Track Of The Day: Screaming Toenail – ‘Sever’

Having first been introduced to London’s anti colonial queer punks Screaming Toenail when I was completely blown away by their live show supporting Petrol Girls last year, I was happy to discover that they’d shared a new video with the world yesterday.

Taken from their upcoming new album, ‘Sever’ is propelled by a dark, visceral drive as jangling hooks and the impassioned vocals of Jacob V Joyce envelop the ears with stirring resonance. With shades of the anthemic, emotive energy of The Cure, it’s a poignant slice of post-punk. A compelling and affecting offering that demands multiple listens. Of the track, the band explain:

‘Sever’ is written in response to the never ending saga of getting your hair cut as a gender non conforming person. Or is it our response to the displacement so many of us feel as black and brown people in the diasora? Or maybe building queer community and resisting shame...”

Filmed in Trinidad (by Arnaldo James) and London (by Nichola M J Davis), watch the new video for ‘Sever’ here:

Catch Screaming Toenail live:

19th September – Pop, Brixton (AFROPUNK Battle Of The Bands)
13th DecemberThe Finsbury, London (for Get In Her Ears – we can’t wait!)

 

Mari Lane
@marimindles

 

 

LIVE: Peaches @ Royal Festival Hall, 28.08.19

Wednesday, 28th September 2019: another day of exceptionally soul-destroying news about the state that the country/the world is in; a day when I particularly need a lift, something to restore my faith in humanity. I feel extremely grateful, then, that it is tonight that I get to see the legendary Peaches. All round pop and punk icon, pioneer of sex positive queer feminism, multi-media artist and exceptional musician, I’ve been wanting to see her live for years, and this mind blowing experience couldn’t have come at a better time. 

It also couldn’t have happened at a better venue; though it may not be considered the most ‘punk’ of places, the Royal Festival Hall is the perfect setting. With its epic, old time grandeur, high quality sound, and accessible, spaced out seating, you’re guaranteed a clear view and hearing from any angle, so all the usual gig worry of getting squashed, not being able to see/hear, and generally being uncomfortable or slightly stressed is taken away. I feel very honoured to be there, even before the show starts. 

And then the spectacle begins – an all womxn band filled with strings, brass and percussion begin to play as dancers (aka ‘Clusterfuck’) appear in skin tight bodysuits dressed as sperm and vaginas. Peaches isn’t even on the stage yet, and the euphoric sex-positive vibes are already flowing.

Introduced by vibrant performer ‘Anita Drink’, Peaches takes to the stage, covered in layers of hair, for masturbation-celebration anthem ‘Rub’. Whilst a fantastic, stimulating start, it is only when Peaches urges everyone to “rise with me”, asserting “don’t let the stiffness of your seat stop you doing anything”, that we’re really able to climax. At her direction, the crowd immediately loses inhibitions and is able to fully immerse themselves in the incredible, unifying experience that is There’s Only One Peach With The Hole In The Middle

As a fleet of living vaginas strut alongside her for ‘Vaginoplasty’, Peaches sheds her hair suit and commands our absolute attention with her flamboyant energy and magnetising charisma. Only a few songs in, and already the utterly inclusive and hugely empowering spirit oozing from Peaches has encompassed the entire venue, a sea of fans of all genders/ages/preferences celebrating the immense sense of freedom that being in the company of this performer induces. And no more so than when the modified lyrics of ‘I U She’ are chanted in unison – “Gender Fluid Make Some Noise”. 

After a costume change into what seems to be a rather fetching pink swimsuit, Peaches is greeted to the stage once again by some snazzy keytars for ‘Talk To Me’ and, as she climbs into the crowd, taking a sip of a fan’s drink, she exudes all that admirable uninhibited sense of quirky cool, before climbing back onto the stage. Joined by none other than Iggy Pop (in virtual form on a screen), she bounces into ‘Kick It’ with a relentless, angsty energy. 

