PLAYLIST: February 2021

We’ve made it through the first two months of 2021! Despite the current lockdown here in the UK, the GIHE team have been busy unearthing more new music gems to help you get through these long and tedious days. We’ve put together an eclectic mix of alt-pop gems, atmospheric electronics and gritty guitar tunes on our February playlist.

Take some time to scroll through our track choices below and make sure you hit play on the Spotify playlist at the end of this post. Follow GIHE on Spotify to hear all of our previous playlists too.

 

Scrounge – ‘Leaking Drains’
The new single from South East London duo Lucy and Luke – aka Scrounge – ‘Leaking Drains’ offers a stark soundscape reflecting on the state of society at the moment. Propelled by Lucy’s raw, snarling vocals and slashing guitar alongside Luke’s immense, thrashing beats, it builds to a colossal cacophony before coming to a disconcerting, abrupt end – only adding to the stirring tension that has built up throughout. Oozing a ferocious power, the duo have created something that is striking both in its jarring potency and rage-driven force.
(Mari Lane – Managing Editor)

HAVVK – ‘Home’
The first single to be shared from HAVVK’s upcoming new album, ‘Home’ is a stirring reflection on appreciating those closest to you. Propelled by a shimmering ethereal fuzz, the track showcases the soaring celestial majesty of front woman Julie’s vocals, as they float with an impassioned splendour over scuzzy hooks and a gritty, driving energy. Fusing together tinges of ’90s grunge-fuelled angst with twinkling shoegaze sensibilities and the band’s own unique poignant grace, it’s a truly captivating soundscape. (ML)

Softcult – ‘Another Bish’
Informed by their love of Bikini Kill and Smashing Pumpkins, alternative duo Softcult blend atmospheric guitars, energetic percussion and bittersweet vocals to create their hazy, antagonistic sounds. Formed of Ontario-based twin sisters Phoenix and Mercedes Arn Horn, this single ‘Another Bish’ was born from their desire to resist and relieve the pressures of existing in a patriarchal music industry. I had a lovely chat with the grrls over Zoom a few weeks ago which you can read here.
(Kate Crudgington – Features Editor)

New Pagans – ‘Harbour’
A tenacious celebration of women’s strength and resilience throughout pregnancy and childbirth, New Pagans’ latest single ‘Harbour’ is based on the experiences of vocalist Lyndsey McDougall’s pregnancy with her own daughter. Full of the Belfast band’s trademark urgent riffs and catchy melodies, it’s an empowering examination of the fears and triumphs that accompany this unique time in a woman’s life. I can’t wait to hear New Pagans’ debut album, The Seed, The Vessel, The Roots and All, when it’s released on 19th March. (KC)

Grandmas House – ‘Always Happy’
A thumping post-punk anthem that seethes with sardonic wit, ‘Always Happy’ is the latest single from Bristol-based trio Grandmas House. Released via Brace Yourself Records, the track is a raucous juxtaposition of the confident image we project externally to others, when internally we often feel the complete opposite. (KC)

Pretty Happy – ‘Salami’
A wise-cracking anthem about the complexities of processed meat, ‘Salami’ is the new single from Cork art-punk trio Pretty Happy. Full of sarcastic lyrics, gutsy vocals and crashing percussion, the track is a ridiculously good off-kilter banger that rambles through the band’s many absurd thoughts and feelings about the pork-based snack. (KC)

Hadda Be – ‘Another Life’
Complete with a refreshed line-up and new name, Hadda Be (formerly Foundlings) bring their shimmering joy to latest single ‘Another Life’. Despite the track’s somewhat melancholic sentiment – “it covers me in worry, now that’s all I ever know” – it’s buoyed by an infectious jangling energy as scuzzy hooks whirr alongside frenetic beats and Amber’s rich vocals. An uplifting slice of indie-fuzz-pop that’ll leave you longing to dance along to its sparkling sounds live. (ML)

Lauren Auder – ‘Heathen’
“I think this may be my favourite song I’ve ever worked on,” explains London-based songwriter Lauren Auder about this track, and I can see why. ‘Heathen’ is actually my first introduction to her sound, but what an intro it is! It mixes everything I love about electronic music – yearning vocals, urgent beats, rapturous synths and guitar noises – it’s all here and it gives me goose bumps every time I listen. Definitely check out Auder’s new EP, 5 Songs For The Dysphoric, if you’re into this. (KC)

