PLAYLIST: January 2021

2021 hasn’t got off to the best of starts, but while we’ve been in another version of Lockdown here in the UK, the GIHE team have been busy unearthing some new music gems to help you get through the cold winter days. We’ve put together a stellar mix of alt-pop gems, atmospheric electronics, imaginative cover songs and gritty guitar tunes on our January playlist. Take some time to scroll through our track choices below and make sure you hit play on the Spotify playlist at the end of this post.

Follow Get In Her Ears on Spotify to hear all of our previous playlists too.

 

Noga Erez – ‘End of the Road’
Noga Erez is single-handedly saving 2021 with this new track & her upcoming second album KIDS, which is set for release on 26th March via City Slang. Exploring the thrill of the unknown through commanding beats and defiant lyrics, the Tel-Aviv based musician shrugs off the tight grip of mortality on this catchy, slickly produced new offering. I cannot wait to hear the record in full. Watch the fab accompanying video for ‘End of the Road’ here.
(Kate Crudgington)

Nilufer Yanya – ‘Same Damn Luck’
I’m loving Nilufer Yanya’s latest three-song EP, Feeling Lucky?, which is basically about losing and finding good luck. This particular track ‘Same Damn Luck’ deals with resentment and anger, all swept up in 80s guitar vibes. (Tash Walker)

NewDad – ‘Blue’
Another find courtesy of The Irish Jam radio show and recommended to me by Lizzie from Dublin trio Bitch Falcon, Galway-based dream-poppers NewDad create lucid guitar tunes that will melt the ears right off the side of your head. (KC)

Miss Grit – ‘Impostor’
‘Impostor’ is the title track from Miss Grit’s new EP, which is set for release on 5th Feb. The multi-instrumentalist is a genre-defying artist who has spent much of her life feeling out of place in rooms full of people, and this EP helped her overcome unwanted feelings of self doubt. The Korean-American musician has a sound that ricochets between atmospheric, angular and anthemic and I’m a big fan of her turbulent sounds. Read our interview with her here. (KC)

all cats are beautiful – ‘lucky cloud’
Not only do they have the best band name, but indie-pop duo all cats are beautiful create some really exquisite musical offerings. Latest single ‘lucky cloud’ pays homage to songwriter, cellist and queer icon Arthur Russell. Flowing with dreamy, twinkling hooks and serene harmonies, it maintains all the psychedelic grace of the original, whilst adding a unique uplifting charm and shimmering musicality. A ray of glistening sunshine (or indeed a ‘lucky cloud’) at a time when the rest of the horizon may be looking a little grey. ‘lucky cloud’ is available on bandcamp, with all proceeds split equally between Act Up New York and the Terrence Higgins Trust – supporting people living with HIV/AIDS. (Mari Lane)

Fears – ‘tonnta’
A delicate rumination on her relationship with her late Grandmother who suffered with dementia, ‘tonnta’ – meaning ‘waves’ in Irish – is one of fears’ most poignant singles to date. The Dublin based multi-instrumentalist released the track to celebrate the launch of her new label TULLE, which you can read more about here. (KC)

SLUGS – ‘Super Sane’
LA alt-rockers SLUGS have released this intensely relatable, bittersweet guitar tune that navigates life’s many contradictions. It’s a welcome tonic for the ears in these weird and confusing times we’re living through. (KC)

Lauren Lakis – ‘Sail Away’
I love this hazy, heavy offering from dark dream-rock artist Lauren Lakis. The track explores the idea of running away with your inner child, protecting and nurturing it into a capable adult. Moody reverb and Lakis’ clear, emotive vocals make this a captivating listen. (KC)

Maya Lakhani – ‘The Line’
The driving new single from Maya Lakhani, ‘The Line’ is a soaring alt-rock anthem. Oozing a fierce energy as grunge-fuelled hooks blast out alongside Lakhani’s impassioned, soaring vocals, it’s a compelling offering with shades of the likes of noughties rockers Evanescence. (ML)

