GIHE: Ones To Watch 2023

2022 saw its fair share of highs, and lows…but if there was one positive to take away, it’s the immense amount of incredible new music that’s been released, and the hope of even more sublime offerings from some wonderful new bands in 2023.

So, following our Tracks Of 2022, Albums and EPS of 2022 and Personal Highlights 2022 features, we’re now sharing our ‘Ones To Watch’ for 2023 – Just a few of the amazing bands and artists who have impressed us throughout 2022, and that we predict will be reaching ears far and wide next year. Have a read of our choices, and make sure you give them all a follow to keep track of their unmissable achievements over the next twelve months.

 

Jemma Freeman and the Cosmic Something
Although Jemma Freeman is certainly no newcomer to the music scene, having released their acclaimed debut album, Oh Really, What’s That Then? back in 2019, and previously played with swirling indie-pop collective Landshapes as well as featuring in Wendy Rae Fowler’s band, I feel like over the last twelve months, they have really found their stride. With the release of their new album Miffed via Trapped Animal Records, they’ve showcased their ability to create immense, kaleidescopic soundscapes perfectly, garnering support from the likes of Mojo Magazine, plus airplay from Radio X’s John Kennedy, BBC 6 Music’s Steve Lamacq and Amazing Radio’s Charlie Ashcroft along the way. And they remain one of the most impressive live acts I’ve ever seen; we were lucky enough to have them headline for us back in October, and their utterly unique hypnotic majesty and psychedelic allure blew me away, just as it had done the first time I saw them live back in 2018. 
(Mari Lane: Co-Founder & Managing Editor)

Midwife
Watching Madeline Johnston aka Midwife perform to a sold out crowd at Cafe Oto for her debut London show last year felt like a privileged form of voyeurism. Fans were granted permission to enter the New Mexico-based musician’s dream-like, melancholy world, in which introverted tendencies and unrequited yearnings blur and clash with the urgent desire to find connection and understanding. Musing into her telephone mic with her soft vocals, it felt like Midwife was in dialogue with an unknown person at the end of the line, the distance between the two entities simultaneously expanded and minimised as she sang into the receiver, in front of a room of silent strangers. I was deeply moved by her music and I’ve been thinking about the gig ever since. You can read my full live review here, and make sure you check out Midwife’s most recent album Luminol too. It is absolute Gloomy Girl Heaven
(Kate Crudgington: Co-Founder & Features Editor)

Hypsoline
I’m ashamed to say I was a bit late to the Hypsoline party this year, but thankfully – due to Currls suggesting they play with them at their EP launch last month – I can now say I’m a fully fledged super fan of the Brighton band. In the run up to the gig, I was pretty much totally addicted to the fuzzy, sparkling allure of their debut single ‘Space Babe’, and afterwards I realised there was even more to love about them than I’d previously anticipated. It was a true joy to witness the twinkling, swirling energy and scuzzy charm of each of their eclectic, but equally catchy, offerings. And I can’t wait for them to continue to surprise and captivate me (and the rest of the world) throughout 2023. (ML)

Alien Chicks
Mari booked Brixton-based post punk trio Alien Chicks as one of the support bands for our faves Bad Sidekick for our final GIHE gig of 2022, and their sound knocked the hangover right out of my skeleton. Not only were they totally in sync with each other, relentlessly smashing out their angst-ridden anthems, their guitarist & vocalist was also playing with a broken hand, which is punk af. I can’t wait to hear more from them this year. Grab a ticket to their biggest headline show to date yet at The Lexington in April here. It will be worth every single penny. (KC)

Fräulein
I’ve made no secret of my huge love of London-based duo Joni and Karsten – aka Fräulein – since first being introduced to them in 2020 by Hanni from ARXX, and so it’s been really wonderful over the last twelve months to see them go from strength to strength, and get some of the widespread acclaim that they truly deserve. As well as the release of their debut EP A Small Taste, they’ve wowed us live at two of our GIHE events with their utterly unique and fiercely powerful live set. The duo have also shared stages with the likes of The Mysterines, Thee Quasi and deep tan, and – with acclaim from the likes of The Line Of Best Fit and Fred Perry Subculture – it’s been fantastic to see the positive reception they’ve received and the number of new fans they’ve gained. And this year’s already looking promising with a support slot with none other than total legends Big Joanie booked for 11th January at The Garage, and – I’ve been assured – new music on the very near horizon… 2023 is going to be the year of Fräulein, and I could not be happier for this immensely talented, consistently dedicated, truly innovative (and just plain lovely) duo. (ML)

