PLAYLIST: LGBT History Month 2021

GIHE Co-founder & Switchboard Co-Chair Tash Walker has put together some poignant words to introduce our LGBT History Month Playlist:

“As a society we all have to strive to be better allies, to not make the same mistakes that we have made in the past, to learn and to evolve so that we move towards a more equal society for all. Learning more about our untold histories is essential for this. February is LGBT History Month, so we’ve created a playlist for you as the perfect accompaniment to all that learning!

But remember it’s not just about the famous names, it’s about all LGBTQIA+ people who lived, whether they were out or unable to be open, they are all part of history, they have all shaped where we are today. This LGBT History Month, have a look for those unsung heroes, lift up their stories and learn more about their hidden lives.

By delving into LGTBQIA+ history, we learn so much about the struggle and fight for equality – the discrimination, the victimisation, the love, the support, the strength – it’s all a part of who we are today, as queer people, as allies, as people. You have to learn from the past to understand what community, allyship and support really mean. The stories you discover will make you laugh and cry – from sex, to police raids, to the HIV/AIDS pandemic, to censorship – it’s all there! It’s so important that we look back, honour, remember, celebrate and mourn for all that has happened in our LGBTQIA+ history, so that we can all work together for a more equal future. A good place to start is by listening to The Log Books podcast – untold stories from Britain’s LGBTQIA+ history and conversations about being queer today.”

If you need support during LGBT History Month or at anytime in the future, you can always reach out to Switchboard LGBT+ via their website or by calling 0330 330 0630.

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!

 

SOPHIE – ‘It’s Okay To Cry’
With the tragic news last week of SOPHIE’s sudden passing, I felt it was necessary to pay tribute to her as we celebrate LGBT History Month. An inspirational pioneer in both electronic music and for Transgender artists, she is gone far too soon, so please don’t hold back in shedding a tear as you listen to the beautifully poignant ‘It’s Okay To Cry’. (Mari Lane)

Planningtorock – ‘Non Binary Femme’
This track is take from one of my favourite albums of all time, Planningtorock’s Powerhouse. Unarguably paving the way for not only a better understanding of what those words mean, but also leading in acceptance for transgender and gender non-conforming people. Planningtorock and their music has unquestionably helped me on my own gender identity journey and I’m sure many others. (Tash Walker)

Bishi – ‘Don’t Shoot The Messenger’
For the Southbank Centre’s 2019 Meltdown Festival, Kate and I had the privilege of meeting Bishi. An incredibly talented singer, electronic rock-sitarist, producer and performer born in London of Bengali heritage. She is also the co-founder of WITCiH: The Women in Technology Creative Industries Hub, a platform elevating Women & Non-Binary in tech through commissions, performances & panels. (TW)

JD Samson & Men – ‘Who Am I To Feel So Free’
Having been part of GIHE faves Le Tigre, genderqueer musician, artist and activist JD Samson is a constant inspiration. Taken from Men’s 2011 album Talk About Body, ‘Who Am I To Feel So Free’ offers a joyous celebration of having the freedom to be yourself. (ML)

LIINES – ‘Sorry’
Manchester post punks LIINES continually impress with their 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, ‘Sorry’ will captivate the ears with its punk-fuelled bewitching allure. (ML)

Big Joanie – ‘Cut Your Hair’ & Charmpit – ‘Bad Attitude’
Putting these tracks from two fab UK based feminist punk groups together as they were shared on a split single release for iconic record label Kill Rock Stars last year. We’ve made no secret of our love for Big Joanie or for Charmpit here at GIHE, and we are all collectively inspired by the incredible work they do on and off stage. Check out Decolonise Fest and First Timers UK to see just some of the vital creative projects they’re involved in. (Kate Crudgington)

Problem Patterns – ‘Terfs Out’
Belfast Feminist punks Problem Patterns are big faves of mine and Kate’s, and with ‘Terfs Out’ showcase the true meaning of Feminism – being inclusive of ALL women, including our Trans sisters. Taken from last year’s Irish compilation album A Litany Of Failures, Vol. III, ‘Terfs Out’ rages with a seething angst-driven energy, poignantly asserting that “LGB is nothing if not for the T”. A perfect call for solidarity and one which is needed now more than ever. (ML)

Dream Nails – ‘Kiss My Fist’ 
An aural uppercut to those who antagonize the LGBT+ community, this single from GIHE faves Dream Nails is a riotous stand against homophobic violence. The band penned the track days after they saw the news that queer couple Melania Geymonat and Christine Hannigan were attacked by a group of teenagers for refusing to kiss on a London bus in 2019. Guitarist Anya Pearson spoke poignantly about how the news affected her: “As a queer woman, I live in fear of violence every day because of my sexuality and the way I look. In the UK, anti-LGBT hate crime has surged in the past five years. We released ‘Kiss My Fist’ in honour of all the queer people trying to get from A to B without getting beaten up. Our message to homophobes and transphobes is clear: ask us to kiss again and we will eat your brain.” (KC)

Gossip – ‘Standing In The Way Of Control’
This is an absolute ANTHEM that is guaranteed to get me on to any dance floor. Bith Ditto’s voice is so powerful and so defiant on this track. A proper indie banger that you can belt out whenever you’re feeling overwhelmed. (KC)

pink suits – ‘Fake Great Britain’
Margate based queer punk-rock duo pink suits incorporate politically driven rage, dance and even theatre into their work, exploring issues of sexuality, mental health and a resistance of binary gender. Propelled by a frenzied, angst-driven power and scuzzy hooks, ‘Fake Great Britain’ is a queer punk anthem inciting us to get up, make our voices heard and fight fascism with all our might. (ML)

