FIVE FAVOURITES: Muna Ileiwat

London-based, New Jersey-born songwriter Muna Ileiwat creates tender indie pop tunes that are a blend of soft vocals, shimmering electronics and steady beats. Her debut EP, Twenty-Seven, released today (19th Aug) via Fear of Missing Out Records, explores the fluctuating nature of relationships in all their forms, and the resilience and freedom that comes with creating art for arts sake.

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 Muna to ask about her “Five Favourites” – five songs that have inspired her song-writing techniques. Check out her choices below and scroll down to watch her video for ‘Pity Party’ at the end of this post.

 

1. Ms. Lauryn Hill – ‘I Find It Hard to Say (Rebel)’
This song made me want to learn guitar and start writing my own music. When I started guitar lessons I learned classical music. At the end of each lesson, my teacher and I would spend a bit of time learning a “pop” song. This was the first song I chose. I heard Lauryn Hill’s MTV Unplugged album a lot when I was young (my dad owned it on CD). I’m not really into live albums except this one I love. I’ve come back to this song throughout my life. It’s not a conventional structure and the lyrics are stunning. The song’s nearly 7 minutes long, but every time I listen to it, it feels like half the time, probably because it’s so moving. Lauryn Hill’s performance is so raw. Once I was old enough, I discovered the song was about the murder of Amadou Diallo.

2. Yeah Yeah Yeahs – ‘Maps’
An indie gem. I have such a soft spot for Karen O, she’s so badass! Yeah Yeah Yeahs were one my first introductions to indie music (this song in particular). There’s something so understated and vulnerable about the chorus line – “wait, they don’t love you like I love you”. It’s hard to convince me that a guitar solo is ever cool, but Nick Zinner’s solo in this is very cool. I got so wrapped up in the story behind this song. Music is so much about storytelling. You get a unique perspective into the deepest parts of people’s inner emotional states, the things people want to talk about, but just don’t know how. In the music video, Karen O is apparently crying real tears because her boyfriend was hours late to the shoot, right before her tour. There’s speculation that the song title is an acronym for ‘My Angus Please Stay’ and even though Karen O has never confirmed it, this kinda makes me love the song more. It really hurts. You feel her disappointment when the person you love can’t show up for you in the ways you need.

3. Selena – ‘Como La Flor’
I spent my early childhood in the US and Selena was always on the radio. I can’t begin to explain how much I love her and what she represents. Her outfits – incredible. Her voice – flawless. Her stage presence – mesmerising. Her music crossed cultural boundaries. That’s so powerful. Her iconic performance of this song at the Astrodome can bring me to tears. I’ve watched that performance a billion times. She was so talented. Her music is a nostalgic part of my childhood.

4. Solange – ‘Losing You’
The synths, chord progression, harmonies, production, the video – I love this song! It’s so fun! It’s melancholy cloaked in catchy hooks. I love the simplicity of the lyrics. Nothing is hidden under metaphors. I find songwriting like this bold. You can’t disguise your vulnerability under fancy wordplay. It’s direct. I’m a big Dev Hynes fan so the fact that he co-wrote this explains why it’s so goddamn good. I’ve always appreciated Solange’s holistic approach and commitment to her art. The video manifests a sense of community. It reminds me of Curaçao and that island life.

5. Robyn – ‘With Every Heartbeat’
I’ve always admired Robyn’s songwriting. She’s so inspiring and her music is so cathartic. This song has everything you need – a sweeping orchestra and driving beat. The lyrics are a perfect blend of hopefulness and devastation, particularly in the chorus. Robyn is so good at finding that balance, and nothing hits like a pop song about the realisation that you have to leave someone behind even though it hurts. I dream, and will continue to dream of writing a Robyn equivalent one day.

 

Thanks to Muna for sharing her favourites with us! Watch her video for ‘Pity Party’ below.

