PLAYLIST: Love & Solidarity

It’s safe to say, each and every one of us right now is going through a hard time; a scary, strange time filled with uncertainty and fear. A time when feelings of anxiety are heightened and we need to seek refuge in our favourite music more than ever.

So, we wanted to put together a few tunes to soothe the soul; to calm and to motivate. Some music to aid positive thoughts and relaxation, and taking time for yourself to switch off and de-stress is so essential right now. Take a deep breath, unwind, and let us send you all a big dose of love and solidarity as you hit play and follow this playlist.. (link below)

Le Tigre – ‘Eau D’Bedroom Dancing’
Because I need Kathleen’s voice more than ever right now. This chilled number from one of my favourite albums, Le Tigre’s Deceptacon, just oozes so much twinkling heartfelt emotion from Hanna that my heart bursts a little more on each listen. Also, we will all no doubt be doing plenty of ‘Bedroom Dancing’ over the next few weeks/months…(Mari Lane)

Noga Erez – ‘Global Fear’
I listened to this track at least once a day on my commute to work pre-pandemic because, despite its melancholy context, I find it really relaxing. I’m a big fan of Noga Erez anyway, but I find her music extra impressive at a time like this, because it makes me feel both alienated and connected at the same time. She’s set to release her second album at some point this year, and that’s a small thing I’m holding on to. (Kate Crudgington)

Nilüfer Yanya – ‘Tears’
One of my favourite tracks from Nilüfer Yanya, and a slight move away from her guitar heavy tunes, ‘Tears’ captures you and takes you along with its bouncing beats and sad reflective lyrics. It’s been great to watch this artist reach the acclaim she so rightly deserves, and it reminds me of a personal highlight seeing her play at Primavera 2019. It was the definition of sun-drenched guitars. (Tash Walker)

Sink Ya Teeth – ‘Breathe’
Taken from their latest album Two, here our favourite Norwich duo create a soothing, sparkling majesty; oozing the soaring, calming vibes that we all need right now, it’s a truly exquisite offering, highlighting that it’s more important than ever now to make time each day to switch off, to simply breathe. And if you do that whilst listening to this euphoric soundscape, I guarantee it’ll make you feel a little better. (ML)

Massive Attack – ‘Safe From Harm’
This Massive Attack tune never fails to calm me down. The snaking bass lines and Shara Nelson’s mesmerising vocals override the threats being explored in the lyrics, making it an oddly soothing listen. (KC)

Portishead – ‘Roads’
Taken from my most listened to album of all time, ‘Roads’ is one of those tracks that never fails to calm me. With a cathartic raw emotion and whirring energy that builds with each throbbing beat, I find something deeply therapeutic about it. It’s the same with the whole of Dummy, but this song is probably just a notch above the rest. Listen, close your eyes and let the impassioned grace of Beth Gibbons’ heartfelt vocals take you down a road of healing. (ML)

Elsa Hewitt – ‘Tiny Dancer’
Whatever your mood, electronic artist & producer Elsa Hewitt has a tune to accompany it. I was so caught up in her live set when she played for us at Notting Hill Arts Club in 2018, I could’ve listened to her mixing and triggering her ambient tunes all night. A perfect distraction in these strange times. (KC)

Amahla – ‘Old Soul’
Hackney-Native Amahla blew us away ‘Old Soul’ at the beginning of 2019 and has just kept getting better. It was a complete pleasure to see her perform for our IWD x Sofar Sounds gig a couple of weeks back. Listening to this song now, it leaves me reflecting on the older generations of our society, who we must all rally around as a community to help support through this uncertain time. (TW)

Babeheaven – ‘Seabird’
A perfectly dreamy accompaniment to gazing out the window at the beautiful blossom and budding dafs swaying in the breeze; a reminder that nature carries on, birds will continue to sing, flowers continue to grow, even when everything else is in disarray. I’ve found it really grounding over the last couple of weeks to focus on this, to seek solace in nature. And the luscious, soulful energy and beautifully rich vocals of ‘Seabird’ couldn’t be more welcome right now. (ML)

Connie Constance – ‘English Rose’
I first heard this cover about a year ago, but it’s really resonating with me at the moment, especially with the moments I go outside. Originally by The Jam, for me Connie Constance’s cover is the soundtrack to my daily stroll, enjoying every second I can of being outside at a time when we really value the things we used to take for granted. (TW)

Christine and the Queens – ‘Mountains (We Met)’
This track has been playing on repeat in my flat over the last couple of weeks, loved so much by my girlfriend who it brings a real sense of calm to. It reminds me of how lucky I am to be in lockdown with my loved ones, and the importance of staying connected week to week. Connected, we are a community, and communities can survive anything with love and solidarity. (TW)

Sharon Van Etten – ‘Beaten Down’
A poignant reflection on “love, patience and empathy”, Sharon Van Etten’s voice smoulders across dark synths, atmospheric keys and sparse echoing beats on this track. “‘Beaten Down’ is about making life-changing choices and remaining strong enough to see them through”, Etten explains. I think it’s okay to admit that the current situation has beaten most of us down, but I think you’ll be surprised how resilient you can be in the face of adversity too.
(KC)

Rilo Kiley – ‘A Better Son/Daughter’
With its twinkling emotion strewn splendour and heartbreakingly raw honesty, this is my go-to cathartic motivational soundtrack in life generally, but in the last couple of weeks I’ve pretty much been listening to Rilo Kiley on a loop. And I feel like this song in particular, with its impassioned and relatable lyricism, is a pretty spot on mantra of hope for getting through these strange times: “… You’ll fight it, and you’ll make it through… You’ll be awake, you’ll be alert // You’ll be positive though it hurts // And you’ll laugh and embrace all your friends…” (ML)

Mazzy Star – ‘Fade Into You’
One of the most beautiful and touching songs, from ’90s slow-core band Mazzy Star. ‘Fade Into You’ is so slow, considered and full of emotion, it’s hard not to get completely mesmerised by it. Escapism at its best. (TW)

Wolf Alice – ‘Blush’
I can’t listen to a Wolf Alice track without experiencing a flood of emotion. Most of the time it’s a giddy feeling that makes me want to stomp about and sing Ellie Rowsell’s lyrics really loudly; but with ‘Blush’, I always get a bit choked. It’s such a soft, romantic, sentimental tune. I’m looking forward to singing “Punch drunk, dumb struck, pot luck, happy happy” into my sisters’ faces again when all this blows over. (KC)

Kate Tempest – ‘People’s Faces’
There is so much that is so perfectly poignant in this song – the glaringly honest and completely relevant social commentary showcases Tempest’s unique poetic skill at creating relevant and hugely emotive social narratives. But a subtle glimmer of hope also shines through; the comfort we gain from those we love, and the comfort we can offer them just by being there (even over a Zoom or Skype meet!). So, even when it feels like the world is ending, we can still find happiness in each other: “… then we smile at all our friends… Even when I’m weak and I’m breaking… I can see your faces. There is so much peace to be found in people’s faces.” (ML)

PLAYLIST: March 2020

March has been a busy month for Get In Her Ears HQ! It’s Women’s History Month, and it was also International Women’s Day on the 8th; so we’ve continued to support the wxmen artists we love with regular reviews on our website, and a special IWD Playlist which you can listen to here.

Sofar Sounds kindly invited us to curate their IWD gig in Hackney too; which Indian Queens, Amahla, and Beckie Margaret all graciously agreed to play for us. We’ve barely stopped for breath, and we’ve got more exciting new music to share over the next few weeks. Take some time to scroll through our track choices for our March playlist below, and make sure you hit play on the Spotify playlist at the end of the page.

 

Sink Ya Teeth – ‘The Hot House’
Fresh from their excellent second album aptly named Two, Sink Ya Teeth’s singleThe Hot House’ and the accompanying video features footage shot by the band and audience members at their recent show in Oxford (check it out here). I am SO happy that I’ve got another heavy helping from the Norwich duo to soundtrack the upcoming warmer months. A time where post-punk, and deep house and I really get back into the swing of things. Sink Ya Teeth thank you, thank you! (Tash Walker)

Sleater-Kinney – ‘Hurry On Home’
I have not stopped singing this since us GIHE girls saw Sleater-Kinney live at Brixton Academy a few weeks ago. Their latest album The Center Won’t Hold is such a tonic, and their performance was certainly a gig-life highlight for all of us. (Kate Crudgington)

Noga Erez – ‘VIEWS’
The inimitable Noga Erez stylishly explores the absurdity of paying for exposure on social media on her brand new track, ‘VIEWS’. Collaborating with her partner Ori Rousso, and LA-based hip-hop artist Reo Cragun, Erez effortlessly commands attention in the striking video that accompanies the single. The Tel-Aviv musician’s clear vocals glide over slick beats and pop hooks to create an infectiously powerful anti-fakeness anthem. (KC)

Taquirah – ‘Feel’
‘Feel’ is the latest single from Taquirah, a performance artist form Illinois currently living in Brooklyn. I cannot get this track’s addictive beats and R&B melodies out of my head. I’m obsessed. Taquirah recently released a video for her track ‘Rush’ choreographed and performed by herself, in line with her focus on creating performance art pieces that fuse ballet with hip hop culture. Keep your eyes peeled for Taquirah’s debut project Divine, coming soon. (TW)

Belako – ‘Tie Me Up’
Having previously blown me away with their immersive live show supporting Queens Of The Stone Age in Finsbury Park last year, Basque Country band Belako have now shared new single ‘Tie Me Up’. Filled with gritty, swooning vocals and immense swirling hooks, it’s a super catchy alt-rock anthem showcasing the poignant raw power and majestic musicality that this Spanish band are capable of creating. (Mari Lane)

CLT DRP – ‘Where The Boys Are’
An anthem of self-realisation and new found confidence, ‘Where The Boys Are’ from Brighton-based CLT DRP oozes their immense raging passion in a seething blast of poignant, swirling electro-punk. Commenting on the track, front-woman Annie Dorrett says: “It’s a love song to some of my favourite female artists, a big thank you to my mom for being such a powerhouse and lastly a big f*ck you to all the TERFS out there spreading hate. It’s also just a really playful song to perform with the band, you get a lot of different elements of our sound all jammed into one piece.” CLT DRP’s upcoming debut album Without The Eyes, is out 15th May via Small Pond Records. (ML)

THICK – ‘Mansplain’
A cathartic, witty, guitar driven take-down of the men who undermine women in bands (and women in general), Brooklyn punk trio THICK’s single ‘Mansplain’ will resonate with women and girls who have struggled to be taken seriously on, and off stage. The track is lifted from their debut album 5 Years Behind, which is out now. (KC)

New Pagans – ‘Admire’
I first heard New Pagans whilst listening to The Irish Jam, and I quickly became fascinated by the Belfast band’s genre-bending sounds. Their debut EP Glacial Erratic is a poignant collection of tracks that explore issues of frustration, defiance, and resolution. ‘Admire’ is a personal favourite. It’s a humble, shimmering ode to the perseverance that’s needed to keep a long-term relationship going. (KC)

Why Bonnie – ‘Voice Box’
Oozing sunny uplifting vibes as shimmering hooks and Blair Howerton’s rich, luscious vocals flow with a soaring emotion, Why Bonnie’s ‘Voice Box’ has shades of the twinkling surf-rock of the likes of Alvvays or Best Coast, creating a truly dreamy offering fuzzing with a dazzling, effervescent charm. Voice Box, the upcoming EP from Why Bonnie, is out 10th April via Fat Possum Records. (ML) 

Ghost Car – ‘Virginia & Vita’
Released at the end of last year, ‘Virginia & Vita’ is a perfect example of all there is to love about Ghost Car. Oozing their scuzzy, quirky bubblegum indie-pop sounds, it’s propelled by eerie synth-driven hooks, soaring honey-sweet vocals and their trademark stirring, whirring theramin-soaked fuzz. I cannot wait to catch this totally unique band headline for us this Friday at The Finsbury! As always, FREE entry, event details here. (ML)

Indian Queens – ‘Bubblewrap’
Hackney trio Indian Queens headlined our International Women’s Day gig (in partnership with Sofar Sounds) at the weekend, and we were captivated by their stripped back set. The talented Amahla & Beckie Margaret also shared the bill, and Girls Against were on hand to  help raise awareness of the issues that female musicians & fans often face. This IQ track is a beguiling lament about the state of the planet, and it’s taken from their debut album God Is A Woman, which is set for release via Cool Thing Records on 3rd April. (KC)

Laura Gray – ‘Break, Drift’
‘Break, Drift’ is the first release from Laura Gray’s upcoming EP Better Lighting. Gentle vocals and dreamy synths all mixed together with pulsating beats. I think we could all do with a little more saxophone in our life. Check out the video for ‘Break, Drift’ here. (TW)

A.A. Williams – ‘Cold’
A.A. Williams is set to play her first headline gig at Southbank Centre in the Purcell Room on Thursday 12th March, and I’m excited to hear her dark, atmospheric sounds in the flesh for the first time. (tickets are available here). (KC)

Otta – ‘Near Enough A Woman’
I cannot get enough of Otta! Their new music is seeping so perfectly into my ears, it’s what I’ve been craving for so long and didn’t realise. This is one of their latest singles taken from the freshly released debut EP after it all blew over, which is sublime. Delivering the perfect combination and concoction of electronic, UK jazz, new soul and RnB. (TW)

Okay Kaya – ‘Insert Generic Name’
Okay Kaya who hails from Norway has been a firm fave of mine since I heard her debut Both, released back in 2018. I got to catch her on 4th March at SET in Dalston which was a total pleasure, she’s back again in May at Hoxton Hall so if you can, grab yourself some tickets. ‘Insert Generic Name’ is taken from her recently released and equally fantastic album Watch This Liquid Pour Itself, another incredibly intimate record of self-reflection via boldly honest, exposing lyrics which are delivered with bone dry with wit. One of my albums of 2020, without a doubt. (TW)

Bugeye – ‘Don’t Stop’
The latest single from friends of GIHE, Bugeye, ‘Don’t Stop’ is filled with swirling scuzzy hooks and the band’s trademark impassioned fiery attitude. Complete with whirring synth-driven refrains, it’s a frenzied slice of catchy disco-punk, showcasing the band’s utterly unique vibrant sound. ‘Don’t Stop’ is produced by Paul Tipler and is out now. You can catch Bugeye live on tour this month – check out their Facebook page for details. (Mari Lane) 

Lady Gaga – ‘Stupid Love’
Get me a pink wig and a metallic bikini, because I’m moving to Chromatica to live with Lady Gaga (see the ‘Stupid Love’ video here). I am SO excited to hear her new album (released on 10th April). I hope it’s bursting with electro-pop bangers like this one, and that all of her future videos are just as Power-Ranger-esque. (KC)

 

WATCH: Noga Erez – ‘VIEWS’ (feat. Reo Cragun & ROUSSO)

The inimitable Noga Erez stylishly explores the absurdity of paying for exposure on social media on her brand new track, ‘VIEWS’. Collaborating with her partner Ori Rousso, and LA-based hip-hop artist Reo Cragun, Erez effortlessly commands attention in the striking video that accompanies the single.

After a string of stand-alone releases over the last two years (‘Bad Habits’, ‘Cash Out’, ‘Chin Chin’), ‘VIEWS’ is the first single lifted from Erez’s highly anticipated second album, which is set for release later this year. The Tel-Aviv musician’s clear vocals glide over slick beats and pop hooks to create an infectiously powerful anti-fakeness anthem.

Speaking about the track, Erez explains: “In my verse, I tried to voice that insecurity that can lead to people faking or buying views to portray an appearance of success. I wanted to relate to that feeling, not criticize. We thought it would be more interesting to have a counter perspective to mine so we reached out to Reo and he came back with his magnifying verse about (as I understand it) how this sort of stuff comes back to haunt you in the end.”

Directed by Indy Hait, the video for ‘VIEWS’ boasts some stunning choreography, and reflects the themes Erez that engages with throughout the track. She explains further: “VIEWS’ is one of those songs that was inspiring and easy to write a visual piece for. The “endless staircase” idea came to me after writing four treatments for the video. That’s when Indy came in and started to strip away all the bullshit, layer by layer. He stripped the idea down to its core and in his unique style and aesthetic, directed a piece that only has significant & memorable moments in it.”

Lyrically and visually, Erez’s new single is certainly memorable. “It just hit the fan…” she raps, and we couldn’t agree more. Watch the video for ‘VIEWS’ below, and follow Noga Erez on Facebook & Spotify for more updates.

Kate Crudgington
@KCBobCut

Photo Credit: R604M

GIHE Personal Highlights 2019

It’s that time of year again when we look back at some of our highlights of the last twelve months. And, despite coming to a pretty horrific and terrifying end, 2019 has been filled with some pretty memorable moments… 

So far, we’ve shared our favourite tracks, albums and gigs of the year, and we’ve yet to reveal our Ones To Watch for 2020, but for now, here are our personal overall highlights of the last year…


Bikini Kill Reforming
When news that Bikini Kill were reforming broke earlier this year, I didn’t quite know what to do with myself. Despite seeing The Julie Ruin twice now (the second time at KOKO probably being the most special gig I’ve ever been to), I – like many other people I know – was desperate to get tickets; seeing the Riot Grrrl pioneers back together, reunited with the original line-up (with the exception of guitarist Billy being replaced by Erica Dawn Lyle) would be a once in a lifetime opportunity. Thankfully, I succeeded. And what an experience it was. Although I started to feel anxious on the way to Brixton Academy about this event I’d built up so much, the minute Kathleen, Kathi, Tobi and Erica graced the stage (after a fantastic and career-building set from Big Joanie), all worries and negative thoughts disappeared. I was completely immersed in the empowering, inspiring force emanating from these heroes of mine. And, as those first few notes of personal favourite ‘Feels Blind’ hit, I felt my eyes fill up and my heart break just a little. A truly memorable experience, not only because of the incredible womxn in the bands, but the hoards of familiar faces of amazing womxn and allies that filled the venue – all of us seeking solace in our favourite band, and in the unity of being with each other. So, thank you Bikini Kill, for being a constant source of motivation, for so-often giving me the strength to carry on, and for giving us all the opportunity to see you live – an experience I never thought would be possible.
(Mari Lane – Co Founder/Managing Editor)

Bikini Kill Reforming
Watching Bikini Kill live at Brixton Academy earlier this year was a life-affirming event. I was stood next to my cousin, an original ’90s Riot Grrrl, and surrounded by my GIHE grrrls and allies, and I felt an overwhelming sense of belonging. Bikini Kill have given so many women the confidence to start a revolution – whether that’s personal, political or musical – and their live show proved that even after a 20 year hiatus, they’re still as riotous, raw, and committed to giving girls and women that power. Watching Big Joanie support them was also a pretty special experience, which they relayed to us when they were guests on our radio show shortly afterwards. I feel very privileged to have seen these women grace Brixton Academy’s stage.
(Kate Crudgington – Co-Founder/Features Editor)

Missy Elliot Blitzes MTV Video Music Awards
For about as long as I can remember, it feels like Missy ‘Misdemeanour’ Elliot has been a revered figure. A pop-star sure, but a rapper, writer and producer too. An uncompromisingly offbeat, yet still charismatic figure, and an unconventional individual in an industry that leans heavily towards the conventional in its pursuit of profit. She’s someone who could talk about sexuality, but not be exploited as a sexual object. An innovator who succeeds in taking her audience with her, by making deceptively simple music that doesn’t talk down to the listener. This particular performance came as part of her receipt of the 2019 MTV ‘Video Vanguard’ award at the annual awards show and reflects Elliot’s long-standing position at the intersection of pop, hip-hop and electronic music, as a woman of colour completely in control of her sound, her public persona and her image. But, in truth, I couldn’t give a toss about the VMAs themselves. Credit where it’s due – the staging of this reflected Elliot’s career, and her performances of a medley hits including ‘Pass That Dutch’ and ‘Work It’ were spot-on, whilst the show’s costume changes were satisfyingly ludicrous (camo to inflated PVC to scarecrow to day-glo tracksuit). The footage also shows latter-day pop mammoths at the side of the stage, singing and dancing like they were fans off the street. That’s the Missy effect – it lets anyone, even Taylor Swift, get their freak on. The performance is a mere seven minutes, but it showcases exactly what’s possible when artistic integrity is combined with originality and a dump-truck of talent. In a year of cynicism, this was music at its most gleeful.
(John McGovern – Contributor)

Queens Of Punk: Poly-Styrene & Jordan, The British Library, July 2019
Prior to having Celeste Bell on our radio show earlier this month, this summer I attended a very special night celebrating Queens Of Punk at The British Library. Hosted by self proclaimed ‘Professor Of Punk’, Vivien Goldman, the panel discussed the release of two books about two of the most legendary ‘queens of punk’: Defying Gravity: Jordan’s Story and Dayglo: The Poly Styrene Story, by Zoë Howe and Celeste. The whole evening was particularly poignant, especially given that now, nearly 50 years after its emergence, when we’ve witnessed a regression in politics and equal rights, the spirit of ‘punk’ – and in particular these strong female voices – is needed now more than it has been for decades. Hearing about all the pivotal steps that these women before us have taken in a quest to be heard left me feeling inspired and motivated. As Goldman said at the beginning of the evening, now is certainly the time to revive the punk spirit, to unite and overcome adversity: we need strong figures like Poly and Jordan now more than ever. Read more about the night here.
(ML)

Noga Erez Interview, November 2019
I remember replying quickly, and in caps lock, when Mari told me we had interview time with the brilliant Noga Erez. I also remember trying to stay calm, and not fan girl, when I walked into the room to meet her a few weeks later. Noga was incredibly welcoming. She patiently answered my many questions, and made me laugh when she asked if “Get In Her Ears” meant the same kind of thing as “Get In Her Pants”. Read the full interview here.
(KC)

GIHE Radio Show
I’ll be here forever if I start talking about how much fun I’ve had hosting or co-hosting our weekly radio shows this year. Here is a very brief re-cap of my favourite guests: Foxgluvv, Big Joanie, ARXX, Bengi Unsal, ESYA, Jelly Cleaver, Girls Rock London and Celeste Bell.
(KC)

Indietracks, July 2019
Indietracks is always the highlight of my summer, hands down. So much so that I now volunteer there. This year, though, the indiepop festival, which takes place at a vintage railway station in Derbyshire, felt particularly special. While many festival line-ups remain overwhelmingly male, all three of Indietracks headliners were female-fronted bands. There was a real celebration of non-binary and queer artists too. One of the most special performances was The Spook’s School’s final Indietracks show. The band, who were Indietracks regulars, penned a special tribute song to the festival and, basically, just made everyone cry their eyes out. Oh, and there were balloons! Porridge Radio, Bis, LIINES, The Orielles, Peaness and Martha were amazing too. And while the endless rain might have soaked everything we owned, it didn’t dampen anyone’s spirits. Indietracks is such a special, cosy and inclusive festival; I’m looking forward to taking my kids again next year. There’s already a couple of exciting rumours about the line-up, and it’s got to be time we had a bit of sun, surely?! Indietracks 2020 takes place from 24th – 26th July at the Midland Railway Centre in Butterley, Derbyshire. Tickets and more information are available from https://www.indietracks.co.uk/
(Vic Conway – Contributor)

Bang Bang Romeo Interview, October 2019
It really was such an honour to interview Stars and the rest of Bang Bang Romeo prior to their sold-out gig at Omeara earlier this year. Just genuinely nice people, with an admirable enthusiasm for all they do, they discussed their love of music, working with P!NK, their upcoming releases and ‘that’ topic of being a ‘woman in the industry’ – “I wanna be on a line-up for a festival because I’m good enough, not because I’ve ticked a box. Not because there’s a space for my vagina! I don’t want to be a statistic on your fucking spreadsheet. I’m here because I’m good enough.” Stars’ assertive and vibrant nature is something that I truly admire, and wish I had more of. She’s a force to be reckoned with, an essential strong presence in today’s industry. Read the full interview here.
(ML)

Talking On Panels At Southbank Centre / Skivvy Records
Get In Her Ears have received some incredible invitations to talk about what we do as a non-profit organisation this year. Tash & I spoke on two panels at Southbank Centre. The first was for a Women In Music event, where we spoke about the representation of women & LGBTQ+ people in the music industry. The second was for Jazzworks and The London Jazz Festival, talking about issues faced by women & LGBTQ+ people in the industry as a whole. I also loved speaking alongside Mari on another panel for independent label Skivvy Records at Peckham Levels. We met so many inspiring young women, and hopefully provided them with some information about how to get past the many hurdles we ourselves have come across.

I can’t believe I’ve gone from listening to music alone in my bedroom, to talking to rooms full of women and girls about the work I do alongside Mari & Tash at Get In Her Ears. It’s something I’ll never take for granted.
(KC)

Our Wedding, August 2019
Well, we did say ‘personal’ highlights… But seriously, I couldn’t really round up this year without mentioning marrying to the best person I know. My new spouse, Paul, is a truly wonderful ally, and someone who Get In Her Ears wouldn’t exist without – not only does he create most of our artwork, and help with all the technical aspects of running a website, he inspires me every day. I pride myself on being an independent woman, but his constant support and enthusiasm for all I do is unmatched, it’s what keeps me going when I feel like giving up. He is constantly helping me come up with new ideas and strive for new dreams. Everyone who was at our wedding inspires me constantly, and it was pretty special just spending a whole day with all the people we love in one place. Aside from the obvious getting married to the best person thing, highlights of the day included: walking down the aisle to Deep Throat Choir, my family forming an epic ‘Lane Band’ and performing amazingly, Tash tearing up the dance-floor with one of my nieces, and Kate literally running for her life from the toilet when she heard ‘Rebel Girl’ was playing (never seen anyone move that fast!). Massive thanks to our Jon Mo, too, who made an exception from gig photography, to capture all the action!
(ML)

And thanks to everyone who’s been following, reading, listening and attending gigs of ours, this year – it really does mean the world, and we couldn’t do this without you.

Listen to our Best Of 2019 playlist, with added personal highlights, now:

 

Mari Lane / @marimindles
Kate Crudgington / @kcbobcut
John McGovern / @etinsuburbiaego
Vic Conway 

INTERVIEW: Noga Erez

When I meet Noga Erez in Clapton, East London, on a Sunday afternoon, she’s trying on suits for an upcoming photo shoot with her Stylist David Evans. There’s a vintage-looking Mulberry suit, an incredible “Beetle-juice” striped number (David’s reference) as well as a colourful pink & orange play suit. “There’s something psychological about play suits, you always need to pee when you’re wearing them” jokes Erez, and I nod enthusiastically because I know the #playsuitstruggle.

I feel at ease around her; her clothes and her comments are practical as well as cool; a great combination in an artist who has been on the rise since the release of her debut album, Off The Radar, in 2017. I ask her what she’s most proud of about this record: “Because of the many things surrounding the making of the album, and the people I partnered up with, I was able to really make it my way and keep it very authentic. That is something that I feel I had to challenge with the new album, ‘cos making a second album is always kind of a reflection on your first, and there are expectations. Whereas with the first, no-one expected anything of me. That’s the spirit that I want to maintain: something that is very authentic and not compromising in any way.”

This defiant spirit underscores her second LP, which is set for release in 2020. There has been a minor compromise though, but not in a negative way. Together Erez and her partner Ori Rousso have written “too many songs”, so they need to refine their track list: “We’re in a situation where we have a lot of songs to choose from right now. Maybe we have to say goodbye to some of them and release them separately. We’ve been writing so much music, and it’s been over a period of over more than two years, so  it kind of feels like the ones we wrote at the beginning are not the same as the ones that we write now. It’s weird, an album is a documentation of chunk of a person’s life, it’s spread over what feels to me like such a long time, it’s going to look like an album from different periods of time.”

This idea of documentation is something that fans and journalists were quick to pick up on after her debut release. In a 2017 interview with The Guardian, Erez said she had been called “brave” for speaking out about the conflicts in her hometown of Tel Aviv. I ask her if she still thinks its necessary to confront these issues alongside her music, and her response is incredibly diplomatic: “I am in no way a politician or an activist, or anything like that. I’m considered to be politically aware. During the time that I wrote Off The Radar, I was kind of obsessively connected to what was happening. I get periods of time in my life when I’m more like that, and sometimes I’m the opposite. Anything that has to do with the media especially, I feel like the more I read it, the more I get a different perspective. I’m just being flooded with information. It’s so hard for me to tell what is reality, and what is not. Being confused is one thing, but also feeling like someone wants me to be confused is another. So I just want to shut myself off and not be touched by that every now and then.”

“I still feel like I would have to handle the fact that this is where I come from, but what I gradually discovered is I never needed to talk about it as much as when it was included in the album campaign. It was weird to me. But, that story made me stand out in a way, so I feel like if I want to be very selfish, I would probably still continue to talk about it as I can’t really avoid it, I’m going to be asked about it, so I still try to maintain to some kind of connection with what is happening. But I really do feel like the best thing that I can represent right now that will be really genuine is how very confused I am about everything. The only thing I can say is that I have no idea. We look for people who tell us things, accurate things, but I cannot provide that about where I come from, or about this world, and I kind of feel like the problems of my country are minor problems. The world has bigger issues, the more the conversation becomes a global conversation, I think there’s a benefit for all of us to start talking beyond our boundaries.”

“There’s such a nationalistic kind of conversation going on about taking care of the poor people of your country, or the political problem of your country, or the surrounding countries. But the thing that we should all try to consider is our main problems, as of today, are global problems. The more we talk about the world in a global way, the better.”

Fans of Erez’s track ‘Global Fear’ will certainly resonate with her sentiments. I change the subject back to her new album, and ask what details she can share with me. “I’m not obliged to keep anything a secret, and that’s the atmosphere surrounding this whole new project. The first album, I needed to tackle more political issues. It felt to me like I had to explain to people that the fact that I come from that place, doesn’t mean that I represent what that place represents. Now that I feel like I’ve checked that box, it’s a more personal album. I feel like it’s kind of a cliché to say “it’s my most personal project yet”, but I love this new album so much that I don’t want to give up any of the songs.”

“I kind of feel like this album is going to be divided in to sections. Parts of it still deal with more global issues and things that have been going on in the world that I still have to reflect on, but there’s a personal side to things because these past two years after releasing Off The Radar were an amazing two years career-wise, but at the same time personally, we dealt with Ori’s Mum passing away. She died of cancer, and she wanted to die at home, and we saw her in the process of that. There was so much to process – so many amazing things – but so many fucked up things. It was just a mixture of all of it at once. Which is life! But sometimes you feel that everything is intense on both sides, so that is a major part of it. And also, having the perspective of being an artist that already has some music out there, and realizing what being an artist and being a persona is all about. That’s where it touches.”

Blending the personal and the political is something Erez does exceptionally well, as some of her standalone singles ‘Bad Habits’ and ‘Cash Out’ (feat. SAMMUS) have shown. I’m particularly intrigued by the video she created to accompany ‘Cash Out’. The visuals tell a story of a society without men, where women are left to fend for themselves, pitted against each other in punishing street-fights. I ask her about the creative process behind these visuals, which prompts her to talk about the development of her lyricism: “The songs take you to places. Whenever a song is done – I’m going through this process now with the second album – I realise that after writing the lyrics, I understand them so differently. Sometimes, you understand them immediately, but with other songs you leave them behind and when you read the lyrics again you’re like “what the fuck was I talking about?” This is why I love this second album so much, because I’m reading the lyrics and I’m like “I can’t believe I wrote this!”. This is a perspective that I didn’t even know that I had.”

“The thing about words, they are so deceiving. Words are the worst form of communication. I feel like music is so accurate. It captures something in a way that words could never do. But the fun thing about words, is that you meant something, but then you can forget about it, and when you come back to it, it means something so different. It feels like you are reading something that was written by someone else. That’s kind of how my videos are made. With ‘Cash Out’, I was basically writing a checklist of how to be a very strong and successful woman in today’s world. It’s the most cliché checklist: “eat breakfast / not too much / be skinny / not too much…” all those things and a lot of contradictions in between. Then, when I re-read the whole thing, I felt there was some kind of internal violence to it.”

“I feel like sometimes the voices that I have in my head are extremely violent. I am being very violent towards myself. In a way, I feel like that is a very female thing. I don’t think Ori – my partner in life and in music – struggles with the same inner conflicts or inner violence. ‘Cash Out’ was just me taking the violence that I have in my head, those voices that keep telling me to do something – it doesn’t matter how well I’m doing, they are still there – it’s never enough. So the women in this ‘Cash Out’ world are all me. And I’m taking myself in to a battle scene, a fight scene, and I put myself in front of my other self and go ahead and let them kick each other’s asses. I never thought about that when I wrote it, but that’s what happened.”

It’s strangely comforting to hear that Erez struggles with self doubt, like so many women in both the music industry and in wider society. I attempt to reassure her by saying that her persona is formidable, showing no signs of insecurity, and that both her music and her performance style translate as incredibly confident. Her reply is very diplomatic: “I’m happy that I’m able to be very frank about the fact that that’s just not the case. I think it’s hardly ever the case. There’s something very selective about the way I choose to present myself, like all of us, I deal with a lot of shit that is pure weakness, and things that I have to tackle in myself. There’s a lot of insecurity in me, but then eventually I become more aware of the fact that weaknesses are something that you have to grab on to and say okay, that’s the most valuable thing in life. Failures are the most valuable lessons in life. If you get straight A’s in tests – then good for you – but if you fail a test, then it’s the best possible scenario. Easier said than done, but that’s where I’m trying to go mentally.”

I ask about her collaborations with SAMMUS and ECHO, and if she consciously collaborates with other female rappers. As the words leave my mouth, I already feel like I have made a mistake by bringing gender in to the question. This is something I strive to leave out of the majority of my interview questions for GIHE, but today I’ve slipped up and I’ve left it in. But, as Noga has just pointed out, mistakes are valuable, and her response is authentic: “No, I don’t seek to collaborate with any musician because of their gender. Gender plays a very minor role. The one thing that I hate, is when I read about “female rappers”, that kind of gives me the cringe, even though I know it is necessary from the standpoint of people who write about music, and even from the standpoint of someone who reads it.”

“We’re still in a place where you have to add “female” to everything. It’s a language thing, it’s so weird. In Hebrew, you have a gender for every word, in English you have to add something in order for it to be gendered. That’s why words and language can be so fucked up, because it changes the atmosphere about everything. So in English, you have to make that distinction sometimes, which is sometimes for better, sometimes for worse. In Hebrew, I feel like the fact that you have a word for a female singer and a male singer, doesn’t give you the option to look at things from a non-gender perspective. I think about these things so much, but I have a collaboration with a rapper on my new album who happens to have a penis, I really truly don’t give a fuck about none of that. It just has to really feel right. Both ‘Chin Chin’ and ‘Cash Out’ are songs from a female perspective. So it made sense to work with women.”

“I find myself needing to balance the issue of gender whenever I have to curate a playlist. What I do immediately, naturally, I put a lot of men on it. My stars, a lot of them are male – Frank Ocean, Kendrick Lamar. Then I get conscious about that, so I add female artists in. That’s me being real with you about making a conscious decision to have some kind of positive discrimination. It’s a progress. Expecting it to be naturally what we want it to be, you have to be realistic. I feel like when I released my first album in the midst of the #MeToo movement, people were kind of putting the feminist suit on me. I’m a lot of things, a feminist is one of them for sure, but it took a place in the conversation that is larger than the role that is actually plays in my life.”

Her honesty is refreshing, and I re-frame the question, asking her what she thinks makes for a good collaboration. “That’s a good question, especially as I feel collabs have become like a marketing thing, more than they are an artistic thing. But I don’t judge, I think collaborations are great, so the most important thing is that the person that you have on your track gives a really good new perspective to the subject that you were tackling. That’s what happened to me with SAMMUS. When she sent that verse for ‘Cash Out’, Ori & I were at home listening to it, and we were both reacting the same – “Wowwww…what the fuck did she just do!?” – that is how it should be.”

“I knew her music for a while, and I knew she was an amazing lyricist. She’s a poet, and there’s something about her voice, and where she comes from, and her background; I knew it was going to be something different. The song’s concept is a list of things you have to do to be a “good woman”, a “strong and successful” woman even from a feminist world. So my list was so different to hers. In my list, you have to be skinny, but in her world as a woman of colour, that’s just not it. It was one of the things that made me realise that we’re not all in the same boat, you know? We’re in the same boat in the sense that we are being told what do to, who to be, what to wear and what to look like, but that varies depending on who you are. When we are all seen as “women” it flattens it, I feel. So a good collaboration would be having someone twist something so well that it helps you learn something new.”

I ask her what she learned from her collaboration with Israel’s esteemed Camerata Orchestra in 2018. Renowned artist Shlomi Shaban invited Erez to perform re-worked songs from her debut album at Tel Aviv’s prestigious Performing Art Center, and it was captured on film and recorded as a special release titled RaDaR Reworked. I also ask her about the practical side of rehearsing with a live band, as usually she performs solo. “It’s good that you mention rehearsals, because there weren’t many of them. I got this opportunity handed to me, funded by someone. It was perfect. They did a lot of performances, but I was the only one who brought 80 microphones to the venue and recorded and filmed the whole thing.”

“Ori mixed it and it was crazy, such hard work, but I knew that I had gold in my hands. For me it was surreal, because I always imagined myself with an orchestra, but it was something that was supposed to come so much later. We’d started preparing all of the orchestrations about a year in advance, and the reason we had to prepare it so well was because we had only one rehearsal with the orchestra. Unfortunately, that’s how it is with orchestras who don’t have a lot of money. It made it an even more stressful experience, just getting used to the atmosphere of having this whole thing behind me, I would have loved to have spent more time with it.”

“Honest to God, I had a really bad time the two weeks before that show. I wasn’t able to sleep, I wasn’t able to go to the bathroom, so when I got on stage I was a mess. It came out great, but I feel like I had to compensate for a lot of it afterwards in the process of mixing and keeping it dynamic. There’s something dynamic about an orchestra, there’s something dynamic about classical music. Sometimes it’s really soft, then it goes really loud – and I knew that because I’m coming from a background of studying composition, so the dynamic thing was so important to me. I wanted to tackle that as a performer, but that was the one thing that just did not happen. It was loud and stressed, but luckily that is something you can easily fix in mixing. Honestly, the process was a disaster” – she laughs at this comment – “but Ori was able to do such a great job with helping that sound dynamic.”

It’s mad how even when she doesn’t feel like she’s at the top of her game, Erez still creates captivating music. I ask her what artists are currently captivating her: “I’ve been coming back to the latest James Blake release in the last few days, because the first time I heard it I didn’t actually like it, but it grew on me. Also, Tkay Maidza. She’s an Australian rapper. I would love to collaborate with her. I discovered her through a collaboration that she did with a band called J-E-T-S. She’s fabulous. She also just did a song with JPEGMAFIA called ‘Awake’. I love her.”

My time with Noga Erez is now up, so I thank her profusely for her willingness to answer my questions, and for making such an addictive debut album. She hugs me goodbye, but before I leave, she asks “So, is Get In Her Ears a play on “Get In Her Pants”?” I laugh sheepishly and explain the only thing I’m trying to “get into” are good records, and interesting interviews with artists I admire. With Noga Erez, I’ve accomplished exactly that.

Follow Noga Erez on Facebook | Twitter | Instagram for more updates.

Photo Credit: Timo Kerber 

Kate Crudgington
@KCBobCut

PLAYLIST: July 2019

Whilst we’re still in the midst of a mind-melting heatwave here in the UK, we’ve thrown together some fresh new music on our July playlist that promises to soothe your sunburned ears. Take some time to scroll through our track choices and make sure you hit play on the Spotify playlist link at the bottom of the page…

BEA1991 – ‘Loser Wins’
Amsterdam-based artist and musical polymath BEA1991 has swept me away with this track, taken from her debut album Brand New Adult which is out now. I love her subtle, soaring vocals and there’s a beautiful accompanying video to this track that I recommend you check out. Bliss. (Kate Crudgington)

Grawl!x – ‘Epicene’
The new single from Derby-based artist James Machin – aka Grawl!x – ‘Epicene’ is a collaboration with Umbilica’s Jo Lewis, A soaring, cinematic soundscape that sends shivers down the spine, it explores discussions of gender, sexuality, feminism and the role of allies. Identifying as non binary themselves, Machin explains: “… [gender] is an issue I’ve wanted to explore in a musical dialogue for quite some time. It’s quite alarming when you realise how great the gender disparity is and how our culture is divided in binary terms.(Mari Lane)

