Five Favourites: Venus Grrrls

Having previously supported the likes of Anteros and Bloxx, and following the release of their debut EP last year, Leeds rockers Venus Grrrls have now shared a brand new single. Reflecting on the stereotypes surrounding ‘goth culture’ and witchcraft, ‘Goth Girl’ is a fiercely catchy anthem, propelled by a swirling, seething energy and the soaring power of front woman GK’s vocals.

We think one of the best ways to get to know a band is by asking what music inspires them or influences their writing. So, we caught up with the whole of Venus Grrrls – GK, Grace, Gabby, Hannah and Jess – to discuss the five songs that have made the biggest mark on them. Check out their choices below, and listen to the band’s new single ‘Goth Girl’ at the end of this article

GK (Vocals):
Heart – ‘Barracuda’
Ann Wilson’s vocals just speak to me in a way that many other vocalists don’t. The power and the intensity she holds with her unstoppable vibrato, communicates complete and utter certainty in herself. That’s something I’m constantly trying to channel through my own musicianship.

Grace (Synths):
Grimes – ‘Oblivion’
The way Grimes uses the synth here really inspired me when it came to composing when I was a teenager. ‘Oblivion’ is something I always go back to when writing, or if I’m suffering with any type of writers’ block. It helps to clear my mind and not overthink things.

Gabby (Drums):
Arcane Roots – ‘Curtains’
I always think about this song because it starts off reserved and raw, but then grows into this big intense huge ending, which I love. It was song that got me into drumming in the first place, I’m a huge fan of playing around with dynamics.

Hannah (Bass):
Sonic Youth – ‘Kool Thing’
This song is important to me because Kim Gordon manages to be the main component of the song, but by being so simple and understated. She doesn’t insist on complexity, and the power of this is highly effective and is something I always think back to.

Jess (Guitar):
The Runaways- ‘You Drive Me Wild’
A song that has massively influenced my playing, specifically in Venus Grrrls is ‘You Drive Me Wild’ by The Runaways. Lita Ford’s solo in this track just stands out to me as so cool sounding, it’s unlike anyone else’s playing and has so much style. It’s something I always come back to for inspiration when I’m writing my own solos.

‘Goth Girl’ is out now, listen on Spotify.

 

Photo Credit: Milly Hewitt

GIHE: Personal Highlights Of 2020

2020 has been a year unlike any other and we’ll be glad to see the back of it, but before we wave goodbye, the GIHE team would like to share some of their personal highlights. Thanks to everyone who has been following, reading or listening to GIHE this year. It really does mean the world to us and we couldn’t do this without you.

Shared Highlights

Seeing the GIHE name appear in a PHYSICAL BOOK was a landmark moment for the team this year. Music journalist Lucy O’Brien mentioned us in her 25th anniversary edition of She Bop, a fantastic book that explores the role of female artists and how they’ve helped to shape the music industry. You can buy your copy here.

Fellow GIHE Co-Founder Tash Walker was super busy recording & producing series 2 of The Log Books throughout 2020, a podcast which explores the history of the LGBTQ community via the phone archives of LGBT+ charity Switchboard. Tash is a co-chair at Switchboard and she is dedicated to celebrating and supporting the LGBTQ community through her work with them, and through her work with GIHE. She is one of the most resilient, informed and hilarious people we know and it’s a privilege to work alongside her and call her a friend. The Log Books are a truly necessary listen for all.

Now for some personal highlights…

Kate Crudgington (Features Editor)

GIHE usually takes up a big part of my life, but it was a lifeline for me during March of this year when the government text me (lol) telling me to shield for 12 weeks. Thanks to the magic of the internet, I was able to talk to the people who were making the music that was distracting me from the panic-inducing headlines, reminding me what a huge privilege it is to have access to this amazing platform.

As our followers already know, Lockdown 1.0 instantly put a stop to our weekly GIHE new music shows on Hoxton Radio. We had 16 weeks off air, so when it was “safe” for me to go back in to the studio in July I was buzzing with excitement (which you can hear in my voice if you listen back to the show here.)

