GIHE: Tracks 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 some music this year – 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.

Following our album round-up yesterday, today we share our ‘top tracks’ of 2020. As you can tell, we haven’t held back, as there’s just been so much amazing music released this year that we felt deserved a mention. So, read about our forty two favourite songs of the year (told you we weren’t holding back!), and then hit play on our mammoth, and super eclectic, playlist at the end of this post….

HAWXX – ‘Deadlands’
Having previously blown us away with their immense live show, heavy rockers HAWXX this year released their epic four track debut Deadlands. And the immense title track has been on heavy rotation around my ears since first hearing it back in May. With an explosive frenzied energy propelling raging hooks and the seething vocals of front woman Anna Papadimitriou, it’s an utterly compelling whirlwind; a fantastically fierce accompaniment to the chaos of 2020.
(Mari Lane: Co-Founder/Managing Editor) 

Vulpynes – ‘Sister’
Having been majorly disappointed when we had to cancel our April gig at The Finsbury that Dublin duo Vulpynes were set to headline, it came as some consolation that they released a perfectly riotous EP Us Against Them later in the year. Taken from the EP, ‘Sister’ is a powerful ode to ‘pseudo sisterhood’. Propelled by Molly’s raw, impassioned vocals, it oozes an immense sense of urgency amid a seething eerie underlying force. With swirling, reverb-strewn hooks and pounding primal beats, it’s a fantastically fierce, empowered slice of ferocious rock magnificence.
(ML)

Guitar Gabby/The Txlips – ‘The Dead Pool’
With a mission to change the narrative in which the music industry showcases women, Atlanta based Guitar Gabby and The Txlips partner with Girls Rock Camps internationally and nationally to bring classes about home recording, equipment set up, copyright law and more to young girls. Taken from their explosive album Prison Of Life, ‘The Dead Pool’ is filled with scuzzed out riffs as Gabriella Logan’s seething growl soars. Oozing a gritty emotion, it’s a ferocious, empowering anthem; a completely necessary angst-driven offering for these strange times.
(ML)

Problem Patterns – ‘Sell By Date’
Taken from The Fight Is Not Over – a collaborative record with songs from Strange New Places, Gender Chores and Sister Ghost, in addition to Problem Patterns – ‘Sell By Date’ is a perfectly raging anthem rallying against societal gender norms and the pressures and expectations put on women of a certain age to have children (something I relate to HARD). Propelled by an empowering seething energy, it’s a frenzied fist-clencher that leaves me longing to witness it in all its live glory. The Fight Is Not Over addresses the need to continue pushing for more inclusive and diverse spaces and was recorded by Rocky O’Reilly to raise money for  The 343, an Artist-Focused, Feminist-led, Queer Arts Space in East Belfast. Read our interview with the four bands and find out more about the project here.
(ML)

New Pagans – ‘Yellow Room’
I love it when my feminist literature and new music worlds collide! Inspired by the semi-autobiographical short-story The Yellow Wallpaper by American author Charlotte Perkins Gilman, Belfast-based New Pagans’ penned ‘Yellow Room’ to highlight the need for a specialised parent-and-baby mental health unit in Northern Ireland. Through the medium of Gilmans’ text, the band explore the isolation faced by new mothers, with Lyndsey McDougall’s urgent vocals leading the way. I loved listening to the band’s EP Glacial Erratic earlier this year too and I can’t wait to hear more from them in 2021.
(Kate Crudgington: Co-Founder/Features Editor)

LIINES – ‘Sorry’
Having received acclaim from the likes of Sleaford Mods, John Kennedy and BBC 6Music’s Steve Lamacq, as well as blowing us away headlining for us at The Finsbury, Manchester trio LIINES consistently impress with their distinctive, raw post-punk. Oozing the band’s trademark dark, brooding power, ‘Sorry’ builds with deep, intense bass lines, the gritty, commanding growl of vocalist Zoe McVeigh and Leila O’Sullivan’s consistent pummelling beats. Propelled by a thrashing sense of urgency, it’ll captivate the ears with its punk-fuelled bewitching allure.
‘Sorry’ is out now (with B side ‘On and On’) via Reckless Yes.
(ML)

Tiger Mimic – ‘Where The Fire Used To Be’
Disappointed that we had to cancel what would have been their debut gig for us in April, we were glad to hear Tiger Mimic’s new releases this year. Propelled by a driving energy, ‘Where The Fire Used To Be’ blasts out racing riffs alongside the soaring splendour of front woman Jess’ striking vocals. Building to an immense climax, it offers a sense of hope in these seemingly hopeless times, reassuring us that “the whole world will start over in the spring”.
(ML)

Bitch Hunt – ‘Spaceman’
Since forming at First Timers Fest, London based all queer/non-binary band Bitch Hunt have been going from strength to strength; last October impressing us at GIHE us with their immense live set at The Finsbury. Taken from a split cassette that they released with fellow faves adults earlier this year, ‘Spaceman’ is an observational and relatable slice of punk-pop. With Bitch Hunt’s trademark impassioned energy and swirling harmonies, it’s a spot-on reflection on the sickening arrogance of all those cis male ‘splainers and ‘spreaders we so often have to endure in our day to day lives.
(ML)

