LIVE (Photos): Neighbourhood Festival, 12.10.19

On Saturday, Manchester’s annual multi venue Neighbourhood Festival took place, giving music fans the choice to see over 100 bands, all with just one wristband!

Our Jon was there to capture all the action, including some of our faves …

The Big Moon treat Manchester to their heartfelt, buoyant melodies and feel-good lyricism.

Nova Twins blast out all their immense offerings with their trademark energy-fuelled ferocity.

Julia Bardo charms the crowd with her beautifully sultry creations.

Past GIHE headliners, and all round favourites, Witch Fever, deliver their explosive, grunge-fuelled punk.

Phoebe Green oozes a soaring splendour throughout a truly dreamy set.

Grace Lightman‘s sparkling electro pop casts its spell.

Long time faves PINS make a triumphant return to the stage!

Photo Credit: Jon Mo / @jonmophoto

PLAYLIST: September 2019

Festival season is over, but new-album-release-season has only just begun! We’ve been overwhelmed by the amount of new music we’ve heard in the first few weeks of September, so we’ve selected a fraction of the finest tracks for you to delve in to. 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…

The Big Moon – ‘Your Light’
With its catchy chorus, buoyant melodies and feel-good lyrics; ‘Your Light’ is the perfect boost for anyone who’s feeling blue about the current state of affairs. The band performed their synchronized cycling in the accompanying music video in the Essex countryside, and they look at ease singing along to their brand new tune. Their new album Walking Like We Do, is set for release on 10th January 2020 via Fiction Records. (Kate Crudgington)

She Drew The Gun – ‘Trouble Every Day’
Having blown our minds earlier this year at Cro Cro Land, The Wirral’s She Drew The Gun have now shared a new re-interpretation of Frank Zappa’s ‘Trouble Every Day’. Propelled by a raw emotion and impassioned grit,  Louisa Roach’s smooth, distinctive vocals blast out the all-too-poignant, poetic lyricism. With a seething energy and politically-driven tension that builds with each note, it’s a sincere, empowering anthem for our troubled times. (Mari Lane)

Ski Lift – ‘Comfortable Here’
The debut single from London’s Ski Lift, ‘Comfortable Here’ offers an angst-driven diatribe railing against the perceived mundanity of adulthood, while simultaneously surrendering to it. With the distinctive, crystalline emotion of Benji Tranter’s vocals alongside the twinkling harmonies of Anna Vincent (Heavy Heart), it’s an utterly infectious alt-pop anthem for our times. (ML)

SASSY 009 – ‘Thrasher’
“​My music has never been a reflection on happiness​” explains SASSY 009, but her sound is far from melancholy. On ‘Thrasher’ she combines enchanting vocals, jagged synth textures and dense beats to create a transient, anti-party anthem. (KC)

Ella – ‘Esmé’
I am sooo into this track! Fusing modern electro and historic jazz into a dream soundscape, Ella is absolutely killing it. There is also an acoustic video version of this track which is definitely worth checking out. (Tash Walker)

Joviale – ‘Struggle Cuddle’
The wonderful Joviale released her debut EP Crisis via Blue Flowers earlier this month, and like all of the tracks that feature on it, ‘Struggle Cuddle’ is wonderfully sweet and poignant. Her headline show has been re-arranged for Folklore in Bethnal Green on the 12th December, with support from Laura Groves and Fauci. Grab your tickets here. (KC)

Keren Ilan – ‘Take Her Down’
I cannot and will not stop talking about Keren Ilan who is one of my favourite artists at the moment. Her EP This Morning, Yesterday dropped a month or so ago and I just love it, already a big fan of the title track, for this month’s playlist I’m choosing ‘Take Her Down’ also from the EP but almost the inverse of This Morning, Yesterday but just as good. (TW)

Jorja Chalmers – ‘Human Again’
Australian multi-instrumentalist Jorja Chalmers has played with Bryan Ferry for the past decade, and now she’s sharing her solo LP Human Again on 20th September via Italians Do It Better. The eponymous single is an intoxicating affair, with Chalmers’ charming vocals floating above cinematic synth textures. Bliss. (KC)

