Single Review: Gina Birch – I Play My Bass Loud

Legendary post-punk musician, artist, and filmmaker Gina Birch shares the title track from her debut solo album, I Play My Bass Loud.  Birch describes the song as “a celebration of bass guitar as a voice, a celebration of shout, of a woman’s creativity on the bass guitar.  I play my bass, my bass, my bass, I play my bass loud”.  Immediate thoughts on first listen are – dub! The bass echoes a dub beat throughout, and with reggae having been a guiding influence for Birch and her playing style over the years, it’s no surprise to hear it here.  The tempo and pace remind me of The Clash’s ‘Straight to Hell’, it’s got that same steady groove and same energy.

As a founding member and one-half of The Raincoats’ core duo since 1977, Gina Birch is a punk icon with a pop sensibility, an art-schooled adventurer who has painted, filmed, and created music by her own rules for over 45 years.  I Play My Bass Loud is as much an ethos as it is her singular approach to her instrument. The song and the video, now streaming on Youtube, both feel like a celebration. The video features five women bassists, including the Modettes’ Jane Crockford and Emily Elhaj, bassist for Angel Olsen (with whom the Raincoats collaborated in 2016). 

It has a simplicity to it, and it’s playful with a message; “it’s about women playing their music and wanting to be heard, wanting acknowledgement or the space to do it,” says Birch. This single is such a positive song basking in the glory that is Gina Birch, she is thriving and clearly loving it.

I Play My Bass Loud, the title track taken from the debut album, will be released via Third Man Records on Friday, February 24, 2023. Pre-order link: https://orcd.co/iplaymybassloud

Gina Birch will play the following UK headline shows this spring (tickets on sale now):

Tues, Mar 21st  – The Hope and Ruin, Brighton
Wed, Mar 22nd  – Oslo, London
Fri, Mar 24th  – The Hug and Pint, Glasgow
Sat, Mar 25th  – Whelan’s, Dublin
Mon, Mar 27th  – Brudenell Social Club, Leeds