Elizabeth Ilsley’s International Women’s Day Playlist

Sisters are doin' it for themselves


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To celebrate International Women’s Day [March 8th], DJ, designer and artivist Elizabeth Ilsley has made us a very special playlist featuring her favourite female artists; with songs from the Killing Eve soundtrack and Salvador Dali's muse to post-punk anthems you’ll want to play on repeat. Below, Ilsley talks us through her top tracks to inspire, rage against the machine, and make you want to dance around your bedroom in your pants this weekend.

Cate Le Bon

Sad Nudes

“Cate Le Bon is my favourite artist and just so happens to be female, but out of all the songs I could've chosen for her for IWD I chose the literal, womanly song 'sad nudes.’ We've all been there right? No? Just me then. Note the lyric: ‘This is your gold, and you are the woman’.”

Amanda Lear

Blood and Honey

“If you're french and fabulous, chances are you'll know who Amanda Lear is. I didn't until October, last year, when I went through a vampire phase that lasted a week. Hence the song Blood and Honey. Lear was Salvador Dali's muse for a while, mates with Mick Jagger and David Bowie and also rumoured to be one of the first trans women in modern pop culture. Watch the Blood and Honey music video - it is absolutely gorgeous.”


Stealing Sheep

Jokin' Me

“Three girls. Scousers. Amazing pop song. Enough said.”



“Solange has this way about her songs that are made for you and your girl friends listening to. Even when the lyrics are about a romantic relationship, when heard with the beat and melody it's always a tune for you and your girls. I absolutely adore her and have no words to do her justice. Binz is bangin'.”

Little Simz


“If I were to look into musical a crystal ball I would see the words 'London', 'Female', 'Power', 'Self Love,’ ‘Female Guilt.’”


When A Woman Is Around

“You'll recognise When A Woman Is Around from series one of Killing Eve. That's how I found it. Perfect IWD song.”

The Waitresses

I Know What Boys Like

“This is my dream era: post-punk, girls in the bands, disjointed pop. So cool. The Waitresses are only really known for their Christmas Wrapping song, however this is a tune. Cool anti-lad lyrics too: 'Fun to frustrate them, They get so angry, Like pouty children, Denied their candy, I laugh right at them.’”

Chastity Belt

James Dean

“Up there in the top three feminist songs of all time. A two minute song dedicated to discussing the double standards in sexual activity between the sexes.”

Arcade Fire


“No real reason to put Arcade Fire's Sprawl in here apart from Regine Chassagne being an angel on this track, and that Arcade Fire wouldn't be the festival headlining, stadium sell-out, indie power houses without her. Simple as.”

Marcia Aitken

I’m Still In Love With You

“Talking of 'what ifs' we wouldn't have Rihanna, Amy Winehouse, Kelis, Jorja Smith, Adele without pioneering Caribbean singers and MCs like Marcia Aitken. See also Sister Nancy.”


Road Rage

“Catatonia is on the playlist because [the lead singer] Cerys Matthews is one of the most interesting women in the world. (Side note: her new cookbook is on my wish-list). And they are Welsh and I love Welsh people.”

X-Ray Spex

Oh Bondage Up Yours!

“Girls, girls, girls. Punk, punk, punk. That is all.”


Credit In The Straight World

“‘Of course Liz puts a Hole sing in the playlist, how predictable' - I will try and shoe-in Hole in any situation, OK? This song is great because it’s a cover of one of my best mate's mom's band. She's Welsh too.”

Bikini Kill

Rebel Girl

“Cliche? Yes. Does she care? No, not really. Because even now, at 25 years old, every time I'm at a gig I think 'What would Kathleen Hanna do?’”

Sonic Youth

Kool Thing

“Classic thing to ask a feminist: 'Have you read Kim Gordon's book?' If they say ‘yeah’ then you know you're talking to a good egg.”

Tom Tom Club

Wordy Rappinghood

“If I had a band, they would sound like Tom Tom Club. Without a doubt. I've gone for the less obvious choice. Also don't think I've ever DJ'ed without playing Tom Tom Club. Tina Weymouth and Chris Frantz, were married and members of Talking Heads. So, there you go.”

The Slits

Typical Girls

“Probably the theme tune to IWD right?”

FKA twigs


“Makes you proud to be a woman.”

Angel Olsen

All Mirrors

“I saw her a couple of weeks ago with my best mate. Was struggling to hold back the tears half way through. I looked away from the stage to compose myself and found myself gazing at shadows of the band playing against the Hammersmith Apollo walls - very melancholic, indeed.”

PJ Harvey


“PJ Harvey is exactly who I wanted to be when I played guitar when I was younger. But I had no patience or skill. So it's left for true guitar angels like PJ to take over.”


Astrud Gilberto

Miss World

“She's done it, she's somehow shoe-horned a second Hole song in there. How? Well it was easy. The song. The video. Everything. I love Courtney [Love, the band’s frontwoman]. I love Melissa [Auf der Maur]. I love Patty [Schemel]. I love Eric [Erlandson]. I love Kristen [Pfaff]. Hole are such an underrated and overlooked, important band.”


The Girl from Ipanema

“Not sure if it was their intention when they wrote this but this song is made for you to dance around in your pants too. Try it. Works for me.”

Images | shutterstock

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