PLAYLIST: International Women’s Day 2020

Happy International Women’s Day! It’s a day to highlight and bring awareness to the issues facing women around the globe, and it’s also a time to celebrate the women we love too. This year’s theme is #EachforEqual – encouraging all of us to collectively help create a gender equal world: because an equal world is an enabled world.

At Get In Her Ears, we have only one definition of a “woman”, and that is inclusive of ALL women. Inclusivity is at the core of what we do. It’s the reason we started, it’s what drives us, and it’s something we will consistently strive for as long as we exist. To be explicitly clear, we always have and always will stand against transphobia – it is unacceptable. We send our love, support and solidarity to ALL women out there.

We’ve created a playlist of all the wxmen artists that continue to inspire, entertain, and motivate us into action. Take some time to scroll through our choices below, and make sure you hit play on the Spotify playlist at the end of the page.

Eurythmics & Aretha Franklin – ‘Sisters Are Doin’ It For Themselves’
An obvious, but essential choice for any IWD Playlist. Annie Lennox & Aretha Franklin are a dream vocal team, and I never get tired of listening to this classic. (Kate Crudgington)

Planningtorock – ‘Beulah Loves Dancing’ 
I’m forever grateful to Tash for introducing me to the lush electronics of Planningtorock. This track is all about their sister, Beulah, and her love of house music. When Planningtorock played this live at their gig at Southbank Centre last year, Beulah was in the audience, and when the two siblings embraced each other after the song, I had a tear in my eye. (KC)

The Julie Ruin – ‘Girls Like Us’
It’s no secret by now that Kathleen Hanna is the woman who has inspired me the most and pretty much the reason we started GIHE, and so it seems only right to include a track of her’s on our playlist celebrating amazing women. And this track from The Julie Ruin is just a perfect ode for womxn of all kinds this IWD. A unifying anthem for all us misfit grrrls, with relatable empowering lyrics such as “… girls like us pick up the hot handles and burn our hands and we get over it”, it never fails to pick me up and leave me feeling ready to face the world. (ML)

Big Joanie – ‘Used To Be Friends’
I think all three of us would firmly place this band on any International Women’s Day Playlist. We could not be more behind everything Big Joanie are about, having seen them countless times over the last year – their headline gig at The Moth Club was an undoubted highlight, this band just keep the good music coming. Their politics and music are inseparable, using their platform to speak to their experiences as a black, queer, punk band and the importance of intersectional feminism, it is a privilege to have had them on our radio show. (TW)

Nova Twins – ‘Bullet’
Consistent GIHE favourites Nova Twins have released their breath-taking new album Who Are The Girls, and this track is lifted from it. It’s a powerful statement against street harassment, and the myth that women are “asking for it” if they dress or act in a certain way. Amy’s lyrics are the ultimate weapon against such insults, making it crystal clear that those who touch without permission are not fucking welcome. (KC)

Jehnny Beth – ‘I’m The Man’
Though Jehnny Beth has said that ‘I’m The Man’ is “a poetic work first and foremost. Its aim is to make you feel, not think”, for me it seems to address the anger and ruthlessness surrounding toxic masculinity and the damaging effects it can have. IWD, I feel, should not only be about celebrating the brilliant women in our lives, but informing our male allies so that they can support their female peers as much as possible, and also be reassured that to be a “man” does not mean having to be aggressive or physically powerful. A poignant and powerful offering from this immense force of womankind, who I cannot wait to see live today at The Roundhouse as part of BBC 6 Music’s Festival (along with other awesome women Kate Tempest, Kim Gordon and more). (ML)

Deux Furieuses – ‘Year Of Rage’
GIHE faves Deux Furieuses last year dropped their immense album My War Is Your War – a collection of poignant, impassioned and all-too-relevant rock anthems. Taken from the album, ‘Year Of Rage’ is a seething offering addressing the #MeToo movement and the anger felt by women everywhere trying to seek justice. Delivering a message of empowerment through the raging riffs and soaring vocals of Ros Cairney and frenzied pummelling beats from Vas Antoniadou, it’s a hugely powerful and distinctly necessary listen this IWD. (ML)

The Joy Formidable – ‘The Last Drop’
I’ve lost count of the amount of times I’ve told people how much I adore The Joy Formidable. I’ve been following them for a decade now, and I am still in awe of their ability to create heavy, magnetic, alternative tracks like this one. (KC)

