GIHE: Ones To Watch 2021

Whilst 2021 may not be looking too promising in the grand scheme of things at the moment, the array of amazing new music to look forward to is giving us some hope. So many fantastic bands and artists over the last year have been getting us through the nightmare of 2020, and here we’ve selected just a few who’ve made a particularly lasting impression, and who we’re hoping to hear a lot more from over the next twelve months.

Following our Tracks, Albums and Highlights of 2020, here’s our Ones To Watch in 2021…

deep tan
With acclaim from the likes of The Quietus, NME, So Young and BBC 6Music already under their belts, Hackney based trio deep tan have been enchanting our ears this year with their immersive, hypnotic splendour. First capturing our attention with the swirling grace of 2019’s ‘Air’, they continued to cast their majestic spell over us with this year’s ‘deepfake’ – a poignant comment on the worryingly sexist ways the strange internet phenomenon is used in society. Fusing together the cold-wave side of post-punk with their trademark eerily captivating allure and illustrious, swooning French and English vocals, deep tan have already shown their knack for creating utterly bewitching, sonically complex, soundscapes. I expect their dreamy, effervescent charm to continue drawing in more listeners throughout 2021.
Listen to deep tan on Spotify or bandcamp now. 
(Mari Lane: Co-Founder/Managing Editor)

CMAT
I have The Irish Jam radio show to thank for introducing me to CMAT! The pop sensation released some stellar singles throughout 2020, including ‘Another Day (KFC)’ – a bop about crying your drunken heart out in a chicken shop – and ‘I Wanna Be a Cowboy, Baby!’ – a witty, melancholic anthem about struggling with urban isolation. I interviewed her via Zoom earlier this year and she was just a joy to chat with (read the full thing here.) Even though things still look shaky for the music industry in 2021, I reckon CMAT will release more singles that manage to hit the nail on the head, and I hope that she’ll continue to be a stand-up comedian via her Twitter and Instagram accounts too.
Listen to CMAT on Spotify or bandcamp now. 
(Kate Crudgington: Co-Founder/Features Editor)

Amaroun
Having already caught the attention of BBC 6Music and BBC Introducing, Jay Brown – aka Amaroun – spent the first part of 2020 releasing a new single each month. With each single touching on a different theme surrounding life as a queer woman, she has had us hooked on her scintillating alt-pop. From the poignant, swirling power of ‘Rise’ to the gentle romanticism and playful wit of love song ‘Scarlet’, and the grimey groove of latest single ‘Highest Head’ (a collaboration with Jung Mergs), Amaroun never fails to impress with her unique creations – in equal parts soulful and gritty. I can’t get enough of her stirring, effervescent power, and I’m excited to hear what she has in store for us in 2021.
Listen to Amaroun on Spotify or bandcamp now. (ML)

Divide and Dissolve
Formed of Takiaya Reed and Sylvie Nehill, Divide and Dissolve create eerie, thunderous instrumentals designed to rouse their listener’s state of awareness into questioning what it means to be truly free. I was thrilled to see the duo were back releasing new music this year and that their new album Gas Lit – the follow up to 2018’s Abomination – will be released in January 2021. With their dense and intriguing sounds, Divide and Dissolve are instrumental activists who seek to disrupt toxic white supremacy, reclaim indigenous rights and invite others to join their fight. Their elegant, doomy battle cries will be the perfect soundtrack to 2021.
Listen to Divide and Dissolve on Spotify or bandcamp now.
(KC)

Nuha Ruby Ra
With her diverse range of influences, background in art and satire, and the unique style of both her fashion choices and music videos, Nuha Ruby Ra feels at once a familiar composite of acts from the darker end of alt-pop, and something completely fresh. With two singles released earlier this year, Ra has recently dropped what looks to be a breakthrough. ‘Sparky’ is a tale of escapades in a post-punk, dark synth-pop style, the track is her first release on her new label, Brace Yourself Records, and is taken from the forthcoming EP, How to Move. Ra has been a burgeoning, if slightly less prominent artist for sometime, having appeared on stage with a number of indie favourites, including Warmduscher, but the spotlight seems to suit her perfectly. With her latest release having got radio airplay almost from the minute it was released, and a string of tour dates already planned for live return, don’t be surprised to see Nuha Ruby Ra’s name up in lights in 2021.
Listen to Nuha Ruby Ra on Spotify or bandcamp now.
(John McGovern: Contributor)