Pre-order Muna Ileiwat’s debut EP, Twenty-Seven, from Rough Trade here

Follow Muna Ileiwat on Apple MusicSpotifyTwitterInstagram & Facebook

Photo Credit: Guy Gotto

Kate Crudgington
@KCBobCut

Five Favourites: Barrie

Set to release her upcoming second album later this month, New York artist Barrie Lindsay – aka Barrie – has been charming our ears with her shimmering sounds for some time now. Ahead of the album’s release, she has now shared ‘Jenny‘ – a poignant reflection on falling in love with her wife. Flowing with twinkling melodies as her delicate crystalline vocals emanate a stirring emotion, it’s a beautifully uplifting offering, celebrating the comfort of finding home in another person.

We think one of the best ways to get to know an artist is by asking what music inspires them. So, to celebrate the release of her new album, we caught up with Barrie to ask about her “Five Favourites” – five ‘perfect pop songs’ that she loves and have inspired her sound. Check them out below, and listen to ‘Jenny’ at the end of this article!

The La’s – ‘There She Goes’
I first heard this in the Lindsay Lohan Parent Trap movie, and I come back to it constantly. It’s such a Motown song with the beat, melody, harmonies and loud, live-sounding production – it makes no sense that it came out in 1988. And it perfectly rides the line of happy and melancholy. It seems so simple but the structure and progressions are really hard to pin down. It’s particularly special to me because my dad and I used to play this song on guitar together — it’s really fun on a 12-string.


Robyn – ‘Call Your Girlfriend’
Robyn is a master of minimal maximalism, like SOPHIE. And she’s so committed to the character of Robyn, it’s really inspiring. The Robyn songs that click for me are the ones that have her special mix of drive and melancholy. She gets the perfect balance of hopeful and desperate. I’ve tried many times to write a Robyn song, and I’ll probably keep trying to for a long time. I love running to this song, and it blows my mind that a song is capable of making you physically stronger.


Alvvays – ‘Dreams Tonite’
Beyond the great songwriting (the anticipated chord change in the chorus!), there’s a lyric in this that I think about a lot when I’m songwriting: “On the turnpike, one of Eisenhower’s.” It feels like they are breaking a rule or something – lyrics in popular music don’t reference mundane parts of history like Eisenhower building the turnpikes; it’s a throwaway line that packs so much. The line makes me rethink the inevitability of the way society operates, how everything in our society was designed by some person- it sends me on an entire other existential thread. And particularly at a point where you’re songwriting and can’t or don’t want to delve into yourself for lyrics, why not poke at the things in the world around us that we take for granted as part of everyday life? And ultimately, they all shed light on human behaviour and therefore lead to human connection, like you hope for in a song.

Billy Preston – ‘Nothing From Nothing’
This song feels like pure joy. Great musicianship, great melodies. It’s playful, and after years of listening to it, I still get the same amount of joy from it; it reminds me of dancing in the kitchen as a kid with my family. He was an incredible pianist, and what a great rag-timey piano sound. I joined my school’s gospel choir in college, and got exposed to contemporary gospel music like Kirk Franklin, Fred Hammond, Kurt Carr, and Hezekiah Walker. This song has a lot of the same driving and uplifting qualities as contemporary gospel, which makes sense since Billy Preston came up playing in church. A lot of what I like about this song is the same as what I like about gospel music. So much flair and musicianship from the instrumentalists. They’re so tight.

Britney Spears – ‘How I Roll
I first heard this song in 2012 and I was blown away. So many great textures, so chaotic, and also somehow so pure. Underneath the micro beats and totally synthetic, unnatural sounds, it’s just a hand-clapping game song. I like that they threw everything at the song, like a no-bad-ideas session, and then honed every single detail. Everything feels deliberate; it’s experimental but in the name of joy rather than self-indulgence or pretension. How cool that Britney Spears went for this?!


Massive thanks to Barrie for sharing her Five Favourites with us! Barbara, her upcoming new album, is set for release on 25th March via Winspear. Listen to latest single ‘Jenny’ below.

