Songs About Women - Compilation Album

Songs About Women (in the 21st Century) is an exciting compilation album that will be launched on 15th November at Rhythm Factory in East London, with performances from six of the featured bands. It’s been compiled by post-punk band Gertrude who have selected great acts from around the country. The varying genres include electronic and experimental music, and a Focus E15 poem, and many of the artists have been championed by BBC Radio 6 Music and XFM. The theme is what it means to be a woman, and Gertrude say the musical insights range from the personal to the political: the bitter sweet to the lyrical. The album is free to download, and we asked them to tell us more about the project.

What made you decide to put together the Songs About Women Album?

To give space and prominence to stories and songs about women. We realise that there are a lot of specific female experiences which are not represented nearly enough. Also we were curious as to what people would come up with.

Why is it ‘in the 21st Century’, and not songs about women at any time?

We wanted to make the brief accessible, so we thought it was easiest to start with the here and now. When reflecting on life and writing music, it is good to start with what you know, what you are currently experiencing. We wanted to build up a picture of what musicians are saying about women’s lives today.


Genres from electronic to experimental

How did you find and select the tracks?

We put out a call online through our Facebook page and people immediately started submitting tracks. We went with stuff that appealed to us and that fitted the brief.

What kinds of songs and genres are featured?

Lots of different genres are featured: ambient electronic, post-punk, folky and experimental noise. There are songs about older women, alcoholism, gender identity, domestic violence, being an outsider, refusing to conform. We are also pleased to feature a live poem by Jasmin Stone, one of the original Focus E15 mums; she describes the importance of fighting for what you believe in.


What portrait does the album paint of women today?

Perhaps women’s lives have not changed as much as we would have hoped. Many of the songs are about battles for equality and for the right to be treated with respect and dignity. Unfortunately these are battles that are still being fought by many women living precarious lives.

TiTs Up

Embracing the DIY approach

Are female musicians getting enough support?

Women with children can find it difficult to juggle their time to develop a creative practice and to sustain it. Childcare is too expensive. There is not much support out there really for any creative artist; it is more of a question of getting on with it and making it happen. This is why we have always embraced a DIY approach and not waited for anyone else to push us; you can develop a scene of supportive musicians who come to gigs and help by putting on gigs for each other’s bands.

However no one wants to stay in a ghetto - which can be the problem for female orientated acts - because they can get pigeon holed and dismissed easily. Having some interesting, non-corporate venues with decent sound and audiences would be a great way to get support. London can be a tough place. It might also be harder for solo musicians - as it does feel good to have the support of a band to bounce ideas off and to encourage each other.

Roshi feat Pars Radio Brian David Stevens

How can people get the album?

Through Gertrude’s bandcamp page. Free download.

What’s next for Gertrude?

After putting our energies into “Songs About Women” (in the 21st Century) and the accompanying showcase gig at the Rhythm Factory, we will be having some time out from gigging to refresh and recharge our creative batteries. We have a number of new songs in the pipeline with a different feel, which will take a while to develop and settle. In addition to Gertrude, Iona is playing the odd gig with Minny Pops, Dawn is finishing her PHD, Ayesha has become involved with Focus E15 campaign and Zoe has fallen in love with a dog.

Songs About Women is free to download and the artwork is by the late Cuban revolutionary artist José Gómez Fresquet. The tracklisting is:

  1. Jasmine Stone - Solidarity - poem recorded during Focus E15 Mothers occupation
  2. Feral Five - Strung Out
  3. Roshi ft Pars Radio - No Camels Gal
  4. Smiling Knife - Slowly Slowly Sue
  5. Gardyloo Spew - Teenage Sluts
  6. Factory Acts - Fantasy
  7. Art Trip and the Static Sound - The Girl Who
  8. Tanguay & Taylor - Two Pearls
  9. Snork - Slater
  10. TiTs Up - Iron Me Out
  11. Anarchistwood - Wake Up Marie
  12. Flaming June - Rumpelstiltskin
  13. Gertrude - A message from Dorothy from the Other Side
  14. Gaptooth - Ladykillers
  • The album launches on 15th November at Rhythm Factory with live sets from: Roshi Featuring Pars Radio – Stunningly Beautiful Welsh-Iranian electronica torch songs, Feral Five – Raised by wolves. Post-punk electro, Gardyloo Spew – dynamic and experimental, SNORK Sweet female fronted outrage set to a groove, Gertrude Exciting post punk melodic tunes with cello and clarinet, TiTs Up .