GIHE: Personal Highlights Of 2020

2020 has been a year unlike any other and we’ll be glad to see the back of it, but before we wave goodbye, the GIHE team would like to share some of their personal highlights. Thanks to everyone who has been following, reading or listening to GIHE this year. It really does mean the world to us and we couldn’t do this without you.

Shared Highlights

Seeing the GIHE name appear in a PHYSICAL BOOK was a landmark moment for the team this year. Music journalist Lucy O’Brien mentioned us in her 25th anniversary edition of She Bop, a fantastic book that explores the role of female artists and how they’ve helped to shape the music industry. You can buy your copy here.

Fellow GIHE Co-Founder Tash Walker was super busy recording & producing series 2 of The Log Books throughout 2020, a podcast which explores the history of the LGBTQ community via the phone archives of LGBT+ charity Switchboard. Tash is a co-chair at Switchboard and she is dedicated to celebrating and supporting the LGBTQ community through her work with them, and through her work with GIHE. She is one of the most resilient, informed and hilarious people we know and it’s a privilege to work alongside her and call her a friend. The Log Books are a truly necessary listen for all.

Now for some personal highlights…

Kate Crudgington (Features Editor)

GIHE usually takes up a big part of my life, but it was a lifeline for me during March of this year when the government text me (lol) telling me to shield for 12 weeks. Thanks to the magic of the internet, I was able to talk to the people who were making the music that was distracting me from the panic-inducing headlines, reminding me what a huge privilege it is to have access to this amazing platform.

As our followers already know, Lockdown 1.0 instantly put a stop to our weekly GIHE new music shows on Hoxton Radio. We had 16 weeks off air, so when it was “safe” for me to go back in to the studio in July I was buzzing with excitement (which you can hear in my voice if you listen back to the show here.)

Like most platforms during the pandemic, we embraced technology and started interviewing artists over Zoom instead of inviting them in to the studio for the usual chat and live session. We managed to get time with Jessica Winter, BISHI, Lucy O’Brien, Tessa from Girlhood, Julia-Sophie, Lizzie from Bitch Falcon, Grave Goods, Problem Patterns, ZAND, Hannah from PELA, Seraphina-Simone & Penelope Trappes. It was so lovely to see Tash in person in the studio most weeks, and while we both missed seeing Mari a great deal, her weekly track contributions to the show still made it feel like a GIHE team effort.

At the beginning of the year, I was invited by Niall Jackson, one of the hosts of Riverside Radio’s The Irish Jam, to be a contributor to their New Music Sunday section. Co-hosted by Kealan, Mel and Rob, The Irish Jam is a London based radio show that celebrates and promotes music from Irish artists. The crossover of favourite bands between GIHE & the Jam is huge and something I’ve enjoyed chatting to the team about both on and off air. They’ve introduced me to the likes of CMAT, fears, Denise Chaila, Silverbacks and Celaviedmai, whilst I’ve shared tracks by Kynsy, Party Fears and CAMI with them. Listening to their show on a Sunday evening continues to be a wonderful distraction from life.

Who could’ve predicted that bandcamp would become the musical hero of 2020? When the streaming platform announced that on the first Friday of every month they’d be waiving their fees so that 100% of profits would be going directly to artists, my newsfeeds were awash with new music recommendations. Moving home to Essex from London in March meant I actually had some expendable income to buy new records, so I was furiously typing bespoke recommendation threads on Twitter every time the date rolled around. bandcamps’ generosity meant you were able to genuinely support your friends (and the artists you secretly wish you were friends with) during a truly depressing year for music.

Normally, we’d be picking our live music highlights too, but for obvious reasons, we’ve hardly been to any gigs this year. Mari had to cancel half of the gigs GIHE she had booked pre-pandemic and it’s fucking depressing to not know when it will be (properly) safe for her to book more. That’s why I feel incredibly fortunate to have wedged in one last GIHE gig before Lockdown 1.0. GIHE worked together with Sofar Sounds to put together a special International Women’s Day gig at their Hackney HQ in March, with Beckie Margaret, Amahla and Indian Queens on the bill. It was so exciting (and nerve-racking) to host the evening with fellow GIHE pal Tash too. Even if I’d had a year full of gigs, this one still would’ve made my highlights list.