Photo Credit: Alexa Viscius

PLAYLIST: Galentine’s Day 2022

It’s one of the best days of the year, GALENTINE’S DAY! Coined by Parks and Recreation character Leslie Knope (played by Amy Poehler) back in 2010, Galentine’s has since been recognised by girls across the globe and used as a light-hearted platform to celebrate the girls and women who enrich our lives.

To celebrate, we’ve chosen tracks from some of the many female-identifying artists who inspire us and we’ve put them into one eclectic playlist. We’re all about self-love and sisterly – not just cis-terly – love today, so scroll down, press play and share the Galentine’s joy!

Bikini Kill – ‘Rebel Girl’
This one goes out to my GIHE gals, Tash and Kate! A song about having the coolest best friend by ultimate heroes Bikini Kill, you should listen to it at full volume and celebrate all the “queens” of your world this Galentine’s Day. (Mari Lane)

Problem Patterns – ‘Gal Pals’
Having been fans of Northern Irish band Problem Patterns for some time now, my love of them has skyrocketed since they headlined our gig at The Shacklewell Arms in December. Oozing a swirling energy and fierce, infectious passion, they united the crowd in solidarity with both their righteous anger and vibrant, joyous sense of fun. ‘Gal Pals’ offers a perfect sentiment for this Galentine’s – celebrating female friendship and the mix of feelings that comes with it. (ML)

Petty Phase – ‘Different For Girls’
Southend’s Petty Phase aka Jen, Rosie & Alyx were guests on our radio show a few years ago and they played a GIHE gig at The Finsbury back in 2018 too. We loved their riot grrrl inspired sounds and rumour has it they’re set to play some more shows this summer. Bassist Alyx has also been busy co-hosting the excellent We Wear Black podcast alongside Sophie K and Yasmine, talking about all things in the rock & alternative scenes. Definitely check it out. (Kate Crudgington)

Big Joanie – ‘Used To Be Friends’
The GIHE team are huge fans of Big Joanie who work tirelessly to make the punk scene a more inclusive and diverse space. Not only that, they’ve got a debut album full of lo-fi punk bangers that we’ve listened to many times. Check out Sistahs today and keep up to date with all the amazing work they do on and off stage by following them on Twitter. (KC)

Charmpit – ‘Bridges Go Burn’
Charmpit’s ‘Bridges Go Burn’ is not so much a celebration of friendship as an empowering ode to moving on from toxic relationships and standing up for yourself. But I think this sentiment is super important when celebrating the ones you love. As I’ve got older, I’ve realised the necessity in cutting ties with damaging people, however many fond memories you might share with them; life really is too short to surround yourself with people who don’t lift you up and make you feel good. In the words of the band: “It can take time to burn a bridge, especially when it’s guarded by a troll. You can forgive yourself for taking the time you needed to exit that toxic relationship. And when you exit it, you can write a pop banger so it ain’t so dang depressing!” (ML)

WILLOW – ‘transparent soul’
How many times am I going to say “I am living for the pop punk revival!” on a GIHE Playlist? (at least once more.) WILLOW’s debut album Lately I Feel Everything is full of emo bangers and this track featuring Travis Barker on drums is no exception. (KC)

Brimheim – ‘hey amanda’
An ode to friendship in all its bittersweet glory, I love this track by Danish alt-pop artist Brimheim. Taken from her sublime debut album, can’t hate myself into a different shape, it’s a celebration of platonic love, brimming with nostalgic lyrics, warm guitar sounds and tender vocals. (KC)

VERO – ‘Beg!’
Fuelled by the anger left behind by a flawed relationship, VERO’s debut single ‘Beg!’ is saturated with brooding bass lines, swirling riffs and stinging lyrics. I LOVE it and can’t wait to hear more from the Stockholm-based trio this year. (KC)

Softcult – ‘Gloomy Girl’
I’m a big fan of Canadian twin siblings Phoenix and Mercedes Arn Horn aka Softcult, who create swirling, grunge-infused songs about inequality & sexism within the music industry. This track ‘Gloomy Girl’ is a more introspective offering, giving listeners a glimpse behind the veil of depression. It’s a tentative musing on the ominous feeling that you’re “wasting away” whilst going through a period of poor mental health. Their recent EP Year Of The Snake is also well worth a listen. (KC)

