GIHE: Ones To Watch 2023

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

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

 

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Track Of The Day: Jen Cloher – ‘Mana Takatāpui’

How am I so late to the Jen Cloher party?! An integral part of the Melbourne indie scene that also gave us Courtney Barnett, Cloher is a long-established and hugely respected songwriter and performer. And, when you listen to ‘Mana Takatāpui’, taken from their first album in five years, it’s not hard to see why. It’s dazzling. A masterclass in songwriting, ‘Mana Takatāpui‘ celebrates the indigenous Polynesian people of Aotearoa, New Zealand and the Māori, LGBTQ+ community. It’s also an important reflection on finding yourself and the concept of ‘home’. 

Cloher’s warm honeyed vocal, reminiscent of early Cat Power, is so soothing and spiritual that it makes your heart swell. And, while their lyrics are both personal and political, they are delivered with such love and pride that the song never feels heavy. From the opening harmonies to the upbeat affirmations that come later, it’s joyous. This is music to bathe yourself in.

Of the meaning behind the track, Cloher explains:

I’m no expert but I’m guessing Māori pre-colonisation didn’t hold the same beliefs around gender and sexuality as Queen Victoria’s England. I’ve read that our men were hands on dedicated fathers and some of our best midwives; that our women fought side by side on the battlefield and that our wāhine atua (female gods) held as much mana (power and respect) as our tāne atua. Christianity came hand in hand with colonisation; their missionaries introducing the concepts of body shame, sexual repression, a woman’s menstrual cycle as impure, homosexuality as a perversion and gender as binary.

Watch the poignant new video for Mana Takatāpui here:


Cloher’s upcoming new album, I Am The River, The River Is Me, is set for release on 3rd March 2023 via Milk! Records/Marathon Artists.

Vic Conway
@thepicsofvic

Photo Credit: Marcelle Bradbeer

Get In Her Ears Live @ The Victoria w/ Jemma Freeman and the Cosmic Something, 14.10.22

Following September’s gig at The Shacklewell Arms with the driving ethereal soundscapes of Gemma Cullingford, our October installment of GIHE live saw us return to The Victoria in Dalston for what felt like a super special night filled with the best music, best people and best vibes. Massive thanks to Jemma Freeman and the Cosmic Something, KIN and Trouble Wanted, and to everyone who came down to pack out the venue and helped make it a night to remember.

Here, Mandy Bang writes a few words about the night to accompany Jon Mo’s fantastic pics…

It’s Friday night and The Victoria is packed – a glass smashes on the dancefloor and is carefully kicked aside by revellers determined to have a good time. Tonight’s opening band conjure a murky dive bar on the wrong side of the tracks: the saloon doors unexpectedly swing open, everyone turns to look up at the new arrivals, jaws drop, gasps are audible… there’s a new stranger in town – Trouble Wanted.

The London-based five-piece have just one song available on their Bandcamp page, but, when it’s the “sexy, queer exchange between Lonely Cowgirl and a mysterious dyke trucker”, it’s one hell of a special treat. Live, Trouble Wanted blend menacing basslines, dreamy guitar touches, dancing drums, sexy synths and the occasional burst of alluring saxophone with semi-spoken vocals. Lucy sings of unrequited lust and dysfunctional mother/child relationships and pistol-whips songs with loaded humour. By the end of their set they have encouraged the whole room to shake off their inhibitions as we all sing “I want you in my bed” with wild abandon!

Tonight is Ritu Arya’s last gig with KIN, who played their second ever show for GIHE back in 2019. The band dedicate the drummer’s favourite song to her and later in their set proceed to initiate their first crowd sing-along during a cover of Wheatus’ ‘Teenage Dirtbag’.

The release of the trio’s new single, ‘Soapdish’, coincides with tonight’s gig and is a melancholy ramble through a relationship that is better to be left behind, as singer/keyboardist Grace asserts, “I’m not going to change my mind”. In amongst KIN’s atmospheric indie pop, there are sparse guitar echoes which momentarily bring to mind unexpected eerie Bauhaus vibes. Meanwhile, their 2020 single, ‘L.O.V.E.’, possesses the kind of upbeat energy that demands to drive us to sunny days spent dancing on a beach somewhere far out of reach.

Our final act of the night is Jemma Freeman and The Cosmic Something and Jemma’s party look this evening is demonic jester with a touch of Jaz Coleman of Killing Joke fame. The trio put on a frantic display of musicianship with psychedelic and garage rock leanings, skipping from one catchy song into the next which throws the audience into an array of shapes.

“I don’t know what I’m supposed to know”, declares Jemma before shredding so enthusiastically a guitar string breaks. Jemma conducts the quickest string change ever carried out by a musician mid-set, whilst the bassist and drummer keep an impressive backbeat flowing. One gets the impression that this rhythm section could quite happily lay down a two-hour instrumental jam as if performing at a ’70s music festival. Jemma, seemingly impressed by said bandmates’ calm professionalism, exclaims, “I don’t really need to be here“.

Jemma’s in-between song banter hints at a vulnerable front person with an awkward confidence. Lyrics are laced with self-deprecating humour and a composition from the band’s upcoming new album, ‘Miffed’, is a tale of a bad Tinder date that involved getting locked in a park – “Sounds exciting, but it’s not good”, they assure us before dedicating ‘Lump’ to “weird and petty gay people – like me!”.

