GIHE: Personal Highlights Of 2020

2020 has been a year unlike any other and we’ll be glad to see the back of it, but before we wave goodbye, the GIHE team would like to share some of their personal highlights. Thanks to everyone who has been following, reading or listening to GIHE this year. It really does mean the world to us and we couldn’t do this without you.

Shared Highlights

Seeing the GIHE name appear in a PHYSICAL BOOK was a landmark moment for the team this year. Music journalist Lucy O’Brien mentioned us in her 25th anniversary edition of She Bop, a fantastic book that explores the role of female artists and how they’ve helped to shape the music industry. You can buy your copy here.

Fellow GIHE Co-Founder Tash Walker was super busy recording & producing series 2 of The Log Books throughout 2020, a podcast which explores the history of the LGBTQ community via the phone archives of LGBT+ charity Switchboard. Tash is a co-chair at Switchboard and she is dedicated to celebrating and supporting the LGBTQ community through her work with them, and through her work with GIHE. She is one of the most resilient, informed and hilarious people we know and it’s a privilege to work alongside her and call her a friend. The Log Books are a truly necessary listen for all.

Now for some personal highlights…

Kate Crudgington (Features Editor)

GIHE usually takes up a big part of my life, but it was a lifeline for me during March of this year when the government text me (lol) telling me to shield for 12 weeks. Thanks to the magic of the internet, I was able to talk to the people who were making the music that was distracting me from the panic-inducing headlines, reminding me what a huge privilege it is to have access to this amazing platform.

As our followers already know, Lockdown 1.0 instantly put a stop to our weekly GIHE new music shows on Hoxton Radio. We had 16 weeks off air, so when it was “safe” for me to go back in to the studio in July I was buzzing with excitement (which you can hear in my voice if you listen back to the show here.)

Like most platforms during the pandemic, we embraced technology and started interviewing artists over Zoom instead of inviting them in to the studio for the usual chat and live session. We managed to get time with Jessica Winter, BISHI, Lucy O’Brien, Tessa from Girlhood, Julia-Sophie, Lizzie from Bitch Falcon, Grave Goods, Problem Patterns, ZAND, Hannah from PELA, Seraphina-Simone & Penelope Trappes. It was so lovely to see Tash in person in the studio most weeks, and while we both missed seeing Mari a great deal, her weekly track contributions to the show still made it feel like a GIHE team effort.

At the beginning of the year, I was invited by Niall Jackson, one of the hosts of Riverside Radio’s The Irish Jam, to be a contributor to their New Music Sunday section. Co-hosted by Kealan, Mel and Rob, The Irish Jam is a London based radio show that celebrates and promotes music from Irish artists. The crossover of favourite bands between GIHE & the Jam is huge and something I’ve enjoyed chatting to the team about both on and off air. They’ve introduced me to the likes of CMAT, fears, Denise Chaila, Silverbacks and Celaviedmai, whilst I’ve shared tracks by Kynsy, Party Fears and CAMI with them. Listening to their show on a Sunday evening continues to be a wonderful distraction from life.

Who could’ve predicted that bandcamp would become the musical hero of 2020? When the streaming platform announced that on the first Friday of every month they’d be waiving their fees so that 100% of profits would be going directly to artists, my newsfeeds were awash with new music recommendations. Moving home to Essex from London in March meant I actually had some expendable income to buy new records, so I was furiously typing bespoke recommendation threads on Twitter every time the date rolled around. bandcamps’ generosity meant you were able to genuinely support your friends (and the artists you secretly wish you were friends with) during a truly depressing year for music.

Normally, we’d be picking our live music highlights too, but for obvious reasons, we’ve hardly been to any gigs this year. Mari had to cancel half of the gigs GIHE she had booked pre-pandemic and it’s fucking depressing to not know when it will be (properly) safe for her to book more. That’s why I feel incredibly fortunate to have wedged in one last GIHE gig before Lockdown 1.0. GIHE worked together with Sofar Sounds to put together a special International Women’s Day gig at their Hackney HQ in March, with Beckie Margaret, Amahla and Indian Queens on the bill. It was so exciting (and nerve-racking) to host the evening with fellow GIHE pal Tash too. Even if I’d had a year full of gigs, this one still would’ve made my highlights list.

