From the days of sock garters and house coats, to Gaga and the Freakum Dress, getting ready to go in the twenty-first century can be an art form these days. Like a bird who can put on new feathers at will, clothes are a window into someone's mood, their 'tude, or just what was still clean enough to wear to work. That too.
Don't let the picture fool you--Sabrina Chap's forlorn album cover of Oompa! doesn't reflect what inside: bouncing rhythms, complex instrumentation, and intelligent lyrics covering everything from heartache to performing femininity.
Today marks my introductory blog post for Bitch, a publication I have such admiration and appreciation for, it has taken me several months to settle on what I might write about that would be worthy of the association.
I decided to discuss my travels and travails as a touring musician, with a focus on the women's advocacy work with which I am involved. There will also be time for stories. An example: one time before a show in Shreveport, LA. a man at the bar asked me if I would go to a motel with him and "that hooker lookin' lady over there" and smoke a doobie and have a threesome because she liked Asian people.
COMPLETELY UNRELATED: I am so pleased to announce the debut of our music video directed by Dianna Agron (Quinn of Glee). We gave the exclusive premiere to Oxfam America in hopes we might draw more attention to their work overcoming poverty and social injustice. Right now they are working on promoting a climate change bill that supports the world's poorest and most vulnerable in adapting to and surviving the effects of climate change.
The supermarket where I shop plays music of a certain vintage (which, as we've recently discussed, could be anything from last year's Billboard Top 40 to ditties from the War of 1812). The other day it happened to be Fleetwood Mac's "Don't Stop". As I browsed the selection of veggie sushi, I thought of how appropriate this particular song is for the commencement season (forget about Clinton campaigning to it back in the 90s), especially a commencement season in which there isn't exactly a lot of cockeyed optimism being dished out for the class of 2010.
Of course, my brain started whirring and I tried to think of other oldies radio staples and bona fide pop classics (very loosely defined as songs at least as old as the kids I'd dedicate them to) that would suit the occasion. I came up with the following mental mix tape that I'd offer up to the country's newest crop of college grads. Feel free to chime in in the comments section with your own (more current/eclectic) selections.
Most of us are taught that 'good' music is polished, without background noise or distortion. Popular culture embraces this kind of music. We're shown that if we want to succeed as musicians, we must aspire to make flawless music with the best equipment out there (meaning the most expensive, of course). Lo-fi music is awesome because it rejects this idea. It breaks convention. It's distorted and fuzzy, contains background noise and limited frequency response. Lo-fi doesn't give a shit about the rules.
We've all heard one of Audre Lorde's most famous lines: "The master's tools will never dismantle the master's house." Let's take a minute to apply this to the music industry. If the house we're talking about is the music industry, well, it's important to mention that it's long been dominated by privileged white males. The music industry was not built with most people in mind. So it's no wonder that riot grrrl and queercore began to reject the 'master's tools' (the expensive equipment, polished sound, the idea that conforming to an industry created without you in mind is something you should be doing). Lo-fi rejects the 'master's tools' and creates its own sound.
This mix is comprised of music made primarily by women. I don't mean to ignore the guys in the bands by calling this a "lo-fi ladies" mix; rather, I want to highlight lo-fi female-fronted music. Additionally, I can't say why these bands decided to make lo-fi music and I won't pretend to know each band's politics. While some of them definitely made the music as a statement against mainstream music/the man, others were probably just into the sound. Either way, this mix makes me feel like all I need to start a band is a $1 microphone and a couple of friends.
Happy Mother's Day to all the mamas out there! Here is a mix for those who love their moms and love hearing songs about these powerful women. Go grab your mom and have a listen while thanking her for creating the feminist who sits beside her!
May Day is Saturday, the international worker's day. It's a holiday remembering the murder of protesters in Chicago in 1886 who were on strike for the 8 hour work day, but has grown to be a day for calling out against systems of oppression, and particularly war and capitalism.
It's celebrated almost everywhere around the world, although notably not here in the United States where the murders took place.
May Day is also an important pagan holiday (more widely known as Beltane).
Monday marked the release of the music video for M.I.A.'s "Born Free," the lead single off the British rapper/singer/visual artist's forthcoming third album, and yet another clip from a female pop star this year that caused quite a stir. Continuing the discussion begun by the open thread Kjerstin started yesterday, I thought I'd share my thoughts.
If you, like me, think M.I.A. jumped the world pop shark with the "Born Free" video, try Abjeez, an Iranian pop/ska group based in Sweden fronted by sisters Melody and Safoura Safavi. Their music is political, personal, satirical, funny, catchy and accompanied by great videos (included after the jump!).
M.I.A. is not shying away from controversy in her new video, the latest in epic music videos that would never get aired on TV, and weren't made to (a phenom that doesn't look like it's going away any time soon). Cinematic but super violent, it's definitely a commentary on oppressive military governments and cultural profiling. To M.I.A.'s disappointment, it was banned from YouTube within a day of being posted.
Trigger warning: Contains graphic beatings, gun violence, and carnage.