Aye Nako – ‘Nightcrawler’
This melodic tune from Brooklyn-based queer punks Aye Nako popped into my head the other day and it’s been on a loop ever since. The song is about unpacking difficult memories, but Aye Nako deliver it in their quirky, upbeat style. (KC)

SASAMI – ‘Say It’
This industrial-tinged “rage dance anthem” from SASAMI is 100% a bit of me. Taken from her upcoming album Squeeze, which is set for release on 25th February via Domino, SASAMI explains: “I feel like when I hear this song I see a hot femme with a mystical flamethrower engulfed in emotional blue flames throwing elbows alone in an industrial dance club in outer space.” Mate, same. (KC)

M(h)aol – ‘No One Ever Talks To Us’
I was blown away by M(h)aol’s powerful post punk sounds when I saw them live at The Shacklewell Arms last year, and this track was a real highlight. Taken from their debut EP Gender Studies, it’s a brooding, much needed antidote to toxic patriarchal standards. (KC)

Self Esteem – ‘How Can I Help You’
I don’t know why chanting along to “I don’t know shit!” throughout this Self Esteem song is so cathartic, but I fully recommend doing the same. Rebecca Lucy Taylor has proved she’s an alt-pop icon twice over with her album Prioritize Pleasure, and this track in particular is my favourite. (KC)

Wet Leg – ‘Too Late Now’
Best friends Rhian Teasdale and Hester Chambers aka Wet Leg look like they’re having a blast touring their tongue-in-cheek indie bangers across the country. The GIHE caught their debut headline show at Omeara last year and knew they’d be icons from the moment they walked on to the stage to ‘Concerning Hobbits’ from The Fellowship Of The Ring soundtrack. I really, really enjoy the lyrics in this track, especially the line: “I don’t need no dating app to tell me if I look like crap / to tell me if I’m thin or fat / to tell me should I shave my rat.” Their self-titled debut album is set for release on 8th April and I can’t wait to hear it. (KC)

ARXX – ‘The Cat Song’
I couldn’t not include a song from total faves ARXX in this playlist celebrating friendship and love, as Hanni and Clara are two of the loveliest folks in the world – and their love of each other is evident in everything they do. ‘The Cat Song’ – as well as paying homage to our feline friends – is also about the love we have for our friends. As Hanni sings “I’m going to hold you up like this”, I think of how my friends hold me up throughout the bad times and good. And there’s added actual cat sounds – what’s not to love?! (ML)

Robyn – ‘Dancing On My Own’
‘Dancing On My Own’, and what’s wrong with that!? Often I prefer to dance on my own. More space. Robyn is also an outspoken ally for LGBTQ+ rights and we all know romance isn’t just for the heterosexuals out there! So whether you honour Galentine’s, Valentine’s, or even Palentine’s Day; make sure you have a good old dance. (TW)

Chromatics – ‘Girls Just Wanna Have Fun’
A great cover of a great track, need I say more? (TW)

Elodie Gervaise – ‘Free Babe’
One of my favourite discoveries of 2021: mixed beats, intricate synths and electronics from French-Australian artist Elodie Gervaise. When I first played this song I described it as some kind of audible light show. Elodie Gervaise’s EP, Syzygy (undoubtedly my word sound of the year) is great – go listen if you haven’t heard it yet! (TW)

ML Buch – ‘I’m a Girl You can Hold IRL’
This song is taken from Danish electro-pop musician ML Buch’s album Skinned which came out in 2020, but I spent a lot of the winter break listening to it so thought I’d share it with you all in 2022. I love its futuristic techno electro tones and all the FEELINGS. (TW)

