GIHE Tracks Of 2019

It’s that time of year again when we look back at some of our musical highlights. And what a year for new music it’s been – from empowering guitar-driven anthems and gritty electro beats, to dreamy indie-pop, our ears have been pretty lucky!

Over the next week, we’ll be sharing our favourite gigs, albums, events and Ones To Watch for 2020, but for now, here are our top tracks of 2019. Have a read, and a listen!

Clt Drp – ‘Speak To My’
Having completely blown us away live at The Finsbury in June, Brighton trio Clt Drp are one of the most exciting bands I’ve come across this year. With the immense, thrashing beats, fuzz-filled whirring hooks and soaring, gritty vocals of ‘Speak To My’, the empowered energy of their unique electro-punk sound is showcased perfectly. (Mari Lane – Co-Founder/Managing Editor)

Scrounge – ‘Badoom’
Savage guitar riffs and driving beats form the basis for South London duo Scrounge’s single ‘Badoom’. Taken from their debut EP Ideal, released via Fierce Panda, the track showcases the band’s ability to take relatable concepts such as feeling burned out, and turn them in to punchy, cathartic sounds. Check out the karaoke inspired visuals that accompany the track here. (Kate Crudgington – Co-Founder/Features Editor)

ILL – ‘Kick Him Out The Disco’
We’re all in agreement at GIHE that ILL’s track ‘Kick Him Out The Disco’ is a BANGER! These grrrls blend the best bits of punk, noise, and keys to create cathartic anthems about standing up for yourself, and not letting the bastards grind you down. ‘Kick Him Out The Disco’ is a “glittered middle finger” to anyone who’s tried to manipulate you, or who made you question your self-worth. (KC)

Lizzo – ‘Juice’
Bam! As soon as this piece of pure pop magic hit the radio, it got my attention. ‘Juice’ is perfectly constructed; its opening bars draw you in, and before you know it, you’re shouting along and belting out the ‘ya-ya’ chorus. I defy you to listen to this song and stay still. If you’re not running to – or already on – a packed dancefloor, you’ll be shimmying in your seat. It’s sunny, fun and so empowering. ‘Juice’ was my introduction to Lizzo and my love affair with her has blossomed throughout 2019. Her beautiful album artwork, fabulous statement outfits (two words: finger handbag!), and that Glasto performance sealed the deal. My four-year-old sometimes likes to sing along to ‘Juice’ in the car, thankfully neglecting the naughty words. When he does, it reminds me how lucky we are to have a popstar like Lizzo. Body positive, funny, filthy. She’s an inspiration.
(Vic Conway – Contributor)

God Colony (feat. Samirah Raheem) – ‘Girls’
You might recognise Samira Raheem from her 2 minute interview at Amber Rose’s Slutwalk in 2018. This video caught the attention of UK Producers God Colony, who approached Raheem to collaborate. The result of that collaboration is ‘Girls’ – an encouraging call-to-arms laced with fierce lyrics, and indutrial-tinged, progressive beats. Always remember: “Every dog has his day / and bad bitches too”. (KC)

Pallas Athene – ‘Through Hell’
One of my absolute favourite songs of the year, ‘Through Hell’ is taken from Pallas Athene’s debut self-titled EP. Exploring themes of man vs machine and the dissolution of self, this is the latest single from the EP which I’m so into – I just love its spaced out vocals and calming chords. Keep up the great work! Looking forward to the future of Pallas Athene.
(Tash Walker – Co-Founder/Digital Editor)

Grizzly Coast – ‘High Functioning’
A GIHE team favourite, ‘High Functioning’ by Grizzly Coast is a track that has got firmly into my head. It’s all about holding your life together in every place, but your own head. Of the track, Grizzly Coast explains: “I was going through a difficult time with my OCD choosing to power forward and work towards my goals”, but she found the purpose and drive to stay confident through it all, and we are very thankful for that. ‘High Functioning’ is a total tune, keep up the great work Grizzly Coast, we’re behind you 100%! (TW)

Amahla – ‘Dorothy’s Verses’
Having played legendary venues such as The Jazz Cafe and The Roundhouse, and garnered support from the likes of BBC Radio 1 Extra and 6Music’s Tom Robinson, Hackney native Amahla this year released the poignant ‘Dorothy’s Verses’. Exploring what truth is through the story of her grandmother, and reflecting on the power of female voices, ‘Dorothy’s Verses’ flow with rich, impassioned vocals alongside luscious sweeping hooks, creating a truly spellbinding – and deeply stirring – offering. (ML)

Grimes – ‘Violence’
It’s funny, looking back at 2019, I could swear this song has been out longer than a mere three months. Grimes has always been a bit beyond me up to now: too saccharine for my artsy side, too much of an art angel for my pop tastes, but ‘Violence’ hits the sweet spot. Haunting beats, an insistent hook and candied vocals that bitterly talk of a romance that’s damaging, controlling but satisfying. With 2019’s batshit political and cultural wars veering between poles, ‘Violence’ pins it all to the floor.
(John McGovern – Contributor)