Chelsea Wolfe – ‘Deranged For Rock & Roll’
Chelsea Wolfe released her new album Birth Of Violence earlier this month, and I spent an entire evening fan-girling over its haunting beauty (read my review here). It features this track ‘Deranged For Rock & Roll’, which smolders with moody confidence. “These songs came to me in a whirlwind” explains Wolfe about her new music, and what a turbulent, devastating whirlwind it must have been. It’s a privilege to be able to weather the storm with her. (KC)

Nova Twins – ‘Vortex’
Amy & Georgia have unleashed this belting new single ahead of their sold out show tonight (18th September) at Sebright Arms. Full of their trademark thunderous, distorted bass lines and in-your-face lyrics, ‘Vortex’ will be the live highlight of their set. (KC)

Breakup Haircut – ‘Why Can’t I Be Cool Enough To Move To Berlin?’
Taken from their brand new EP What Did You Expect, I Got It Off The Internet?, Breakup Haircut’s ‘Why Can’t I Be Cool Enough To Move To Berlin?’ showcases perfectly what this band are all about. Having formed just a few months ago at First Timers Fest, they deliver joyous lo-fi punk with witty lyrics that are guaranteed to put a smile on your face. Catch them live for us at The Finsbury on 11th October(ML) 

Chartreuse – ‘Three Days’
Chartreuse a four-piece band from the Black Country and this track, ‘Three Days’ was my Track of the Show on Hoxton Radio a couple of weeks back. What a great start with this debut loose-limbed, country kissed soul music. Just lovely. They’ll be playing at EartH in London on 30th October, get down there. (TW)

Mexican Radio – ‘Night Of The Nihilist’
With their third album due out later this month, Berlin-based Mexican Radio pride themselves on their visceral energy and quirky unique, ‘uniformed’ style. Complete with pumping beats and glitchy electro hooks, latest single ‘Night Of The Nihilist’ is an intense, energy-fuelled synth-punk anthem with shades of the likes of LCD Soundsystem. (ML)

GHOST CAR  – ‘Awkward’
‘Awkward’ by Ghost Car is such a strong slice of garage rock, from right here in East London, made up of Clara, Laura, Maria and Maeve. It is their latest single and they tell us to expect a whole load more of that bubblegum badassery from their upcoming album! (TW)

Rapsody – ‘Ibtihaj’
My current obsession. North Carolina artist Rapsody recently released her album Eve, a poignant collection with each song dedicated to a different influential black women. Featuring Wu Tang’s GZA, ‘Ibtihaj’ is probably my favourite track from the album and is named after Ibtihaj Muhammad, a fencer who won a bronze medal at the 2016 Olympics, and was the first American Olympian ever to compete while wearing a hijab. I just love this song’s immersive groove and all it represents! (ML) 

PLAYLIST: June 2019

Whether you’re loving this “heatwave” or loathing the humidity; we’ve got some fresh new music on our June playlist to quench your listening thirst. Take some time to scroll through our words and make sure you hit play on the Spotify link at the bottom of the page…

Friedberg – ‘Go Wild’
Indie-pop quartet Friedberg have been on my radar since I played their desert-rock debut ‘BOOM’ earlier this year and I am just as into their latest offering. Scritchy synths and some classic reverb all mixed into ‘Go Wild’, which is out now via LGM Records. (Tash Walker)

The Paranoyds – ‘Girlfriend Degree’
I’m loving the slacker-grunge sound of ‘Girlfriend Degree’ from LA newcomers The Paranoyds. Speaking about the track, the band explain: “[it’s] a call to arms, a reminder to be a supremely self-loving woman, to just do you. It’s cool to be a girlfriend or wife or whatever, but there’s so much more to being a woman than that.” Couldn’t agree more girls! The band’s debut album Carnage Bargain is set for release on 13th September via Suicide Squeeze. Check out the accompanying video too. (Kate Crudgington)

Sleater Kinney – ‘Hurry On Home’
We cannot wait to see legends Sleater Kinney in February!! And this incredible latest single from the Olympia band fills us with excitement for their upcoming album The Center Won’t Hold, out in August. (Mari Lane)

Witching Waves – ‘Best Of Me’
The latest single from trio Witching Waves, ‘Best Of Me’ races with a jangly twang and punk-fuelled energy. Alongside fast-paced hooks and raw, impassioned vocals, I just can’t get enough of its visceral power. Witching Waves’ latest album Persistence is out now via Specialist Subject Records, and we cannot wait for them to headline for us at The Finsbury on 12th July, along with Milk Crimes, Finish Flag and Hubert’s Friend. (ML)

Scrounge – ‘Purpose’
Q. Will there ever be a day when us GIHEs girls don’t rave about the brilliance of South London duo Scrounge?
A. NO.
Their latest track ‘Purpose’ is equally as formidable as their previous singles and we urge you to see them live if you can. (KC)

ARXX – ‘Iron Lung’
Q. Will there ever be a day when us GIHEs girls don’t rave about the brilliance of Brighton duo ARXX?
A. NO.
We had such a laugh with Clara & Hannah on our radio show last week (listen back here) and they treated us to an exclusive acoustic version of ‘Iron Lung’, but we love it in it’s full fury too. (KC)

Nova Twins – ‘Devil’s Face’ 
Georgia & Amy never fail to fill my ears with cathartic, addictive, abrasive sounds and this latest single is no different. Their distorted bass lines and furious vocals make my heart swell, and I can’t wait to catch the duo live again at The Sebright Arms in September (get your ticket here). (KC)

Gaffa Tape Sandy – ‘So Dry’
Bury St. Edmunds band Gaffa Tape Sandy have now shared a new single taken from their upcoming EP Family Mammal. Propelled by an angst-driven scuzzy energy, ‘So Dry’ blasts out jangly melodies alongside luscious harmonies, creating a massively infectious summer delight, with a fierce, gritty edge. Of the track, the band explain: “We don’t really like arguing as a whole, but expressing yourself is very important, so we like to think of this song as us raising our voices anonymously at the people who make us mad as hell”.
Family Mammal is out 9th August via Alcopop! Records. (ML)

Show Boy – ‘Like That’
Following his last infectious offering ‘Video’, Show Boy’s latest single blends hyper-real production elements with introspective songwriting. An impassioned UK Garage-tinged pop anthem, ‘Like That’ perfectly juxtaposes catchy summer beats with heartfelt reflective lyricism, that will stick in your ears on first listen. Of the track, Show Boy explains: “It’s about the confusion and panic felt when you realise you have more affinity with a past snapshot of yourself than the person you currently are”.
Surreal
, Show Boy’s upcoming EP, is set for release next month. (ML)

Haiku Salut – ‘Going Back’
Haiku Salut are an instrumental trio from the Derbyshire Dales, consisting of multi-instrumentalists Gemma Barkerwood, Sophie Barkerwood and Louise Croft. Between them, they play accordion; piano, glockenspiel, trumpet, guitar, ukulele, drums, and melodica. Their music is a truly delightful, immersive experience and their dreamy electronic soundscapes continue to distract me from whatever I’m doing. ‘Going Back’ is one of the double A-side singles taken from their forthcoming album The General due out on Secret Name 2nd August. (TW)

Sui Zhen – ‘Perfect Place’
Taken from her upcoming album Losing, Linda, ‘Perfect Place’ is the latest single from Melbourne-based artist Sui Zhen. Inspired by how we exist in the digital age, the track flows with glitchy, playful beats and twinkling, ‘80s-inspired hooks alongside Zhen’s quirky, honey-sweet vocals. An instantly infectious slice of sparkling alt-pop. Losing, Linda is out 27th September via Cascine. (ML)

Joviale – ‘Ride Away’
Influenced by the likes of Billie Holoday and Nina Simon, Joviale’s music inspires a dynamic mix of pleasure and pain. This is her second single, taken from her upcoming EP Crisis which is set for release on 6th of September via Blue Flowers. (KC)

Rachel Chinouriri – ‘Mama’s Boy’
Full of neo soul and heavy on the bass… this song just feels full of summer. (TW)

Jeannel – ‘Everything’s The Same’
Berlin based Jeannel has the most gentle haunting vocals filled with so much emotion. (TW)

LIVE (Photos): Cro Cro Land, 06.04.19 (Part 2)

Last weekend saw the launch of Croydon’s brand new festival, Cro Cro Land. Organised by Croydon residents Angela Martin and Julia Woollams, the festival aimed to promote gender equality in both its line-up and staff, whilst championing a number of local bands and artists, and working in conjunction with a number of grassroots organisations and charities, including Lives Not Knives.

