Making music is work. Rewarding and fun work, to be sure, but work all the same. Like just about everything in a kyriarchy, the divisions of labor in making electronic music lead to an unequal distribution of value, financially, and artistically—who gets paid and how much, and who gets credit and for what.
First Lady Crew member, JB the First Lady, is a beat-boxer, emcee, performing artist, aboriginal youth educator, single mother, award winning actor, and member of the Nuxalk and Cayuga Nations who is "using [her] words to go upwards/not backwards." Check out JB the First Lady's brand new music video Get Ready, Get Steady after the jump!
Women have always been involved in electronic music: behind the scenes producing, as musicians and vocalists, voices being sampled, as djs and dancers. But women's contributions have, as in just about all forms of cultural life, been excluded from the official record, relegated to the marginal, the exception. Read on to see what I'm going to be talking about over the next eight weeks.
After a year or so of touring with only three MP3s online, MEN's debut album, Talk About Body finally came out last month. From the heady opener "Life's Half Price" to the mesmerizing "Simultaneously," its tight electronic beats, smart feminist lyrics, and a non-stop urge to sing along and shake your body makes for a record that's as fun as it is thoughtful. Now you can catch the trio of JD Samson (formerly of Le Tigre), Michael O'Neil, and new bassist Tami Hart (of Making Friendz) on tour! Expect homemade, abstract outfits and set designs, a restless dance floor, and every beat, bass line, and guitar riff of Talk About Body amplified by some great stage presence. I spoke with Samson before MEN's set last week in Portland, Oregon about queer visibility, the politics of dance, and Lady Gaga.
Perhaps inspired by her recent divorce from Sum 41's Deryck Whibley, "What the Hell" describes kissing various people and blowing off societal expectations. Now, the song's not without its problems. There's the "crazy" issue, and the lyrics are addressed to an unhappy main squeeze, which begs the question of how consensual their non-monogamy really is. Still, as with the Lou Christie classic "Lightnin' Strikes," I hear it as an exploration of dating around rather than a glorification of infidelity. "What the Hell" gave me the same flutter as Cher's 1998 smash "Believe," which burst onto the radio between songs about miserable devotion with the revelation "Maybe I'm too good for you." Yes, Avril's latest got my stamp of approval.
But then I saw the video.
Official music video and commentary after the jump!
Tired of hearing that musicians of the last twenty years (or just the ones you like) have unprecedentedly filthy minds? Welcome to a blast-from-the-past BitchTape that speaks for itself! Track list and space for your own faves after the jump.