PREVIEW: Sounds Queer: Rehearsing Utopia – An All Night Music Queertopia

Ahead of its second event this Saturday 17th September at Rich Mix, Ellie of Sounds Queer has told us about all they stand for and what to expect from the event. Have a read, and join in the fun tomorrow!

Sounds Queer is an innovative live music showcase spanning genre, expression and identity. The event will champion diverse voices and sounds from the LGBTQIA+ community, whilst providing a safe space for audiences within it.

Despite London being a cultural hub for both music and the queer community, there are few live music nights whose priority it is to provide a platform for LGBTQIA+ artists. In addition to this, there is a lack of truly inclusive events, gigs or venues for emerging music that caters to the specific needs of the community. Run by music lovers and queer creators, we aim to provide a platform for those artists as well as a safe space for the community to discover and support them.

For our next event, we are excited to announce we have partnered with the wonderful team at Rich Mix for a show called Rehearsing Utopia – An All Night Music Queertopia, this Saturday, 17th September 2022! 

A night dedicated to the celebration of queer live music, Queertopia is about giving a much-needed space for the creation of a queer live music utopia where audiences and performers alike, from the LGBTQIA+ spectrum, can enjoy, celebrate and connect around queer music and creativity. We will be launching our new season with an all night music extravaganza with the one and only Nimmo announced to be headlining.

The evening will be hosted by London’s undeniably talented and multi-faceted drag queen Barbs, who will also be giving us an extra special solo performance ahead of Nimmo’s set. Also supporting will be Amaroun (a GIHE fave!); a triple threat multi-instrumentalist, producer and songwriter with warm silk-like vocals that make kaleidoscopic alt-r&b. Our very own co-founder Toby Corton will also be supporting; a “charismatic queer cockney creative” who describes his sound as “a modern British take on neo-soul built on a foundation of frank queer storytelling”. We will also have the unreal DJs Bestley and D’vey taking us into the early hours with their wonderfully woozy soundscapes.

We are so incredibly proud of how far we’ve come since our first event in March and we are so excited about what’s to come. Watch this queer space!

It sounds right up our street! Nab your tickets here and check out an awesome playlist featuring the artists who’ll be gracing the stage tomorrow here.

Track Of The Day: F.R.U.I.T.Y – ‘BT9’

Having previously charmed us with the quirky, infectious sounds of last year’s eponymous EP, Belfast-based queer artist Dan O’Rawe – aka F.R.U.I.T.Y (this alias being a tongue-in-cheek reclamation of the derogatory term often used to insult the queer community)- has now returned with brand new offering.

Turning the melancholic serenade of the traditional ‘Clair De Lune’ on its head, ‘BT9’ is propelled by off-kilter beats as almost eerie twinkling hooks flow alongside O’Rawe’s trademark deadpan Northern Irish drawl. Offering profound reflections on heartbreak, a sweeping synth-driven musicality builds, creating a cinematic soundscape oozing a glitchy, futuristic allure. A subtly unsettling, yet blissfully uplifting, slice of unique lo-fi electro-driven alt-pop, showcasing all there is to love about this innovative artist.

Of the track, F.R.U.I.T.Y explains:

(It’s a) build up of sad, repressed anger and self loathing, with the punchline – ‘You left me brokenhearted basking in Clair De Lune’.

Listen to/download ‘BT9’ on Bandcamp now.

Mari Lane
@marimindles

Five Favourites: Breakup Haircut

Having wowed us live with their scuzzy, joyous punk-pop at our January gig at The Victoria, First Timers Fest alumni Breakup Haircut have just released their debut album – Punk Dancing For Self Defence. A collection of joyously lo-fi pop punk reflecting on themes ranging from social anxiety and break-ups to bi-erasure and existing in a Capitalist society. Propelled by a jangly, uplifting energy with gritty angst-driven undertones, the band’s colourful charisma and sparkling charm shines through each track with a striking relatable poignancy, creating an utterly necessary listen. Whether you need cheering up with some buoyant danceable anthems, or simply want to immerse yourself in the band’s raw emotion and relatable, resonant reflections on life, Punk Dancing For Self Defence will provide you with the aural comfort you need right now.

We think one of the best ways to get to know a band is by asking what music inspires them. So, to celebrate the release of their debut album, we caught up with members of Breakup Haircut to ask about the music that has inspired them the most. See below for their choices of their five favourite albums, and listen to latest single ‘I’d Say Yes‘ at the bottom of this feature.

