ALBUM: Queen Zee – ‘Queen Zee’

Making weirdness in to wonderful, inclusive, explosive new tunes; GIHEs favourites Queen Zee have shared their debut self-titled album and it’s every bit as glorious as we’d hoped. Released via their own label Sasstone Records, the group have created ten tracks that gleefully cut down any of the forces that attempt to stand in the way of equality.

The tongue-in-cheek ‘Loner’ opens the record, and it’s an in-your-face anthem taking the piss out of being a solitary, socially inept loser. Zee’s vocals dominate the track as swirling guitar and non-stop percussion keep the riot going. It’s followed by the equally punchy ‘Lucy Fur’ and ‘Sissy Fists’, which are belting fusions of grunge & punk. The latter smashes apart any associations of weakness and is a proper hardcore two minutes of pure adrenaline.

‘Idle Crown’ is a riotously executed piece of Marilyn Manson-esque pop sleaze. The narrative centers around two LGBTQ+ characters trapped in a toxic heteronormative relationship, who are unable to live as their true selves. It’s hard to resist screaming along to the chorus of ‘Porno’ and ‘Victim Age’, both of which will have you kicking and screeching around a dance floor.

The album’s standout track is undoubtedly ‘Boy’. It’s an anthem for trans-gender rockers and their allies who refuse to be ignored, or oppressed by transphobic or homophobic attitudes. “You can try and bury my head in the sand, but that won’t make the body at the surface a man’s” sings Zee, as manic guitar and heart-pounding drums smash out for just shy of five minutes. ‘Hunger Pains’ follows with Zee’s ravenous screeching and more trademark corkscrew guitar riffs, whereas the brief interlude ‘Anxiety’ is a mellow yet candid admission to not feeling well.

Whether you admit to it or not, we can all relate to closing track ‘I Hate Your New Boyfriend’. It’s a hilariously vicious take-down of a misogynistic partner who drains your friend and by default drains you too. Turn it up extra loud anytime you know said antagonist is in the vicinity. With their punk attitude and ability to write abrasive and infectious tracks, there’s no danger of Queen Zee being melted in to a “masculine mould” – and we’re rejoicing in support of this “whipping girl born into a big man’s world”. What a debut, invest immediately.

Photo Credit: Jon Mo Photography

Kate Crudgington
@KCBobCut

GUEST BLOG: Grapefruit

In a new guest blog feature, Angela from Maidstone-based, alternative band Grapefruit writes about what it means to take claim of being women in the music industry.

Sometimes I have mixed feelings about describing Grapefruit as a “female fronted band”. As someone who thinks of gender as a needless and suffocating concept, it can feel like we’re highlighting something irrelevant.

But, we can’t escape the fact that the music we create is intrinsically tied to and is product of our identities. And when that identity is female or femme or non-binary, I do think it’s important to highlight in an industry that continues to be dominated by cis-male identities.

You might not be fazed that our band is female-fronted but some young girl interested in the music magazines in the men’s section of the newsagents might be. Growing up I certainly clung to female-fronted bands; Florence Welch of Florence and the Machine was an idol; my girlfriend and our lead guitarist first picked up a guitar and spent hours learning and mastering it so she could play music like Kate Nash, PJ Harvey and Siouxsie Sioux did.

The point is that whilst inspiring female talent certainly exists in the industry, we’re still often the only female-featuring band on the setlist. We still have to assure some sound engineers that we know how to set up our own mic-stands, and have had to shrug it off when they make sex jokes whilst we’re focusing on getting the levels right. We still look at each other confused when we are compared to a bunch of (talented) bands we sound nothing alike except for that rare female voice.

Until it’s not so rare to see a woman in a band at your local pub, we’ll continue to proudly announce our female-ness and to get excited when we get to play alongside other female, femme, and non-binary musicians. It is our responsibility to make ourselves a space and to fill it to the point of overflow; your ownership of your identity and musical mastery is an important “fuck-you” to the “music has gotten too girly” types (thanks for the words of wisdom, Bono).

 

A massive thank you to Grapefruit for this piece. Follow the band on Facebook for more updates.

Track Of The Day: Nimmo – ‘Orange Skies’

The fear of being forgotten permeates London-based electronic outfit Nimmo‘s latest track ‘Orange Skies’. Produced by Maya Jane Coles, the single is taken from the band’s upcoming EP Songs From The Credits, which is set to be independently released in November, and is accompanied by a self-directed set of visuals.

Nimmo are comprised of best friends, musicians & vocalists Sarah Nimmo and Reva Gauntlett, and together they create sharply produced, lo-fi electronic sounds. Talking about their latest track ‘Orange Skies’ in a recent interview with The FADER, Sarah explains: “[it’s] a song about the paranoia of dying and not having control over the way you’re remembered.” This theme of uncertainty and a need for some form of control is brought to the forefront on Nimmo’s upcoming EP. The duo are using their independent release to promote their renewed ethos of putting friends, family and their network of London-based queer creative collaborators first.

The accompanying video for ‘Orange Skies’ is set on a concrete football pitch from Sarah and Reva’s childhood, and sees friends and relatives pass through the band’s own funeral. Having spent the year playing European festival shows, Nimmo are now back to releasing music on their own terms. Watch the video for ‘Orange Skies’ below and follow Nimmo on Facebook for more updates.

Kate Crudgington
@KCBobCut

WATCH: HAVVK – ‘Glass’

Back and with a newly amended moniker, GIHE faves HAVVK (formally HAWK) have marked their rebrand with the re-release of their bewitching single ‘Glass’.

Originally written in 2015, and released in the run up to the Irish Marriage Equality Referendum, ‘Glass’ addresses themes of conflict and resolution. Completely remastered with help from the awesome Rocky O’Reilly, it’s filled with twinkling hooks as the majestic splendour of front woman Julie’s celestial vocals will captivate in an instant. Oozing an eerie subtle power and magnetising grace, it shows HAVVK at their most exquisite – doing what they do best; combining activism with their unique musical prowess.

Of the meaning behind the song, Julie explains:

“For us, the meaning of the song became connected with the collected voice that was rising in Ireland, especially among young people, in standing up for equality. We’re re-releasing the track as it’s always been really special to us, and with the Repeal vote getting pushed through this year, it feels like more and more people are seeing the impact of voicing their support for human rights.” 

Inspired visually by the Pride rainbow and directed by James Byrne, watch the immersive new video for ‘Glass’ here:

Mari Lane
@marimindles