Like most platforms during the pandemic, we embraced technology and started interviewing artists over Zoom instead of inviting them in to the studio for the usual chat and live session. We managed to get time with Jessica Winter, BISHI, Lucy O’Brien, Tessa from Girlhood, Julia-Sophie, Lizzie from Bitch Falcon, Grave Goods, Problem Patterns, ZAND, Hannah from PELA, Seraphina-Simone & Penelope Trappes. It was so lovely to see Tash in person in the studio most weeks, and while we both missed seeing Mari a great deal, her weekly track contributions to the show still made it feel like a GIHE team effort.

At the beginning of the year, I was invited by Niall Jackson, one of the hosts of Riverside Radio’s The Irish Jam, to be a contributor to their New Music Sunday section. Co-hosted by Kealan, Mel and Rob, The Irish Jam is a London based radio show that celebrates and promotes music from Irish artists. The crossover of favourite bands between GIHE & the Jam is huge and something I’ve enjoyed chatting to the team about both on and off air. They’ve introduced me to the likes of CMAT, fears, Denise Chaila, Silverbacks and Celaviedmai, whilst I’ve shared tracks by Kynsy, Party Fears and CAMI with them. Listening to their show on a Sunday evening continues to be a wonderful distraction from life.

Who could’ve predicted that bandcamp would become the musical hero of 2020? When the streaming platform announced that on the first Friday of every month they’d be waiving their fees so that 100% of profits would be going directly to artists, my newsfeeds were awash with new music recommendations. Moving home to Essex from London in March meant I actually had some expendable income to buy new records, so I was furiously typing bespoke recommendation threads on Twitter every time the date rolled around. bandcamps’ generosity meant you were able to genuinely support your friends (and the artists you secretly wish you were friends with) during a truly depressing year for music.

Normally, we’d be picking our live music highlights too, but for obvious reasons, we’ve hardly been to any gigs this year. Mari had to cancel half of the gigs GIHE she had booked pre-pandemic and it’s fucking depressing to not know when it will be (properly) safe for her to book more. That’s why I feel incredibly fortunate to have wedged in one last GIHE gig before Lockdown 1.0. GIHE worked together with Sofar Sounds to put together a special International Women’s Day gig at their Hackney HQ in March, with Beckie Margaret, Amahla and Indian Queens on the bill. It was so exciting (and nerve-racking) to host the evening with fellow GIHE pal Tash too. Even if I’d had a year full of gigs, this one still would’ve made my highlights list.

One last gloat – I published some of my all-time favourite features on our website this year. My Zoom interviews with the wonderful A.A Williams, the hilarious CMAT and the ultra talented Lido Pimienta are well worth a read.

Mari Lane (Managing Editor)

It goes without saying, most of the highlights I’d normally mention at this time of year were not able to go ahead in the void of 2020. They would normally consist of the monthly gigs that I host at The Finsbury, whereas this year I was only able to put on two before Covid hit. And, in addition to having to cancel at least seven of our regular gigs, we were pretty heartbroken to cancel what would have been our very first festival, due to take place in July. However, I did manage to fit in a couple of memorable live experiences before being confined to being permanently pyjama clad; my only weekly highlight being our regular beer delivery from Croydon’s Art & Craft bar.

The first gig I hosted this year felt particularly special. Personal Best headlined a night filled with all the best vibes. Drawing the night to a memorable close, front person Katie Gatt dedicated their set closer 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 was overwhelming and an empowering sense of unity took hold. The night also included the shimmering folk-strewn offerings of Athabaska, the quirky energy and sparkling charisma of Nun Habit and the sun-drenched swirling anthems of Hurtling. There is nothing quite like that joyous sense of togetherness that comes from hosting gigs filled with like-minded wonderful people.