Porridge Radio – ‘7 Seconds’
In a year where so much went wrong, watching the unstoppable rise of Porridge Radio felt so right. With ‘7 Seconds’ the band moved away from the guitar-heavy sound of their Mercury-nominated album, Every Bad, towards alternative ’80s synths. The result is reassuringly nostalgic, like it’s jumped from the soundtrack of a badass John Hughes film; melancholic, but still upbeat and unbelievably catchy.I’m in love with front-person and songwriter Dana Margolin’s voice. Bold and strong, but vulnerable too, they sing of wasting, waiting and rising above it all. Against the backdrop of a rather tedious few months, ‘7 Seconds’ feels hopeful and exciting. When it comes on the radio, as it frequently has, I feel a little jolt of electricity run through my veins. And it’s a jolt that’s wired straight to my heart, mind… and my feet. The song – and the band – are something very special, and I can’t wait to see what they do next.
(Vic Conway: Contributor)

CMAT – ‘I Wanna Be a Cowboy, Baby!’
“Always the cowboy, never the cow / I hate the way my life turned out” might just be the lyric of 2020, provided by Irish pop sensation CMAT. “[The song is] based around a VINE that was really popular from a couple of years ago of a load of guys drinking cans outside in a playground saying “I wanna be a cowboy baby!,” CMAT explained when we spoke to her about the single in September. The popstar has a talent for taking obscure scenarios and molding them into intensely relatable, catchy pop tunes and ‘I Wanna Be a Cowboy, Baby!’ is a charming slice of  Americana-tinged pop that laments the struggles of urban isolation.
(KC)

Kynsy – ‘Cold Blue Light’
Based on her own experience of being at a New Years Eve party watching a man spout racist remarks, Dublin-based multi-instrumentalist Kynsy’s single ‘Cold Blue Light’ is a dark synth-pop gem that oozes with defiant attitude. I love her genre-blending sounds and I’m excited to hear more from her in 2021.
(KC)

Jessica Winter – ‘Sad Music’
This is the title track from Queen of sad bangers Jessica Winter’s debut EP, and it’s an electro-pop gem. Inspired by the need to relieve heartbreak through the medium of music, Winter effortlessly blends elements of electronica, pop, R&B and industrial music to create her intensely dance-able sounds. I pranced around my bedroom miming to ‘Sad Music’ for most of Lockdown 1.0.
(KC)

Husk – ‘Heal With Time’
One of our favourite discoveries of 2020, Manchester-based trans non-binary artist HUSK creates uptempo pop gems. Released in the summer, ‘Heal With Time’ oozes a celebratory sound juxtaposed with a poignant, reflective lyricism. Propelled by ’80s-inspired glistening hooks and synth-soaked uplifting summer vibes, it’s a vibrant, danceable anthem, shimmering with a sparkling empowering energy.
(ML)

Kadija Kamara – ‘Best Moves’
Even in uncertain times, London-based songwriter Kadija Kamara remains focused on her ‘Best Moves’. On this single, she calmly reminds listeners to own their “magic” and recognise the value of their own work, reassuring them with her warm beats, grooving bass lines and smooth vocals. With a sound best described as “alt-soul” which combines her love of ’60s and ’70s analogue sounds, Kadija’s passion for nostalgia permeates her musical output.
(KC)

Evil House Party – ‘Wicked’
An intoxicating blend of hazy vocals and sultry synths, Evil House Party’s debut single smoulders with the intensity of a hot summer night fuelled by Bonnie & Clyde-esque musings. ‘Wicked’ is a “bittersweet revenge pop anthem” that seduces listeners with its yearning vocals and heady beats.
(KC)

CIRCE – ‘Ten Girls’
London based dark-pop artist Circe is inspired by the films of David Lynch, the brutality of Margaret Atwood’s fiction, the soundtrack to Stranger Things and Baz Lurhmann’s Romeo & JulietThis single ‘Ten Girls’  takes its title from a quote from The Handmaid’s Tale. Of the track, Circe explains: “[Atwood’s novel] is a poetic but disturbing view of women living in a dystopian oppressive world. This chimes with my own fractured generation of cancel culture, swipes of sex, and revenge porn.” I’m obsessed with Circe’s debut EP She’s Made Of Saints, which is full of sweeping, cinematic gems.
(KC)

Notelle – ‘Bugs’
I love the industrial-tinged production and wispy vocals on Nashville-based “nightmare-pop” artist Notelle’s single ‘Bugs’. She wrote this song after a break-up when she felt like part of her ex was still invading her body and it’s an intoxicating, feverish effort to rid herself of this unwanted sensation.|
(KC)