Kermes – ‘Peeling Off The Rind’
The latest single from Leicester queercore outfit Kermes, ‘Peeling Off The Rind’ reflects on feelings of unity and togetherness, and their importance in resistance. With front person Emily’s raw, seething vocals driving the track’s poignant, impassioned power, it’s a much needed slice of uplifting catharsis. (ML)

Partner – ‘Big Gay Hands’
I’ve been a bit in love with Canadian duo Partner since seeing them live at The Victoria a few years back, supported by faves Charmpit and Suggested Friends. Taken from their latest album Never Give Up and reflecting on “a wild night on the town filled with queer desire”, ‘Big Gay Hands’ epitomises the duo’s playful sense of fun in an epic, uplifting rock anthem. (ML)

ARXX – ‘Call Me Crazy’
The latest single from GIHE faves, Brighton duo ARXX, ‘Call Me Crazy’ showcases Hanni and Clara’s more reflective side. A heartfelt reflection on mental health struggles, at a time when this topic is more resonant than ever before, it builds in emotive splendour to an epic, pop-strewn ballad. (ML)

Foxgluvv – ‘Beautiful, Dirty, Rich’ (Lady Gaga Cover)
A glamorous cover of Mother Monster’s fabulous original 2008 single, London-based queer hungover pop artist Foxgluvv has paid homage to LGBTQ+ ally Lady Gaga by crafting this funky re-working with producer by Scott Colcombe. Her cover has all the spirit and sass of Gaga’s original, with a slight disco-pop twist. It’s not on Spotify, but you can watch the fab accompanying video to the track below. (KC)

Robyn – ‘Dancing On My Own’
Robyn is an outspoken ally for LGBTQ+ rights. I think it’s important to recognise the role that allies play within LGBTQ+ history and the movement’s continued fight for equality. Being an ally is about educating yourself, it’s about listening, being visible, challenging inequality and helping to educate others. Being an ally isn’t just about LGBTQ+, it applies to any under-represented, marginalised section of society worldwide. As Stonewall says “If we want to live in a world where people are accepted without exception, we all need to be part of the solution.” (TW)

Mykki Blanco (feat. Princess Nokia) – ‘Wish You Would’
This is a song from an artist who I feel needs no introduction, a queer pioneer who is doing amazing things for LGBTQ+ rights as well as being open about their positive HIV status. Mykki Blanco is also such an incredible artist and his music is just oh so gooooood. (TW)

Tyler Holmes – ‘Actors’
I’ve only recently become acquainted with artist 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 is set to release their new album next month – I cannot wait to immerse myself in it. They have also just shared a cover of SOPHIE’s ‘BIPP’. Check it out on bandcamp now. (ML)

Hercules & Love Affair – ‘Blind’
This track is so important me, taken from Hercules & Love Affairs’ self-titled album released in 2008, which I was obsessed with. Growing up I don’t remember any out famous LGBTQ+ women in music, so seeing Kim Ann Foxman who was part of their line-up on the album -so confident in her sexuality – it made the biggest of impressions on me. The music isn’t bad either. ‘Blind’ is without a doubt the theme tune to me fully embracing my sexuality, feeling proud of who I was and strong enough to come out happily in all aspects of my life. (TW)

KERAI – ‘desire’
KERAI is the project of nonbinary/trans producer & writer Sasha Wilde and co-producer Julian Wharton. Influenced by Russian new wave, Scandinavian electronica and Lithuanian folk, the duo blend pitch-manipulated vocals, punchy beats and edgy noise to create their haunting sounds. Their debut album Show Me a Future Where I Can Live is an intense electronic exploration of Wilde’s childhood. Growing up queer in a hostile post-soviet environment, Wilde has channeled their fears and hopes into this “serious shape-shifting” record, and I’m so glad it dropped into my GIHE inbox. (KC)

Gordian Stimm – ‘Though My Love Is Always Still’
I am such a huge fan of everything  Gordian Stimm (aka Maeve Westall of itoldyouiwouldeatyou) releases. They’ve crafted so many experimental gems in the last year, from their debut album Your Body In On Itself, to this single for Amateur Pop Inc.’s compilation record, their offerings are intensely eclectic & so well produced. Definitely check out their new instrumental EP Flirty Lucre for Public Sector, on bandcamp too. (KC)

The Crystal Furs – ‘Comeback Girls’
Oregon queer indie-pop band The Crystal Furs last year released their second album Beautiful and True. Taken from the album, ‘Comeback Girls’ is a twinkling offering, flowing with uplifting shimmering synths, honey-sweet vocals and scuzzy hooks. (ML)

Rookes – ‘Liminal’
Having wowed us live more than once, London based Rookes is fast becoming known in the industry for her fearless exploration of queer-female identity. Taken from 2019’s EP of the same name, ‘Liminal’ offers a beautifully uplifting pop ballad twinkling with a dreamy warmth. (ML)

Marika Hackman – ‘Realti’ (Grimes cover)
Taken from last year’s Covers album, Marika Hackman’s rendition of the Grimes classic adds her own ethereal, soothing touch to the original, oozing a spellbinding majestic splendour. (ML)

