PLAYLIST: Pride 2020

With no marching, no gatherings and no physical prides this year, it’s more important than ever to remember why Pride started. Remember the lengths the LGBTQIA+ communities have come, but more importantly, how far we still have to go. The LGBTQIA+ communities and their allies need to stand strong and united with each other, but especially the black and transgender and gender non-conforming communities.

This period of lockdown has been, and is an incredibly difficult time for everyone, with increasing levels of anxiety, isolation and loneliness. Switchboard LGBT+ Helpline, where I am Co-Chair, has seen a 40% increase in contacts to their services, and a 42% increase in people who are transgender and gender-non conforming getting in touch. People have been reaching out for support all across the LGTBQIA+ communities, from young people feeling the pressures of the closure of schools, to trans people self-isolating within transphobic families, to the elderly – an already isolated group – who felt they may not see a friendly face for a very long time.

The lockdown has had an unimaginable impact on all of us, especially folx from marginalised communities – magnifying any existing situation people may be in from domestic violence to transphobia, biphobia, homophobia but especially loneliness and isolation. Something members of the LGBTQIA+ communities have been battling heavily against for a while now.

What Pride means to everyone within the LGBTQIA+ communities will be different, but as a queer person I stand and I protest for every single one of those people’s rights. For LGBTQIA+ rights, for anti-racism, for black people, for people of colour, for transgender and gender non-conforming people and every intersectionality in-between. We have to learn from our history and we have to work together where we support the human rights of each and every one of us. People should be free to live without fear of judgement or discrimination. People should not have to fear for their lives because of their sexuality, gender identity, race, socio-economic class, disability or religion.

If your pride flag doesn’t include black and brown stripes, it’s outdated. If your pride flag doesn’t include the transgender flag, it’s outdated. So wherever you are, at whatever Pride you are supporting, spread the word and make it known – equality is for everyone, but most importantly, black lives matter, trans lives matter, black trans lives matter.
Tash Walker (Co-Founder of GIHE & Co-Chair of Switchboard)

 

The GIHE grrrls have put together a playlist full of their favourite LGBTQIA+ artists to help celebrate Pride 2020. Read about their choices below and scroll down to the end of the post to listen to the playlist on Spotify

Janelle Monae – ‘Pynk’
A brash celebration of creation. Self love. Sexuality. And p-ssy power! Need I say more. (Tash Walker)

Amaroun – ‘Perish’ 
Amaroun talks about the themes she evokes in her music which consistently touch on her journey of being a black queer woman, overcoming struggles with sexuality, and the importance of emotional honesty in music. In Amaroun’s words, “this track is an autobiographical reintroduction of myself”. It’s one of my faves. (TW)

Foxgluvv – ‘Desperately Seeking Susan’
A sparkling, sultry tune inspired by the 1985 film of the same name, ‘Desperately Seeking Susan’ is another example of Foxgluvv’s natural ability to create “hungover pop” tracks that celebrate her queer identity. We’re big fans here at GIHE. (Kate Crudgington)

TABS – ‘Love Like This’
We had the pleasure of having TABS on our radio show back in 2019, where she sang the original of ‘Love Like This’ and we savoured every moment. Whilst signed to major labels (Polydor, BMG) TABS felt misunderstood. As a club promoter of Butch, Please! – an amazing lesbian club night which we love – she connected with butch lesbians all over the world and began the journey of making her EP of the same name. Seeking authenticity, she self-released this EP with the support of her queer community, and we are so glad she did. (TW) 

Lido Pimienta – ‘Eso Que Tu Haces’
When I interviewed Lido Pimienta earlier this year, she described herself as “the grey area” in Colombian culture – “but very gay, very queer, very feminist.” I’ve been captivated by her music and her artistic vision since listening to her second album Miss Colombia, and feel that no-one else makes electronic music sound as warm and meaningful as she does. (KC)

Arlo Parks –  ‘Black Dog’ 
I cannot get enough of Arlo Parks and her mesmerising music, so full of emotion I get lost in every second. Her latest release ‘Black Dog’ is no different, a frank, heartbreaking insight into the the darkness of depression. Mental health awareness within the LGTBQIA+ communities is so important, especially with rising levels of isolation and loneliness. From talking, to supporting, to asking and reaching out for help is so important and totally OK to do. The more we can look out for each other, the more we can encourage and show people that asking for help is a sign of strength not weakness, the more we can combat these rising numbers. (TW)

Brown Belt – ‘Lamplight’
Brown Belt self-described as the non-binary boi band of your dreams, and we couldn’t agree more. I’ve only just come across them with their latest release ‘Lamplight’ a super catchy number, with a rad video to accompany it. Looking forward to hearing more from this trio, certainly ones to watch. (TW)

