GIHE: Personal Highlights Of 2021

2021 has been another strange year. Live music tentatively returned after multiple Covid-19 lockdowns, which meant the GIHE team were finally able to see some of our favourite bands in the flesh. The easing of restrictions also meant we were able to physically get into a studio to record our monthly Soho Radio show together! More than ever, we were grateful to feel connected – either through the internet or in real life – to our friends and followers, and that’s what our Personal Highlights of 2021 reflect.

Read below for a recap of some of our Personal Highlights of the year. Huge thanks to everyone who has supported GIHE. Love & solidarity. x

 

Team Highlight: Moving to Soho Radio

After six years of presenting our new music show on Hoxton Radio, the GIHE team were invited to move over to Soho Radio’s airwaves. They say a change is as good as a rest, and this change certainly helped to re-energise us to get back into doing what we love: fan-girling on air about our favourite music and talking to the bands and artists who create it. Noga Erez helped us launch our debut show in May, and since then we’ve spoken to BISHI, Bitch Hunt, Fears, BLAB, Maria Uzor, Grandmas House & The Log Books’ Shivani Dave. It’s a privilege to have this platform on Soho to promote women & non-binary artists, and we’re excited to bring you more radio shows with them problem pain 2022!

 

Mari Lane (Co-Founder & Managing Editor)

Interviewing Sleigh Bells

With the release of their sixth album Texis this year, genre-defying duo Sleigh Bells have been firm favourites of mine over the last decade, and have provided many personal musical memories. From dancing the night away to the immense energy of the likes of ‘Rill Rill’ or ‘Infinity Guitars’ throughout my 20s, to watching that scene of Jessica Jones on repeat, purely because of the incredible power that ‘Demons’ adds to the narrative. It was such an honour to speak to vocalist and songwriter Alexis Krauss in September about the album, her collaborative process with producer/guitarist Derek Miller, the formation of Sleigh Bells, being a woman in the industry, and her involvement with Young Women Who Crush – an amazing sounding organisation for young women and gender expansive youth from New York City public schools, inspiring them to discover the outdoors and develop their leadership skills. You can read the full interview here.

GIHE Live at The Shacklewell Arms with Problem Patterns, pink suits & GUTTS

Hosting our first gig at The Shacklewell Arms was such a joyous experience in every way. Not only was it an honour to be able to organise an event at such an esteemed venue at which I’ve spent many a night enjoying some of the best live music at, but everyone who works there was so lovely and helpful, that it made the whole experience completely stress-free. Massive shout-out to sound engineer Sofia, a total pro who is amazing at what she does!

And of course, what made the night particularly special was the bands. With GIHE having been mega fans of Northern Irish punks Problem Patterns for some time now, it was such a privilege to be able to host their first London gig. With each poignant, raging offering, the band filled the venue with their swirling, empowering energy and fierce, infectious passion, uniting the crowd with both their righteous anger and vibrant, joyous sense of fun. With the captivating, riotous force of queer Margate duo pink suits, and the angst-driven ‘sax punk’ of opening band GUTTS too, it really was a dream of a night and I’m so grateful it was able to go ahead. You can check out pics of the event here.

Talking to The Independent about Women’s Safety at Gigs & Festivals

Kate and I spoke to Elizabeth Aubrey for a feature in The Independent about the need to make music events safer spaces for women, girls and the LGBTQ+ community. A topic we feel extremely strongly about. We discussed our zero tolerance policy to sexual assault and harassment at our events, and measures we put in place at our gigs to try and ensure the safest possible environment for all. It was also the first time I’ve really properly talked about the experience of having my drink spiked whilst at university in Leeds – the issue of women and girls being spiked sadly being something that seems particularly prevalent at the moment.

I was really grateful to be given the opportunity to speak to Elizabeth about such an important issue and hope that, with an increased awareness in the public eye, more ‘active bystanders’ and with more women, girls and LGBTQIA+ folk feeling safe enough to speak out, more can start being done by the industry as a whole to put a stop to instances of abuse or harassment, and to provide the safest possible spaces. You can read the full feature here.

Interviewing Celeste Bell (Poly Styrene’s daughter)

With the release of the documentary Poly Styrene: I Am A Cliché this year, we were lucky enough to talk to Celeste Bell – Poly’s daughter and co-director of the film, along with Paul Sng – about the inspirations behind the film, her relationship with her mother and the sexism that still prevails in the music industry. Based around a wonderful book by Zoë Howe, Dayglo: The Poly Styrene Story, the film chronicles Poly’s remarkable and often troubled life, including never-seen-before footage of her, telling her moving story predominantly through the eyes of her daughter.