Catbear – ‘Unrequited Love’
‘Unrequited Love’ is the second single from Catbear, and what a tune! Fully home-recorded, self-produced, and with a heavy helping of synths. In their own words Catbear say: “We make music for the enjoyment of it. We are two good friends that love each other and we love making music together. There is no other agenda. And with that attitude we want to inspire young women and LGBTQ people like us to not only go form a band, but to take control over every aspect of their music. You can be a guitarist, you can be a drummer. You can make beats, you can record and produce your own music. You can be anything.” (TW)

BEA1991 – ‘Loser Wins’
Amsterdam-based artist and musical polymath BEA1991 swept me away with this track, taken from her debut album Brand New Adult. I love her subtle, soaring vocals and there’s a beautiful accompanying video to this track that I recommend you check out too. (KC)

Sui Zhen – ‘Perfect Place’
Despite having now released three albums, I only heard Sui Zhen for the first time this year. And it was love at first listen. Inspired by how we exist in the digital age, ‘Perfect Place’ flows with glitchy beats and twinkling, ‘80s-inspired hooks alongside Sui Zhen’s quirky, honey-sweet vocals. An instantly infectious slice of sparkling alt-pop that I haven’t been able to stop listening to. The whole album, Losing, Linda, is pretty magical. (ML)

Despicable Zee – ‘Counting Cars’
Despicable Zee is an Oxford based musician, composer and performer. I am so very into this track of hers, ‘Counting Cars’. I cannot get enough of the samples and composition – so so good! Despicable Zee aka Zahra is also the director of the Young Women’s Music Project working alongside and guiding young female musicians. Her third EP, Atigheh, is self-produced and independently released, check it out now. (TW)

The Big Moon – ‘Your Light’
The Big Moon proved they’re as talented on two wheels as they are on two feet in the accompanying video to their superb single ‘Your Light’. With its catchy chorus, buoyant melodies and feel-good lyrics, it’s the perfect boost for anyone who’s feeling blue about the current state of affairs. The song is lifted from their upcoming sophomore album Walking Like We Do, which is set for release on 10th January 2020 via Fiction Records. (KC)

Captain Handsome – ‘I Wish I Had A Dog’
Having been a pretty massive fan of indie-pop superstars Fightmilk for a couple of years now, I was excited when Lily from the band shared the first single from her new solo project, Captain Handsome. A poignant exploration of every-day anxieties, ‘I Wish I Had A Dog’ showcases Lily’s distinctive silky-smooth-yet-gritty vocals whilst oozing a touching raw emotion. With a twinkling lo-fi scuzz alongside the sensitivity of Lily’s refreshingly honest and consistently relatable lyricism, it’s a slice of effervescent indie-pop that tugs at the heartstrings in all the right ways. I can’t wait to hear more from Captain Handsome in 2020. (ML)

You can listen to all our favourite tracks now, in this handy playlist! We’ll be adding to the playlist as we share our other end of year features – keep your eyes/ears peeled!

 

 

Mari Lane / @marimindles
Kate Crudgington / @kcbobcut
Tash Walker / @maudeandtrevor
Vic Conway

John McGovern / @etinsuburbiaego

VIDEO PREMIERE: Hourglvss – ‘Dead Man’s Hand’

Brighton duo Hourglvss blend theatrical flair with their catchy experimental-pop tune in the visuals for their second single, ‘Dead Man’s Hand’. The gothic, Western inspired video is an ode to the band’s love of all things vintage.

Formed of Katie Benbow and Sophie-May Williams, Hourglvss bonded over a shared taste in music, fashion and art, soon discovering that Sophie had unknowingly been a regular customer of Katie’s online vintage store. It’s these unusual coincidences that form the basis of the pair’s musical creations, and ‘Dead Man’s Hand’ is the perfect example of this. It was produced by multi-instrumentalist Benjamin Christophers, who is known for his longtime collaboration with Bat For Lashes, having co-produced her 2016 Mercury Prize nominated album The Bride. 

Speaking about the track and the new video, the duo explain: “It follows the story of a villainous character who is wanting to destroy anything and everything in his path to come up on top. However, it doesn’t turn out that way and he ends up being shot and killed. We have both experienced different types of controlling natures in our pasts. This is essentially a metaphor for anyone who has ever been in a controlling situation, whether it’s personal or situational…for them to gain solace from the fact that they are stronger than what they are being controlled by.”

Hourglvss’s defiant attitude and thrilling visuals make ‘Dead Man’s Hand’ a theatrical gem. Watch the video below, and follow the band on Facebook for more updates.