And what a festival it was! Paying host to SO MANY incredible bands, it was not only a day filled with all the best live music, but also a completely unmatched sense of community spirit and united joy at being part of the DIY scene. As well as all the superb bands playing on the day, we bumped into so many other bands and artists there to support their peers, as well as other key members from the community, such as Caffy from The Zine UK and staff from Croydon’s best pub, The Oval Tavern. It was like a huge family gathering, filled with all the most life-affirming vibes and, of course, the best live music.

Check out Part 1 of our review of the day here. And here’s some more fantastic photos from Jon Mo and Jamie MacMillan, who were there to capture all the action…

Following Bugeye’s impressive set, we stick around at the main Town Square stage to catch the festival’s ‘secret’ headliner – Liverpool’s She Drew The Gun. Kicking off with the politically-driven power of ‘Resister’, they treat us to an immense and utterly immersive set filled with a sincere, empowering energy.

Photo Credit: Jamie MacMillian

Photo Credit: Jamie MacMillan

Continuing the incredible performances at the Town Square stage, South Yorkshire’s Bang Bang Romeo blast into our eyes and ears with a magnificent energy. As front woman Stars completely blows my mind with her incredible compelling charisma and the soaring soulful power of her vocals, they deliver a truly breathtaking and instantly memorable set, taking full control of the huge crowd.

Photo Credit: Jon Mo

Photo Credit: Jon Mo

Rather nervous about some of my favourite bands clashing (it’s just such a perfect line-up!), I manage to fit in at least some of all the ones I’m desperate to see over the next hour – flitting between the Concrete Playground and Town Square…

From Bang Bang Romeo, I catch a good chunk of the luscious, punk-infused indie-pop of Fightmilk. With their wonderfully raucous energy, they never fail to uplift, as I find myself singing along to each of their dreamily catchy offerings – including personal highlight ‘Dream Phone’ (and yes, sadly I am old enough to remember the game!).

Photo Credit: Jon Mo

Photo Credit: Jamie MacMillan

Dashing back to the Town Square in time to catch South London duo Nova Twins, they once again succeed in completely taking my breath away with their ferocious power and biting energy. Having been following Georgia and Amy for some time now, it’s no surprise to see them achieving the success they have been (supporting Wolf Alice and Prophets Of Rage, praise from the likes of Iggy Pop, playing festivals across the world…); their truly immense, seething offerings are like nothing else I’ve heard before, and the vibrant, mighty force of their live show remains completely unmatched.

Photo Credit: Jon Mo

Photo Credit: Jon Mo

Back at the Concrete Playground, total faves Chorusgirl do not disappoint. Another band I’ve been following for the last few years, it really is wonderful to see them develop their sound, with their incredible dedication to their craft paying off with the release of last year’s truly epic second album Shimmer and Spin. A set filled with a joyous energy and front woman Silvi’s endearing modest charm, I just can’t get enough of their scuzzy, sparkling garage-rock, and may even have shed a tear upon hearing personal favourite ‘Stuck’ live for the first time; a poignant offering from the new album, that tugs at the heartstrings in all the right ways.

Photo Credit: Jamie MacMillan

Photo Credit: Jamie MacMillan

I manage to get back to the Town Square just in time to catch The Lovely Eggs. Despite a significant amp explosion moments before they’re due to start, the Lancaster duo deliver their immense punk-infused sonic fusions to perfection. With the brash, inspiring charisma and no-frills-yet-empowering presence of Holly Ross, they blast out a swirling, psychedelic cacophony and uplifting lo-fi fuzz. And, with their blunt realism and scathing retorts to all the dickheads in the world accompanying their riotous frenzied energy, they remain one of the most relevant bands around (and one of the most exciting to see live).

Photo Credit: Jamie MacMillan

Photo Credit: Jon Mo

Closing the incredible day, Blood Red Shoes deliver a headline set filled with raucous anthems new and old. Oozing their trademark whirring riffs, thrashing beats and the immense, energy-fuelled interplay between Laura Mary and Steven, they fill the room with a mass of buoyant bodies, singing along to each electrifying offering.

Photo Credit: Jon Mo

Photo Credit: Jon Mo

HUGE thanks to Angela and Julia for organising one of the best days ever; and here’s to Cro Cro Land 2020!

