LIVE: The Great Escape 2022 (Photos & Highlights)

We were back at The Great Escape for the first time in 3 YEARS at the weekend, stomping around Brighton trying to catch some of our favourite women and LGBTQ+ artists in new music. Spread across multiple venues in the city, the festival showcased an eclectic line-up of talent, and our Features Editor Kate Crudgington and official photographer Jon Mo were there to capture just some of the highlights of the prolific 3 day event.

Of course, clashes, queues and timing issues meant we inevitably missed some artists, including sets from ZAND, Ailbhe Reddy, Mykki Blanco, A.A. Williams, Witch Fever, Bad Waitress, Kills Birds, LibraLibra, PEANESS and Grandmas House, but we tried to get to as many gigs as possible on Thursday & Friday. Read about the performances we did manage to catch and take a look at our pictures below…

 

ARXX remain one of our favourite bands, both on and off stage

Whether it’s vocalist & guitarist Hanni casually saying “let’s break up this wall of men” as we moved towards the front for Fräulein’s set at Queens Hotel, or drummer Clara cracking up the crowd with her story about a seagull stealing her croissant during their own set (she’s a Brighton resident as well, rookie mistake) – ARXX truly are the definition of an iconic duo. Their set at The Hope & Ruin was so packed we couldn’t get in, but it was worth running up the hill to Brighton Youth Centre to catch them performing later on the same day. Full of their trademark riotous riffs, anthemic vocals and knockout percussion, the duo tore through renditions of ‘Deep’ and ‘Call Me Crazy’ as well as previewing their new single, ‘Couldn’t Help Myself’. We can’t wait to have them headline for GIHE again at The Shacklewell Arms on the 22nd July. (tickets here)

Fräulein are your new favourite grunge duo

Joni & Karston aka Fräulein blew us away when they headlined our first GIHE gig of 2022 back in January at The Victoria in Dalston. Since then, the duo have been playing across London non-stop and have been out on tour with The Mysterines and Coach Party too. They performed their brooding, captivating grunge sounds to a full house in the basement at Queens Hotel on Thursday afternoon, with singles ‘And I Go (La La La)’ and ‘Drag Behind’ being set highlights. They played a show on each day of the festival over the weekend, so if you didn’t catch at least one of their sets, you definitely missed out.

We are in love with Brimheim and her band

We had a lot of FEELINGS watching Danish artist Brimheim perform to a packed crowd at seafront venue WaterBear – and all of them were GOOD. Clearly loving every moment of her set alongside her equally enthusiastic band, she thrashed around with her guitar, enjoyably scowling down at her mic as she delivered her pitch perfect vocals. Performing songs from her debut album, can’t hate myself into a different shape, she thundered through ‘favourite day of the week’ and ‘baleen feeder’, her exquisite, confessional lyrics were given a new edge by her raw, more abrasive live performance. We cannot wait to see her live again.

The Irish showcase at Prince Albert is always a festival highlight

Year after year, the line-up for the Irish showcase at the Prince Albert continues to impress us. Even when we can’t physically get into the venue to see the bands (we heard SPRINTS sounding HUGE as we stood in the queue on the stairs) the atmosphere and the talent is always worth sticking around for. We caught Tolu Makay in her stunning sequin-drenched outfit on Thursday, performing infectiously fun tracks from her debut album Being, including ‘Me, Myself & I’ and ‘You Are Enough’. On Friday, we were front row for CMAT’s show (read more on that below) and to catch Kynsy live for the first time. Since the release of her debut single ‘Cold Blue Light’ in 2020, we’ve been keen to see her show and she did not disappoint. Accompanied by her band, she ripped through singles ‘Happiness Isn’t A Fixed State’ and ‘Elephant in the Room’, her voice sounding superb despite her saying she was “a little croaky” on the day.

Tolu Makay

KYNSY

CMAT is Queen

Despite their best efforts to make things work, CMAT’s band couldn’t play along with her due to tech difficulties, so the Irish pop sensation shrugged it off and performed a superb solo acoustic set instead. Armed with her guitar and her trademark white cowboy boots, she performed seamless renditions of ‘I Wanna Be a Cowboy, Baby!’, ‘Nashville’ and a “lounge version” of ‘No More Virgos’ with keyboard player Colm, all taken from her debut album, If My Wife New I’d Be Dead. A mix of stand up comedy and stand out vocals, CMAT’s sets are always a total joy to witness, and listening to other folks in the crowd sing along to ‘I Wanna Be a Cowboy, Baby!’ never gets old.