Tyler Holmes – ‘Nothing’
I’ve only recently become acquainted with Tyler Holmes, but I have fast fallen in love with their poignant, affecting and utterly unique sweeping electronic soundscapes. Holmes has spent a lifetime crafting their own Black, Queer narrative by pushing the limits of their imagination and their innovative ability to fuse together genres to create truly stirring, instantly immersive sonic trips is showcased perfectly on ‘Nothing’. Holmes is set to release their new album next month via Ratskin Records. Watch the video for ‘Nothing’ here. (ML)

SPIDER – ‘Water Sign’
Born in Nigeria but raised in Dublin, London-based twenty-one year old SPIDER blends jagged electronics and brooding guitar riffs alongside her distinctive vocals to create her evocative sounds. Her focus is on how a track makes you feel – whether that’s a feeling of power, fluidity or chaos – and on ‘Water Sign’ she weaves these emotions into a cohesive, stirring electronic soundscape. (KC)

Roma – ‘Stay Like This’ (Tiiva Remix)
I’ve been following queer artist & producer Tiiva since I heard their re-working of Despicable Zee’s ‘We Won’t Stop’ last year, and I’m continuously impressed by their instinct for choosing talented and interesting artists to collaborate with. Tiiva reached out to songwriter Roma during lockdown after hearing her track ‘Stay Like This’ and the pair have worked together to create this lush, dreamy electronic tune. Roma originally wrote this song from the perspective of her daughter, exploring what it means to grow up in a modern world and Tiiva overcame their own adult cynicism to create this woozy new remix. (KC)

Show Boy – ‘Turn It On’
Following 2019’s Surreal, London artist and producer Show Boy has today released his much awaited brand new EP Ishtar Lion. A wonderfully eclectic collection, the EP showcases Show Boy’s knack for blurring genre boundaries, combining influences from across the musical spectrum to create perfectly catchy offerings oozing an uplifting, vibrant energy and heartfelt emotion. Driven by the soaring power of his unique vocals, ‘Turn It On’ interweaves an intricate musicality with a sparkling soulful splendour, resulting in a euphoric ode to new beginnings. (ML)

Callaz – ‘Queima Essa Ideia’
Recorded in Berlin and produced by the brilliant Ah! Kosmos, the title of this latest single from songwriter Callaz translates roughly as ‘Burn That Idea’. Based between Lisbon and Berlin, Callaz has recently released her second album, the brilliantly titled Dead Flowers & Cat Piss, and it’s full of her soft vocals, candid lyrics and alt-pop soundscapes. (KC)

Grove – ‘Ur Boyfriend’s Wack’
Bristol-based hyperpop artist Grove blends chaotic synths, warped beats and wicked rap verses on this high octane track ‘Ur Boyfriend’s Wack’. Taken from their debut EP, QUEER + BLACK, this song forms part of Grove’s aural journey through their experiences of being young, black and queer. (KC)

Ci Majr – ‘Summer Drug’
Ci Majr is an emerging non-binary artist from Atlanta and this new single ‘Summer Drug’ is a flirty, joyful dose of dancing beats and smooth vocals. Of the track, Ci explains: “I think a lot of us have been in a place where we’ve been hurt from a relationship and have a hard time opening up again…so this song is saying ‘yes, you can absolutely satisfy my physical needs but we’re not taking it further than that’; likening ‘using’ someone for their body just like you’d use a drug of some sort.” (KC)

Desire – ‘Zeros’
The latest single from Desire, ‘Zeros’ will capture the ears with its sweeping celestial aura. As a majestic, electro-driven soundscape provides the backdrop for Megan Louise’s honey-sweet soaring vocals, glitchy beats and twinkling hooks create a truly moreish offering, oozing an ethereal, effervescent grace. Of the track, Desire explain: “As the calendar pages fly by, we are all reaching for a new normal on what sometimes feels like an endless loop. The cyclical music echoes flashback sequences of a recurring dream.” (ML)

Blonde Maze – ‘Fade Into You’
An exquisite rendition of a Mazzy Star classic, Blonde Maze’s ‘Fade Into You’ oozes all the poignant, rich emotion of the original, whilst adding her own unique blend of soaring electronics and uplifting chiming beats to create something truly euphoric steeped in its own ethereal splendour. Another blissfully cathartic creation from Blonde Maze, showcasing her ability to take an already beautiful track and transform it into something that is completely, undeniably, and majestically, her own. (ML)