ARXX – ‘Intervention’
Another playlist, another ARXX track. But we make no apologies about this. ARXX have been faves for a while now, and with their “unapologetically loud”, ferocious raw power, they continue to blow us away with their unrelenting raucous sounds. This track, ‘Intervention’, taken from 2018’s EP Daughters Of Daughters, talks of social injustices, giving a shout out to the LGBT charity Stonewall, exclaiming that “you don’t get to say who we fall in love with”. A perfect, raging anthem for equality. Two of the coolest women we know, ARXX also headlined our IWD gig last year at The Finsbury, and it really was the best way to celebrate. (ML)

Amaroun – ‘Perish’
Previous guest on our radio show Amaroun has recently jumped back into the limelight with several new tracks, inclusive of this one ‘Perish’. I’m loving this next step in Amaroun’s musical journey – the beats, the vocals, the stripped back simplicity, sublime. Drawing from her experiences as a black queer woman, overcoming struggles with sexuality and the importance of emotional honesty in music, these themes stand strong throughout her songs. I can’t, and don’t want to stop listening. (TW)

Nayana Iz – ‘How We Do’
What a tune1 ‘How We Do’ is possibly one of the best debuts I have ever heard. Indian born, London raised Nayana Iz has arrived and she’s taking you with her. Eyes wide open people and get watching. (TW)

Missy Elliott – ‘She’s A Bitch’
One of the coolest, most inspiring women in the business, Missy Elliott delivers the most empowering and entertaining of offerings, just by being her incredible self. Proving that a woman can conquer a previously male-dominated genre, whilst consistently unashamedly oozing self confidence, she never fails to motivate me and put a smile on my face. Showing women that it’s ok to not fit the “feminine” stereotype that the industry so often seems to demand, and just be who you are and wear whatever the f*** you feel comfortable in (whether that’s an inflated bin bag or a scarecrow costume – check out last year’s performance at the VMAs to see this in action), she continues to push boundaries and remains a colossal force of nature. ,(ML)

Nilüfer Yanya – ‘Tears
One of my favourite tracks from Nilüfer Yanya, a slight move away from her guitar heavy tunes, ‘Tears’ released early last year captures and takes you along with its bouncing beats and sad reflective lyrics. It’s been great to watch this artist reach the acclaim she so rightly deserves, with my personal highlight seeing her play at Primavera 2019. It was the definition of sun-drenched guitars. (TW)

Shea Diamond – ‘I Am Her’
As early as transgender singer Shea Diamond can remember, she identified as a girl – and was punished for it. At age 20, she robbed a convenience store at gunpoint – desperate, she says, to fund her gender-affirming surgery. Behind bars (in a male prison), Diamond found her voice as a songwriter, and wrote this track ‘I Am Her’. I wanted to include this track today, not only because I just love its poignant, soulful groove, but because Trans Women are of of course women too and should be celebrated on International Women’s Day (and every day)! (ML)

Lido Pimienta (feat. Li Saumet) – ‘Nada’
Inspired by the birth of her daughter, Canadian-Columbian musician Lido Pimienta has penned this beautiful song ‘Nada’. Taken from her upcoming album Miss Colombia, Pimienta ruminates on the pain women experience – from debilitating period pains to giving birth – and how strong we are despite being unfairly dubbed the “weaker sex”. Watch the accompanying video for the track here(KC)

FKA Twigs – ‘sad day’
The master and the muse; FKA Twigs continues to dazzle my eyes and ears with each new release. This track is taken from her second album, Magdalene, a record which blends vulnerability and raw power in equal measure. There aren’t enough adjectives to describe how much I love the music this woman makes. (KC)

Pumarosa – ‘Lose Control’
I interviewed Pumarosa’s front woman Isabel Munoz-Newsome last year for The Line Of Best Fit (read here), and she said this was her favourite track from their latest album Devastation. She spoke candidly about how she wanted to change the narrative around “love” or “breakup” songs, and her words have stayed with me ever since. This track is a slow-burning banger. (KC)

Arlo Parks – ‘Cola’
Watching Poet, rapper, singer & producer Arlo Parks grow over the last couple of years, receiving the absolutely deserve notoriety and success that an artist of her calibre should has been our pleasure. ‘Cola’ her debut single has kept a solid place on many of my playlists, a tender, confessional and mesmerising track. If you haven’t heard of Arlo Parks yet, go check her out now. You can thank me later. (TW)

