twin Pixie – ‘Firestarter’
Philadelphia-based hyper-pop duo TJ Cole and Aiv Rubino aka Twin Pixie are inspired by the likes of SOPHIE and Grimes and explore themes of queerness and the supernatural in their majestic, ethereal soundscapes. Propelled by glitchy beats, ‘Firestarter’ races with a sweeping cinematic allure as poignant spoken-word vocals soar, tearing into the sexist norms of society. (ML)

Khx05 – ‘Trouble’
I have Nova Twins to thank for introducing me to North Carolina-based artist Khx05. They feature on the duo’s compilation album Voices For The Unheard, a blistering collection of alternative anthems that showcase the eclectic, tenacious range of talent from artists of colour in the heavy & alternative music scenes. (KC)

Ms Mohammed – ‘Pandora’
‘Pandora’ and its rolling, rumbling drums – such a tune by Ms Mohammed who we had a total blast with in the Get In Her Ears studio a few years ago. As well as being an artist in her own right, Ms Mohammed founded the Clit Rock movement in 2013 as a way of speaking out against female genital mutilation. As a champion of cross-cultural tolerance and an out queer artist who advocates for LGBTQIA+ rights and visibility, Ms Mohammed is challenging prejudice through her music and we stand by her every step of the way! (TW)

pink suits – ‘pink suits everyone’
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. Taken from their recently released album, political child, ‘Pink Suits Everyone’ oozes a rousing, stirring intent. Offering a vibrant message of inclusivity and hope, here the duo urge us to come together and unite against the powers that seek to contain us. Watch the new video for ‘Pink Suits Everyone’ here. (ML)

Ezra Furman – ‘Suck The Blood From My Wound’
Having recently come out as a Transgender woman, and shared beautiful images of herself with her child, Ezra Furman has long been a favourite of mine, since I first fell in love with her 2018 album Transangelic Exodus. This Pride, I think it’s particularly important to celebrate the Transgender community whilst drawing attention to how society’s acceptance of trans and gender non-conforming people still has a long way to go. As Furman poignantly states in her coming out message: “I’m telling you I’m a mom now for a specific reason. Because one problem with being trans is that we have so few visions of what it can look like to have an adult life, to grow up and be happy and not die young. When our baby was born I had approximately zero examples that I had seen of trans women raising children. So here’s one for anyone who wants to see one. I’m a trans woman and a mom. This is possible.” (ML)

Chuck SJ – ‘Sink Your Teeth In’
This single is taken from DIY multi-instrumentalist Chuck SJ’s upcoming debut album Resist.Recharge.Revolt, which is set for release later this year. Full of atmospheric guitar riffs, sparse beats and glitchy electronics, it’s an industrial-tinged rumination on the forces that construct, influence and sometimes dismantle our ways of thinking. Chuck is also one half of punk duo Byenary who you can check out here. (KC)

Bitch Hunt – ‘Shapeshifter’
Non-binary band Bitch Hunt originally formed at the amazing First Timers fest, and have just released their debut EP via Reckless Yes. The title track of the EP, ‘Shapeshifter’ is a stirring slice of effervescent punk-pop, reflecting on themes of transition and gender identity, and how we are consistently ‘shape-shifting’ depending on our circumstances. A resonant yet ultimately uplifting offering, oozing a sparkling sense of optimism. (ML)

Grace Petrie – ‘Pride’
Taken from 2018’s album Queer As Folk, Grace Petrie’s ‘Pride’ offers a reflection on the strides that have been made for the LGBTQIA+ movement over the years, whilst also drawing attention to how far we still have to go to end all forms of discrimination. With her poignant, heartfelt lyricism oozing both a stirring sense of solidarity and hope, as well as frustration and rage (“I know you don’t want to face the fact / that each and every day we’re still being attacked…”), it’s a perfectly resonant anthem drawing attention to why we still need Pride, over 50 years on from the Stonewall Rebellion. (ML)

Naz and Ella – ‘Internalised’
Having been guests on our radio show back in 2019, alt-folk duo Naz & Ella recently released their new EP, De-Humanize. Taken from the EP, ‘Internalised’ is a deeply poignant offering about overcoming internalised queerphobia. Oozing a gritty edge and sweeping, stirring majesty, it’s an empowering ode reflecting the heartfelt message running throughout the EP as a whole, as the band explained in a recent interview with us: “… you don’t have to participate in your own dehumanisation to comply with social norms.” (ML)

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 no different, 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. From talking, to supporting, to asking and 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 encourage and show people that asking for help is a sign of strength not weakness. (TW)

Kele – ‘Smalltown Boy’ (Bronski Beat Cover) 
I was lucky enough to speak to Kele Orekeke about his new album The Waves Pt. 1 earlier this month for The Line Of Best Fit, and he was incredibly generous with his time. I regret that I was too shy to tell him how much of my late teens & early twenties I spent dancing to Bloc Party and his first album The Boxer, so I thought I’d mention it here instead. His cover of Bronski Beat’s iconic LGBTQ+ anthem ‘Smalltown Boy’ is really beautiful, fore-fronting the track’s unique melancholy in an understated and moving way. (KC)