Chuck SJ
Chuck SJ is a huge part of the London DIY punk community and their commitment to their art and activism is something that deeply impresses all of the GIHE team. They released their epic punk album, Resist Recharge Revolt at the end of last year, and it’s a riotous, eclectic manifesto of political and personal rebellion, spotlighting Chuck’s immense talent as a songwriter and a producer. I’ve yet to see them perform live, but that’s something I’m hoping to change in 2023! Listen to their album via bandcamp here. (KC)

Collars
Another band I’ve been a bit late to the party with, but am so incredibly grateful to have discovered over the last few months. Stepping in as main support for Currls at their EP launch last month fairly last minute, Cambridgeshire based Collars have become my new heroes. Having released their debut album Clyde in 2022, they’ve received plenty of acclaim from the likes of BBC Introducing, and have been wowing crowds across the country with their totally mind-blowing live set. As Kane simultaneously pummels the drums whilst blasting out whirring hooks on guitar, Dan exudes a captivating charisma as her powerful vocals soar (sometimes with the help of a megaphone) – it’s no understatement to say it’s unlike anything you’ve ever seen before. Keep your eyes and ears peeled for more from them this year… (ML)

CIL
Tash and I caught enigmatic artist CIL when she supported t l k at The Jago in Dalston at the end of March last year. She’s a composer, poet and producer who manipulates sound via a motion-controlled synthesizer. Watching her gracefully move her hands around the altruistic equipment was hypnotising, as was listening to her deeply calm, soothing voice. Definitely check her out, her performance is unlike anything I’ve ever witnessed before. (KC)

So, even if you may be feeling apprehensive about 2023, at least there’ll be some fantastic music to accompany it! Massive thanks to all who supported GIHE throughout 2022, it really means the world. And huge thanks too to all the amazing bands and artists who’ve soundtracked it, and who will continue to soundtrack 2023!

LIVE: Midwife – Cafe Oto, London 18.10.22

“I have a few more songs to play before I release you from this sauna,” joked Madeline Johnston aka Midwife to her sold out crowd at East London’s Cafe Oto on Tuesday night. Armed with her guitar, a pedal board, headphones and her customised telephone mic, she delivered a disarming collection of shiver-inducing sounds for her London live debut, the full extent of which were felt despite the high temperature of the room.

Opening with the beautifully bleak ‘Colorado’ which set the tone for the rest of the gig, Midwife’s evocative, deceptively simple lyrical motifs and guitar loops were entirely hypnotic. Her congregation of listeners were attentive to her considered sounds from the moment she took to the stage, to the point where the noise of ice clinking in a glass felt amplified to the volume of a cymbal smash. Watching the New Mexico-based musician’s considered performance felt like a privileged form of voyeurism.

Fans were granted permission to enter her dream-like, melancholy world, in which introverted tendencies and unrequited yearnings blur and clash with the urgent desire to find connection and understanding. Musing into her telephone mic with her soft vocals, it felt like Midwife was in dialogue with an unknown person at the end of the line, the distance between them simultaneously expanded and minimised as she sang into the receiver, and in front of a room of silent strangers.

Whilst it’s difficult to pick set highlights, tracks from her 2020 album Forever seemed to resonate strongly with the crowd. The tender nature of ‘Language’, the brooding, murky tones of ‘S.W.I.M.’ and the cutting ‘2018’ all left their mark, as well as the poignant opening track on her most recent record Luminol, ‘God Is a Cop’. Pausing to take a picture before her final song – the ambient ‘Sickworld’ –  Midwife left her listeners on a pensive, transient note, encapsulated in the lyric: “I’m not here to stay / I’m just passing through”, before breaking the spell by moving to the merch stand to sell t-shirts and vinyl.

