PLAYLIST: International Women’s Day 2020

Happy International Women’s Day! It’s a day to highlight and bring awareness to the issues facing women around the globe, and it’s also a time to celebrate the women we love too. This year’s theme is #EachforEqual – encouraging all of us to collectively help create a gender equal world: because an equal world is an enabled world.

At Get In Her Ears, we have only one definition of a “woman”, and that is inclusive of ALL women. Inclusivity is at the core of what we do. It’s the reason we started, it’s what drives us, and it’s something we will consistently strive for as long as we exist. To be explicitly clear, we always have and always will stand against transphobia – it is unacceptable. We send our love, support and solidarity to ALL women out there.

We’ve created a playlist of all the wxmen artists that continue to inspire, entertain, and motivate us into action. Take some time to scroll through our choices below, and make sure you hit play on the Spotify playlist at the end of the page.

Eurythmics & Aretha Franklin – ‘Sisters Are Doin’ It For Themselves’
An obvious, but essential choice for any IWD Playlist. Annie Lennox & Aretha Franklin are a dream vocal team, and I never get tired of listening to this classic. (Kate Crudgington)

Planningtorock – ‘Beulah Loves Dancing’ 
I’m forever grateful to Tash for introducing me to the lush electronics of Planningtorock. This track is all about their sister, Beulah, and her love of house music. When Planningtorock played this live at their gig at Southbank Centre last year, Beulah was in the audience, and when the two siblings embraced each other after the song, I had a tear in my eye. (KC)

The Julie Ruin – ‘Girls Like Us’
It’s no secret by now that Kathleen Hanna is the woman who has inspired me the most and pretty much the reason we started GIHE, and so it seems only right to include a track of her’s on our playlist celebrating amazing women. And this track from The Julie Ruin is just a perfect ode for womxn of all kinds this IWD. A unifying anthem for all us misfit grrrls, with relatable empowering lyrics such as “… girls like us pick up the hot handles and burn our hands and we get over it”, it never fails to pick me up and leave me feeling ready to face the world. (ML)

Big Joanie – ‘Used To Be Friends’
I think all three of us would firmly place this band on any International Women’s Day Playlist. We could not be more behind everything Big Joanie are about, having seen them countless times over the last year – their headline gig at The Moth Club was an undoubted highlight, this band just keep the good music coming. Their politics and music are inseparable, using their platform to speak to their experiences as a black, queer, punk band and the importance of intersectional feminism, it is a privilege to have had them on our radio show. (TW)

Nova Twins – ‘Bullet’
Consistent GIHE favourites Nova Twins have released their breath-taking new album Who Are The Girls, and this track is lifted from it. It’s a powerful statement against street harassment, and the myth that women are “asking for it” if they dress or act in a certain way. Amy’s lyrics are the ultimate weapon against such insults, making it crystal clear that those who touch without permission are not fucking welcome. (KC)

Jehnny Beth – ‘I’m The Man’
Though Jehnny Beth has said that ‘I’m The Man’ is “a poetic work first and foremost. Its aim is to make you feel, not think”, for me it seems to address the anger and ruthlessness surrounding toxic masculinity and the damaging effects it can have. IWD, I feel, should not only be about celebrating the brilliant women in our lives, but informing our male allies so that they can support their female peers as much as possible, and also be reassured that to be a “man” does not mean having to be aggressive or physically powerful. A poignant and powerful offering from this immense force of womankind, who I cannot wait to see live today at The Roundhouse as part of BBC 6 Music’s Festival (along with other awesome women Kate Tempest, Kim Gordon and more). (ML)

Deux Furieuses – ‘Year Of Rage’
GIHE faves Deux Furieuses last year dropped their immense album My War Is Your War – a collection of poignant, impassioned and all-too-relevant rock anthems. Taken from the album, ‘Year Of Rage’ is a seething offering addressing the #MeToo movement and the anger felt by women everywhere trying to seek justice. Delivering a message of empowerment through the raging riffs and soaring vocals of Ros Cairney and frenzied pummelling beats from Vas Antoniadou, it’s a hugely powerful and distinctly necessary listen this IWD. (ML)

