Friday, October 7, 2016

Friday Round Up: Oct 7th, 2016

The best thing I saw / listened to all week! Bask in the beauty of Wiki edits is real time. It is like listening to a gentle but persistent rain storm produced by Eno. It also accidently double as a band or song name generator.

Roger Shepherd shares his stories behind the photographs found in his new memoir In Love With These Ties: My Life with Flying Nun Records, everyone's favorite record label from New Zealand.

Meet the women participating in Ragnar Kjartansson's "Women in E", nine of whom will also perform with their bands on October 22nd at an all day festival at the Hirshhorn in Washington, DC.

I've written about my love of the X-Girl clothing line before and it appears Kim Gordon has passed the torch down to her daughter this year. Can we all agree that an Earth Crisis turtleneck is pretty funny?

Pretty darn excited to discover there is a L7 documentary coming this fall. I can't say this clip tells me much about the story of the band but with my nostalgia being what it is for this band, I am sure I will love it regardless.

One of the other great things I saw this week are the photographs of the queens of the metal scene in Botswanas which is fairness is feature from last year but it never gets old to me.

I am not really a halloween person but spiders tune their webs like a guitar at that is as close as I get to getting seasonal. Oh, and music is ruining our opinion of sharks. And then there is this; you can submit spooky music for a pretty cool project here.

A new Mannequin Pussy record is coming! God I love the tension between their angst and melodies.

If you love cassette tapes so much, maybe you should know more about them.

Who are you and what are you doing here? Self sabotaging is the worst and Kat Harding shares her experience in the Nashville music community as she copes with "imposter syndrome".

Backyard report: local Richmond DJ, artist, and musician Sara Gossett created the breathtaking cover art for Tompkins Square release by Harvey Mandel.

Some speaker stains are actually dust patterns made by sound. Here is someone who has made an art show out of it.

Crystal Fairy is a super group featuring member of The Melvins, At The Drive-In, and Le Butcherettes.

Dot from The Shaggs opens up to Rolling Stone. Don't call them outsider Rock, they are more like outsider Mt. Everest according to their rabid fan base.

Patti Boyd has inspired 10 very well known rock and roll songs. Who the heck is the real life Layla anyhow?

The history of library music - for you soundtrack / incidental music fans.

Kathleen Hanna is having a busy year. It appears Le Tigre is reuniting.

Spend forty-five minutes with Francoise Hardy! Who doesn't want that?

The real life feminist bookstore made famous in Portlandia is putting a bird on it and that bird is a middle finger

Sunday, October 2, 2016

Session Musician Legend: Bobbye Hall

Bobbye Hall is one of the most important female percussionists of the last century. Her many music skills and one of a kind chemistry in a studio recording session has led to four decades of gold and platinum hits.

Friday, September 30, 2016

News and Muse: September 30th, 2016

Today at 11AM Kathleen Hanna (the Julie Ruin /Bikini Kill) will be talking with Meredith Graves (MTV/ Perfect Pussy) live for the Talkhouse Music Podcast.

Oh no! This is how a woman really sounds when she sings? The weirdest thing I have read in ages is the technical evaluation of the new Lady Gaga single that some people find to be nails on a chalkboard. Some listeners can't wrap their head around a singer belting out a melody without the technology to clean it up so it sounds inhumanly in tune and like an unfeeling robot. I am baffled by the unnecessary push back to this very common approach to recording vocals.

In more befuddling reads, there are a lot of people who still buy CDs and Noisy wanted to know WTF. Hint, some people like physical stuff, enjoy the full journey of following a release from start to finish-getting the artist's full story, there is loyalty to the artist, that is how I listen to music in my car, I don't know how to download or I don't trust digital files, and you are probably over the age of 30.

Spotify is in "advanced talks" to buy SoundCloud; so much room for potential or disaster. Either way it threatens Apple music and will allow Bandcamp to remain more of an indie artist favorite when compared against these European superpowers in digital music.

