PLAYLIST: Christmas 2020

Whether you’re a Christmas music fanatic or a misanthropic seasonal Scrooge, there’s no doubt your approach to Christmas is going to be different in 2020. We can’t wait to get off the Government’s ever-changing carousel of chaos, with its flimsy guidelines and confusing restrictions, but while we’re on it, at least we have a decent festive soundtrack to play us out of this insane fairground ride called 2020.

To the bands, artists and labels we’ve worked alongside – you’re all diamonds and we look forward to working with you again in 2021. Let’s raise a glass to those who managed to release something in 2020, and another for those who had to sit this one out. We love you all, Merry Christmas from the GIHE team. xxx

Take some time to read through our Christmas track choices and make sure you hit play on the Spotify playlist at the end of this post. We’ve also included a few festive gems that are only available on bandcamp/YouTube, so make sure you listen to them too!

Poly Styrene – ‘Black Christmas’
This buoyant sounding festive tune from the one and only Poly Styrene comes with a much needed dose of lyrical realism. Featuring vocals from Poly’s daughter Celeste Bell, ‘Black Christmas’ is an anthem for those who feel uncomfortable celebrating at this time of year, a sentiment that feels more poignant than ever in 2020. (Kate Crudgington)

The Crystal Furs – ‘Drinking Alone At Christmas’
A festive offering from Oregon queer indie-pop band The Crystal Furs, ‘Drinking Alone On Christmas’ sparkles with uplifting shimmering synths, honey-sweet vocals and scuzzy hooks, providing the perfect juxtaposition of twinkling festive cheer with refreshingly honest lyricism. Reflecting on the all-too relatable scenario of “drinking alone on Christmas”, it’s a must for all those ‘Christmas parties’ we’ll be having alone in front of our laptops this season. The band describe the track as a “non-traditional holiday pop tune of drinking, catgirls, and holiday ennui”. (Mari Lane)

Basic Bitches – ‘I Hope Your Holidays Are Fine’
A relatable and cautiously optimistic tune from Brooklyn-based riot grrrls Basic Bitches. The band say this song is about “the general sense of dread and disappointment that accompanies the holiday season once you reach adulthood, when the most you can hope for are big leftovers and small hangovers.” (KC)

The Go! Team – ‘Look Outside (A New Year’s Coming!)’
Taken from Memphis Industries’ Christmas compilation album Lost Christmas, The Go! Team’s ‘Look Outside (A New Year’s Coming)’ flows with the collective’s trademark jangling energy. Fizzing with a twinkling optimism and vibrant, catchy musicality, it’s an instant festive earworm. Of the track, the band explain: “It started life as a loose anti Brexit metaphor – an appeal against small mindedness – to ‘look outside your window’. But the last year has totally changed the meaning. I guess it’s about trying to stay positive when it’s the hardest it’s ever been.” Other artists featuried on Lost Christmas include Rozi Plain, Field Music and The Cornshed Sisters. Buy Lost Christmas here. In aid of Crisis’ Home for All Campaign, £2 from every LP purchase goes to help their work. (ML)

No Doubt – ‘Oi! To The World’
I couldn’t really have a Christmas playlist without this festive punk-pop belter from Gwen and co. (ML)

Dream Nails – ‘Lonely Star’
The gift that keeps on giving, feminist punks Dream Nails and their joyful Christmas single ‘Lonely Star’. The track is dedicated to those who may be feeling isolated or alone at this time of year – especially their LGBTQ fans – and all the money raised from track sales will be donated to The Outside Project, the UK’s first LGBTIQ+ Homeless Shelter. You can buy their track bandcamp now. (KC)

Problem Patterns – ‘Christmas Number One’
The new festive banger from Belfast feminist punks Problem Patterns who we’ve championed many times on GIHE this year. Mari and I are big fans of these grrrls and we’re looking forward to hearing more from them in 2021. (KC)

Charley Stone – ‘Merry Christmas Actually’
A familiar face on the London music scene, featuring in many bands including Salad, Charley Stone has now shared her own Christmas offering. Inspired by “the worst scene from the worst film ever”, ‘Merry Christmas Actually’ flows with jangling hooks and a twinkling sense of romanticism, oozing Stone’s sugar-sweet vocals and a delicate, swirling indie-pop charm. ‘Merry Christmas Actually’ was recorded with Donald Ross Skinner. (ML)