The Nova Hawks – ‘Redemption’
Black country band The Nova Hawks are set to release their debut album next month and have now shared a taste of what’s to come with its title track. An immense slice of rock ‘n’ roll, ‘Redemption’ blasts into the ears with soaring, gritty vocals and fuzzed out bluesy hooks, all delivered with a raging, soulful energy. Redemption, the debut album from The Nova Hawks, is out 12th February via Frontiers Records. (ML)

Table Scraps – ‘Doom Generation’
The latest single from Birmingham trio Table Scraps, ‘Doom Generation’ and its post-apocalyptic theme couldn’t be more resonant right now. Immediately hitting the ears with a disconcerting sound of an air-raid siren, the track builds with immense thrashing riffs and a searing sense of urgency. As the seething, angst-driven power of the vocals rage, ‘Doom Generation’ provides a fierce, riotous commentary on the state of society at the moment. ‘Doom Generation’ is taken from Table Scraps’ upcoming album Coffin Face. Watch the animated video for the single here. (ML)

Kermes – ‘Peeling Off The The Rind’
The latest raucous single from Leicester queercore outfit Kermes, ‘Peeling Off The Rind’ forms part of a double A-side, found exclusively on bandcamp. Propelled by scuzzy, swirling hooks and a shimmering, angst-driven energy, front-person Emily’s raw, seething vocals provide a much needed slice of uplifting catharsis. ‘Peeling Off The Rind’ and accompanying track ‘Terms’ are available digitally and on limited edition cassette via Amateur Pop Incorporated on Kermes’ bandcamp page now. Another recent single from the band ‘Like A Sister (Again)’ is available on Spotify, which is what we’ve put on our playlist!
(ML)

 

BLAB – ‘Casual Sex’
Described as an “ode to the dilemmas of single life,” Southend-based musician BLAB has shared her latest single ‘Casual Sex’ via indie label Cool Thing Records. Full of angsty guitar licks and savage lyrics, the track riotously takes down those who only want your company for a disappointing twenty minutes. (KC)

Graywave – ‘Like Heaven’
An atmospheric guitar tune that tackles the urge to self-sabotage, Graywave’s anthemic single is inspired by the sounds of Men I Trust and Slowdive. ‘Like Heaven’ is taken from Graywave’s upcoming EP Planetary Shift, set for release later this year. You can also listen to their new single ‘Before’ here. (KC)

Okay Kaya – ‘You’re Still The One’
I’m vibing the covers this month, and have been listening to this one a lot. ‘You’re Still The One’ by Okay Kaya, who was the last person I saw live in February 2020 at SET in Dalston, London. I’ve thought about that show so much throughout this last year, the tenderness, the raw goosebump nature of hearing their voice live. God I miss gigs. (TW)

Mary Lou Lord & Mikaela Davis – ‘Some Song’ (Elliott Smith Cover)
Iconic riot grrrl label Kill Rock Stars turns 30 this year! To celebrate, they’re releasing a string of cover singles under the title Stars Rock Kill (Rock Stars), where several artists from around the world will cover tracks from the label’s expansive back catalogue. This is the first single from the series – a dreamy cover of Elliott Smith’s ‘Some Song’ by Mary Lou Lord and Mikaela Davis. (KC)

Maria BC – ‘Adelaide’
An ambient reflection on finding your way back to the world after feeling disconnected from it, Brooklyn-based musician Maria BC’s debut single ‘Adelaide’ is a blissful lo-fi gem. The track is taken from their upcoming EP Devil’s Rain, which is set for release on 5th February via Fear of Missing Out Records. (KC)

