It's a long time in coming—Erykah Badu
is finally releasing Amerykah, Part Two (Return of the Ankh)
tomorrow. The album is a followup to the 2008's totally underappreciated
release, New Amerykah, Part One (4th World War). Some of her
best, most unexpected music is on that album. So I'm excited about the
say the least. (more after the jump)
Alex Chilton, vocalist and founder of Big Star, died last week.
Big Star hardly sold any records during it's brief 3 album stint, but is now recognized as one of the most influential and certainly under appreciated bands of the 1970s. Big Star was crucial in the emergence of alternative and indie rock in the 80's and 90's, and a key influence of pioneering bands like the Bangles and the Replacements.
South by Southwest had a tribute concert for Alex Chilton, which featured almost exclusively male rockers. That's a shame, since Big Star's music has been covered and wonderfully re-arranged by a huge array of musicians.
Here's a broader sampling of Big Star's legacy from BitchTapes...full track list after the fold.
Can'tstoplisteningtoDessa! The only woman in the highly acclaimed underground hip hop collective, Doomtree, Dessa brings a literary beauty to hypnotic rhythms that left me (re)examining the super old and super problematic feminist consensus that hip hop, even what comes from woman artists, is too caught up with rampant sexism to see outside that bubble. Conscious hip hop, thy name is woman!
Full disclosure: I love Loretta Lynn. I have dressed like her for Halloween. I have sat glued to Sissy Spacek's performance as her in Coal Miner's Daughter. I have been known to sing "You Ain't Woman Enough" at various karaoke bars in the greater Portland area. I am a fan. But! Even if I weren't a fan of her music, her awesome biopic and her sassy Grand Ole Opry getups, I'd be a fan of her feminism. Did you know she wrote a hit (and censored) song about birth control?
Several of you saw the ultra cultural appropriation performance of performances from Ke$ha on American Idol last Wednesday night - who decided in all her infinite wisdom to come out half-way through her "blah, blah, blah" song in a headdress and her version of "war paint" (I think).
It's obviously racist, ignorant, and beyond silly, but it's also an interesting statement (that I definitely won't give Ke$ha credit for knowing) about mainstream society's imagery of Native women. Not that it's her first time donning Native gear - apparently it's something she does on the regular with different pieces.
In 2008 I wrote about Juliette Lewis and her continued decision to "dress up like an Indian" with her band and what this means in her attempt to appear strong, raw, and yes even "savage" with her music. There are some particular intersections to address when we see women dressed up like this - and it has nothing to do with the fact that these people are of course getting our actual culture, traditions, and teachings all wrong.
Wrap your work week up with an *extra special guest Bitchtapes!* Misty, a Bitch mag reader and winner our subscription contest last month for a Bitch goody bag and a shot at Bitchtapes, has handpicked a great selection of covers side-by-side with their original. Here's Misty's mix in her own words:
My choices are 5 original songs and 5 covers (though as I created this playlist, I saw some songs that I thought were originals were not, so there may be versions of even these songs from way back when). As I have no talent for music, I have always found it interesting how one musician can put out a song and another artist takes it and really makes it their own. With instantly-recognizable classics, a musician must possess a self-confidence in their abilities to take a song that so many people relate to or love and put their mark on it. Though I wouldn't describe all these originals as timeless classics, I like how each of the covers are so much more than just repeated lyrics.
Check out Misty's track list below and enjoy this reader-deejayed Bitchtapes!
While the blogosphere is still wrapping their head around the epic Telephone video, Out Magazine got a hold of Heather Cassils, whose prison-yard smooch with Gaga is one of the most talked about portions of the video. A long-time performance artist, Cassils went to the "Telephone" audition on a whim, and the kiss she and Gaga shared was completely unscripted. While her interactions with Gaga are worth a read, Cassils also speaks about her art ("I use the fact that the image is live to try to capture and transfix people, because people can walk away from a painting.") representation ("binaries are dangerous across the board"), about the co-option of queer identity for pop stars. ("That's been going on since the dawn of time.")
I was lucky enough to attend a SXSW screening of Blip Festival: Reformat the Planet, a documentary about chiptunes, an underground music form that uses hardware from old video game consoles, like classic Nintendo Game Boys and NESes, to create new, original music. Most of this music bears little resemblance to 8-bit video game music (except, of course, for the sound quality); it's more like bright, happy amped-up techno, the kind of music that makes you feel like you're going on an adventure. Reformat the Planet tracks the creation of Blip Festival, a four-day chiptune extravaganza that happens in Brooklyn and features artists from all around the world. The movie is just 82 minutes, but is packed with great live footage, interviews and insights into the chiptune-making process.
In honor of the music video that is sweeping the virtual nation today, (it's Lady Gaga and Beyoncé's "Telephone," but I bet I didn't have to tell you that) a few of us here in the office got on our trusty GChat accounts and commented along with the video. Read what we had to say about transmisogyny, pastiche, and sandwiches – and leave your own comments – after the jump!