Landshapes – ‘Drama’
One of the first guests we ever had on our radio show, Landshapes last year released their first album in five years. Taken from the album, ‘Drama’ reflects on the imbalance of emotional labour that’s often seen between men and women. Propelled by a steady, jazz-infused bass-line, it soars with a whirring synth-filled musicality as the lustrous distinctive power of Luisa Gerstein’s vocals flows.
(ML)

Bronski Beat – ‘Smalltown Boy’
Released in 1984 at the height of the AIDS crisis by openly gay Bronski Beat, ‘Smalltown Boy’ is a heart-breaking story given an empowering beat. In 2020 I worked on the second season of a podcast called The Log Books all about LGBTQ+ history, covering the years from 1983 to 1991, when the HIV/AIDS epidemic hit the UK, this seems like a brilliant way to look back and think of that time – through all the pain and loss, there was love and laughter and most importantly DANCING! Happy LGBT+ History Month! (TW)

Jackie Shane – ‘Coming Down’
We’ve played Canadian soul-singer Jackie Shane multiple times on the GIHE radio show, and included her on many a playlist and we’re certainly not stopping now! Jackie was a pioneer for transgender rights in the 60s & 70s, a time when being your true self was not always welcomed, or accepted. (TW)

Arlo Parks –  ‘Black Dog’ 
I cannot get enough of Arlo Parks and her mesmerising music, so full of emotion I get lost in every second. ‘Black Dog’ is a frank, heart-breaking insight into the the darkness of depression. Mental health awareness within the LGTBQIA+ communities is so important, especially with rising levels of isolation and loneliness. Asking for, or reaching out for help is so important and totally OK to do. The more we can look out for each other, the more we can show people that asking for help is a sign of strength not weakness. (TW)

Perfume Genius – ‘Without You’
I wanted to include the heart-string tugging ‘Without You’ on here to dedicate to anyone who’s ever lost someone. With the pandemic and the recent (rightful) attention being drawn to the effect that the HIV/AIDS crisis has had on the lives of so many in this country with the release of Channel 4’s It’s A Sin, I’ve been thinking a lot about grief and the ways to support each other through it. (ML)

Frank Ocean – ‘Chanel’
Such a great song. As you may or may not know, Frank Ocean came out back in 2012 to mixed but mainly positive responses. Although he’s not technically a hip-hop artist, he is very much part of the community and this was a positive step for LGBTQ+ artists not only in hip-hop, but also on a much wider scale. (TW)

Ma Rainey –  ‘Prove It On Me Blues’
Unarguably the mother of blues Ma Rainey, this taken from 1928, a song that is very possibly one of the first references to queer lesbian culture. Where Ma Rainey, a queer woman sings, “Went out last night with a crowd of my friends. They must’ve been women, ’cause I don’t like no men.” An essential to any LGBT History Month playlist. (TW)

Follow Get In Her Ears on Spotify to listen to our previous playlists featuring more LGBT+ artists.

GIHE: Albums 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 a full length record, 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.

In the absence of live shows where we’d normally celebrate the release of an album, we’ve coped by dancing around our living rooms, miming underneath our face-masks and telling as many people as we can on our Zoom calls to listen to these records. So, in alphabetical order, here are ten albums that helped us get through 2020 (with some honorable mentions at the end because we’re a little bit fed up of restrictions this year…)

Bitch Falcon – Staring At Clocks
Released via Small Pond Records in November, Staring At Clocks is a blistering cacophony of grunge, post-punk and shoegaze inspired sounds from Dublin trio Bitch Falcon. Effortlessly switching from a savage scream to a sublime extended yearning, front woman Lizzie Fitzpatrick’s elastic vocal ability never fails to impress and my admiration for her natural talent swells with each listen. Her intuition is matched by Nigel Kenny’s razor sharp cymbal strikes and Barry O’Sullivan’s brooding bass hooks. Equal parts gritty and graceful, I’m properly in love with Bitch Falcon’s debut album and no, I will not stop talking about it. Listen to Staring At Clocks via bandcamp or Spotify.
(Kate Crudgington – Features Editor)

Bugeye – Ready Steady Bang
A long-standing fave of GIHE, Bugeye have previously wowed us with their vibrant live shows, including performing for us at The Finsbury and at Cro Cro Land, a festival put together by front person Angela Martin in my hometown of Croydon. They’ve also received plenty of acclaim from the likes of Radio X’s John Kennedy and BBC Introducing, and rightly so. Ready Steady Bang is like nothing you’ve heard before; a vibrant fusion of disco, punk and everything in-between, all fused together with magnificent energy into a relentlessly riotous and utterly uplifting collection. This explosive debut fizzles with a wonderfully unique colourful pizazz as the band reflect on the state of the world today. Raging with Angela’s gritty, snarling vocals and whirring electro hooks, alongside crunching riffs and poppy harmonies, each track is a total earworm. Reminiscent of nineties indie legends Elastica, with shades of the retro energy of Blondie, it’s an album oozing a sparkling majesty that’ll charge you up and leave you ready to face whatever 2021 has in store.
Ready Steady Bang is out via Reckless Yes Records, listen on bandcamp or Spotify.
(Mari Lane – Managing Editor)