In addition to discussing the film, it was interesting to speak to Celeste about how far the industry and society’s attitudes towards women still have to go, and the urgent need to revive some of Poly’s punk spirit. To unite, overcome adversity and bring about change, we could all do with being a bit more like her, to start to undo the bondage that binds us into this patriarchal society. As Poly says: “Oh Bondage, Up Yours!”. Read the full interview with Celeste here.

Honourable Mention: Ezra Furman

I thought I’d also give an honourable mention to Ezra Furman, who came out as a Transgender woman earlier this year and shared beautiful images of herself with her child. 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.”

 

Kate Crudgington (Co-Founder & Features Editor)

Chatting to Cool Thing Records on Soho Radio about GIHE

I’ve been following Southend indie label Cool Thing Records since my Gigslutz days, so when Luke invited me on to their Soho Radio show (Cool Thing Presents) to chat about my experience as a DIY music journalist, I was genuinely chuffed. I loved reminiscing with him about landmark musical moments in my life and how we came to launch GIHE. I also managed to wedge in an impersonation of Eastenders’ Nick Cotton into our chat, which you can listen to in full here.

The Cool Thing team have supported GIHE in everything we do, and we naturally support them back. Their roster is bursting with talent – from BLAB, Mai and Beckie Margaret, to Asylums, Suspects, BAIT and The Horse Heads – I’m constantly impressed and excited to hear their new releases. There’s an immense amount of passion, commitment and empathy behind everything they do, and I look forward to working with them throughout 2022.

My first gig after Covid-19 & our first GIHE gig of 2021

When I walked in to Electrowerkz to see DROWND – aka my brother Joe – play his first gig of 2021 in August, I was tanked up on Gin & Tonic because I was nervous to be doing something “normal” for the first time in over a year. Despite my anxieties, within minutes of the gig starting, my mind blocked out any Covid-19 paraphernalia; it just let the intense, heavy sounds blasting out of the speakers spread through my cells. It was fucking brilliant. I didn’t want the night to end.

I had a similar sensation watching Schande and CURRLS perform at our first GIHE gig of 2021 at The Victoria a few months later in November. I watched from a distance as Mari worked the room, ensuring the bands and everyone who was attending felt safe and valued. 2022 is looking like another dodgy year for live music, but I hope we’ll get to attend and organise more gigs like this at some point soon.

Talking to NME about Women’s Safety at Gigs

With the return of live music, unfortunately, came the return of the all-to-familiar reports of sexual harassment and assault at gigs and festivals. It’s something we have experienced first hand at GIHE, and we know many of our friends and followers have also lived through these grim and debilitating experiences. That’s why we feel it’s important to push forward with our own policies at events to keep women & non-binary people safe, and to keep the conversations about women’s safety in the public eye.

Mari & I spoke to NME journalist Charlotte Krol about this and how we think things can be improved earlier this year. You can read the full feature here.

Favourite Interviews of 2021

One of the main things that’s kept me going this year are the conversations I’ve had with bands and artists about the music they make. It’s such a privilege to have access to someone’s creative processes, and I am humbled every time an artist shares their own thoughts and influences with me. I also love it when bands consistently crack jokes about how bored they are of hearing their own music, like Cork art-punks Pretty Happy did when I spoke to them back in September.

My conversations with Circe, Nadia Javed, Breakup Haircut, Sian O’Gorman (NYX Choir), Lilith AI, Softcult, Nova TwinsBleach Lab and Divide & Dissolve all left a lasting impression on me in 2021.

 

Victoria Conway (GIHE Contributor)

Helen Love @ Sheffield Pop Weekender Sidney and Matilda (first gig after lockdown)

I’m not sure if this was my first gig after lockdown, but, woah, it was the most memorable. After over 18 months without live music, Helen Love took me back, headfirst and in glorious technicolour. They fired up the drum machine and powered through a set of glitter-fuelled bubblegum punk pop with swagger and smiles. The legendary Ms. Love, still looking badass after fronting the band for almost 30 years, stood in front of a dizzying video collage and blasted out the hits to a crowd who roared their appreciation by shouting along to every word. ‘Does your heart go booooom?’ was a standout; it was the musical equivalent of someone shaking up a can of Monster Energy and letting it spray absolutely everywhere. I’m talking pure, giddy caffeinated joy! It was beautiful to reunite with a band I’ve loved for over half my life, and to do it on a dancefloor packed with much-missed gig buddies.