"Girls Own Love" is an all female Andrew W. K. tribute band from Athens, Ga that features Kay Stanton who is currently also playing with Pylon Reenactment Society and Casper & the Cookies.

Amoeba in Berkeley, California goes green meaning they just got license to sell marijuana.

There is a battle brewing over the digital download cards that may or may not be included in that new record you just bought. Love 'em or hate 'em, there are lots of interesting opinions here from various record label owners.

Well that was fast; goodbye G.L.O.S.S., we hardly knew ya.

Sheila B, one of my favorite ladies and an extraordinary DJ (tune in today to WFMU to hear why) recently toured Europe and recapped it for fans here. Cha Cha Charming indeed.

Montreal has a public vinyl archive at the Never Apart Gallery and venue and it tells a story you once had to stay up very late to hear.

Congrats to Kathleen Brennan for receiving an award for writing "Song Lyrics of Literary Excellence"! If only some of the bigger press outlets called you by your name rather than just Tom Waits' wife. We know that a woman is more than who she is married to.

Harlem based producer Veronica Lauren turned bedrest from a botched spinal injury treatment into music.

Dolly is a beacon of strength for women. Oh come on. There is only one Dolly and we all know it.

This remarkable computer program essentially reads data and can turn it into music. Listen to the sound of climate change and learn more about this musical technology that will forever change how our brains can take in information. Woo your elitist music snob friends when you tell them your new favorite genre is "data sonification'.

Vinyl record sales are down 9.1% this year but we all already knew that the bubble has vinyly burst - right? See what I did there?

This interview with the Chicago rapper Noname also features her new album and both are worth your time.

What does The Boss have to do with one feminist's life journey?

There is a 16 year old editor in chief of a hopelessly cool biannual that showcases youth talent. Elise By Olsen started "Recens Paper" at age 13 which should all make us feel like we should probably all be doing more with our lives right about now.

Mexican duo Lorelle Meets the Obsolete has a new album out entitled Balance and why aren't more music sites talking about it yet?

Tuesday, September 20, 2016

Janis Joplin on Paper

You may have noticed a Janis Joplin documentary on Netflix currently called Little Girl Blue that includes Chan Marshall aka Cat Power  narrating.

Here is the trailer to that film:

Janis is best known for her unbridled vocal performances and wild child charisma however she first began expressing herself through drawing and painting in grade school. The film never goes into her interest in making art or her original desire to be a fashion designer so I took to the internet to seek out some of these sketches myself.

I love this snapshot (below) of her drawing the scarecrow from Oz. It is particularly wild to see Janis looking more like a cast member of Leave it to Beaver as a kid.

Her transition into life as an outcast began in grade school when she stood up against segregation in Texas when few in her community would. She was threatened for her belief in equality as well as mercilessly teased for bad skin, frizzy hair, and being slightly overweight all throughout her school years. Her response was to explore art, read beat writers, start dying her hair, and spend weekends hanging out drinking in Blues bars with a small circle of beatnik friends - all the opposite of what accepted ladylike behavior was by the mainstream. The peak of cruelty from others came when she was named "Ugliest Man on Campus" by Texas University frats in college. She left Texas and tried never looking back however the years of being tormenting had already taken their toll. Drinking and taking drugs were one coping mechanism but luckily for music fans, so was overcoming her haters to pursue her passion of making music.
"You are what you settle for"
                                   -Janis Joplin
Janis Joplin never settled. She was the child of a 1940s/1950s reserved family living in an equally conservative state yet she had the courage to push back against the masses no less allowed herself the freedom to reinvent herself. She defied her gender expectations by being among the first women to use screaming to enhance her vocal performances. She looked exactly as she pleased, including a tattoo which was nearly a half century before it was trendy no less acceptable for a women to have. She crossed color barriers by belting out her own raw take of the Blues. She was as a single, bi-sexual woman forging her way in a mostly male dominated music world. She had no mentor cutting the path for her. She led the way alone. The making and eventually breaking of this star had a lot to do with being a victim of bullying (eventually also leading to her body dysmorphia). For nearly a decade she carried a relentless drive to show the world that she was worthy of love and had something special by channeling that pain and self doubt into her art. The tragic irony of her life is the strife that helped fuel her talent would also be the same thing that helped extinguish her flame.

