LIVE: Bitch @ Rockwood Music Hall, NYC, 13.04.2022

Fresh from the release of her epic latest album Bitchcraft – which was released via legendary label Kill Rock Stars earlier this year -, queer electro-pop artist Bitch has taken up a weekly residency at New York’s infamous Rockwood Music Hall. And I’m extremely excited that this coincides with my first ever trip to the Big Apple, and I get to witness this magnificent multi-disciplinary show.

Celebrating the album, which has apparently been eight years in the making, as Bitch takes to the stage in the intimate basement venue, she exudes a magnetising vibrant charisma and infectious joyous energy. Introducing the show as “a little jaunt through my herstory“, dedicated to dear Mother Earth and our on-going battle against capitalism, she kicks things off with the fizzing electro soundscape and catchy, whirring drive of ‘Hello Meadow’. Captivating the crowd with her quirky charm and the swirling musicality of sweeping electronic violin crescendos, each of us are instantly utterly immersed in this theatrical performance, singing along to the chorus and whooping in appreciation of Bitch’s exuberant power.

As Bitch notes down her thoughts with a giant pencil, the performance starts to take on an other-worldly aura; wonderfully blurring the lines between musical performance, stand-up comedy and poignant spoken word. Going on to animatedly share with us details about her childhood, with her boomer/tap-dancing teacher mother and angry father, Bitch proves herself to be the most bewitching of raconteurs – describing how, in a world that makes women and girls feel small, the violin became her voice and she felt able to begin the journey of liberating herself from the ties of a patriarchal society.

As we all unite in the joy of empowering anthems such as ‘You’re The Man’, Bitch emanates her colourful eccentricity, casting us under her spell as we delight in the effervescent power of her unique witch – or indeed Bitch – craft. Whether she’s wowing us with her immense keytar skills, the soaring prowess of the violin, or merely her deeply stirring words, it’s clear that we’re sharing in something truly special by being here – a rapturous call to feel free to be ourselves and fight against the misogynist norms of society.

Reflecting on one of these sexist tropes that has become ingrained in our thinking, Bitch points out that words are often used in a derogatory way against women: a prime example of this being the use of ‘Pussy’ to mean weak or inferior. She invites us to reclaim the word and use it in a positive way – and so we are introduced to her ‘Pussy Manifesto’, an empowering chant that she first shared whilst on tour (alongside partner Animal) with Ani DiFranco in 1998. As we all join in with the frenzied, driving force of each of the “mother-f***ing” manifestations – being reminded of all the ways in which the pussy is magical – a vibrant, euphoric energy fills the room, guided by Bitch’s affirming spirit.

From all too resonant reflections on climate change and our need to protect Mother Nature (‘Polar Bear’), to dedications to long-suffering women everywhere – particularly those of Texas, Oklahoma and Afghanistan – as she recognises that “the witch hunts never stopped” (‘Easy Target’), Bitch showcases her utterly unique knack for highlighting necessary, poignant subject-matter in a beautifully resplendent and delightfully accessible way.

Moving on to some more personal reflections about how she “fell off her broomstick for a while“, Bitch reminds us that it’s okay to not to be okay sometimes – to take time out from the world and focus on recuperating ourselves. Visualising the metaphor of building herself back up through a time of healing by putting together her magnificent bedazzling broomstick piece by piece, she then aurally delivers the sentiment with the sweeping soundscapes of ‘Fallen Witch 2’; a track that glitters with a life-affirming majesty.

And, with her sparkling broomstick now completely built, it’s time for Bitch to close this hour of the most empowering, enlightening shared experiences. Closing the set with soulful latest single ‘Pages’, she shares with her fellow witches the positive affirmations to “keep writing” and to “let pussy manifest and freedom sing“, and I’m left feeling truly revived and motivated; basking in Bitch’s spellbinding, vivacious energy and the queer, euphoric joy that has filled the room.

A truly magical evening. And one that I urge you to witness too, should Bitch’s wonderfully wacky witchery ever come your way.