Noga Erez – ‘You So Done’
A resilient, emotionally charged offering from an uncompromising artist, Noga Erez’s single ‘You So Done’ delves deep into the memories left behind by a toxic relationship. Far removed from the joviality of her lockdown inspired single ‘NO News On TV’, Erez channelled her fears, frustrations and un-nerving flashbacks into this track, which radiates with artistic confidence. Accompanied by a stunning set of visuals directed by Indy Hait, also featuring her musical partner Ori Rousso, the Tel Aviv-based artist continues to blow us away with her mesmerising musical accomplishments.
(KC)

Eilis Frawley – ‘Stats’
Taken from her incredible EP Adult Life, Eilis Frawley’s ‘Stats’ is one of the most stunning and necessary listens of 2020. Offering a completely unique soundscape from the classically trained percussionist, it combines arresting drum-beats with Krautrock-infused spoken word, as the lyrics see Frawley recite hard-hitting stats, highlighting the everyday injustices facing women today. Tackling issues such as period poverty, FGM, domestic violence and other vital issues, it’s a beautifully striking and necessary listen. A poignant protest song that you can dance to. Adult Life is out now via Reckless Yes.  
(ML)

Princess Nokia – ‘Sugar Honey Iced Tea (S.H.I.T)’
Openly queer rapper and all round inspiration, Destiny Nicole Frasqueri – aka Princess Nokia – writes powerful, feminist anthems promoting self love and raging against the patriarchy. Fusing together infectious beats and a powerful, angst-driven energy, along with her trademark tongue-in-cheek wit, with ‘S.H.I.T’ Princess Nokia once again offers an empowering and playful presence in these times when pushing for change is so important.
(ML)

Æ Mak feat. Seba Safe – ‘i dance in the kitchen’
Joyfully schooling listeners how to make uplifting kitsch-pop tunes under the strangest of circumstances, Irish artist Æ MAK’s single ‘i dance in the kitchen’ was made with “100% childsplay and solo belly laughs.” Featuring the vocals of fellow Irish artist Seba Safe, the track is lifted from her EP how to: make a kitsch pop song to show the world, which she produced from home during Lockdown 1.0. I loved bopping around my bedroom to this record and of course, dancing in the kitchen to it too.
(KC)

Lido Pimienta – ‘Eso Que Tu Haces’
No-one else makes electronic music sound as warm and meaningful as Colombian-born, Toronto-based artist Lido Pimienta does. This track ‘Eso Que Tu Haces’ (translated roughly as ‘That Thing You Do’) is one of many triumphant singles lifted from Pimienta’s Grammy-nominated album Miss Colombia, which is a vivid celebration and criticism of her Colombian heritage. I have spent many an hour marvelling at the artwork on this record and singing along to my baby pink vinyl, despite knowing only three words in Spanish.
(KC)

Eckoes – ‘The Light’
Having dazzled us playing live at The Finsbury a few years back, London-based Eckoes consistently creates beautiful, soothing soundscapes. Filled with strobing synths and shimmering guitars, ‘The Light’ showcases the truly spellbinding power of Eckoes’ soaring vocals, as it lulls the listener into a cathartic sense of hypnosis with its alluring grace. A truly captivating offering from an artist on the rise.
(ML) 

Serena Isioma – ‘King’
Chicago-based musician Serena Isioma’s single ‘King’ is full of seductive beats and brooding bass lines. It’s a shimmering reflection on the problematic friendships 20-year old Isioma has found themselves in. “’King’ is about remembering your worth,” the songwriter explains. Isioma’s latest EP The Leo Sun Sets is every bit as poignant and dreamy as this single.
(KC)

Despicable Zee – ‘We Won’t Stop’ (Tiiva Remix)
A captivating, left-field electronic exploration of dual heritage, motherhood and self-autonomy, Oxford-based drummer and producer Despicable Zee (aka Zahra Haji Fath Ali Tehrani) released her third EP Atigheh in 2019. This year, with the help of an eclectic mix of collaborators, Zee shared a remix of the recording titled Atigheh Reimagined, which opened with this track by Tiiva. Keeping the hypnotic qualities of the original, Tiiva’s treatment of  ‘We Won’t Stop’ fuses smooth, breathy vocals together with dense yet ambient beats. I can’t recommend listening to this EP enough, it also features collaborations with Tiece, Planningtorock and Young Knives.
(KC)

MJ Guider – ‘FM Secure’
Lifted from her album Sour Cherry Bell, MJ Guider’s shadowy single ‘FM Secure’ is permeated by murky industrial sounds and atmospheric, beguiling vocals. Based in New Orleans, MJ Guider (aka Melissa Guion) blends elements of shoegaze, gothic pop and industrial sounds to create her hypnotic music. On Sour Cherry Bell, Guider explored power dynamics and the notion of “lost and found” and these musings extended to ‘FM Secure’, its ominous glow intensifying with each listen.
(KC)