Ripley:

Pat Benatar – Greatest Hits
I could pick my favourite Pat Benatar album, but I’m going to pick specifically the random ‘Greatest Hits’ album that my Dad bought off a market stall when I was a teenager and we were living in the USA. It was one of the first albums that I basically ‘permanently borrowed’ from my parents’ music collection. I fell in love with the intense and energetic ‘80s rock sound. I have always particularly loved music that generates energy and feels kinetic and I don’t think I’d heard anything that sounded so huge, epic and all big emotions before at that age (and as a teenager, I was of course relating to big emotions particularly strongly at the time). Their music had an intense energy and sincerity that I really connected with. Pat Benatar’s powerful and emotive voice; her aspirationally cool, badass attitude in her singing and lyrics, plus Neil Giraldo’s amazing guitar solos were also a big draw. Pat Benatar is probably best known for ‘Hit Me With Your Best Shot’ and ‘Love is a Battlefield’ in the UK (both awesome songs). I think their music was a lot more popular stateside than here, as a variety of their songs used to be played on rock radio there a lot. My favourites were songs like the emotional and epic ‘Promises In The Dark’ (the bridge vocal build and following emotional guitar solo is so amazing that I often end up listening to that section an extra time after finishing the whole song), and the inspirational ‘Invincible’ that makes you feel badass and ready for anything (it’s also a perfect inspirational training montage song).

Ishani:

Kimya Dawson – Remember That I Love You
I don’t get a whole lot of time to listen to new music – my partner actually spends a lot of time doing that, and makes this big playlist of releases of the year I should listen to which is hanging over my head. But a staple of my favourites in rotation is Remember That I Love You by Kimya Dawson. I found it when I was around 13 or 14, I remember seeing her at St Martin-in-the-Fields when I was 15 or so and meeting her. But I feel like that’s an album that has stayed with me through my years, because Kimya Dawson is someone that I take a lot of inspiration from, even a decade later – I think her work is so simple and poignant that it is really cutting. I love it because that allows for its hooks to be catchy without complication, something that relates down to the core. It’s pop, but it’s totally anti-pop. Everyone in the world would be better for listening to it once in a while, just to remember that the human condition is just a lot – and hearing it in such a simple way is kind of gutting.

Delphine:

Jimmy Eat World – Bleed American
I think I‘ll have to pick Bleed American by Jimmy Eat World. This album came out whilst I was in a difficult period in my life and somehow, this album enabled me to allow myself to feel. ‘The Middle’ is to this day one of my favourite songs of all time. It was a pep talk and in song form. I’ve always struggled with lack of self-esteem and being self-critical so it was a good reminder that doing your best is all you can do and it’s okay to not succeed at the first try. It also reinforced the idea that one shouldn’t listen to people being overly critical when they know nothing about you and your circumstances and that you should do what you want rather than what other people say you must want. 

Jordan:

Biffy Clyro – Puzzle 
My pick is Puzzle by Biffy Clyro. I can’t remember how old I was – but it felt like a whole lifetime ago – I was at this super house party. The conversation is going great and I heard ‘Living Is A Problem Because Everything Dies’ come on. It was the first time both me and my friend had heard it and it instantly grabbed us. You’ve got the big build up and the shrill strings in the pre-chorus. I think we both dropped what we were doing to try to find the CD so we could steal it. For a good 9-15 months it was in contact rotation with other music we would listen to. We’d play ‘Now I’m Everyone’ whenever someone had a match or needed hyping up. I wasn’t really drumming at that time but when I started, this album became more important in trying to replicate the sound. The drumming on the album is especially interesting as it’s semi-technical and semi-mental. Some parts you just have to feel where the notes are, rather than learning the specific sticking. You also have songs like ‘Love Has a Diameter’ which are more soppy but still can maintain a strong groove and pace.

Band Combo Decision:

Green Day – American Idiot
With four of us in the band and five albums to choose, we decided to pick one album each and one shared choice. American Idiot was a young Ripley’s gateway album to a life-long obsession with rock and punk music, one of Ishani’s first discoveries from her brother’s speakers, the album that rekindled Delphine’s love for everything rock ‘n’ roll after a short stint into EDM.
Ripley’s favourite track: ‘Letterbomb’. An underrated high energy song from the latter end of the album. I always loved the intro build to this and the high energy mixed with nihilism vibes that this song gives off. It just sounded so huge, dramatic and intense to me when I was younger, with the driving bass and drums and sweeping guitar melodies. It’s one of those songs where it feels like it has so much energy that it has spare to hand over to you, and you can’t help but feel energised and ready to go by listening to it.
Ishani’s favourite track: ‘Homecoming’. I was always more of an early Green Day fan, like Dookie/Nimrod, but this came out at a time when I wasn’t paying that much attention to music beyond what came muffled out of my brother’s room. He played this a lot – I love the highs and lows, the harmonies, the theatricality of it – it feels like it was written for a stadium, it’s almost dadly. 
Jordan’s favourite track: ‘She’s A Rebel’. American Idiot was the first album I was excited to buy. I was taken up to central London with my grandma and we went into the Virgin Megastore in order to get a copy. It was so catchy and well produced, and it’ll always be remembered fondly. I say that I rarely ever listen back to this album now because having tracks 3 to 6 actually being eight songs has got to be the most colossally stupid fucking idea ever conceived. Why would you do that? ‘She’s A Rebel’ is my favourite and I have to sit through ‘Give Me Novacaine’ in order to get to it. Terrible. 
Delphine’s favourite track: ‘Jesus of Suburbia’. Mostly because it covers all the topics that encompass what a generation of disenchanted kids would feel strongly about. Green Day has always been engaged in their lyrics and giving the finger to the establishment. I guess, in this album, it’s that song. 