Surrounded by raging guitars for ‘Rock Show’, the stage suddenly bursts into a frenzy, as dancers of all kinds swirl around her; a surrealist, truly joyous celebration of total inclusivity. From utter euphoria to the sound of discordant screeching strings, Peaches then reappears from an inflated, epic dress, in which dancers are squirming, for heartstring-tugging anthem ‘Free Drink Ticket’; showing herself capable of fusing together a rock show with an art installation; a classical ballet with a hip-hop battle. She is beyond genre, beyond gender, and beyond even my wildest expectations. 

Joined once again by Anita Drink taking Kim Gordon’s place for ‘Close Up’, Peaches then comes in for her ‘Diva Moment’. Sharing that it’s not the first time she’s been here – she’s supported Suede at David Bowie’s Meltdown event in 2002, seen Grace Jones perform, and even sung alongside Yoko Ono – her nostalgic interlude reminds us that she certainly has every right to a ‘Diva Moment’ or few, and now that she’s here in her own right for her own mind-altering show, she deserves every single bit of attention possible. 

Following the throbbing energy of ‘AA XXX’, Peaches swaps her hair suit for some cool shades and we’re treated to the utterly immersive, hypnotic hold of ‘Take You On’ performed on what looks two giant theramins (but are probably just lights). And, as she sings “you can’t mess with me”, I firmly believe this strong, impassioned performer standing before me. 

And just when you think things can’t get any more totally breathtaking, an aerial gymnast is elevated up into the rafters, spinning and balancing impressively, all the while mesmerising the crowd with the lasers shooting out of her bum hole – a perfect accompaniment as Peaches belts out “I’ve got light in places you didn’t know could shine”, leaving us questioning if there’s anything this innovative artist hasn’t got in store to wow us with. 

Then there’s the energy-fuelled boxing match-inspired dance moves of ‘Boys Wanna Be Her’; the all encompassing screeches of an incredible violinist’s strings as she’s carried off stage by a group of dancers; an absolutely immersive performance by one flexible male member (no pun intended..) of Clusterfuck to ‘I Feel Cream’; the totally unforgettable sight of two giant inflatable penises with someone dancing inside to ‘Dick In The Air’. There simply isn’t a moment when something completely spectacular isn’t taking place. 

Whether Peaches is being joined once more by Anita Drink as we all shake our tits along to ‘Shake Yer Dix’, or we’re witnessing a breathtaking tower of dancers as Peaches blasts out ‘I Mean Something’, every single second blows me away. 

I’m relieved, then, that there’s an encore. Peaches re-emerges as sparkly and spectacular as ever, plus a snazzy hat, for an impressive delivery of ‘Dumb Fuck, before going on to introduce every single person involved in the production of the show, including all stage managers and technicians; an admirable gesture for a performance of this scale, and one which only goes to demonstrate Peaches’ dedication to complete inclusivity. 

With everyone on stage together, the show closes with celebratory anthem, and perhaps Peaches’ most well-known offering, ‘Fuck The Pain Away’. And so ends the most innovative, empowering, inspiring and utterly joyous show I think I’ve ever seen. Restore my faith in humanity, Peaches certainly has. Whether surrounded by spangling dancers, living vaginas, a marching band, or simply standing alone, chest bare, Peaches encompasses a perfect celebration of everything queer, wonderful, weird and totally life-affirming.

Mari Lane
@marimindles

Photo Credit: Lydia Daniller

Track Of The Day: Suggested Friends – ‘Cygnets’

Having been completely addicted to Suggested Friends‘ eponymous debut release over the last couple of years, and having being utterly charmed by them at numerous gigs in that time, I couldn’t be more excited to hear that they have just announced the release of their second album.

To coincide with the announcement, Suggested Friends have shared new single ‘Cygnets’. With totally dreamy harmonies and the distinctive heartfelt crystalline vocals of Faith Taylor, it’s filled with an infectious jangly scuzz and stirring raw emotion, complete with some impressive rollicking riffage. Of the track, Faith explains:

This song documents the uneasy process of learning to trust yourself and therefore also trust other people. It refers to ‘digital birds’ because my bird-sound alarm clock mixed in with the sounds of the actual dawn chorus and became a metaphor for discerning which messages and voices to believe.”