Thanks for everything folks. We’ll see you in 2022!

 

PLAYLIST: August 2021

The GIHE team have unearthed some more new music gems for you to listen to on our August Playlist! There’s an eclectic mix of electronic bangers, swirling shoegaze tunes, gritty guitar tracks and alternative alt-pop sounds. 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 GIHE on Spotify to hear all of our previous playlists too.

Grandmas House – ‘Golden’
The GIHE team collectively ADORE this single from Bristol queer punk trio Grandmas House. Taken from their upcoming self-titled debut EP, which is set for release on 15th October via Brace Yourself Records, ‘Golden’ is a gritty, thundering reflection on the apathetic outlook of the organisations that profit from the suffering of others. (Kate Crudgington)

ARXX – ‘Not Alone But Not With You’
The latest single from our total faves, ‘Not Alone But Not With You’ continues to cement ARXX as consistently exciting and forever honing their sound to become even more amazing. A gritty, yet reflective, and unapologetically honest offering, I just love this track’s driving emotion and anthemic singalong energy. Another swirling slice of rousing power-pop from the impressive Brighton duo. There’s also a fab Comic Review of this track up now, courtesy of illustrator Sally-Anne Hickman. (Mari Lane)

HighSchool – ‘Sirens’
Full of moody vocals, buzzing bass lines and playful riffs, Melbourne trio HighSchool have shared this sultry lo-fi banger accompanied by a very cool music video. Check out their previous single ‘De Facto‘ too. (KC)

Basement Revolver – ‘Skin’
Inspired by guitarist & vocalist Chrisy Hurn-Morrison’s thoughts and struggles about her own body image, Basement Revolver’s ‘Skin’ is a swirling, reassuring ode to self-acceptance. The track is taken from the band’s upcoming album Embody, which is set for release later this year. (KC)

Slow Crush – ‘Hush’
Hazy guitars, lush vocals and heavy beats combine on this beaut new single from Belgian shoegaze outfit Slow Crush. ‘Hush’ is also the title of their upcoming album, which is set for release on 22nd October via Quiet Panic. (KC)

Lost In Your Mind – ‘Restless’
Dublin-based newcomers Lost In Your Mind have shared this new single today, along with an accompanying video. Inspired by their love of Riot Grrrl, post punk and dark wave, Aoife McMahon, Tracey McEvoy, Elisa Kuhl and Andrea Lambe make music that makes them feel good, and latest single ‘Restless’ does exactly that. (KC)

Berries – ‘The Expert’
The latest single from GIHE faves, London trio Berries, ‘The Expert’ takes down all those patronising know-it-alls with a spiky punk energy. Tackling imposter syndrome with a ferocious, grunge-fuelled drive, Holly Carter’s distinctive sweeping vocals ring out with a rippling power alongside frenzied riffs, showcasing the band’s trademark raw passion. (ML)

Barry – ‘Neolithic Homosex’
Following their eponymous 2019 album, South London based Barry have now shared a new double A-side release. First of the tracks, ‘Neolithic Homosex’, ponders the all-important issue of what gay sex was like in ancient times. Propelled by breezy beats and joyously jangly hooks, whirring keys flow alongside brazen vocals and added cheering hand claps, oozing an uplifting, sunny energy with a fizzing, playful charisma. ‘Neolithic Homosex’, alongside double a-side ‘No More Boys’, is out now. Download from bandcamp. (ML)

Beorma – ‘Her’
I love this track from Birmingham-based duo Beorma. Mixing R&B and indie pop sensibilities with a Prince inspired guitar solo, ‘Her’ is a smooth, melancholy-tinged reflection on absent love. (KC)

Sans Soucis – ‘On Time For Her’
London based artist and one of our faves Sans Soucis has released ‘On Time For Her’ as the lead single from their highly anticipated EP of the same name. Speaking of the track, Sans Soucis says it’s a life changing statement: “It means that I am finally here for myself and I’m ready to seek happiness in life rather than being stuck in my past trauma.” (Tash Walker)