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

Kelly Lee Owens – ‘L.I.N.E’
I could have picked any track from Kelly Lee Owens’ second album, Inner Song, having listened to it on repeat so often that it’s become like listening to one continuous ambient epic.  ‘L.I.N.E.’ stands out, as the most deeply emotional song on the album, and because it gives some exposure to Owens’ vocals, also a central feature of  ‘Luminous Spaces’, her collaboration with Jon Hopkins, and one of my favourites from last year .  It’s also a reflection of how much more electronic music I’ve listened to lately (other notable acts from the last 18 months have included Peggy Gou, Bicep, and HAAi).  It could be that I’ve missed the old days of being out and about, at venues packed with bodies, light and sound – but I also think there’s something valuable in the (often) unspoken emotion of electronic music at a time when connections between us all have been strained.  Given the domestic nature of much of recent times, and paraphrasing a Jarvis Cocker single from 2020, I’ve been listening to House Music all year long.
(John McGovern: Contributor)

Grawl!x – ‘Epicene’
Having headlined the last gig we held at The Finsbury before the world changed forever, Grawl!x creates euphoric cinematic soundscapes filled with twinkling electronic hooks and spellbinding harmonies. Characterised by Maria’s distinctive impassioned vocals and a poignant stirring emotion, each offering from the Derby-based artist is utterly captivating.
‘Epicene’ is taken from Grawl!x’s album Peeps, out now via Reckless Yes.
(ML)

Penelope Trappes – ‘Eel Drip’
A goose bump inducing electronic soundscape, ‘Eel Drip’ is the title track from London-based, Australian-born artist Penelope Trappes’ most recent EP. It’s a dark, delicate rumination on accepting the inevitability that our lives will all be touched by death at some point. Through her arpeggiated electronics and beguiling vocals, Trappes extrapolates on these themes and invites her listeners to experience the comfort and the catharsis that comes with this acceptance.
(KC)

Mentrix – ‘Walk’
Born in Iran but now based in Berlin, Mentrix (aka Samar Rad) blends her experiences of eastern and western culture along with traditional Sufi instrumentation to create her beguiling, bold soundscapes. ‘Walk’ is full of captivating vocals, atmospheric electronics and commanding percussion. It’s taken from her debut album, My Enemy, My Love, which is a powerful exploration of female resilience, independence and what happens when women are caught between two cultures, each filled with their own flaws and freedoms. It’s a stunning record and this track is a definite highlight.
(KC)

Blonde Maze – ‘Not All Flowers Bloom’
Having been a huge fan of New York artist and previous guest on our radio show Blonde Maze for a long while now, it was wonderful to hear her new releases this year. Reflecting on the realisation that even though something is beautiful, it may not last forever, ‘Not All Flowers Bloom’ is a truly euphoric slice of electro-pop. A perfect example of Blonde Maze’s knack for creating exquisite soundscapes. I could listen to everything she creates on a loop forever; it’s just so completely calming and blissfully cathartic.
(ML)

CATBEAR – ‘Girl Crush’
A dreamy electro-pop rumination about wanting a friendship to develop into something more romantic, London-based queer duo CATBEAR’s single ‘Girl Crush’ was written during Lockdown 1.0. Recorded and produced in Zoe  Konez’s home studio in Brixton, the single is a completely DIY affair, with Sarah Smith laying down her vocals in her spare room wardrobe. The pair playfully ponder the “could-have-beens and what ifs” when it comes to thinking about that certain someone. Their charming pop creations were a welcome distraction for those caught up in a crush during unusual times.
(KC)

Ellis – ‘Fall Apart’
Released in early January, Canada’s alt-indie angel Ellis released this swirling single. Dawning at a time of blissful ignorance during a quiet moment before the storm to come, Ellis couldn’t have anticipated the level of comfort ‘Fall Apart’ would bring to her listeners in 2020. With dreamy, personal moments illustrated so softly, Ellis’ peaceful scenes of whispers under sheets served as a euphoric escape that also acknowledged hardship through self-awareness. Both humility and hesitation are felt through Ellis’ symbolism of what it means to accidentally fall apart. Her delicate depictions and flustered lyrics are realities felt by so many. Hushed vocals and warm guitar tones embody the closeness and tenderness that ‘Fall Apart’ illuminates. A nostalgic essence is met with a small amount of weariness that captivates the complexity and fear of being unconditionally seen by another, even on our worst days. In an uncertain time it has served as a utopian narrative of relatability and release. Ellis’ ‘Fall Apart’ is a therapeutic moment that exists in a cloudy sky, gloomy, but kissed by the sun.
(Jill Goyeau: Contributor)

Talking Violet – ‘Indigo’
Canadian band Talking Violet’s first single in two years,  ‘Indigo’ offers an ethereal dreamscape oozing a shimmering haze and immersive shoegaze-tinged hooks. Flowing with the Cocteau Twins-esque vocals of front woman Jill Goyeau, and swooping other-worldly melodies, it’s an utter sonic delight. A truly immersive listen that’ll leave you longing for more. (Jill also happens to be an excellent writer for us at GIHE!)
(ML)