Eurythmics – ‘Winter Wonderland’
Eurythmics’ vocalist Annie Lennox was born on Christmas Day, but she is the musical gift that keeps on giving whatever time of year it is. It’s also the tenth anniversary of her solo Christmas album A Christmas Cornucopia, which is a delightful soundtrack to wrap your presents to. (KC)

The Big Moon – ‘Carol Of The Bells’
London four-piece The Big Moon deliver a splendid version of this classic made famous by the ultimate Christmas film, Home Alone. It makes me wish I had a microwave mac & cheese dinner in front of me, just like Macaulay Culkin does before he smashes Marv’s face in with an iron. (KC)

Rachael Dadd, Rozi Plain, This Is The Kit – ‘We Build Our Houses Well’
Another one taken from Memphis Industries’ Christmas compilation album Lost Christmas, ‘We Build Our Houses Well’ features Rachael Dadd alongside both Rozi Plain and This Is The Kit’s Kate Stables. Flowing with luscious folk-strewn melodies and sweeping glistening harmonies, it’s a beautifully uplifting slice of winter sparkle. Of the song, Dadd explains: “After the isolation of lockdown, it felt natural to write a Christmas song that was basically like a big sonic party, inviting all my friends and collaborators over my whole life to join together. Feeling blessed to have made so many good friends through music and to have most of them all in one place here on this song, representing connection at a time where so many of us feel isolated.” Buy Lost Christmas here. In aid of Crisis’ Home for All Campaign, £2 from every LP purchase goes to help their work. (ML)

Alanis Morissette – ‘Happy Xmas (War Is Over)’
I was supposed to see Alanis Morissette live for the first time this year, but alas, I’ll make do with her cute cover of John Lennon & Yoko Ono’s single instead. (KC)

PINS – ‘Merry Christmas (I Don’t Want To Fight Tonight)’
A festive cover by Manchester trio PINS and a perfect musical accompaniment to drink your festive tipple to. (KC)

Grace Petrie – ‘Fairytale Of New York’
Grace and her band’s take on the Pogues’ classic, this rendition of ‘Fairytale Of New York’ flows with folk-laden strings, soaring harmonies and an up-tempo sense of festive cheer, culminating in the perfect re-writing of that lyric – replacing it with “You scumbag, you maggot, WE LOVE DIANE ABBOTT”. It’s simply impossible not to sing along at the top of your lungs and feel a little bit of hope for what 2021 might bring. (ML)

Girl Ray – ‘I Wish I Were Giving You A Gift This Christmas’
A classic from my faves Girl Ray from back in 2017, ‘I Wish I Were Giving You A Gift This Christmas’ is the perfect smattering of joy we all need right now. With just the right balance of Christmassy sparkle and the band’s trademark shimmering, sunny charm, it’s a song about longing and loneliness at this time of year. Complete with a children’s choir, sleigh bells and even a whinny of a kidnapped reindeer (!), the track is a delightful slice of twinkling garage-pop to get you in the mood for this time of year, when some of us may be struggling to do that right now. (ML)

Gold Baby –Looks Like a Cold, Cold Winter’
A Bing Crosby classic reimagined by indie darlings Gold Baby. All proceeds from this single will be donated to the campaign to end loneliness, so head over the Gold Baby’s bandcamp now and give what you can. (KC)

CMAT, Junior Brother – ‘Uncomfortable Christmas’
Irish pop sensation CMAT is the queen of relatable pop tunes and this Christmas tune is no exception. A beautiful duet with Junior Brother, ‘Uncomfortable Christmas’ is the perfect dose of festive melancholy. (KC)

Self Esteem – ‘All I Want For Christmas Is A Work Email’
A soulful festive anthem from experimental pop artist (and Slow Club member) Rebecca Taylor, aka Self Esteem, ‘All I Want For Christmas Is A Work Email’ is an alternative Christmas bop for any of us who may not look forward to Christmas as much as most. Dedicated to those who may cope with these times of “celebration” by immersing themselves in work as a distraction, Taylor says of the track: “I wanted to write a song for fellow people who cope with life by working and creating and moving forwards – the enforced stillness of Christmas can be so triggering… ” (ML)