One last gloat – I published some of my all-time favourite features on our website this year. My Zoom interviews with the wonderful A.A Williams, the hilarious CMAT and the ultra talented Lido Pimienta are well worth a read.

Mari Lane (Managing Editor)

It goes without saying, most of the highlights I’d normally mention at this time of year were not able to go ahead in the void of 2020. They would normally consist of the monthly gigs that I host at The Finsbury, whereas this year I was only able to put on two before Covid hit. And, in addition to having to cancel at least seven of our regular gigs, we were pretty heartbroken to cancel what would have been our very first festival, due to take place in July. However, I did manage to fit in a couple of memorable live experiences before being confined to being permanently pyjama clad; my only weekly highlight being our regular beer delivery from Croydon’s Art & Craft bar.

The first gig I hosted this year felt particularly special. Personal Best headlined a night filled with all the best vibes. Drawing the night to a memorable close, front person Katie Gatt dedicated their set closer to the queer community. As a sea of buoyant voices joined in with “I wanna kiss you in the street / where everyone can see / ’cause this is what we look like,” the poignancy of the lyrics was overwhelming and an empowering sense of unity took hold. The night also included the shimmering folk-strewn offerings of Athabaska, the quirky energy and sparkling charisma of Nun Habit and the sun-drenched swirling anthems of Hurtling. There is nothing quite like that joyous sense of togetherness that comes from hosting gigs filled with like-minded wonderful people.

I was also lucky enough to fit in seeing one of my all time favourite bands with a few of my all time favourite people. The last time that Tash, Kate, Paul and I were all together pre-Covid was for Sleater Kinney at Brixton Academy – a pretty special night. Not only did I get to see the legendary Carrie Brownstein deliver her distinctive gritty, scuzz-filled riffs alongside Corin Tucker’s unmistakable swooning vocals in the flesh, conjuring up massive feelings of awe and nostalgia, but they were supported by one of our favourite current bands. The second time we’d seen Big Joanie on the Brixton Academy stage (the first being opening for Bikini Kill last year!), they showcased just how deserving they are of their rising success; with their unique, raw, post-punk soundscapes and poignant lyricism, they delivered an absolutely incredible set. A truly memorable night.

My last ‘outing’ before lockdown was to the BBC 6Music festival for International Women’s Day at The Roundhouse. An epic line-up consisting of some incredible women and non-binary folk that I’m incredibly grateful I got to witness before everything fell apart. In addition to the immense poignant power of Jehnny Beth, the utterly beguiling splendour of Nadine Shah (who I fell in love with there and then), and the completely mind-blowing presence of hero Kim Gordon, Kae Tempest delivered a fiercely moving, truly breath-taking headline set.

And then gigs were gone. To be replaced by online streamed “events” which I think have had mixed reviews over the last few months – they’re of course no replacement for the “real thing” and it’s hard to feel motivated to “attend” things when you’ve been on the sofa in your pjs for weeks. However, I have managed to organise a few GIHE Instagram ‘Takeovers’, featuring some of our favourite bands and artists. From ARXX’s drum and guitar lessons, LibraLibra’s quirky tele-sales style feature and Tiger Mimic’s interviews with others on the scene, to inspiring chats with Amaroun, Eckoes, Foundlings and Husk, beaut “live” sessions from Gold Baby, Scrounge and KIN, and King Hannah’s EP run through, I feel grateful that so many creatives have wanted to be involved.

It’s a strange time, no doubt, but one which is made that much better by a sense of togetherness within the community. One positive from all this really has been the mutual support and genuine care that I’ve seen musicians and those within the industry show for each other.

