Personal Highlights of 2017 (aka more musical ones…)

You’re probably sick to death of these ‘Highlights’ blogs, but I love making lists and reminiscing…so get on board, or get over it.

I spend 99% of my time listening to, looking for, and writing lovely things about women in new music, but – contrary to popular belief – I love writing about men in new music too. WHAT?! A FEMINIST WHO LOVES MEN?! SHOCKING! *keels over from this unexpected revelation*

2017 was a turbulent and frightening year (and I’m not just talking about my Glandular Fever diagnosis), but it would’ve been far worse if I hadn’t discovered these bands/artists. So, if you want a quick distraction before you wave goodbye to 2017 soaked in gin and your own bitter tears, take a look at the musical offerings that made my 2017 so bleedin’ good…

Everything Twitcher Records released this year melted my mind.

The independent label based in Brighton has a penchant for all things strung-out and unsatisfied, and I smiled like the Grinch who stole Christmas each time an email holding precious musical cargo appeared at the top of my inbox.

If you’re in to scratchy guitars, delightfully droning vocals, and introspective lyrics, you need to check out the bands on their roster. It was hard for me to pick a favourite, but I listened to Collapse Of An Easy Sunday, the debut EP from the weird and wonderful Honey Creeper multiple times when I was hungover/bored at work. Check out Ezeikel Doo, Slabtoe., and Die Mauer too.

Wolf Alice’s ‘Yuk Foo’ was one of the first pieces of new music I heard after my 21-day-Glandular-Fever headache finally subsided.

I’ll never forget the sheer sense of simultaneous joy and relief I felt hearing Ellie Rowsell shout the words “you bore me to death!” the first time I heard this song. It’s since become a personal anthem.

Don’t think I’ve mentioned a band called Ho99o9 before? (LOL JK. seen them 5 times this year)

My anticipation for their album United States of Horror was palpable, and it sparked what most people would deem a borderline inappropriate obsession with the rap-punk duo. Their political, aggressive, racially charged lyrics align perfectly with the manic drums and thrashing guitar samples.

Each time I’ve seen them live I’ve emerged with all sorts of physical damage – a black eye, swollen knees, bruised hips, ripped fingernails – and I left their Sebright Arms gig topless. What can I say? They bring out the be(a)st in me.

(Ho99o9 also led me to find Bob Vylan, who is 10/10)

I listened to Bjork’s divine new album Utopia, thus keeping my 2016 New Years Resolution to “listen to more Bjork“.

NO, YOU’RE CRYING AT THE BEAUTY OF ‘The Gate’. PULL YOURSELF TOGETHER. FFS.

We launched the Get In Her Ears website alongside our radio show and live night, and it might just be the best thing we’ve ever done.

On the eve of the launch of the Get In Her Ears site, there was a part of me that felt genuinely concerned. What if people didn’t read the blog? What if no-one shared the link? Have we made a mistake branching out on our own? Fortunately, I’m glad to report all of these anxieties subsided within 24 hours. We’ve received so much interest, love, and support from bands and fellow journalists, that it’s wiped away all the doubts I ever had.

I hope 2018 is just as prosperous and proactive for us.

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SUNDAY #81 – DO IT

I’m searching my brain cells for something witty to start this post with, but you’ll have to make do with this pointless sentence because my Mum’s just cooked a cracking veggie lasagne and there’s no way I’m letting that bad boy go cold.

This is just a quick post to gloat about the success of the first ever Gigslutz / Get In Her Ears night at The Finsbury Pub that took place on Friday night. Mari organised four brilliant bands to play for us (Petty Phase, Tokyo Taboo, Young Romance & The Empty Page) and when my Spotify playlist went to hell (never underestimate the importance of a good Wi-Fi connection) Tash stepped in and saved the DJing day. I spent most of the night looking around in blissful disbelief, overwhelmed by how well everything had turned out.

In 2015, I tweeted Gigslutz asking if they were looking for a writer to cover The Great Escape Festival. Just over a year later, I’m part of the incredible Editorial team, and I’m helping to organise radio shows and live events. I could never have predicted how much Gigslutz would enrich my life. Not only have I heard so much brilliant and fascinating music, I’ve met some of the kindest, funniest, most motivated people who make the idea of replying to 100+ emails every week (alongside my day job) a total joy.

When it comes to chasing something you love, don’t give up on it or let it slip away from you. Hunt that elusive, bastard dream down and do what you have to do to make it work for you. Do it. DO. IT. DO. IT. Okay? Because you might end up getting everything you asked for, and you might write sentimental drivel like this in the hope that it might help someone else out.

Keep bloody chasing it. I double dare ya…

SUNDAY #46 – 2015

Wild, weird, wonderful – that was my 2015.

I’ve decided to list my five favourite albums of the year, because I’ve discussed the highs and lows of the last 12 months regularly on this blog, so you can always scroll back through and laugh at my life if you have a spare ten minutes.

Someone recently said they liked my ‘don’t give a f**k’ attitude when it came to dancing under a strobe light in public on a Saturday night. The following five albums have 100% contributed to this behaviour in 2015.

Foals – What Went Down

I am part of a friendship group which finds the release of a new Foals album more exciting than Christmas; we share every teaser, every scrap of information up until the release date. We collectively decided we were in love with Foals’ fourth record, What Went Down, and we all got the chance to see them at their exclusive Village Underground gig in August. On that beautiful night, I realised I had a stellar set of friends, that Foals are one of my all-time favourite bands, and I’ll do almost anything to get to the front as Yannis sings the final part of ‘What Went Down’.