Lizzo – ‘Like A Girl’
Turning the common derogatory phrase ‘Like A Girl’ on its head to create something wonderfully empowering, this is another ferociously fun offering from GIHE fave, Lizzo. With references to other powerful women of colour, including Lauryn Hill and Serena Williams, it’s the perfect ode to the power of being female and the power felt when women unite. So, this Galentine’s Day, I’ll leave you with the Lizzo’s words of wisdom: “If you fight like a girl, cry like a girl, do your thing, run the whole damn world”. An ultimate feel-good anthem for women everywhere. (ML)

Aretha Franklin & Annie Lennox – ‘Sisters Are Doin’ It For Themselves’
It it even a Galentine’s playlist if this absolute classic isn’t on it? These two talented women coming together to sing about equality and independence never fails to make me feel good. It may have been released in 1985, but the lyrics are just as relevant today. (KC)

Sheryl Crow – ‘All I Wanna Do’
Having just celebrated her 60th birthday, Sheryl Crow has been a hero of mine from a young age. With her perfectly catchy anthems, she’s been my go-to uplifting soundtrack over the years. This song reminds me of dancing around the kitchen with my oldest friend during carefree times, and it still makes me wiggle and sing-a-long on each listen, over 20 years later. (ML)

Girl Ray – ‘Friend Like That’
An ode to friendship, ‘Friend Like That’ flows with the trio’s colourful energy, creating a dreamily uplifting offering. Of the track, the band explain: “This is a friendship anthem. Reminds us of a really smashing high five with great contact. In music, friend love is often overshadowed by romantic love and IT’S JUST WRONG. This one goes out to the mates of the world.” (ML)

Fightmilk – ‘Overbite’
As the raw emotion and distinctive smooth-yet-husky charm of front-person Lily’s vocals deliver a heartwarming sentiment (“You don’t have to smile if you don’t want to darling, you’re perfect as you are”) alongside scuzzed-out riffs and an infectious, shimmering energy, Fightmilk have created the perfect, alternative fuzzy love-song. A totally joyous ode to your best pal or lover, or both, it offers another slice of blissful power-pop from one of my favourite bands. Fightmilk headline for us at The Shacklewell Arms on 25th March and we can’t wait! Tickets on DICE. (ML)

BAXTR – ‘Grace On Fire’
Reflecting on the feelings of helplessness that come with seeing someone you love suffer, ‘Grace On Fire’ is a sweeping slice of alt-pop. Propelled by an uplifting energy, it’s a wonderfully anthemic ode to looking out for your friends – as singer Floss expands: “These days, I try not to overlook those simple yet precious 3 words that did so much to help douse my own flames… ‘are you ok?’” BAXTR were due to play their first ever gig for us on 24th February, but have sadly had to pull out as one of them is currently recovering from surgery – we’re sending them all loads of love and Galentine’s wishes, and look forward to them playing for us later in the year! (ML)

Carole King – ‘You’ve Got A Friend’
Carole King’s Tapestry continues to be one of my most favourite albums. It’s my mum’s favourite too, and I have many memories of singing along with this uplifting message of unity and platonic love with her over the years, both reaching for the tissues when we saw it live in the musical, Beautiful. So, this heartfelt anthem goes out to her, my all time favourite gal, who inspires me every day. (ML)

Jackie Shane – ‘Any Other Way’
I know I’m guilty of adding this tune to multiple GIHE Playlists, but it’s so good I can’t help it! Jackie Shane’s wonderfully smooth vocals, sophisticated style and defiance in the face of transphobia in the early ’60s make her a true GIHE icon. Whenever I hear this song, I think of using it as an opening track to many a GIHE radio show, sitting next to Tash & Mari in the studio, chatting about our favourite music on air (and laughing at my penchant for sad girl bangerz off air too.) This tune is dedicated to them both and to all of our followers who keep GIHE going. We wouldn’t have it any other way. Big love. xxx (KC)

PLAYLIST: Pride 2021

As many of our regular readers will know, at Get In Her Ears we strive to support LGBTQIA+ artists all year round via our website, radio show and our live music nights. This Pride Month, we continue to celebrate and share the work of these artists, and take some time to reflect on the history & impact of LGBTQIA+ artists in music and in wider creative spheres too.