John McGovern (Contributor)

On the one hand, there’s been almost no gigs, no festivals, much fewer physical releases and closed record shops. On the other, BBC 6Music’s response helped me stay indoors and make the most of my furlough life. Lauren Laverne‘s show was extended to cover the late morning, running to nearly double the length of most of the other shows on the station and basically saw her appointed as chief mood-lifter for the BBC’s flagship alternative music station. Amongst the days of uncertainty, where even leaving the house offered the risk of serious illness, with no guarantee of a job at the end of the summer, having Lauren there to soundtrack breakfast/brunch made a world of difference. It produced a kind of odd stasis: the background radiation of a pandemic, but an excellent range of music, usually featuring a smattering of classics, new music and obscure gems. The only disappointment was when the schedule reverted back to usual come the end of lockdown. Hopefully, that same semblance of normality will be back for us all, soon.

Thanks to everyone who took the time to read our highlights!

You can read about our GIHE Albums of 2020 here and our GIHE Tracks Of 2020 here.

Keep an eye out for our Ones To Watch in 2021 feature next week!

INTERVIEW: Beckie Margaret

Since the release of her debut single ‘Cars & Catacombs’ via Cool Thing Records in 2017, Essex songwriter Beckie Margaret has been working hard crafting cinematic, reflective soundscapes about her experiences as a young woman. With her latest single ‘Divine Feminine’ she’s reaching new heights in terms of artistic confidence, and strengthening our belief that she’s one of the most naturally gifted songwriters we’ve had the pleasure of listening to. We had a quick catch up with Beckie to talk about her latest single, her upcoming debut album, her memories of the Sofar Sounds & GIHE gig she played just before the first lockdown in March, and whether there might be a seasonal single on the horizon…

Hello Beckie, how have you been coping and staying creative during the on-going Covid-19 pandemic?
It’s definitely been difficult to stay creative during Covid. I’ve really had to remind myself to unlock that child-like mind set so I can then sit down and write or create. I definitely have to work in short, quick bursts now though, otherwise the stresses of the world seep into my work.

You’ve just released your new single ‘Divine Feminine’. Talk us through what inspired you to write it.
The main thing that inspired ‘Divine Feminine’ was the observation of people that drain your energy and keep you from reaching your highest self. I think in your 20’s you realise that not everyone has your best interests at heart, so it’s a semi diss track I suppose. I like to think it reflects the aggression of this year in many ways.

You’ve been busy recording your debut album this year. Talk us through some of the highlights of the process, and what your anticipations are for the record once it’s complete.
I’m very much a studio girl so making an album was very special, especially at SS2 with Rees Broomfield who is absolutely incredible and completely understood my creative vision. Having Rees as well as my band to help with hybrid tracking on some of the more organic tunes really made the whole experience perfect. I already can’t wait to record another, everyday was a highlight to be honest.

You played live for GIHE & Sofar Sounds in March about a week before the first lockdown was put into place. What are your main memories from this night?
That was my first Sofar Sounds, so for it to be a GIHE event too was lovely. A really tender night full of honest acts and a respectful audience. As well as the hosting being amazing by Kate and Tash/ I’m glad it was the last gig I played before lockdown, it for sure kept me going thinking about how wholesome the evening was.

Any artists or bands you can recommend we listen to at the moment?
Arlo Parks’ writing is amazing, I’ve been listening to her a lot. I have had slowthai on repeat as well.

Finally, Christmas is coming up…have you ever been tempted to work your magic on a festive classic?
I literally say this every year, I WILL write a Christmas song! I’m so up for it. I would so channel a Coldplay Christmas song vibe, on my list of things to do…

Thanks to Beckie for chatting to us!
Follow her on Spotify, Instagram, Facebook & Twitter for more updates.

Photo Credit: Antonio Milevcic

Kate Crudgington
@KCBobCut

PLAYLIST: March 2020

March has been a busy month for Get In Her Ears HQ! It’s Women’s History Month and it was International Women’s Day on the 8th, so we’ve continued to support the women artists we love with regular reviews on our website and a special IWD Playlist which you can listen to here.