Photos:
Jon Mo / @jonmophoto
Jamie MacMillan / @jamiemacphotos

Words:
Mari Lane / @marimindles

 

Interview: Cro Cro Land Founders, Angela and Julia

We’re currently getting extremely excited about Croydon’s brand new multi-stage festival, Cro Cro Land!

Organised by Croydon residents Angela Martin and Julia Woollams, the festival aims to promote gender equality in both its line-up and staff, is championing a number of local bands and artists, and is working in conjunction with a number of grassroots organisations and charities, including Lives Not Knives.

Paying host to some of our current favourites, including Nova Twins, Chorusgirl, Fightmilk, ARXX, Berries, Jetstream Pony, Bugeye and many more, we’re proud to be involved in helping out at the festival, and will even be spinning a few tunes on the day!

So, prior to everything kicking off on 6th April, we caught up with organisers Angela and Julia to find out more…

Hi Angela and Julia, welcome to Get In Her Ears! Can you tell us a bit about yourselves?
Angela: I’m a member of the band Bugeye, music activist and co-founder of the Croydonist and Cro Cro Land Festival.
Julia: I’m a graphic designer mainly working in the charity and arts sector. I’m also the other founder of the Croydonist, which is a Croydon cultural blog, as well as co-founder of Cro Cro Land.
Angela: We’re also married, so partners in crime in every sense!

You’re currently organising Cro Cro Land –  Croydon’s brand new multi stage indie music festival – which is super exciting! What inspired the idea to do this?
A: Lots of things really. We’ve always been inspired by the fact that Croydon has such a rich musical history. It’s the birthplace of punk for one thing, and so many other great musical happenings such as Dubstep and Grime.
J: It used to be a place on every band’s tour schedule, but with venue closures, Croydon has sort of fallen off the map. We want to change that.
A: In recent years, we’ve seen so many people come together and form collectives for the greater good of music. DIY zines, podcasts, new promoters, dedicating their own time at no financial gain to try to impact change. There has been a real fight to improve the gender balance at festivals and ensure that women are fairly represented. This is an area that we feel very strongly about, and so we decided we wanted to get involved and create an event that took all of these things into consideration, paid artists fairly, as well as bringing together a number of grassroots collectives together under one roof.

How did you go about picking the fantastic line-up for the festival?
J: The line-up was a mixture of recommendations from grassroots collectives such as yourselves, The Zine UK, Benumu and Kick out the Jams – to name but a few – plus our own wishlist and artists applying via the festival submission page.

And what would you say has been the hardest part about organising a festival?
A: Where to start! I guess it was difficult not knowing whether we would be successful in our funding applications or not. Festivals aren’t cheap to put on after-all. However, the Arts Council National Lottery Grant was approved, and Croydon Council have also confirmed financial support, so we feel pretty blessed right now.

The line-up is filled with some of our favourites such as Nova Twins, The Lovely Eggs, ARXX, Bugeye and Chorusgirl! And what strikes me about the festival and makes it stand out at the moment is the great gender balance of the line up – was there an intentional and specific decision to do this, or did it just naturally pan out that way?
J: It came quite naturally to be honest. We did go back and look at our list of potential bookings to make sure we met this pledge, and found that we were pretty spot on from the word go.

And how do you feel about the general lack of female headliners at a lot of big festivals at the moment?
A: I think it’s quite disappointing. I totally get that if someone wants to put on a festival and pay for it, they should be able to book whoever they want, but there is still a level of responsibility that falls to promoters to address gender issues. On a positive note, the PRS Keychange initiative is making a dent in there, with a number of festivals pledging a gender balanced bill. I know there’s still a way to go on this, but the more festivals that treat this as the norm, then ultimately it pressures others to also follow suit.

It’s great that you’re hosting a festival in Croydon, somewhere that doesn’t yet have many music events, in comparison to areas in North and East London – will there be a focus on local bands at the festival?
J: There certainly is. We are supporting local talent as well as running a mentoring programme with our charity partner Lives Not Knives. The mentoring programme will be offered to those who have experienced social exclusion and/or victims of crime with a special focus on women in the community.