Dream Wife – So When You Gonna… 
To be honest, I was a little apprehensive about the release of this year’s sophomore Dream Wife album. I had been so completely enamoured by their 2018 eponymous debut that it seemed impossible not to be disappointed, but how wrong I was. So When You Gonna… is both uplifting and poignant in equal measure. From the heartfelt and relatable stirring emotion of album closer and pro-choice anthem ‘After The Rain’ to the immersive inspirational power of ‘Validation’ and fun-filled playful energy and trademark charisma of ‘Hasta La Vista’ and the album’s title track, it proves that Dream Wife are here to stay. With this latest collection, they’ve come back more empowering, passionate and truly joyous than ever.
Listen to So When You Gonna… via bandcamp or Spotify.
(ML)

Gordian Stimm – Your Body In On Itself
I remember thinking “yessss this is a bit of me!” when Gordian Stimm’s (aka Maeve Westall of itoldyouiwouldeatyou) experimental gem of a record first dropped into my GIHE inbox in April. Released via independent Leicester-based label Amateur Pop, Stimm’s debut album is a vivid exploration of bodily autonomy. There’s an enjoyable violence underscoring their vision; a gleeful, sometimes painful dissecting of the self and the social cues that either help construct or dismantle it. At times reminiscent of early Passion Pit or Crystal Castles, Your Body In On Itself is a wonderful collection of distorted, dance-able beats that I continue to enjoy even after multiple listens. The cassette tape is cute af too.
Listen to Your Body In On Itself via bandcamp or Spotify. (KC)

Happy Accidents – Sprawling
Probably my most listened-to full album of 2020, Happy Accidents’ Sprawling follows 2018’s equally addictive Everything But The Here And Now. Since first falling in love with the band back at Indietracks of the same year, I’ve been continually seeking comfort in their sparkling creations. Now a duo made up of Phoebe Cross and Rich Mandell, Happy Accidents have showcased all there is to love about them in this latest collection. An album about “getting out of your head and allowing yourself to connect with others on a fundamental level”, it offers a perfect juxtaposition of honey-sweet vocals, swirling jangling melodies and luscious harmonies, all delivered alongside the heartfelt emotion of the reflective, relatable lyricism, making it impossible not to get utterly immersed in. With Rich and Phoebe taking turns with the lead, each track maintains the glistening warmth and twinkling uplifting charm that first drew me to the band. And now I can’t seem to stop listening; forever seeking soothing catharsis in Happy Accidents’ shimmering, Sprawling indie-pop.
Listen to Sprawling via bandcamp or Spotify.
(ML)

Hilary Woods – Birthmarks
Inspired by field recordings, images from post-war Japanese & wet-plate photography and the secret life of trees, Hilary Woods’ second album Birthmarks is a cohesive set of shadowy soundscapes that smolder with quiet intensity. Released in March via Sacred Bones, the Irish multi-instrumentalist collaborated with Norwegian experimental noise producer Lasse Marhaugher to create a record that was “of the body…a more physical record” than her previous work. She crafted eight fleshy, twisted, charged lullabies that are laced with a mix of hushed vocals, melancholy strings, saxophone sounds, distorted drone noises and Okkyung’s exquisite cello playing. Recorded over the course of two years between Galway and Oslo whilst Woods was heavily pregnant, Birthmarks feels like her most personal and powerful record to date and I’ve thoroughly enjoyed listening to it this year.
Listen to Birthmarks via bandcamp or Spotify. (KC)

Indian Queens – God Is A Woman
Described by lead vocalist & guitarist Jennifer O’Neill as “a late night record”, London trio Indian Queens’ debut album is a sublime offering, designed to dissolve uncertainty and soothe anxious minds. Released via Cool Thing Records in April, the band have written thirteen dizzying tracks that are as driving as they are delicate, providing a welcome rush of blood to the head every time they’re listened to. I love everything about this band and I’m so glad I got to hear them live again in March before the rest of 2020 got cancelled.
Listen to God Is A Woman via bandcamp or Spotify. (KC)

Nova Twins – Who Are The Girls?
Us GIHE grrrls collectively agreed that this is a stunning debut album. Nova Twins’ battle cry for equality and diversity on Who Are The Girls? resonates long after the record stops spinning. Amy Love & Georgia South are a force for fun, for fury and – most importantly – for change in an industry that still “struggles” to book women as headliners at major festivals. This album, released via 333 Wreckords in February, is a collection of thundering bass lines, uncompromising rhythms and wicked riffs. It’s an aural uppercut that proves the London-based duos talent and instinct for writing anarchic anthems. Nova Twins always have us riled, re-energised, and ready to ask for more.
Listen to Who Are The Girls? on Spotify. (KC)

Screaming Toenail – Growth
Having blown us away with the impassioned magnificence of their live show at The Finsbury last December, anti-colonial queer punks Screaming Toenail have become firm favourites here at GIHE, and their message is more resonant now than ever before. Opening with a jarring recording of reports of trafficking migrants and “swarms” of refugees coming across the Mediterranean seeking a better life, Growth starts as it means to go on: honest, politically charged and utterly necessary. Combining shades of ‘80s post-punk with the band’s raw magnetism and angst driven drive, the album covers poignant subject matter, ranging from institutionalised racism and damaging hetero-patriarchal norms, to “little old ladies shoplifting from Boots” and other inspiring female figures such as Diane Abbott and Reni Eddo-Lodge. Growth is truly a soundtrack to our times. Fuelled by a motivational cathartic rage, it starkly reminds us that on returning to “normality”, we need to create a new normal. One in which voices like Screaming Toenail’s can be amplified to the max; one in which we prioritise creating safe, queer, inter-sectional communities and spaces for people to share their art together.
Listen to Growth via bandcamp or Spotify.
(ML)

