Guest Blog: HUSK

To mark Transgender Day Of Visibility – a day to set the tone for every day, show your support, increase equality and stand by trans people to live their lives freely and confidently – trans, non binary artist HUSK talks to us about their experience in the music industry. Dubbed as “the outsider popstar we’ve all been waiting for” and “pretty darn good” by BBC 6 Music, they combine ’80s synth-pop nostalgia with fresh leftfield pop to create their signature sound. 

Find out more below: 

I always get comments about my voice, both good and bad; it’s the first thing people notice. It’s high, it’s low. It’s soulful, it’s raw. It’s trans. Despite the coronavirus disruption, today is Trans Day of Visibility (TDOV), and I’m so proud to be a Trans NB synth-pop musician.

I’ve always been attracted to synth-pop because of its queer history and androgyny. Artists like Grace Jones breaking the gender wall and Erasure, Eurythmics and Bronski Beat challenging vocal expectations that became an iconic symbol of the ’80s. It also has a natural sadness to it, but you can still dance to it. I think that draws a parallel with what it’s like to be a trans musician at the minute.

The difficult parts are well-known. The prejudice of not being booked or featured before listening to what I’m offering. The “I don’t get it” comments about my awesome gender-bending voice. The TERFs and transphobes sending tweets you could do without, and not to mention all the other things that come with being a trans person in society right now.

There’s so many amazing things too.

You’re not confined to societal standards about gender if you’re not conforming anyway. So, you’re a bit more free to write what you love, be your unapologetic self, no matter how many times you have to figure that out. And you get to weed out all those that you’ll ignore when you’re huge! Ha!

It’s really humbling to be representative of such a diverse community. I was once introduced on stage as “an emblem of trans masculinity”, which was terrifying, not to mention inaccurate. I always try to be vocal about my experience and the fact that I’m not a man, I’m just simply not a woman, and I happen to take testosterone.

I’ve been featured in some pretty major BBC 6Music LGBT+ shows, amongst some huge names. This is massively important, not just to me as an artist, but for gender non-conforming people to see. I didn’t have that, and I’ve had to carve out space for someone like me.

You also inherit a community. Allies and other trans people want to see you do well, especially in a world where trans people are vilified for simply existing. Supporting trans people has never been more important.

I’m currently working on my new single campaign for ‘Below The Neck’, which has been supported by Superbia of Manchester Pride, allowing me the freedom to release a high energy, new wave-y synth catchy af pop song. A song that would have otherwise been gathering digital dust on my laptop. It’s also giving others work, including the talented Sugar House and a team of all female radio pluggers.

Now though, we are seeing more and more trans noise. Anohni and Big Freedia are both out trans women of hugely different genres at the top of their game. Half of the artists on AnalogueTrash have trans band members, including the ‘gay metal disco’ from St Lucifer, who are always ridiculously fun to see live. Harvey is making the news in the Midlands and The Spook School are still making their super fun indie pop. Not so long ago, Jordan Grey was up on prime time TV on The Voice and is now on Comedy Central smashing it. And this is HUGE!

I would never change being trans. I would never change being a trans musician. And the industry should support us. Book us. Play us. Listen to us. We have so much to offer. Find out – we’re dying to share it with you!

‘Below The Neck’ is out 3rd April on Spotify, iTunes & Bandcamp. Find HUSK on social media – @husknoise .

Massive thanks to HUSK for talking about their experiences with us! 

Video Premiere: Bitch Hunt – ‘Spaceman’

Since first meeting at Roller Derby, London based all queer/non-binary band Bitch Hunt formed at First Timers Fest, and have been going from strength to strength ever since; last October impressing us at GIHE us with their immense live set at The Finsbury. Now, ahead of the release of a split cassette with fellow GIHE faves adults, the band have shared a brand new video.

Filled with catchy, scuzzy hooks, a subtle tongue-in-cheek wit and the gritty deadpan vocals of front person Sian, ‘Spaceman’ is an observational and relatable slice of punk-pop. With Bitch Hunt’s trademark impassioned energy and swirling harmonies, it’s a spot-on reflection on the sickening arrogance of all those cis male ‘splainers and ‘spreaders we so often have to endure in our day to day lives. An uplifting raging anthem inspiring us all to take those men down a peg (or four).