And for any upcoming bands/artists looking to apply for the festival next year, do you have any tips?
A: Get in early. We plan on launching the new application process a couple of months after this year’s event, so keep an eye on our socials. I guess what we look for are bands that are supportive of the scene in general, and not just focused on their own agenda. If you like other bands’ content, retweet, comment and share, then we want to hear from you. To make a difference in this industry, it’s about working together. We don’t believe in popularity contests of who has the most followers on Twitter. Because that’s kind of bullshit at the end of the day. What counts is how active you are, if we like your music, and think you have potential.

What are you most looking forward to about Cro Cro Land?
J: When it’s finished. Just kidding. I guess once the festival is in full swing we might be able to relax – hopefully!
A: I’m looking forward to the moment before the doors open and everything is in place. It’ll be a real emotional feeling, as I think everything we’ve been through to get here will really hit home.

How do you feel the music industry is for new bands and artists at the moment – would you say it’s difficult to get noticed?
A: The UK is a hard market. There’s many pros and cons. The biggest con is trying to get the big labels to listen. They want bands to have already made it to a certain level before getting involved. The pros are that a huge number of people are saying ‘fuck that’ and creating their own industry. There’s a great network of bands that all support each other, promoters who work their arses off to make shows a success and create noise about the bands. It’s working too and we’re starting to see bands breaking through at long last.

Finally, as we’re a new music focused site, are there any particular new bands or artists from Croydon that you’d recommend we check out?
A: Hmmm, let me see! There’s Jetstream Pony, The Weird Things, Bears in Trees, who are all good fun. As for other bands that we are playing non-stop, check out Tiger Mimic, Kath & The Kicks and Feral Five. We’re a bit in love with all the bands on our bill though.

Thanks so much to Angela and Julie for answering our questions, we can’t wait to see you on 6th April!

Cro Cro Land takes place at Urban Xchange, Croydon (a minute’s walk from East Croydon station) on 6th April. For tickets and line-up details, check out their website.

Listen to our Cro Cro Land favourites playlist here:

Tracks Of The Year 2018

Despite being a pretty scary year in the grand scheme of things, 2018 has actually been exceptionally great for new music. Our ears have been filled with sonic delights of all genres, providing necessary catharsis and enjoyment. 

So, it was pretty hard to pick our 20 favourite tunes. But, from poignant punk to captivating pop-noir, here they are… 

Alice Bag – ’77’
Taken from this year’s poignant album Blueprint, punk legend Alice Bag brought together a dream team for her single ’77’. Featuring Riot Grrrl queens Kathleen Hanna and Allison Wolfe, plus an appearance in the video from Shirley Manson, it draws inspiration from Dolly Parton’s 1980 proto-feminist workplace comedy ‘9 to 5′, commenting on the gender pay gap that still plagues society. Filled with seething, punk-driven riffs, the women not only rage that “I make 77 cents and it’s not right / It’s bad for women!”, but make the point that “it’s worse if you’re not white”. As Bag poignantly sneers “… don’t pretend that we’re paid equal… You wrote the script / But I’m writing the sequel”, ’77’ is an empowering, inspiring call to arms to unite against the patriarchy and make the changes needed for equality, in the workplace and beyond.
(Mari Lane – Managing Editor/Co-Founder)

Nova Twins – ‘Lose Your Head’
A lesson in cutting loose and walking on the wild side, South East London duo Nova Twins provided us with this mind-melter of a track earlier in the year. We were lucky enough to have Amy & Georgia come into the Hoxton Radio studio for a chat, and they blew us away playing live for Loud Women at The Lexington too. Their raw, abrasive, genre-defying tunes are consistent favourites here at Get In Her Ears, and I’m sure they’ll bring the noise again in 2019.
(Kate Crudgington – Features Editor/Co-Founder)

Skating Polly – ‘Camelot’
Blasting into the eardrums with intense, pulsating basslines and the impassioned screech of Kelli Mayo, ‘Camelot’ is a seething, grunge-fuelled anthem. Oozing a thrashing power, it perfectly tears apart the misogynistic nature of American frat-boy culture with an empowering energy. This year Skating Polly released new album The Make It All Show, blew us away once again with their immense live show (with faves The Menstrual Cramps supporting), and generally proved themselves to be one of the most exciting young bands around.
(ML)