One last gloat – I published some of my all-time favourite features on our website this year. My Zoom interviews with the wonderful A.A Williams, the hilarious CMAT and the ultra talented Lido Pimienta are well worth a read.

Mari Lane (Managing Editor)

It goes without saying, most of the highlights I’d normally mention at this time of year were not able to go ahead in the void of 2020. They would normally consist of the monthly gigs that I host at The Finsbury, whereas this year I was only able to put on two before Covid hit. And, in addition to having to cancel at least seven of our regular gigs, we were pretty heartbroken to cancel what would have been our very first festival, due to take place in July. However, I did manage to fit in a couple of memorable live experiences before being confined to being permanently pyjama clad; my only weekly highlight being our regular beer delivery from Croydon’s Art & Craft bar.

The first gig I hosted this year felt particularly special. Personal Best headlined a night filled with all the best vibes. Drawing the night to a memorable close, front person Katie Gatt dedicated their set closer to the queer community. As a sea of buoyant voices joined in with “I wanna kiss you in the street / where everyone can see / ’cause this is what we look like,” the poignancy of the lyrics was overwhelming and an empowering sense of unity took hold. The night also included the shimmering folk-strewn offerings of Athabaska, the quirky energy and sparkling charisma of Nun Habit and the sun-drenched swirling anthems of Hurtling. There is nothing quite like that joyous sense of togetherness that comes from hosting gigs filled with like-minded wonderful people.

I was also lucky enough to fit in seeing one of my all time favourite bands with a few of my all time favourite people. The last time that Tash, Kate, Paul and I were all together pre-Covid was for Sleater Kinney at Brixton Academy – a pretty special night. Not only did I get to see the legendary Carrie Brownstein deliver her distinctive gritty, scuzz-filled riffs alongside Corin Tucker’s unmistakable swooning vocals in the flesh, conjuring up massive feelings of awe and nostalgia, but they were supported by one of our favourite current bands. The second time we’d seen Big Joanie on the Brixton Academy stage (the first being opening for Bikini Kill last year!), they showcased just how deserving they are of their rising success; with their unique, raw, post-punk soundscapes and poignant lyricism, they delivered an absolutely incredible set. A truly memorable night.

My last ‘outing’ before lockdown was to the BBC 6Music festival for International Women’s Day at The Roundhouse. An epic line-up consisting of some incredible women and non-binary folk that I’m incredibly grateful I got to witness before everything fell apart. In addition to the immense poignant power of Jehnny Beth, the utterly beguiling splendour of Nadine Shah (who I fell in love with there and then), and the completely mind-blowing presence of hero Kim Gordon, Kae Tempest delivered a fiercely moving, truly breath-taking headline set.

And then gigs were gone. To be replaced by online streamed “events” which I think have had mixed reviews over the last few months – they’re of course no replacement for the “real thing” and it’s hard to feel motivated to “attend” things when you’ve been on the sofa in your pjs for weeks. However, I have managed to organise a few GIHE Instagram ‘Takeovers’, featuring some of our favourite bands and artists. From ARXX’s drum and guitar lessons, LibraLibra’s quirky tele-sales style feature and Tiger Mimic’s interviews with others on the scene, to inspiring chats with Amaroun, Eckoes, Foundlings and Husk, beaut “live” sessions from Gold Baby, Scrounge and KIN, and King Hannah’s EP run through, I feel grateful that so many creatives have wanted to be involved.

It’s a strange time, no doubt, but one which is made that much better by a sense of togetherness within the community. One positive from all this really has been the mutual support and genuine care that I’ve seen musicians and those within the industry show for each other.

