ALBUM: Big Joanie – ‘Back Home’

A joyful, raucous ode to the past, present and their undoubtedly bright future, black feminist punks Big Joanie explore what it means to truly belong on their second album, Back Home. The trio have expanded on the lo-fi punk cacophonies that formed their debut album Sistahs, and have introduced bold, bright synth textures and the altruistic violin sounds of experimental art-rock artist No Home across the record. The result is still distinctively Big Joanie, but they sound bigger and better than before.

Recorded at Hermitage Works Studios and produced and mixed by Margo Broom, the songs on Back Home were influenced by everything from gothic folklore tales, a challenging essay titled Trick Mirror by Jia Tolentino, to the band’s experiences of playing larger venues with musical heroes Bikini Kill, Skunk Anansie and Sleater-Kinney. The thread that binds these elements together is Stephanie Phillips, Estella Adeyeri, and Chardine Taylor-Stone’s collective ruminations on their different ideas of what “home” means.

Whether it’s a physical place here in the UK, back in Africa or the Caribbean, or whether the notion of “home” is in fact intangible and less concrete; this search for belonging led the band to create the vibrant sounds on their second album, and in the process, they’ve shown that they truly belong in the vital, more equal punk scene that they have worked so hard to nurture, both on and off stage.

The trio fully embrace their post-punk gothic tendencies from the offset on Back Home, from the swirling guitar FX of the beguiling opener ‘Cactus Tree’, which compliments the anticipation of character Steph sings of, up until the Wicca and Orisha worship inspired sounds of closer ‘Sainted’. They balance euphoric, chant-worthy tunes like ‘In My Arms’, the defiant ‘What Are You Waiting For’ and cathartic ‘Happier Still’ with more introspective tracks across the record. The reflective nature of ‘Insecure’, the yearning ‘I Will’, the con-man inspired ‘Confident Man’, and the poignant musings on synth-soaked track ‘Your Words’ all command listeners attention in their own unique way.

Like Angelica Ellis’ altruistic artwork that adorns the cover – which is a nod to the embroidered wall hangings popular in Caribbean homes post-Windrush, and depicts Chardine’s nephew at the barbers – Big Joanie have tenderly and intricately weaved personal and political threads into Back Home. As activists and role models who formed their own musical foundations in the DIY punk scene, the band have proved themselves to be a formidable force for change, truly devoted to creating a home and a space for others who have felt displaced or ignored in the past.

Back Home is a wonderful expression of joy and defiance, by a band dedicated to spotlighting the art and experiences of black, queer women, and a rousing call to arms for their allies to do the same.

Order your copy of Back Home by Big Joanie here

Follow Big Joanie on bandcamp, SpotifyTwitterInstagram Facebook

Photo Credit: Ajamu X

Kate Crudgington

Big Joanie sign to Kill Rock Stars & release 7″ single with Charmpit

Get In Her Ears are thrilled to share the news that Big Joanie have signed to iconic US riot grrrl label Kill Rock Stars! To mark the occasion, the trio will be releasing a 7″ split single with fellow feminist punks Charmpit titled Kluster Room Sessions, set for release on 27th November. You can pre-order your copy here.

Having both formed at First Timers Fest, Big Joanie and Charmpit have garnered a loyal and passionate following on the DIY underground scenes here in the UK. With this joint release on Kill Rock Stars, their punk infused sounds will be reaching wider, equally as passionate audiences in the US and beyond.

Kluster Room Sessions features an early recording of Big Joanie’s track ‘Cut Your Hair’ on the A side, and Charmpit’s single ‘Bad Attitude’ on the B side. “We leapt at the chance to do a split EP with Big Joanie because we love them,” explained Charmpit’s guitarist & vocalist Rhianydd YorkWilliams. “We’re so psyched to be working with Kill Rock Stars. They are a cool breeze to work with and we have so much love for what they do.”

After releasing their debut album Sistahs in 2018, Big Joanie are also planning to share their highly anticipated second record via Kill Rock Stars in 2021. “I grew up idolising practically every band on the Kill Rock Stars roster when I was a teenager,” explains Big Joanie’s guitarist & vocalist Stephanie Phillips. “We all have so much admiration for the work Kill Rock Stars has done and their influence on the punk scene. We’re so happy they can join us on this next journey of Big Joanie to help us reach new audiences.” Big Joanie’s 2021 second album will also be released in the UK and Europe via Thurston Moore and Eva Prinz’s label, Daydream Library Series.