Brix And The Extricated – ‘Sleazebag’
Taken from their epic, genre-defying latest album, Brix And The Extricated’s ‘Sleazebag’ revives a classic punk energy and seething passion whilst marking Smith-Start out as an artist willing to move with the times and develop her sound. Confronting all those sleazebags in the industry that we’re unfortunately so familiar with, this track instantly grabs you with its immense, ferocious power. With swirling guitars and spiky bass, alongside Smith-Start’s distinctive soaring drawl, it’s a refreshing and riotous offering proving that Brix & The Extricated are well and truly back, and cannot be missed.
(ML)

Bad Sidekick – ‘I Ain’t Sick’
A fistful of brooding indie noise: London trio Bad Sidekick released their debut self-titled EP this year, and the snarling ‘I Ain’t Sick’ is my favourite track on the record. Vocalist Cooper (who also plays guitar in The Menstrual Cramps) is a powerhouse with her enviably cool lyrical intonation, and she’s supported by a cacophony of guitar noises and heart-thumping beats on this track.
(KC)

The Menstrual Cramps – ‘The Smash’
The Menstrual Cramps have pretty much summed up 2018 with each of their topical, tongue-in-cheek offerings and provided the perfect antidote to all that’s gone on with their empowering, feel good vibes. Taken from their incredible album Free Bleedin’, ‘The Smash’ in particular couldn’t have come at a better time. With the all-too-relatable refrain of “It’s time we took back the floor, kick the Tories out the door – we want a revolution”, it oozes an immense, politically-charged force as vocalist Emilia’s genuine, seething passion shines through. Combining activism with musical prowess, The Menstrual Cramps continue to reminds us all why we need bands like this now more than ever.
(ML)

Pink Kink – ‘You’
Although it wasn’t released as a single, this live recording from Liverpool’s Parr Street Studios showcases Pink Kink at their absolute best. A stunning mix of Warpaint style lo-fi indie, Sonic Youth switch-ups in tempo, ‘You’ is drenched in emotion, full of fired passions and stunning musicality. A band whose career was cut far, far too short for the kind of ridiculous reasons that have been an increasingly common occurrence in 2018’s dark days
(John McGovern – Contributor)

Soccer Mommy – ‘Your Dog’
I adore this song from Nashville’s Soccer Mommy, taken from her debut album Clean. Her trademark “soft anger” is executed so wonderfully, you barely notice you’re dropping expletives left, right and centre throughout the track. Written as an antidote to the feeling of being “paralyzed in a relationship to the point where you feel like you are a pawn in someone else’s world”, ‘Your Dog’ is a brilliant bite back from this talented artist.
(KC)

Snail Mail – ‘Pristine’
Laconic, bruised, wistful and sparkling – all while dealing with pop’s most frequent fixation: unrequited love – ‘Pristine’ is a brilliant introduction to the indie-pop stylings of Lindsay Jordan. If there’s been a better lyric than “It just feels like the same party every weekend, doesn’t it?” this year, then I haven’t heard it.
(JM)

Dott – ‘Like A Girl’
Activism and garage-pop collided in anthemic style on Dott’s single ‘Like A Girl’. The Galway-based band released the song ahead of Ireland’s vote to Repeal the 8th Amendment on May 25th – which resulted in the historic outcome of giving Irish women legal access to full reproductive health services, including abortion. The song features a guest appearance from Sadie Dupuis of Speedy Ortiz on guitar, and the accompanying video features members from Galway Pro Choice, Galway Parents for Choice, and Galway Roller Derby, as well as footage of recent marches for Women’s Rights in Galway.
(KC)

Wolf Girl – ‘Toast For Dinner’
Having captivated us with their sunny charm live at Indietracks Festival this year, Wolf Girl are fast becoming a firm favourite. Flowing with an infectious jangly scuzz and twinkling uplifting harmonies, ‘Toast for Dinner’ is an exquisite slice of perfect indie-pop. Propelled by a driving, vibrant energy and Healey’s luscious vocals – and with thoroughly relatable lyrics like “toast for dinner again, I’m trying to tie up loose ends” – it’s a total delight for the ears, as is the band’s latest album Every Now And Then.
(ML)