Emma Bradley – ‘I’ll Be Outside’
22 year old Emma Bradley’s ‘I’ll Be Outside’ is a song I find incredibly calming, written about being the person who shows up for yourself. Of the track, she explains “I hope that when people hear my songs, they can feel less alone in their own experiences and also empowered in some way. I think sensitivity gets a bit of a bad reputation, but everything that we feel someone else somewhere has also felt.” (TW)

Bleach Lab – ‘Real Thing’
This Bleach Lab melts me every time I listen to it. Definitely check out their recent EP A Calm Sense Of Surrounding if ‘Real Thing’ makes you a big ball of feelings too. (KC)

Anna B Savage – ‘Since We Broke Up’
Lifted from her upcoming EP These Dreams which is set for release on 24th September via City Slang, Anna B Savage’s latest single ‘Since We Broke Up’ tentatively celebrates the joy she experienced after an emotional break up. If you like the sound of this, you should definitely check out her debut album A Common Turn. (KC)

Aisha Badru – ‘The Way Back Home’
The latest single from Aisha Badru, ‘The Way Back Home’ offers an endearing reflection on relationships and the age-old realisation of “if you love something, set it free”. Propelled by a lilting energy and shimmering grace, it’s a beautifully stirring ballad, with a poignant lyricism swirling throughout. A simply exquisite, evocative creation that’ll soothe the ears with its resplendent, uplifting allure. The Way Back Home, the upcoming EP from Aisha Badru, is set for release on 3rd December. (ML)

Olivia Dean – ‘Slowly’
‘Slowly’ is a lovely piano ballad from Olivia Dean showcasing a different, more intimate side to the London artist. Taken from her recently released EP, Growth. (TW)

Siv Disa – ‘Toxic’ (Britney Spears Cover)
Having recently announced the release of her upcoming debut album, Siv Disa has now shared a wonderfully unique cover of a Britney Spears classic. Propelled by a shimmering musicality and chiming beats, Disa’s rendition of the 2001 anthem oozes its own majestic ethereal haze as the bewitching, sweeping allure of her vocals flows throughout. A beautifully captivating ode to our favourite pop queen. Siv Disa comments on her decision to release this cover: “Now that the abuse of Britney’s conservatorship has been exposed I hope we’re all taking a minute to think about how she was publicly judged ten years ago, and how that played into the nightmare she had to live in. I hope she gets back everything that was taken from her. We love you, Britney!!” (ML)

Alex Loveless – ‘Brixton’
East London based musician Alex Loveless’ new single ‘Brixton’ captures a moment of romantic indecision with its lo-fi beats and strung out vocals. This is Loveless’ first release that features a guitar, which they managed to borrow from a friend. (KC)

BEBELUNA – ‘Drunk’
BEBELUNA is an artist I’ve played before on our radio show and I’ve been following them ever since. This track ‘Drunk’ is a very enjoyable mash up of jungle and electroclash. My only criticism of is that it is TOO SHORT, but there’s nothing wrong with being left wanting for more. (TW)

CREATRX – ‘experience’
Non-binary, LA based rebel CREATRX declares they are “Not a boy / not a girl / baby I’m an experience” on this savage new single. “This song is a reflection of how I view my gender,” CREATRX explains. “I feel that my spirit (and many others) transcends the limited ideas of gender in Western society and this is a song celebrating that – encouraging us all to take up space, explore and push more.” This single is taken from their upcoming EP dirt. honey. glitter. water, which is an exploration of “what it means to be Black, young, ratchet and spiritual” in today’s world. (KC)

DROWND – ‘Sinner’ (KANGA Remix)
I’m a big fan of KANGA’s industrial, pop-tinged sounds and I am obsessed with her remix of DROWND’s new track ‘Sinner’. Full disclosure – DROWND is the new project of my older brother Joe – and I am thrilled that she’s remixed this track for him as he is also a big fan of her work. You can check out the slick visuals for the original track here. (KC)

Nilufer Yanya – ‘Day 7.05093’ (keiyaA Remix)
I can’t get enough of this track with its synthy sizzles, insect tapping beats and of course Nilufer Yanya’s dreamy vocals. So good. Check out their recently released Feeling Lucky? Remix EP out now. (TW)