Piney Gir / Roxys – ‘White Winter Hymnal’
Piney Gir’s cover of the Fleet Foxes classic contains all the soothing festive sparkle you need right now. Oozing sparkling crystalline vocals and a gentle celestial grace, it’s a truly beautiful rendition of one of my favourite winter soundtracks. Recorded originally for the Joyzine Advent Calendar, ‘White Winter Hymnal’ provides a taste of what’s to come from Piney Gir and Roxys, as they’re currently working on an upcoming new EP, set for release in 2021. (ML)

TLC – ‘Sleigh Ride’
Who doesn’t need a bit of TLC-shaped joy at this time of year?! (ML)

The Pretenders – ‘Have Yourself A Merry Little Christmas’
Originally performed by Judy Garland in the 1944 film Meet Me In St. Louis, I love The Pretenders’ festive version of this classic. Praise be for Chrissie Hynde. (KC)

Dolly Parton – ‘Coming Home For Christmas’
This one’s for Tash! Dolly is the star in the winter sky and we all love her un-shakeable optimism. (KC)

 

These tracks aren’t on Spotify, but they’re too good not to include!

Fightmilk – ‘Healey’s Only Wish (This Christmas)’
Taken from their new festive album, the wonderfully titled Fightmilk & Cookies – a collection of Christmas covers from each of the band members, as well as a couple of seasonal originals – ‘Healey’s Only Wish (This Year)’ provides just the right amount of twinkling cheer along with the band’s trademark tongue-in-cheek wit. Combining scuzzy hooks, Healey’s distinctive vocals and traditional sparkling melodies, it’s an instantly uplifting festive earworm. (ML)

 

Potpourri – ‘Modern Girls’ (not on Spotify)
A festive offering from Sheffield band Potpourri, ‘Modern Girls’ ponders the idealism of a perfect Christmas amid the bounty of priceless love. Propelled by a swirling, sparkling majesty, it oozes a blissful euphoric aura, whilst maintaining a refreshing sense of realism. A perfect and relatable Christmas accompaniment for any of us ‘Modern Girls’. Of the track, songwriter Lauren Dowling reflects: “I guess I was thinking about the modern phenomenon of gift-giving as a language of love, but also as a point of contention. Whilst we’re more inclined to be charitable at this time of year, we also can’t escape our own expectations for grandeur and luxury, but for ‘Modern Girls’, it’s the former that tends to bring the most joy and warmth.” The band will be donating all proceeds from the track to Burngreave Foodbank and SAYiT charities. (ML)

 

Charlotte Carpenter – ‘A Light Christmas’
A festive cover by Charlotte Carpenter who is a previous guest on our GIHE radio show and the founder of Babywoman Records. All proceeds from this single will be donated to homeless charity Crisis UK, so do head over the her bandcamp and download it if you can. (KC)

 

The Joy Formidable – ‘My Beerdrunk Soul Is Sadder Than A Hundred Dead Christmas Trees’
This genuinely is one of my favourite Christmas songs whether it’s been a year like 2020, or the best year of my life. I love busting out this misanthropic anthem and mainlining a bottle of Baileys* to it. (Aldi’s Ballycastle*) (KC)

#ThrowbackThursday GIHE w/ Celeste Bell 05.12.19

Due to the ongoing Covid-19 pandemic and Lockdown 2.0, we’re unable to make it in to the Hoxton Radio studio to broadcast our weekly live new music show from 7-9pm. Instead, we’re sharing previous show recordings as #ThrowbackThursday sessions, so you can still enjoy 2 hours of new music tunes & chats with some of our favourite artists each week.

Today, we’ve picked our December 2019 show with musician and writer Celeste Bell. She spoke to Mari & Kate about co-writing her mother’s biography with Zoe Howe (Dayglo: The Poly Styrene Story), and how she’s keeping the legacy of her mother’s work alive by working on a new documentary film, Poly Styrene: I Am A Clichéwith director Paul Sng. You can find out more about the film and how to donate to its Patreon Crowdfund here.

