WATCH: Softcult – ‘Spit It Out’

A lush, swirling guitar tune that gently encourages listeners to face their unconscious bias, Canadian duo Softcult have shared their latest single ‘Spit It Out’. Since the release of their debut EP Year Of The Rat earlier this year, the pair have been busy working on new material, with this new offering building on their existing manifesto to resist and relieve the pressures that come with existing in a patriarchal world.

Formed of Ontario-based twins Phoenix and Mercedes Arn Horn, Softcult cut their teeth playing live shows in their local town of Kitchener, before moving on to bigger audiences on the North American tour circuit. Their experiences of playing and working within a male-dominated industry formed the foundation for their current sound, which is born from the desire to reject toxic standards of femininity and embrace a more equal world.

‘Spit It Out’ embodies this outlook, as the band explain in more detail: “The song is about rejecting harmful ideologies that we’ve come to accept as normal, even though they perpetuate our own oppression. Most people understand that misogyny, sexism, racism, etc are wrong, but don’t often notice when it occurs in our every day lives, in the media, or how we’ve been conditioned to perceive the world. We can even unknowingly become part of the problem because we’ve internalized these ways of thinking. We wrote the song about resisting societal standards which only serve to benefit those that hold power over others. By simply refusing to accept these ideologies, we can weaken the pillars in our society that allow oppression and injustice. It all starts with questioning them in the first place, and then deciding that we aren’t going to continue to contribute to them.”

Watch the video for ‘Spit It Out’ below.

Follow Softcult on SpotifyInstagramFacebook & Twitter for more updates

Photo credit: Judith Priest

Kate Crudgington
@KCBobCut

Track Of The Day: Solidarity Not Silence – ‘This Is Sisterhood’

“Using my platform for the greater good. I stand in solidarity, this is sisterhood.

This poignant refrain sums up all that the powerful new release from Solidarity Not Silence stands for. With members of The Tuts, Petrol Girls, Personal Best and Colour Me Wednesday collaborating, as well as a snippet of the legendary Kathleen Hanna speaking about the cause, ‘This Is Sisterhood’ sees members of the DIY feminist music community come together to raise funds for the legal costs of a group of women who are fighting a defamation claim made against them.

The Solidarity Not Silence movement was started to raise money for the legal cost for this group of women, after each of them spoke up about their accuser’s alleged abuse. A number of his former partners, as well as feminist musicians who spoke out in support, including Nadia Javed of The Tuts and Ren Aldridge of Petrol Girls, are facing a libel claim. Their case is immensely relevant in the aftermath of #MeToo and could affect legal precedent on how similar cases are treated by the law. 

And ‘This Is Sisterhood’ marks the perfect way to bring the case to people’s attention; as Nadia Javed explains: “… we’re musicians not lawyers. We can’t fight this case without the help of our lawyers, but what we can do, is use our skills and resources as musicians to tell our story, and build the momentum that we need to expand our fundraising campaign and keep covering our legal costs.”

A truly impassioned and empowering creation, ‘This Is Sisterhood’ is a totally necessary call to arms; a plea to unite in solidarity against the patriarchal norms seeking to hold us down. Starting with the glistening, honey-sweet vocals of Javed telling the story of Solidarity Not Silence, it builds with swirling riffs (courtesy of Katie from Personal Best) and a stirring energy to a rousing anthem.

As the poignant, spoken word from Ren (Petrol Girls) states some of the disturbing facts surrounding gender-based violence against the heartrending backdrop of a sweeping chorus of harmonic voices (all powerful voices from across the DIY punk community), we’re left to reflect on the track’s resonant sentiment – “When will the reputation of men stop being valued over our safety?”.

Propelled by an immense, stirring splendour, ‘This Is Sisterhood’ sends shivers down the spine with its emotion-filled sweeping power and urgent sentiment. An utterly necessary, and deeply cathartic, listen; a beautifully compelling way to bring attention to such a pressing issue, showcasing the true power of women and non-binary people coming together to unite and fight back against the powers that seek to control us.

Watch the emotive new video, created by Martyna Wisniewska and featuring footage of the community recording the track, for ‘This Is Sisterhood’ here:

Engineered by Simon Small and produced by Patrick James Pearson, ‘This Is Sisterhood’ is out now via Alcopop! Records.

