I danced to JD Samson's music years before I knew her name. As part of the Le Tigre trio, Samson's punky pop-friendly beats and vocals thumped across all my friend's high school mixtapes. Now, the proudly queer and feminist performer is releasing Labor, the second album of her Brooklyn-based band MEN. It's an upbeat, fiery electronic album that you can put on repeat three times in a row and still want to hear again. You can pre-order the album now, BTW.
I talked with Samson in September about activism, making money, and her very first band.
JD Samson is certainly no stranger to Bitch; a significant voice in the Riot Grrrl movement, and a more than prominent queer and feminist icon, it only makes sense to let you know what she's up to this summer. Last week, while attempting to figure out exactly what to write for this post (because leaving you with just a list of tour dates would be boring), a dear friend deemed me a "JD Samson connoisseur." While I gladly accepted this title, there's definitely a bit of a difference between knowing a lot about someone and having a mild obsession* with (read: giant crush on) that person, and you can probably guess where I stand within this spectrum of connoisseurship. Though, with this giant crush, comes a great deal of respect and admiration for JD as both an artist and an activist.
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.
"FEMINISTS, WE'RE CALLING YOU! PLEASE REPORT TO THE FRONT DESK!"
It's fucking hard to be feminist. (If you just made a dick joke to yourself then get the heck outta here!) No one said negotiating power was easy, but that doesn't mean that you can't rock out while challenging the status-quo, being politically active and refusing to compromise your principles. Enter Le Tigre, and for fun's sake, let's put 'em on tour!