Massive thanks to Breakup Haircut for their amazing album choices for their Five Favourites! Listen to their latest single ‘I’d Say Yes’ now:

Punk Dancing For Self Defence, the debut album from Breakup Haircut, is out now via Reckless Yes. Buy on Bandcamp now.

LIVE: Charmpit @ Sebright Arms, 08.07.2022

On Friday we had the absolute honour of hosting DIY legends Charmpit’s last ever London gig at Sebright Arms. With support from total faves Bitch Hunt and indie ‘tweecore’ outfit adults, it was truly a wonderful night – with so many familiar faces from the community coming together to celebrate a band who have been such an inspiration and joy for so many. And to sellout was a a total dream – huge thanks and big love to the three beautiful bands and to everyone who joined us for this memorable night filled with all the best vibes and bittersweet emotions!

Opening the night, Bitch Hunt deliver an empowering, cathartic set. Despite not having had the simplest of weeks (graduations, minor surgeries and struggles on public transport all contributing to stress levels), they radiate a blissful energy as each scuzzy punk-pop offering – reflecting on themes ranging from being non-binary and losing loved ones, to men who take up too much space – tugs at the heartstrings and fills the venue with a joyous sense of unity. Expressing their love of Charmpit and reflecting on memories of First Timers fest in between tracks, it’s a perfect start to what turns out to be a perfect night.

Next up, South London’s adults blast onto the stage with all the fuzzy energy you could ever desire. With both vocalists donning matching Charmpit ‘Anarchism Is For Lovers’ tees, and even treating us to a cover of the beloved headliners, they deliver half an hour of glistening, indie-pop perfection. Simultaneously oozing a lilting, uplifting scuzz with a poignant, angst-driven rage at the state of the world, each track twinkles with a sparkling drive as relatable lyrics about mutual aid and looking out for each other in hard times flow with heartfelt emotion alongside infectious, jangling hooks.

And then it’s Charmpit‘s turn to play their last ever London gig… Emotions run high in the packed out space as their sparkling charisma and vibrant energy instantly flow from the stage, filling the venue with an all-encompassing euphoric splendour. As they treat us to a set of career-spanning classic DIY anthems, it’s an utter joy to see the crowd dance, sing (and cry) together to this band who have meant so much to all of us over the years. From earlier colourful offerings such as ‘Buckfast My Heart’ and ‘Margot’ (who is now 7 and president of her Climate Society at school), to tracks from their latest (and last…) album Cause A Stir, each track oozes the band’s trademark shimmering, colourful zest and playfully quirky wit, whilst touching on stirring themes such as toxic relationships, true friendship and anarchy. Despite the sadness at this being the last time we will all be together in a room dancing to Charmpit, it’s a truly joyous occasion – celebrating all there is to love about this inspiring, adorable and innovative group whose uplifting bubblegum pop tunes have healed, helped and motivated so many. Having followed their career from the start, and with fond memories of them playing live for us at The Finsbury back in 2017, it’s a total honour to host this incredibly special event dedicated to these four wonderful humans who have played such a pivotal part in the London DIY community over the last decade.

What more can I say… Thank you to the three truly wonderful bands, to all who came out and – most importantly – thank you to CHARMPIT! We love you so much; thank you for all the music and the inspiration that will stay with us forever. It was a joy to host this event and to see so many lovely familiar faces!

Join us in a couple of weeks when we’ll be back at The Shacklewell Arms with total faves ARXX, with support from Fräulein and Lusa Morena – tickets selling fast, so make sure you get yours on DICE now! And then we will be at The Victoria on 12th August to dance the night away with Nikki & The Waves, BAXTR and Panic Pocket – you should also nab tickets for that soon too!

Words: Mari Lane / @marimindles
Photo Credit: David Harris / @chopstick68