PREMIERE: CRISP&CLASSY & Rookes – ‘BASIC’

Following 2019’s ‘Suffocate’, electro-pop duo CRISP&CLASSY (aka producer Kat Knix and singer-songwriter Plushy) pride themselves on bringing sexual liberation and self-acceptance to the UK pop scene. Now collaborating with GIHE fave, London-based artist and promoter of queer female identity, Rookes, they have shared a colourful new single.

Born of a drunken night in East London, ‘BASIC’ is a vibrant, uplifting dance-floor anthem. Propelled by glitchy beats and electro-driven hooks alongside the luscious, sweeping vocals of Rookes, it blasts into the ears with an explosive queer energy. Oozing all the sassy, soulful and sparkling vibes you could ever desire, it offers a rich, buoyant soundscape that’ll leave you ready to get up and vogue around the living room in style. A truly empowering offering, it’s an effervescent ode to being yourself and silencing anyone who chooses to get in your way.

Listen to ‘Basic’ for the first time here:

‘BASIC’ is out tomorrow, 14th May. And keep your eyes and peeled for new albums from CRISP&CLASSY and Rookes, both set to drop this summer.

Mari Lane
@marimindles

Five Favourites: Ci Majr

Having just released her debut EP Side Effects, upcoming Atlanta artist Ci Majr creates uplifting, emotion-filled pop anthems. A specially curated five track project, the EP sparkles with a heartfelt sense of hope alongside a scintillating energy and twinkling hooks.

We think one of the best ways to get to know an artist is by asking what music inspired them to write in the first place. We caught up with Ci Majr to ask about her “Five Favourites” – five albums that have shaped her as a musician. Check out her choices below and scroll down to watch the recent video for ‘Guillotine’ at the end of the feature.

Daft Punk – Discovery
Discovery was such an important album in my evolution as a music lover and also as a future singer/songwriter/producer. This was one of six CDs in my dad’s car that I’d get to choose from on my morning rides to middle school. There was something incredibly infectious about this album from the beginning. At the root of it, it just felt so new and fresh. I hadn’t heard anything so purely “electronic”. Usually, I’d be able to pick out a multitude of instruments but with Daft Punk it was like a symphony of synths and my young brain was just infatuated. Plus, even reflecting now, the songwriting is so simple in a way but also so catchy, and now as a songwriter myself I can really appreciate how much harder it is to make a simple song that gets your point across. ‘Something About Us’ is a perfect example of that. A lot of repetition, very simple vocabulary, and it’s just so moving and catchy. It is something I aspire towards.


Yanni – Yanni Live At The Acropolis
Yanni is a Greek-American instrumental composer. I actually know this “album” as a live concert DVD (yay DVDs are old school now lol) that my parents had. I grew up playing classical music, so (as a kid) I only saw instrumental/orchestral music as being quite boring and old-fashioned. Yanni, on the other hand, was conducting an orchestra, while playing the bongos, piano and more, and the music was just so lively and contemporary. It was like listening to the soundtrack of a movie but the music is so good you don’t even need or want to see the movie. You can just imagine your own storylines. It was so filled with emotion and passion, and his charisma is just so palpable. I remember going through a phase where I was creating/producing incredibly intricate instrumental arrangements because of my obsession with this performance. Additionally, I loved this album/performance so much that when I was a gymnast as a child I made one of the songs ‘Nostalgia’ my floor routine music.


Christine and the Queens – La Vita Nuova
If you know anything about me, you should know that I’m a bit obsessed with Christine and the Queens. She’s like the queer pop queen I’ve needed for so long. This latest EP La Vita Nuova absolutely blew my mind and what makes it even better is the visual that goes along with it. I watch the visual for it at least monthly and it’s just as good each time. Christine is an artist across the board: musically, visually, her abilities as a dancer. She’s an icon aesthetically and in practice. She’s such an inspiration to me that when she used different configurations of colourful rhinestones on her face in the visual album, it was the inspiration for my use of colourful rhinestones in my music video for Guillotine.


Justin Timberlake – The 20/20 Experience
So even before this album, I was a huge fan of Justin Timberlake, but what makes this album special for me is that it really feels like such an incredibly cohesive and intentional body of work. First off, each of the songs are between 4.5-8 minutes, which is unheard of for a pop album. So many of the songs start with the “radio edit” and then have an outro of sorts, and I was just so easily hooked to each of these songs despite the length. It was similar to hearing Discovery where I felt like the “style” that was captured in this album just felt so new and fresh that I was addicted to this album. I think what I loved most about this album is that it felt to me that Justin and everyone else involved weren’t trying to sound like anyone, it was just like whatever he created, whatever came out, he just went with it and that’s how I’d like to conduct myself as a creative. Not using others as guidelines but just trusting the art that emerges authentically.


Kanye – Life Of Pablo
What I love most about this album is that I wasn’t super into Kanye before this album (like I knew his popular stuff but probably never listened to an album from front to back). Kanye is a rapper but this album is so much more than a rap/hip hop album. It’s similar to The 20/20 Experience where you can just tell that there were just no creative guide-rails and the authenticity becomes the star of the show. It’s just a work of art.

Massive thanks to Ci Majr for sharing her Five Favourites!

