PLAYLIST: February 2020

We made it through January everyone! That achievement alone deserves a shiny new playlist. We’ve put together a list of brand new music to help you celebrate. As February is also LGBT History month, we’ve included a few tracks from some of our favourite LGBT artists in the list too. 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.

 

Wilsen – ‘Feeling Fancy’
I cannot get this song from Brooklyn-based trio Wilsen out of my head! It’s a shimmering guitar ode to the softly spoken, celebrating introversion and inherent shyness. It’s taken from their upcoming album Ruiner, which is set for release on 21st February via Dalliance Recordings. (Kate Crudgington)

Bronski Beat – ‘Smalltown Boy’
British synth-pop band Bronski Beat released this classic single in 1984. Whilst on the surface, ‘Smalltown Boy’ is a catchy anthem that easily fills a dance floor, lyrically it tells the story of a young gay man struggling to come to terms with his sexual identity, and his place in the world. (GIHE)

Piney Gir – ‘Puppy Love’
The latest single from the Kansas-born London-based artist, ‘Puppy Love’ reflects on the bittersweet nature of love; both the simple, overpowering desire of first love, and then the ‘black dog’ – a common metaphor for depression and its all consuming nature. Glistening with twinkling hooks and sweeping harmonies, it’s a poignant and infectious offering. Of the track, Piney explains: Everyone feels the darkness sometimes, so I’m singing about it. It’s a thin line between Puppy Love and The Black Dog; both can be all consuming and agonising and at times euphoric, manic even.We cannot wait to catch Piney Gir headline for us on 14th February, at The Finsbury (event info here). She’ll be playing along with Grawlix, Captain Handsome and I Am Her – and all for free! (Mari Lane)

Cold Beat – ‘Prism’
San Francisco band Cold Beat, fronted by Hannah Lew from Grass Widow, have announced details of their forthcoming album Mother, out 28th February via DFA Records, and this is their first single lifted from it. It’s the sort of music I could plug into my ears whilst staring at the fast moving world outside of a train carriage. The world slowly speeding by. (Tash Walker)

Ghum – ‘California’
The new one from total faves Ghum, ‘California’ oozes an eerie, reverb-strewn atmosphere as the distinctive sultry power of Laura Gue Lo’s vocals flow. A grunge-inspired anthem for our times showcasing the unique beguiling allure of this band who just keep getting better. Of the track, Laura explains: “The song talks about a love story that was condemned to end badly. The hope and love that both had at the beginning is represented by the idea of running away to California”. (ML)

Indian Queens – ‘Bubblewrap’ 
A beguiling lament about the state of the planet, London three-piece Indian Queens have shared their latest single, ‘Bubble Wrap’. The track is lifted from their upcoming debut album God Is A Woman, which is set to be released via Cool Thing Records later this year. (KC)

Amaroun – ‘Perish’ 
‘Perish’ is the latest track from previous guest on our radio show Amaroun, and I completely love it. The beats, the vocals, the stripped back simplicity – sublime. 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”. I can’t and don’t want to stop listening. All the latest music from Amaroun will be showcased at the listening party at the CLF cafe Peckham Rye, on 13th Feb. (TW)

ALA.NI – ‘Papa’
I love this latest track from ALA.NI. ‘Papa’ is taken from her recently released self-produced album, ACCA. The whole thing is almost entirely acapella and just beautiful. ALA.NI originally trained as a dancer, but was told that as a person of colour she would never make it as a professional ballerina. Her latest album is a powerful vision of modern womanhood. It’s an unflinching account of pain, anger, sadness, and growth. Check it out now. (TW)

AyOwA – ‘First Frost’
The new single from the Danish duo, ‘First Frost’ is told from the perspective of a couple who have spent their whole life together and are now setting out into the winter to disappear as one. With its swirling synths and the beguiling haunting power of Hannah Schneider’s vocals, it’s a beautiful, shimmering cinematic soundscape. Amoeba, the upcoming debut album from AyOwA, is set for release in September this year. (ML)

JFDR – ‘Shimmer’
This beautiful new track from Icelandic multi-instrumentalist JFDR is about “loving someone who is a bit broken”. It’s lifted from her second album New Dreams, which is set for release on 13th March via White Sun Recording. (KC)