Watch the fantastic new DIY video for ‘Spaceman’ here:

The adults / Bitch Hunt split cassette is out now via For The Sake Of Tapes. Order from Bandcamp.

Mari Lane
@marimindles

 

LISTEN: BLÓM – ‘Be Kind’

Noisy, abrasive, and intensely cathartic; BLÓM are firing on all cylinders on their latest single ‘Be Kind’. Self-described as “three qt punks playing pure radge shit; with female, trans and non binary members”, the band power through four minutes of explosive riffs, intense distortion, and raging vocals on their latest offering.

‘Be Kind’ – despite its furious nature – is a reminder to be open-minded, compassionate and understanding towards issues surrounding gender, sexual identity and mental health. It’s the first single to be lifted from the band’s upcoming debut album Flower Violence, which is set for release on 1st May via Box Records.

Recorded, mixed and mastered by Sam Grant at Blank Studios, the album explores themes of queerness, feminism, gender identity, mental health, socio economic challenges, Christianity, Twin Peaks and the Fyodor Dostoyevsky novel ‘Crime and Punishment’. That’s a pretty eclectic mix of influences, so BLÓM’s debut looks set to be a diverse and empowering listen.

The band will be touring their riotous sounds across the UK in support of PIGS x7 in April and early May, so grab a ticket quick if you like what you hear. Listen to ‘Be Kind’ below, and follow BLÓM on Facebook & Spotify for more updates.

BLÓM UK Tour Dates 2020 (Supporting PIGS PIGS PIGS PIGS PIGS PIGS PIGS)
Apr 16 Manchester Gorilla (SOLD OUT)
Apr 17 Birmingham The Mill
Apr 18 Bristol Thekla (SOLD OUT)
Apr 24 Leeds Stylus
Apr 25 Glasgow St Luke’s
Apr 29 Nottingham Rescue Rooms (SOLD OUT)
Apr 30 London Electric Ballroom
May 1 Brighton Concorde 2 (SOLD OUT)

Kate Crudgington
@KCBobCut

Five Favourites: The Inspirations Behind Grawl!x’s ‘PEEPS’

Having previously received acclaim for their previous three albums, including last year’s Appendix, Derby-based Grawl!x, is now set to release their brand new album later this week.

To celebrate the release of their new album, Grawl!x will be playing our gig at The Finsbury this Friday, and we cannot wait to be captivated by their soaring cinematic soundscapes live. 

Hi there! My name is Maria & I’m in Grawl!x. We’ve got an album coming out called PEEPS. It’s about friends & how important they are in the face of impending doom, but it’s also fun – YAY!!! Here’s five tracks that influenced the making of this record.

Jon Hopkins – ‘Immunity’ 
A big impetus for this album was a trip I took a few years back with a friend a mine. We went and stayed over in North Wales for a night & just sortof hung out. On the way back we stopped by this beach which, given a spot of gorge weather, felt briefly like the hazy Mediterranean. I sat and had a ponder while my friend played with her dog. It was a lovely moment as I’d been having some mental problems and I just felt everything would be OK, despite all this doom & gloom in me bonce. On the way there, we listened to Immunity and the title track is my fave. It was such a eureka moment the first time I heard this; it was like “oh, dance music can be heart breaking, tender & beautiful in an almost classical sense”. Having just done a rather slow piano record, it seemed like a logical progression to pop a beat in there somewhere. He’s rate clever.

Deerful – ‘N1c’
Not sure how I got turned onto Deerful (probs through Haiku Salut who are lovely peeps!), but I absolutely love her voice and synth work. There’s so many from her first record Peaches I could pick but I just heart the vibe in this one. I gather she uses algorithms which blows my mind, but then I am a country bumpkin! Plus, it references The Postal Service, which is like one of my favourite albums ever. It was such an honour to have her sing on two of the tracks for PEEPS. We’ve still yet to meet, so it’s like my first online friendship if that’s rate to say? I remember getting the stems back one shift at work (I’m a projectionist), and I was just geeking out diving around in the dark projection booth. Proper highlight. So, thank you for that Deerful.

Yves Tumor – ‘Limerence’
This is such a beautiful track, and that it comes from such an enigmatic, challenging artist makes it all the more beautiful. It’s just one of those tracks that just makes me yearn for bygone folks & memories of loveliness. When the vocal sample comes in, it’s so unexpected but so playful; juvenile but perfectly encapsulates that sense of youth. It evokes a lot it me face brain.