Kalbells ft. Miss Eaves – ‘Pickles’
A dreamy tune about escaping a romantic pickle, ‘Pickles’ is a delightful new offering from cosmic-pop collective Kalbells, featuring rapper Miss Eaves. Kalbell’s will be releasing their new album Max Heart on 26th March, which they describe as a “portrait of badass women harnessing their improvisational magic.” (KC)

pecq – ‘Stranger’
‘Stranger’ is the debut single from Oxford psych-pop duo pecq, aka Nikò O’Brien and Hannah Jacobs. It’s a delicate, lush soundscape which the pair wrote, produced and self-released through their own label, Upcycled Sounds Records, earlier this year. pecq are set to release their debut EP, also called Stranger, this summer. (KC)

Jenny Moore’s Mystic Business – ‘Woman Is A Word’
A cover of Empress Of’s ‘Woman Is A Word’, this latest offering from the six-piece choral punk ensemble highlights the power of voices coming together in unity. Oozing a sweeping, celestial splendour, the many vocals flow together in harmony, propelled by an upbeat, jazz-infused musicality. Adding their own unique euphoric energy to the poignant sentiment and soulful passion of the original, Jenny Moore’s Mystic Business have created an emotive and empowering rendition. (ML)

BAXTR – ‘Grace On Fire’
The latest single from London-based trio BAXTR, ‘Grace On Fire’ reflects on the feelings of helplessness that come with seeing someone you love suffer. A sweeping, uplifting slice of alt-pop it oozes nostalgic tinges harking back to the anthemic indie classics of the early noughties, whilst maintaining its own unique shimmering power. As Floss’ honey-sweet vocals flow with a celestial majesty throughout, the track builds with explosive, soaring riffs and a swirling heartfelt emotion to create something truly stirring. (ML)

Samantha Crain – ‘Bloomsday’
Taken from her upcoming new EP, I Guess We Live Here Now, Samantha Crain’s latest single ‘Bloomsday’ is a poignant slice of Americana combining beautifully strummed melodies and a stirring warmth. As the impassioned subtle power of Crain’s rich vocals ooze shades of the raw emotion of Sharon Van Etten, twinkling hooks flow with a rustic charm to gently grace the heartstrings. I Guess We Live Here Now, the upcoming new EP from Samantha Crain, is out 9th April via Real Kind Records/Communion Records. Watch the video for ‘Bloomsday’ here. (ML)

Ex:Re – ‘Where the Time Went’ (with 12 Ensemble)
This song stopped me in my tracks when I first heard it. The title, Elena Tonra’s vocals and lyrics, composer Josephine Stephenson’s cinematic string arrangements – they all resonate so much deeper during this extended period of lockdown. ‘Where The Time’ went is one of ten beautiful tracks on Tonra’s new collaborative album, Ex:Re with 12 Ensemble, and it’s accompanied by a wonderful music video that she directed too. Watch it here. (KC)

Hannah Peel – ‘Ecovocative’
I’m very late to the Hannah Peel party, but I’m in love with her ambient electronic soundscapes. This single ‘Ecovocative’ is lifted from her upcoming album Fir Wave, which is set for release on 26th March via Peel’s own label My Own Pleasure. (KC)

 

LISTEN: Kalbells – ‘Purplepink’

A vibrant, cosmic synth-pop tune that stimulates and celebrates the senses, Kalbells have shared their latest single ‘Purplepink’. Taken from the band’s upcoming album Max Heart, which is set for release on 26th March via NNA Tapes, the track is a buoyant mix of soft vocals, angular guitar riffs and lush elongated keyboard sounds.

Formed of Kalmia Traver (Rubblebucket), Angelica Bess (Body Language), Zoë Brecher (Hushpuppy, Sad13) and Sarah Pedinotti (Okkervil River, LipTalk), Kalbells are a band who promote genuine self expression, celebrating their queerness through their upbeat, psych-infused sounds. The band worked alongside Luke Temple to co-engineer their new album, which they describe as a “portrait of badass women harnessing their improvisational magic.” Single ‘Purplepink’ is the manifestation of this collective energy.

Filled with lush lyrical images like “a floating slice of angel cake / is one way I describe this lake,” the track is an effervescent, funk-infused slice of synth-pop designed to transport listeners away to a world of delightful rapture. The single is accompanied by a colourful video, conceptualized and directed by Lisa Schatz. The visuals show the Kalbells as warrior space queens, shimmering alongside animated rocket ships and a 30 foot hologram of American musician Maddie Rice riffing on guitar.

Watch the video for ‘Purplepink’ below.

Follow Kalbell on bandcamp, Spotify, Instagram, Twitter & Facebook for more updates.