Cygnets‘ is accompanied by a home-taped video filmed in Harper’s Ferry, Virginia, on the band’s recent 2018 US tour date. Watch now:

I just can’t get enough of Suggested Friends, and cannot wait for their new album Turtle Taxi, which is set for release on 4th October. Catch Suggested Friends live:

26th September – Metronome, Nottingham (supporting Camp Cope)
9th October – Shacklewell Arms, London (album launch show)
12th October – The Old Cold Store, Nottingham (Nottingham Pop All-Dayer)
25th October – DIY Space For London (Weenfest)

 

Mari Lane
@marimindles

Playlist: 50 Years Of Pride

This year marks the 50th anniversary of the Stonewall riots which triggered the modern LGBTQ+ liberation movement in the US and beyond. On the 28th June 1969, the bar’s patrons clashed with police officers in a raid that was not uncommon during that era. However, this time they’d had enough, this time the patrons fought back. Two people in particular made a significant impact that night but the history books often forget – two transgender women of colour named: Marsha P. Johnson and Sylvia Rivera.

This night lit a match underneath the modern LGBTQ+ movement we see living on worldwide in Pride celebrations, protests and marches today.

So much has happened in the last 50 years both in favour and against the LGBTQ+ communities; in my lifetime alone I’ve seen the World Health Organisation declassify same-sex attraction as a mental illness, I’ve seen Section 28 being repealed, and equal marriage being passed into law but I’ve also seen a significant increase in the levels of isolation and loneliness within the LGBTQ+ communities, and the number of homophobic, and especially transphobic, hate crimes more than doubling in the last 5 years.

50 years on from the Stonewall Riots we have seen progress, but we are not at the finish line yet! As trans activist Charlie Craggs said “trans women of colour need you to fight for them the way they fought for you 50 years ago, there is still more to be done, the battle is not over.”

Which is why at Pride this year as I march in the parade, I will be marching to celebrate everything we have achieved and I will be protesting for everything that is to come because our mantra is: we’re here, we’re queer and yes sometimes we’re afraid, but we are never ashamed because we are proud of who we are!

– Tash Walker

To mark this momentous anniversary, Tash, Mari and Kate have put together some tunes to celebrate LGBTQ+ liberation, as we continue to push for progress. Read about our chosen tracks and have a listen below! 

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.
Tash Walker

Le Tigre – ‘Keep On Livin’
Pioneers of queer culture, Le Tigre’s ‘Keep On Livin’ remains a motivational anthem to anyone going through a hard time. Inspired by the feelings surrounding both ‘coming out’ as a survivor of sexual abuse, and coming out as gay, lesbian, bi or trans, it’s a pure cathartic release of emotion.
Mari Lane

Robyn – ‘Dancing On My Own’
Robyn is an outspoken ally for LGBTQ+ rights. I think it is important to recognise the role that allies play within LGBTQ+ history and the movement’s continued fight for equality.
TW

Lady Gaga – ‘Born This Way’
A dance-floor filling anthem that celebrates self-acceptance.
Kate Crudgington

RuPaul – ‘Sissy That Walk’
Pioneering drag queen RuPaul’s message of self love and motivation is encapsulated in this uplifting anthem, as she sings one of her classic mottos: “Unless they paying your bills, pay them bitches no mind.”
ML

Planningtorock – ‘Non Binary Femme’
This track summed up 2018 for me, a year that gave with free abundance in good music, in particular Planningtorock’s album Powerhouse. Any album that uses the language Non-Binary Femme in the title of the song is unarguably paving the way for not only a greater/better understanding of what these words and this sort of language means, but also for it to become a fully accepted part of everyday conversation.
TW

Princess Nokia – ‘Tom Boy’
Openly queer rapper and all round inspiration, Princess Nokia writes powerful, feminist anthems promoting self love and body positivity, refusing to fit into stereotypical gender norms.
ML 

Mykki Blanco (feat. Princess Nokia) – ‘Wish You Would’
This is a song from an artist who I feel needs no introduction, a queer pioneer who is doing amazing things for LGBTQ+ rights as well as being open about their positive HIV status. Mykki Blanco is an incredible artist and I love his music.
TW