Lido Pimienta is a L.E.G.E.N.D.

Full of her stunning vocals, metal-esque screams, sharp wit and strong pro-choice vibes, award-winning Colombian-born, Toronto-based artist Lido Pimienta had the crowd dancing, cheering and laughing along during her set at Jubilee Square. Performing tracks from her 2020 album, Miss Colombia, including a flawless rendition of ‘Eso Que Tu Haces’, Pimienta cracked jokes about the Queen’s Jubilee between songs and made valid comments about the importance of respecting women’s reproductive rights. Her charisma, euphoric live energy and candid comments will remain embedded in our memories for weeks to come.

We want to join Softcult

We’ve been looking forward to catching Canadian twin siblings Mercedes and Phoenix aka Sofcult live since the release of their debut EP, Year Of The Rat, in 2021. Informed by their experiences of sexism and objectification as young women in the music industry, the pair performed their bittersweet grunge-pop anthems to a packed crowd at Volks, with songs ‘Boys Will Be Boys’ and ‘Gaslight’ providing an empowering and cathartic moment to push back against toxic masculinity.

We want to scream in tune like Lucy from Projector

Brighton band Projector have always impressed us with their live shows, but their set at The Tempest Inn on Friday evening truly excelled all other times we’ve seen them play. The four piece smashed through a set full of visceral alternative noise, with bassist & vocalist Lucy’s cord-ripping screams absolutely decimating our ear drums (in the good way), especially during the band’s latest single ‘hell in my head’.

Like most major UK festivals, The Great Escape has room for improvement

Whilst our experience of The Great Escape was a positive one, we know that’s not the case for everyone who attends or plays at the festival. We saw a tweet from artist Billy Nomates explaining that there was “no water no towel no buy out no rider [and] a microphone that doesn’t work” – therefore she couldn’t perform to the best of her ability at her set on Friday night.

We also saw a tweet from the band PEANESS, rightfully lamenting the lack of opportunities for artists playing the festival to have access to complimentary food and drinks, whilst delegates are often bombarded with these invites. It was both disheartening and comforting to see replies on these threads that echoed similar sentiments, especially as artists (particularly female artists) are often labelled as ‘unappreciative’ or ‘difficult’ when they highlight these issues. It’s not fair that people’s experiences of the same festival differ so vastly.

There are plenty of artists, promoters and PR teams working towards a better and more equal music industry – we met and saw some of them at The Great Escape! – but until everyone is on the same page, we will continue to elevate the conversations that challenge the unfair “norm”.

In terms of its line-up, 2022’s Great Escape really did feel like one of its most diverse and entertaining yet. But there’s always more to learn, more work to do both on and off stage, and more reason than ever to speak out when you think you’re being treated unfairly. Respect to the artists who were bold enough to do so this year.

CIEL

BERRIES

Gen & The Degenerates

Words: Kate Crudgington / @KCBobCut
Photos: Jon Mo / @jonmophotography

GUIDE & PLAYLIST: The Great Escape Festival 2022

We’re excited to be heading back to The Great Escape Festival in just 3 days time (12th-14th May) to tread Brighton’s pebbled beach and trek around the city trying to catch some of the best new female, non-binary and LGBTQ+ music talent.

GIHE favourites ARXX, Brimheim, Fräulein, Bad Waitress, Mykki Blanco and Ailbhe Reddy will all be singing by the seaside over the long weekend, but we’re excited to discover some brand new artists too. Below is a list of set times of the acts we’re keen to catch at the festival. You can get better acquainted with them by listening to our accompanying Spotify Playlist!

Get your tickets for The Great Escape here.

Don’t forget to check out the line-up for the Alternative Escape too!