Sofar Sounds kindly invited us to curate their IWD gig in Hackney too, which Indian Queens, Amahla, and Beckie Margaret all graciously agreed to play for us. We’ve barely stopped for breath! Take some time to scroll through our track choices for our March playlist below and make sure you hit play on the Spotify playlist at the end of the page.

Sink Ya Teeth – ‘The Hot House’
Fresh from their excellent second album aptly named Two, Sink Ya Teeth’s singleThe Hot House’ and the accompanying video features footage shot by the band and audience members at their recent show in Oxford (check it out here). I am SO happy that I’ve got another heavy helping from the Norwich duo to soundtrack the upcoming warmer months. A time where post-punk, and deep house and I really get back into the swing of things. Sink Ya Teeth thank you, thank you! (Tash Walker)

Sleater-Kinney – ‘Hurry On Home’
I have not stopped singing this since us GIHE girls saw Sleater-Kinney live at Brixton Academy a few weeks ago. Their latest album The Center Won’t Hold is such a tonic, and their performance was certainly a gig-life highlight for all of us. (Kate Crudgington)

Noga Erez – ‘VIEWS’
The inimitable Noga Erez stylishly explores the absurdity of paying for exposure on social media on her brand new track, ‘VIEWS’. Collaborating with her partner Ori Rousso, and LA-based hip-hop artist Reo Cragun, Erez effortlessly commands attention in the striking video that accompanies the single. The Tel-Aviv musician’s clear vocals glide over slick beats and pop hooks to create an infectiously powerful anti-fakeness anthem. (KC)

Taquirah – ‘Feel’
‘Feel’ is the latest single from Taquirah, a performance artist form Illinois currently living in Brooklyn. I cannot get this track’s addictive beats and R&B melodies out of my head. I’m obsessed. Taquirah recently released a video for her track ‘Rush’ choreographed and performed by herself, in line with her focus on creating performance art pieces that fuse ballet with hip hop culture. Keep your eyes peeled for Taquirah’s debut project Divine, coming soon. (TW)

Belako – ‘Tie Me Up’
Having previously blown me away with their immersive live show supporting Queens Of The Stone Age in Finsbury Park last year, Basque Country band Belako have now shared new single ‘Tie Me Up’. Filled with gritty, swooning vocals and immense swirling hooks, it’s a super catchy alt-rock anthem showcasing the poignant raw power and majestic musicality that this Spanish band are capable of creating. (Mari Lane)

CLT DRP – ‘Where The Boys Are’
An anthem of self-realisation and new found confidence, ‘Where The Boys Are’ from Brighton-based CLT DRP oozes their immense raging passion in a seething blast of poignant, swirling electro-punk. Commenting on the track, front-woman Annie Dorrett says: “It’s a love song to some of my favourite female artists, a big thank you to my mom for being such a powerhouse and lastly a big f*ck you to all the TERFS out there spreading hate. It’s also just a really playful song to perform with the band, you get a lot of different elements of our sound all jammed into one piece.” CLT DRP’s upcoming debut album Without The Eyes, is out 15th May via Small Pond Records. (ML)

THICK – ‘Mansplain’
A cathartic, witty, guitar driven take-down of the men who undermine women in bands (and women in general), Brooklyn punk trio THICK’s single ‘Mansplain’ will resonate with women and girls who have struggled to be taken seriously on, and off stage. The track is lifted from their debut album 5 Years Behind, which is out now. (KC)

New Pagans – ‘Admire’
I first heard New Pagans whilst listening to The Irish Jam, and I quickly became fascinated by the Belfast band’s genre-bending sounds. Their debut EP Glacial Erratic is a poignant collection of tracks that explore issues of frustration, defiance, and resolution. ‘Admire’ is a personal favourite. It’s a humble, shimmering ode to the perseverance that’s needed to keep a long-term relationship going. (KC)

