Carolina Chocolate Drops will defy, and redefine, your presumptions regarding the pure power of the kazoo.
The trio, comprised of Rhiannon Giddens, Dom Flemons and Justin Robinson, met in 2005 at the Black Banjo Gathering in Boone, North Carolina. The event was dedicated to those who wished to better understand the banjo's roots in African and African American music and history. Their music is an eclectic and lively mix of fiddle, banjo, kazoo, jug, beat boxing and (literally) the bones. String music finds its American roots in a white Appalachian tradition, and grew from the seeds of slavery for the most part. And yet Carolina Chocolate Drops have taken this seemingly tenuous foundation for an all-black band and made the music distinctly, powerfully their own.
While snow is coming down all over the country, spring is poking its head out of the rain clouds in Portland, and I find that nothing suits the tease of spring better than cutesy female harmonizing. This mix features women from the 1920s to the 2010s bringing in the spring with vocal precision and fun tunes.
Musician, activist, and all-around cool lady Kathleen Hanna was interviewed by Laura Flanders for GRITtv last week. While the interview covered a range of topics (from endorsing Willie Mae Rock Camp's own Awkward Turtles to reflecting on the "arrogance of youth"), Hanna's most interesting comments regarded the complicated and sometimes problematic sides of building feminist leaders, archiving riot grrrl history, and comparing blogs to zines.
NPR did a segment on break-up songs. Tigerbeatdown devoted a week on the subject. And Thao Nguyen has written an article breaking-down the break-up song for Bitch. But I got to thinking about the break-up songs are good for you, the ones that are less about the blues and more about kicking-ass.
Tired of listening to Taylor Swift sing about all those love pains she's endured? Yeah, me too. In (dis)honor of Valentine's Day, here are some of my favorite tunes to smile to that present a love that is sometimes problematic, often tiring but never boring.
While my love for female-based rock music is well-documented and longstanding, even a fangirl like me can easily admit that riot grrrl and the punk scene more generally have long been a largely homogeneous affair, with a lack of racial diversity and inclusion among its iconic musicians and those who loved them. Partially inspired by Black History Month and partially by Beyonce's rendition of Alanis Morissette's classic at the most recent Grammy's (skip to 3:10 in the video), I wanted to showcase some women who defied narrow expectations and produced amazing music.
You asked for it (well, one person asked for it): a pop punk edition of BitchTapes! Punk pop, power pop, bubblegum punk - call it what you will, as long as you pogo your butt off and sing along in your brattiest sneer. Warning: pop punk is contagious.
As we've seen in past editions of BitchTapes, many Bitch Media staffers spent the 90s listening to super cool, street-cred building riot grrrl jams. Well, I've got a confession to make: Even though I grew up in the Pacific Northwest, I had no idea that riot grrrl was even happening until it was already over. No, I spent my formative feminist years listening mainly to top 40 radio. Lucky for me, that included a whole lot of all-female R&B music. Behold: