GIHE: Personal Highlights Of 2020

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

Shared Highlights

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

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

Now for some personal highlights…

Kate Crudgington (Features Editor)

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Mari Lane (Managing Editor)

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

The first gig I hosted this year felt particularly special. Personal Best headlined a night filled with all the best vibes. Drawing the night to a memorable close, front person Katie Gatt dedicated their set closer to the queer community. As a sea of buoyant voices joined in with “I wanna kiss you in the street / where everyone can see / ’cause this is what we look like,” the poignancy of the lyrics was overwhelming and an empowering sense of unity took hold. The night also included the shimmering folk-strewn offerings of Athabaska, the quirky energy and sparkling charisma of Nun Habit and the sun-drenched swirling anthems of Hurtling. There is nothing quite like that joyous sense of togetherness that comes from hosting gigs filled with like-minded wonderful people.

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

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

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

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

John McGovern (Contributor)

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

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

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

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

PLAYLIST: October 2020

Whether you’re feeling apprehensive about the darker evenings after the pesky BST clock change, or you’re fed up of the ongoing Covid-restrictions that are full of contradictions, our October playlist is here to distract you. There’s an eclectic mix of dancing beats, atmospheric electronics, indie and alternative guitar tunes and some seasonal Halloween pop treats! Take some time to scroll through our track choices below and make sure you hit play on the Spotify playlist at the end of the page.

Nina Simone – ‘I Put A Spell On You’
The inimitable Nina Simone and her rendition of ‘I Put A Spell On You’ was an obvious choice for a Halloween-esque track, and it gives me goosebumps whenever I hear it. (Kate Crudgington)

Phoebe Bridgers – ‘Halloween’
Fun fact – I’m in love with Phoebe Bridgers. I more or less constantly have one of her songs running through my head, and spend a lot of time musing about how cool she is. So, for our October playlist it seemed only right to include her ode to the spooky season. Taken from her recent (perfect) album Punisher, ‘Halloween’ oozes Bridgers’ majestically haunting vocals and spellbinding splendour. And with the opening lyrics “I hate living by the hospital / The sirens go all night”, as someone who lives round the corner from Croydon hospital, I feel a deep hard relate on each listen. (Mari Lane)

Two Tribes – ‘Cruel Sensuality’
Full of commanding beats, jagged synths and soaring vocals, Two Tribes‘ latest single is a cathartic oscillation between emotional resilience and the unexpected apathy that comes with the ending of a relationship. Taken from their upcoming EP, which is set for release in 2021, the London-based trio blend vivid electronic textures with jolting rhythms to create an anthemic new sound. (KC)

CIRCE – ‘Ruined Your Sons’
A dark-pop gem that challenges toxic masculinity, ‘Ruined Your Sons’ is the latest single from London-based artist CIRCE. It’s taken from her upcoming debut EP She’s Made of Saints, which is set for release via Jazz Life on 25th November, and it’s a cinematic reflection on the apathy and disillusionment young men face while living under the thumb of patriarchal society. (KC)

Beckie Margaret – ‘Divine Feminine’
“’Divine Feminine’ is a song for people who stop you reaching your highest self,” explains Essex songwriter Beckie Margaret. “I wanted to write a sonically aggressive song that reflected this idea.” Through her commanding sounds and effortless vocal delivery, Margaret balances this aggression with elegance as she warns those trying to silence her to “stay out of my way.” I can’t wait to hear her debut album, which she’ll be releasing through Cool Thing Records at some point in the future. (KC)

Arlo Parks – ‘Green Eyes’
‘Green Eyes’ is the latest single from GIHE fave Arlo Parks. The track is taken from her debut album Collapsed In Sunbeams, which is set for release on 29th Jan via Transgressive Records. She’s yet to release something that don’t collectively adore here at GIHE, and I can’t wait to hear the full record next year. (KC)

Sans Soucis – ‘Air’ 
I have Kate to thank for sending this song my way, the latest single from the London based artist Sans Soucis and I cannot get enough of it. ‘Air’ evolves sonically under pitch perfect vocals, to put forth a message of protest against an era of human disconnection and destructive self-doubt. (Tash Walker)

Rihanna – ‘Disturbia’
Disturbia by absolute babe of babes Rihanna, taken from her 2008 album Good Girl Gone Bad: Reloaded. I think this is one of her best songs to date and I’m resurrecting it as a little Halloween treat for you all. (KC)

Eckoes – ‘The Light’
Alongside strobing synths and shimmering guitars, in ‘The Light’ the truly spellbinding power of Eckoes’ vocals soars, lulling the listener into a cathartic sense of hypnosis with its alluring grace. And we’re super excited that, having blown us away playing for us live at The Finsbury a few years back, Eckoes will be joining us for a special Instagram takeover next Wednesday 4th November – keep your eyes peeled on our socials for details! (ML)

Penelope Trappes – ‘Eel Drip’
A goose bump inducing, emotionally charged electronic soundscape, ‘Eel Drip’ is the title track from London-based, Australian-born musician Penelope Trappes’ recent EP. It’s a dark, delicate rumination on accepting the inevitability that our lives will all be touched by death at some point, and I’m a little bit obsessed with it. (KC)

Witch Prophet – ‘Tesfay’
‘Tesfay’ translated as “my hope” from queer artist Witch Prophet, inspired by the memory of Witch Prophet’s late grandfather who raised five daughters as a single father in Ethiopia after the passing of her grandmother. Instead of focusing on the traditional roles for women in his day, he pushed his daughters towards education and empowerment – a radical move for the time. The video is fantastic as well, go check it out. (TW)

LIINES – ‘On and On’
One of the latest singles from GIHE faves LIINES, ‘On and On’ reflects on not being able to express your true feelings. Oozing the band’s trademark dark, brooding power, it builds to a high-octane climax of raging riffs and throbbing bass lines, propelled by the utterly commanding vocals of Zoe McVeigh and a punk-fuelled bewitching allure. ‘On and On’ is the B-side to new single ‘Sorry’’, out on 6th November, with a limited number of black 7” vinyl editions available for direct mail order and through independent record shops, via Reckless Yes. Pre-order via LIINES’ Bandcamp now. (ML)

Bitch Falcon – ‘How Did I Know?’
Is it even a GIHE Playlist if I don’t include a Bitch Falcon track? (Long answer: no.) The Dublin alternative trio have shared this new single ahead of the release of the debut album, Staring At Clocks, on 6th November via Small Pond Records. Vocalist & guitarist Lizzie says this single is “an expression of frustration around someone I love and their problems. When someone you love is at the edge of your grasp, it can be so terrifying that your reaction is to let go.” (KC)

Total Rubbish – ‘What’s Your Damage?’
The latest single from Philadelphia-based trio Total Rubbish, whose sound reminds me a little bit of Garbage or L7 – which is never a bad thing. ‘What’s Your Damage’ is featured on their upcoming EP Triple Negative, which is set for release on 20th Nov via Born Losers Records. (KC)

Middle Kids – ‘R U 4 Me?’
With an uplifting jangly groove, Aussie band Middle Kids offer a swirling emotion and warm melodies with latest single ‘R U 4 Me?’. A perfect burst of sunny energy for this time of year, it’s a scuzzy indie pop anthem, leaving me excited to hear what this trio have in store for us next. (ML)

Landshapes – ‘Drama’
The new single from GIHE faves and one of our first guests on the radio show back in 2015, Landshapes, ‘Drama’ reflects on the imbalance of emotional labour that’s often seen between men and women. Soaring with a whirring synth-filled musicality and sweeping electro-driven hooks as the lustrous distinctive power of Luisa Gerstein’s vocals flows, it’s set to captivate on first listen with its majestic, funk-fuelled groove. ‘Drama‘ is out now, along with accompanying single ‘Let Me Be‘. Both are taken from Landshapes’ upcoming new album, Contact, set for release on 20th November via Bella Union. (ML)

Miri – ‘Just Breathe’
The latest single from London artist MIRI, ‘Just Breathe’ was released to coincide with Mental Health Awareness Day earlier this month. Reflecting on the negative impact some social media can have, whilst delivering a message of love and hope, it’s propelled by a soothing, soulful splendour and emotion-strewn majesty. As the soaring heartfelt power of Miri’s distinctive vocals flows, it’s filled with an uplifting musicality, oozing an endearing sense of hope. Of the track, MIRI explains: “Just Breathe is my message to anyone struggling mentally to please reach out for help. We are living in an incredibly stressful and intense time especially with the pandemic.” (ML)

Lande Hekt – ’80 Days Of Rain’
‘80 Days of Rain’ “is about moving away and missing someone, and how that person taught me to get angry about climate change,” songwriter Lande Hekt explains. It’s a humble, emotive guitar tune about the state of the planet, lifted from Hekt’s upcoming album Going to Hell, which is set for release on 22nd January 2021 via Get Better Records. (KC)

Swallow Cave – ‘Cold Moon’ 
‘Cold Moon’ comes from Bristolians Swallow Cave. Reflecting on mental health, I love the intonation in the vocals that resonate in those long guitar chords, reverberating right into my soul. It’s out now via Sad Club Records. (TW)

Bel Cobain & Lex Amor – ‘At The Bay’
‘At The Bay’ is a beautiful track that was made as part of a Hackney based community movement called The Silhouettes Project. They’re shining a light on artists in the shadows and protecting local spaces from gentrification. The Silhouettes Project provides an open space – a recording studio and live venue (located within the Total Refreshment Centre in Hackney, London) – where MCs, singers, musicians and producers can connect and create. (TW)

Thigh High – ‘Go Slow’ 
The latest single from queer glam-rock band Thigh High and I’m loving it. It’s a song about wanking, masturbating, about that annoying moment when your dildo’s batteries die and you have to raid the remote control. Incredible. Turn up those dials. (TW)

Spill Tab – ‘Santé’
‘Santé’ by LA-based, French Korean artist Spill Tab is intimate bedroom-pop at its best, mixing hypnotic dark-pop vocals with an urgent throbbing bass. Nice. (TW)

Tokky Horror – ‘Sleeper’
Dance-punk trio Tokky Horror have shared two new bangers just in time for Halloween. The explosive ‘Sleeper’ is one of them, with Demonoid Phenomenon – a Rob Zombie cover – being the other. You can download both from their bandcamp page now. (KC)

Lady Gaga – ‘Monster’
Taken from her 2009 album The Fame Monster, this track by Mother Monster herself is guaranteed to get me dancing at a Halloween party (even if that party consists of only me in my bedroom due to the current covid-19 restrictions.) (KC)

Pet Wife – ‘.B.L.O.O.D.O.R.A.N.G.E.’ 
PET wife, are a trans/nonbinary couple and art-pop duo from Bushwick, Brooklyn. This single, ‘.B.L.O.O.D.O.R.A.N.G.E.’ is accompanied with an incredible music video which you can watch here, that they describe as an homage to the vampire lesbian exploitation films of the 1970s with an all-trans/gender non-conforming crew and queer cast. Loving this track! (TW)

Soho Rezanejad – ‘Half The Shore’
The new single from Danish artist Soho Rezanejad, ‘Half The Shore’ is a beautifully ethereal soundscape. With Rezanejad’s work often rooted in mythological storytelling, this latest offering oozes a spellbinding majesty that’ll captivate on first listen. A much needed sea of calm. ‘Half The Shore’ is taken from Rezanejad’s upcoming album Perform And Surrender, set for release on 4th December via Silicone Records. Listen to the track here. (ML)

Sonic Youth – ‘Halloween’
The unmistakable sound of Kim Gordon’s voice over these eerie, strung out guitar sounds should be enough to create a wonderful sense of dread for you all this Halloween weekend. (KC)

Omni Sound Project to host online conference Signal Gain

The Omni Sound Project exists to help marginalized genders in the music industry learn the skills they need to create, record, and produce music and sound. On Saturday, November 7th, they will be hosting an educational conference called Signal Gain, a full day event which will be held online. The teachers and presenters are all female-identifying and gender non-conforming individuals who share Omni’s mission to encourage inclusion of marginalized genders in the music and audio industries.

The event will be sponsored by Mix with the MastersGoodhertz and PreSonus. You can register for Signal Gain here.

Below are a few distinctions & more info about Signal Gain.

  • The sessions are educational classes with a structured curriculum. Many online conferences feature interviews or demos by sponsors, but Omni’s conference emphasizes a focus on planned educational content.
  • All genders are invited. Omni believe that male-identifying allies benefit from being in educational spaces where they may be in the minority, and that their presence raises their awareness of their role in making all spaces more inclusive.
  • Omni’s presenters are chosen for their teaching experience, not necessarily because of name recognition. Many online conference feature panelists without prior teaching experience. Omni believe that a presenters’ ability to convey information effectively results in a valuable online conference.

Visit the Omni Sound Project website for more information.

Track Of The Day: Small Man Society – ‘Songs I Write About You’

Self described as “The kinda band you wanna take home to meet your Mum”, Small Man Society blend indie melodies and down to earth humour on their debut single, ‘Songs I Write About You’.

Accompanied by a video that shows the band joyfully grooving around the office during their 9-5, ‘Small Man Society’ casually laments the tricky situation between dating and becoming “official”, and all the awkwardness in between. Jangly guitars, catchy lyrics and upbeat vocals all blend together to create a care-free tune designed to distract you from feeling crushed by your crush.

Formed of Mother Trigg (guitars/lead vocals), Dapper Dill (guitar/vocals), Mrs Field (drums), and Shed The Sexy (bass), Small Man say their interests are Gordon Ramsay, existential chat, long walks, reading books and breaking hearts. If any of that appeals to you, we suggest you watch their video for ‘Songs I Write About You’ below.

Follow Small Man Society on Facebook for more updates.

Kate Crudgington
@KCBobCut