KIN
Having first charmed our ears when they played their second ever gig for us at The Finsbury back in January 2019, London trio KIN are already receiving plenty of acclaim for their euphoric alt-pop sounds. As evidenced by receiving over 70,000 streams on Spotify for recent bewitching single ‘Sharing Light’ (and nearly that many for other singles ‘L.O.V.E’ and ‘Wander & Lost’), they seem to be quickly rising to success; their alluring majesty providing a soothingly cathartic listen for fans of all genres. Consisting of Grace, Ritu and Adam, KIN have already completely stolen our hearts, both with their exquisite celestial soundscapes and their unwavering dedication to consistently championing fellow females in the industry. I cannot wait to hear more from them in 2021, and I’m quite sure I’m not alone in my excitement!
Listen to Kin on Spotify now.
(ML)

ZAND
Self-proclaimed “ugly pop” star ZAND creates delightfully wicked tunes that take down slut-shamers and whorephobes, whilst revelling in the joyful feeling of not fitting the mould. The Blackpool-based artist has cultivated a defiant sound and image for themselves, mixing their sweet vocals with savage rap verses laid across warped and wonderful electronics. They’ve got a lot to say and I’m looking forward to hearing more from them in 2021.
Listen to Zand on Spotify now.(KC)

King Hannah
Although I did feature King Hannah as One To Watch last year too, I think it’s completely necessary to include them again. Not only does 2020 not really count anyway, but I think it’s fair to say that, with the immediate success of their recently released debut EP Tell Me Your Mind And I’ll Tell You Mine and signing to City Slang Records (also home to Noga Erez, Lampchop and Laura Gibson), King Hannah are now on the cusp of something very, very exciting… I first fell in love with the Liverpool band (thanks to our writer, John!) on hearing their debut single ‘Crème Brûlée’ (which now has over 60,000 streams on Spotify) back in 2019 – its sweeping, ethereal power and majestic musicality completely casting me under its spell on first listen. And now the entirety of the EP remains utterly compelling; with shades of the likes of War On Drugs propelled by the unique melancholic splendour of Hannah Merrick’s vocals, it’s an emotion strewn listen, oozing a stirring, bewitching allure.
Listen to King Hannah on Spotify or bandcamp now. (ML)

CIRCE
London-based dark-pop artist CIRCE had me under her spell from the moment I read that her track ‘Ten Girls’ was inspired by Margaret Atwood’s novel, The Handmaid’s Tale. Her debut EP She’s Made Of Saints is a majestic blend of her bittersweet vocals, cinematic electronics, her feminist awakenings and obsession with the dark side of LA glamour, epitomised by tracks like ‘Dancer’ on which she explores the dangerous allure of Californian cult The Source Family. She’s crafted this mysterious, David Lynch inspired image that fits her sound perfectly too.
Listen to Circe on Spotify or bandcamp now.
(KC)

Ailbhe Reddy
Ireland-based artist Ailbhe Reddy made her debut appearance on the indie circuit in 2016. However, it was 2018’s beautifully poignant single ‘Shame’ which introduced me to Reddy’s sharp songwriting. Having completed the checklist of performing at various UK festivals, Ailbhe Reddy was poised to make the leap across the pond with a slot at SXSW festival before 2020 pressed pause on the live music industry. Despite the setback, Ailbhe Reddy provided the soundtrack of my lockdown 2.0 with her debut album Personal History. An introspective snapshot of everyday emotional turmoils, coupled with a polished production, Personal History is Ailbhe Reddy’s armour to march back into the live music scene in 2021.
Listen to Ailbhe Reddy on Spotify or bandcamp now.
(Nicky Lee-Delisle: Contributor)

