Lovers: They love most things. From left is Emily Kingan, Kerby Ferris, and Carolyn Berk. Photo via CMJ.
Never was a band so perfectly named as Lovers. As we talked over coffee last week about their new album, A Friend in the World, and upcoming national tour, a fan from England who happened to overhear the coffeeshop conversation stopped by the table to warmly great the artists. That's typical for the Portland electro-pop trio, who compare their performances as community celebrations akin to weddings and say they're far too sincere and loving to be a "cool" band.
Scottish synthpop band Chvrches has become wildly popular in the last year. That popularity has a sad, dark side for lead singer Lauren Mayberry, who wrote a column in The Guardian this week noting that she now has to sort through dozens of sexually aggressive messages every day on her band's Facebook page.
I danced to JD Samson's music years before I knew her name. As part of the Le Tigre trio, Samson's punky pop-friendly beats and vocals thumped across all my friend's high school mixtapes. Now, the proudly queer and feminist performer is releasing Labor, the second album of her Brooklyn-based band MEN. It's an upbeat, fiery electronic album that you can put on repeat three times in a row and still want to hear again. You can pre-order the album now, BTW.
I talked with Samson in September about activism, making money, and her very first band.
Autumn is the best season for new music, in terms of sheer volume. Musicians record all winter, road test in the spring, play the hits on summer festival stages, and put out the new material in the fall. To kick off the season, I've chosen nine of the best feminist artists' songs and albums coming out in September or October.
There's disco here, and rock, folk, punk, American blues via Malian Bambara, and more. Let us know what you think, and tell us what you've been listening to this month!
Sometimes, I love a song so much that all I want to do is listen to that song over and over and over, until it has become a permanent part of my brain. This is my relationship to Dolly Parton's master work "Jolene." Some days, all I want is "Jolene," all the time.
And thus, my perfect mixtape: 15 versions of "Jolene," back-to-back-to-back. Enjoy!
Funny side-note: After I put together this mixtape, I discovered that Autostraddle did the exact same thing a year ago! Clearly, this is a thing. Also, there are so many "Jolene" covers in the world that our "Jolene"-only tapes actually don't include many of the same versions. The two tapes are best listened to one right after another, in my opinion.
Track list is below the cut—though reading through it kind of ruins the fun.
The Julie Ruin just about burned down the stage at Portland's Time Based Arts festival last Thursday night. The group kicked off the contemporary arts festival as part of a national tour to celebrate their album Run Fast and as frontwoman Kathleen Hanna launched into their raucous playlist, the room suddenly felt hot, sweaty, and electric.
It's a big deal for Hanna to be on stage at all. The singer who brought seemingly boundless energy to Bikini Kill and Le Tigre has spent the last six years dealing with the effects of Lyme Disease, which hinders both physical and neurological abilities. When we spoke in early September, Hanna talked about living with an invisible disease, how vulnerability can create true confidence, and how the best thing that ever happened to riot grrrl is critique.
The festival celebrates women in music production, raises their visibility, and develops a pipeline for girls and young women to get involved behind the scenes as music producers. This 30-minute mixtape is a collection of tracks produced by the women who will headline this year's festival, which is on Saturday, September 28 at Barnard College in NYC!
You may not have heard of hip hop producer Ebony Oshunrinde. Stop! Don't rush to Wikipedia because you feel out of touch. We often don't know the government names of many artists to whom we regularly listen and there's nothing wrong with that. What's surprising to me is that you may not have heard of Ms. Oshunrinde's nom de plume Wondagurl, either.
At just 16, this young woman has garnered production credits on Jay-Z's game-changing album "Magna Carta Holy Grail," a feat that men twice her age would gladly sell their souls to the illuminati to accomplish. Say what you want about Jigga, but producing anything for a multi-platinum recording artist is a big deal, especially if you're a woman.
It's your lucky day! Great, great Olympia indie music label K Records put together this special mixtape for Bitch, featuring a ton of new releases. The mix is a smattering of a little bit of everything from K, brought to a boil and slowly stirred.