Girl In Red – ‘Kate’s Not Here’
I have no shame admitting I was drawn to Norwegian artist Girl In Red’s new track because a) it has my first name in it, and b) I wear a red coat. It’s lifted from the official film soundtrack for The Turning, directed by Floria Sigismondi (The Runaways, Handmaid’s Tale), which is in UK cinemas now. (KC)

Nuala Honan – ‘Slow Down’
‘Slow Down’ is the first single of 2020 for Bristol-based Nuala Honan and it’s a cracker. Driven by post-punk rawness but with delicate vocals and pounding drums when needed most. It’s a taste of what’s to come from her upcoming second LP, which follows a spell of personal recuperation and sonic evolutions. Loving it. (TW)

Otta – ‘Near Enough A Woman’
I can’t get enough of Otta right now. Their new music is just seeping so perfectly into my ears, it’s what I’ve been craving for so long, but I just didn’t realise. This is one of their latest singles taken from the freshly released debut EP, After It All Blew Over, which is sublime. the perfect combination and concoction of electronic, UK jazz, new soul and RnB. (TW)

Clare Kelly – ‘Less Alone’ 
The tone in Clare Kelly’s voice totally blew me away, so rich and full of emotion, it really sings so beautifully on this song ‘Less Alone’. Describing her sound as “alt-folk mermaid music”, Kelly can firmly consider herself having a new firm fan. Really looking forward to hearing more of where this came from. (TW)

Jackie Shane – ‘Any Other Way’
We’ve played Canadian soul-singer Jackie Shane multiple times on the GIHE radio show, and we’re including her again here because of LGBT History month. Jackie was a pioneer for transgender rights in the 60s & 70s, a time when being your true self was not always welcomed, or accepted. (GIHE)

Pom Pom Squad – ‘Cellophane’ (FKA Twigs cover) 
A stirring, grunge-inspired take on one of 2019’s most popular tracks, this is Brooklyn indie-punks’ Pom Pom Squad’s cover of FKA Twigs’ single ‘Cellophane’. The band have treated Twigs’ material graciously, and frontwoman Mia Berrin’s vocals are as poignant as those on the original recording. (KC)

Half Waif – ‘Ordinary Talk’
The new single from Hudson Valley-based Nandi Rose, aka Half Waif, ‘Ordinary Talk’ is a reflection on coming to accept and find the beauty in being like everyone else. A truly spellbinding slice of poignant alt-pop, it’s filled with captivating glitchy hooks and the raw emotion of Rose’s rich soulful vocals, reminding me of later Radiohead, which is no bad thing. The Caretaker, the new album from Half Waif, is out 27th March via ANTI records. (ML)

Hilary Woods – ‘Tongues Of Wild Boar’ 
A shadowy, captivating exploration of intense discomfort; Sacred Bones signee Hilary Woods has shared this track, lifted from her upcoming album Birthmarks, due on 13th March. Though quiet in terms of volume, Woods’ new single is a fleshy, charged offering that allows her the space to navigate “emotionally charged states” at a pace suited to her. (KC)

Planningtorock – ‘Beulah Loves Dancing’
Planningtorock is on of GIHE fave artists, and they’re one of our fave LGBT artists too. LGBT History month feels like the perfect time to give them a spin again. This track is all about their sister, Beulah, and her love of house music. (GIHE)

Track Of The Day: Indian Queens – ‘Bubblewrap’

A beguiling lament about the state of the planet, London three-piece Indian Queens have shared their latest single, ‘Bubble Wrap’. The track is lifted from their upcoming debut album God Is A Woman, which is set to be released via Cool Thing Records later this year.

Formed of sisters Jennifer (guitar/vocals) and Katherine (bass) O’Neill, and lifelong friend Matthew Dudan-Bick (drums), Indian Queens were born and raised in Hackney Wick. Influenced by the restless city that surrounds them, the trio’s soundscapes reflect both the darkness and the light on a personal, and a universal scale.