Sleater Kinney – ‘Modern Girl’
Having been left completely speechless by seeing total heroes Sleater Kinney live last week, I couldn’t not include a track by this group of inspirational women. Seeing Carrie Brownstein perform this song, with all her infectious charisma and musical magnificence, was a definite highlight. And the lyrics “anger makes me a modern girl” seem particularly poignant this International Women’s Day. (ML)

Amahla – ‘Old Soul’
Hackney-Native Amahla blew us away with this song ‘Old Soul’ at the beginning of 2019 and has just kept getting better. An artist who uses their platform for greater good talking about women’s issues, race and current political climates, has an unquestionable place on our IWD2020 playlist. (TW)

Antony and the Johnsons – ‘My Lady Story’
“My womb’s an ocean full of grief and rage.” I can’t listen to that lyric without my heart breaking a little. A strong advocate for trans rights, feminism and climate action, Anohni (formally of Antony and the Johnsons), is a necessary and powerful voice this International Women’s Day. On identifying as transgender, Anohni once said in an interview with The Guardian: “I was never going to become a beautiful, passable woman, and I was never going to be a man… It’s a quandary. But the trans condition is a beautiful mystery; it’s one of nature’s best ideas. What an incredible impulse, that compels a five-year-old child to tell its parents it isn’t what they think it is. Given just a tiny bit of oxygen, those children can flourish and be such a gift. They give other people licence to explore themselves more deeply, allowing the colours in their own psyche to flourish.” (ML)

Dolly Parton – ‘Here You Come Again’
With the recent release of the Dolly Parton podcast and BBC documentary, I’ll take any chance I can to lap up any more content from this one. Dolly, what a woman. I don’t think I need to say anything more. (TW)

Merry Clayton – ‘Love or Let Me Be Lonely’
I recently watched 20 Feet From Stardom and to my shame learned so much about this amazing woman’s history that I did not know. A long established American soul and gospel singer, she provided backing vocal tracks to so many notable performing artists, the most famous being the Rolling Stones’ ‘Gimme Shelter’. Take her voice out of that and what are you left with? Here’s a shout out to the often forgotten or overlooked backing singers from some of the best hits out there. An established and amazing recording artist in her own right, it’s never too late to get into Merry Clayton. What a voice. (TW)

Jackie Shane – ‘Any Other Way’
A Get In Her Ears playlist would not be complete without Jackie Shane, I think this track ‘Any Other Way’ has featured on so many of our playlists and radio shows, but for good reason. Kate introduced me to this artist a couple of years ago and I was sold on first listen. Jackie Shane lived her life as a woman in the spotlight, during a time when compassion and acceptance were not always reciprocated to those who identified as trans. A pioneer for trans rights in the 60s, who very much lives on in our memories today. (TW)

Girl Ray – ‘Friend Like That’
GIHE faves Girl Ray have recently released their uplifting second album, Girl, and I cannot get enough. Taken from the album, ‘Friend Like That’ is an ode to friendship flowing with the trio’s colourful energy and funk-filled, pop-inspired hooks. Of the track, the band explain: “This is a friendship anthem. 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.” Basically a perfect, shimmering anthem to celebrate all your fantastic female peers this International Women’s Day. (ML)

Shari Vari – ‘New York City’
Since hearing their debut album, Now in 2019, I still cannot get enough of the Hamburg based alt-electro/punk/producers Shari Vari. Now out via Malka Tuti, it’s packed full to the brim of brutalist delights. From ‘Dance Alone’, which takes me back to those dark, freezing, sweaty warehouse raves to this track ‘New York City’ with warped vocals, heavy reverb and cinematic crescendos. One of my albums of 2019, I consider myself still completely hooked. (TW)

Mentrix – ‘Nature’
Born in Iran but now based in Berlin, Mentrix (aka Samar Rad) blends her experiences of eastern and western culture, along with traditional Sufi instrumentation to create her beguiling, bold soundscapes. Her extensive travels and multiple influences – from Latin and French Literature, to The Qu’ran and traditional Persian poetry – give her music a diverse and fascinating edge. I can’t wait to hear her album My Enemy, My Love, which is set for release via her own (female-led) record label, House of Strength, on 3rd April. (KC)

Gazelle Twin – ‘Anti-body’
“I’m credibly unknown, and incredibly ok with that” wrote Elizabeth Bernholz – aka Gazelle Twin – in response to a fan who suggested she should be added to the Reading Festival lineup to fill the obvious void of female bands/artists on the bill. Bernholz’s pioneering sound and vision is best experienced elsewhere though, as her avant-garde, haunting electronic soundscapes demand your full attention. This track is lifted from her second album Unflesh, and although Bernholz has said she will never return to this material (having crafted her spectacular third album, Pastoral), I always come back to it when I’m feeling restless. (KC)