Personal Best – ‘This Is What We Look Like’
Headliners at one of our last Finsbury gigs, Personal Best perfectly brand themselves as “classic rock for tragic lesbians”. Closing their set for us in December, front person Katie dedicated this track 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 in these uncertain times was overwhelming, and an empowering sense of unity took hold as the crowd danced and sang in solidarity. A perfect anthem for love between anyone and everyone. (Mari Lane)

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. 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. 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). (ML)

Kermes – ‘Time To Shut Him Up’
Self proclaimed “anxious rock for the gay agenda”, Leicester band Kermes were due to headline for us at The Finsbury in August, and I’m desperately hoping we can get this rescheduled for as soon as it is safe to do so! Addressing issues such as gender dysphoria, sexism and dysfunctional relationships, their infectious emotion-strewn punk-pop oozes a raw, angst-driven energy and scuzzy shimmering power. ‘Time to Shut Him Up’ is taken from Kermes’ 2018 album, We Choose Pretty Names. (ML)

Ms Mohammed – ‘Pandora’
‘Pandora’ and its rolling, rumbling drums – such a tune by Ms Mohammed who we had a total blast with in the Get In Her Ears studio last year. As well as being an artist in her own right, Ms Mohammed founded the Clit Rock movement in 2013 as a way of speaking out against female genital mutilation. As a champion of cross-cultural tolerance and an out queer artist who advocates for LGBTQIA+ rights and visibility, Ms Mohammed is challenging prejudice through her music and we stand by her every step of the way! (TW)

Le Tigre – ‘Hot Topic’
Pioneers of queer culture and ultimate faves, Le Tigre’s ‘Hot Topic’ is a celebratory ode to those who’ve inspired us. Paying homage to some queer feminist champions of the ‘90s and earlier, it’s an empowering and joy-filled protest in the face of adversity. (ML)

Planningtorock – ‘Non Binary Femme’
This track is take from one of my favourite albums of all time, Planningtorock’s Powerhouse. Unarguably paving the way for not only a better understanding of what those words mean, but also leading in acceptance for transgender and gender non-conforming people. Planningtorock and their music, has unquestionably helped me on my own gender identity journey and I’m sure many others. (TW)

Bishi – ‘Who Has Seen the Wind’
Last year as part of the Southbank Centre’s 2019 Meltdown Festival, Kate and I had the privilege of meeting Bishi. An incredibly talented singer, electronic rock-sitarist, producer and performer born in London of Bengali heritage. She is also the co-founder of WITCiH: The Women in Technology Creative Industries Hub, a platform elevating Women & Non-Binary in tech through commissions, performances & panels. (TW)

Blonde Maze – ‘Hold On To Me’
NY based GIHE fave Blonde Maze consistently writes heartfelt shimmering electro-pop reflecting on life and love. Taken from last year’s EP Hold On, ‘Hold On To Me’ is an example of the utterly enchanting euphoric soundscapes Blonde Maze is capable of creating. I listen to Blonde Maze whenever I need to feel calm; I just can’t get enough of the iridescent hooks and blissful, emotion-filled romanticism. The perfect soundtrack if you need to take a break this Pride to stop and refuel before continuing to protest, organise and celebrate. (ML)

Husk – ‘Below The Neck’
“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.” A poignant sentiment this Pride from Trans, Non-Binary artist Husk, who combines ’80s synth-pop nostalgia with fresh leftfield pop to create their signature sound. A colourful, high-energy offering, recent single ‘Below The Neck’ is the perfect danceable anthem for any Pride party – though, for now, sadly, dancing around your bedroom/living room to it will have to do. (ML)

Bronski Beat – ‘Smalltown Boy’
This track was released in 1984 at the beginning of the AIDS crisis by openly gay Bronski Beat, ‘Smalltown Boy’ is a heartbreaking story given an empowering beat. In 2020 it may feel like we have come so far from the height of the AIDS epidemic in the 80s and 90s but those lost will never be forgotten, and we, the LGBTQIA+ communities still live with the impact today. (TW)

Lady Gaga – ‘Born This Way’
I know I add this Gaga track to our GIHE Pride playlist every year, but it’s such a BANGER and so fun to dance to. She’s always celebrating being the best version of yourself, and for that reason, I can’t leave Gaga out! (KC)

Hercules & Love Affair – ‘Blind’
Taken from their self-titled album released in 2008, the same year I attended London Pride for the first time, this is without a doubt the theme tune to me fully embracing my sexuality, feeling proud of who I was and strong enough to come out happily in all aspects of my life. (TW)