Underscored by a genuine fear surrounding the current climate crisis, ‘Bubblewrap’ smolders with its dense beats, atmospheric guitar and Jennifer’s captivating vocals. “We were born in plastic bags / conveniently stored / bubble-wrapped indoors”, she muses in the chorus, conjuring up images of over-protection and suffocation. Despite the track’s haunting context, Indian Queens still manage to lull their listeners into acceptance, and hopefully into action against the forces escalating climate change.

2019 saw Indian Queens invited to play Robert Smith’s Meltdown at Southbank Centre, sharing a line-up with Nine Inch Nails and My Bloody Valentine. If they continue to release music as compelling as their latest single, 2020 looks set to be another successful year for the trio. Listen to ‘Bubblewrap’ below, and follow Indian Queens on Facebook & Spotify for more updates.

Photo Credit: Kana Waiwaiku

Kate Crudgington
@KCBobCut

LIVE (Photos): Camden Rocks, 02.06.19

Last weekend saw the return of North London’s celebration of all things rawk, Camden Rocks; an annual festival held at various venues across Camden, featuring an array of bands new and old.

Our photographer Jon Mo was lucky enough to head over on Sunday to catch some of our favourites…

Treating The Hawley Arms to their sweeping, dreamy sounds were Indian Queens.

Pals of GIHE and all round awesome people, Tiger Mimic, delivered a special acoustic set for Kick Out The Jams at Rock ‘n’ Roll Rescue.

Riotous duo The Pearl Harts blasted out their seething desert rock at The Monarch.

Having previously wowed us live at The Five Bells, HAWXX delivered their frenzied rock anthems at The Fiddler’s Elbow.

Friends of GIHE, immense rockers The Muffin Heads, blasted out their tremendous raging force at The Dublin Castle.

The Dublin Castle also played host to GIHE faves Bugeye and their unique, sparkling disco-punk power.

Photo Credit: Jon Mo / @jonmophoto

 

Track Of The Day: Indian Queens – ‘You Came Over Late’

A disorientating lullaby for uneasy minds in the city; Indian Queens new track ‘You Came Over Late’ is a charming blur of lusting vocals and atmospheric guitar riffs. Released via Cool Thing Records, the Hackney trio have managed to create another genre-bending fusion of psych, chillwave and indie sound designed to hypnotise their listeners.

Inspired partially by the film Suffragette – “I’d rather be a rebel than a slave” – lead singer and guitarist Jennifer O’neill crafted more than just the melodies on ‘You Came Over Late. Along with her band mates Katherine O’Neill (bass) and Matt Bick-Dudan (drums), she engineered and produced the song, as well as designing the artwork for the single too.

After their knockout set at Robert Smith’s Meltdown Festival in June 2018, Indian Queens have gone on to release an EP and play a headline set in London. We’re big fans of their new single, and we’re certain that 2019 is going to be equally as a big a year for this talented trio. Listen to ‘You Came Over Late’ below and follow Indian Queens on Facebook for more updates.

Kate Crudgington
@KCBobCut

VIDEO PREMIERE: Indian Queens – ‘You When I Close My Eyes’

Let the “weight of the world” melt from your shoulders as you watch the hazy new video for Indian Queens‘ latest single ‘You When I Close My Eyes’. Taken from the band’s debut EP of the same name (released via Cool Thing Records), the track is a blur of the “ugly and [the] beautiful” according to vocalist and guitarist Jennifer O’Neill.

Shot and edited by the trio during a recent trip to California; the footage blends still images and lyric reels to create a “memory book” cut-and-paste feel, whilst also giving an exclusive glimpse of Indian Queens’ studio space in East London.

Championed by John Kennedy (Radio X), LOCK Magazine, and chosen by The Cure’s Robert Smith to play his Meltdown festival earlier in the year, the Hackney trio are hotly tipped (especially by GIHEs) for a successful 2019. Watch the video for ‘You When I Close My Eyes’ below and follow Indian Queens on Facebook for more updates.

Kate Crudgington
@KCBobCut

Live Highlights of 2018

Despite being a pretty scary year in the grand scheme of things, 2018 has actually been exceptionally great for new music. And seeing live music has, as ever, provided a necessary catharsis and enjoyment; forever giving us something to look forward to. 