John McGovern (Contributor)

On the one hand, there’s been almost no gigs, no festivals, much fewer physical releases and closed record shops. On the other, BBC 6Music’s response helped me stay indoors and make the most of my furlough life. Lauren Laverne‘s show was extended to cover the late morning, running to nearly double the length of most of the other shows on the station and basically saw her appointed as chief mood-lifter for the BBC’s flagship alternative music station. Amongst the days of uncertainty, where even leaving the house offered the risk of serious illness, with no guarantee of a job at the end of the summer, having Lauren there to soundtrack breakfast/brunch made a world of difference. It produced a kind of odd stasis: the background radiation of a pandemic, but an excellent range of music, usually featuring a smattering of classics, new music and obscure gems. The only disappointment was when the schedule reverted back to usual come the end of lockdown. Hopefully, that same semblance of normality will be back for us all, soon.

Thanks to everyone who took the time to read our highlights!

You can read about our GIHE Albums of 2020 here and our GIHE Tracks Of 2020 here.

Keep an eye out for our Ones To Watch in 2021 feature next week!

FIVE FAVOURITES: anrimeal

“I never gave gender much thought before this album,” Porto-born, London-based artist anrimeal explains about her new release, Could Divine. Described as a “computer folk” record exploring the use of texture, limitation and repetition, anrimeal’s new record is inspired by the work of Eva Hesse and other women artists who pioneered the post-minimalism movement.

“I’d always felt alienated by concepts of womanhood, especially the notion that women exist under nature’s control,” anrimeal continues. “[But] seeing women use nature at the forefront of their work, not afraid to create art that could be seen as messy or dirty helped me reconcile those feelings, and motivated me to explore the less conventionally beautiful side of things.” Written, performed, mixed and mastered by anrimeal from home, Could Divine is a beautiful insight into the mind of a flourishing new artist.

We think one of the best ways to get to know an artist is by asking what music inspired them to write in the first place. We caught up with anrimeal to ask about her “Five Favourites” – five albums that have inspired her song-writing techniques. Speaking about her choices, anrimeal explains: “These are far from deep cuts, but really albums that not only do I know front to back, but also signposted some or other pivotal moments in my life.”

Check out her favourite albums below and scroll down to listen to anrimeal’s latest single ‘Encaustic Witches’ at the end of this post. You can also catch anrimeal and her musical collaborator Freda D’Souza performing a live improv session from home on Youtube at 6pm tonight. (Link here)

 

1. James Blake – James Blake
I remember buying this album on CD when i was 17 and spending entire days during Easter break lying down in my bedroom, looking at the ceiling and just listening. I think it was my first proper introduction to ambience in music, to a sound landscape that was as rich as the actual songwriting. And one of those things I just couldn’t unlisten. From then on, texture became the most important thing to me in music, a language of its own. There was something so personal about the sonic world James built in this album. I don’t think I’d been exposed to a truly DIY record before this one, and it really changed my perception of music as a medium, and ended up informing the way I like to create music today.

2. Grouper – The Man Who Died In His Boat
Liz Harris, I mean – her music changed my life. Listening to The Man Who Died In His Boat for the first time was like being shown the inside of my brain. The album was sent to me along with Animal Collective’s Sung Tongs with a message of this sort “if you like delay, then you might like these”. This was an even deeper dive into ambient music, and maybe the first time I felt like I could fully relate to what an artist was trying to put out. There’s a dark gentleness in her records, that I’ve only ever felt with music made by women. A kind of understated submerged darkness that is constant and calm. Not depressing nor effusive, just constant.

3. Animal Collective – Sung Tongs
Animal Collective!!!! Field recordings, adaptations of the aesthetics and energy of traditional music, beautifully poetic but slightly absurd lyrics, moments of chaos and of quiet introspection. Seriously, what does this album not have? I can’t say Sung Tongs reflects me exactly, but I think it showed me a side of life that I wasn’t very familiar with before. Having been educated in a strict classical music setting, I needed Animal Collective to show me that there was a fun side to music after all. The clouds opened to the sun like eyelids, and I owe it to this album. I’ve since become a devoted fan of Avey Tare’s catalogue, and I carry this upbeat and earthy world very dearly with me, as a kind of companion.

4. Kanye West – Yeezus
I was so arrested by this album, the first time I listened to it I was petrified and started sweating. It was completely different from anything I’d ever listened to before, it was so bold and genre-bending. I think I use this record a lot to remind me that I can do anything I want with my music. I very much appreciate Kanye’s commitment to art and unhindered self-expression.