Mari Lane
@marimindles

Photo Credit: Martyna Wisniewska

More information about Solidarity Not Silence and the defamation case:
The group of women has been fighting this case for over four years, and is desperately trying to fundraise enough money to maintain their legal representation. Since launching their crowdfunder – and again since identities were made public – they have received an extraordinary amount of support. It seems that their case resonates with many people who have had similar experiences of being silenced by someone with more power, fame or financial backing. 
However, they have now reached a crucial point in the case, where costs are escalating rapidly. Therefore, in an attempt to reach out beyond their usual networks they wrote and recorded this powerful single, which tells the compelling story of their legal battle, in 2019 and are now releasing it into the world. Their strategy in releasing the track is twofold: firstly they hope to raise money directly through digital downloads and merch sales, but ultimately the goal is to tell their story and get as much attention, and therefore donations, to their crowdfunder as possible. 

PLAYLIST: February 2021

We’ve made it through the first two months of 2021! Despite the current lockdown here in the UK, the GIHE team have been busy unearthing more new music gems to help you get through these long and tedious days. We’ve put together an eclectic mix of alt-pop gems, atmospheric electronics and gritty guitar tunes on our February playlist.

Take some time to scroll through our track choices below and make sure you hit play on the Spotify playlist at the end of this post. Follow GIHE on Spotify to hear all of our previous playlists too.

 

Scrounge – ‘Leaking Drains’
The new single from South East London duo Lucy and Luke – aka Scrounge – ‘Leaking Drains’ offers a stark soundscape reflecting on the state of society at the moment. Propelled by Lucy’s raw, snarling vocals and slashing guitar alongside Luke’s immense, thrashing beats, it builds to a colossal cacophony before coming to a disconcerting, abrupt end – only adding to the stirring tension that has built up throughout. Oozing a ferocious power, the duo have created something that is striking both in its jarring potency and rage-driven force.
(Mari Lane – Managing Editor)

HAVVK – ‘Home’
The first single to be shared from HAVVK’s upcoming new album, ‘Home’ is a stirring reflection on appreciating those closest to you. Propelled by a shimmering ethereal fuzz, the track showcases the soaring celestial majesty of front woman Julie’s vocals, as they float with an impassioned splendour over scuzzy hooks and a gritty, driving energy. Fusing together tinges of ’90s grunge-fuelled angst with twinkling shoegaze sensibilities and the band’s own unique poignant grace, it’s a truly captivating soundscape. (ML)

Softcult – ‘Another Bish’
Informed by their love of Bikini Kill and Smashing Pumpkins, alternative duo Softcult blend atmospheric guitars, energetic percussion and bittersweet vocals to create their hazy, antagonistic sounds. Formed of Ontario-based twin sisters Phoenix and Mercedes Arn Horn, this single ‘Another Bish’ was born from their desire to resist and relieve the pressures of existing in a patriarchal music industry. I had a lovely chat with the grrls over Zoom a few weeks ago which you can read here.
(Kate Crudgington – Features Editor)

New Pagans – ‘Harbour’
A tenacious celebration of women’s strength and resilience throughout pregnancy and childbirth, New Pagans’ latest single ‘Harbour’ is based on the experiences of vocalist Lyndsey McDougall’s pregnancy with her own daughter. Full of the Belfast band’s trademark urgent riffs and catchy melodies, it’s an empowering examination of the fears and triumphs that accompany this unique time in a woman’s life. I can’t wait to hear New Pagans’ debut album, The Seed, The Vessel, The Roots and All, when it’s released on 19th March. (KC)

Grandmas House – ‘Always Happy’
A thumping post-punk anthem that seethes with sardonic wit, ‘Always Happy’ is the latest single from Bristol-based trio Grandmas House. Released via Brace Yourself Records, the track is a raucous juxtaposition of the confident image we project externally to others, when internally we often feel the complete opposite. (KC)

Pretty Happy – ‘Salami’
A wise-cracking anthem about the complexities of processed meat, ‘Salami’ is the new single from Cork art-punk trio Pretty Happy. Full of sarcastic lyrics, gutsy vocals and crashing percussion, the track is a ridiculously good off-kilter banger that rambles through the band’s many absurd thoughts and feelings about the pork-based snack. (KC)

Hadda Be – ‘Another Life’
Complete with a refreshed line-up and new name, Hadda Be (formerly Foundlings) bring their shimmering joy to latest single ‘Another Life’. Despite the track’s somewhat melancholic sentiment – “it covers me in worry, now that’s all I ever know” – it’s buoyed by an infectious jangling energy as scuzzy hooks whirr alongside frenetic beats and Amber’s rich vocals. An uplifting slice of indie-fuzz-pop that’ll leave you longing to dance along to its sparkling sounds live. (ML)

Lauren Auder – ‘Heathen’
“I think this may be my favourite song I’ve ever worked on,” explains London-based songwriter Lauren Auder about this track, and I can see why. ‘Heathen’ is actually my first introduction to her sound, but what an intro it is! It mixes everything I love about electronic music – yearning vocals, urgent beats, rapturous synths and guitar noises – it’s all here and it gives me goose bumps every time I listen. Definitely check out Auder’s new EP, 5 Songs For The Dysphoric, if you’re into this. (KC)