Having witnessed an uncountable amount of women/non binary folk being awesome on stage this year, it was hard to pick out our highlights … But, from some of our DIY faves, to Fever Ray and Courtney Barnett (and – yes – Indietracks Festival features twice, it’s that great), here are a few events that stood out as particularly special for us… 

Witch Fever Live @ The Finsbury, January:
2018 has been of year of many incredible gigs, not least our own gigs that we’ve been lucky enough to host at The Finsbury. And, whilst I have a massive amount of love and pride in all the gigs we’ve hosted, the year kicked off with a pretty immense one. Manchester’s Witch Fever, who made two six hour coach journeys to be with us, treated us to their frenzied, raucous offerings with an incredible, un-matched power. As front woman Amy’s incredible, snarling energy stole the show, we were all left completely in awe of this band’s formidable intensity. And they weren’t the only amazing band of the night; joining them was the empowering force of The Nyx, the grunge-fuelled energy of ARXX and the gorgeous pop-punk of Militant Girlfriend.
(Mari Lane – Managing Editor/Co-Founder)

Fever Ray @ The Troxy, March:
Fever Ray’s fierce, focused, sold out performance at the Troxy proved she’s an inimitable talent with a vision, generosity, and energy unlike any other. In Fever Ray’s space, no-one is an outsider: everyone is welcome in her warped and wonderful world. Emerging from the lights in her trademark “I heart Swedish girls” t-shirt and bare scalp, from start to finish the sound was flawless. Each lyric, synth sequence and drum beat was more distinct and discernible than the next – if you weren’t there, you definitely missed out.
(Kate Crudgington – Features Editor/Co-Founder)

Petrol Girls @ Shacklewell Arms, April:
Mari and I were so excited to see the brilliant Petrol Girls live for the first time this year, and they did not disappoint. Loud, lethal and life-affirming: their headline show was a raw, frenzied, furious affair. The band packed out the venue with the help of their friends Pretty Pistol and Screaming Toenail (our new favourite band), and played our favourite track ‘Touch Me Again’ with all the ferocity and energy we’d come to expect from this brilliant band of activists.
(Kate Crudgington)

Indian Queens @  Robert Smith’s Meltdown Festival, June:
Hackney trio Indian Queens performed to a packed out Purcell Room at The Southbank Centre this year, after being hand-picked by The Cure’s Robert Smith to play his (exceptionally well curated) 2018 Meltdown Festival. The band delivered a mesmeric, sharply executed performance that ended in a well deserved standing ovation. I felt like I’d witnessed something truly special from the Cool Thing Record signees when I left the building, and I look forward to catching them again in 2019.
(Kate Crudgington)

Indietracks Festival (and its sense of community), July:
There is the smell of long past years in the carriage as the rails clackity-clack below you, the signalman waves from the box as you pass, and behind the sidings crammed with moss-windowed rolling stock the natural amphitheatre of the main stage hoves into view.

Indietracks is hidden away but for those in the know its not just the boutique festival quietly winning at line-ups, its home. Not only welcoming and familiar, but full of friendship and love. The diversity of the billing, the cute touches and culture-clash between trains and music will delight newcomers but the community sustained between years – by the festival and railway volunteers, each band, every festival-goer – is something to be really astounded by. At a time when togetherness feels more elusive, but is ever more vital, Indietracks should be both celebrated and cherished for the community its nurtured and welcomes home each summer.
(Sarah Lay – Contributor)

Indietracks Festival (and the diversity of its line-up), July:
With our ongoing disappointment at the lack of diversity on the majority of mainstream festival line-ups this year, I was particularly excited to discover Indietracks – one that refreshingly, consistently, champions DIY bands and artists of all genders and genres. And, I wasn’t to be disappointed; the weekend – set in the idyllic Midland Railway Centre near Ripley in Derbyshire – exceeded all expectations.