Syd – ‘All About Me’
One of my favourite tracks from Syd who is openly LGBTQ+ and you may know from the excellent collective The Internet.
TW

Shura – ‘2shy’
I just love this track from London artist Shura, who has been consistently challenging stereotypes since she came out as a lesbian a couple of years ago and helping to “queer the mainstream”. Bring on the blurring of gender and sexuality in pop!
TW

Jackie Shane – ‘Any Other Way’
A pioneer for transgender rights in the late 60s, Jackie Shane lived her life as a woman in the spotlight, during a time when compassion and acceptance were not always reciprocated towards those who identified as trans.
KC

Cyndi Lauper – ‘True Colours’
An uplifting anthem often associated with the LGBTQ+ community, ‘True Colours’ openly asserts for us to love ourselves for who we are. Lauper has often dedicated the song to a friend of hers who died from HIV/AIDs, and has since co-founded the ‘True Colours’ fund – a non-profit that educates people on LGBTQ issues and helps to end homelessness for LGBTQ youth.
ML

King Princess – ‘1950’
Something that I am really proud of here in the UK is the latest generation of LGBTQ+ people, who continually amaze me with their openness and their acceptance of how others identify in their sexuality and gender identity, so different from when I was growing up. ‘1950’ by King Princess is an excellent example of the progression we have made throughout the last 60 years.
TW

Anna Calvi – ‘Don’t Beat The Girl Out Of My Boy’
Anna Calvi describes this track as being “beyond definition”, because queerness is beyond definition. Her whole Hunter album celebrates what it is to be queer in a wonderfully honest, binary-destroying way. Summing it up, she explains: “I want to go beyond gender. I don’t want to have to chose between the male and female in me.”
ML

Bang Bang Romeo – ‘Shame On You’
Fronted by loud and proud lesbian Stars, Bang Bang Romeo completely blew us away with their immense soulful power and compelling charisma when playing Cro Cro Land earlier this year.
ML

Dream Nails – ‘Deep Heat’
A hex on Donald Trump and the patriarchy in general, our fave DIY punks Dream Nails know how to boost up their community in times of need.
KC

The Menstrual Cramps – ‘The Smash’
Combining activism with musical prowess, and fully embracing queerness, The Menstrual Cramps provide a captivating, empowering force that we all need now more than ever.
ML

T-Bitch – ‘Dressing Up’
Southend riot grrrl punks T-Bitch celebrate all things trans, queer & glam!
KC

T-Bitch EP by T-Bitch

Queen Zee – ‘Boy’
One of the most relevant (and joyful) bands around at the moment. I’d put them on every playlist if it was up to me!
KC

Ezra Furman – ‘Suck The Blood From My Wound’
Openly bisexual and androgynous artist Ezra Furman’s latest album Transangelic Exodus really knocked my for six in its spine-tingling beauty and raw emotion. This track is particularly stirring, its concept serving as a metaphor for queer liberation and the defiance of the underdog.
ML

Grace Petrie – ‘Black Tie’
Addressing the damaging effects of enforced gender norms, this is an empowering and uplifting offering, addressing a younger self with reassuring lyrics such as “I swear there’ll come a day when you won’t worry what they say, on the labels, on the doors, you will figure out what’s yours.”
ML

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

Frank Ocean – ‘Chanel’
Such a great song. As you may or may not know, Frank Ocean came out back in 2012 to mixed but mainly positive responses.
TW

Queen – ‘Love Of My Life’
Just a heartbreaking love song written by the legendary Freddie Mercury. Once, when asked about his sexuality, Mercury replied with “I’m gay as a daffodil, my dear!”. A brave statement to make back in 1974.
ML 

Bronski Beat – Smalltown Boy’
This track was 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

Anthony & The Johnsons – ‘For Today I Am A Boy’
A stirring and powerful ode to the journey of transitioning, a simply exquisite creation.
ML

Have a listen to, and follow, our 50 Years Of Pride playlist, here:

 

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

Video Premiere: Playing House – ‘Not Good’

Openly identifying as queer, feminist and body positive, London band Playing House recently released their bold single ‘Not Good’, and have now shared a brand new accompanying video.