New Pagans
Another Irish Jam find! Belfast-based New Pagans’ debut EP Glacial Erratic is an impressive collection of urgent, considered, intensely catchy songs that challenge the norms surrounding relationships, history and gender roles. The band take the best elements of post-punk, grunge and indie rock and transform them into beautifully melodic noise, and this is epitomised on ‘Yellow Room’, the single they released shortly after their EP. They’re currently working on a full length record, so fingers crossed they’ll be able to share that with us in 2021.
Listen to New Pagans on Spotify or bandcamp now.
(KC)

Fräulein
Having only come across Fräulein earlier this year, through seeing them perform a stripped back ‘live’ set for Hanni from ARXX’s Coming Out Staying In festival back in April, I’m already a big fan of the duo’s raw, visceral sound. Oozing a captivating dark energy, this year’s singles ‘Drag Behind’ and ‘Mary’ are propelled by the gritty power of Joni’s raw sweeping vocals, as abrasive, grunge-infused hooks steadily build an increasing tension with the help of Karsten’s immense beats. With shades of the mysterious allure of underrated ’90s band Slint, Fräulein offer a unique, spellbinding majesty. A new favourite, in ‘normal’ times, I’d be booking Fräulein for a gig with us at The Finsbury as soon as possible, but for now I will have to settle for listening to ‘Drag Behind’ on repeat, and dreaming of the day I can witness their dark energy live in a room full of sweaty fans.
Listen to Fräulein on bandcamp now. (ML) 

LISTEN: Divide and Dissolve – ‘Denial’

An exhilarating, powerful soundscape that aims to erode the foundations of colonialism and liberate the land for black and indigenous communities, multidimensional duo Divide and Dissolve have shared their latest single ‘Denial’. Taken from their upcoming album Gas Lit, which is set for release on 29th January 2021 via Invada Records, the track is an eerie cacophony of thunderous riffs, ear-shattering percussion and uncanny saxophone notes that aim to eradicate white supremacy.

“Sometimes we don’t need to talk in order for others to understand what’s going on,” the duo explain about their intense instrumentals. “We are communicating with our ancestors through the music. Our ancestors help us to communicate with each other on a deeper level as well. This deep connection is able to be achieved without words.” Through their blend of visceral noise and captivating visuals, Divide and Dissolve – formed of Takiaya Reed (Black & Tsalagi [Cherokee]) and Sylvie Nehill (Māori) – dismantle the social frameworks that prevent black and indigenous communities from thriving in an equal society.

The accompanying video for ‘Denial’ was shot in Taupo, Aotearoa by indigenous director Amber Beaton. “I’m a huge fan of Divide and Dissolve and so happy to have made this video for them,” Beaton explains. “I understand and appreciate the message behind the music and I wanted to make sure the video held the same intentions no matter how subtle.”

“For instance, we start off with a shot of a Kōwhai tree. Native to Aotearoa, Kōwhai in bloom signifies to Māori that some seafood is ready for harvest, the roots can be used to make fishing hooks, the sap on the sunny side of the tree can be used to heal wounds… but the vibrancy of the yellow flower was also the first thing Captain Cook saw when he arrived on the shores of Aotearoa signalling the start of colonial violence on this whenua/land. The changing colours of its flower in the video represents our change as a country and as people since that fateful arrival.”

Dedicated to shining a light on social injustices both past and present, Divide and Dissolve continue to demand equality on thunderous new offering ‘Denial’, which serves as another reminder of the duo’s talent for creating abrasive yet graceful soundscapes.

Listen to the track below.

 

Follow Divide and Dissolve on bandcampInstagramSpotify, Twitter & Facebook for more updates.

