‘Take It Down’ on ‘Free Pussy Riot’ album – free download!

Riot Girl Cover

Today, Riot Grrrl Berlin‘s third compilation album, ‘Free Pussy Riot’ is available for free download. I contributed the track ‘Take It Down’ to the compilation – this is the only place you can get this track, so go download it now!

Don't Let Them SilenceThe album is dedicated to members of Pussy Riot, a Russian riot grrrl band who have been imprisoned for performing a musical “punk prayer service” in Christ the Saviour Cathedral in Moscow – a song that calls on the Virgin Mary to “chase Putin out”. It was part of a series of peaceful protests in the form of ‘guerrilla performances’ across Moscow. Amnesty International has described the members of Pussy Riot as “prisoners of conscience” who are being punished for the “broader political context” of their actions, and not the actions themselves. If convicted, they could face 7 years in jail.

While this compilation is a free download, the members of Pussy Riot need financial support to help with their legal costs. If you can, please support them by donating via Paypal from the Free Pussy Riot website.

Pussy Riot in their own words (from their Facebook page):

“We wanted to create a new form of protest – maybe not such a huge one, but we compensate for that with the bright, provocative and illegal nature of our performances,” Kot said.

Pussy Riot are sworn to anonymity, hence the colourful balaclavas members use to hide their faces, even when giving interviews. “It shows we can be anybody,” says a band member who goes by the name Garadzha, wearing a hot-pink ski mask and matching stockings.

What united them in October was the feeling that something had to change in the country and in its culture of protest, which, until tens of thousands took to the streets after contested parliamentary elections in December, had had hardly any effect on the political discourse.

“We understood that to achieve change, including in the sphere of women’s rights, it’s not enough to go to Putin and ask for it,” said Shaiba. “This is a rotten, broken system.”

Her bandmate Tyurya said: “The culture of protest needs to develop. We have one form, but we need many different kinds.”

The band began writing songs with lyrics such as: “Egyptian air is good for the lungs / Do Tahrir on Red Square!” and performing on trams and in the metro. Videos of the flash gigs began spreading across the internet. When the protest leader Alexey Navalny was jailed for 15 days after his arrest during Russia’s first post-election protest on 5 December, three members of Pussy Riot took to the roof of the jail where he was being held, setting off red flares as they sang “Death to prison / Freedom to protest!”

The fear of arrest long ago left the band members, steeped in the tradition of illegal protest. “We have experience with it, we’ve been detained at protests before,” said Tyurya. “It’s not scary – you’re surrounded by good, normal people, those who protest against Putin.”

“The revolution should be done by women,” said Garazhda. “For now, they don’t beat or jail us as much.”

“There’s a deep tradition in Russia of gender and revolution – we’ve had amazing women revolutionaries.”

Playing at Traumfrau in Brighton!

I’m very excited to be playing at Traumfrau in Brighton on Sunday 6th May. Traumfrau is “Brighton’s new queer night for girls and their friends”, and the launch night earlier this month was a great success.

I’ve never played in Brighton before so I’m really looking forward to it, and it’s a Bank Holiday the next day, so there are no excuses for not coming down! And with Judith Butler on the flyer – really, what’s not to love?


You can join the Facebook event here, and don’t forget to ‘like’ Traumfrau on Fracebook and follow Traumfrau on Twitter.

Hope to see you there!

It’s All Happening Festival

It's All Happening

I’m happy to announce that I’ll be playing at the first It’s All Happening Festival on 23rd June at the Gallery Cafe in Bethnal Green. More details to be confirmed soon – in the meantime, you can join the Facebook event here.

More gigs to be announced shortly…

Take It Down – slideshow video

I’ve been ill for the last few days and so, instead of going out and enjoying the sunshine, I made a little video for Take It Down, using photos from the Arab Spring, the Occupy movement and elsewhere, including protests by the Green Movement in Iran and by Pussy Riot in Russia. I hope you like it.

Some of these photos I took myself, and others I grabbed off the web. I have done my best to attribute photos where requested under a Creative Commons licence. A few were not attributed on the sites where I found them and so I have been unable to identify the owner. If you see your photo here, or you see yourself in a photo, and have concerns then please contact me using the comments box below.

Take It Down

After a recording session at Dreamtrak studio, I’ve posted a new track up online. ‘Take It Down’ is actually a song I wrote in 2004, largely while sitting on a bench in South Park, Oxford, which I’ve played in a number of my live sets. This is the first time I’ve recorded a studio version.

You can listen to it on Soundcloud here:

And don’t forget, I’m playing at Club Fandango this Wednesday, 22nd February, at the Bull & Gate in Kentish Town.

Advance tickets are £5 from We Got Tickets. Otherwise it’s £6 on the door or £5 with this flyer. I go on stage at 8pm.

Upcoming gigs in London

17th January – Dublin Castle, CamdenBugbear

I will be playing a gig for Bugbear, alongside Lips in Sugar (headliners), Magic Mountain and others TBC.

