Playlist: LGBT History Month

To mark the end of LGBT History Month, we dedicated our 28th February radio show to highlighting some of our favourite LGBTQ+ artists. We’ve put together a LGBT History Month playlist of all the tracks we played, plus some extras we didn’t have time for on the show, because LGBTQ+ history is part of all of our history and should be celebrated every single day!

Read about why we picked some of the tracks here, and then make sure you listen to the full playlist!

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.
– Tash Walker

Shamir‘Straight Boy’
I’ve had a massive love for Shamir since seeing him at Visions Festival a few years ago, and then again last summer at Camden Assembly. A step away from the uptempo playful pop of his debut, ‘Straight Boy’ is a real beauty laying bare a heart-rending raw emotion. Shamir explains: “(it’s) about how frustrating it was for me to have my whole identity picked apart at a young age just to see straight white men use it as an aesthetic choice.”
– 
Mari Lane

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

Syd ‘All About Me’
This is one of my favourite tracks from Syd who is openly LGBTQ+, and you may know from the excellent collective The Internet.
– TW

Blonde Maze‘Awake/Asleep’
Ever since first hearing New York artist Blonde Maze a few years ago, I’ve been completely and utterly addicted to her luscious atmospheric offerings. This beautifully twinkling track is taken from her 2015 Oceans EP – a collection of songs reflecting her long distance relationship with her girlfriend, who at the time lived in England.
– ML

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

Jackie Shane‘Any Other Way’
I was sad to learn of the recent death of trans rights pioneer and musician Jackie Shane last week. Jackie has remained largely unknown outside of Toronto, where her career flourished in the 1960s, but with the 2017 reissue of Any Other Way – the first approved collection of Ms. Shane’s work featuring highlights from her sessions at the Sapphire Tavern – I think that’s about to change. She lived her life as a woman in the spotlight, during a time when compassion and acceptance were not always reciprocated towards those who identified as trans. Though she has a classic sound, her obvious talent and her championing of equality will forever remain contemporary.
– Kate Crudgington

King Princess – ‘1950’
Something that I am really proud of here in the UK is the latest generation of LGBTQ+ people, who continually amaze me with their openness and their acceptance of how others identify in their sexuality and gender identity; so different from when I was growing up. ‘1950’ by King Princess is an excellent example of the progression we have made throughout the last 60 years.
– TW

Suggested Friends ‘I Don’t Want To Be A Horcrux For Your Soul’
I can safely say that Suggested Friends are one of my most-listened to, and most thoroughly loved, bands, so I’m super excited to hear that they’re currently working on a new album to follow their self-titled debut. This track in particular showcases their perfect, immensely infectious queer punk-pop to a tee. Filled with racing, catchy hooks and luscious harmonies, Faith Taylor’s witty charm and exquisite vocals fill me with pure joy on each listen.
– ML

Dream Nails ‘DIY’
Collective GIHEs faves Dream Nails are renowned for making women and non-binary people feel safe at their live shows, and they tirelessly campaign on and offstage for LGBT rights too. DIY is an anthem that reminds me time and again that all that’s needed to inspire change is a pro-active attitude, some self belief, and a healthy bit of collaboration. Long live Dream Nails!
– KC

Jemma Freeman and the Cosmic Something‘Someone Else To Blame’
Non-binary London artist Jemma Freeman creates wonderful psychedelic creations that’ll take your ears on a sonic, spacey journey on each listen. We’ve been wowed by their immensely captivating live show on more than one occasion, and we highly recommend you do the same.
– ML

Sleater Kinney ‘Jenny’
A song written by Corin Tucker reflecting on her past relationship with bandmate Carrie Brownstein, ‘Jenny’ is an underrated gem from one of my all time favourites, and pioneers for women in rock, Sleater Kinney.
– ML

ARXX‘Intervention’
Having blown us away with their immense energy at their live shows, and supported bands such as Dream Wife, ARXX are one of our ones to watch for this year. They just keep getting better. This track, ‘Intervention’, taken from last year’s EP Daughters Of Daughters, oozes a ferocious spirit, as vocalist Hannah talks of social injustices, giving a shout out to the LGBT charity Stonewall, exclaiming that “you don’t get to say who we fall in love with”. It’s a perfect, raging anthem for equality. And we cannot wait for ARXX to headline for us at The Finsbury for our special International Women’s Day gig next Friday, 8th March.
– ML

Queen Zee‘Boy’
‘Boy’ by Liverpool’s Queen Zee is an anthem for trans-gender rockers and their allies who refuse to be oppressed by transphobic or homophobic attitudes. ‘Boy’ is taken from Queen Zee’s debut self-titled album which is available now, and I’m so happy to see Queen Zee doing so well, refusing to be melted in to a “masculine mould”.
– KC

Bugeye ‘Is This Love?’
Fellow Croydonites, Bugeye, have been lifting my spirits with their colourful disco-punk for some time now and this track – a twisted play on the theme of love, taking inspiration from Donna Summer’s ’80s club anthem ‘I Feel Love’ – is a perfect example of what they do best. Having got the whole crowd dancing at last year’s Croydon Pride festival, Bugeye are flying the flag for LGBT women in music south of the river, and I can’t wait to see what they do next.
– ML