Tyler Holmes – ‘Nothing’
I’ve only recently become acquainted with Tyler Holmes, but I have fast fallen in love with their poignant, affecting and utterly unique sweeping electronic soundscapes. Holmes has spent a lifetime crafting their own Black, Queer narrative by pushing the limits of their imagination and their innovative ability to fuse together genres to create truly stirring, instantly immersive sonic trips is showcased perfectly on ‘Nothing’. Holmes is set to release their new album next month via Ratskin Records. Watch the video for ‘Nothing’ here. (ML)

SPIDER – ‘Water Sign’
Born in Nigeria but raised in Dublin, London-based twenty-one year old SPIDER blends jagged electronics and brooding guitar riffs alongside her distinctive vocals to create her evocative sounds. Her focus is on how a track makes you feel – whether that’s a feeling of power, fluidity or chaos – and on ‘Water Sign’ she weaves these emotions into a cohesive, stirring electronic soundscape. (KC)

Roma – ‘Stay Like This’ (Tiiva Remix)
I’ve been following queer artist & producer Tiiva since I heard their re-working of Despicable Zee’s ‘We Won’t Stop’ last year, and I’m continuously impressed by their instinct for choosing talented and interesting artists to collaborate with. Tiiva reached out to songwriter Roma during lockdown after hearing her track ‘Stay Like This’ and the pair have worked together to create this lush, dreamy electronic tune. Roma originally wrote this song from the perspective of her daughter, exploring what it means to grow up in a modern world and Tiiva overcame their own adult cynicism to create this woozy new remix. (KC)

Show Boy – ‘Turn It On’
Following 2019’s Surreal, London artist and producer Show Boy has today released his much awaited brand new EP Ishtar Lion. A wonderfully eclectic collection, the EP showcases Show Boy’s knack for blurring genre boundaries, combining influences from across the musical spectrum to create perfectly catchy offerings oozing an uplifting, vibrant energy and heartfelt emotion. Driven by the soaring power of his unique vocals, ‘Turn It On’ interweaves an intricate musicality with a sparkling soulful splendour, resulting in a euphoric ode to new beginnings. (ML)

Callaz – ‘Queima Essa Ideia’
Recorded in Berlin and produced by the brilliant Ah! Kosmos, the title of this latest single from songwriter Callaz translates roughly as ‘Burn That Idea’. Based between Lisbon and Berlin, Callaz has recently released her second album, the brilliantly titled Dead Flowers & Cat Piss, and it’s full of her soft vocals, candid lyrics and alt-pop soundscapes. (KC)

Grove – ‘Ur Boyfriend’s Wack’
Bristol-based hyperpop artist Grove blends chaotic synths, warped beats and wicked rap verses on this high octane track ‘Ur Boyfriend’s Wack’. Taken from their debut EP, QUEER + BLACK, this song forms part of Grove’s aural journey through their experiences of being young, black and queer. (KC)

Ci Majr – ‘Summer Drug’
Ci Majr is an emerging non-binary artist from Atlanta and this new single ‘Summer Drug’ is a flirty, joyful dose of dancing beats and smooth vocals. Of the track, Ci explains: “I think a lot of us have been in a place where we’ve been hurt from a relationship and have a hard time opening up again…so this song is saying ‘yes, you can absolutely satisfy my physical needs but we’re not taking it further than that’; likening ‘using’ someone for their body just like you’d use a drug of some sort.” (KC)

Desire – ‘Zeros’
The latest single from Desire, ‘Zeros’ will capture the ears with its sweeping celestial aura. As a majestic, electro-driven soundscape provides the backdrop for Megan Louise’s honey-sweet soaring vocals, glitchy beats and twinkling hooks create a truly moreish offering, oozing an ethereal, effervescent grace. Of the track, Desire explain: “As the calendar pages fly by, we are all reaching for a new normal on what sometimes feels like an endless loop. The cyclical music echoes flashback sequences of a recurring dream.” (ML)

Blonde Maze – ‘Fade Into You’
An exquisite rendition of a Mazzy Star classic, Blonde Maze’s ‘Fade Into You’ oozes all the poignant, rich emotion of the original, whilst adding her own unique blend of soaring electronics and uplifting chiming beats to create something truly euphoric steeped in its own ethereal splendour. Another blissfully cathartic creation from Blonde Maze, showcasing her ability to take an already beautiful track and transform it into something that is completely, undeniably, and majestically, her own. (ML)