Midwife’s London debut was an understated, intensely memorable affair, heightened by the crowd’s willingness to provide her with their undivided, and much deserved attention.

Follow Midwife on bandcamp, Spotify, Instagram & Facebook

Photo Credit: Cam Smith

Kate Crudgington
@KCBobCut

PLAYLIST: January 2022

New year, new playlist! The Get In Her Ears team have put together an eclectic mix of indie anthems, guitar tunes, alt-pop tracks & immersive electronic sounds for your listening pleasure. Take some time to scroll through our track choices below and make sure you hit play on the Spotify playlist at the end of this post.

Follow GIHE on Spotify to hear all of our previous playlists too.

Ronnie Spector – ‘She Talks To Rainbows’
Hearing news of Ronnie Spector’s passing last week hit hard. A truly innovative musical icon, she inspired generations of women in music, whilst The Ronnettes were one of the first ‘girl groups’ to receive worldwide acclaim. Sadly also famous for being a survivor of serious physical and psychological abuse from her husband of six years, producer Phil Spector, I think it’s important we remember Ronnie for the incredible musical gifts she’s left us with. I just love the sparkling, soulful splendour and whimsical grace of this lesser known beauty, ‘She Talks To Rainbows’. (Mari Lane)

Girl Ray – ‘Murder on the Dance Floor’
Girl Ray’s cover of this 2001 classic by Sophie Ellis-Bextor… Need. I. Say. More. (Tash Walker)

Bas Jan – ‘Sex Cult’
The latest single from London experimental collective Bas Jan (founded by Serafina Steer and featuring members of Jenny Moore’s Mystic Business and Jarv Is), ‘Sex Cult’ offers a glistening cacophony propelled by a quirky energy and captivating allure. Reflecting on society’s attitude towards polygamy, it radiates a celestial joy as crystalline voices come together in unity to create something quite euphoric. Baby You Know, the new album from Bas Jan, is out 28th January via Lost Map Records. (ML)

ML Buch – ‘I’m a Girl You can Hold IRL’
This song is taken from Danish electro-pop musician ML Buch’s album Skinned which came out in 2020, but I spent a lot of the winter break listening to it so thought I’d share it with you all in 2022. I love its futuristic techno electro tones and all the FEELINGS. (TW)

SEA CHANGE – ‘Is There Anybody There’
Created during a time of intense loneliness during the middle of lockdown, this atmospheric offering from Norwegian producer Sea Change gives me goosebumps. Blossoming from a place of empathy, it’s one of many evocative tunes that feature on her upcoming album, Mutual Dreaming, which is set for release on 11th February via Shapes Recordings. (Kate Crudgington)

Brimheim – ‘This Week’s Laundry’
A stirring, intricately observed guitar tune about trying to cultivate a “normal” routine during a time of deep vulnerability, I love this single from Danish alt-pop artist Brimheim. Taken from her upcoming album, can’t hate myself into a different shape, which is set for release on 28th January via W.A.S Entertainment, the track flows with her tender vocals and confessional lyrics, which chime with relatable melancholy. I had the pleasure of interviewing Brimheim about her new record and her love for Queen Avril Lavigne earlier this month. Read our chat here. (KC)

Midwife – ‘2020’
This is a gloomy (but great) track about the year we’d all rather forget: 2020. Taken from Midwife aka Madeline Johnston’s third album Luminol, which was written & produced during quarantine last year, ‘2020’ is her cover of The Offspring’s 1997 track ‘Gone Away’, which I didn’t know until the person who recommended Midwife to me sent me a link to the original song. I know she’s been around a while, but I’m newly obsessed with this track & her album.  (KC)

Wu-Lu – ‘Times’
My new obsession, I recently came across South London multi-instrumentalist and producer Wu-Lu courtesy of Mary-Anne Hobbs on BBC 6Music. Creating a wonderfully eclectic smorgasbord of immense sounds, I just love how Wu-Lu manages to fuse together dark, Deftones-esque punk with a gritty, hip-hop inspired edge. I cannot stop listening to this track right now, which features drums by Black Midi’s Morgan Simpson. (ML)