Le Tigre‘Hot Topic’
I just couldn’t not include total faves and pioneers of queer culture, Le Tigre. An unabashed celebration of (mostly) female and LGBT artists, writers, musicians, and thinkers, ‘Hot Topic’ remains one of my all time favourites, as it never fails to inspire and motivate me to get up and achieve my dreams.
– ML

Robyn – ‘Dancing On My Own’
Robyn is an outspoken ally for LGBTQ+ rights. I think it is 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

Janelle Monae (feat. Grimes) – ‘Pynk’
A brash celebration of creation from the powerhouse that is Janelle Monae. Self love. Sexuality. And p-ssy power! Need I say more.
– TW

Planningtorock ‘Non Binary Femme’
This track summed up 2018 for me, a year that gave with free abundance in good music, in particular Planningtorock’s album Powerhouse. Throughout the whole album, Powerhouse has such an uplifting sound, the music is under the skin catchy and any album that uses the language ‘Non-Binary Femme’ in the title of the song is unarguably paving the way for not only a greater/better understanding of what these words and this sort of language means, but also for it to become a fully accepted part of everyday conversation.
– TW

Shura – ‘2Shy’
I just love this track from London artist Shura, who has been consistently challenging stereotypes since she came out as a lesbian a couple of years ago and helping to ‘queer the mainstream’. Bring on the blurring of gender and sexuality in pop!
– TW

St. Vincent – ‘Fast Slow Disco’
A believer in gender fluidity, pioneering pop artist Annie Clark, aka St. Vincent’s, 2017 Masseducation album was an utter joy from start to finish. With an accompanying video featuring Clark dancing through crowds of men at a gay club, ‘Fast Slow Disco’ is a perfect, uplifting anthem.
– ML

Perfume Genius‘Hood’
At just two minutes long, ‘Hood’ from Perfume Genius is a perfectly heartbreaking song. Taken from his 2012 album Put Ur Back In2 It, which is start to finish heart-string tugging perfection, it’s accompanied by a video featuring Mike Hadreas and gay porn actor Arpad Miklos embracing each other, which was deemed ‘unfit for family viewing’ by YouTube. But it’s actually just truly beautiful and powerfully poignant, and should be viewed by everybody. Of the track Hadreas explains: “The song’s about how if someone knew you 100%, they would go away… So, in the video, I didn’t acknowledge [Miklos] until I was fully done-up in all my gear and my wig. That’s how I feel in general. That freaky shit underneath — that’s kind of who I am, really.
– ML

Antony and the Johnsons ‘For Today I Am A Boy’
A stirring and powerful ode to the journey of transitioning. With the immense passion of Anohni’s distinctive, soulful vocals, ‘For Today I Am A Boy’ is a simply exquisite creation.
– ML

Bronski Beat – ‘Smalltown Boy’
Released in 1984 at the height of the AIDS crisis by openly gay Bronski Beat, ‘Smalltown Boy’ is a heartbreaking story given an empowering beat. Outside of Get In Her Ears I am the Co-Chair for Switchboard – the LGBT+ Helpline which turns 45 years old this year. It is an incredible organisation that is rich with LGBTQ+ history, but it got me thinking and made me look at all the different events that Switchboard’s volunteers have supported people with throughout its 45 years. From the numerous police raids on LGBT+ venues in the 70s, the HIV and AIDS crisis in the 80s, as well as Section 28 which prohibited the promotion of homosexuality (only revoked in 2003). It also went on to support people after the Soho Nail Bomb which it is the 20th anniversary of this year. More recently we’ve seen such events as the Orlando shooting, along with an increase in hate crime towards members of the LGBTQ+ communities specifically targeting transgender people, which is completely unacceptable. But it hasn’t been all bad, there have been a lot of positive changes throughout our recent LGBTQ+ history. Changes in legislation such as equal marriage and educational guidance in schools (hot off the press this week), and changes in societal and cultural views. What we’ve got to keep remembering is that we’re still on that same journey. A journey for equality. A journey for full acceptance… of everyone, no matter how they identify.
– TW

Listen back to last night’s show to hear more about our chosen tracks, or give the full extended playlist a listen on Spotify now:

Track Of The Day: Jackie Shane – ‘Any Other Way’

A “pioneer of transgender rights born in a male body”, Jackie Shane has remained largely unknown outside of Toronto, where her career flourished in the 1960s. However, with Numero Group’s reissue of Any Other Way – the first approved collection of Ms. Shane’s work which features all six of her 45s & highlights from her 1967 live sessions at the Sapphire Tavern – we think that’s about to change.

It’s hard to resist the charm of Jackie’s smooth, soulful vocals set against jazzy percussion and sax on title track ‘Any Other Way’. She lived her life as a woman in the spotlight, during a time when compassion and acceptance were not always reciprocated towards those who identified as trans. Ms. Shane’s identity and sexuality were never a secret. She wore make-up, silk shirts and jewellery onstage and off, projecting a sense of refined femininity, and did so in a manner exuding class, self-respect and dignity. Her identity was never an act designed to play with an audience’s sense of exotica.

Though she has a classic sound, her obvious talent and her championing of equality will forever remain contemporary. Order your copy of Ms. Shane’s collection here, and immerse yourself in an artist who had “a career and life unlike any other”.

Kate Crudgington
@KCBobCut