I've written about Robyn a lot, I know. This has, as I've mentioned, been the Year of Robyn for me. But this video hit last week and aside from being steamy, sent me spiraling off into a train of thought that I couldn't keep to myself.
Talking with a friend about the video and the tubes full of liquid that Robyn is wrapped in, I used the term "abstract futurism," which is totally me being pretentious. And yet, the tone of a lot of Robyn's songs, both on the Body Talk recordings and her previous work, evokes a world of robots and a world of love--the visual best suited was maybe already snagged by Bjork for "All Is Full Of Love".
If you happen to follow me on Tumblr, my obsession with Alison Mosshart is no secret. The witchy-haired singer/guitarist/all-around rock superheroine from The Kills and The Dead Weather probably occupies more space on my Tumblr than anyone aside from David Bowie and Paul Simonon of the Clash (about both of whom, more later). Videos after the jump!
By the end (I'm hoping not for good, but for now, anyway) of Sleater-Kinney Corin Tucker's voice was a finely honed weapon, full of deep, slow, sexy soul and capable of an earsplitting wail, a bonechilling snarl, a rock'n'roll howl that didn't so much as defy gender as rip the guts straight out of it.
Her new record, 1,000 Years puts that voice front and center, without the thrash that made The Woods so threatening at the time.
Creating art is walking through a minefield, especially in a society like this one that doesn't really do much to support said art. And since many of us critics are also creators, we know that we don't want to discourage creation, we want to make it better.
Because I'm not a musician, I'm a writer, I tend to like and analyze and pick at the lyrics of songs. But at the same time, to be any sort of a pop music critic I have to look at the whole package, not just the lyrics. Each part of a pop song is a deliberate choice, and sometimes those choices deliberately contradict one another, undercut one meaning and substitute another, add layer upon layer and give you things to think about with each listen.
I've been in Austin, Texas for the past week, and the highlight of my hectic live show calendar has been Calliope Musicals, a young, up-and-coming indie country/folk band started by Carrie Fussell and Matt Roth less than a year ago. This is exactly the kind of thing indie fans swoon over: the chance to say we knew them back BEFORE they went mainstream and got picked up by the radio (patooie). So fall in love with them, quick!
I still haven't read Sara Marcus's book on Riot Grrl, Girls to the Front, but I did bring two friends down to a reading in NYC last night that featured Marcus, poet Rachel Eliza Griffiths, and Rob Sheffield.
Marcus gave the most rock'n'roll reading I've ever heard for what's essentially a history book, though a vibrant, living history book built on having lived through that moment and spent years considering, rolling around in what it might mean. She straddled the mic, propped a foot on a monitor, and sang Kathleen Hanna's lyrics in a voice built for punk bands.
Mmm...books! Autumn and books just seem to go hand in hand. This week's BitchTapes is a mix of musicians celebrating books in their songs or group names. Best enjoyed while stepping on crunchy leaves on the way to your local independent bookstore. Track list after the jump!