Bitch’s latest album, Bitchcraft, is out now via Kill Rock Stars.

Mari Lane
@marimindles

LISTEN: Husk – ‘My Innocence’

Having previously treated our ears to uptempo pop gems ‘Heal With Time’ and ‘Below The Neck’, and having received acclaim from the likes of BBC 6Music’s Tom Robinson, BBC Radio Cymru’s Janice Long and Gaydio, Manchester based trans masc, non-binary artist HUSK has now shared a brand new single.

Propelled by glitchy, tribal beats and a fiery, vibrant groove, ‘My Innocence‘ oozes a swirling, empowering energy. With an uplifting passion, HUSK’s distinctive, sweeping vocals flow as a shimmering euphoric splendour glistens with every note. A fiesty pop banger, it’ll leave you feeling energised – ready to hit the dance floor with loved ones and unite in the celebration of queer love and diversity.

Of the track, HUSK reflects: “I just wanted to make a song that you could dance to about new exciting queer love.

They have certainly succeeded in this with ‘My Innocence’! And at a time when it is more important than ever to spread the message of equal rights for all, and love and solidarity within the LGBTQIA+ community and its allies. So, press play, turn it up and celebrate queer joy!

Mari Lane
@marimindles

Introducing Interview: Eddie Packard

Following their debut single ‘Microplastics‘ back in 2018, South London based artist Eddie Packard released their latest offering ‘CGI‘ this spring. A electro-inspired pop-punk soundscape reflecting on how the fantasy world of video games is so much more appealing than mundane reality, it’s an uplifting slice of escapism flowing with a lilting emotion.

We caught up with Eddie to find out more about the track, their inspirations and the industry at the moment… Have a read!

Hi Eddie, welcome to Get In Her Ears! Can you tell us a bit about yourself?
Hi! I’m Eddie Packard and I’m an independent artist from South East London. I love writing songs, it’s my passion. Writing down lyrics onto paper (or more often a notepad application on my computer) really resonates with me in ways I can’t explain. 

What initially inspired you to start creating music?
It was May/June 2012 and I was listening to ‘Love Story’ by Taylor Swift while watching the music video. Something clicked in my preadolescent brain. All the instrumentation and songwriting really just ignited something within me. I then swiftly (haha, get it?) told my parents I would like a guitar. They were very impressed by my enthusiasm and so my mum and I went out to my local guitar shop and I was bought a lovely guitar. I then learnt a whole bunch of chords and I loved the way they sounded when put together. It wasn’t until a few years later though that I actually realised this is what I want to do as a career and started constructing songs.

You’ve recently released your vibrant single ‘CGI’ – can you tell us a bit about this? Is it focused on any particular themes?
‘CGI’ is a whimsical pop-rock song that is inspired by the concept of escapism which can be defined as “the tendency to seek distraction and relief from unpleasant realities, especially by seeking entertainment or engaging in fantasy...”  It really reminds me of the song I talked about earlier (‘Love Story’) thinking about it now, as they are both quite whimsical sounding and both have elements of escapism (‘Love Story’ was inspired by Shakespeare’s Romeo and Juliet, my song ‘CGI’ is inspired by daydreaming and video games). I really wanted the listener to feel like they’re immersed in a different world when they are listening to the song, so I had this idea of implementing a lot of ambient atmospheric sounds, like rain for example, and I think it works really well.

We love your colourful alt-pop sounds, but who would you say are your main musical influences?
As you might have guessed – Miss Taylor Alison Swift is the main one! But also Katy Perry and Marina Diamandis. Katy Perry in particular is a huge inspiration to me – her hugely commercially successful album Teenage Dream really blew my mind when it came out. Songs like ‘Firework’ I remember singing at the top of my lungs while skiing down snowy Italian mountains on a school ski trip and really connecting with the message of the song. But also that ‘California Gurls’ music video! I honestly did not understand the appeal of a California girl… Daisy Dukes? Cool I guess? But the music video is one of my most favourite things in this world. The way she holds her hand out while singing “you could travel the world, but nothing comes close” really strikes a chord with me. Katy Perry had a very religious upbringing and I did as well going to Catholic schools nearly all my life. I always felt this horrible feeling of social exclusion and being left out. I remember leaving my catholic confirmation group and crying to one of my friends’ mother because I just felt so unwanted by my fellow peers. I feel connected to her in this way.