Listen back to the show:

Tracklist
X Ray Spex – Oh Bondage, Up Yours
MAITA – Can’t Blame A Kid
Mango – Demons
King Hannah – Creme Brulee
Hezen – Whole
Fassine – Limbs
Eilis Frawley – Strangers
Calva Louise – Adelante
Small Man Society – Songs I Write
Calista Kazuko – Benzo Belle
Jaguary Jonze – Kill Me With Your Love
IVEY – Scream
LibraLibra – Loverboy
Toni&Mash – I Want It
X Ray Spex – I Am A Cliche
Zola Jesus – Bound
Foxcunt – Merry Christmas, Fuck The Patriarchy
Kate Stapley – Hermit
Peggy Sue – White Christmas
Suggested Friends – Cygnets
Tinx – Wait & See
Frazey Ford – The Kids Are Having None Of It
Alanis Morissette – Hand In My Pocket

Track Of The Day: Hex Poseur – ‘Quiet’

A scathing retaliation aimed at all those who’ve tried to silence her; Hex Poseur has shared her latest single, ‘Quiet’. Filled with brooding bass lines and snarling lyrics, she tackles the ways in which women and girls try to minimise their behaviours when they’re affected by consistently negative opinions.

Although she’s predominantly a solo artist, Hex Poseur works with session musicians Holly Osborne (bass) and Billy Mattock (drums) to create her punk-infused sounds. The band’s name and sound are heavily inspired by 70s punk icon Poly Styrene of X-Ray Spex, with the word ‘Poseur’ taken from their track ‘I Am A Poseur’, which makes fun of people who label others as “not real” punks.

Hex Poseur describes her single ‘Quiet’ as an “incredibly personal” song, as it reflects on her own experiences of bullying and feeling like an outsider. “[I went] from being an outgoing child to a shy, reserved teenager due to bullying and the social politics of secondary school. This was something that stuck with me for ages and only recently have I started to feel more confident and outgoing again.” This confidence boost is certainly present during ‘Quiet’ with its distorted riffs and riotous chorus.

“Growing up, I dealt more and more with being silenced by men and witnessing other women being silenced, which was another battle that I, and most (if not all) women have struggled with.” Hex Poser continues. “Especially in music, women are often encouraged to stick to soft and inoffensive music, and rock is seen as much more masculine. The end of ‘Quiet’ is basically a massive “fuck you”, telling all these people that I’m here whether they like it or not.”

Hex Poseur’s cathartic single sends out a message of strength and solidarity to women who are tired of being quiet. Listen to the track below and follow Hex Poseur on Spotify and Facebook for more updates.

Kate Crudgington
@KCBobCut

GIHE Personal Highlights 2019

It’s that time of year again when we look back at some of our highlights of the last twelve months. And, despite coming to a pretty horrific and terrifying end, 2019 has been filled with some pretty memorable moments… 

So far, we’ve shared our favourite tracks, albums and gigs of the year, and we’ve yet to reveal our Ones To Watch for 2020, but for now, here are our personal overall highlights of the last year…


Bikini Kill Reforming
When news that Bikini Kill were reforming broke earlier this year, I didn’t quite know what to do with myself. Despite seeing The Julie Ruin twice now (the second time at KOKO probably being the most special gig I’ve ever been to), I – like many other people I know – was desperate to get tickets; seeing the Riot Grrrl pioneers back together, reunited with the original line-up (with the exception of guitarist Billy being replaced by Erica Dawn Lyle) would be a once in a lifetime opportunity. Thankfully, I succeeded. And what an experience it was. Although I started to feel anxious on the way to Brixton Academy about this event I’d built up so much, the minute Kathleen, Kathi, Tobi and Erica graced the stage (after a fantastic and career-building set from Big Joanie), all worries and negative thoughts disappeared. I was completely immersed in the empowering, inspiring force emanating from these heroes of mine. And, as those first few notes of personal favourite ‘Feels Blind’ hit, I felt my eyes fill up and my heart break just a little. A truly memorable experience, not only because of the incredible womxn in the bands, but the hoards of familiar faces of amazing womxn and allies that filled the venue – all of us seeking solace in our favourite band, and in the unity of being with each other. So, thank you Bikini Kill, for being a constant source of motivation, for so-often giving me the strength to carry on, and for giving us all the opportunity to see you live – an experience I never thought would be possible.
(Mari Lane – Co Founder/Managing Editor)

