The Shivas, a dreamy quartet of surf rockers from Portland, Oregon, released their third LP, WHITEOUT, on vinyl through K Records this month. We talked with drummer and vocalist Kristin Leonard about drumming, the band's record deal, and tales from tours.
Writer Jordannah Elizabeth wrote up a list of her five favorite black women musicians for Bitch this week. People loved the post and wanted more. So Jordannah put together a whole mixtape of Black women artists. Enjoy!
R&B/Soul mixtapes can be cheesy and predictable! I want to spice this mixtape up with songs from Black female musicians from different genres and eras. These amazing women had strong and influential careers and enormous talent! All of the tracks are thoughtful, empowering, sweet and emotionally penetrating, just like every strong and classy lady should be!
At least half – if not two-thirds – of the essays in Drinking Diaries (a newly published book spawned by the blog of the same name) are downers. That stands to reason: alcohol is a depressant, and as I've written before in this series, historically women have borne its consequences more severely than men.
If the book sometimes feels like a long self-help meeting—with one story after another about hitting bottom, living with the consequences of a parent's or friend's drinking or simply realizing it's time to slow down—there are also moments of complexity and nuance. Rita Williams's lyric essay, "The Root Cellar," is hardly about drinking at all: it's actually about class and racial identity, and how her failure to deliver a bottle of homemade dandelion wine on time bore disastrous consequences for a coworker. Jane Friedman's “Drinking as a Genuine Vocation” made me want to be her friend for life, and Samantha Dunn's “Slake,” about her mother's death due to alcoholism (that is, but due to an untreated infection from falling on broken glass) resists easy answers about the causes of her mother's thirst for booze.
It's taken me more than a decade to come around to Lucinda Williams. When I was in middle school, my dad came suddenly into my room and put a CD in my stereo with no explanation. I set down my alg/trig homework and watched him carefully. He finally said, just before the music started, "Listen to this song, Kate. I've never heard anything so...gripping." And then he sat with his eyes closed until the song was over. And that was the first time I heard Lucinda Williams. I'm not even sure now what the song was, but that's the thing about Williams' music: many of her songs could be the most gripping song my dad (or anyone) has ever heard. I did not agree at the time, but remembered her name in association with her affect on my father. Now, on the event of her 10th studio album being released, I finally get it.
If you happen to follow me on Tumblr, my obsession with Alison Mosshart is no secret. The witchy-haired singer/guitarist/all-around rock superheroine from The Kills and The Dead Weather probably occupies more space on my Tumblr than anyone aside from David Bowie and Paul Simonon of the Clash (about both of whom, more later). Videos after the jump!
It's no surprise weather patterns appear so often in music. They, like music, can shape and reflect our moods at any given time. More importantly, they're good for a seemingly infinite number of metaphors. They can change from minute to minute. Just like your aching heart. They can rain on your parade. Just like, you know... rain. They can brighten up the ENTIRE PLANET! Just like EVERYTHING ELSE can, when you're having one of those days when everything is golden and drenched in sunshine and "Mr. E's Beautiful Blues" is your own personal theme song. It all starts in the sky. With that, global warming, and the constantly-changing weather of autumn all in mind, this week's BitchTapes is a big ol' shout out to Mother Nature.
Side note: It was incredibly hard for me not to put "Mr. Sun" by Raffi on this list. The things I do for hipster cred... Forgive me, Raffi. You are #1 in the playlist of my heart.
Who needs overpriced beer and heatstroke when you can enjoy a music festival in the comfort of your own city? That's how I feel about Musicfest Northwest, taking place in Portland next week from September 8-11. Bitch Media will doing special daily blog posts on the upcoming acts. Don't worry--we won't flood the interwebs with any more updates on the Walkmen or The National, we'll be covering queer and female artists who maybe aren't getting as much attention as the bigger acts. PDX-ers can be informed about which shows to catch and non-locals can look forward new music, mp3s, and videos from shows. This week's mix is emblematic of the Pac-NW unknowns and international stars playing Portland next week. From New-Orleans bounce to artsy-dance and folk rock, hopefully you'll find something you like! Track list after the jump.
The polarization that surrounds discussions about works of pop culture created by women can sometimes make it really hard to fairly and honestly critique female creators. We all internalize misogyny to some extent and I am never surprised, though I am disappointed, when it expresses in pop culture critiques.
We have to be able to strike a balance.
It is necessary to evaluate and critique all pop culture, no matter the gender of the creator. Being a woman does not make you immune from criticism when your work is problematic. At the same time, we need to recognize that there is a history when it comes to talking about art created by women. A history of bringing discussions about personal lives into discussions of art, of picking female creative professionals apart personally, not just professionally, of expressing some internalized tropes in the way we interact with art created by women.