Photo Credit: Billy Eyers

Kate Crudgington
@KCBobCut

Track Of The Day: Divide & Dissolve – ‘We Are Really Worried About You’

An eerie, thunderous instrumental that rouses listener’s state of awareness and questions what it means to be free, Divide and Dissolve have shared their latest single ‘We Are Really Worried About You’. The track is lifted from their upcoming album Gas Lit, produced by Ruban Neilson (Unknown Mortal Orchestra), and set for release in January 2021 via Invada Records who the band have recently signed to.

“[The single] is a call to transformation and freedom,” the duo explain. “This song and video seek to undermine and destroy the white supremacist colonial framework. We are weaving together our fight for Indigenous Sovereignty, Black and Indigenous Liberation, Water, Earth, and Indigenous land given back. Decolonise now.” Together, Takiaya Reed (saxophone, guitar, live effects) and Sylvie Nehill (drums, live effects) seek to undermine these forces through their doom infused, powerful soundscapes.

Crashing cymbals, distorted bass lines and striking saxophone sounds form a swirling vortex of cathartic dissonance on ‘We Are Really Worried About You’. The track is accompanied by a captivating music video, directed by Sepand Mashiahof. “The world is structured to mould us down into stunted vessels that have to gaslight ourselves of our own truths/experiences just to survive. This video felt like an expression of that process,” explains Mashiahof. “The desperation to be heard and the stonewall silence that pushes you into the void of perpetual self-doubt and self-sabotage. The concept and the collaboration aspects seemed to also mirror what it takes to move through this grief, that you need friends and community to be able to address these things together and help each other heal through it.”

With their dense and intriguing sounds, Divide and Dissolve are instrumental activists who seek to disrupt toxic white supremacy, and encourage others to do the same. Watch the video for ‘We Are Really Worried About You’ below and follow the band on bandcamp, Instagram, Spotify and Facebook for more updates.

Photo credit: Billy Eyers

Kate Crudgington
@KCBobCut

PLAYLIST: March 2018

England’s finally defrosting after the visit from ‘The Beast From The East’, and us Get In Her Ears girls are ready to embrace the springtime. To get us in the mood, we’ve compiled our favourite new March tunes in to one fresh playlist. Check out why we’re loving what we’re loving below, and click on the playlist at the bottom to hear it for yourself…

Soccer Mommy – ‘Your Dog’
Soccer Mommy has a gift for exploring frustration and insecurity through laid-back vocals and melodic guitar, and ‘Your Dog’ is a sublime example of this. Her frank admission of “I don’t wanna be your fucking dog” is a cathartic, emotional uprising against neglect, that seethes and soothes in equal measure. I’ve been singing it obnoxiously loud since she released her debut album Clean earlier this month. (Kate Crudgington)

Skating Polly – ‘Queen For A Day’
Taken from their upcoming album The Make It All Show, and featuring guest vocals from Exene Cervenka (from seminal punk band X), Skating Polly’s new single interweaves scathing vocals with lush harmonies, exuding the sibling trio’s trademark seething energy and understated subtle power. Once again marking themselves out as going against the grain, with ‘Queen For A Day’ Skating Polly deliver an empowering sentiment, uniting anyone who doesn’t want to coincide with the confines of society’s limitations. (Mari Lane)

Pillow Queens – ‘Favourite’
The brilliantly named Pillow Queens released a new video to accompany their track ‘Favourite’ last week, and it features some dodgy goings on at a dog show. I’m excited to catch the Dublin band at The Irish Cultural Centre in Hammersmith on the 16th, alongside Delorentos, Video Blue and Tayne. Check out the Facebook event for more details. (KC)

Alex Rushfirth – ‘I Live It’
Infections and frenzied, ‘I Live It’ has to be my most played track from the last couple of weeks. Of the track, Rushfirth explains “I made the whole thing in my bedroom in a trance.” Warping the vocals to sound like they’re “being sung by an excitable small child” and that’s exactly how this song makes me feel…so heady, so feverish, so goddamn catchy. (Tash Walker)

ARXX – ‘Stuck On You’ 
New favourite band ARXX have previously completely blown us away with their immense, seething energy when playing for us live at The Finsbury a couple of months back. And now they’ve just released their fantastic, and totally addictive new EP. Entitled Daughters Of Daughters, as it’s been put together as a tribute to the music that Hannah Pidduck was brought up on by her Mother, it draws on an eclectic range of influences, and a variety of subject matter.