The Joy Formidable – ‘The Last Drop’
I’ve lost count of the amount of times I’ve told people how much I adore The Joy Formidable. I’ve been following them for a decade now, and I am still in awe of their ability to create heavy, magnetic, alternative tracks like this one. (KC)

ARXX – ‘Intervention’
Another playlist, another ARXX track. But we make no apologies about this. ARXX have been faves for a while now, and with their “unapologetically loud”, ferocious raw power, they continue to blow us away with their unrelenting raucous sounds. This track, ‘Intervention’, taken from 2018’s EP Daughters Of Daughters, talks of social injustices, giving a shout out to the LGBT charity Stonewall, exclaiming that “you don’t get to say who we fall in love with”. A perfect, raging anthem for equality. Two of the coolest women we know, ARXX also headlined our IWD gig last year at The Finsbury, and it really was the best way to celebrate. (ML)

Amaroun – ‘Perish’
Previous guest on our radio show Amaroun has recently jumped back into the limelight with several new tracks, inclusive of this one ‘Perish’. I’m loving this next step in Amaroun’s musical journey – the beats, the vocals, the stripped back simplicity, sublime. Drawing from her experiences as a black queer woman, overcoming struggles with sexuality and the importance of emotional honesty in music, these themes stand strong throughout her songs. I can’t, and don’t want to stop listening. (TW)

Nayana Iz – ‘How We Do’
What a tune1 ‘How We Do’ is possibly one of the best debuts I have ever heard. Indian born, London raised Nayana Iz has arrived and she’s taking you with her. Eyes wide open people and get watching. (TW)

Missy Elliott – ‘She’s A Bitch’
One of the coolest, most inspiring women in the business, Missy Elliott delivers the most empowering and entertaining of offerings, just by being her incredible self. Proving that a woman can conquer a previously male-dominated genre, whilst consistently unashamedly oozing self confidence, she never fails to motivate me and put a smile on my face. Showing women that it’s ok to not fit the “feminine” stereotype that the industry so often seems to demand, and just be who you are and wear whatever the f*** you feel comfortable in (whether that’s an inflated bin bag or a scarecrow costume – check out last year’s performance at the VMAs to see this in action), she continues to push boundaries and remains a colossal force of nature. ,(ML)

Nilüfer Yanya – ‘Tears
One of my favourite tracks from Nilüfer Yanya, a slight move away from her guitar heavy tunes, ‘Tears’ released early last year captures and takes you along with its bouncing beats and sad reflective lyrics. It’s been great to watch this artist reach the acclaim she so rightly deserves, with my personal highlight seeing her play at Primavera 2019. It was the definition of sun-drenched guitars. (TW)

Shea Diamond – ‘I Am Her’
As early as transgender singer Shea Diamond can remember, she identified as a girl – and was punished for it. At age 20, she robbed a convenience store at gunpoint – desperate, she says, to fund her gender-affirming surgery. Behind bars (in a male prison), Diamond found her voice as a songwriter, and wrote this track ‘I Am Her’. I wanted to include this track today, not only because I just love its poignant, soulful groove, but because Trans Women are of of course women too and should be celebrated on International Women’s Day (and every day)! (ML)

Lido Pimienta (feat. Li Saumet) – ‘Nada’
Inspired by the birth of her daughter, Canadian-Columbian musician Lido Pimienta has penned this beautiful song ‘Nada’. Taken from her upcoming album Miss Colombia, Pimienta ruminates on the pain women experience – from debilitating period pains to giving birth – and how strong we are despite being unfairly dubbed the “weaker sex”. Watch the accompanying video for the track here(KC)

FKA Twigs – ‘sad day’
The master and the muse; FKA Twigs continues to dazzle my eyes and ears with each new release. This track is taken from her second album, Magdalene, a record which blends vulnerability and raw power in equal measure. There aren’t enough adjectives to describe how much I love the music this woman makes. (KC)

Pumarosa – ‘Lose Control’
I interviewed Pumarosa’s front woman Isabel Munoz-Newsome last year for The Line Of Best Fit (read here), and she said this was her favourite track from their latest album Devastation. She spoke candidly about how she wanted to change the narrative around “love” or “breakup” songs, and her words have stayed with me ever since. This track is a slow-burning banger. (KC)