How do you feel the music industry is for new artists at the moment – would you say it’s difficult to get noticed?
I would say that it is quite good at the moment due to the power of social media. I think the power dynamic between record label corporations and artists was a little one sided fifteen years ago and artists probably needed a record label. But now you have completely independent successful musicians who don’t care about signing a record contract. However, for me, I would love to sign a record deal – I’ve been dreaming of it for years now.

Has there been anything/anyone specific that has been inspiring you, or helping to motivate you, throughout these strange times? 
I’ve been looking inwards since graduating from school and have been realising that I have a lot of shame based around my own character. I’m not a very masculine guy and I’ve always felt so much pressure to not be feminine. I’ve realised that shame is blocking me from achieving my own happiness. There’s an American show called Queer Eye that has really been a source of happiness and comfort for me; seeing five LGBT guys who are all so confident and portrayed in a good light, and not negatively as a joke, has really helped with my confidence. 

Finally, what does the rest of 2021 have in store for Eddie Packard?
I want to keep releasing music and make a name for myself. I have big dreams and I’m not going to stop until I make them come true!

Massive thanks to Eddie for answering our questions! Watch the video for their single ‘CGI’ here:

Track Of The Day: YAY MARIA – ‘Template’ (ft. Franx)

Having previously captivated our ears as the front person of Grawl!x, Trans and queer artist YAY MARIA has now announced the release of her debut solo album, OYEZ. Touching on themes of being an outsider, celebrating solidarity and community, OYEZ is set for release later this year.

The first of three tracks to be shared from the album, new single ‘Template’ is a wonderfully empowering slice of poignant power-pop. Made in collaboration with Nottingham-based queer artist and musician FRANX, the track oozes a swirling, ethereal splendour and vibrant, uplifting energy. Propelled by calypso-like jangling beats and colourful twinkling hooks, it’s filled with a stirring lyricism that celebrates self-love (“No set way for living your life / That’s ok / You’re great / No wrong or right.”) whilst oozing a dry wit, drawing attention with a raw honesty to the mundane issues of modern life; the parts of life that are often expected of us – the ‘template’ we are expected to live by – but by no means are appropriate or desired by all, particularly those in the queer/non-heteronormative community. As Maria explains:

“I think it can sometimes feel like there is a ‘template’ in life (school, marriage, children etc) & for many that course of life is either unattainable &/or undesirable. So, it can feel kinda scary not fitting in with that pre-supposed model. However, there is also something wonderful & empowering about that too; particularly given that there are so many other queer folks out there who feel a similar way.”

With this first taste of the new album, ‘Template’ offers a blissfully euphoric anthem in celebration of being your true self in the face of adversity. A much-needed sentiment right now, YAY MARIA has created a truly dreamy, danceable soundtrack to the summer; a vital message of solidarity – assuring us that even if you don’t fit society’s accepted ‘template’, you deserve happiness – that we need now more than ever.

‘Template’ is accompanied by a simply beautiful video, exuding all the celebratory, self-love filled joy you could ever desire. Have a watch, and a boogie, now:

‘Template’ is released with the Year Of Glad collective, a young imprint and close knit family of creatives who worked with YAY MARIA on her charity release ‘ENDTIMESand a commemorative piece for Transgender Day Of Rememberance’ in 2020. The track, as with all of OYEZ, is made in the spirit of collaboration, produced with label mate and YOG founder Tom John Hall.

‘Template’ is out now. Buy it on bandcamp now – with all proceeds going to the QTIBIPOC Therapy Fund; an initiative of the Radical Therapist Network, to create access for Queer & Trans People of Colour to safe therapeutic spaces & services; outside of systemic oppression. 

Mari Lane
@marimindles