Pearly – ‘Silver Behind The Mirror’
An agitated, sultry dose of cinematic heavy rock, I’m a big fan of this single by Ohio-based trio Pearly. Taken from their upcoming album Silver of The Mirror, which is set for release on 11th February via Eto Ano Recordings, the track is a smouldering slice of “stoner rock” that heaves with heady desire. (KC)

SASAMI – ‘Say It’
This industrial-tinged “rage dance anthem” from SASAMI is 100% a bit of me. Taken from her upcoming album Squeeze, which is set for release on 25th February via Domino, SASAMI explains: “I feel like when I hear this song I see a hot femme with a mystical flamethrower engulfed in emotional blue flames throwing elbows alone in an industrial dance club in outer space.” Mate, same. (KC)

HALINA RICE – ‘Sunken Suns’
What do I love more than dreamy songs full of feelings? The answer is obscure electronica! My latest listen comes from London-based artist Halina Rice, as part of a new project where she is embarking on creating new worlds in her music. Of this track Halina explains, “I wanted to create something dark and strange and emotive. The track emerged after days spent generating sounds through synths and noise generators. I put a mass of effects on the sampled vocals and they seemed to develop a life of their own – like a half-heard transmission from another world.” LOVE IT. (TW)

Gemini Aaliyah – ‘Moonrise’
Leeds-based artist Gemini Aaliyah says her single ‘Moonrise’ is the beginning of her “fucked up fairy tale where the ghetto meets the goth girl,” and that’s something I’d like to openly support. She channels her angst through yearning vocals and brooding beats, finding solace in the idea of re-birth and reinvention through her lyrics. Gemini Aaliyah will be playing at Drown U Out Festival at Leeds University Union on 19th February, alongside two of my other favourites Ho99o9 and Bob Vylan. (KC)

Queen Cult – ‘Calm’
Following acclaim from the likes of BBC Introducing for their debut single ‘Shindigger’ and support for their resonant latest single ‘A Song About Consent’, Queen Cult’s latest single ‘Calm’ flows with luscious, heartfelt vocals before building to a sweeping, fiercely impassioned proclamation to stand up to the patriarchy. Once again showcasing the Cheshire band’s knack for creating epic pop-rock anthems with a poignant sense of intent, ‘Calm’ cements Queen Cult’s place as definite ones to watch in 2022. The debut EP from Queen Cult is set for release on 28th January. (ML)

Peaness – ‘How I’m Feeling’
Having just announced the release of their debut album, Chester trio Peaness have shared a new taster of what’s to come from the LP. Propelled by uplifting, jangling hooks, latest single ‘How I’m Feeling’ reflects on the feelings of self-loathing and melancholy that can come from being stuck in an unfulfilling job and offers a glistening sense of hope that, with a bit of determination, you can make a positive change. I just can’t get enough of Peaness’ glossy, honey-sweet sounds and sunny, playful energy. World Full Of Worry, the debut album from Peaness, is set for release on 6th May. (ML)

SPRINTS – ‘Little Fix’
Another absolute banger from Dublin four-piece Sprints. Taken from their upcoming EP A Modern Job, which is set for release on 11th March via Nice Swan Records, ‘Little Fix’ is full of powerhouse vocals, crashing drums and racing riffs. The track is inspired by vocalist Karla Chubb’s experience of imposter syndrome, as she explains: “plagued by insecurities, imposter syndrome and gender stereotypes, ‘Little Fix’ is the culmination of all my fears – the, sometimes self-applied pressure that as a woman in music, I can’t just be good, I have to be great.” Even with these anxieties, Karla and her bandmates have created a candid, intensely cathartic offering with this track. (KC)

Worse Off – ‘You Belong Here’
I love this track by excellently named New York pop punk duo Worse Off. They sent me their EP You Win Some, You Lose…A Lot, in December last year and I was headbanging away to their tunes at my desk. Definitely check them out, their EP is up on bandcamp and Spotify. (KC)