Our co-founder Tash Walker, who is also the Co-Chair of the charity Switchboard LGBT+ Helpline & co-producer of the award-winning The Log Books podcast, wrote this powerful intro to our Pride Playlist last year. We’re sharing her words again to let our LGBTQIA+ readers and allies know: we see you, we support you and we love you – this month, and every month. If you need support during Pride Month or at any time, you can always reach out to Switchboard LGBT+ via their website or by calling 0330 330 0630.

Tash: “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.

Covid-19 and its multiple lockdowns have had an unimaginable impact on all of us, especially folks 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.”

Read about our track choices for our Pride 2021 playlist below and scroll down to the end of the post to listen to it on Spotify.

Ma Rainey – ‘Prove It On Me Blues’
This 1928 song by Ma Rainey, who is unarguably the mother of blues, is possibly one of the first references to queer lesbian culture. Ma Rainey, a queer woman sings, “Went out last night with a crowd of my friends. They must’ve been women, ’cause I don’t like no men.” An essential to any LGBT+ playlist. (Tash Walker)

Jackie Shane – ‘Any Other Way’
We’ve played Canadian soul-singer Jackie Shane multiple times on our GIHE radio show, 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)

Big Freedia – ‘Judas’ (Lady Gaga Cover)
I’m absolutely loving Big Freedia’s cover of Lady Gaga’s ‘Judas’ which features on Gaga’s Born This Way Reimagined album, celebrating the 10th anniversary of her second record. Gaga has also enlisted the help of Kylie Minogue and Orville Peck to embellish her evergreen sentiments about self love, having the freedom to love anyone you want and to express that love however you want to. (Kate Crudgington)

Lido Pimienta – ‘Declare Independence’ (Björk Cover)
This is such a beautiful cover by Colombian-Canadian artist Lido Pimienta, released as part of Spotify’s Pride campaign. I was lucky enough to interview her last year about her amazing album Miss Colombia, and on this new offering her defiant spirit and powerful voice shine through just as brightly. Pimienta released this track as a statement of solidarity with the LGBTQ+ communities, and also for Colombian and Palestinian people struggling for freedom and dignity in their homelands. (KC)

Catherine Moan – ‘Fools’ (Depeche Mode Cover)
This is a fun, polished cover of a Depeche Mode b-side from Philadelphia-based electro-pop artist Catherine Moan. Her buoyant electronics and infectious rhythms give this slice of 80s alternative music nostalgia a welcome sultry twist. (KC)

Robyn – ‘Dancing On My Own’
Robyn is an outspoken ally for LGBTQ+ rights. I think it’s important to recognise the role that allies play within LGBTQ+ history and the movement’s continued fight for equality. Being an ally is about educating yourself, it’s about listening, being visible, challenging inequality and helping to educate others. Being an ally isn’t just about LGBTQ+, it applies to any under-represented, marginalised section of society worldwide. As Stonewall says “If we want to live in a world where people are accepted without exception, we all need to be part of the solution.” (TW)

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)

SOPHIE – ‘Immaterial’
This track is taken from SOPHIE’s debut album and I love it. A pioneer of experimental music, often the producer behind so many other amazing tracks, remixes and artists. Described as disorientating latex pop which I think sums up my first experience of seeing SOPHIE live – intense at its best. (TW)

Mykki Blanco – ‘Free Ride’
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 also such an incredible artist and their music is just oh so gooooood. (TW)

Desire Marea – ‘Tavern Kween’
This amazing track by Durban, South Africa-based artist Desire Marea was inspired by Desire’s aunts who went against social norms to find their own forms of freedom in the usually male-occupied taverns in their hometown of Amandawe. Desire explains: “It’s an ode to them, an ode for defiance and feminine manifestations everywhere, an ode to people who come alive at night, to people who enjoy being free and also an ode to people who are fierce about claiming their freedom.” The accompanying video is also sublime. (KC)