Bikini Kill Reforming
Watching Bikini Kill live at Brixton Academy earlier this year was a life-affirming event. I was stood next to my cousin, an original ’90s Riot Grrrl, and surrounded by my GIHE grrrls and allies, and I felt an overwhelming sense of belonging. Bikini Kill have given so many women the confidence to start a revolution – whether that’s personal, political or musical – and their live show proved that even after a 20 year hiatus, they’re still as riotous, raw, and committed to giving girls and women that power. Watching Big Joanie support them was also a pretty special experience, which they relayed to us when they were guests on our radio show shortly afterwards. I feel very privileged to have seen these women grace Brixton Academy’s stage.
(Kate Crudgington – Co-Founder/Features Editor)

Missy Elliot Blitzes MTV Video Music Awards
For about as long as I can remember, it feels like Missy ‘Misdemeanour’ Elliot has been a revered figure. A pop-star sure, but a rapper, writer and producer too. An uncompromisingly offbeat, yet still charismatic figure, and an unconventional individual in an industry that leans heavily towards the conventional in its pursuit of profit. She’s someone who could talk about sexuality, but not be exploited as a sexual object. An innovator who succeeds in taking her audience with her, by making deceptively simple music that doesn’t talk down to the listener. This particular performance came as part of her receipt of the 2019 MTV ‘Video Vanguard’ award at the annual awards show and reflects Elliot’s long-standing position at the intersection of pop, hip-hop and electronic music, as a woman of colour completely in control of her sound, her public persona and her image. But, in truth, I couldn’t give a toss about the VMAs themselves. Credit where it’s due – the staging of this reflected Elliot’s career, and her performances of a medley hits including ‘Pass That Dutch’ and ‘Work It’ were spot-on, whilst the show’s costume changes were satisfyingly ludicrous (camo to inflated PVC to scarecrow to day-glo tracksuit). The footage also shows latter-day pop mammoths at the side of the stage, singing and dancing like they were fans off the street. That’s the Missy effect – it lets anyone, even Taylor Swift, get their freak on. The performance is a mere seven minutes, but it showcases exactly what’s possible when artistic integrity is combined with originality and a dump-truck of talent. In a year of cynicism, this was music at its most gleeful.
(John McGovern – Contributor)

Queens Of Punk: Poly-Styrene & Jordan, The British Library, July 2019
Prior to having Celeste Bell on our radio show earlier this month, this summer I attended a very special night celebrating Queens Of Punk at The British Library. Hosted by self proclaimed ‘Professor Of Punk’, Vivien Goldman, the panel discussed the release of two books about two of the most legendary ‘queens of punk’: Defying Gravity: Jordan’s Story and Dayglo: The Poly Styrene Story, by Zoë Howe and Celeste. The whole evening was particularly poignant, especially given that now, nearly 50 years after its emergence, when we’ve witnessed a regression in politics and equal rights, the spirit of ‘punk’ – and in particular these strong female voices – is needed now more than it has been for decades. Hearing about all the pivotal steps that these women before us have taken in a quest to be heard left me feeling inspired and motivated. As Goldman said at the beginning of the evening, now is certainly the time to revive the punk spirit, to unite and overcome adversity: we need strong figures like Poly and Jordan now more than ever. Read more about the night here.
(ML)

Noga Erez Interview, November 2019
I remember replying quickly, and in caps lock, when Mari told me we had interview time with the brilliant Noga Erez. I also remember trying to stay calm, and not fan girl, when I walked into the room to meet her a few weeks later. Noga was incredibly welcoming. She patiently answered my many questions, and made me laugh when she asked if “Get In Her Ears” meant the same kind of thing as “Get In Her Pants”. Read the full interview here.
(KC)

GIHE Radio Show
I’ll be here forever if I start talking about how much fun I’ve had hosting or co-hosting our weekly radio shows this year. Here is a very brief re-cap of my favourite guests: Foxgluvv, Big Joanie, ARXX, Bengi Unsal, ESYA, Jelly Cleaver, Girls Rock London and Celeste Bell.
(KC)