5. Sufjan Stevens – Age Of Adz
Even though I was a fan of Sufjan for a long time, Age Of Adz was definitely an acquired taste, an album that sunk in really slowly with time. Again, it’s such a bold piece of work, so well crafted that its existence almost seems impossible to me. There are almost no words to describe this album, maybe just to say that it is a testament to true passion for the art of songwriting. If anything, Sufjan’s music makes me want to experience life with more care, so that I can find his detail in my own reality.

Thanks to anrimeal for sharing her favourites with us.
Listen to her new single ‘Encaustic Witches’ below.

Follow anrimeal on bandcamp, Spotify, Twitter, Facebook & Instagram for more updates.

FIVE FAVOURITES: Camila Fuchs

An exploration of the world around us, how we interact with it and the cyclical nature of life, Lisbon-based Mexican/German duo Camila Fuchs are preparing to release their new album, Kids Talk Sun, via Felte Records on 13th November. Formed by Camila De Laborde and Daniel Hermann-Collini in London in 2012, the band create experimental electronic pop with spectral vocals and avant-garde sensibilities. 

We think one of the best ways to get to know a band is by asking what music inspired them to write in the first place. We caught up with Camila to ask about her “Five Favourites” – five songs that have inspired Camila Fuchs’ song-writing techniques. Check out her choices below and scroll down to listen to Camila Fuchs’ latest single ‘Come About’ at the end of this post.

1. Le Tigre – ‘Deceptacon’
I remembered discovering Kathleen Hanna, starting with Bikini Kill, how I felt a massive outburst of energy, how my brain started rewiring and possibilities widen up – abruptly. It was a shock, a great shock. It got me straight into trying new ways of expressing, straight into using words I wouldn’t usually use. It freed me up. It was for me a completely new and necessary female energy to come across. Secure, open, unlimited, gutsy. I was 19 and had just decided to give music a big role in my life so it stirred it right away. It gave me confidence and great times, enjoying her songs, watching live concerts, head banging and foot stomping. It gave me something no one could take away and worked as a key to never go back! I chose this song because it reminds me of those times and makes me feel the same all over again.

2. Maria Minerva – ‘Spirit of the Underground’
Maria Minerva really influenced my first electronic productions, especially my first solo EP Opuntia. I absolutely love her free flow and way of singing. It resonated and inspired me so much. I wished so many elements could form part of what I did, in a really sweet way, I looked up to her. She does electronics and vocals, which was what I always dreamt of doing, and by the time I discovered her I was trying it. There’s still traces of her influence in what I do nowadays. You can hear it on ‘Moon’s Mountain’, a track on our new album Kids Talk Sun. Who sings “did your mamma drop you off to this party?” I love this track and so many more. My favourite full album is Cabaret Cixous though.

3. Laurie Anderson – ‘Big Science’
I didn’t grow up with much music around me. 3, 4 CDs in the car and that was it. When I moved to London, after high school, I heard a record for the first time, placed a record on a record player for the first time, and it blew my mind obviously. When I went back home to Mexico I asked my mom if she had any records by any chance. She did! In the house! And I never knew! The good thing was she gave me the chance to take some back with me. I picked 3 by the artwork covers. ‘Big Science’ by Laurie Anderson being one of them. I had no chance but to wait to be back in the UK and go to a friends and borrow their turntable. You can imagine the surprise! Can’t believe that record was so close to me my whole life and only then it crossed my path!

I LOVE LAURIE ANDERSON. It’s to date one of the records I play the most at home. I’ve never heard anything like it. She has such a unique relationship to sound. One of the most unique, at least for me. She’s my idol.