Make sure you’re following Big Joanie, Charmpit and Kill Rock Stars for more updates…

Big Joanie: Twitter, Instagram, Facebook
Charmpit: Twitter, Instagram, Facebook
Kill Rock Stars: Twitter, Instagram, Facebook

Get In Her Ears w/ Big Joanie 27.06.19

Tash & Kate were back in the Hoxton Radio studio this week playing loads of new music from some of their favourite female, non-binary and LGBTQIA+ artists, including tunes from the likes of People Club, Gauche, Polar Youth, deep tan, Drab Majesty, MBG and Millie Turner.

Steph & Estella from DIY punk band Big Joanie also joined them live in the studio for a chat about their recent support slots playing with Bikini Kill at Brixton Academy, the release of the band’s debut album Sistahs, and the upcoming third annual Decolonise Fest at DIY Space for London, a festival run by punks of colour, for punks of colour.

Listen back here:




DIY punks Big Joanie have had a great year. They’ve toured extensively across the UK & Europe, supported our faves Dream Wife at Camden’s KOKO, and last week they released their debut album Sistahs. Their music is a mix of the personal and the political, and we wanted to know what inspires the girls to create their own sound. We caught up with band member Stephanie Phillips to ask about her “Five Favourites” – five artists or albums that have influenced her songwriting technique. Check out her responses below…

1. Sleater-Kinney – Dig Me Out
I’m a huge Sleater-Kinney fan and it all started when I was a teenager. Listening to Dig Me Out in my bedroom when I was 16, I remember feeling a well of emotion in my chest. It was like I wanted to shout out loud with the song but I could never get the words out, even when I was alone. My journey from a shy, reserved kid to a singer in a band has mostly been through listening over and over again to this band and learning how to sing along. I’m pretty sure Carrie’s stadium rock guitar style has crept into my playing as well.

2. The Breeders – Last Splash
It’s hard to pick a favourite out of all of The Breeders albums, but Last Splash had a huge impact on me. Kim’s way of creating something that can still be a bit rough or unusual as long as its honest has been an approach I’ve tried to follow. The Deal sisters know their way around a harmony and it’s glorious to listen to them when it seems to come so naturally. Big Joanie’s album also opens with a song called ‘New Year’, not the same song but I must have subconsciously taken a note of this. It doesn’t matter how many times I go back to this album it’s still one of my favourites.

3. The Ronettes – Presenting the Fabulous Ronettes
I once went on a date with a guy who said he didn’t like ‘60s girl groups. I knew then and there I couldn’t be with that person. Who doesn’t love girl groups? From The Crystals to The Shangri-Las, I’ve studied every type of girl group but one of my all time favourites is The Ronettes. Ronnie Spector’s voice still sounds as arresting today as I imagine it did when the group first debuted. Though Phil Spector is a detestable human being, he was a visionary producer. The all encompassing wall of sound he was known for worked so well with The Ronettes sound. It’s a sound I’ve always wanted to capture myself. I know the wall of sound would have been nothing if it wasn’t for the young black women Spector worked with who gave it a voice.

4. Throwing Muses – Untitled
Again similar to the other artists I’ve listed, Throwing Muses have so many albums that influenced me but I have to pick their first album. I loved the complexity of the song structures, the emotional depth of the lyrics and the unusual turns and twists the record took. The album made me think about different ways to write pop songs. It made me think about how some of the best songs always take a different path to reach their destination of eventually becoming a pop song. Songs like ‘Vicky’s Box’, which is essentially a three part epic packed into a five minute song, shouldn’t work but they do.

5. PJ Harvey – Rid of Me
The raw blues punk of Peej soundtracked my early years and it’s still with me today. I love this album for all its worth. It’s strikingly intelligent, funny (even though many male journalists at the time didn’t seem to get her humour) and displays a level of emotional vulnerability that is rarely seen. Her dark sensibility and slightly twisted takes on love, lust, pain and anger captured my attention when I first listened to the album. I couldn’t believe that was the way people felt whether it was about her own experiences or not. Her ability to switch between different voices and tell numerous stories in her songs is comparable to the greats like Bob Dylan. I’m pretty sure for as long as I live I’ll always be trying but failing to replicate the work Polly created on this album.

Huge thanks to Steph for sharing her five favourites.

Order your copy of Big Joanie’s Sistahs here.

Follow the band of Facebook for more updates.

Kate Crudgington