 

Thursday 12th May

Fräulein
Playing at: Queens Hotel – 12:15pm-12:45pm

Bad Waitress
Playing at: TGE Beach Stage – 12:30-1:00pm

Grandmas House
Playing at: The MVT Stage – 12:30pm-1:00pm

HIGH SCHOOL
Playing at: Komedia Basement – 12:40-1:00pm

Tolu Makay
Playing at:
Prince Albert – 1:00-1:30pm
Brighthelm – 7:30-8:00pm

EFÉ
Playing at: Prince Albert – 2:00-2:30pm

flowerkid
Playing at: 2:00-2:25pm

Brimheim
Playing at: Waterbear 2:15pm-2:45pm

Kills Birds
Playing at:
TGE Beach Stage – 2:30pm-3:00pm
Horatios – 9:15-9:45pm

Ailbhe Reddy
Playing at: Revenge – 3:20-3:40pm

ARXX
Playing at:
The Hope & Ruin – 3:30-3:50pm
Brighton Youth Centre – 5:10pm

Mykki Blanco
Playing at: The Old Market – 5:15-5:45pm

Bleach Lab
Playing at: Latest Music Bar – 7:15-7:45pm

Spill Tab
Playing at: The Arch – 7:30-8:00pm

Kynsy
Playing at: The Hope & Ruin – 8:00-8:30pm

CASSYETTE
Playing at: Chalk – 8:15-:8:45pm

HUSSY
Playing at: Green Door Store – 8:15-8:45pm

MUNA
Playing at: Amazon New Music Stage – 8:15-8:45pm

Softcult
Playing at: Volks – 9:00-9:30pm

Billy Nomates
Playing at: Komedia Basement – 9:15-9:45pm

Goat Girl
Playing at: Amazon New Music Stage – 10:15-10:45pm

Let’s Eat Grandma
Playing at: The Old Market – 10:15-10:45pm

Lunar Vacation
Playing at: Green Door Store – 10:15-10:45pm

November Ultra
Playing at: One Church – 10:30-11:00pm

 

Friday 13th May

ZAND
Playing at: Revenge – 12:15-12:45pm

SPRINTS
Playing at: Prince Albert – 1:00-1:30pm

Bleach Lab
Playing at: Komedia Basement – 1:15-1:45pm

Gemini Aaliyah
Playing at: Latest Music Bar – 1:15-1:45pm

PEANESS
Playing at: Zahara – 1:15-1:45pm

ALEWYA
Playing at: TGE Beach Stage – 1:20-1:40pm

AMARIA BB
Playing at: Patterns downstairs – 1:30-2:00pm

CMAT
Playing at:
Prince Albert – 2:00-2:30pm
Komedia Basement – 10:15-10:45pm

Fräulein
Playing at: Zahara – 2:15-2:45pm

LIBRALIBRA
Playing at: The MVT Stage – 2:15-2:45pm

Panic Shack
Playing at: Brighthelm – 2:30-3:00pm

Kynsy
Playing at: Prince Albert – 3:00-3:30pm

tora-i
Playing at: TGE Beach Stage – 3:20-3:40pm

Bad Waitress
Playing at:
Green Door Store – 4:00-4:30pm
The Hope and Ruin – 11:00-11:30pm