Side Effects, the debut EP from Ci Majr, is out now. Watch the recent video for ‘Guillotine’ here:

Five Favourites: Becky CJ

Having received support from the likes of 1883 Magazine and Amazing Radio, as well as being featured in the likes of The Independent and Huffington Post for her ‘Tinder Nightmares’ TikTok series, queer artist Becky CJ has now shared her poignant new single. Ahead of the release of her upcoming EP next month, ‘I Think I’m In Love With My Best Friend’ oozes a heartfelt splendour and twinkling emotion, creating a shimmering and stirring slice of alt-pop.

We think one of the best ways to get to know an artist is by asking what music inspired them to write in the first place. We caught up with Becky to ask about her “Five Favourites” – five albums or songs that have shaped her as a musician. Check out her choices below and scroll down to listen to ‘I Think I’m In Love With My Best Friend’ at the end of the feature.

Susanne Sundfør – Ten Love Songs
Hearing Susanne Sundfør for the first time was a big moment for me. She truly epitomises what I love in music; drama, musicality, unpredictability and emotion. This album has been on repeat for me for years, in particular ‘Delirious’ and ‘Fade Away’. The way she explores this ’80s synth pop sound but pairs it with her classical influence and singer/songwriter style is just magical to my ears. Each song on the album does something different and takes you somewhere else emotionally. I predominantly remember seeing her play most of the album at Latitude Festival in 2015 and literally just crying throughout. I think she felt like one of the first contemporary female artists that I felt represented the musical world that I wanted to inhabit.

Alison Krauss and Union Station –  Paper Aeroplane
Alison Krauss was an artist who we listened to a lot growing up; both my parents were massive fans of her beautiful voice and songs. This album for me is one that I can listen to from beginning to end and I never get bored. I think I’ve always had a bit of a soft spot for country/bluegrass music and this album marries those elements perfectly for me. Alison Krauss’s voice is one of my all time favourites and on this album it just melts me. My favourite track is ‘Lay My Burden Down’, which is a song about releasing yourself of worries, and it’s just super feel good.

Frank Ocean – Channel Orange
This is another album I can listen to from start to end, sing along to most of the lyrics and never ever get bored of. There is literally just no one like Frank Ocean, his songwriting is mesmerising. I feel this album covers a whole host of genres and experiments so much with song form but somehow still feels like a cohesive piece of art. ‘Bad Religion’ was the song that I think initially gripped me the most, the lyrics were so vulnerable and the melody so emotional, but it was still so cool. That has to be the perfect combination for any song, right?! I think the common denominator for me in loving something is connecting to the vocal performance and me oh my, Frank’s is something else.

James Blake – ‘Into The Red’
I really love the whole Assume Form album but I wanted to highlight this song in particular as it has such a special place in my heart. I know that sounds super cringe but I don’t know how else to describe my love for this song. The lyrical concept is just genius, the idea that you love someone so much that you’d go into the ‘red’ (debt) for them is so unique but somehow so relatable!? I connect so deeply to the lyrics and then add to that James’ incredible vocals, production that is out of this world and a super unique arrangement, and I am sold. I was getting together with my partner around the same time as listening to this song on repeat so it always reminds me of her. We went to see him play at the Brixton Academy and were GUTTED because he didn’t play this one live.

Joni Mitchell – Rainy Night House
My dad played me this song when we were on holiday when I was about 13 or 14. I remember curling up on the sofa, putting the headphones on and begrudgingly listening in that way you do when your parents want to show you something at that age. I listened to the whole song, then listened again and then again. I had never properly listened to any Joni Mitchell, I knew the classics but hadn’t taken the time to get to know any more. The storytelling was so absorbing, I couldn’t believe that in this three minute song she’d basically told me the beginning, middle and end of a story and I felt I knew all the characters. Since then I’ve always gone back to listen to this song when I’m feeling introspective or in need of a reminder of true, classic song writing.

Massive thanks to Becky for sharing her Five Favourites with us! Ahead of the release of her upcoming EP Woman next month, listen to ‘I Think I’m In Love With My Best Friend’ now:

Track Of The Day: Gemma Cullingford – ‘Wide Boys’

Known as one half of GIHE faves Sink Ya Teeth, musician and songwriter Gemma Cullingford has now shared the video for her first solo single. Ahead of the release of a debut album this summer, during the band’s downtime throughout the pandemic Gemma has been working on creations of a more personal nature, and it’s just what our ears need right now.

Propelled by throbbing tribal beats and infectious bass, ‘Wide Boys’ reflects on the need for us to wake up and take back control from those in power. Driven by a racing energy and interweaving immense hooks, including a fiercely flowing flute solo, it’s an instantly catchy, funk-fuelled slice of electro-tinged disco pop. Retaining some of the danceable groove that we’ve come to know and love from Sink Ya Teeth, ‘Wide Boys’ maintains its own unique majestic musicality and sweeping empowering zest. Stirring in sentiment, yet uplifting in sound, Gemma Cullingford has created a colourful call to arms for these desperate times. Of the track, Gemma explains:

It’s a message to the average man and woman on the street, many of whom it seems have been brainwashed by both those in power and by the far right. It’s saying that every single one of us are being controlled as part of a big, sinister game. This is a response to my own awakening to that…

Combining colourful, retro-tinged footage of the forces we need to fight against with Gemma performing the track, watch the poignant new video for ‘Wide Boys’ now:

‘Wide Boys’, alongside double A-side ‘104’, is out on 5th March via Outré. Both tracks will be available digitally and 7″. Gemma Cullingford’s debut solo album Let Me Speak is set for release this summer.

Mari Lane
@marimindles