Taking a break from the riotous, punk-infused power of tracks such as ‘Moments At A Time’ and ‘Intervention’, ‘Stuck On You’ oozes a lush, country-pop romanticism as the soaring passion of Pidduck’s vocals flow, creating an instantly infectious, heartbreakingly catchy love song. (ML) 

Heka – ‘Did You See The Sunrise’
Heka was our guest on our first Get In Her Ears radio show of March, and we were lucky enough to have her perform this track live in the studio. ‘Did You See The Sunrise’ is so intimate and beautiful, with such strong searching vocals…described as “thoughts whispered to friends in dim lit rooms”. Mesmerising. (TW)

Amber Mark – ‘S P A C E’
This track is taken from Amber Mark’s 2017 EP 3.33am, which is about losing her Mother in 2013 and the stages of grief. ‘S P A C E’, the song that got her noticed, is just so enjoyable, rhythmic and about something we can all relate to but often find it so hard to articulate in this over connected, communication driven world. (TW)

Alice Bag – ’77’ 
If you need something inspiring to motivate you during these ridiculously cold, and depressingly dark times, then look no further. Punk legend Alice Bag has brought together a dream team if ever there was one – Riot Grrrl queens Kathleen Hanna and Allison Wolfe, plus an appearance from Shirley Manson – to bring us the perfect angst-driven anthem. Raging against the gender pay gap, it’s filled with seething, punk-driven riffs and is an empowering, inspiring call to arms to unite against the patriarchy and make the changes needed for equality, in the workplace and beyond. As Bag poignantly sneers “… don’t pretend that we’re paid equal… You wrote the script / But I’m writing the sequel.” (ML)

The Go! Team – ‘Huddle Formation’ 
Though the last couple of months have been largely filled with cold, dark days and a distinct desire to hibernate, seeing The Go! Team live a couple of weeks back breathed a new lease of life into me; their sunny charisma and vibrant energy brightening the mood like nothing else.

Although the band’s whole set at Camden’s Electric Ballroom was an utter joy to behold, and I was completely immersed in their infectious, jubilant sound throughout, the highlight of the night came in the form of Thunder, Lightning, Strike’s ‘Huddle Formation’. Splitting the huge crowd into two sides, magnificent front-woman Ninja lead the way as we all sung our hearts out to the chorus, and a wave of sparkling euphoria filled the venue. (ML) 

Big Thief – ‘Shark Smile’
Released back in 2017, ‘Shark Smile’ by Brooklyn’s Big Thief has only just popped up on my radar with its cruising, slow story telling indie lilts. A song about two lovers driving down a highway where only one survives a crash, ‘Shark Smile’ sways from intense descriptions of oxygen kisses to the welcome predictability of the steady drum, guitar laden chorus. I’m loving this tragic tale which feels somewhat strangely comforting. (TW)

Mesadorm – ‘Yours And Not Yours’
Taken from Mesadorm’s forthcoming album Heterogaster, ‘Yours And Not Yours’ explores an intense sense of doubt, both internally and externally – ricocheting between security and unease with the help of a dirty synth line and urgent, rich vocals. I’m totally hooked on it. (KC)

Divide & Dissolve – ‘Abomination’
Divide & Dissolve’s second album Abomination is a sonic force to be reckoned with. The Melbourne-based duo curate heavy-instrumentals designed to “decolonize, dismantle white supremacy, and empower people of color & Indigenous people”. This is the opening track on the record, and it’s an intense five minutes and fifty seconds of unnerving riffs and ceaseless cymbals, crashing together to form a desolate but powerful soundscape. It’s instrumentalist activism that seeks to disrupt the norm – and I love it. (KC)