Sink Ya Teeth – Two
Long time GIHE faves who first completely took our breath away playing for us live at The Finsbury a few years back, Norwich duo Sink Ya Teeth brought some groove-laden joy to this nightmare year with their second album, appropriately titled Two. Having been booked to play our very first Get In Her Ears festival that would have taken place this summer, being able to listen to all the unique dance-punk soundscapes throughout this album offered a bit of consolation. Blowing us away with the soaring, sparkling majesty of each track, they continue to mark themselves out as truly innovative in their craft. From the synth driven glitchy hooks of ‘Somewhere Else’ to the immense funk-fuelled groove of ‘The Hot House’, everything the duo create oozes an infectious shimmering energy, showcasing Maria Uzor and Gemma Cullingford as the ultimate dream team in both songwriting and performing.
Listen to Two via bandcamp or Spotify.
(ML)

Honorable mentions:
A.A. Williams Forever Blue
Ailbhe ReddyPersonal History
ByenaryByenary
The Crystal FursBeautiful and True
Diet CigDo You Wonder About Me?
Dream NailsDream Nails
Lido PimientaMiss Colombia
MOURN – Self Worth
Nadine ShahKitchen Sink
No HomeFucking Hell
Phoebe BridgersPunisher
REWSWarriors
WaxahatcheeSaint Cloud
The Fight Is Not Over (Live album feat. Problem Patterns, Sister Ghost, Strange New Places, Gender Chores)

PLAYLIST: Transgender Awareness Week 2020

At Get In Her Ears, we stand every day with our transgender and gender non-conforming siblings. We support trans artists because they create some of our favourite music and because trans rights are human rights and until trans lives matter, no lives matter.

Transgender Awareness Week kicks off today (13th Nov) until the 19th November, ending with Transgender Day of Remembrance on the 20th November, so we’re highlighting some of the incredible transgender artists who regularly land on our turntables and blast out of our speakers. Listen to our playlist at the end of this post and keep an eye on our Twitter, Facebook & Instagram accounts this week, as we’ll be posting about some of our favourite transgender artists over the next 7 days.

If you need support during Transgender Awareness Week, or at anytime in the future, you can always reach out to Switchboard LGBT+ via their website or by calling 0330 330 0630.

 

Mykki Blanco (feat. Princess Nokia) – ‘Wish You Would’
This is a song from an artist who I feel needs no introduction, a queer transgender pioneer who is doing amazing things for LGBTQ+ rights, as well as being open about their positive HIV status. Mykki Blanco is an incredible artist and I love their music. (Tash Walker)

Arca – ‘KLK’
Arca is a trailblazing trans artist who has been pushing boundaries in the electronica scene for years now. I love her music, especially right now where I cannot quite scratch that live gig rave itch. Turn this up loud, close your eyes and dance dance dance, you’ll feel free. (TW)

Mavi Phoenix – ‘Boys Toys’
Mavi Phoenix is someone that we interviewed a couple of years back now, but who spoke so eloquently about equality and the importance of queer music in the world. Phoenix has found a home in their new sound and also in the pronoun “he”. This track is taken from their debut album of the same name, which was released earlier this year. This is all about Phoenix being reborn, which is what happens in the accompanying music video to this track. ‘Boys Toys’ is as important as an exploration for Phoenix’s gender identity as it is for his artistic work. And on top of all that, it’s an absolute tune. Enjoy. (TW)

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. (Mari Lane)

Tokky Horror – ‘Simulate Me’
Dance-punk trio Tokky Horror are the perfect soundtrack for a lockdown 2.0 bedroom rave. ‘Stimulate Me’ is just one of the many TUNES this band have and I’m excited to hear more from them in 2021. (Kate Crudgington)

LOTIC – ‘Burn A Print’
Berlin-based artist & producer LOTIC’s mission is to “live life to the fullest by not giving a fuck about what anybody thinks”, something she clearly and defiantly communicates on this track. With a name that means to “to inhabit rapidly moving water”, Lotic’s chaotic yet fluid soundscapes truly embody her passionate, fighting spirit. (KC)

PET Wife – ‘B.L.O.O.D.O.R.A.N.G.E.’
I Love what I’ve heard from PET wife so far! I came across them only a couple of weeks ago. PET wife, are a trans/nonbinary couple and art-pop duo from Bushwick, Brooklyn. This single is accompanied by a music video that they describe as an homage to the vampire lesbian exploitation films of the 1970s, with an all-trans/gender non-conforming crew and queer cast. (TW)

Gordian Stimm – ‘Miscellaneous Body Parts’
There’s an enjoyable violence underscoring Gordian Stimm’s vision; a gleeful, sometimes painful dissecting of the self and the social cues that either help to construct or dismantle it. Their debut album Your Body In On Itself (released by Amateur Pop Incorporated) is a bold, surreal listen from a bold, surreal artist and one I highly recommend. (KC)

Anohni – ‘Why Did You Separate Me From The Earth?’
Anohni is a necessary and powerful voice that we need now more than ever. 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)