Kate Crudgington
@KCBobCut

Get In Her Ears w/ Celeste Bell 05.12.19

This week, Kate and Mari played some of their favourite new music from the likes of MAITA, Eilis Frawley, Small Man Society, Kate Stapley, LibraLibra and HEZEN.

They were joined in the studio by Celeste Bell, who spoke about her Mother Poly Styrene‘s legacy, and the upcoming documentary film she’s been working on, ‘Poly Styrene: I Am A Cliché’.

Find out more about the film and how to donate to its Patreon Crowdfund here.

Listen back to the show here:

Tracklist
X Ray Spex – ‘Oh Bondage, Up Yours’
MAITA – ‘Can’t Blame A Kid’
Mango – ‘Demons’
King Hannah – ‘Creme Brulee’
Hezen – ‘Whole’
Fassine – ‘Limbs’
Eilis Frawley – ‘Strangers’
Calva Louise – ‘Adelante’
Small Man Society – ‘Songs I Write’
Calista Kazuko – ‘Benzo Belle’
Jaguary Jonze – ‘Kill Me With Your Love’
IVEY – ‘Scream’
LibraLibra – ‘Loverboy’
Toni&Mash – ‘I Want It’
X Ray Spex – ‘I Am A Cliche’
Zola Jesus – ‘Bound’
Foxcunt – ‘Merry Christmas, Fuck The Patriarchy’
Kate Stapley – ‘Hermit’
Peggy Sue – ‘White Christmas’
Suggested Friends – ‘Cygnets’
Tinx – ‘Wait & See’
Frazey Ford – ‘The Kids Are Having None Of It’
Alanis Morissette – ‘Hand In My Pocket’

 

PREMIERE: Kate Stapley – ‘Hermit’

“I’ve been pissing like a racehorse” confesses Bristol-based songwriter Kate Stapley on the opening lyric of her new single, ‘Hermit’. It’s a blunt beginning, but her soft voice quickly draws listeners in to her poignant (slightly hungover) reflections on allowing yourself to be tender again in a new relationship.

Set for release via Breakfast Records on 6th December, ‘Hermit’ forms part of a Double A-side, with second track ‘Hours’. Produced by Oliver Baldwin (Aldous Harding, PJ Harvey), these tracks are the first that Stapley has shared since her 2018 EP, Centella, and they flow in her trademark vulnerable, yet optimistic vein.

“‘Hermit’ is a love song, celebrating those moments in a relationship when you finally have the bravery to embrace everything about yourself” explains Stapley. “When you stop trying to hide the painful, embarrassing bits – realising you never needed to hide them in the first place.” Observations like this make Stapley’s music so intimately disarming, and effortlessly relatable.

“You suit me so well / You be my hermit / And I’ll be your shell” she muses during the chorus, over gently plucked acoustic guitars, and soft percussion. The song’s patient rhythm feels reflective of the self-acceptance Stapley has discovered, and it’s wonderful to hear her lay bare her insecurities, transforming them in to new found confidence.

Listen to ‘Hermit’ below, and be sure to check out her second track ‘Hours’ tomorrow when they’re both released via Breakfast Records.

Follow Kate Stapley on Facebook for more updates.

Photo Credit: Simon Holliday

Kate Crudgington
@KCBobCut

Track Of The Day: MAITA – ‘Can’t Blame A Kid’

Stepping out from the shadows of a shy childhood, frontwoman Maria Maita-Keppeler works through her growing pains on ‘Can’t Blame A Kid’, the latest single from Oregon-based band MAITA. The track is lifted from the band’s debut album Best Wishes – a record so transformative that it brought Kill Rock Stars (‪Elliott Smith, ‪Sleater-Kinney, ‪Bikini Kill) label founder Slim Moon out of early retirement when he first heard it in 2018.

“She stole all the light from the room” sings Maria on the track, an apt lyric for Slim’s reaction after his wife Portia Sabin (who was running Kill Rock Stars at the time) first played it to him. Maria’s knack for tapping into feelings of introversion and uncertainty are what make ‘Blame A Kid’ such a compelling listen, so it’s easy to see why MAITA caught the attention of the intuitive label.

Maria explains the inspiration behind the song and the accompanying video: “‘Can’t Blame a Kid’ takes a stab at unpacking the insecurities that I’d built up from childhood, zeroing in on a particular relationship that bore a lot of weight on me throughout my adolescence…It really is fascinating, though unfortunate, that we are often at our most callous at the age when we are also the most fragile. The video was a lot of fun for me to make. I’d always wanted to make a finger-painting video…something that echoed the wild, colorful, cathartic nature of the song.”

Through strong vocals, indie guitar licks, and punk-tinged percussion, MAITA have created a reassuring, buoyant listen with their latest single. Watch the video for ‘Can’t Blame A Kid’ below, and follow the band on Facebook for more updates.