Princess Nokia – ‘Sugar Honey Iced Tea’
Openly queer rapper and all round inspiration, Destiny Nicole Frasqueri – aka Princess Nokia – writes powerful, feminist anthems promoting self love and body positivity. A strong advocate of intersectional feminism, having founded the Smart Girl Club with Milah Libin, a podcast where she discusses healthy living and urban feminism, Princess Nokia offers a hopeful and empowering presence in these times when pushing for change is so important. (ML)

Lotic – ‘Burn A Print’
Born in Houston USA but now a familiar face on the Berlin underground club and electronic music scene, Lotic (aka J’Kerian Morgan) shared her debut album, Power, in 2018. The record showcased her vocal and songwriting abilities for the first time, consolidating her skills into a coherent message about transforming fear in to fierce autonomy. ‘Burn a Print’ continues this narrative, as Lotic explains: “to burn your print into this Earth, because when you go, you need to remind the future bitches that you was here.” (KC)

Mykki Blanco (feat. Devendra Banhart) – ‘You Will Find It’
Queer pioneer and musician/rapper extraordinaire, Mykki Blanco has been an inspiration for the GIHE team for quite some time, and their voice is more poignant now than ever. ‘You Will Find It’, their latest offering, oozes a glistening, soulful splendour as shimmering hooks and swirling atmospherics provide the backdrop for Blanco’s trademark gritty power. Replacing their usual glitchy energy with a soothing aura, they have created a perfect tranquil interlude; an alluring soundscape to immerse yourself in and find blissful cathartic release. (ML)

kate can wait – ‘to be alone with you’
Molly Kate Rodriguez – aka kate can wait – is a collective member of Grimalkin Records, a US-based benefit label and queer artist collective. Rodriguez lives in Guayanilla, Puerto Rico and she crafts dark, haunting folk sounds. She’s not on Spotify, but you can listen to ‘to be alone with you’ via bandcamp. (KC)

Phantómódel – ‘Passing Through’
Another band on Grimalkin Records‘ roster, Phantómódel are a post-punk three-piece who explore the internal struggles of gender dysphoria and body image, systemic oppression and mental health through their dark sounds. Phantómódel describe themselves as a “TRANS GOTH POWERHOUSE of darkness dismantling white supremacy at every turn. We are phantoms of the night, goblins who lurk in the shadows, and demons of chaos and magic, here to enchant everyone we meet.” (KC)

Gordian Stimm – ‘Miscellaneous Body Parts’
The solo project of Maeve Westall of itoldyouiwouldeatyou, Gordian Stimm’s sound is visceral, distorted, yet at times totally dance-able. They remind me a little of early Passion Pit or Crystal Castles, and I recommend listening to their debut album, Your Body In On Itself, released via Amateur Pop earlier this year. (KC)

Perfume Genius – ‘Jason’
Having been a huge fan of Perfume Genius for many years now, it’s been wonderful immersing myself in his poignant latest album, Set My Heart On Fire Immediately. Reflecting on a one night stand he had with a straight man over fifteen years ago, ‘Jason’ resonates with its twinkling musicality, nostalgic lyrical story-telling and the raw emotion of Hadreas’ trademark heartstring-tugging vocals. Throughout changes in his musical style over the years, Perfume Genius never fails to captivate and inspire. (ML)

Antony & The Johnsons – ‘My Lady Story’
A strong advocate for trans rights, feminism and climate action, Anohni (formally of Antony and the Johnsons), is a necessary and powerful voice that we need now more than ever. On identifying as transgender, Anohni once said in an interview with The Guardian: “I was never going to become a beautiful, passable woman, and I was never going to be a man… It’s a quandary. But the trans condition is a beautiful mystery; it’s one of nature’s best ideas. What an incredible impulse, that compels a five-year-old child to tell its parents it isn’t what they think it is. Given just a tiny bit of oxygen, those children can flourish and be such a gift. They give other people licence to explore themselves more deeply, allowing the colours in their own psyche to flourish.” (ML)

Jackie Shane – ‘Any Other Way’
We’ve played Canadian soul-singer Jackie Shane multiple times on the GIHE radio show, and included her on many a playlist and we’re certainly not stopping now. Jackie was a pioneer for transgender rights in the 60s & 70s, a time when being your true self was not always welcomed, or accepted. (TW)

 

PLAYLIST: Pride 2018

Pride. What is Pride?  