LIVE: The Joy Formidable – Islington Assembly Hall, London 24.11.19

“Maybe we should’ve started a Bee Gees tribute band? They’re big in Mold” jokes Ritzy Bryan, lead vocalist & guitarist of alternative trio The Joy Formidable. She’s talking about her Welsh hometown, and how her affinity with the Flintshire county is stronger than ever, 10 years after releasing the band’s debut EP, A Balloon Called Moaning. “Matt’s got the shirt for it”, bassist Rhydian Dafydd chimes in, as drummer Matt Thomas feigns offense and laughs off the comment.

Fans who have been following the band for the last decade will be used to these charming chats between songs. The trio are on form once again at The Islington Assembly Hall, as they’re in town to celebrate the 10th anniversary of their first EP. Before the jokes start rolling out, the trio have already ripped through three of A Balloon Called Moaning‘s tracks; ‘The Greatest Light’, ‘Cradle’, and ‘Austere’. The room is full of fans and friends – including previous drummer Justin, who gets multiple shout outs – and the feeling is one of excitement and mutual gratitude for the dynamic sound of a band who have weathered this uncertain industry for the last decade.

“This is the farewell tour” teases Rhydian, before quickly adding “Jokes! There’s new music in 2020”. “Who knows what song’s coming next?” Ritzy interjects, as she plucks the opening notes to ‘While The Flies’. The band play the tracks in the order they’re listed on the EP, giving their fans the full A Balloon Called Moaning experience. The enduring power of ‘Whirring’ comes next, with its thudding drum beats, as well as the extended outro that didn’t make the cut on the original EP. It’s followed by stripped back lament ‘9669’. Ritzy and Rhydian’s call-and-response vocals are delivered with grace and gravitas, as the lyrics give insight into an intimate conversation. It’s offset perfectly by penultimate track ‘The Last Drop’ with its manic stop-start rhythms and bold percussion.

Final EP track ‘Ostrich’ is still a dizzying wall of sound when heard live. It’s a mixture of buzzing riffs, longing vocals, and relentless percussion that forms an all-consuming, disorientating aural blur. The crowd are unsure of what comes next – as the EP tracklist has now been completed – but the band burst into ‘Y Bluen Eira’, followed by the powerful ‘I Don’t Want To See You Like This’, lifted from their 2011 album The Big Roar. These non-EP tracks are greeted with the same amount of enthusiasm.

‘Passerby’, a b-side track from 2016 album Hitch, prefaces a stripped back version of ‘The Leopard & The Lung’. Lifted from their 2013 album Wolf’s Law, Ritzy introduces the track with a message about caring for, and protecting our environment. Rhydian’s gentle keys and the pairs dual vocals make this song a real set highlight. Next, they ask the crowd if there’s a track they’d like to hear, and after lots of inaudible shouts, the band settle for ‘Caught On A Breeze’, before leaving the stage.

They return for an encore of ‘Anemone’ – influenced by the tragedies of John Webster – and the formidable ‘The Everchanging Spectrum Of A Lie’. It’s an apt song to close with, as the trio have evolved and grown over the last decade into gracious, and talented performers. There’s nothing to lament about their celebratory performance of A Balloon Called Moaning, and that is a fitting legacy for a formidable record, produced by an equally formidable band.

Order your 10 Year Anniversary reissue of A Balloon Called Moaning/Y Falŵ​n Drom on vinyl here.

Photo Credit: Steve Reynolds

Kate Crudgington
@KCBobCut

ALBUM: The Joy Formidable – ‘AAARTH’

As guitarist and vocalist Ritzy Bryan explains: AAARTH is what happens when you stop “giving a fuck about things that don’t matter”. The Joy Formidable‘s fourth album is an aural plunge in to freedom and self-exploration, and brims with the trio’s trademark alternative sounds. The record is set to be released via Hassle Records on 28th September.

AAARTH bursts in to life with the sound of ‘Y Bluen Eira’. Sung entirely in Welsh, it’s a powerful, all-encompassing track; permeated by waves of Ritzy’s buzzing guitar, Rhydian’s brooding bass and Matt’s heart-thumping percussion. ‘The Wrong Side’ follows, pushing through with steady grace before the thunderous ‘Go Loving’ breaks in. It’s a solid example of the band’s ongoing ability to pause and punch in all the right places.