ARXX – ‘Call Me Crazy’
Following the release of last year’s EP Wrong Girl Honey, and 2018’s debut Daughters Of Daughters, total faves ARXX this year returned to our ears with ‘Call Me Crazy’. Whilst it may be a bit of a change in tone for the Brighton duo, it loses none of the emotion-strewn power we’ve come to know and love. Showcasing Hanni and Clara’s more reflective side, it offers a heartfelt offering reflecting on mental health struggles, at a time when this topic is more resonant than ever before. Whilst dealing with an affecting subject, however, ARXX manage to create a truly uplifting and instantly catchy empowering anthem.
(ML)

Emma Kupa – ‘Nawlins’
Already a big fan of her band Mammoth Penguins, I’m no less in love with Emma Kupa’s solo material. Taken from this year’s beautiful album It Will Come Easier, ‘Nawlins’ flows with lilting, folk-strewn melodies and Kupa’s distinctive raw vocals. Filled with a heartfelt lyrical storytelling and euphoric uptempo musicality, it builds with glistening hooks to a stirring slice of perfect indie-pop. It Will Come Easier is out now via Fika Recordings.
(ML)

Captain Handsome – ‘Halloween’
Taken from Captain Handsome’s debut EP I Am Not An Animal, ‘Halloween’ flows with silky-smooth vocals and a twinkling, stripped-back musicality. With its delicate lo-fi scuzz and tongue-in-cheek relatable lyricism (“It was halloween, I was 24, I had a bad time on the bathroom floor”), it’s a sensitive, yet not sentimental, effervescent offering. Captain Handsome is the solo project of Lily from Fightmilk, and her EP I Am Not An Animal was released in January via Reckless Yes.
(ML)

Finish Flag – ‘Garden’
Having first fallen in love with Finish Flag when they played for us live at The Finsbury last summer, this year their album Swimming Pools has provided a lot of comfort. Taken from the album, ‘Garden’ flows with twinkling hooks and luscious harmonies, creating a dreamy slice of lo-fi indie-pop. Another band who I’ve sought soothing catharsis in throughout 2020, I bought Finish Flag’s beautiful pink vinyl on bandcamp day a couple of months ago, and I recommend you do the same.
(ML)

Gold Baby – ‘Versaille’
Having been following Gold Baby for some time now, last year front woman Siân Alex joined forces with Sara Kleppe and Scott Hislop to form the band as we know them today. And it’s been wonderful to see them go from strength to strength. Recent single ‘Versailles’ showcases all there is to love about them. With shimmering guitars and swooning melodies flowing alongside Siân’s luscious, crystalline vocals, it oozes a stirring heartfelt emotion. A beautifully rich slice of melancholy dream-pop.
(ML)

LibraLibra – Listerine
Brighton-based LibraLibra have been firm favourites of GIHE for a couple of years, never ceasing to impress. And this year they released their phenomenal debut EP Hail Mary. Taken from the EP, ‘Listerine’ is a step away from the usual high energy riotous cacophonies of previous releases. Showcasing the incredible soaring splendour and versatility of front woman Beth Cannon’s vocals with an almost operatic force, it builds to a magnificent, immense anthem of self-realisation.
Hail Mary is available on bandcamp now.
(ML)

Beckie Margaret – ‘God’
Essex-based songwriter Beckie Margaret has a flawless voice and a talent for writing beautifully bruising lyrics, something that her single ‘God’ showcases perfectly. I’m not ashamed to say I shed a tear when I first listened to this track, which is a cinematic reflection on unreciprocated love. Margaret releases through Cool Thing Records, who are a collective of people who absolutely love the music they’re making and promoting. It’s always a good day when an email about one of their artists appears at the top of my GIHE inbox.
(KC)

Massive thanks to all the artists and bands creating wonderful tunes this year! Keep an eye out for our Ones To Watch for next year, and listen to our Tracks Of 2020 playlist now:

Five Favourites (Drummers): Eilis Frawley

We’ve been big fans of Berlin-based classically trained percussionist Eilis Frawley for some time now, especially since she took our breath away playing live for us at Notting Hill Arts Club last year. With recent single ‘Stats’, she offered arresting beats set against bold, Krautrock-infused spoken word, as the lyrics addressed hard-hitting stats, highlighting the everyday injustices facing women today. Tackling issues such as period poverty, FGM, domestic violence and other vital issues, it’s a beautifully striking and necessary listen. As is the entirety of her just released EP Adult Life

We think one of the best ways to get to know an artist is by asking what music inspires them or influences their writing. So, we caught up with Eilis to discuss the five (well, six, actually!) drummers that inspire her the most.

Here are 6 of my favourite drummers/percussionists, all from different scenes with totally different playing styles but all 100% owning what they do.

Fleur Green
Fleur Green was my first percussion teacher, when I was 16. She was tough, in the best way. I spent just one year learning from her before she moved abroad, but I’ll never forget her discipline, especially to her own artistic practice. She led by example and was highly committed with a no bullshit attitude. From the very beginning she instilled in me a diligence towards music I’ve carried through the years. She’s such an inspiration. She’s back in Adelaide now and performs under Fleur Green.