John Glacier – ‘Icing’
This song comes in at under 2 minutes and leaves me gagging…gasping for more! It comes from elusive East London vocalist John Glacier, taken from her recently released 12-track project SHILOH: Lost For Words. You can all send me your thanks for the recommendation later, but for now enjoy ‘Icing’ because this track is over almost as soon as it starts. (TW)

BABii – ‘Shadow’
As is always my want, I’m going to slip a little bit of UK garage influenced music into this playlist. ‘Shadow’ from BABii nods to those club sounds we’re all desperate to be immersed in right now, with an edge of electronics. (TW)

JOON – ‘Just Can’t Get Enough’ (Depeche Mode Cover)
A cover of the Depeche Mode classic, JOON’s rendition of ‘Just Can’t Get Enough’ offers a playful, twinkling soundscape, whilst maintaining all the colourful energy of the original. Joon is Yasmin Kuymizakis, a Maltese musician and producer who ten years ago survived a life-changing car accident, and since then has seen making music as a necessary part of recovery. She’s recently released her beautiful album Dream Again and is also co-founder of the Maltese Sound Women’s Network – an organisation connecting, supporting, mentoring, promoting and educating women and girls in electronic music and sound. Find out more about her in a recent interview we had with her. (ML)

YAY MARIA ft. Franx – ‘Template’
Having previously captivated our ears as the front person of Grawl!x, Trans and queer artist YAY MARIA has now announced the release of her debut solo album, Oyez. The first of three tracks to be shared from the album, ‘Template’ is an empowering slice of poignant power-pop. Made in collaboration with Nottingham based queer artist and musician Franx, it’s a blissfully euphoric anthem celebrating being your true self in the face of adversity. You can buy ‘Template’ on bandcamp now – and all proceeds are going to the QTIBIPOC Therapy Fund; an initiative of the Radical Therapist Network, to create access for Queer & Trans People of Colour to safe therapeutic spaces & services. (ML)

Jenny Moore’s Mystic Business – ‘He Earns Enough’
Featuring members of Trash Kit, F*Choir and Bamboo, six-piece choral punk ensemble Jenny Moore’s Mystic Business have been captivating our ears for some time. Latest single ‘He Earns Enough’ reflects on shamelessly money-grabbing men who increased their fortunes to the tune of billions during the pandemic, while millions around the world struggled and suffered. As the swirling layers of vocals trickle alongside each other and grow with an empowering energy, a sweeping, celestial splendour is created. And, ending with a sea of voices exclaiming “Enough!” in unison, it perfectly captures the rage and sense of hopelessness of living with the continuing injustices of a patriarchal capitalist society. He Earns Enough, the upcoming new EP from Jenny Moore’s Mystic Business, is set for release 8th October via Lost Map Records. (ML)

Bas Jan – ‘You Have Bewitched Me’
Formed of songwriter, vocalist and multi-instrumentalist Serafina Steer, alongside Rachel Horwood (Trash Kit, Bamboo, Jenny Moore’s Mystic Business), Emma Smith (the Elysian Quartet, Jarv Is, Seamus Fogarty) and Charlie Stock, London experimental collective Bas Jan have now shared their first music in three years. Propelled a swirling ethereal majesty, ‘You Have Bewitched Me‘ offers an effervescent reflection on the mesmerising power of first attraction and new love. With the delicate grace of its sparkling harmonies, ‘You Have Bewitched Me’ showcases the subtle power of crystalline voices coming together in unity to create a truly euphoric soundscape. (ML)

MEI – ‘Let Dusk Welcome Me’
Taken from London artist MEI’s latest EP, ‘Let Dusk Welcome Me’ provides a welcome pool of tranquility. Reflecting on a refreshing evening walk she took after having been ill with COVID, it interweaves a lilting jazz-infused groove and funk-fused beats, rippling with the smooth allure of MEI’s lush, soulful vocals and a gently empowering spirit. The Hard Way Around The Sun, the new EP from MEI, was created with an all-female team and is out now. (ML)

Blonde Maze – ‘Being Pulled’
The latest single from total favourite, New York based artist Blonde Maze, ‘Being Pulled’ is inspired by “the conflicting feelings of wanting to move forward while being pulled backwards by your memories”. Bathing the ears in shimmering ripples of dreamy reflection and oozing a woozy, hypnotic splendour, Amanda’s vocals flow with a blissful haze, creating the perfect soothing tonic. A beautifully calming and delicately uplifting soundtrack that I so desperately need right now. (ML)