Acoustic guitar and distorted bass lines sit perfectly next to each other on ‘Cicada (Land on Your Back)’, whilst Ritzy’s hushed vocals on ‘All In All’ provide a moment for quiet, ambiguous reflection about the “something missing”. The track’s pay off hits at the three minute mark in the form of swirling, atmospheric riffs and crashing drum beats. ‘What For’ bleeds in afterwards, leaving no room for respite. The same can be said for ‘The Better Me’, which rips and roars for just shy of four minutes, and hosts an incredible outro that will be the highlight of future live sets. It’s a song about “self-acceptance, living with your mistakes and appreciating how we all make up the whole and have something different to offer” Ritzy extrapolates.

The melancholy ‘Absence’ follows, acting as a calm interlude before the raucous ‘Dance of the Lotus’ kicks in. It’s easily one of the strongest songs on the record, with its immense drop-ins and wonderful guitar wails. Penultimate track ‘You Can’t Give Me’ rings out with orchestral elements and buzzing guitar for a full five minutes, before ‘Caught On a Breeze’ closes the album with more belting percussion, rumbling bass lines, and filthy guitar riffs.

AAARTH is a fierce new collection of songs that reinforces The Joy Formidable’s seamless ability to keep the momentum going with (what feels like) minimal effort. A decade after the release of their debut EP, A Balloon Called Moaning, the trio are still releasing sharply produced, thunderous sounds that are best appreciated at full volume, or in the flesh on a live platform. Don’t miss out on their in-store gigs at Rough Trade (dates below).

AAARTH is released on September 28th on CD, LP, limited boxset, Indie retail exclusive vinyl & Rough Trade exclusive vinyl. Pre-order here.

The Joy Formidable Live Dates 2018
Sept 29 – Rough Trade in-store, Nottingham
Sept 30 – Rough Trade in-store, Bristol
Oct 01 – Rough Trade in-store, London East

Kate Crudgington
@KCBobCut

LIVE: The Joy Formidable – The Lexington, 22.08.18

Almost six years to the day since they last played the venue, The Joy Formidable made a triumphant return to The Lexington to perform to a sold out crowd on Wednesday night. Ritzy, Rhydian and Matt are masters of loud-and-quiet alternative anthems, and despite being absent from the London live scene recently; the trio have lost none of their momentum.

Opening their set with the riotous and rarely played ‘Greyhounds In The Slips’, the band tore through the song with impressive precision and energy. ‘I Don’t Want To See You Like This’ followed, before the all-encompassing ‘The Greatest Light Is The Greatest Shade’ took hold – filling the venue with foot-thumping and chants of appreciation. At the close of the song, guitarist & vocalist Ritzy, and bassist Rhydian addressed the “familiar faces” in their crowd, and banter about her “mountain troll” clumsiness – as well as drummer Matt’s intake of walnuts and whisky – drew hearty laughs from their loyal fans.

After this brief hiatus, the trio eased in to ‘Ostrich’. Unlike the recorded version, this rendition hosted a calmer intro; reflecting Ritzy’s words about the song’s theme of “moving on and forgiving” people. The pay-off was still every inch as powerful, so nothing was lost in the translation. With their fourth album AAARTH due for release next month, the band then showcased some of their new material – including their latest single ‘The Wrong Side’ – which rang out with trademark Joy Formidable intensity.

Hitch single ‘This Ladder Is Ours’ thundered through shortly after, before the band briefly left the stage, returning for a knockout encore. Between the blur of ‘Buoy’ (which was given similar treatment to ‘Ostrich’) and final track ‘Whirring’, the band took some time to remind fans that next year marks the tenth anniversary of the release of their debut EP, A Balloon Called Moaning. Ritzy promised TJF would be celebrating the occasion with some intimate acoustic shows, then promptly apologised for not playing the acoustic dates she promised last time she was in town, when the band played at Oslo in Hackney.

In one final six minute frenzy of riffs and raucous drumming, the band threw themselves and their instruments around the stage during ‘Whirring’, leaving their crowd fired up with the promise of seeing them in town again soon. The Joy Formidable have been on the musical radar for almost a decade, and last night’s performance proved they’ve got another decade’s worth of raw live power in them.

Support came from the wonderful Bryde – who performed with a full band – who TJF heartily praised.

Pre-order your copy of The Joy Formidable’s AAARTH here.
Follow the band on Facebook for more updates.

Kate Crudgington
@KCBobCut