Kermes – ‘Yr Beast’
Self proclaimed “anxious rock for the gay agenda”, Leicester band Kermes address issues such as gender dysphoria, sexism and dysfunctional relationships, with their infectious emotion-strewn punk-pop oozing a raw, angst-driven energy and scuzzy shimmering power. Kermes feature on fantastic new compilation compiled by their label Amateur Pop Incorporated, including other favourites Gordian Stimm and Boarder. All We Want Is Everything is available now on bandcamp. (ML)

Bitch Hunt – ‘Spaceman’
London based all queer/non-binary band Bitch Hunt formed at First Timers Fest, and create catchy, scuzzy punk-pop. With a subtle tongue-in-cheek wit and the gritty deadpan vocals of front person Sian, ‘Spaceman’ is 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. Check out the gorgeous split EP from Bitch Hunt and other faves adults, available on bandcamp now. (ML)

The Crystal Furs – ‘Too Kind To Be Cruel’
Oregon-based The Crystal Furs create sunny, queer indie-pop that’s set to uplift on each listen. As shimmering guitar and organ melodies flow alongside honey-sweet vocal harmonies, it’s just perfectly catchy, twinkling jangle-pop at its finest. Beautiful and True, the latest album from The Crystal Furs, is out now, with many tracks addressing queer rights and transgender identity. (ML)

T-Bitch – ‘Tranarchy’
Southend-based glam punks T-Bitch give just the right amount of fucks on ‘Tranarchy’, but most importantly – they’re here to be heard and have fun. (KC)

Claire Foxx & The Antisocial Justice Worriers – ‘(I Don’t Want Your) Germs’
Scottish punk singer & songwriter Claire Foxx released this track in September and it’s a riotous, tongue-in-cheek take-down of all things Covid-19 (with some fab sax solos in there too.) (KC)

 

Husk – ‘Below The Neck’
“I would never change being trans. I would never change being a trans musician. The industry should support us. Book us. Play us. Listen to us. We have so much to offer.” A poignant sentiment from Trans, non-binary artist Husk, who combines ’80s synth-pop nostalgia with fresh leftfield pop to create their signature sound. (ML)

SOPHIE – ‘Immaterial’
This track is taken from SOPHIE’s debut album and I love it. A pioneer of experimental music, often the producer behind so many other amazing tracks, remixes and artists. Described as disorientating latex pop which I think sums up my first experience of seeing SOPHIE live – intense at its best. (TW)

Jackie Shane – ‘Comin’ Down’
I can’t resist adding soul singer Jackie Shane to our playlists. Her wonderfully smooth vocals, sophisticated style and bravery and defiance in the face of transphobia in the early 60s make her a true GIHE icon. (KC)

PLAYLIST: Pride 2020

With no marching, no gatherings and no physical prides this year, it’s more important than ever to remember why Pride started. Remember the lengths the LGBTQIA+ communities have come, but more importantly, how far we still have to go. The LGBTQIA+ communities and their allies need to stand strong and united with each other, but especially the black and transgender and gender non-conforming communities.

This period of lockdown has been, and is an incredibly difficult time for everyone, with increasing levels of anxiety, isolation and loneliness. Switchboard LGBT+ Helpline, where I am Co-Chair, has seen a 40% increase in contacts to their services, and a 42% increase in people who are transgender and gender-non conforming getting in touch. People have been reaching out for support all across the LGTBQIA+ communities, from young people feeling the pressures of the closure of schools, to trans people self-isolating within transphobic families, to the elderly – an already isolated group – who felt they may not see a friendly face for a very long time.

The lockdown has had an unimaginable impact on all of us, especially folx from marginalised communities – magnifying any existing situation people may be in from domestic violence to transphobia, biphobia, homophobia but especially loneliness and isolation. Something members of the LGBTQIA+ communities have been battling heavily against for a while now.

What Pride means to everyone within the LGBTQIA+ communities will be different, but as a queer person I stand and I protest for every single one of those people’s rights. For LGBTQIA+ rights, for anti-racism, for black people, for people of colour, for transgender and gender non-conforming people and every intersectionality in-between. We have to learn from our history and we have to work together where we support the human rights of each and every one of us. People should be free to live without fear of judgement or discrimination. People should not have to fear for their lives because of their sexuality, gender identity, race, socio-economic class, disability or religion.

If your pride flag doesn’t include black and brown stripes, it’s outdated. If your pride flag doesn’t include the transgender flag, it’s outdated. So wherever you are, at whatever Pride you are supporting, spread the word and make it known – equality is for everyone, but most importantly, black lives matter, trans lives matter, black trans lives matter.
Tash Walker (Co-Founder of GIHE & Co-Chair of Switchboard)

The GIHE grrrls have put together a playlist full of their favourite LGBTQIA+ artists to help celebrate Pride 2020. Read about their choices below and scroll down to the end of the post to listen to the playlist on Spotify

Janelle Monae – ‘Pynk’
A brash celebration of creation. Self love. Sexuality. And p-ssy power! Need I say more. (Tash Walker)

Amaroun – ‘Perish’ 
Amaroun talks about the themes she evokes in her music which consistently touch on her journey of being a black queer woman, overcoming struggles with sexuality, and the importance of emotional honesty in music. In Amaroun’s words, “this track is an autobiographical reintroduction of myself”. It’s one of my faves. (TW)

Foxgluvv – ‘Desperately Seeking Susan’
A sparkling, sultry tune inspired by the 1985 film of the same name, ‘Desperately Seeking Susan’ is another example of Foxgluvv’s natural ability to create “hungover pop” tracks that celebrate her queer identity. We’re big fans here at GIHE. (Kate Crudgington)