Arlo Parks – ‘Cola’
Watching Poet, rapper, singer & producer Arlo Parks grow over the last couple of years, receiving the absolutely deserve notoriety and success that an artist of her calibre should has been our pleasure. ‘Cola’ her debut single has kept a solid place on many of my playlists, a tender, confessional and mesmerising track. If you haven’t heard of Arlo Parks yet, go check her out now. You can thank me later. (TW)

Sleater Kinney – ‘Modern Girl’
Having been left completely speechless by seeing total heroes Sleater Kinney live last week, I couldn’t not include a track by this group of inspirational women. Seeing Carrie Brownstein perform this song, with all her infectious charisma and musical magnificence, was a definite highlight. And the lyrics “anger makes me a modern girl” seem particularly poignant this International Women’s Day. (ML)

Amahla – ‘Old Soul’
Hackney-Native Amahla blew us away with this song ‘Old Soul’ at the beginning of 2019 and has just kept getting better. An artist who uses their platform for greater good talking about women’s issues, race and current political climates, has an unquestionable place on our IWD2020 playlist. (TW)

Antony and the Johnsons – ‘My Lady Story’
“My womb’s an ocean full of grief and rage.” I can’t listen to that lyric without my heart breaking a little. A strong advocate for trans rights, feminism and climate action, Anohni (formally of Antony and the Johnsons), is a necessary and powerful voice this International Women’s Day. On identifying as transgender, Anohni once said in an interview with The Guardian: “I was never going to become a beautiful, passable woman, and I was never going to be a man… It’s a quandary. But the trans condition is a beautiful mystery; it’s one of nature’s best ideas. What an incredible impulse, that compels a five-year-old child to tell its parents it isn’t what they think it is. Given just a tiny bit of oxygen, those children can flourish and be such a gift. They give other people licence to explore themselves more deeply, allowing the colours in their own psyche to flourish.” (ML)

Dolly Parton – ‘Here You Come Again’
With the recent release of the Dolly Parton podcast and BBC documentary, I’ll take any chance I can to lap up any more content from this one. Dolly, what a woman. I don’t think I need to say anything more. (TW)

Merry Clayton – ‘Love or Let Me Be Lonely’
I recently watched 20 Feet From Stardom and to my shame learned so much about this amazing woman’s history that I did not know. A long established American soul and gospel singer, she provided backing vocal tracks to so many notable performing artists, the most famous being the Rolling Stones’ ‘Gimme Shelter’. Take her voice out of that and what are you left with? Here’s a shout out to the often forgotten or overlooked backing singers from some of the best hits out there. An established and amazing recording artist in her own right, it’s never too late to get into Merry Clayton. What a voice. (TW)

Jackie Shane – ‘Any Other Way’
A Get In Her Ears playlist would not be complete without Jackie Shane, I think this track ‘Any Other Way’ has featured on so many of our playlists and radio shows, but for good reason. Kate introduced me to this artist a couple of years ago and I was sold on first listen. Jackie Shane lived her life as a woman in the spotlight, during a time when compassion and acceptance were not always reciprocated to those who identified as trans. A pioneer for trans rights in the 60s, who very much lives on in our memories today. (TW)

Girl Ray – ‘Friend Like That’
GIHE faves Girl Ray have recently released their uplifting second album, Girl, and I cannot get enough. Taken from the album, ‘Friend Like That’ is an ode to friendship flowing with the trio’s colourful energy and funk-filled, pop-inspired hooks. Of the track, the band explain: “This is a friendship anthem. In music, friend love is often overshadowed by romantic love and IT’S JUST WRONG. This one goes out to the mates of the world.” Basically a perfect, shimmering anthem to celebrate all your fantastic female peers this International Women’s Day. (ML)

Shari Vari – ‘New York City’
Since hearing their debut album, Now in 2019, I still cannot get enough of the Hamburg based alt-electro/punk/producers Shari Vari. Now out via Malka Tuti, it’s packed full to the brim of brutalist delights. From ‘Dance Alone’, which takes me back to those dark, freezing, sweaty warehouse raves to this track ‘New York City’ with warped vocals, heavy reverb and cinematic crescendos. One of my albums of 2019, I consider myself still completely hooked. (TW)