Indietracks, July 2019
Indietracks is always the highlight of my summer, hands down. So much so that I now volunteer there. This year, though, the indiepop festival, which takes place at a vintage railway station in Derbyshire, felt particularly special. While many festival line-ups remain overwhelmingly male, all three of Indietracks headliners were female-fronted bands. There was a real celebration of non-binary and queer artists too. One of the most special performances was The Spook’s School’s final Indietracks show. The band, who were Indietracks regulars, penned a special tribute song to the festival and, basically, just made everyone cry their eyes out. Oh, and there were balloons! Porridge Radio, Bis, LIINES, The Orielles, Peaness and Martha were amazing too. And while the endless rain might have soaked everything we owned, it didn’t dampen anyone’s spirits. Indietracks is such a special, cosy and inclusive festival; I’m looking forward to taking my kids again next year. There’s already a couple of exciting rumours about the line-up, and it’s got to be time we had a bit of sun, surely?! Indietracks 2020 takes place from 24th – 26th July at the Midland Railway Centre in Butterley, Derbyshire. Tickets and more information are available from https://www.indietracks.co.uk/
(Vic Conway – Contributor)

Bang Bang Romeo Interview, October 2019
It really was such an honour to interview Stars and the rest of Bang Bang Romeo prior to their sold-out gig at Omeara earlier this year. Just genuinely nice people, with an admirable enthusiasm for all they do, they discussed their love of music, working with P!NK, their upcoming releases and ‘that’ topic of being a ‘woman in the industry’ – “I wanna be on a line-up for a festival because I’m good enough, not because I’ve ticked a box. Not because there’s a space for my vagina! I don’t want to be a statistic on your fucking spreadsheet. I’m here because I’m good enough.” Stars’ assertive and vibrant nature is something that I truly admire, and wish I had more of. She’s a force to be reckoned with, an essential strong presence in today’s industry. Read the full interview here.
(ML)

Talking On Panels At Southbank Centre / Skivvy Records
Get In Her Ears have received some incredible invitations to talk about what we do as a non-profit organisation this year. Tash & I spoke on two panels at Southbank Centre. The first was for a Women In Music event, where we spoke about the representation of women & LGBTQ+ people in the music industry. The second was for Jazzworks and The London Jazz Festival, talking about issues faced by women & LGBTQ+ people in the industry as a whole. I also loved speaking alongside Mari on another panel for independent label Skivvy Records at Peckham Levels. We met so many inspiring young women, and hopefully provided them with some information about how to get past the many hurdles we ourselves have come across.

I can’t believe I’ve gone from listening to music alone in my bedroom, to talking to rooms full of women and girls about the work I do alongside Mari & Tash at Get In Her Ears. It’s something I’ll never take for granted.
(KC)

Our Wedding, August 2019
Well, we did say ‘personal’ highlights… But seriously, I couldn’t really round up this year without mentioning marrying to the best person I know. My new spouse, Paul, is a truly wonderful ally, and someone who Get In Her Ears wouldn’t exist without – not only does he create most of our artwork, and help with all the technical aspects of running a website, he inspires me every day. I pride myself on being an independent woman, but his constant support and enthusiasm for all I do is unmatched, it’s what keeps me going when I feel like giving up. He is constantly helping me come up with new ideas and strive for new dreams. Everyone who was at our wedding inspires me constantly, and it was pretty special just spending a whole day with all the people we love in one place. Aside from the obvious getting married to the best person thing, highlights of the day included: walking down the aisle to Deep Throat Choir, my family forming an epic ‘Lane Band’ and performing amazingly, Tash tearing up the dance-floor with one of my nieces, and Kate literally running for her life from the toilet when she heard ‘Rebel Girl’ was playing (never seen anyone move that fast!). Massive thanks to our Jon Mo, too, who made an exception from gig photography, to capture all the action!
(ML)

And thanks to everyone who’s been following, reading, listening and attending gigs of ours, this year – it really does mean the world, and we couldn’t do this without you.

Listen to our Best Of 2019 playlist, with added personal highlights, now:

 

Mari Lane / @marimindles
Kate Crudgington / @kcbobcut
John McGovern / @etinsuburbiaego
Vic Conway