Pride is a day to celebrate but it’s also a day to remember. Remember the partial decriminalisation of homosexuality in 1967, the Stonewall riots of 1969. Remember the first official Pride in London in 1972 and remember it increasing in size during the ’80s to protest Section 28. Remember the first European Trans Pride in Brighton in 2014, and last year Sadiq Khan being the first London Mayor to lead the Pride parade.

Here in the UK we have come so far as a society but still on the streets of London I am shouted at when I kiss my girlfriend. LGBTQ+ people should not be victimised, they should not be judged, they should not be isolated. People should be free to live without fear of judgment or discrimination. LGBTQ+ people should not have to fear for their lives because of their sexuality or gender identity.

Throughout the years so many people have stood up for LGBTQ+ rights and achieved so much in the name of equality and this should be celebrated.

So wherever you are, at whatever Pride you are supporting, spread the word and make it known – equality is for everyone.

Here at GIHE we are supporting Pride Month and will be out supporting Pride in London on 7th July, and because we think everything deserves a soundtrack, here is ours for Pride Month and for all of you, whichever Pride you are supporting across the world.

Hercules & Love Affair – ‘Blind’
Their self-titled album released in 2008 was without a doubt the theme tune to me fully embracing my sexuality, feeling proud of who I was and strong enough to come out happily in all aspects of my life. (Tash Walker)

J.D.Samson / MEN – ‘Who Am I To Feel So Free
As part of my favourite trio Le Tigre, and later MEN, LGBTQ+ activist J.D.Samson holds a pretty special place in my heart. Last year I had the honour of being able to dance the night away to tunes that she hand-picked at M.I.A’s Meltdown Festival. It was a blissfully euphoric experience filled with an immense joy and sense of unity, proving that it’s more important than ever to make time to come together, dance, love, and be united against those who seek to divide us. (Mari Lane)

Peaches – ‘I U She’
Throughout history many people who are bisexual have been criticised by both the LGBTQ+ communities and the non-LGBTQ+ communities. I don’t think people realise how ingrained biphobia is within our society, which makes songs like ‘I U She’ soooo powerful and sooo important. (TW)

Fever Ray – ‘To The Moon and Back’
After seeing Fever Ray live at The Troxy this year – which was breath-taking – the memory of her fans joyfully echoing her explicit lyrics on this track still makes me smile. (Kate Crudgington)

Mykki Blacno – ‘Loner’ 
Rapper and queer pioneer Mykki Blanco delivers powerfully honest and thought-provoking social commentaries with a ferocious, fun-filled spirit. Seeing them live at M.I.A’s Meltdown Festival last year was like witnessing a colourful whirlwind, a beautifully buoyant ray of light. (ML)

Janelle Monae (feat Grimes) – ‘Pynk’
A perfect pop song from Janelle Monae – who spoke about her pansexuality in a recent Rolling Stone interview – which champions female pleasure. What’s not to like? (KC)

Shamir – ‘On The Regular’ 
The frenzied joy of Shamir’s ‘On The Regular’ is a must-have for any celebration, particularly one for Pride. His uptempo, playful pop puts a smile on my face without fail, and a hug from him at Visions Festival a few years ago was a definite life highlight. (ML)

King Princess – ‘1950’
The latest generation of LGBTQ+ people continually amaze me with their openness and their acceptance of how others identify in their sexuality and gender identity. King Princess’ ‘1950’ is an excellent example of the progression we have made throughout the last 60 years.(TW)

St Vincent – ‘Birth In Reverse’
A believer in gender fluidity, Annie Clark seems incapable of creating a song that isn’t completely wonderful. A particular favourite of mine, ‘Birth In Reverse’ is a vibrant example of her ability to make even the most mundane of subjects utterly intoxicating. (ML)

Partner – ‘Woman Of Dreams’ 
Canadian duo Partner are queens of jangly guitar fuzz, sparkling harmonies and witty lyrics. Seeing them live at The Victoria (with Suggested Friends and Charmpit) recently was a night of pure queer-pop perfection. (ML)

Ms Mohammed – ‘Pandora’
As a champion of cross-cultural tolerance and an out queer artist who advocates for LGBT rights and visibility, Ms Mohammed challenges prejudice through her music. Her video for ‘Pandora’ is another superb example of this. (KC)

Suggested Friends – ‘I Don’t Want To Be A Horcrux For Your Soul’
I just can’t get enough of the perfect, immensely infectious ‘tweemo’ punk-pop of Suggested Friends. Filled with racing, catchy hooks and luscious harmonies, Faith Taylor’s witty charm and exquisite vocals fill me with joy on each listen. (ML)

Bikini Kill – ‘Rebel Girl’
A personal choice for me, this song made me feel a lot less isolated when I was growing up, not quite knowing who I was or where I fitted in. (TW)