Tits Up – ‘Macho Bullshit’
Having released their debut EP Greatest Tits, at the beginning of the month, Liverpool band Tits Up are ready to blast into your lives with their immense riot grrrl inspired energy and unapologetic honesty raging against the patriarchal society in which we live. Fuelled by a frenzied punk spirit, ‘Macho Bullshit’ hits you with its riotous, angst-driven force, offering an empowering statement of intent. (ML)

Bitch – ‘You’re The Man’
Set to release her debut album next month, queer electro-pop artist Bitch prides herself on being “like Joni Mitchell set to a click track… It’s neon pink, in your face, ready to hex you with its brilliance.” Latest single ‘You’re The Man’ exudes a driving, gritty energy as sizzling synths race alongside dense drum-machine beats, creating an empowering reflection on letting go of negative forces and reclaiming your inner voice. Bitch’s perfectly named debut album Bitchcraft is set for release on 4th February via legendary label Kill Rock Stars. (ML)

Combo Chimbita – ‘Yo Me Lo Merezco’
The title of this warm, joyful track from New York-based Latinx quartet Combo Chimbita roughly translates as “I deserve it”. The track and accompanying video are a celebration of self-love, spot-lighting prominent queer and trans performance artists, including Teresa Karolina who stars in the visuals. ‘Yo Me Lo Merezco’ is taken from Combo Chimbita’s upcoming album, IRE, which is set for release on 28th January via ANTI. (KC)

Flamango Bay – ‘LA’
The latest single from San Francisco trio Flamango Bay, ‘LA’ reflects on the band’s recent move to the city. Propelled by sunny, jangling melodies, it’s a dreamy slice of indie-pop that glistens with an irresistible, effervescent charm. The Fool, the upcoming debut EP from Flamango Bay, is set for release on 13th May via 0800-Moshi-Moshi. (ML)

Babeheaven – ‘Don’t Wake Me
This band never disappoint. ‘Don’t Wake Me’ is Babeheaven’s latest gently soothing release. Just lovely. (TW)

KEYAH/BLU – ‘Til Bliss’
This is the latest single by South London rapper KEYAH/BLU who I would encourage you all to go and check out if you aren’t familiar with already. (TW)

Skylu – ‘Foreign Concept’
A tune for the stolen hours, this is the debut single from Skylu, whose voice you may recognise from Bamboo Smoke. (TW)

Lucy Barton – ‘Starlight’
The latest single from singer-songwriter Lucy Barton, ‘Starlight’ offers a sparkling reflection on gaining awareness of our self-crippling subconscious thoughts. With a subtle immersive power, the track speaks of breaking free from this internal narration, allowing us to discover the beauty that exists in life. I’m a big fan of Barton’s soaring, glitchy musicality and emotion-strewn honey-sweet vocals, and can’t wait to hear more from her. (ML)

Carmel Smickersgill – ‘Questioning’
The latest single from modern classical artist Carmel Smickersgill, ‘Questioning’ offers a truly captivating and uniquely intriguing soundscape. Mentored by acclaimed musician Anna Meredith, Smickersgill prides herself on creating immersive ‘outsider pop’, and I just love this track’s whirring grace and celestial, ethereal energy, reminiscent of GIHE fave Jenny Hval. Smickersgill is releasing her debut EP in April. (ML)

Novaa – ‘You Can F With Me’
‘You Can F With Me’ by Berlin based alt-pop singer-songwriter Novaa is taken from her forthcoming album due in early 2022. This is a song about the things that people asked and told her as a victim of sexual abuse and rape. Love and solidarity to anyone who relates to that track and remember that the best thing you can ever do for anyone who has been a victim, is to listen, be kind and give them space and support to heal. (TW)

Zannie – ‘Mechanical Bull’
This is the latest single from New York-based songwriter Zannie, who’s recently signed to iconic riot grrrl label Kill Rock Stars. They remind me a little bit of Phoebe Bridgers on this track and I’m excited to hear more from them this year. (KC)