Rather than the rallying ‘girls to the front’ mantra, Jemma encourages each audience member to look behind them and to move aside if those behind are struggling to see the band bathed in orange, green and blue lighting. I’ve only ever been at one other gig where the band has been this wonderfully thoughtful (namely Dream Wife) and Jemma half-jokes that it took ten years of therapy to ascertain: “I’m five-foot two-inches tall and I’m going to take up space and be unafraid“. A sentiment that gets a huge cheer from this crowd.

Big thanks to all three of the incredibly fantastic bands on Friday night! As for us, our next gig will be at the Sebright Arms next month with a lush line-up of Breakup Haircut, Piney Gir and BCOS RSNS on 17th November. Tickets can be nabbed over on Dice and we’ll see you down the front!

Words: Mandy Bang / @mandybang
Photos: Jon Mo / @jonmophotography

Five Favourites: Jemima Coulter

Whilst you may know them from being one half of Hailaiker, or from their collaborations with the likes of Squirrel Flower and Novo Amor, Bristol-based artist Jemima Coulter has now released their debut solo album. Reflecting on themes such as unrequited love and chasing happiness – through both their own lived experiences and imagined situations – Grace After A Party is a beautifully poignant collection. Flowing with a shimmering, folk-strewn musicality, each track showcases Coulter’s raw, heartfelt vocals and ability to create stirring, emotion-rich dreamscapes with a swirling, immersive allure.

We think one of the best ways to get to know an artist is by asking what music inspires them. So, to celebrate the release of their debut album, we caught up with Jemima Coulter to ask about the music that has inspired them the most. See below for their choices of their five favourite albums, and be sure to treat your ears to Grace After A Party as soon as possible

Sufjan Stevens – Carrie & Lowell
I drew a lot from this album while writing Grace, mostly in thinking about storytelling and the details in the lyrics that make it compelling. The stories told in this album combined with the nuanced melodies makes it feel so directed, so itself and also perfectly balanced – never too much going on. Each section in a song sits perfectly on its own and in context of other sections, each song on the album sitting perfectly on its own and also tied to the others. I think the use of space in this album is not something I’ve found anywhere else; I don’t know what they used for the reverb, but listening to it, it’s all really ‘verby, but in a way where it’s like this special Carrie & Lowell room that’s a specific kind of dark and echoey but doesn’t make everything sound floaty and washed, and also ties the closer sounding guitar with everything else. Maybe it’s just the best mix I’ve ever heard ha. I listened to Carrie & Lowell a lot when I was driving, around the age of 19-20 – the combination of night-driving and this music seemed to swirl into an endless road. I’ve always wanted to recreate that in an album – you put it on and you’re there, it’s like a physical space, each song a room in a house, and the same things are in the rooms each time you listen but you’re still picking each of them up and turning them over in your hands and each object conjures an emotion in you.

Camille – Le Fil
Someone showed me ‘Quand Je Marche’ one morning and it was in my head for literally years until I found it on this album. There was a period while I was working on Grace (I think autumn 2020) – I was missing someone and I couldn’t sleep and I walked the perimeter of Bristol a few nights for nearly four hours each time and I remember walking the side of a steep A-road listening to this. I think she does nearly everything with her mouth? It’s really minimalist, but it taught me about using drones and melody and kind of inspired me to keep exploring that idea that you often just hear in folk. It’s also totally the opposite of what I tend to do with production and I love how her melodies totally carry the whole album. It has loads of repeating melodic themes and moments, almost like ‘acts’ and interludes which makes it theatrical, but in a really good way… It’s just a wicked album. 

Sea Oleena – Weaving a Basket 
I just think this is the most beautiful music I’ve ever heard. It makes time stand still. No other words. 

John Martyn – Glorious Fool 
I was shown this album fairly recently, after being aware of a few John Martyn songs. The bass in his music takes me somewhere – I don’t think I’ve heard anything like it. Sometimes it’s like it’s just John and that fretless bass and everything else is just highlighting whatever they’re doing. His music makes me think about timing and atmosphere more than anyone else’s at the moment. He’s not doing anything particularly dense with his melodies or his words, it’s all very felt and is almost improvisational. It seems that the songs are really recordings in the sense that they don’t feel concerned with how they’d stand-up as live performance, and that’s something I find about this particular album and in his other ones, that them being crafted in the studio in darkness and in the atmosphere absolutely comes through. I was reading Phill Brown’s autobiography Are we Still Rolling? and it includes a bit about them recording John Martyn’s One World album – they had speakers across a lake and recorded parts the other side of the water to create a massive outdoor reverb. The combination of nature and technology fits with the crossovers I hear in John Martyn’s music; he was clearly so ahead and on the brink of mixing jazz, folk and electronic experimentation. ‘Small Hours’ from that album is the best night-time song. 

The Blue Nile – Hats
The thing I love about this album is that it feels like film music because it is so secured within timbre limitations and concept limitations. It’s like an ’80s rework of the Casablanca soundtrack or something. It sounds so ’80s/early ’90s it’s almost like a modern day pastiche of that period of pop. Again though – maybe a theme going on here -, there’s so much space and anticipation in these songs which I’ve found really liberating, like “yes, repeat that bit 8 times”. The whole thing is a massive argument against concision for me – like, fuck being concise; be indulgent, do a fade out. There’s three songs on that album over six minutes, and it’s an absolute pleasure to be inside them for the whole six minutes, I want to be able to do that more than anything, really.

Massive thanks to Jemima Coulter for sharing their Five Favourites with us!

Grace After A Party, the debut album from Jemima Coulter, is out now via Hand In Hive.

Photo Credit: Christina Russell