Chi Fukami Taylor
Chi Fukami Taylor was the first female drummer I saw perform on a big stage – and she completely nailed it. It was 2007 and she played with The Go! Team at Falls festival in Victoria. She had so much groove, and it was the first time I witnessed someone playing drums and singing. I’m still shocked people can sing in tune and play drums, that’s alot of brain power.

Seol Kim
Seol Kim – Known as Snow is one half of Oh Chill (57) from Seoul. I had the pleasure of sharing the bill with her multiple times in Seoul and also in Berlin. Snow does not mess around. Another singing drummer, she’s a hard hitter, her timing is impeccable and her grooves always leaving you wanting more. She’ll keep you on your toes.

Sara Neidorf
Sara is a Berlin drummer. We share the same practice space, and no-one sounds like her. You always know when she’s in the building. Her fills are outta control. She’s fast, dynamic and playful. She’s involved in scenes I’m not too familiar with but hearing her play alone is already a treat! Aptera is one of her projects I’ve seen live, and wow the skill! Highly recommend looking into what she’s doing, especially if you’re into heavier music.

Valentina Magaletti
Valentina Magaletti is the only person on this list who I haven’t met, or seen play live, BUT I’m so impressed by her playing, she crosses over so perfectly from pop drummer to experimental percussion wizard. She’s behind so many great projects but I recently discovered Tomaga and it’s a total stand out! Go listen to them.

Mindy Abovitz
Mindy Abovitz has to be on this list as well, for not only pursuing drums as a self taught drummer, but for creating TomTom Mag, connecting female* drummers all over the world and changing the media representation of drummers. She’s outstanding.

Massive thanks to Eilis for sharing her choices with us!

Adult Life, the new EP from Eilis Frawley, is out now via Reckless Yes. Listen now. And watch the recent video for the poignant ‘Stats’ here:

Photo Credit: Janina Gallert

PLAYLIST: September 2020

It’s been another testing month, filled with more government Covid-19 “rule” changes and unwanted opinions on social media, but we’re determined to keep our spirits up by listening to some of our favourite women and non-binary artists. September’s GIHE playlist is filled with an eclectic mix of alt-pop gems, frenzied guitar anthems, indie tunes and alternative new 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 the page.

 

Noga Erez – ‘You So Done’
An emotionally charged offering from a resilient and uncompromising artist, Noga Erez’s latest single is accompanied by a stunning set of visuals directed by Indy Hait. The Tel Aviv based artist delves deep into the memories left behind by a toxic relationship, making this her most personal release to date. She’s yet to share something that we don’t collectively adore here at GIHE, so expect to see her name on all future playlists! (Kate Crudgington)

Eilis Frawley – ‘Stats’
The poignant new single from GIHE fave Eilis Frawley, ‘Stats’ offers a completely unique soundscape from the classically trained percussionist. Kicking off with an arresting drumroll, it quickly picks up the pace moving into bold, Krautrock-infused spoken word, as the lyrics see Frawley recite hard-hitting stats, highlighting the everyday injustices facing women today. Tackling issues such as period poverty, FGM, domestic violence and other vital issues, it’s a beautifully striking and necessary listen. A poignant protest song that you can dance to. ‘Stats’ is out now via faves Reckless Yes. (Mari Lane)

Æ Mak feat. Seba Safe – ‘i dance in the kitchen’
Embracing production duties for the first time on her new EP, how to: make a kitsch pop song to show the world, Æ MAK – aka Aoife McCann – made this record during the Covid-19 lockdown period with “100% childsplay and solo belly laughs”. This single in particular showcases her delightfully carefree, vibrant attitude when it comes to letting go of performance qualms and focusing on making music that makes you feel good. (KC)

HANYA – ‘Texas’
The latest single from Brighton’s Hanya, ‘Texas’ is propelled by a dreamy haze, as it flows with twinkling hooks and the soaring, effervescent vocals of front person Heather Sheret. With shades of the lush surf-pop of Real Estate or Best Coast, it’s a shimmering slice of exquisite indie-pop oozing a blissful tranquility and spellbinding ethereal splendour. The perfect soundtrack to soothe these post-summer blues. Of the track, the band explain: “‘Texas’ was entirely written and recorded during lockdown, experimenting with working remotely as a group. The track explores the startings of a relationship – the head-over-heels uncertainty, the self-doubt and the desire to know each other entirely.” (ML)

Daniela Andrade – ‘Puddles’
A definite September highlight for me comes from Honduran-Canadian producer and musician Daniela Andrade. The track is called ‘Puddles’, it’s self-produced and it has been reverberating around my head since I first heard it. If you don’t start swaying when you hear this, something is wrong. This track was announced alongside details of her new EP, Nothing Much Has Changed, I Don’t Feel The Same, which is out on 30th September via Crooked Lid. (Tash Walker)

Komang – ‘DEWI’ 
I cannot get this song out of my head! It’s excellent. It comes from Melbourne artist Komang and is her debut release, endorsed by a mentorship with the amazing Sui Zhen. Komang is a multidisciplinary producer, performer and vocalist who blends soul-based groove and echoes of traditional Gamelan to create vibrant electronic RnB described as “neo-soul meets Balinese mystic power”. This track is lifted from her forthcoming EP Mythologies, which is set to be released later this year. There’s only one way to listen to this song and that’s very loudly with your eyes closed. TURN UP THAT DIAL. (TW)