Favourite tracks: ‘Night Swimmers’, ‘Snake Oil’ & ‘What Went Down’

Favourite Lyric: “I fell for a girl with a port white stain, I knew her initials but never her name, I tried and I tried and I was never the same” (What Went Down)

Grimes – Art Angels

I’ve made no attempt to confine my feelings about Grimes this year. I wrote an ‘Open Letter’ about her for Gigslutz, and I even dyed my hair [unevenly] purple, because I was convinced I was an Art Angel. I’ve bleached the dye out, but my head remains full of Grimes’ manic pop sounds. Art Angels is delightfully fizzy and furious, and I’ll be spinning in circles to it for most of 2016.

Favourite tracks: ‘Flesh Without Blood’, ‘Scream’, ‘Kill Vs Maim’, ‘Pin’ & ‘California’

Favourite lyric: “You hate, you bite, you lose, after all – I just don’t like you. It’s nice that you say you like me, but only conditionally. (Flesh Without Blood)

Slaves – Are You Satisfied?

Condensing the greatness of Slaves in to one paragraph will be difficult, but when I heard Are You Satisfied? in May, shortly before my 25th birthday; I was on the punk equivalent of cloud nine. Laurie & Isaac have a no-nonsense, honest, humorous outlook on the mundane things in life. Whether it’s noisy neighbours (Feed The Mantaray), 9-5 employment (Cheer Up London), or failed romance (White Knuckle Ride) – Slaves are the cure to frustration and disappointment. I played the album on repeat for a month, and still listen to it at my local watering hole most weekends. I’m going to learn how to play the drums purely so I can be the female equivalent of Isaac (laugh all you like, I will find a way to combine a love of punk and Downton Abbey).

Favourite tracks: ‘The Hunter’, ‘Sockets’, ‘Feed The Mantaray’ & ‘Sugar Coated Bitter Truth’

Favourite Lyric: “Are you quite done?” (Cheer Up London)

FKA Twigs – M3LL155X **

From January to July, I danced to FKA Twig’s debut album LP1 at least twice a week. The wisdom in her lyrics and her mind-bending choreography offered me an escape route on a bad day; and when she released M3LL155X in August, that escape route widened further. What a sound. What a woman. When I saw her at Bestival I nearly cried – I was captivated by her movements, her control, her ability to hold the crowd’s attention. I fan-girled to the max about her for Gigslutz, and I’ll talk to anyone who has time for her sound.

Favourite tracks: ‘In Time’ & ‘Figure 8’

Favourite Lyric: “The way you dismiss me will turn into missing me like I am yours”(In Time)

**I’m fully aware that this is an EP, not an LP; but it was far too important a listen to leave off the list.

Wolf Alice – My Love Is Cool

I am telling the sturdiest of truths when I say I listened to My Love Is Cool in its entirety, twice a day, for approximately a month. The mix of quiet and loud songs made it the perfect album to escape to on the commute to work, a walk home in the rain, and a vodka-loaded bedroom rave before a night out. Seeing Wolf Alice live at Brixton this year with my sisters was also a golden experience. We were in our own little circle, dancing away to ‘Bros’ before I threw myself in to the mosh for ‘You’re a Germ’ and pogo-ed my way through ‘Storms’. I’ll be following their every move in 2016.

Favourite tracks: ‘Bros’, ‘Your Love’s Whore’, ‘Lisbon’, ‘Silk’, & ‘Giant Peach’ (so basically, the whole album)

Favourite Lyric: “If fear is in the mind, then my mind lives in fear; as deep and as vast as the dirty British sea” (Turn To Dust)

SUNDAY #45

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That’s it. I’ve sunk the Baileys (aka Ballycastle), I’ve eaten the final sausage roll, and I’ve put the Ferrero Rochers on stand-by. I hope your Christmas was as golden as mine.

2015 was generally a golden year, and I had a stellar soundtrack to accompany me as I ricocheted from event to event. I was the human equivalent of a rash when it came to listening to/writing about new bands for Gigslutz. They’re going to need a strong antiseptic cream to calm my ever-burning desire to fan-girl.

One of the final things I was involved in writing this year was a collaborative piece with Mari (Gigslutz New Music Editor) and fellow writer Elli, entitled ‘Ones To Watch in 2016’. Have a read, and make sure you rock up to at least one of the gigs these guys are playing next year.

Now, I’m of to dye my hair purple for 80s night. Annie Lennox imitations are imminent.

 

 

SUNDAY #37 – Reviews

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I have spent the weekend in Brighton and my brain is currently in a wonderful, weird whirl of Friday night’s gin and Saturday night’s sweat. I think it’s best if I plug a few things I’ve already written this week, because forming sentences today has been a bit of an issue since 7pm #firstworldproblems #hungover

Firstly, I got to write an open letter to Taylor Swift’s Critics for Gigslutz. It’s hard to articulate how much glee went in to this piece.

Secondly, I got to review This Is The Sound of Sugar Town – a charity EP featuring 12 different rock/alternative bands from Bury St Edmunds. All proceeds from the sales of the records are going straight to their local Women’s Refuge.

Finally, I spent my lunch hour on Wednesday reviewing When The Storms Would Come by the incredible Holy Holy. I recommend you buy their album (and read my review, obvs)

That should be enough – I’m off to bed (aka to watch Carrie Matheson in Homeland and maybe cry out the last of the weekend’s gin before work tomorrow)