Photo Credit: Amanda Picotte

Kate Crudgington
@KCBobCut

PLAYLIST: November 2020

We’re almost out of Lockdown 2.0 here in the UK, but whether you’re feeling excited or apprehensive about the changes the new government measures will bring, our November playlist is here to help distract you. There’s an eclectic mix of alt-pop delights, atmospheric electronic soundscapes and some shimmering indie and alternative guitar tunes. Take some time to scroll through our track choices below and make sure you hit play on the Spotify playlist at the end of this post.

GENN – ’23rd March’
The latest single from Brighton based trans-national band Ġenn, ‘23rd March’ is propelled by whirring hooks, capturing the charismatic energy of the band’s magnificent live show, as it builds with a sultry power to a gritty grunge-fueled seething anthem. ‘23rd March’ is taken from Ġenn’s upcoming EP Liminal, set for release next year on Everything Sucks Music. (Mari Lane)

Nervous Twitch – ‘Tongue Tied’
The latest single from the Leeds three-piece, ‘Tongue Tied’ is a comforting ode to “Self-reflection and amazement over the contradictions in life”. Propelled by scuzzy surf-rock inspired hooks and an instantly catchy uptempo musicality, it’s a colourfully retro slice of uplifting punk-pop. ‘Tongue Tied’ is out now via Reckless Yes. (ML)

Tired Lion – ‘~Cya Later~’
Aussie band Tired Lion have just shared their new album Breakfast For Pathetics and it is SO. GOOD. I love frontwoman & guitarist Sophie Hopes’ voice and this track is apparently one of her favourites on the record – it also happens to be one of mine too. (Kate Crudgington)

Francis of Delirium – ‘Lakes’
“The main idea in ‘Lakes’ is that we are all fed by other people (or other “rivers”) to eventually form who we are, one large lake fed by other water streams, one community,” explains Francis of Delirium’s songwriter Jana Bahrich. Taken from their upcoming EP Wading, which is set for release next February, this single continues to show Bahrich’s talent for writing poignant guitar tunes about the interweaving nature of life. (KC)

King Hannah – ‘Meal Deal’
Liverpool’s King Hannah have just released a complete beaut of a debut EP, the magnificence of which is showcased perfectly in ‘Meal Deal’. Inspired by an unsuccessful flat-hunting mission, it’s steeped in an all-encompassing ethereal splendour as the utterly spellbinding majesty of Hannah Merrick’s vocals flow alongside swirling War On Drugs-reminiscent hooks. Tell Me Your Mind And I’ll Tell You Mine, the new EP from King Hannah, is out now via City Slang. Watch the homevideo for ‘Meal Deal’ here. (ML)

Serena Isioma – ‘Stop Calling The Police On Me’
“This song is about searching for peace outside of the society that doesn’t understand you,” explains Chicago-based musician Serena Isioma. “There was a heavy police presence in my household growing up. It was very toxic. Eventually, I stopped coming home altogether. I was much happier hanging out with my friends.” Isioma, a first generation Nigerian-American, neutralizes these hostile memories via ambient guitars and honeyed vocals. I’m so excited to hear their new EP The Leo Sun Sets, which is set for release later this year. (KC)

Amaroun & Jung Mergs – ‘Highest Head’
GIHE fave Amaroun’s latest offering sees the London artist teaming up with rapper Jung Mergs. Switching between the rich, smooth power of Amaroun’s soulful refrains and the fast-paced poignant spoken-word lyricism of Mergs, it builds with a gritty, grimey groove and whirring, fuzzy energy. (ML)

Rosé Petal – ‘Dripping’
I love this hypnotic new single from Rhode Island-based, alternative R&B/electro-pop producer and songwriter Rosé Petal. It’s a beautiful combination of sweet vocals, sultry beats and atmospheric electronics. (KC)

ZAND – ‘Inappropriate’
Self proclaimed “ugly popstar” ZAND has just released their new EP Ugly Pop, and ‘Inappropriate’ is one of several savage bangers on the record. ZAND’s wit and defiance in the face of their critics shines through in their candid lyricism and polished, yet punishing beats. (KC)

STRAIGHT GIRL – ‘Limón’
A vibrant, jagged electronic soundscape inspired by disjointed and self-critical thoughts, ‘Limón’ is the latest single from Leeds-based electropunk STRAIGHT GIRL. Released via Come Play With Me, the track is a cathartic new offering that sees the artist confront the darker parts of themselves and transform them into energetic, intensely danceable beats. (KC)

CIRCE – ‘Dancer’
An evocative dark-pop gem inspired by a morbid fascination with an infamous cult, London-based Circe’s latest single ‘Dancer’ is taken from her debut EP, She’s Made of Saints. The track is a sultry, cinematic tune exploring the dangerous allure of Californian cult The Source Family. I wholeheartedly recommend you listen to Circe’s EP if you’re a fan of any of the following: The Handmaid’s Tale, David Lynch or Stranger Things. (KC)