Emma Kupa – ‘Katie NYC’
This is just one of my fave friend songs. When I was looking at songs about friendship, the most common tendency tended to be that they were a bit – dare I say – cheesy. This is a stark example to the contrary. It’s just so sad and heartfelt. You’re proper there with her and her loved one who’s suffering. I think we’ve all been there where you want to help some one, and you feel so helpless. Of course, sometimes just being present is enough. I might be reading into it too much. I just love Emma’s solo music & proper hope to hear some new stuff soon.

Animal Collective  – ‘My Girls’
I couldn’t not include this song for many reasons. It’s been such a huge influence on my life. If I could ever write a song halfway as good as this, I’d be happy. I’d been in mostly rock bands up to the point this came out, and it just reconnected me to the joy of electronic instrumentation. It’s catchy, beautiful, clever – it’s just so good, I’m listening to it again now! As well as all that, it’s been there in my life at such crucial points. I remember driving with my Dad one time going to the beach in my twenties, and just had a lovely day. I played it at a DJ night recently, and we all had a good grind. Plus, pretty sure me and my friend played it on the way back from that trip to North Wales. Friends are proper important, I think, but friends with music is like the best cake you can ever go swimming in. Quote for the ages I think you’ll agree.

Huge thanks to Grawl!x for sharing their five choices with us! 

PEEPS, the upcoming album from Grawl!x, is out on Friday 14th February via Reckless Yes. Pre-order on Bandcamp now. And catch them live to celebrate at our gig at The Finsbury that night, along with Piney Gir, Captain Handsome and I Am HER.

 

Photo Credit: Laura Mi

Get In Her Ears Live @ The Finsbury w/ Personal Best, 10.01.20

Following a host of amazing bands playing for us throughout 2019, including Screaming Toenail, Salad, GENN, Chorusgirl, Witching Waves and CLT DRP, we were back at The Finsbury on Friday for our first gig of the year, with another dream of a line-up, for a jam-packed night of the best live music.

Kicking things off is the dreamily delightful ‘heartland rock’ of newly formed Athabaska. Alternating between the impassioned, crystalline vocals of Faith Taylor (Suggested Friends) and the delicate emotion of those of bassist Roxy, they treat us to a heart-warming shimmering folk-strewn musicality and luscious sweeping harmonies.

Next up Nun Habit deliver their fuzzy, infectious garage pop with a unique, quirky energy. With shades of the jangly synth-driven soul of the likes of Young Fathers, whether guitarist Gregory or bassist Kate is leading the vocals, they ooze a vibrant spirit and immersive, sparkling charisma.

One of my ‘Ones To Watch’ for 2020, London trio Hurtling are third band of the night. With their sun-drenched whirring hooks and the swirling subtle power of Jen Macro’s (My Bloody Valentine) distinctive effervescent vocals, they deliver their fuzz-filled noise-pop anthems with a captivating, psychedelic haze.

I’ve been keen to see headliners Personal Best for a while now, and they definitely don’t disappoint. With a joyous punk-rock energy, their “classic rock for tragic lesbians” fills the venue with adoring fans as immense, frenetic riffs are blasted out alongside pure pop harmonies and a sparkling energy. Drawing the night to a memorable close, front person Katie Gatt dedicates their set closer to the queer community. As a sea of buoyant voices joins 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 in these uncertain times is overwhelming, and an empowering sense of unity takes hold as the crowd heaves with bodies dancing and singing in solidarity. A really special end to what’s been a night filled with the most life-affirming vibes.

Massive thanks to the four incredible bands who played for us on Friday, and to all who came down and completely packed out the venue! Be sure to join us next month on 14th February, with Piney Gir, Grawl!x, Captain Handsome and I Am Her.

 

Words: Mari Lane / @marimindles
Photos: Jon Mo / @jonmophoto

 

PLAYLIST: January 2020

We’re two weeks in to 2020, and whether you’re keeping up with ‘Dry January’, venturing into ‘Veganuary’ or simply demolishing the leftover Christmas snacks; we’ve put together a list of brand new music to help with all of the above. 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.