Dream Nails – ‘Bully Girl’ 
An uplifting queer anthem from our favourite Punk Witches. Yet another sparkling creation from the formidable force that is Dream Nails. (ML)

Gossip – ‘Where The Girls Are’ 
Beth Ditto, what a legend. (TW)

Sleater Kinney – ‘Dig Me Out’
Sleater Kinney’s third album Dig Me Out is filled with explosive emotion. Following the break up of Corin Tucker and Carrie Brownstein (and Brownstein then being famously outed by Spin Magazine), it’s a defiant and important collection – with anger and frustration used to fuel something wonderful. A necessary and motivating listen. (ML)

Madonna – ‘Vogue’
Inspired by the iconic Paris Is Burning documentary and recorded at the height of America’s AIDS crisis, this song has become an essential to any LGBTQ+ playlist. (TW)

Bronski Beat – ‘Smalltown Boy’ 
Released in 1984 at the height of the AIDS crisis by openly gay Bronski Beat, Smalltown Boy is a heartbreaking story given an empowering beat. (TW)

Princess Nokia – ‘Tomboy’ 
A feel-good body image anthem and general all-round banger, Princess Nokia’s ‘Tomboy’ asserts that we should be proud of our bodies (“my little titties and my fat belly”) whatever shape they may be. A snarling ode to her small frame and ‘masculine’ ways, it’s a perfect celebratory playlist must-have. (ML)

Kim Ann Foxman – ‘Creature’
Growing up I don’t remember any out famous LGBT+ women in music, so when I discovered Kim Ann Foxman who was so confident in her sexuality, it made the biggest of impressions on me. The music isn’t bad either. (TW)

Ultra Nate – ‘Free’
This song’s chorus speaks for itself, “Cause you’re free to do what you want to do / You’ve go to live your life / Do what you want to do.” (TW)

Perfume Genius – ‘Queen’
I don’t really have the words to describe my love of Perfume Genius. The first time I saw the video for ‘Queen’ it broke me. Filled with the emotion-filled power of Mike Hadreas’ heartbreaking vocals alongside luscious pop melodies, it’s a song inspired by “gay panic”, and the power one can derive from knowing their mere being is making everyone around them extremely uncomfortable. A powerfully poignant offering from this unique and truly beautiful artist. (ML)

Antony and the Johnsons – ‘For Today I Am A Boy’ 
A stirring and powerful ode to the journey of transitioning. With the immense passion of Anohni’s distinctive, soulful vocals, ‘For Today I Am A Boy’ is a simply exquisite creation. (ML)

Listen to our ‘Pride 2018’ playlist here:

If you have any questions or would like to discuss issues around sexuality and/or gender identity Switchboard – the LGBT+ Helpine is available to listen and support.

You can contact Switchboard via the telephone, instant messenger and email.

Open from 10am to 10pm, 365 days a year.

0300 330 0630

 

Tash Walker / @maudeandtrevor
Mari Lane / @marimindles
Kate Crudgington / @kcbobcut

Track Of The Day: Soccer Mommy – ‘Your Dog’

Twenty-year old Nashville native Sophie Allison – aka Soccer Mommy – has announced the release of her debut album Clean on 2nd March (via Fat Possum) and has shared a video to accompany her excellent new track ‘Your Dog’, which is featured on the recording.

Following a series of DIY Bandcamp releases and last year’s Collection, Clean is Allison’s journey out of her bedroom and into the studio with a full band. The new album has been produced by Gabe Wax (War On Drugs, Deerhunter, Beirut) and mixed by Ali Chant (Perfume Genius, PJ Harvey), so we’re sure it’s going to be an intricate, sharply executed piece of work.

In the Weird Life-directed music video for ‘Your Dog’, Soccer Mommy’s “soft anger” is perfectly displayed. Speaking of the track, Allison says “The song comes from a feeling of being paralyzed in a relationship to the point where you feel like you are a pawn in someone else’s world. The song and the video are meant to show someone breaking away and taking action, but at the same time, it’s only a quick burst of motivation. It’s a moment of strength amidst a long period of weakness.”

We’re more than happy to surrender to the sound of Soccer Mommy. Watch the video for ‘Your Dog’, check out her UK tour dates below, and pre-order your copy of Clean here.

Soccer Mommy UK Tour March 2018

2nd – London – Rough Trade East
3rd – Leeds – Headrow House
4th – Manchester – The Castle Hotel
6th – London – Moth Club
7th – Brighton – The Hope

Kate Crudgington
@KCBobCut