Noga Erez & ECHO – ‘Chin Chin’
A dizzy, laid-back take on the links between sex and money; Noga Erez’s latest collaboration with Israeli MC and producer ECHO brims with off-kilter beats and tongue-in-cheek lyrics. Erez combines intimidatingly cool vocals with her trademark defiant flair on this new release. (KC)

King Hannah – ‘Crème Brûlée’
The impressive debut single from King Hannah, ‘Crème Brûlée’ is as utterly moreish as the dessert it’s named after. With its sweeping ethereal power, majestic twinkling musicality, and the longing, impassioned vocals of front woman Hannah Merrick, it’s a stunning introduction to a band who I’m sure we’ll be hearing a lot more from very soon. (ML)

Elliot Lee – ‘Dirt’
‘Dirt’ is the latest single from Brooklyn based Elliot Lee – a big slice of dirty pop which narrates the frustration towards those who don’t understand how much music means to people. (Tash Walker)

Kitzl – ‘Wizard Girls’
‘Wizard Girls’ is the latest release from Canadian producer and composer Kitzl, described as a shining offering, combining elements of ambient-electronic-pop, art-pop and experimental shoe-gaze. I’m into it. (TW)

Jenny Hval – ‘Ashes To Ashes’
Sacred Bones signee Jenny Hval’s new single is an enchanting, uplifting electronic affair. The track is taken from her upcoming album, The Practice of Love, which is set for release on 13th September and I can’t wait to listen to the record in full.(KC)

Sui Zhen – ‘Perfect Place’
Inspired by how we exist in the digital age, ‘Perfect Place’ flows with glitchy beats and twinkling, ‘80s-inspired hooks alongside Sui Zhen’s quirky, honey-sweet vocals. An instantly infectious slice of sparkling alt-pop. Zhen recently contributed a Five Favourites feature for the website, and because she couldn’t narrow it down to five, we also put together a banger-filled playlist of all her favourites – check it out! Sui Zhen’s upcoming new album, Losing, Linda, is out 27th September. (ML)

Arthur Moon – ‘Reverse Conversion Therapy’ 
Fronted by Lora-Faye Åshuvud, Brooklyn avant-pop group Arthur Moon are set to release their self-titled debut album on 2nd August via Vinyl Me, Please. ‘Reverse Conversion Therapy’ is another example of Lora-Faye’s “deconstructed pop music” which celebrates the queer impulse, and takes ownership when it comes to “breaking the rules” and doing things wrong – something we should all embrace a little more. (KC)

ZAMILSKA – ‘Hollow’
Polish Producer ZAMILSKA released her third album Uncovered this month, and it’s a densely hypnotic record permeated by her fascination with levitation. The result is thirteen richly textured tracks that seethe with “the anxiety of what we want vs what we get”. If you’re a fan of industrial or electronic music I recommend a listen. She’s my new music obsession. (KC)

Deep Deep Water – ‘Something In The Water’
Having recently wowed crowds at Glastonbury, London-based four piece Deep Deep Water have now shared blissful new single ‘Something In The Water’, and we can’t get enough of it. Flowing with whirring soundscapes and soaring, harmonising vocals, it’s an utterly euphoric creation, twinkling with a majestic splendour. Of the track, the band explain: “‘Something in the Water’ is about change… Something is making you act differently, strangely, in a way you can’t explain. It is change out of your control, you are rendered powerless.” (ML)

Daniella Mason – ‘Deepest of Wells’
Deep, synth-based melodies from Nashville-based Daniella Mason, taken from her EP Mental State – it’s so hauntingly addictive, once you’ve heard there is no going back. (TW)

Greentea Peng – ‘Downers’
The new single from South-East London’s Greentea Peng, described as “A disillusioned confession to self, my London city blues. A tune for us hedonistic youths searching to feel nothing, but who actually feel everything. Instead of getting you to sleep – I’m tryna wake ya up.” (TW)

Anna Wiebe – ‘I Felt It In The Wind’
‘I Felt In In The Wind’ is the latest release from Anna Wiebe taken from her recently released album All I Do Is Move, and I can’t stop listening to this emotionally evocative track. (TW)

Salad – ‘Under The Wrapping Paper’
Taken from their upcoming new album, Salad’s ‘Under The Wrapper’ is about exposing what we are sticking in the sand, and shoving under the carpet. With its gritty, post-punk energy and tongue-in-cheek deadpan vocals, it’s a unique euphonic delight, proving that the ‘90s band have still got it and are still capable of pushing boundaries with a distinct, vibrant spirit. Salad’s upcoming new album, The Salad Way, is out 30th August on Three Bean Records. (ML)

Track Of The Day: Noga Erez & ECHO – ‘Chin Chin’

A dizzy, laid-back take on the links between sex and money; Noga Erez’s latest collaboration ‘Chin Chin’ brims with off-kilter beats and tongue-in-cheek lyrics. Joined by Israeli MC and producer ECHO – known for her Hebrew language MCing on debut album Achat which put women at the centre of the Israeli hip hop scene for the first time – Erez combines intimidatingly cool vocals with her trademark defiant flair on this new release.

‘Chin Chin’ playfully takes the controversial topics of sex and money and casually dismantles them over the course of two minutes. The collaboration came about whilst ECHO and Erez were working together in the studio with Erez’s partner and co-producer, Ori Rousso. The pair decided to pick apart some important subjects, and ‘Chin Chin’ was the result of their meddling.

Erez has been impressing us with her collaborations over the last 6 months – including her orchestral album RADAR Reworked with Israel’s Camareta Orchestra – and we’re excited to see what this unpredictable artist does next. Watch the video for ‘Chin Chin’ below and follow Noga Erez on Facebook for more updates.

Kate Crudgington
@KCBobCut