TABS – ‘Love Like This’
We had the pleasure of having TABS on our radio show back in 2019, where she sang the original of ‘Love Like This’ and we savoured every moment. Whilst signed to major labels (Polydor, BMG) TABS felt misunderstood. As a club promoter of Butch, Please! – an amazing lesbian club night which we love – she connected with butch lesbians all over the world and began the journey of making her EP of the same name. Seeking authenticity, she self-released this EP with the support of her queer community, and we are so glad she did. (TW) 

Lido Pimienta – ‘Eso Que Tu Haces’
When I interviewed Lido Pimienta earlier this year, she described herself as “the grey area” in Colombian culture – “but very gay, very queer, very feminist.” I’ve been captivated by her music and her artistic vision since listening to her second album Miss Colombia, and feel that no-one else makes electronic music sound as warm and meaningful as she does. (KC)

Arlo Parks –  ‘Black Dog’ 
I cannot get enough of Arlo Parks and her mesmerising music, so full of emotion I get lost in every second. Her latest release ‘Black Dog’ is no different, a frank, heartbreaking insight into the the darkness of depression. Mental health awareness within the LGTBQIA+ communities is so important, especially with rising levels of isolation and loneliness. From talking, to supporting, to asking and reaching out for help is so important and totally OK to do. The more we can look out for each other, the more we can encourage and show people that asking for help is a sign of strength not weakness, the more we can combat these rising numbers. (TW)

Brown Belt – ‘Lamplight’
Brown Belt self-described as the non-binary boi band of your dreams, and we couldn’t agree more. I’ve only just come across them with their latest release ‘Lamplight’ a super catchy number, with a rad video to accompany it. Looking forward to hearing more from this trio, certainly ones to watch. (TW)

Personal Best – ‘This Is What We Look Like’
Headliners at one of our last Finsbury gigs, Personal Best perfectly brand themselves as “classic rock for tragic lesbians”. Closing their set for us in December, front person Katie dedicated this track 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 in these uncertain times was overwhelming, and an empowering sense of unity took hold as the crowd danced and sang in solidarity. A perfect anthem for love between anyone and everyone. (Mari Lane)

Bitch Hunt – ‘Spaceman’
Since first meeting at Roller Derby, London based all queer/non-binary band Bitch Hunt formed at First Timers Fest, and have been going from strength to strength ever since. Filled with catchy, scuzzy hooks, a subtle tongue-in-cheek wit and the gritty deadpan vocals of front person Sian, ‘Spaceman’ is an observational and relatable slice of punk-pop. 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. An uplifting raging anthem inspiring us all to take those men down a peg (or four). (ML)

Kermes – ‘Time To Shut Him Up’
Self proclaimed “anxious rock for the gay agenda”, Leicester band Kermes were due to headline for us at The Finsbury in August, and I’m desperately hoping we can get this rescheduled for as soon as it is safe to do so! Addressing issues such as gender dysphoria, sexism and dysfunctional relationships, their infectious emotion-strewn punk-pop oozes a raw, angst-driven energy and scuzzy shimmering power. ‘Time to Shut Him Up’ is taken from Kermes’ 2018 album, We Choose Pretty Names. (ML)

Ms Mohammed – ‘Pandora’
‘Pandora’ and its rolling, rumbling drums – such a tune by Ms Mohammed who we had a total blast with in the Get In Her Ears studio last year. As well as being an artist in her own right, Ms Mohammed founded the Clit Rock movement in 2013 as a way of speaking out against female genital mutilation. As a champion of cross-cultural tolerance and an out queer artist who advocates for LGBTQIA+ rights and visibility, Ms Mohammed is challenging prejudice through her music and we stand by her every step of the way! (TW)

Le Tigre – ‘Hot Topic’
Pioneers of queer culture and ultimate faves, Le Tigre’s ‘Hot Topic’ is a celebratory ode to those who’ve inspired us. Paying homage to some queer feminist champions of the ‘90s and earlier, it’s an empowering and joy-filled protest in the face of adversity. (ML)

Planningtorock – ‘Non Binary Femme’
This track is take from one of my favourite albums of all time, Planningtorock’s Powerhouse. Unarguably paving the way for not only a better understanding of what those words mean, but also leading in acceptance for transgender and gender non-conforming people. Planningtorock and their music, has unquestionably helped me on my own gender identity journey and I’m sure many others. (TW)

Bishi – ‘Who Has Seen the Wind’
Last year as part of the Southbank Centre’s 2019 Meltdown Festival, Kate and I had the privilege of meeting Bishi. An incredibly talented singer, electronic rock-sitarist, producer and performer born in London of Bengali heritage. She is also the co-founder of WITCiH: The Women in Technology Creative Industries Hub, a platform elevating Women & Non-Binary in tech through commissions, performances & panels. (TW)

Blonde Maze – ‘Hold On To Me’
NY based GIHE fave Blonde Maze consistently writes heartfelt shimmering electro-pop reflecting on life and love. Taken from last year’s EP Hold On, ‘Hold On To Me’ is an example of the utterly enchanting euphoric soundscapes Blonde Maze is capable of creating. I listen to Blonde Maze whenever I need to feel calm; I just can’t get enough of the iridescent hooks and blissful, emotion-filled romanticism. The perfect soundtrack if you need to take a break this Pride to stop and refuel before continuing to protest, organise and celebrate. (ML)