4. Lhasa de Sela – ‘El Desierto’
When I mentioned 3 to 4 CDs in the car (because that’s the only place my family played music), La Llorona by Lhasa de Sela was one and ‘El Desierto’ was one of my favourite tracks. My dad used to play it all the time. I registered it but it totally slipped my mind for years, completely. I rediscovered it again when I was in my teens and it brought me so many flashbacks of my childhood. The first time sound took me back like that…unconsciously and then consciously, Lhasa influenced my singing a lot! A singing from the guts. I always thought that was the way it had to be, that you had to feel each word you were singing. You can hear her voice coming deep from within. She also sang in different languages and did it well, something I always admired. I’m not a fan of the instrumentations in general, but the lyrics and voice I hold dear. A sweet song in English I recommend is ‘Small Song’. RIP Lhasa xx

5. Connie Francis – ‘Love Is A Many Splendored Thing’
A recent discovery. What a beautiful voice. I used to have allergic reactions to cheesy songs. I guess it’s slowly crumbling apart. I heard this song, amongst others, lying down in bed and literally felt in love. I feel her influence kicking in. Maybe I’ll end up doing an album with love songs, maybe even more than just one. It is extremely corny, but there’s something about that level of clarity in words that I appreciate. It is what it is, it says what it’s saying, doesn’t go around in circles, straight to the true words. I like that. Enjoy!

Thanks to Camila for sharing her favourite tracks with us. Listen to ‘Come About’ below.

Follow Camila Fuchs on bandcamp, Spotify, Instagram, Twitter & Facebook for more updates.

Photo Credit: Thyra Dragseth

FIVE FAVOURITES: Sarah Walk

Celebrating both the joys and the struggles of being a queer woman, LA songwriter Sarah Walk is preparing to release her second album, Another Me, on 28th August via One Little Independent Records. “The songs on my first album were a means to survive the immediate, and my songs on this album have been a journey in learning how to take up space and thrive in the long term”, Walk explains. It sounds like a learning curve both she and her listeners will benefit from, as she tackles everything from patriarchal entitlement to letting go of damaging tropes about being a queer woman.

We think one of the best ways to get to know an artist is by asking what music inspired them to write in the first place. We caught up with Sarah to ask about her “Five Favourites” – five albums that have inspired her songwriting techniques. Check out her choices below, and scroll down to listen to Sarah’s latest single ‘nobody knows’ at the end of this post.

1. Wolfgang Amadeus – Phoenix 
I just think this is a brilliantly executed record, start to finish. I still try to wrap my head around the arrangement of this album. Each part fits together like this weaving patchwork of ideas that lock into each other like a puzzle. When I try to isolate the vocal or an instrumental part it feels like such a scattered and disjointed idea, but as a whole it’s completely full. I often wonder how they recorded this because it’s so hard for me to hear a backbone that was built around.

2. Fiona Apple – Fetch The Bolt Cutters
What a powerful comeback album from Fiona. I grew up listening to her and felt so empowered hearing a woman sing and play the piano that wasn’t afraid to be angry. This album totally goes there, and I’m so happy it does. There’s anger and regret, and through that, this incredible reclamation of self. She’s one of the best there is and has paved the way for so many women in the music industry, whether we all know it or not.

3. Radiohead – In Rainbows
It wouldn’t be a favorites list without a Radiohead album. This band totally expanded my ears to what music could be, and were my unwavering companion during some of the toughest and loneliest years of my adolescence. I remember waking up early before school the day this album came out and downloading it (this was the “pay what you want” record pre-spotify which was brilliant) and I sat in my car in the high school parking lot that gloomy October morning and was crying by the time ‘Faust Arp’ came around. I was late for school that day, and I’m glad I was.sarah

4. Everything Everything – A Fever Dream
Love this band so much. They combine certain sonic elements of Radiohead that I love – that ethereal soundscape of guitars that don’t sound like guitars – with heavy grooves and pop sensibility. This album is so good, and they’re incredible live as well.

5. Madison Cunningham – Who Are You Now?
A more up and coming LA artist, Madison is an incredible force of talent. The first time I saw her play live I was completely floored. I’m not a religious person, but after first seeing her play I went home and completely broke down because it felt like such a spiritual experience. She absolutely destroys the guitar and her voice and songwriting are other worldly. Definitely give this one a listen and check out some live videos online.

Thanks to Sarah for sharing her favourites with us.
Listen to her track ‘nobody knows’ below.

Follow Sarah Walk on Facebook & Spotify for more updates.