If crack-smoking mayor Rob Ford is all you know about Toronto, then you have a lot to learn. While the Canadian city has become internationally infamous for the disturbing antics of its unfortunate mayor, Toronto has cultivated one of the most exciting and diverse queer feminist art scene in recent years. From last Halloween’s Lesbian Feminist Haunted House to numerous experimental queer bands, Toronto has a community that supports media makers who push the political and artistic envelope.
For our mixtape this week, I put together a playlist to facilitate one-person dance parties. I know I'm celebrating Valentine's Day by dancing around my room with the music turned up loud. Pants optional.
It turns out Tacocat's in good company: there are a surprising number of upbeat songs featuring women rapping and singing about menstruation! I found seven other songs about periods—plus a bonus track of Maragaret Cho rapping—and am happy to present 28 minutes of vag-tastic music.
Hurray for the Riff Raff performing (in a van) for a live show at SXSW last year.
Alynda Lee Segarra plays for an audience of misfits. “My songs are about people who feel down and out and feel like outcasts in society,” explains the singer and guitarist best known for her band Hurray For The Riff Raff. “And that’s who I want to come to the shows, too. Maybe because they hate the music on the radio now or they feel like music doesn’t have a soul anymore or they feel like their gender isn’t represented there.”
This week, I wrote about a new album of North Carolina musicians making songs inspired by that state's Moral Monday protests. Listening to their album made me hungry for a whole playlist of American protest music.
So, I spent way too long putting together this mixtape of great American protest songs. It's an eclectic mix of hip-hop, rap, dance, and folk—it includes no punk, because that's just my taste. My desire was to make a mix that's enjoyable to listen to, in addition to being all about politics. The songs address a wide range of issues in American history, including racism, sexism, police brutality, inequality, and war. I put some serious classics on there (like "Talkin' Bout a Revolution") and some songs that make me laugh (like Peggy Seeger's "I'm Gonna Be an Engineer.") I put Nina Simone on there twice because she's Nina Simone.
Ironically, when I bought Barbara Dane's song "I Hate Capitalism" on iTunes, there was a glitch and iTunes wouldn't let me listen to it. I had to buy the song off Amazon. What can I say? Capitalism is one tough glitch.
Thousands of people attended weekly “Moral Monday” protests at the North Carolina state capital this year, speaking up against voter ID laws, for protecting abortion access, and for decreasing income inequality. Now they have a soundtrack: a group of North Carolina artists have put together an album inspired by the protests called We Are Not For Sale.
In honor of Minneapolis band Têtes Noires' latest release, The New American Dream, here is a mixtape of ladies currently dominating the electronic, hip-hop, and garage rock music scenes straight from the Land of 10,000 lakes. While Prince doesn't make a gender-bending appearance, the Têtes feminist infused '80s hits are mixed in. So rock out to Kitten Forever, chill out to Vandaam and don't forget to get your GRRRL PRTY on and dance like a madwoman in between.
Têtes Noires performing at Minneapolis venue First Avenue in 1985.
The best album of 2013 was actually recorded in 1984. That was the year that Têtes Noires—a relatively unknown, but critically acclaimed all-female rock sextet—first released their sophomore album, American Dream. For many reasons, Têtes Noires is an important band in rock history. For one, they are touted as Minneapolis’ first all-female rock band. For two, the ladies accomplished a helluva lot in their relatively short period of being active (from ’83-’87). In that time they started a record label, self-released two albums, toured nationally and earned critical acclaim. Right about now you should be asking yourself, “Wait, how do I not know about Têtes Noires?”
This week's BitchTapes mix collects some favorite songs from artists we didn't know about this time last year. Music writer Katie Presley recently rounded up some of her feminist music discoveries of 2013 and I thought they'd make a pretty sweet mix. I was right!