One to watch: Big Joanie

The London post-punk trio’s superb new Solange cover suggests great things for their delayed second album

When Big Joanie formed in 2013, there wasn’t a ready-made scene for black feminist punk bands. As singer/guitarist Stephanie Phillips told the Quietus: “The punk scene was so, so white in London, it was actually shocking. I remember, also, how political it was and not really realising there was this big elephant in the room of being able to deal with race... I think we’ve made a lot of progress since then.”

As well as broadening their peers’ outlooks, the trio – completed by drummer Chardine Taylor-Stone and bassist Estella Adeyeri – have picked up some influential champions en route, thanks to their loose-limbed meld of the Raincoats’ angular post-punk and the Ronettes’ pop smarts. Having put out an album, Sistahs, on Thurston Moore’s label Daydream Library two years ago, and supported Parquet Courts, Sleater-Kinney and riot grrrl figureheads Bikini Kill, they have just released a radical reworking of Solange’s 2016 track Cranes in the Sky on Jack White’s Third Man label.

As Phillips explains: “We wanted to cover it because it was such an important song for Black women. At first we were playing and singing similarly to Solange but it was way too high for me, so we left out most of the jazzy basslines and made it more of a 4/4 stoner rock vibe.” It makes for a sublime appetiser for their Covid-delayed second album, now due next year.

Listen to Big Joanie’s cover of Cranes in the Sky


Phil Mongredien

The GuardianTramp

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