Mentrix – ‘Nature’
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. Her extensive travels and multiple influences – from Latin and French Literature, to The Qu’ran and traditional Persian poetry – give her music a diverse and fascinating edge. I can’t wait to hear her album My Enemy, My Love, which is set for release via her own (female-led) record label, House of Strength, on 3rd April. (KC)

Gazelle Twin – ‘Anti-body’
“I’m credibly unknown, and incredibly ok with that” wrote Elizabeth Bernholz – aka Gazelle Twin – in response to a fan who suggested she should be added to the Reading Festival lineup to fill the obvious void of female bands/artists on the bill. Bernholz’s pioneering sound and vision is best experienced elsewhere though, as her avant-garde, haunting electronic soundscapes demand your full attention. This track is lifted from her second album Unflesh, and although Bernholz has said she will never return to this material (having crafted her spectacular third album, Pastoral), I always come back to it when I’m feeling restless. (KC)

Track Of The Day: Girl Ray – ‘Friend Like That’

Following the recent release of their second album Girl, and having charmed us on more than one occasion with their joy-filled live show, North London’s Girl Ray have now shared a new video for album track ‘Friend Like That’.

An ode to friendship, ‘Friend Like That’ flows with the trio’s colourful energy as jangly syncopated beats flow alongside the distinctive soothing allure of Poppy Hankin’s vocals and funk-filled pop-inspired hooks. Filled with a vibrant calypso-tinged zest, it’s a dreamily uplifting offering showcasing the band’s shimmering, sunny charm and their inspired matured sound. Of the track, the band explain:

“This is a friendship anthem. Reminds us of a really smashing high five with great contact. In music, friend love is often overshadowed by romantic love and IT’S JUST WRONG. This one goes out to the mates of the world.”

Filmed in their old school in Muswell Hill, the accompanying video depicts an ’80s themed/Carrie-inspired tale of female friendship in the face of the mean popular kids, and showcases the band’s endearing wit (and significant acting skills!).

Girl, the latest album from Girl Ray, is out now via Moshi Moshi. Catch them live at the following dates:

18th February – Birmingham, Hare & Hounds
19th February – Leeds, Belgrave Music Hall
20th February – Glasgow, Stereo
21st February – Manchester, YES – SOLD OUT
22nd February – Nottingham, Bodega
23rd February – Cardiff, Clwb Ifor Bach
25th February – Bristol, The Fleece – SOLD OUT
26th February – London, Electric Ballroom
27th February – Brighton, The Haunt

Mari Lane
@marimindles

Photo Credit: Mathew Parri Thomas

Interview: Girl Ray

Following 2017’s Earl Grey, GIHE faves Girl Ray are set to release their new album, Girl, later this month. And we couldn’t be happier with the news.

Whilst we’ve been big fans of Girl Ray’s dreamily jangly offerings for a long while now, their new album seems to signal a slight change in a poppier direction, and we’re loving what we’ve heard of it so far.

We caught up with Poppy Hankin from the band to find out more…

Hi Girl Ray, welcome to Get In Her Ears! How are you doing at the moment?
Doing really well thanks! About to eat lunch.

You’re about to release your new album – Girl – on 22nd November, which is super exciting! Can you tell us a bit about it? How does it differ from your beautiful last album Earl Grey?
Of course! Girl is us trying our very best to do pop. Although Earl Grey will always be a special album to us, touring it so much definitely made us crave a change in sound for the next album. We’d been listening to a lot of mainstream pop before recording, and I think the universal appeal of it was something that interested us and made us want to have a crack at writing a pop album of our own. 

What is your songwriting process normally like? Does one of your tend to take the lead, or is it quite a collaborative process?
I usually do most of the writing at home in my room. Although, for this album we collaborated on writing ‘Keep It Tight’ and ‘Let It Go’ together which was really fun! This time round I was using Logic to write, playing around with midi keyboards and different synth sounds and beats to find something that stuck. After I’ve recorded a demo, then Sophie and Iris will work out their drum and bass parts.