Ask me about any of my favourite bands of 2018, and they were probably playing at Indietracks Festival. From an array of glorious indie-pop (Wolf Girl, Colour Me Wednesday, Happy Accidents, Worst Place), Feminist punk (Dream Nails, The Baby Seals, Dream Wife) and all the scuzzy, dreamy sounds in-between (Ghum, Sink Ya Teeth, Sacred Paws, Girl Ray), every single band I saw filled me with an empowering sense of joy and blissful gratitude. And I think all those I saw consisted of female identifying/non binary artists.

So, whilst it still seems to be unusual to attend bigger festivals these days and not encounter ingrained misogyny or disrespect of some kind, Indietracks felt like a different world; a safe, joy-filled world, and one jam-packed with all the best music (plus owls and parrots!).
(Mari Lane)

Qween Kwong @ Rough Trade East, July:
I remember this gig for several reasons. Firstly, because I arrived soaked in sweat and rain from the downpour that briefly broke the overwhelming summer heatwave, and secondly because I was lucky enough to interview Queen Kwong before her set. She was just as cool (and as cutting) as I’d imagined her to be, and her live performance was a visceral, loud, defiant example of her songwriting talent.
(Kate Crudgington)

Wendy Rae Fowler @ The Finsbury, September:
I won’t lie; prior to Wendy Rae Fowler headlining for us at The Finsbury this September I was overwhelmingly excited and a little nervous. I’ve been a huge fan of her work over the years, and to have her play for us stands out for me as a particularly special moment (or 45 minutes) of 2018. Immediately creating a captivating, cinematic atmosphere, she filled the room with a majestic sense of wonder, delivering a soul-grabbing, breath-taking set that I’m truly honoured to have hosted.
(Mari Lane)

Courtney Barnett Live In Berlin, November:
Touring her second album, Tell Me How You Really Feel, Courtney Barnett was a sight to behold this year: quite literally. I looked on with envy when the Deal sisters provided backing vocals for ‘Nameless, Faceless’ at the BBC’s Biggest Weekend Festival. But, fortunately, a trip to Berlin also included seeing Courtney live at the city’s Huxleys Neue Welt venue. Seeing the songs played on a larger scale, contrasting with the more laidback atmosphere of songs taken from her debut and early EPs highlighted Barnett’s brilliance and renewed my appreciation of her songwriting.
(John McGovern – Contributor)

 

 

 

EP: Indian Queens – ‘You When I Close My Eyes’

The ever cool Indian Queens have shared their debut EP You When I Close My Eyes, and it’s an atmospheric, driving compilation of sounds that prove the Hackney trio are set for big things. Released via Cool Thing Records, the EP is filled with hazy guitars, mesmeric vocals, and brooding percussion; making it the perfect soundtrack for an autumnal evening in London.

The record opens with title track ‘You When I Close My Eyes’, which was inspired by the binary opposites of “ugly and beautiful”. Jennifer O’Neill’s clear, strong vocals permeate the track, alongside sultry bass lines and grungy guitar riffs. ‘Wish You Well’ follows, blushing with an intense romantic need to be next to a lover, with its hushed vocals and catchy chorus.

The band’s first single ‘I Get No Rest’ – written during the midst of a massive political shift (Brexit, the general election) and in the wake of the tragic Grenfell Tower fire – is a response to the inescapable feeling that (as Jennifer puts it) “rich ‘important’ people were taking the piss out of our lives”. The song’s steady percussion and moody bass lines create a jaded, but seductively atmospheric tune that remains in the mind long after it stops spinning.

Equal parts driving and delicate, ‘Pretty Little Thing’ is as attractive to the ears as its name suggests. It’s an infectious blur of hypnotic vocals and shoe gaze guitar sounds, inspired by a childhood memory of being safe and happy in a Grandparent’s garden. This nostalgic undertone makes the track ring out with warmth and understated joy, before closing track ‘Us Against The World’ proves that Indian Queens have the potential to produce original, magnetic, meaningful sounds.

Together, Jennifer, Katherine, and Matt have created an EP that warrants all the praise it’s been receiving from critics and fans alike. It’s no surprise the band received a standing ovation earlier this year after their set at Robert Smith’s Meltdown Festival – You When I Close My Eyes is a stunning debut from this compelling trio.

Download Indian Queens’ debut EP here. Follow the band on Facebook for more updates.

Kate Crudgington
@KCBobCut