Keep your eyes peeled for more info about the release of their debut LP, Best Wishes, in April 2020.

Photo Credit: Ingrid-Renan

Kate Crudgington
@KCBobCut

Get In Her Ears w/ Girls Rock London 28.11.19

Kate & guest co-host Beth were back in the studio this week, playing loads of new tunes from the likes of ESYA, Peach Club, Hinako Omori, Lazybones, God Colony, MeMe Detroit & Sink Ya Teeth.

Alex & Jodi from Girls Rock London joined them in the studio to talk about all the amazing work they do with the organisation which you can find out more about at www.girlsrocklondon.com

Listen back:

Tracklist
Bjork – Human Behaviour
ESYA – Blue Orchid
TELGATE – Cherry Tight
Peach Club – Not Ur Girl
SASSY 009 – Are You Still A Lover
Imogen Heap – Headlock
Hinako Omori – Bank Of Inner Criticisms
Freya Beer – Dear Sweet Rosie
MeMe Detroit – Can’t Get You Out Of My Mind
The Menstrual Cramps – Neo Nazi
I SEE RIVERS – We Don’t Get More Time
Neev – Across The Glass
Ghum – 1000 Men
Nova Twins – Vortex
Tiberius B. – No Smoke
Personal Best – Baby
God Colony feat. Samirah Raheem – Girls
ARXX – Iron Lung
Sink Ya Teeth – The Hot House
Suggested Friends – The Apocalypse (Is Just A Day Away)
Glacier Veins – Grows Back Slow
Lazybones – Crazy
Jelly Cleaver ft. Isatta Sheriff – They Don’t Know
Mari Dangerfield – Enough
Ziemba – Ugly Ambitious Women
Bikini Kill – Rebel Girl

LIVE: Gazelle Twin & NYX present ‘Deep England’ – Queen Elizabeth Hall, Southbank Centre 20.11.19

A deeply engrossing, ghastly, yet intensely beautiful carousel of sound: Gazelle Twin‘s (Elizabeth Bernholz) ‘Deep England’ collaboration with the NYX Drone Choir is unlike anything you’ve ever seen, or heard before. Inspired by the tracks that form Bernholz’s 2018 album, Pastoral, this performance continues her harrowing up of England’s “rotten past” and exploration of its uncertain future.

Through the power of combined operatic voices, St. George-Meets-The-Handmaid’s-Tale costumes, and creative staging; Bernholz and her team have created a claustrophobic, charged gallop of anarchy with this latest endeavour. “What species is this?” questions Bernholz & the NYX choir through their overlapping vocals on ‘Folly’, an apt observation from a group of women who have powerful, beguiling voices. They are all used to full effect during a riveting, acapella rendition of following track ‘Glory’.

Informed by British paganism and ritualistic activity, ‘Deep England’ feels almost supernatural at points, and this is especially noticeable during ‘Fire Leap, lifted from the cult 1973 film The Wicker Man. Multiple recorders and kazoos are played – instruments of nostalgic folly turned in to present, frightening farce – as the women slowly move around the stage, chanting the lyrical motif “Take the flame inside you / Burn and burn below”, like a warped spell.

‘Better In My Day’ abruptly breaks this spell, with its nervous, persistent percussion. It stands out in terms of volume and energy, with Bernholz and her chorus performing frenzied, yet stunted movements whilst they spit and snarl their way through the lyrics. A spotlight on a tree at the back of the stage (which has been present throughout the performance) commands Bernholz to sit under it. The intro synth sequence to ‘Sunny Stories’ begins to play, and she delivers her dark fable under the fake foliage, gently lulling her choir in to following track ‘Golden Dawn’.

‘Throne’ brings Bernholz back to centre stage and down to her knees, as she sings of “insolvency” and eating your debts. Eponymous track ‘Deep England’ closes the performance in the same un-nerving way it began; dimly lit, with the women’s voices seething in unison. Whilst Bernholz’s unique vision was brought vividly to life on her original record Pastoral, it’s with the aid of the NYX drone choir during ‘Deep England’ that her vitriol takes its fullest form. ‘Deep England’ is a phenomenal accomplishment, and a jarring reminder that our past is never too far behind us.

‘Deep England’ Credits:
Gazelle Twin: Elizabeth Bernholz
NYX vocalists: Adelaide Pratoussy, Cecilia Forssberg, Natalie Sharp, Ruth Corey, Shireen Querishi, Sian O’Gorman
Compositions and Music Direction: Elizabeth Bernholz and Sian O’Gorman
Movement Director: Imogen Knight
Sound Associate: Peter Rice
Production and Costume Design: Chloe Lamford
Stylist: Anna Josephs

‘Deep England’ was performed as part of the EFG London Jazz Festival 2019.

Photo Credit: Jamie Cameron

Kate Crudgington
@KCBobCut