And is there anyone or anything in particular who inspires your writing?
For this album, I think I was looking more to producers for inspiration rather than writers. I’d try and listen out for different production techniques and replicate them through our own filter. With ‘Keep It Tight’ we were inspired by Max Martin’s ’00s pop, with ‘Show Me More’ I was listening to a lot of Mark Ronson written/produced tracks and took inspiration from his more polished approach to funk, and with ‘Let It Go’ we were trying to go minimal like Drake.

I’ve been lucky enough to catch you live a couple of times, most recently at Indietracks Festival last summer (I actually proposed to my husband straight after your set – ‘Stupid Things’ is one of ‘our’ songs!), but do you have a particular gig or show that you’ve played that stands out as a particular highlight of your career so far?
That’s so incredibly sweet, congratulations! Hmmm… I think playing Scala was my (and all of our) favourite gig. It had sold out and all of our favourite people were in the audience as it was a hometown show. I was so tense before the show, but as soon as I got on stage I just became really elated. It sounds so intensely cheesy but you could feel that the room was filled with love and positive energy. That was really special. Plus, we got loads of our friends and family on for the last song to play ‘Earl Grey (Stuck In A Groove)’ which is the needlessly long title track of our first album. That was fun.

You were recently named as a PRS New Momentum Artist, which is fantastic news! Can you explain a bit about what this means?
It means that PRS have given us a hugely generous grant to help us with touring costs. There are so many costs that come with touring that you don’t really think about, and this grant means that we don’t have to stress about money for a little while. It’s really sorted us out! 

And how do you feel the music industry is for new bands and artists at the moment – would you say it’s difficult to start out and get noticed?
I think that, thanks to social media and new music platforms, it’s easier than ever to get picked up as a new band. If you’re making interesting music and the right person stumbles upon it, then you’re sorted. Well, maybe it’s not that simple… But I’m feeling positive!!

As we’re a new music focused platform, are there any new bands or artists that you’ve been listening to lately that you’d recommend we check out?
I saw Free Love play at Visions a few months ago and thought that they were incredible. Their music is dancey and clubby and generally very cool. Plus their live set was INSANE.

Finally, in addition to the release of your album, what else does the rest of 2019 have in store for Girl Ray?
We’re about to set off on tour with Metronomy, which we’re really excited about. We’ve been fans of theirs forever. Other than that, we’re releasing the album on the 22nd November and doing bits and bobs around that!

Massive thanks to Poppy for answering our questions! 

Girl, the new album from Girl Ray, is out 22nd November via Moshi Moshi. Catch Girl Ray live on tour with Metronomy:

6th November – Southampton, O2 Guildhall
8th November – London, Roundhouse
9th November – Manchester Academy
14th November – Bristol, O2 Academy
15th November – Nottingham, Rock City

 

Photo Credit: Laura McCluskey

Track Of The Day: Bubble & Squeak – ‘The Christmas Stick’

It seems Poppy Hankin has a knack for creating perfect festive ditties; following Girl Ray’s ‘(I Wish I Were Giving You A Gift) This Christmas’ last year, she has now teamed up with The Boy Least Likely To’s Jof Owen to treat our ears to a sparkling slacker pop masterpiece.

Depicting a chance encounter on a lonely winter’s night between two strangers whose eyes meet across a bustling broadway, ‘The Christmas Stick’ is filled with completely dreamy, twinkling melodies and an endearing, scuzzy charm. As luscious harmonies flow alongside the joyous sound of sleigh-bells and a slight whirr of wistful melancholy, it’s the perfect antidote to some of the usual festive drivel circulating at this time of year. An uplifting slice of shimmering garage-pop to accompany those hot toddies, mince pies and inescapable pre-Christmas anxiety.

Of the track, Hankin explains: 

Jof told me about the idea for the song one night in the pub, but all he had so far was the line “you’ve been hit, you’ve been hit, you’ve been hit by The Christmas Stick”. I remember singing an idea for it straight away and then we got together the next morning and wrote the rest of it. It ended up being a really sweet love song, which we didn’t expect it to be.”

Download ‘The Christmas Stick’ here.

Mari Lane
@marimindles