I was also lucky enough to fit in seeing one of my all time favourite bands with a few of my all time favourite people. The last time that Tash, Kate, Paul and I were all together pre-Covid was for Sleater Kinney at Brixton Academy – a pretty special night. Not only did I get to see the legendary Carrie Brownstein deliver her distinctive gritty, scuzz-filled riffs alongside Corin Tucker’s unmistakable swooning vocals in the flesh, conjuring up massive feelings of awe and nostalgia, but they were supported by one of our favourite current bands. The second time we’d seen Big Joanie on the Brixton Academy stage (the first being opening for Bikini Kill last year!), they showcased just how deserving they are of their rising success; with their unique, raw, post-punk soundscapes and poignant lyricism, they delivered an absolutely incredible set. A truly memorable night.

My last ‘outing’ before lockdown was to the BBC 6Music festival for International Women’s Day at The Roundhouse. An epic line-up consisting of some incredible women and non-binary folk that I’m incredibly grateful I got to witness before everything fell apart. In addition to the immense poignant power of Jehnny Beth, the utterly beguiling splendour of Nadine Shah (who I fell in love with there and then), and the completely mind-blowing presence of hero Kim Gordon, Kae Tempest delivered a fiercely moving, truly breath-taking headline set.

And then gigs were gone. To be replaced by online streamed “events” which I think have had mixed reviews over the last few months – they’re of course no replacement for the “real thing” and it’s hard to feel motivated to “attend” things when you’ve been on the sofa in your pjs for weeks. However, I have managed to organise a few GIHE Instagram ‘Takeovers’, featuring some of our favourite bands and artists. From ARXX’s drum and guitar lessons, LibraLibra’s quirky tele-sales style feature and Tiger Mimic’s interviews with others on the scene, to inspiring chats with Amaroun, Eckoes, Foundlings and Husk, beaut “live” sessions from Gold Baby, Scrounge and KIN, and King Hannah’s EP run through, I feel grateful that so many creatives have wanted to be involved.

It’s a strange time, no doubt, but one which is made that much better by a sense of togetherness within the community. One positive from all this really has been the mutual support and genuine care that I’ve seen musicians and those within the industry show for each other.

John McGovern (Contributor)

On the one hand, there’s been almost no gigs, no festivals, much fewer physical releases and closed record shops. On the other, BBC 6Music’s response helped me stay indoors and make the most of my furlough life. Lauren Laverne‘s show was extended to cover the late morning, running to nearly double the length of most of the other shows on the station and basically saw her appointed as chief mood-lifter for the BBC’s flagship alternative music station. Amongst the days of uncertainty, where even leaving the house offered the risk of serious illness, with no guarantee of a job at the end of the summer, having Lauren there to soundtrack breakfast/brunch made a world of difference. It produced a kind of odd stasis: the background radiation of a pandemic, but an excellent range of music, usually featuring a smattering of classics, new music and obscure gems. The only disappointment was when the schedule reverted back to usual come the end of lockdown. Hopefully, that same semblance of normality will be back for us all, soon.

Thanks to everyone who took the time to read our highlights!

You can read about our GIHE Albums of 2020 here and our GIHE Tracks Of 2020 here.

Keep an eye out for our Ones To Watch in 2021 feature next week!

Track Of The Day: Madame So – ‘Generation Y’

Having previously blown us away live at The Finsbury, and with acclaim for her last two EPS It’s Not Even A Colour and Sell By Date, Paris-born London-based artist Madame So has returned with a poignant new single.

Bathing in a discordant sea of scuzzy riffs, ‘Generation Y’ builds the tension with a raging sense of urgency. As her vocals ooze a gritty power with a blazing raw emotion, Madame So reflects on how millenials’ youth culture is perceived by older generations, and how this cycle of judgement is snowballing into generations to come. With shades of the frenzied cacophonies of Kim Gordon’s solo material, it’s a soaring slice of immense punk-pop; an impassioned and compelling listen for these times.

‘Generation Y’ is out now. Listen on Spotify.