Vagabon feat. Courtney Barnett – ‘Reason To Believe’
A perfect combination of two of my favourites, Vagabon and Courtney Barnett, covering ‘Reason to Believe’. Of the track Vagabon says: “The decision to have Courtney sing it with me came after we performed it together live at the Palace Theatre in Los Angeles on Valentine’s Day 2020, a month before lockdown. It was fresh in our brains then, so not long after the show, Courtney came over and we recorded her parts.” Barnett added: “I’m a huge fan of Vagabon and Karen Dalton so this was a dream. They both have a voice that absolutely knocks the wind out of me. I really admire Lætitia and am constantly inspired by her songwriting, production, and our sporadic FaceTime chats.” (TW)

Laura Guarch – ‘Náufrags (Castaways)’
Following previous single ‘Fleeting Light’, Spanish born, London-based artist Laura Guarch has now has now shared her latest single ‘Nàufrags (Castaways)’. It flows with an anthemic, emotion-strewn musicality, propelled by Guarch’s rich crystalline vocals in her native language of Catalan. A truly captivating, ethereal soundscape with shades of the other-wordly majesty of Björk. (ML)

Catgod – ‘Sometimes I Care For You’
The first of three singles to be taken from Oxford band Catgod’s upcoming album, ‘Sometimes I Care For You’ is an ode to the isolation we feel when we cannot express ourselves. Flowing with a stirring, heartfelt emotion, it’s propelled by the rich power of Cat’s soaring vocals alongside Robin’s twinkling harmonies, creating a truly captivating soundscape. ‘Sometimes I Care For You’ is out now, and Born Again, the upcoming album from Catgod, is set for release in Spring. (ML)

Chuck SJ – ‘Sink Your Teeth In’
Taken from their upcoming debut album Resist.Recharge.Revolt, this is the latest single from DIY musician & multi-instrumentalist Chuck SJ. Full of atmospheric guitar riffs, sparse beats and glitchy electronics, the track is an industrial-tinged rumination on the forces that construct, influence and sometimes dismantle our ways of thinking. (KC)

Little Dragon & Moses Sumney – ‘The Other Lover’
Another perfect collaboration, this time coming from Little Dragon and Moses Summer, who have recreated an old Little Dragon song in the form of ‘The Other Lover’. Speaking about the partnership Little Dragon said: “When we reached out to Moses we didn’t know what to expect. What we received was very stripped down, with his beautiful voice. We jammed along and sent it back. It bounced back from his end with added horns and sounded beautiful to our ears. We are very proud of this.” (TW)

Alex Loveless – ‘Phone Keys Wallet’
Hackney-based independent musician Alex Loveless has shared this sultry new single and I’m 100% into it. Recorded, mixed and produced by Loveless themselves, the track is lifted from their upcoming debut EP which is set for release on 14th February. (KC)

Nuha Ruby Ra – ‘Sparky’
One of our ‘Ones To Watch’ for this year, Nuha Ruby Ra shared ‘Sparky’ at the end of 2020, and it’s a gritty slice of electro-tinged alt-pop. With her raw, no-frills spoken word vocals, alongside catchy hooks and a scuzzed-out playful groove, it’s an honest, majestic offering luring us into the unique world of Sparky and Nuha Ruby Ra’s bewitchingly unique sound. (ML)

S.A.A.R.A – ‘Grace Jones’
London-based musician S.A.A.R.A has one ambition – to make people dance – and with her funky beats and catchy refrains on ‘Grace Jones’ she achieves just that. I love her retro-infused sounds and look forward to hearing more from her this year. (KC)

Black Gold Buffalo – ‘Lay It Down’
Throwing it back to 2018 with this atmospheric alt-pop gem from Black Gold Buffalo. I’ve been busy diving into the GIHE radio archives recently for our #ThrowbackThursday sessions, as we’ve been unable to get into the Hoxton Radio studio to broadcast our weekly live show due to Lockdown 3.0/Covid-19. I rediscovered this show we recorded with Black Gold Buffalo back in March 2018, and I’ve been listening to their debut self-titled album ever since. ‘Lay It Down’ reminds me of being 28, living in London, falling in love and making the most of my evenings by going to gigs or being on air with Tash and Mari. I took it all for granted at the time, but I’m really looking forward to getting back out there and doing it all again once it’s safe. (KC)