Husk – ‘Below The Neck’
“I would never change being trans. I would never change being a trans musician. And the industry should support us. Book us. Play us. Listen to us. We have so much to offer.” A poignant sentiment this Pride from Trans, Non-Binary artist Husk, who combines ’80s synth-pop nostalgia with fresh leftfield pop to create their signature sound. A colourful, high-energy offering, recent single ‘Below The Neck’ is the perfect danceable anthem for any Pride party – though, for now, sadly, dancing around your bedroom/living room to it will have to do. (ML)

Bronski Beat – ‘Smalltown Boy’
This track was released in 1984 at the beginning of the AIDS crisis by openly gay Bronski Beat, ‘Smalltown Boy’ is a heartbreaking story given an empowering beat. In 2020 it may feel like we have come so far from the height of the AIDS epidemic in the 80s and 90s but those lost will never be forgotten, and we, the LGBTQIA+ communities still live with the impact today. (TW)

Lady Gaga – ‘Born This Way’
I know I add this Gaga track to our GIHE Pride playlist every year, but it’s such a BANGER and so fun to dance to. She’s always celebrating being the best version of yourself, and for that reason, I can’t leave Gaga out! (KC)

Hercules & Love Affair – ‘Blind’
Taken from their self-titled album released in 2008, the same year I attended London Pride for the first time, this is without a doubt the theme tune to me fully embracing my sexuality, feeling proud of who I was and strong enough to come out happily in all aspects of my life. (TW)

Princess Nokia – ‘Sugar Honey Iced Tea’
Openly queer rapper and all round inspiration, Destiny Nicole Frasqueri – aka Princess Nokia – writes powerful, feminist anthems promoting self love and body positivity. A strong advocate of intersectional feminism, having founded the Smart Girl Club with Milah Libin, a podcast where she discusses healthy living and urban feminism, Princess Nokia offers a hopeful and empowering presence in these times when pushing for change is so important. (ML)

Lotic – ‘Burn A Print’
Born in Houston USA but now a familiar face on the Berlin underground club and electronic music scene, Lotic (aka J’Kerian Morgan) shared her debut album, Power, in 2018. The record showcased her vocal and songwriting abilities for the first time, consolidating her skills into a coherent message about transforming fear in to fierce autonomy. ‘Burn a Print’ continues this narrative, as Lotic explains: “to burn your print into this Earth, because when you go, you need to remind the future bitches that you was here.” (KC)

Mykki Blanco (feat. Devendra Banhart) – ‘You Will Find It’
Queer pioneer and musician/rapper extraordinaire, Mykki Blanco has been an inspiration for the GIHE team for quite some time, and their voice is more poignant now than ever. ‘You Will Find It’, their latest offering, oozes a glistening, soulful splendour as shimmering hooks and swirling atmospherics provide the backdrop for Blanco’s trademark gritty power. Replacing their usual glitchy energy with a soothing aura, they have created a perfect tranquil interlude; an alluring soundscape to immerse yourself in and find blissful cathartic release. (ML)

kate can wait – ‘to be alone with you’
Molly Kate Rodriguez – aka kate can wait – is a collective member of Grimalkin Records, a US-based benefit label and queer artist collective. Rodriguez lives in Guayanilla, Puerto Rico and she crafts dark, haunting folk sounds. She’s not on Spotify, but you can listen to ‘to be alone with you’ via bandcamp. (KC)

Phantómódel – ‘Passing Through’
Another band on Grimalkin Records‘ roster, Phantómódel are a post-punk three-piece who explore the internal struggles of gender dysphoria and body image, systemic oppression and mental health through their dark sounds. Phantómódel describe themselves as a “TRANS GOTH POWERHOUSE of darkness dismantling white supremacy at every turn. We are phantoms of the night, goblins who lurk in the shadows, and demons of chaos and magic, here to enchant everyone we meet.” (KC)

Gordian Stimm – ‘Miscellaneous Body Parts’
The solo project of Maeve Westall of itoldyouiwouldeatyou, Gordian Stimm’s sound is visceral, distorted, yet at times totally dance-able. They remind me a little of early Passion Pit or Crystal Castles, and I recommend listening to their debut album, Your Body In On Itself, released via Amateur Pop earlier this year. (KC)

Perfume Genius – ‘Jason’
Having been a huge fan of Perfume Genius for many years now, it’s been wonderful immersing myself in his poignant latest album, Set My Heart On Fire Immediately. Reflecting on a one night stand he had with a straight man over fifteen years ago, ‘Jason’ resonates with its twinkling musicality, nostalgic lyrical story-telling and the raw emotion of Hadreas’ trademark heartstring-tugging vocals. Throughout changes in his musical style over the years, Perfume Genius never fails to captivate and inspire. (ML)

Antony & The Johnsons – ‘My Lady Story’
A strong advocate for trans rights, feminism and climate action, Anohni (formally of Antony and the Johnsons), is a necessary and powerful voice that we need now more than ever. 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)

Jackie Shane – ‘Any Other Way’
We’ve played Canadian soul-singer Jackie Shane multiple times on the GIHE radio show, and included her on many a playlist and we’re certainly not stopping now. Jackie was a pioneer for transgender rights in the 60s & 70s, a time when being your true self was not always welcomed, or accepted. (TW)