Pip Blom – ‘Come Home’
Unusually glum, but no less lively, this track marked the peak of a fantastic run of singles from the Dutch post-punk fourpiece. Its repetitive riff makes it unforgettable, rhythms make it sound like something that belongs more at a club than a gig, whilst Blom’s voice is just the right side of deadpan. Now signed to Heavenly, 2019 promises great things for PB.
(JM)

Suggested Friends – ‘Motherfucking Tree’
Although I think technically their self-titled album came out officially last year, throughout the entirety of 2018, I can safely say that Suggested Friends have been one of my most-listened to, and most thoroughly loved, bands. This track in particular showcases their perfect, immensely infectious ‘tweemo’ punk-pop to a tee. Filled with racing, catchy hooks and luscious harmonies, Faith Taylor’s witty charm and exquisite vocals (as well as spot on lyrics like “thought you had a halo, but it was just the glare from the backlight of your iPhone”) fill me with pure joy on each listen.

(ML)

Ah! Kosmos – ‘Wide'(feat. Özgür Yılmaz)
Atmospheric guitar, captivating percussion and hypnotic vocals melt together on this track from Ah! Kosmos. It’s taken from her second album Beautiful Swamp, and it sweeps me up in to a rapture every time I hear it. Her live performance supporting Zola Jesus at Omeara this year was an absolute knockout, and I can’t wait to see what she gets up to in 2019.
(KC)

Kill J – ‘Strange Fruits Of The Water’
This stunning single from Kill J tackles issues of immigration and racism, with a subtle nod to Billie Holiday’s  iconic track ‘Strange Fruit’ (1939). Taken from her album Superposition, Kill J explains: “’Strange Fruits Of The Water’ is a protest song about boarders, walls, barbed wire fences, and people trying to survive on small boats crossing the Mediterranean Sea. While some people dream of just surviving their journey across the boarders, others dream of wealth and power at the expense of others”.
(KC)

Black Gold Buffalo – ‘Lay It Down’
I’ve been hooked on Black Gold Buffalo’s mesmerising, pop-noir sounds all year, so I was thrilled to have them headline our first GIHEs night at Notting Hill Arts Club in August. ‘Lay It Down’ is taken from the band’s debut self-titled album (which I recommend you listen to) and it’s a well-crafted, smoldering gem that revolves around confronting feelings of anxiety.
(KC)

LIINES – ‘Shallow’
Having been labelled one of our ‘Ones To Watch 2018‘, Manchester trio LIINES certainly proved us right. Throughout the year, they’ve gone from strength to strength – releasing their debut album Stop-Start in May, receiving acclaim from the likes of John Kennedy and Steve Lamacq and just now announcing a support slot with Sleaford Mods for 2019. Oozing an immense, thrashing energy and the raw, commanding vocals of Zoe McVeigh, single ‘Shallow’ is filled with the band’s trademark dark, brooding power – an intense blast of perfect post-punk with shades of the likes of Savages of Sleater Kinney.
(ML)

Zola Jesus – ‘Bound’
Intriguing electro-industrial artist Zola Jesus had me spellbound from the moment I heard the hypnotic, off-kilter, heavy bouncing synths on ‘Bound’. Her penetrating vocals ring out across a demanding soundscape, and her blending of industrial and classical elements makes this track sound like a tortured but tentative hymn. Seeing her perform it live at Omeara was truly breath-taking too.
(KC)

Noga Erez – ‘Bad Habits’
Noga Erez had 2018’s shortcomings in her interrogative spotlight this year after releasing her incredible track ‘Bad Habits’. It’s a snarling tirade of anger spoken through gritted teeth, written from “a place where one feels they’ve lost all direction and meaning”. Gritty, defiant, and viciously executed – I love this track and can’t wait to hear more from the Tel Aviv renegade in 2019.
(KC)

Miss Eaves – ‘Push For The Bush’
Having previously fallen in love with Miss Eaves‘ fun-filled, empowering anthems ‘Thunder Thighs’ and ‘Hump Day’, ‘Bush For The Push’ offered another vibrant celebration of self love from Miss Eaves. With her trademark disco-punk energy, reminiscent of queen Peaches, it’s a liberating and wonderfully entertaining call to be free to have the bush you want – “It’s your body, so have a little fun…”
(ML)

Listen to our ‘Tracks Of 2018’ playlist here, and stay tuned for more of our 2018 highlights, and Ones To Watch for next year…