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)

 

ALBUM: Gordian Stimm – ‘Your Body In On Itself’

A raw, experimental new offering; Gordian Stimm‘s debut album, Your Body In On Itself, is a vivid electronic exploration of bodily autonomy. Released via independent Leicester-based label Amateur Pop, Stimm (aka Maeve Westall of itoldyouiwouldeatyou) has crafted six unpredictable, intriguing soundscapes that range from uplifting and melodic, to sparse and unusual.

At times reminiscent of early Passion Pit or Crystal Castles, Stimm’s record is a visceral collection of distorted, yet dance-able beats. Opener ‘Bleeding Out In a Septic Tank’ hosts six dense minutes of erratic synth textures, and a blend of both mangled and clear vocals, that will either alienate, or invite listeners in to their obscure vision. The edgy, disjointed beats and scratchy, soaring electronics of ‘Pia Mater (Sorry Mate)’ see Stimm extrapolating on the “retail price of emotional labour” and the fear of failure with an unexpected buoyancy.

The ominous, yet oddly uplifting ‘Miscellaneous Body Parts’ shows Stimm at their best; mixing the foreboding and the freeing together in one track. The dark, yet humourous images of tapeworms burrowing into spines on ‘The Very Best Of Friends’ provides a strange distraction, before the crashing beats and overlapping vocals of penultimate track ‘Song For Self Help’ disorientates listeners further. The atmospheric, kaleidoscopic sounds of ‘Synthetic Retinas’ close the record, stimulating the senses right until the last beat.

There’s an enjoyable violence underscoring Stimm’s vision; a gleeful, sometimes painful dissecting of the self, and the social cues that either help construct or dismantle it. Your Body In On Itself is a bold, surreal listen from a bold, surreal artist; and one we highly recommend.

Follow Gordian Stimm on Spotify and Bandcamp.

Photo Credit:@trashjinni

Kate Crudgington
@KCBobCut