October and The Eyes – ‘Dark Dog’
New Zealand-born, London-based songwriter October and The Eyes recently shared her debut EP Dogs and Gods, and this dark, sultry single is lifted from it. Speaking about the track, October explains: “It’s about the uneasy feeling of being watched, that at any moment something bad could happen. There’s an anecdotal malformed dog who’s always near – limping, snarling, growling and drooling. It’s one you feel equally sorry for as you do fear it. You cannot outrun this dark dog, so you decide to make peace.” (KC)

Yumi And The Weather – ‘What Will Become Of The Wishing Well’
The latest single from Brighton based artist Yumi And The Weather, ‘What Will Become Of The Wishing Well’ flows with soaring rich vocals and twinkling uptempo vibes alongside glitchy beats and a driving energy. A soothing slice of alt-pop reminiscent of the electro-strewn grandeur of The Postal Service. (ML)

Elaine Malone – ‘You’ (1000 Beasts Remix)
A captivating, blissful lo-fi new offering from two of Cork’s freshest talents, ‘You’ is a beaut collaboration between songwriter & multi-instrumentalist Elaine Malone and electronic artist & producer 1000 Beasts. Led by Malone’s original beguiling vocals and lullaby-esque lyrics, 1000 Beasts has tentatively transformed the track with his distinctive percussion and the result is a magnetic soundscape that acts as an aural tonic for testing times. (KC)

Smoothboi Ezra – ‘My Own Person’
Smoothboi Ezra is an 18 year old songwriter, multi-instrumentalist and producer from Greystones, Ireland. This song is about “not being happy but not being able to do anything about it” which is the over-riding sentiment for most of 2020. I love this track and can’t wait to hear more from them in the future. (KC)

Hearts Beating In Time – ‘Simone’s’
The latest single from Berlin-based Hearts Beating In Time, ‘Simone’s’ offers a totally dreamy, twinkling soundscape. With elegant layers of shimmering synths alongside the glistening charm of Rebecca Theuma’s vocals, it’s an instantly captivating slice of immersive electro-pop. (ML)

Jenny Moore’s Mystic Business – ‘I Am Afraid’
Reflecting on how being alone as a female identifying person can be both scary and exciting, ‘I Am Afraid’ is propelled by funk-fuelled bass-lines and an empowering, shimmering energy. As it builds with the twinkling power of voices uniting together in harmony and jangling, playful percussion, it’s a poignant, impassioned ode to female strength and resilience. ‘I Am Afraid’ is out now via Lost Map Records. Watch the joyous new video here. (ML)

Pinlight – ‘Grow Slow’
The new single from Edinburgh-based hearing-impaired artist Jenny Laahs, aka Pinlight, ‘Grow Slow’ flows with an uplifting twinkling energy and luscious honey-sweet vocals. A refreshingly uptempo slice of sunny alt-pop, it’s the perfect danceable accompaniment to a solo lockdown living room rave. (ML)

Kama Vardi – ‘The Gate’
An uplifting slice of folk-pop, Kama Vardi’s ‘The Gate’ flows with a twinkling romanticism and joy-tinged lilting musicality. Oozing a captivating allure alongside the soothing splendour of Vardi’s vocals. Moonticket, the upcoming new album from Kama Vardi, is out now via Bread For Eskimos. (ML)

Track Of The Day: CATBEAR – ‘Who Are You?’

A heady, retro-pop tune about the breath-taking nature of new found lust, London-based duo CATBEAR have shared their latest single ‘Who Are You?’. Full of lush synth sounds and snappy yet danceable beats, the track is an aural flirtation designed to provide a moment of joy during uncertain times.

“This was so much fun to write,” explains band member Zoe Konez. “I came up with the first half of the song on a train during my commute on one of the last days before [the first] lockdown and we developed it during those first few long weeks of quarantine where making music kept us going.” Along with bandmate Sarah Smith, Konez wrote, recorded and produced CATBEAR’s new music fromhome over the summer, an achievement that’s made even more impressive by the fact that Smith worked on the frontline in A&E for the NHS throughout the pandemic, and that Konez runs a music programme in a mental health hospital.

‘Who Are You?’ is a wonderfully upbeat escape from the pressures of the duo’s daily routine, brimming with that infectious and overwhelming feeling of attraction when you find your thoughts spiralling over a new crush. Listen to the new single below and follow CATBEAR on bandcampFacebook and Spotify for more updates.

 

Kate Crudgington
@KCBobCut