 

Shopping – ‘Initiative’
Referencing governments who shirk responsibilities whilst placing blame on individuals; international trio Shopping’s new single ‘Initiative’ oozes a racing sense of urgency and gritty energy, whilst funk-fuelled beats and jangly, whirring hooks flow. Taken from the band’s upcoming new album, it’s a vibrant anthem encouraging us to stay motivated and keep going against the grain. All Or Nothing, the new album from Shopping, is out 7th February via FatCat Records. (Mari Lane)

Dream Nails – ‘Text Me Back (Chirpse Degree Burns)’
With their distinctive, raucous punk-pop energy; our favourite London Punk Witches Dream Nails address the anxious hell-scape that is 21st century dating on ‘Text Me Back’, and the excruciating pain of being left on “read”. With stomping beats, pounding bass-lines and immense riffs accompanying the fun-filled lyrics, it’s an instant smile-inducing anthem. Of the track, Janey from the band explains: “For those born beyond the M25, “chirpse” is London slang for flirting, and “chirpse degree burns” is our personal slang for the injuries borne from romantic misadventure. The song is a tribute to the gut-wrenching feeling of checking your phone every 5 minutes to see if your crush has replied.” ‘Text Me Back’ is taken from Dream Nails’ eponymous debut album, out 3rd April via Alcopop Records. (ML)

Party Fears – ‘Money’
I’m thrilled to announce I am now a contributor to The Irish Jam for their #NewMusicSunday slot, which airs on Riverside Radio on Sunday evenings 7-9pm. They focus on new music from Irish artists, so I played Party Fears’ latest single ‘Money’, as they’re formed of Northern Irish native Maggie Devlin, and Aussie Eilish Frawley. Their single ‘Money’ is a reflection on power, and how it isn’t always used for the greater good. It’s raw, it’s shouty, and it’s catchy as hell. (Kate Crudgington)

draag – ‘Ghost Leak’
A hazy ode to feeling inconsequential; L.A, shoegaze outfit draag have crafted a strung out, dreamy soundscape on their latest single ‘Ghost Leak’. The track is lifted from their upcoming EP Clara Luz, which is set for release on 21st February. (KC)

Post Louis – ‘Descender’
The new single from London art-rockers Post Louis, ‘Descender’ juxtaposes a dreamy, swirling musicality with soaring impassioned vocals. Oozing a heartfelt raw emotion, it’s a truly captivating slice of stirring alt-folk. Descender, the debut album from Post Louis, is out 28th February. (ML)

Xylo Aria – ‘Ignorance’
‘Ignorance’ is the eponymous track from London-based producer Xylo Aria’s latest EP; a collection of songs informed by the current environmental crisis, mental health issues, and the societal pressure she feels to conform. Aria also runs Music Production For Women, which is a fantastic initiative encouraging women to get involved in the production of their own music. Listen to the Ignorance EP in full here. (KC)

Madeleine Smyth – ‘Palmers Green’
Released by independent record label Scratched, London-based artist Madeleine Smyth’s recent EP Covert is a beguiling blend of soft vocals, ambient sounds, orchestral elements, and trip-hop inspired beats. ‘Palmers Green’ is one of four tracks showcasing Smyth’s ability to blend all of these influences seamlessly. (KC)

Aisha Badru – ‘Soil’s Daughter’
The new single from New York artist Aisha Badru, ‘Soil’s Daughter’ reflects on the need to protect our environment. Radiating a sparkling majesty and subtle, soulful power, it’s a truly beautiful ballad; a moving and sincere offering at a time when our world is literally burning, and things feel like they’re falling apart. Of the track, Badru expands: “This is me reflecting on the world, and this huge disconnect between us as a people, and us with the planet.” Transcendence, the upcoming EP from Aisha Badru, is out 7th February via Nettwerk. (ML)

Drea & The Marilyns – ‘Everything to Me’ (Lips Cover)
Loving this cover of Lips’ ‘Everything to Me’ by Drea & The Marilyns! I mean, I loved the original but I’m really enjoying this remake from the Seattle-based artist. Mix anything up with some electro-synths, and I’m yours. (Tash Walker)

Captain Handsome – ‘Halloween’
The second single taken from Lily from Fightmilk’s solo project Captain Handsome, the rather unseasonably entitled ‘Halloween’ flows with silky-smooth vocals and a twinkling, stripped-back musicality. With its delicate lo-fi scuzz and tongue-in-cheek relatable lyricism – “It was Halloween, I was 24, I had a bad time on the bathroom floor” – it’s a sensitive, yet not sentimental effervescent slice of indie-pop. I Am Not An Animal, the debut EP from Captain Handsome, is out 31st January via Reckless Yes. You can catch them live for us at The Finsbury on 14th February, along with Piney Gir, Grawl!x and I Am Her. (ML)