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)

INTERVIEW: Beckie Margaret

Since the release of her debut single ‘Cars & Catacombs’ via Cool Thing Records in 2017, Essex songwriter Beckie Margaret has been working hard crafting cinematic, reflective soundscapes about her experiences as a young woman. With her latest single ‘Divine Feminine’ she’s reaching new heights in terms of artistic confidence, and strengthening our belief that she’s one of the most naturally gifted songwriters we’ve had the pleasure of listening to. We had a quick catch up with Beckie to talk about her latest single, her upcoming debut album, her memories of the Sofar Sounds & GIHE gig she played just before the first lockdown in March, and whether there might be a seasonal single on the horizon…

Hello Beckie, how have you been coping and staying creative during the on-going Covid-19 pandemic?
It’s definitely been difficult to stay creative during Covid. I’ve really had to remind myself to unlock that child-like mind set so I can then sit down and write or create. I definitely have to work in short, quick bursts now though, otherwise the stresses of the world seep into my work.

You’ve just released your new single ‘Divine Feminine’. Talk us through what inspired you to write it.
The main thing that inspired ‘Divine Feminine’ was the observation of people that drain your energy and keep you from reaching your highest self. I think in your 20’s you realise that not everyone has your best interests at heart, so it’s a semi diss track I suppose. I like to think it reflects the aggression of this year in many ways.

You’ve been busy recording your debut album this year. Talk us through some of the highlights of the process, and what your anticipations are for the record once it’s complete.
I’m very much a studio girl so making an album was very special, especially at SS2 with Rees Broomfield who is absolutely incredible and completely understood my creative vision. Having Rees as well as my band to help with hybrid tracking on some of the more organic tunes really made the whole experience perfect. I already can’t wait to record another, everyday was a highlight to be honest.

You played live for GIHE & Sofar Sounds in March about a week before the first lockdown was put into place. What are your main memories from this night?
That was my first Sofar Sounds, so for it to be a GIHE event too was lovely. A really tender night full of honest acts and a respectful audience. As well as the hosting being amazing by Kate and Tash/ I’m glad it was the last gig I played before lockdown, it for sure kept me going thinking about how wholesome the evening was.

Any artists or bands you can recommend we listen to at the moment?
Arlo Parks’ writing is amazing, I’ve been listening to her a lot. I have had slowthai on repeat as well.

Finally, Christmas is coming up…have you ever been tempted to work your magic on a festive classic?
I literally say this every year, I WILL write a Christmas song! I’m so up for it. I would so channel a Coldplay Christmas song vibe, on my list of things to do…

Thanks to Beckie for chatting to us!
Follow her on Spotify, Instagram, Facebook & Twitter for more updates.

Photo Credit: Antonio Milevcic

Kate Crudgington
@KCBobCut

VIDEO PREMIERE: BLAB – ‘R.I.P’

A savage combination of wicked guitar riffs, sardonic vocals and witty lyrics, Essex-based artist BLAB has shared her debut single ‘R.I.P’. Released today (3rd July) via Cool Thing Records, the track is a cathartic expression of personal frustration designed to help listeners move past their lingering resentments.

“Being able to express anger in an unfiltered way can be super super healthy, as long as you’re not hurting others” explains Frances Murray – aka BLAB. ON ‘R.I.P’ she playfully rips through her unresolved anguish, turning it into an indie-pop, punk-infused anthem. “To me, it feels like a reclamation of power to be able to freely express my anger from that time in my life. It’s such a bold statement that it had to be the first single; it’s like opening a can of worms and a firework coming at you instead!”

The accompanying video for ‘R.I.P’ was shot by Murray during isolation and playfully reflects both the frustrations explored in the track, and the restrictions the lockdown has imposed on artists. BLAB won’t be held back by these things though, and ‘R.I.P’ is a hectic debut from this emerging new talent.

Follow BLAB on Facebook and for more updates.

Kate Crudgington
@KCBobCut