In that magic few weeks when springtime is imminent, the days are newly long, and the sun, while not in full effect, is at least making its presence known, I can’t get enough of simple, yummy, classic pop songs. Here in Portland, these days have recently been more frustrating than magical, with rain and even hail upstaging the sunny bits and making it unclear when we can expect the springlike part of spring to arrive. So I’m taking a stand, musically at least, with a playlist that all that bashes you over the head with riff-tastic, seasonally appropriate tunes perfect for blasting from your car or your headphones, or perhaps singing along to in the shower with your sponge mic.
WARNING: What you are about to see will amaze, delight, and possibly cause you to make a closet full of gem sweaters. Straight out of the Midwest, the following artist has been sweeping the nation, rapping about everything from zombies to gold pants, breaking down the barriers that divide us by turning people of all types into Junior Gems. Blog readers, meet Leslie Hall!
Leslie Hall is more than just a rapper, singer, dancer, crafter, fashion designer, and curator of the world's largest Mobile Museum of Gem Sweaters; she is also an inspiration. Through her unique (and always glamorous) style, catchy party jams, and midwestern diva attitude, Leslie and her friends (the LY's) have created a new style of music and living that the aspiring MC and feminist in all of us will be able to appreciate. Come with me and let's explore the wonders that are Leslie and the LY's.
To whet your gem sweater appetite, here is an amazing video and song about making crafts:
More shining, midwestern glamour after the jump, of course!
I've been feeling kinda stressed lately—and it shows with my BitchTapes mix. I collected a group of tracks about the external pressures we deal with day-to-day. You know, stuff like: Am I pretty enough? Tough enough? Smart enough? and on and on. The genres I've chosen are each so different, but the themes all come back to same stuff we all deal with at some point in our lives. Have a listen:
Today marks the long-awaited release of "Now We Can See," the fourth album from Portland's own The Thermals. The album was reviewed in the "Buzz" issue of Bitch, but as a huge fan of the band, I thought it deserved a bit of blog attention as well. Check out the video from their single, "Now We Can See"! It just came out today. I should warn you, though, it contains enough handclap-y happiness to last you all week long:
I love The Thermals, and what's not to love? They're an amazing band; they tackle a variety of important political issues in their catchy songs; they're super-fun live; they recently signed with the awesome, feminist, Kill Rock Stars; and they were nice enough to sit down for an interview with yours truly! (All that and I didn't even mention their extreme cuteness.) Read on for some of Kathy Foster's (bass) and Hutch Harris's (vocals, guitar) thoughts on the new album, and of course, feminism. Hooray!
I wasn't even alive for the 70s, but there's something about looking at photos from the decade – with their washed out lighting, feathered hair, and polyester galore – that makes me nostalgic. I picture myself cruising between N.O.W. and Black Panther rallies, with a stopover at a Germs or Blondie show thrown in for good measure. The 70s got to see some of the idealism from the late 60s take form in both policies and protests, but aside from free love, Black Nationalism, and second-wave feminism (and aforementioned polyester), the decade also provided us with some great music from some stellar ladies. This list took me weeks of thought and is my eight favorite tracks, all female-fronted, all 70s-licious.
So, I know that I talk about Bratmobile all the time (this is not my first time using the "bratmobile" tag), but I really can't emphasize enough how large of a role they played in my understanding of feminism and general personal development.
Read more of my gushing and watch some awesome videos after the jump!
Portland is a mecca of greatness. The city claims the Bitch offices, more coffee shops than you can shake a stick at, bicyclists galore and tons of musicians. Some better-known Portland acts include M. Ward, The Shins, Spoon and The Decemberists. But woe unto you if you think the Portland music scene ends there. There's much more to be heard!
Wednesdays can be rough. They're just a bit too far from the previous weekend to complain that you're bummed it's over and not quite close enough to the next weekend to revel in its proximity. In order to help you get through your Wednesday, I've thoughtfully selected a fantastic video by the amazing Athens Boys Choir. Check it out:
As most of you are aware, a few of us from Bitch Headquarters traded rainy Portland for sunny Austin, Texas, last week where we spent six days burning our Pacific Northwest skin to a crisp and listening to some bands at SXSW. The highlight of the week for me, without a doubt, was GAYbiGAYGAY, a fabulous backyard party filled with queer bands and artists (and the queers who love them.)