Earlier this summer, Jay Z invited a small audience of cultural heavies—among them Marina Abranovic, Michael K. Williams, and Jerry Saltz—to a New York gallery for a six-hour performance of his new song "Picasso Baby." It wasn't the first time music and fine art have mingled, and it won't be the last. From the Velvet Underground at Andy Warhol's Factory to Jean-Michael Basquiat's start in the world of grafitti, music and art have been heady, fruitful bedfellows for as long as we know. This week, Kristin Rogers Brown and Andi Zeisler pulled together a selection of their fave songs about art and artists for your listening palette.
It's your lucky day! Brooklyn's Afropunk Fest isn't until the end of this month, but the festival organizers put together this special sneak-peek mixtape for us! Check out the playlist below the cut and put this mixtape on repeat.
This Friday's mixtape is a somewhat eclectic mix of folk and dreamy rock that all flows together for good summer front-porch listenting. All of the bands on the mixtape include women and will be performing this weekend at Portland's Pickathon roots music festival. Enjoy!
Now that Lilith Fair is done toting five-dollar lattes in the name of commercialized feminism, and MichFest is busy denying claims of discrimination, this summer is the chance to get to know lesser-known feminist music festivals that are thriving across the country.
It's old news that Robin Thicke's music video for "Blurred Lines" is straight-up gross. In the video, near-naked, sometimes-unresponsive women drape themselves around a group of fully dressed male artists who spend four and a half minutes trying to make a "good girl" go bad. But now, he's not just deflecting criticism of his music's flagrant objectification—as we might expect—he's announced that the "Blurred Lines" video is actually the forefront of a new feminist movement!
Portland nerd-rock band The Doubleclicks have a cute new music video that counters the "Fake Geek Girls" meme. The video for the song "Nothing to Prove" features women from all over the country (and a couple fellows like Wil Wheaton) holding up signs explaining how and why they're geeks.
Top 40 music seems to be undergoing a sea change lately. Cher has a feminist song on the radio and in the club. Neko Case is Top 40 music seems to be undergoing a sea change lately. Cher has a feminist song on the radio and in the club. Neko Case is taking gender identity straight to task. Frank Ocean and Macklemore are topping the charts with songs that carve space for queer-friendly voices in the machismo-drenched worlds of R&B and hip-hop. Ann Powers at NPR declared 2013 "Country Music's Year of the Woman," and Jewly Hight at the Nashville Scene pointed out a similar trend last year, of female artists whose sounds still fit the country genre, but whose lyrics and personae push the boundaries of country femininity.
All of this points to something big: It's been a good year for not only women in music, but feminism in music.
I walked into Other Music in New York's East Village, and asked the bearded, plaid-ed clerk, hoping he had the iconic music zine's 17th print edition in stock.
His Beardedness pointed me to a shelf with several other too-cool-for-school publications, and there it was: in all of its horizontal, blue, Grass Widow-covered glory, "legendary indie nerd bible" chickfactor.
What many people think of as quintessentially patriotic songs are by male musicians (like Toby Keith, Johnny Cash, Willie Nelson) so we've compiled a mix to celebrate both the Fourth of July and the oh-so-talented female musicians who also have a thing or two to say about the U.S. of A.