Fenne Lily – ‘On Hold’ 
I’ve been following Bristol-based songwriter Fenne Lily for a while now, and was lucky enough to have a chat with her for a recent feature on The Line Of Best Fit. This is the title track from her 2018 debut album, and I melt a little bit each time I hear it. She’s playing a (sold out) show at The Lexington on 16th Jan, and I’m looking forward to hearing some of the new material that will make up her second album, which is set for release later this year. (KC)

Ethereal UK – ‘Strange World Normal Girl’
This track literally landed in my inbox just before the winter break and I immediately added it to the playlist for the radio show. Just beautiful. (TW)

Asha Gold – ‘Too Good’
Asha Gold who champions self-confidence in R&B influenced electro-pop. Released at the end of last year, ‘Too Good’ is the West London artist’s current single, and it flows with catchy melodies, beats and an infectious chorus. Keep it up Asha. (TW)

Mavi Phoenix – ‘Boys Toys’
I’ve always been a fan of Mavi Phoenix, and had the opportunity to interview them a couple of years back now. I remember how they spoke so eloquently about equality and the importance of queer music in the world. Phoenix has found a home in their new sound and also in the pronoun “he”. This is all about Phoenix being reborn, which is what happens in the accompanying music video to this track ‘Boys Toys’, directed by Elizaveta Porodina, ‘Boys Toys’ is as important as an exploration for Mavi Phoenix’s gender identity, as it is for his artistic work. And on top of all that, it’s an absolute tune. Enjoy. Watch the video for ‘Boys Toys’ here. (TW)

tAngerinecAt – ‘I don’t want to be a white master’
tAngerinecAt are a non-binary duo originally from Ukraine, and now based in London. What an amazing track – the vocals, the heavy electronic based instrumentation, pedals, their self-defined “hurdy-gurdy” loops and those beats! I am so happy I know about this band, and I cannot wait to indoctrinate myself further into their sound. (TW)

Last Eden – ‘Fallen’
If you’re into 8 minute long pieces of obscure electronic drone music (why wouldn’t you be?), then multidisciplinary Irish artist Aileen Wallace – aka Last Eden – is worth a listen. She experiments and improvises with elements of industrial and ambient music to create unusual, captivating soundscapes. Working as both a producer and a sound artist, Wallace uses bespoke DIY microphones, cassette recorders, synthesizers, and an array of equipment from both the analog and digital worlds. Her recent EP Elysian Plain explores the mythology and the journey surrounding death. It’s intense, but definitely intriguing. Listen to the record here. (KC)

Get In Her Ears w/ Alessi’s Ark 09.01.20

Kate and Tash were back in the studio for GIHE’s first show of 2020, playing the freshet new music tracks to take you into the next decade. Highlights include: Dream Nails, Aisha Badru, Asha Gold, tANGERINECAt, draag, Xylo Aria, Fenne Lily and Party Fears.

They were also joined in the studio by the lovely Alessi’s Ark for a chat and a beautiful live session, be sure to check them out at their London show on March 20th, at the Green Note.

Listen back here:

Tracklist
The Big Moon – Happy New Year
Ethereal UK – Strange World Normal Girl
Alfah Femmes – Skunks
Draag – Ghost Leak
Crest Glider – Queen’s Head
Personal Best – Baby
Drea Marilyn – Everything to me (Lips Cover)
Aisha Badru – Soil’s Daughter
Noshvia Wu – Hurt Somebody
Xylo Aria – Ignorance
Flyying Colours – Good Times
Post Louis – Descender
Captain Handsome – Halloween
Fenne Lily – What’s Good
Mavi Phoenix – Boys Toys
Alessi’s Ark – Born Free
Pete Yorn – Calm Down
Angelica Garcia- Jícama (Con Sal Version)
Asha Gold – Too Good
Party Fears – Money
Dream Nails – Text Me Back (Chirpse Degree Burns)
Evie Balfe – Remember
tAngerinecAt – I don’t want to be a white
Paper Tigers – Gucci Smiles
The Stolen Moans – Bad Guy (Billie Eilish cover)
Big Joanie – New Year