Filled with vibrant, synth-driven hooks and unique, soaring vocals, ‘Not Good’ is a surrealist look at the absurdity of the ambivalence to all things not good. Propelled by an empowering groove, it’s a colourful slice of art-pop with shades of the likes of La Roux or Hercules & Love Affair. Building to a swirling, rainbow-coloured pop anthem, it’ll get you up and dancing, ready for summer. Of the track, the band explain:

“It’s a song that could only be written in the surreal reality that we’re living in right now, in the middle of the destruction of the planet, consumerism, inequalities, sexism, increased anxiety and depression. The song takes a pop at ambivalence, watching everything go wrong and doing nothing. It’s also about how those abuses take place in relationships.”

The accompanying video for ‘Not Good’ casts the band in a scuzzy, wonderfully vivacious light. Directed by Brazilian visual artist Carolina Mizrahi (Vogue Italia, Vogue Brazil, Vogue Bambini) with DOP Gene Limbrick (Vogue Italia, Elle, Gucci), it was shot on analogue film by Kiefer Passey. Shot in real time across eight hours, with the band playing live on repeat with hand painted instruments that were slowly deconstructed throughout the day, it’s a colourfully chaotic visualisation of the song’s message; highlighting the ambivalence and disenfranchisement that surrounds us.

Watch the brand new video, for the first time, here:

Mari Lane
@marimindles

Photo Credit: Marieke Macklon

Video Premiere: Cat Mahatta – ‘Hymn To Dudes’

Started as a bedroom project in Oakland, to try and encapsulate her experience as a queer mixed-race multi-instrumentalist, producer and dancer Cat Mahatta creates collaborative electro-pop and innovative performance art. Having previously wowed our ears with her last single ‘Barely’, she’s now returned with a spellbinding new offering.

An anthemic message to the patriarchal powers that be, ‘Hymn To Dudes’ drips with glitchy beats alongside Mahatta’s swirling, sparkling vocals, creating a glistening slice of alt-pop, oozing a poignant majesty and sweeping splendour.

Accompanied by an artfully choreographed and beautifully thought-provoking video that portrays a mystical sleepover in which Cat is inducted into a coven of Feminist Art Goddesses, ‘Hymn To Dudes’ offers a dreamily bewitching electro soundscape filled with an empowering spirit that we need now more than ever.

Of the track, Mahatta expands:

“‘Hymn to Dudes’ is a message to everyone who’s ever underestimated, belittled, or oppressed me and my global community; it empowers us and reminds us that we have permission not to care what they or anyone else thinks of us.”

Watch the new video for ‘Hymn To Dudes’ here:

‘Hymn To Dudes’ is out on 20th May via Practical Records – an independent label that releases music by California’s queer, trans, and experimental music communities.

Mari Lane
@marimindles

Track Of The Day: Blóm – ‘Toxic Dependency’

Comprised of former members of Tough Tits and Yume Hayashi, Newcastle Upon Tyne’s Blóm fuse together genres to create their unique DIY Queer Feminist anthems. And, having recently released a split EP with Leeds band Thank, they’ve shared an emotionally charged, rip-roaring track from the EP with us.

A raging cacophony reflecting on toxic relationships, ‘Toxic Dependency’ blasts out a furious, seething energy and angst-driven power, as the genuine fiery passion of the band bursts out of every screamed note. Of the track, the band explain:

Part of the lyrics are about toxic relationships and being co dependent on people who are damaging. When you are trapped in these relationships you feel like you are submerged and it is hard to find people to support you to leave…  Other lyrics are pulled straight from passing comments toxic people have said to me, and regularly say to people presenting as female. The tone and delivery of these comments can shift the sincerity, knock your confidence and breed insecurities.”

 

Listen to Blóm’s split EP with Thank on Bandcamp now. And catch them live supporting Pigs Pigs Pigs Pigs Pigs Pigs Pigs on the following dates:

5th April – The Haunt, Brighton
6th April – Esquires, Bedford

Mari Lane
@marimindles