Witch Prophet – ‘Makda’
I have Tash to thank for introducing me to the majestic sounds of Ethio queer hip-hop fusion artist Witch Prophet. ‘Makda’ is a celebration of the Ethiopian Queen of Sheba and, as Witch Prophet explains, “the power of Black women and mothers” which she highlights in the track’s beautiful accompanying video. (KC)

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)

Ragdoll, Husk – ‘Throwback’
A collaboration between trans, non-binary artist and GIHE fave Husk and non-binary drag queen Ragdoll, ‘Throwback’ offers a wittily nostalgic dance anthem, sparking many fond memories for us millennials. A massively uplifting, fun-filled banger, complete with Husk’s smooth, soulful vocals and a wonderfully infectious groove, it’s a perfect accompaniment to any Pride party. (Mari Lane)

Crisp&Classy X Rookes – ‘Basic’
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. Collaborating with GIHE fave, London-based artist and promoter of queer female identity, Rookes, ‘Basic’ is a vibrant, uplifting dance-floor anthem. Blasting into the ears with an explosive fizzing energy, it’s an effervescent ode to being yourself and silencing anyone who chooses to get in your way. (ML)

ARXX – ‘DEEP’
The latest single from GIHE faves Brighton duo ARXX, ‘DEEP’ is an empowering ode to leaving behind all your anxieties and getting what you want. Interweaving a more electro-infused, glitchy sound than previous releases with their signature ferocious grunge-fuelled drive, it instantly hits you with its raw, anthemic rush and gritty, sensual prowess. ARXX have now also released a number of remixes of ‘DEEP’ – including one by Dream Wife’s Alice Go. (ML)

Ci Majr – ‘Ultraviolet’
Non-binary Atlanta artist Ci Majr creates uplifting, emotion-filled pop anthems with a twinkling sensitivity. Taken from their latest EP Side Effects, ‘Ultraviolet’ sparkles with a heartfelt sense of hope alongside a scintillating energy and instantly catchy, shimmering hooks. (ML)

Alex Loveless – ‘Meet Me Tonight’
There’s something about Hackney-based DIY electronic artist Alex Loveless’ music that’s just effortlessly chill. ‘Meet Me Tonight’ is their latest single, but I would also recommend checking out their recent EP, Phone Keys Wallet too. (KC)

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)

BISHI – ‘Who Has Seen the Wind’
As part of Southbank Centre’s 2019 Meltdown Festival, Kate and I had the privilege of meeting Bishi. She’s 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)

STRAIGHT GIRL – ‘Limón’
Describing themselves as “fiercely and fearlessly queer,” Leeds-based electronic artist STRAIGHT GIRL is a master at exorcising their demons and developing them into their own brand of “grave rave” sounds. I love this track ‘Limón’ which is a vibrant, jagged soundscape inspired by disjointed and self-critical thoughts. (KC)

Gordian Stimm – ‘Though My Love Is Always Still’
I am such a huge fan of everything Gordian Stimm aka Maeve Westall of itoldyouiwouldeatyou releases. They’ve crafted so many experimental gems in the last year, from their debut album Your Body In On Itselfto this single for Amateur Pop Inc.’s compilation record, their offerings are intensely eclectic & so well produced. (KC)

Twin Pixie – ‘Firestarter’
Philadelphia-based hyper-pop duo TJ Cole and Aiv Rubino aka Twin Pixie are inspired by the likes of SOPHIE and Grimes and explore themes of queerness and the supernatural in their majestic, ethereal soundscapes. Propelled by glitchy beats, ‘Firestarter’ races with a sweeping cinematic allure as poignant spoken-word vocals soar, tearing into the sexist norms of society. (ML)

Khx05 – ‘Trouble’
I have Nova Twins to thank for introducing me to North Carolina-based artist Khx05. They feature on the duo’s compilation album Voices For The Unheard, a blistering collection of alternative anthems that showcase the eclectic, tenacious range of talent from artists of colour in the heavy & alternative music scenes. (KC)