Why Bonnie – ‘Voice Box’
Oozing sunny uplifting vibes as shimmering hooks and Blair Howerton’s rich, luscious vocals flow with a soaring emotion, Why Bonnie’s ‘Voice Box’ has shades of the twinkling surf-rock of the likes of Alvvays or Best Coast, creating a truly dreamy offering fuzzing with a dazzling, effervescent charm. Voice Box, the upcoming EP from Why Bonnie, is out 10th April via Fat Possum Records. (ML) 

Ghost Car – ‘Virginia & Vita’
Released at the end of last year, ‘Virginia & Vita’ is a perfect example of all there is to love about Ghost Car. Oozing their scuzzy, quirky bubblegum indie-pop sounds, it’s propelled by eerie synth-driven hooks, soaring honey-sweet vocals and their trademark stirring, whirring theramin-soaked fuzz. I cannot wait to catch this totally unique band headline for us this Friday at The Finsbury! As always, FREE entry, event details here. (ML)

Indian Queens – ‘Bubblewrap’
Hackney trio Indian Queens headlined our International Women’s Day gig (in partnership with Sofar Sounds) at the weekend, and we were captivated by their stripped back set. The talented Amahla & Beckie Margaret also shared the bill, and Girls Against were on hand to  help raise awareness of the issues that female musicians & fans often face. This IQ track is a beguiling lament about the state of the planet, and it’s taken from their debut album God Is A Woman, which is set for release via Cool Thing Records on 3rd April. (KC)

Laura Gray – ‘Break, Drift’
‘Break, Drift’ is the first release from Laura Gray’s upcoming EP Better Lighting. Gentle vocals and dreamy synths all mixed together with pulsating beats. I think we could all do with a little more saxophone in our life. Check out the video for ‘Break, Drift’ here. (TW)

A.A. Williams – ‘Cold’
A.A. Williams is set to play her first headline gig at Southbank Centre in the Purcell Room on Thursday 12th March, and I’m excited to hear her dark, atmospheric sounds in the flesh for the first time. (tickets are available here). (KC)

Otta – ‘Near Enough A Woman’
I cannot get enough of Otta! Their new music is seeping so perfectly into my ears, it’s what I’ve been craving for so long and didn’t realise. This is one of their latest singles taken from the freshly released debut EP after it all blew over, which is sublime. Delivering the perfect combination and concoction of electronic, UK jazz, new soul and RnB. (TW)

Okay Kaya – ‘Insert Generic Name’
Okay Kaya who hails from Norway has been a firm fave of mine since I heard her debut Both, released back in 2018. I got to catch her on 4th March at SET in Dalston which was a total pleasure, she’s back again in May at Hoxton Hall so if you can, grab yourself some tickets. ‘Insert Generic Name’ is taken from her recently released and equally fantastic album Watch This Liquid Pour Itself, another incredibly intimate record of self-reflection via boldly honest, exposing lyrics which are delivered with bone dry with wit. One of my albums of 2020, without a doubt. (TW)

Bugeye – ‘Don’t Stop’
The latest single from friends of GIHE, Bugeye, ‘Don’t Stop’ is filled with swirling scuzzy hooks and the band’s trademark impassioned fiery attitude. Complete with whirring synth-driven refrains, it’s a frenzied slice of catchy disco-punk, showcasing the band’s utterly unique vibrant sound. ‘Don’t Stop’ is produced by Paul Tipler and is out now. You can catch Bugeye live on tour this month – check out their Facebook page for details. (Mari Lane) 

Lady Gaga – ‘Stupid Love’
Get me a pink wig and a metallic bikini, because I’m moving to Chromatica to live with Lady Gaga (see the ‘Stupid Love’ video here). I am SO excited to hear her new album (released on 10th April). I hope it’s bursting with electro-pop bangers like this one, and that all of her future videos are just as Power-Ranger-esque. (KC)