Nina Cobham – ‘Solar’ (Bipolar Sunshine Remix)
I love this remix by Bipolar Sunshine of Nina Cobham’s ‘Solar’, it’s so goddamn sultry. Makes me hold onto those dreamy summers of years gone by… (TW)

Seraphina Simone – ‘Hollywood $$$’
The latest release from one of my faves Seraphina Simone, a song shining the spotlight on the glitzy, gritty, ghastly Hollywood. In her words, “’Hollywood $$$’ is about the Lynchian, fame-obsessive undercurrents of tinsel town, with its sirens, starlets, leeches & letches. It’s about that world of smoke and mirrors – where nothing and no one is really as it seems, and the world of celebrity – where we deify or demonise people into these superhumans or arch villains. Kim Gordon mentions ‘tarantula LA glamour’ in Girl In A Band, and that sums it up perfectly I think – the predatory darkness under the glitz.” Amazing description, I defy you to not think of Mulholland Drive or even Selling Sunset (for my sins) when you press play on this. (TW)

ZAND – ‘Slut Money’
A defiant, savage pop tune that celebrates self-autonomy, body positivity and sexuality, self-described “ugly pop” star ZAND takes aim at slut shamers on their latest single. They deftly defy the haters on ‘Slut Money’ through a combination of gritty beats, sweet vocals and candid rap verses. (KC)

Leikeli47 – ‘Zoom’
I’m ashamed to say I’m extremely late to the Leikel47 party, but I’m so glad I’ve now discovered the gritty, brutal wit of the bandana-clad Virginia born rapper. Following 2018’s epic album Acrylic, last month she shared ‘Zoom’. Holding nothing back, ‘Zoom’ showcases Leikel47’s swagger and tenacity with its glitchy beats, catchy hooks and lyrical wit, with references to ‘90s boy bands and her roots in the DMV area: “I ain’t the type of bitch to do a lot of barking/ And only thing I need validated is my parking/ I’m from the back street boy, where it’s very rare to link/ And if you using the wrong note/ We’ll put yo ass n sync…” I just can’t get enough of it. And if you too are new to the joy of Leikel47, I strongly suggest checking out singles ‘Girl Blunt’ and ‘Money’. (ML)

Tolü Makay – ‘Don’t Let Go’
An understated, beautifully soothing listen, Nigerian-born, Ireland-based artist Tolü Makay gently reassures her listeners to let go of their fears through her smooth vocals, tender lyricism and jazz inspired instrumentation on this reassuring track. (KC)

SUSU – ‘Work Song’
New York based SUSU have shared this epic guitar tune that powerfully demonstrates the deep civil unrest that’s simmering beneath the Covid-19 pandemic in the USA. The band explain: “This song is for US – the disenfranchised, black, brown, minority, middle class, poor, trans, gay, and subjugated communities stepping down off the auction block, breaking the stranglehold; saying: ‘If a house gets in my way, you know I’ll burn it down.’ As Nina Simone once said, ‘An artist’s duty, as far as I’m concerned, is to reflect the times’.” (KC)

MOURN – ‘Men’
A rallying cry against toxic masculinity and street harassment, Barcelona-based MOURN’s latest single is lifted from their upcoming album Self Worth, which is set for release on 30th October via Captured Tracks. The song is an honest, cathartic purge of the distrust and anger many women suppress on a daily basis when they’re intimidated in public spaces. (KC)

Francis Of Delirium – ‘Equality Song’
Funded by Luxembourg’s Ministry of Equality to celebrate 100 years of women’s right to vote, Francis Of Delirium’s vocalist & guitarist Jana Bahrich penned this poignant track in the wake of the Brett Kavanaugh hearings. It’s a powerful, necessary dismantling of the ingrained sexism and toxic masculinity that permeates society. (Just a heads up: there’s mention of rape/sexual assault) (KC)

Fightmilk – ‘If You Had A Sister’
The latest single from faves Fightmilk, ‘If You Had A Sister’ may be more sombre in tone than previous releases, as it oozes a swirling melancholy and heartfelt lyricism, but it loses none of the band’s trademark emo-tinged indie-pop goodness. Propelled by the gritty, raw emotion of front person Lily’s yearning vocals alongside scuzzy hooks and perfectly interwoven musical layers, it offers a shimmering reflection on life and loss. The band expand: “ … if there was ever a time for songs you can do ominous slow dancing to, it’s 2020.” ‘If You Had A Sister’ is out now via Reckless Yes. (ML)

Ailbhe Reddy – ‘Looking Happy’
Dublin’s Ailbhe Reddy has transformed the crushing sadness that comes with seeing your ex “enjoying” their life on social media without you, into a buoyant alt-folk gem. Lifted from her upcoming debut album Personal History, which is set for release on 2nd October, the track taps into the feelings of inadequacy we all experience when the FOMO unexpectedly hits us while scrolling through our ex’s newsfeed. (KC)