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 a few years ago. 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)

pink suits – ‘pink suits everyone’
Margate based queer punk-rock duo pink suits incorporate politically driven rage, dance and even theatre into their work, exploring issues of sexuality, mental health and a resistance of binary gender. Taken from their recently released album, political child, ‘Pink Suits Everyone’ oozes a rousing, stirring intent. Offering a vibrant message of inclusivity and hope, here the duo urge us to come together and unite against the powers that seek to contain us. Watch the new video for ‘Pink Suits Everyone’ here. (ML)

Ezra Furman – ‘Suck The Blood From My Wound’
Having recently come out as a Transgender woman, and shared beautiful images of herself with her child, Ezra Furman has long been a favourite of mine, since I first fell in love with her 2018 album Transangelic Exodus. This Pride, I think it’s particularly important to celebrate the Transgender community whilst drawing attention to how society’s acceptance of trans and gender non-conforming people still has a long way to go. As Furman poignantly states in her coming out message: “I’m telling you I’m a mom now for a specific reason. Because one problem with being trans is that we have so few visions of what it can look like to have an adult life, to grow up and be happy and not die young. When our baby was born I had approximately zero examples that I had seen of trans women raising children. So here’s one for anyone who wants to see one. I’m a trans woman and a mom. This is possible.” (ML)

Chuck SJ – ‘Sink Your Teeth In’
This single is taken from DIY multi-instrumentalist Chuck SJ’s upcoming debut album Resist.Recharge.Revolt, which is set for release later this year. Full of atmospheric guitar riffs, sparse beats and glitchy electronics, it’s an industrial-tinged rumination on the forces that construct, influence and sometimes dismantle our ways of thinking. Chuck is also one half of punk duo Byenary who you can check out here. (KC)

Bitch Hunt – ‘Shapeshifter’
Non-binary band Bitch Hunt originally formed at the amazing First Timers fest, and have just released their debut EP via Reckless Yes. The title track of the EP, ‘Shapeshifter’ is a stirring slice of effervescent punk-pop, reflecting on themes of transition and gender identity, and how we are consistently ‘shape-shifting’ depending on our circumstances. A resonant yet ultimately uplifting offering, oozing a sparkling sense of optimism. (ML)

Grace Petrie – ‘Pride’
Taken from 2018’s album Queer As Folk, Grace Petrie’s ‘Pride’ offers a reflection on the strides that have been made for the LGBTQIA+ movement over the years, whilst also drawing attention to how far we still have to go to end all forms of discrimination. With her poignant, heartfelt lyricism oozing both a stirring sense of solidarity and hope, as well as frustration and rage (“I know you don’t want to face the fact / that each and every day we’re still being attacked…”), it’s a perfectly resonant anthem drawing attention to why we still need Pride, over 50 years on from the Stonewall Rebellion. (ML)

Naz and Ella – ‘Internalised’
Having been guests on our radio show back in 2019, alt-folk duo Naz & Ella recently released their new EP, De-Humanize. Taken from the EP, ‘Internalised’ is a deeply poignant offering about overcoming internalised queerphobia. Oozing a gritty edge and sweeping, stirring majesty, it’s an empowering ode reflecting the heartfelt message running throughout the EP as a whole, as the band explained in a recent interview with us: “… you don’t have to participate in your own dehumanisation to comply with social norms.” (ML)

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. ‘Black Dog’ is no different, a frank, heart-breaking 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. (TW)

Kele – ‘Smalltown Boy’ (Bronski Beat Cover) 
I was lucky enough to speak to Kele Orekeke about his new album The Waves Pt. 1 earlier this month for The Line Of Best Fit, and he was incredibly generous with his time. I regret that I was too shy to tell him how much of my late teens & early twenties I spent dancing to Bloc Party and his first album The Boxer, so I thought I’d mention it here instead. His cover of Bronski Beat’s iconic LGBTQ+ anthem ‘Smalltown Boy’ is really beautiful, fore-fronting the track’s unique melancholy in an understated and moving way. (KC)