Advance tickets are available for £4 from We Got Tickets. On the door it’s £6 or £4.50 if you bring this flyer with you.

Doors at 7:45pm, and I will be on stage at around 9:30pm.


22nd February – Bull & Gate, Kentish TownClub Fandango

I’m playing at Club Fandango with headliners Raven Beats Crow, Zebra and Snake and another TBC.

Advance tickets are £5 from We Got Tickets. Otherwise it’s £6 on the door or £5 with this flyer.

Doors at 7:45pm, and I’m on stage around 8pm.

Hope to see you there!

Gaptooth on Soundcloud

Back when I worked in music, it was all about putting CDs in jiffy bags and posting them out to people. Apparently that’s not how it works anymore.

I’ve just joined Soundcloud and uploaded a selection of my songs there, so you can listen to them without all the faff and buffering gaps that you get with MySpace. So if you’re on Soundcloud, come and follow me so I don’t look like a loser with no friends.

This also means I can embed my new track, Some Kind of Badly Planned Recovery, right here instead of directing you elsewhere – huzzah!

Some Kind of Badly Planned Recovery

I’ve been back at Dreamtrak studio over the Christmas holidays recording a few new tracks – some of which are very old songs which have not been recorded until now.

The first of them, Some Kind of Badly Planned Recovery, I wrote in around 2003 on the piano in my parents’ house, then turning it into a guitar song because my guitar was the only instrument I had with me at university. I’ve posted it on my MySpace and Facebook pages for you to listen to.

Watch this space for more to be posted shortly…

Are women really taking over pop music?

This week The Guardian carries an article arguing that women are taking over the pop music industry and men just can’t compete. The article, ‘Men can’t do pop music anymore’ by Sophie Heawood (don’t blame her for the headline – sub editors usually write these), highlights the fact that the top five albums in the UK charts are by women, arguing that the music industry has become more receptive to female artists.

There is no doubt that in recent years we have seen a spate of very talented women achieving commercial success with their music in a way that just wasn’t happening a few years earlier – Amy Winehouse, Adele, Florence Welch, La Roux and Lady Gaga are a few of the examples cited in the article. But I fear it’s too early to declare that the revolution has come.

Citing a list of male artists such as Calvin Harris, Tinie Tempah and Tinchy Stryder who have topped the charts of late, the article asks, “But would you really recognise any of these blokes if they stood next to you in Tesco?” No, I wouldn’t (though I am hopelessly out of touch with chart music these days) – but then male artists are not generally expected to look as good as Beyoncé  in order to get ahead – they do not get more column inches written about their appearance than their music. A nice face helps, but it’s not a necessity in the way that it still seems to be for women. Nor do they even need a unique voice like Amy Winehouse or a creative vision like Lady Gaga.

These women have got where they are not because the rules have changed in the music industry, but in spite of the fact that they refused to play by the rules. As the article acknowledges, “the thing about these top five albums is that they were all made by women with a bloody-minded determination, and bigger balls* than their male counterparts… they know all the rules inside out. It’s just that they choose when to break them.”

Adele has an exceptional talent, but still has to put up with snide, often thinly veiled attacks on her appearance, (which she deals with admirably) despite being a critically acclaimed and commercially successful artist. Lady Gaga “had to fight her record company, who wanted to put a straightforward, borderline soft-porn image of her” on the cover of her debut album. These women’s success demonstrates that the public can connect with female performers who are just being themselves – that the record companies’ assumption that women artists need to be skinny, half naked and gyrating wildly in order to be successful is simply not true.

Beyoncé I am less convinced by – though I don’t doubt her talent or business-savvy, her patently untrue (and grammatically incorrect) assertion that “girls” run the world rubs me up the wrong way. The video speaks more of a power derived from sexual manipulation than of true emancipation (and its narrative of sexy women overpowering a group of armed men in what seems to be a Middle Eastern conflict zone using the power of provocative dancing seems more than a little tasteless at a time when real women are being harrassed and sexually abused for their part in the Arab Spring).

The A&R departments go where the money is, so let’s hope that the growing success of female artists who throw out the rule book leads record companies to take a more open minded approach to female talent. But it’s too early to rest on our laurels. I join Sophie Haewood in hoping that this is a permanent change and not merely a fad, but it’s now up to us as artists, and as consumers, to see this crack of light, stick a crowbar in and jam the door open so that many more talented women can follow in their footsteps without having to compromise themselves for an industry that wants to sell only stereotypes.

*I still object to the idea that having courage/conviction/determination is somehow akin to having testicles – many of us manage just fine without them!


Betsey Trotwood

28 April 2011, Village Green Preservation Society at the Betsey Trotwood

Thanks to everyone who came out to see me at the Betsey Trotwood. Despite some problems with the cable connecting my laptop to the PA, it wasn’t too shoddy all in all and I really enjoyed the night!

If you have any photos from the gig, do drop me a line at emailgaptooth[at]

Details of future gigs to follow shortly…