First Frontier – ‘Take Cover’
Having been creating music together since last year, South London duo Helena Poole (who has previously played for us at The Finsbury in her other band Macadamia Sluts) and Paul Stafford – aka First Frontier – pride themselves on choosing hope over fear and play over fight. Focusing on what we can control and devote positive energy to, debut single ‘Take Cover’ is propelled by scuzzy hooks and thrashing beats, creating a catchy slice of fuzzed-out garage rock, tinged with dark ‘80s nu-wave vibes and swirling harmonies. (ML)

Nadine Shah – ‘Ladies For Babies (Goats For Love)’
In the wake of another irritating tirade from “that” man-punk-band of the moment, I just wanted to take this opportunity to declare my love for Nadine Shah. Having released her immense latest album Kitchen Sink earlier this year, she completely blew me away when playing the BBC 6Music festival in March; one of the most immersive live performances I’ve ever witnessed, it’s simply impossible not to become utterly captivated by her unique charisma and the subtle, gritty power of her vocal delivery. I’d pay whatever it took to take her on tour with me… (ML)

Vanessa Richardson – ‘Spider’
This track is right up my experimental music street. It comes from Toronto/Montreal based Vanessa Richardson who is an experimental singer, songwriter and producer. I’ve listened to it non-stop since I heard it first, I love the loops, the deep vocals, the feverish percussion, it really creates this wonderfully dark intoxicating sound. Sublime. (TW)

Masma Dream World – ‘Theta’
This is the lead track from the upcoming album by Masma Dream World, the solo recording project of multi-disciplinary artist Devi Mambouka. Of the track, she explains: “From age 0-7, the human brain is in ‘theta,’ a state during which our minds can be programmed to believe anything. I became quickly aware of that programming growing up in the African country of Gabon, where, despite its Matriarchal roots, young girls are groomed to be wives and mothers only — there are no other options.” Mambouka wanted to create an anthem for these young girls, which developed into the otherworldly trip-hop song ‘Theta,’ driven by a deep sub-bass and kick drum. The lyrics, which are heard both forward and in reverse, translate to: “We are girls from central Africa. We are Gabomas!” Gaboma refers to a young hip Gabonese girl. As with the rest of her debut album, the music is designed specifically to awaken one’s power source from within, and it set for release on 25th September via Northern Spy. Incredible. (TW)

LibraLibra – ‘Listerine’
A step away from the usual high energy riotous cacophonies of the Brighton band’s previous releases, ‘Listerine’ reflects on lingering painful memories. Showcasing the incredible soaring splendour and versatility of front woman Beth Cannon’s vocals with an almost operatic force, the track oozes a glistening soulful majesty, creating a striking cinematic soundscape. With blissful twinkling keys providing the backdrop to Beth’s vocals, it’s filled with poignant, reflective lyricism as a raw, emotion-strewn power builds to a magnificent, immense anthem of self-realisation. ‘Listerine’ is taken from LibraLibra’s new EP, Hail Mary, out now. (ML)

Balraj Singh Samrai, Pandit G Gavsborg, Farah Amad Khan, Shanique Marie, Tunde Adekoya, Vikaash – ‘I should have hugged you tighter when we last met (Oh What A Joy)’
This piece was made in June of this year with the help from Opera North’s artist development programme, Resonance: The Lockdown Edition. Combining  music and spoken word to document life  during the COVID-19 pandemic and its impact on  communities of colour, Samrai initially produced an instrumental which tabla player Vikaahsh Sankadecha added South Asian percussion rhythms to. Equiknoxx member Gavsborg then penned a poem for the track, and Farah Ahmad Khan added her own spoken word contribution. The accompanying video is so powerful and was made by the Rainbow Collective, go check it out and raise the profile of this track. This is documentary art at its best. (TW)

 

Track Of The Day: Eilis Frawley – ‘Stats’

How often do you hear something that’s really new? ‘Stats’, by classically trained drummer and percussionist Eilis Frawley is a revelation, unlike anything else I’ve heard.

Kicking off with an arresting, almost military-style drumroll, it quickly picks up the pace and moves into bold, Krautrock-infused spoken word. The lyrics see Frawley recite hard-hitting stats, as the name suggests, which highlight the everyday injustices facing women today.

Using her platform so powerfully, Frawley, formally of Party Fears, tackles period poverty, domestic violence and other vital issues that affect us. Both avant-garde and catchy as hell, the result is a protest song that you can dance to. And is there anything better than that?!

Released on the increasingly brilliant Reckless Yes label, ‘Stats’ is so wonderfully different that it’s hard to anticipate what to expect from Frawley next. That new EP can’t come soon enough!

Watch the new video for ‘Stats’ here:

Stats’ is the first release to be taken from Frawley’s forthcoming second EP, which will be released via Reckless Yes this Autumn.

Vic Conway 

Photo Credit: Janina Gallert