Kalbells ft. Miss Eaves – ‘Pickles’
A dreamy tune about escaping a romantic pickle, ‘Pickles’ is a delightful new offering from cosmic-pop collective Kalbells, featuring rapper Miss Eaves. Kalbell’s will be releasing their new album Max Heart on 26th March, which they describe as a “portrait of badass women harnessing their improvisational magic.” (KC)

pecq – ‘Stranger’
‘Stranger’ is the debut single from Oxford psych-pop duo pecq, aka Nikò O’Brien and Hannah Jacobs. It’s a delicate, lush soundscape which the pair wrote, produced and self-released through their own label, Upcycled Sounds Records, earlier this year. pecq are set to release their debut EP, also called Stranger, this summer. (KC)

Jenny Moore’s Mystic Business – ‘Woman Is A Word’
A cover of Empress Of’s ‘Woman Is A Word’, this latest offering from the six-piece choral punk ensemble highlights the power of voices coming together in unity. Oozing a sweeping, celestial splendour, the many vocals flow together in harmony, propelled by an upbeat, jazz-infused musicality. Adding their own unique euphoric energy to the poignant sentiment and soulful passion of the original, Jenny Moore’s Mystic Business have created an emotive and empowering rendition. (ML)

BAXTR – ‘Grace On Fire’
The latest single from London-based trio BAXTR, ‘Grace On Fire’ reflects on the feelings of helplessness that come with seeing someone you love suffer. A sweeping, uplifting slice of alt-pop it oozes nostalgic tinges harking back to the anthemic indie classics of the early noughties, whilst maintaining its own unique shimmering power. As Floss’ honey-sweet vocals flow with a celestial majesty throughout, the track builds with explosive, soaring riffs and a swirling heartfelt emotion to create something truly stirring. (ML)

Samantha Crain – ‘Bloomsday’
Taken from her upcoming new EP, I Guess We Live Here Now, Samantha Crain’s latest single ‘Bloomsday’ is a poignant slice of Americana combining beautifully strummed melodies and a stirring warmth. As the impassioned subtle power of Crain’s rich vocals ooze shades of the raw emotion of Sharon Van Etten, twinkling hooks flow with a rustic charm to gently grace the heartstrings. I Guess We Live Here Now, the upcoming new EP from Samantha Crain, is out 9th April via Real Kind Records/Communion Records. Watch the video for ‘Bloomsday’ here. (ML)

Ex:Re – ‘Where the Time Went’ (with 12 Ensemble)
This song stopped me in my tracks when I first heard it. The title, Elena Tonra’s vocals and lyrics, composer Josephine Stephenson’s cinematic string arrangements – they all resonate so much deeper during this extended period of lockdown. ‘Where The Time’ went is one of ten beautiful tracks on Tonra’s new collaborative album, Ex:Re with 12 Ensemble, and it’s accompanied by a wonderful music video that she directed too. Watch it here. (KC)

Hannah Peel – ‘Ecovocative’
I’m very late to the Hannah Peel party, but I’m in love with her ambient electronic soundscapes. This single ‘Ecovocative’ is lifted from her upcoming album Fir Wave, which is set for release on 26th March via Peel’s own label My Own Pleasure. (KC)

 

LISTEN: MOURN – ‘Men’

A rallying cry against toxic masculinity and street harassment, MOURN have shared their latest single ‘Men’. 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.

“I don’t really trust men” the Barcelona trio admit over crashing drums and riotous riffs, fatigued by being spoken over, judged and exploited by the “fragile” eyes of men who believe women’s bodies are open to public criticism. MOURN are shouting back against this damaging and weirdly acceptable social behaviour, but like many women, the band have felt conflicted about facing this issue so directly.

“‘Men’ is about walking the streets and having to deal with looks, words and attitudes from different men,” MOURN explain. “To enter a store and be treated differently than male clients, and the same at work. This song portrays these situations and the frustration that comes with them. I’m sure there will be a lot of people that identify with these experiences, and being questioned for their identity. At the same time, I know there will also be people that are pissed or feel uncomfortable with these lyrics. But this is how we feel and no one can take our experiences from us.

These lyrics come from a sincere and confident mindset where we want to establish our validity and identity and not let it be broken. We talk about feelings we see in men because we feel they‘re taken into account more, and are imposed onto us. I also feel like with this quote being so long, it is like I’m trying to justify why we wrote about this topic, and the thing is, this in itself is an uncomfortable situation we’re being put through by society. In the end, it’s just a personal experience…lived by millions of people everyday.”

Watch the video for ‘Men’ below and follow MOURN on bandcampFacebook & Spotify for more updates.

Photo Credit: Cristian Colomer Cavallari

Kate Crudgington
@KCBobCut