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.
Born and raised in Copenhagen, and influenced by reggae, disco, rock, R&B, and then some! No news of an album release in the US, but if you're in Denmark look for it in February. Til then you'll have to tide over with her first single, "Deep Sleep" about staying in bed, which is ironic, cause it's a song that makes you want to get up and dance! It's a got a boppy sort of teenage feel but there is a really great interlude that incorporates a Malian lullabye.
Elly Jackson is half of this duo who've established themselves in England but have yet to make it big in the States. Between her lungs and Ben Langmaid's synth they are makings some impressively infectious electronic pop! (And she's cited David Bowie, Madonna, Annie Lennox, and Molly Ringwald as influences.) When I heard "Bulletproof" it reminded me of the Gossip(!) at first, but and then it made me think of Ace of Base (!!), and then and by the time it over I realized that La Roux is awesome on their own was and striking out to make their own sick version of synthpop.
This trio started out punk, but bassist Shingai Shoniwa had too powerful a voice to play London's warehouse-squat scene forever (so I'm told by the New York Times. Also check out Venus Zine's 2007 interview with them!). You might recognize the dance-y "Don't Upset the Rhythm" but they've got a whole album of pop-electro-punk that just got released in the US last week (which hopefully means they'll be heading back here soon for a tour!).
Most of us have that album in our lives, the one that’s the instant open doorway to our core. (Mine is Joni Mitchell’s Hejira…or is it P.J. Harvey’s Dry? Never mind—what’s that album for you, Bitch readers?)
Our ardent devotion to that watershed CD is the theme of the new anthology Heavy Rotation: Twenty Writers on the Albums That Changed Their Lives, edited by Peter Terzian. The collection includes fine essays by Sheila Heti (on the Annie soundtrack), Stacey D’Erasmo (on Kate Bush’s The Sensual World), Asali Solomon (on Gloria Estefan’s Mi Terra), and Colm Tóibín (on Joni Mitchell’s Blue).
It also includes Alice Elliott Dark’s stunning essay, "The Quiet One," which chronicles her obsession with the Beatles’ Meet the Beatles! and George Harrison that intensified at a pivotal, tragic point in her girlhood. Page Turner interviewed Dark about writing "The Quiet One"; truth-telling in fiction versus nonfiction; sexism and the boy bands; Beatle wives; and why she abandoned her belief in pop culture.