Mari Lane
@marimindles

GIHE: Albums Of 2019

It’s that time of year again when we look back at some of our musical highlights, and what a year for new music it’s been! From empowering guitar anthems, gritty electro beats to dreamy indie-pop – our ears have been pretty lucky! Earlier this week, we shared our favourite tracks and now we’re sharing our most loved albums of 2019. Read our choices below, and a listen to our mega playlist at the end of this post!

Little Simz – Grey Area
Probably my most listened to album of the year, Little Simz’s Grey Area is such a poignant, empowering collection from the London artist. A necessary and stirring listen, with powerful feminist anthems such as ‘Boss’ and ‘Offence’, as well as more reflective tracks such as ‘Therapy’, it’s just been the perfect soundtrack to 2019’s anxieties and injustices. Grey Area makes me feel like there’s hope, like there’s power in being a woman. Listening to it, I’ve been known to strut down the street, headphones in my ears, fists clenched and feel momentarily inspired and indestructible – “I’m a boss in a fucking dress”.
(Mari Lane – Managing Editor/Co-Founder)

Le Butcherettes – bi/MENTAL
A vivid exploration of maternal relationships and enduring grief, Le Butcherettes‘ fourth album bi/MENTAL is a potent infusion of almighty vocals, hefty guitar riffs, and commanding percussion. Released via Rise Records, bi/MENTAL is an ode to front woman Teri Gender Bender’s mother, and I had the privilege of speaking to her about this, and many other things when I interviewed her earlier this year. ‘give/UP’ is my favourite track on the record, and it gave me goose bumps when I heard it live at Moth Club earlier this year.
(Kate Crudgington – Features Editor/Co-Founder)

Suggested Friends – Turtle Taxi
Any follower of Get In Her Ears will be aware of my love of Suggested Friends; and, having been completely addicted to their eponymous debut release over the last couple of years, and having being utterly charmed by them at numerous gigs in that time, I was extremely pleased to welcome the birth of Turtle Taxi this year. Filled with the band’s totally dreamy harmonies, the album addresses themes ranging from love and trust, to politics and the end of the world, with each track oozing the band’s infectious jangly scuzz. Faith Taylor’s distinctive crystalline vocals are honestly some of the most beautiful I’ve ever heard, and the band’s luscious twinkling melodies and stirring raw emotion never fail to break my heart a little, in the best of ways. (ML)

Kim Gordon – No Home Record
With her inimitable vocals and uncompromising style, Kim Gordon‘s first solo album, No Home Record, is a multi-textured offering that snarls, bites and sedates in equal measure. Released via Matador Records, it’s an intriguing, heavy, eclectic gem that fascinates me more each time I listen to it. I was lucky enough to get a signed copy from Kim Gordon at Rough Trade too. #FanGirl (KC)

Bat For Lashes – Lost Girls
As we nauseously hurl towards not just the end of the year but the decade, it’s fitting that Bat for Lashes delivered my record of the year. Lost Girls is nostalgic, brimful of anthemic and anachronistic loneliness of millennial life. We saw a huge ’80s renaissance in 2019; from films — IT, Wonder Woman — to TV — Stranger Things, American Horror Story, and to me, Lost Girls is the musical response. Whatever it is about the ’80s that takes those of us over 30 back, I don’t know. But it’s ever present. And this record captures that strange sense of longing.

Listening makes me long for a time when technology wasn’t up to par and not all homes had a computer. It makes me yearn to rent video epics like The Lost Boys and Flight of the Navigator and Gremlins. Like I could just drop everything to knock on a friend’s door to see if they want to come outside to play in the hazy sun of an endless summer. Ironically, it makes me think about not thinking. About being free and having hope or no need to search for it. Before anyone fell in love or, if lucky, lost anybody or anything. For 38 minutes, Lost Girls makes me remember what’s gone. Em Burfitt (Contributor)

ZAMILSKA – Uncovered
A ruthless, beguiling take on the forces that influence and overwhelm us, Polish Producer ZAMILSKA‘s Uncovered is a densely hypnotic record permeated by the artist’s fascination with levitation. The result is thirteen richly textured tracks that seethe with “the anxiety of what we want vs what we get”. ‘Hollow’ is my favourite track, and I’m hoping I get the chance to hear ZAMILSKA’s music live in 2020. (KC)

Trash KitHorizon
Trash Kit have been faves of mine for a while now; another band to have brought their joyous energy to us at The Finsbury, their 2014 album Confidence was all kinds of wonderful and this year’s Horizon is no different. Filled with an eclectic array of musical influences, including Rachel Aggs’ love of guitar music from Zimbabwe, each track on the album oozes the band’s trademark shimmering effervescent joy and swirling sparkling energy whilst interweaving twinkling hooks, tribal jangly beats and funk-fused bass lines. With its sunny, euphoric vibes, it offers the perfect remedy to all 2019’s despair. (ML)

Aldous Harding – Designer
Aldous Harding’s third album is the Kiwi goth folk artist’s pop LP. Sure, the videos may be unsettling and uncanny, the songs may have titles like ‘The Barrel’, ‘Heaven is Empty’ and ‘Damn’, but check out the folk lilt of ‘Fixture Picture’ and ‘Zoo Eyes’. Having been following her for quite some time, it felt, initially, a little unnerving to see her move away from the more sombre and abrasive territory of 2017’s self-titled debut Party. But watching her at a sold-out Brudenell Social Club, in front of a rapt audience, made me realise the majesty of these songs and their own soft power. On stage, Harding was her typical idiosyncratic self, and that perhaps is the key to her albums. She does what she wants. Who knows what she’ll do next? John McGovern (Contributor)

Witching Waves – Persistence
One of the most exciting bands I’ve come across in the last couple of years, Witching Waves have been wowing me with the immense frenetic energy of their live shows on more than one occasion. And, on seeing them support Suggested Friends (see other favourite album choice) at The Shacklewell Arms a couple of months back, I decided to pick up the shiny yellow vinyl of Persistence. Propelled by propulsive racing beats, their energy-fuelled post-punk oozes a visceral power, with tracks such as ‘Disintegration’ and ‘Best Of Me’ showcasing perfectly in-sync musical layers, as Estella’s driving bass and Mark’s metallic melodies accompany Emma’s frenzied rhythms and raw impassioned vocals. I can’t wait to hear what the trio have in store for us in 2020. (ML)

Black Belt Eagle Scout – At The Party With My Brown Friends
This year, Katherine Paul debuted an overwhelmingly captivating and forward-facing second record under her project name Black Belt Eagle Scout. With lush indie-rock/alternative tones met with echoing vocals and non traditional percussion, Katherine speaks from her crucial voice as a radical indigenous queer feminist. At The Party With My Brown Friends is a profound look into friendship, desire and longing through a lens that has lived through hardship on a cultural scale. Aligned with the pain of the people Katherine represents, Black Belt Eagle Scout exposes a necessary reality. A sonic melancholic marriage between the celebration of life’s lightest moments and an ongoing heavy and fighting heart. In a political climate where indigenous voices continue to fight to be heard, At The Party With My Brown Friends hosts an imperative statement. Make room for the mighty and influential voice of Katherine Paul. Jillian Goyeau (Contributor)

FKA Twigs – Magdalene
FKA Twigs seems to re-emerge whenever my heart’s taken a bit of a beating and I’m always so relieved when she does. Magdalene is inspired by heartache and the figure of Mary Magdalene, an unlikely heroine who Twigs uses to explore the strengths and weaknesses of her femininity. Both the master and the muse, she is re-inventing what it means to be a performer, an artist and a woman in the music industry. Her accompanying Magdalene Tour was a breath-taking spectacle and I can’t imagine a time when I won’t be enthralled by her.
(KC)

We’ve updated our Tracks Of 2019 playlist with some songs from our favourite albums of the year. Have a listen now!

Mari Lane / @marimindles
Kate Crudgington / @kcbobcut
Em Burfitt / @fenderqueer
John McGovern / @etinsuburbiaego
Jillian Goyeau / @jillybxxn