We've had Karaoke-themed BitchTapes in the past, but as an enthusiast of the sport who has seen far too many dud performances (and given a few myself), I'd like to revisit the topic and offer some helpful Karaoke don'ts. Let these songs serve as a guidebook of sorts, to keep you from looking like too much of a fool the next time you get on the mic.
Björk trades exclusively in weird, constantly redefining herself in ways that challenge conceptions of women in music. I love Björk for shaking off any definitions people have applied to her, so let's cruise through a short "greatest hits" list of classic Björk moments that have helped shape her nebulous character.
While brainstorming for this week's mix (too early for anti-Valentine's Day songs and too late for Squirrel Appreciation Day?) Kelsey came up with something brilliant: a mix inspired by the 1993 movie Groundhog Day featuring the same song played over and over again (Bill Murray's character in the film experiences, inescapably, the holiday every day). But because the utter meta-ness of the mix might be overpowering (and because 8Tracks doesn't let you include two songs by the same artist), I thought different artists singing the same song might be a little more palatable. It turns out one of the most-covered songs of all times, "Yesterday" by the Beatles, is more than apt for Punxsutawney Phil's shadow-casting on Thursday. And from En Vogue's harmonizing to Tammy Wynette's lonesome wail, it turns out some of the most original covers have been by women. So here's ten tracks dedicated to yesterday, Bill, and Phil... and if it ever feels like déjà-vu, just press "next."
Suzanne Ciani basically had the coolest job ever: As a groundbreaking electronic musician in the seventies, Ciani composed sounds for pinball machines, composed Atari and Coca-Cola commercials, did the sound-effects for Meco's disco Star Wars theme, and scored The Incredible Shrinking Woman (becoming the first woman hired to score a major Hollywood film). And that's just how she paid rent.
Ciani was an innovative musician in her own right, as well. And now for the first time, a mix of her early commercial and compositional work (1969-1985) is coming out from B-Music/Finders Keepers.
No, this isn't an "in bed" playlist for hanky-panky, this mix is for those rockstars struck down by flu season, reduced to figuring out the best pillow to lean on when eating soup. Judging by inter-office emails, I'm not the only sick one, so let's all embrace it and get down with some nice cozy tracks...in bed. But don't get in bed with me, because I'm still contagious.
Ani DiFranco has taken a lot of sides in her decades-long career. She has also famously refused to take sides, and, undeniably, looked at many things from both sides. Her new studio album ¿Which Side Are You On?, released today, is both a personal State of the Union address from the iconic folksinger, and an appeal to her listeners and the larger world to decide and declare where each of us stands in a world that's begging for champions.
Welcome then to the second installment of Queercore Now and Forever More! I regret to am thrilled to inform you that the last BitchTapes devoted to contemporary queer music was incomplete. Limited to under 20 tracks with links flickering to former + side projects, there is so much more queer music to share with you reader/listener! Plus, after Not Enough! and the self-motivating cultural ripples the Portland-based queer arts/music festival creates, a heap of queer projects in the Northwest alone have started up since the last mix 10 months back. Check out the latest tracks from Queercore's lesser-known-soon-to-be-faves as well as established contemporary artists:
The Last Names is a pretty new band, and as such they don't have much music beyond a pleasant EP that makes me think their upcoming album, Wilderness, will also be pleasant. What they do have, though, is the 52 Covers Project.
Vi Subversa took late '70s British punk idealism and held it up to its own values. She challenged the seas of angry, violent young men that crowded British clubs and opened punk up for personal expression. With her band the Poison Girls, she forged a path of punk rock that examined the politics of everyday life. And, who else can say they released their first single when they were a 44-year-old mother of two?