Rachel Chinouriri
Playing at: Amazon New Music Stage – 6:15-6:45pm

Connie Constance
Playing at: Casablanca – 6:30-7:00pm

Projector
Playing at: The Tempest Inn – 7:00-7:30pm

Witch Fever
Playing at: Volks – 7:00-7:30pm

GROVE
Playing at: Coalition – 7:15-7:45pm

HIGH SCHOOL
Playing at: Horatios – 7:15-7:45pm

Priya Ragu
Playing at: Amazon New Music Stage – 7:15-7:45pm

Stella Donnelly
Playing at: Chalk – 7:15-7:45pm

CIEL
Playing at: Paganini Ballroom (The Old Ship) – 7:30-8:00pm

A.A. Williams
Playing at: The Old Market – 8:00-8:30pm

flowerkid
Playing at: Zahara – 8:00-8:30pm

LIDO PIMIENTA
Playing at: Jubilee Square – 8:15-8:45pm

APRIL
Playing at: Patterns Upstairs – 9:00-9:30pm

EFÉ
Playing at: Komedia Studio – 9:15-9:45pm

ENNY
Playing at: Brighton Dome Concert Hall – 9:15-9:45pm

Panic Shack
Playing at: Three Wise Cats (Casablanca) – 9:15-9:45pm

Prima Queen
Playing at: Horatios – 9:15-9:45pm

ARXX
Playing at: The Mucky Duck – 9:45pm

Let’s Eat Grandma
Playing at: Amazon New Music Stage – 10:15-11:00pm

Lime Garden
Playing at: TGE Beach Stage – 10:15-11:00pm

Wallice
Playing at: Horatios – 10:15-10:45pm

Momma
Playing at: Horatios – 11:15-11:45pm

Nuha Ruby Ra
Playing at: Komedia Studio – 12:15-12:45am

Porij
Playing at: Komedia Basement – 12:30-1:00am

 

Saturday 14th May

Maria Uzor
Playing at: Revenge – 12:10-12:40pm

Dream Nails
Playing at: Three Wise Cats (Casablancas) – 12:15-12:45pm

HAWXX
Playing at: Volks – 1:00-1:30pm

C’est Karma
Playing at: Prince Albert – 1:15-1:45pm

Fräulein
Playing at: Volks – 2:00-2:30pm

Softcult
Playing at: Green Door Store – 2:30-3:00pm

WOOM
Playing at: One Church – 3:00-4:00pm

Gemini Aaliyah
Playing at: Zahara – 3:30-4:00pm

Stella Donnelly
Playing at: 3:35-4:00pm

Jessica Winter
Playing at: The Arch – 6:15-6:45pm

CASSYETTE
Playing at: Concorde 2 – 6:30-7:00pm

Kay Young
Playing at: The Arch – 7:15-7:45pm

Sinead O’Brien
Playing at: Coalition – 7:15-7:45pm

Gen and the Degenerates
Playing at: The Hope and Ruin – 9:00-9:30pm

SPRINTS
Playing at: Prince Albert – 9:00-9:30pm

Coach Party
Playing at: Coalition – 9:15-9:45pm

LIDO PIMIENTA
Playing at: One Church – 9:15-9:45pm

Rachel Chinouriri
Playing at: Patterns downstairs – 9:30-10:00pm

Kate Crudgington
@KCBobCut

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)

EP: Softcult – ‘Year Of The Snake’

Like the serpent that it’s named after, Year Of The Snake, the second EP from Canadian duo Softcult is a determined effort to shed the skin of past trauma, reject toxic behaviours and make space for healing.

Informed by their experiences of sexism and objectification as young women in the music industry, twin siblings Phoenix and Mercedes Arn Horn’s debut offering Year Of The Rat (2021) was a collection of bittersweet, grunge-infused sounds that soothed the sting of a painful past. On their follow up record Year Of The Snake, Softcult continue to dissect these difficult memories, but with a renewed focus on how they can use them as the foundations for true self autonomy.

A seething take down of the all-too-familiar excuse “Boys will be boys,” opener ‘BWBB’ sends a direct message to enablers of toxic “bro-code”. Heavily distorted riffs and crashing percussion drive home the message “Boys will be boys / but these boys are men / and these girls didn’t ask / to be touched by them.” It sits in powerful contrast to closing track ‘Uzumaki’, a heavy lament about the “vicious cycle” of PTSD caused by the behaviours the pair attack in ‘BWBB’.

Softcult’s hard earned emotional resilience shines through on ‘Spit It Out’ and ‘Gaslight’. The first is a brooding extrapolation on rejecting unconscious bias, whilst the second is an urgent, shadowy exploration of that “sinking feeling” of self doubt in an unbalanced relationship. On the more introspective ‘House Of Mirrors’, the pair channel their fears of falling short through swirling riffs and soft dual vocals, whilst ‘Perfect Blue’ is a melodic reflection on compromising your identity to please others.

Antagonistic and tender in equal measure, Softcult’s Year Of The Rat is a melodic reckoning, urging listeners to peel away the remnants of self-doubt, trust their instincts and to allow themselves the time and space to heal.

Listen to Sofcult’s new EP Year Of The Rat here

Follow Softcult on bandcamp, SpotifyInstagramFacebook & Twitter for more updates

Kate Crudgington
@KCBobCut