Friend of Joplin's Country Joe McDonald once stated that "Sexism killer her." and this quote haunts me. Janis refused to buy into conventional beauty or what a female front person should behave/sound like and she paid the price for it. She was finally earning the love and respect she craved from fans but for most of her short life, her trusted inner circle never delivered the kind of support system she needed desperately. Joplin also sadly lacked the self love to rise above the criticism. She found it difficult to escape feelings of loneliness and never learned to cope with the lows that followed the high of performing to large and enthusiastic audiences that wasn't in a bottle or drug.  

Joplin's life was over by the unbelievably young age of 27 in 1970. Her official cause of death was a heroin overdose but her heart had also been broken one too many times. We have had the opportunity to hear her bravely express herself unlike anyone who came before her through her voice but I appreciate seeing an added dimension to her character through her pictures.

The bulk of Janis Joplin's artwork below was created before music took over from approximately age 12 to 20.

As a final side note, in my search online I discovered that Joplin's niece Malyn Joplin has created a fashion line inspired by Janis called Made for Pearl.

Friday, September 16, 2016

News and Muse: September 16th, 2016

Before you post something about how the sky is falling because you skimmed a headline and believe Amoeba Records in Hollywood, CA is closing, read this. Read the full article before posting outrage people!

My ears are reminding me that this was the best thing it heard this week: Sampa the Great from Australia.

Aphex Twin and Bjork you say? Christmas comes early this year in Houston, TX.

Ladies, Yoko Ono wants you! Tell her about the trauma you have suffered for no other reason that being a woman. Her son Sean also made the news this week when he shared his unfortunate thoughts on mansplaining.

This is the most talked about music news story of the week; G.L.O.S.S turned down an Epitaph Records contract. To me the bigger story is that they might be the only band I know who talks about pressing 20k of a record out of the gate. Now that is the real story here.

Have you ever wondered why you hated the sound of your own voice? This article explains why. Science! 

England has two female revolutions happening; music (meet The Tuts, the newest in a seemingly endless crop of killer bands) and fashion.

The lesson here is one of determination and no apologies for being who you are. Publicist Michelle Kambasha shares her experiences as a black woman in the independent music world.

The New York Art Book fair is THE place to be this weekend. Somebody go and report back for me - please? You can get a Kim Gordon or Genesis Breyer P-Orridge tattoo! Oh, and in other Kim Gordon news, there is this short film made by Carrie Brownstein for the Kenzo fall/winter campaign. And wait! More KG news! She has a new single out too!

Amy McGrath of Denver, CO has written an essay about why women rock on and off the stage.

What does Marnie Stern have to do with Seth Meyers and his late night television show? Her enormous music talent is being put to good use.

These songwriters are fighting the Justice Department because of their recent music copyright ruling as it relates to digital streaming compensation.

Modular synth fans, don't miss this 25 minute non-tradional documentary on the making of the collaborative LP between Suzanne Ciani and Kaitlyn Aurelia Smith. Think of this as a visual companion to the music rather than your typical thing where artists talk about their project.

I have produced records with just about every vinyl pressing plant there is since the early '90s but my favorite experience remains with Erika Records. I first heard about them because they were partners with Sub Pop early on but I remain dedicated to them because they are owned by Liz Dunster. Oh the things this woman has put up with over the years because of her gender. I have so much respect for her and her dedication to producing top quality records in a professional manner. Check out this recent article on her and her company.

Nothing says objectifying and marginalizing women in a really stupid way quite like this very real recent music group comment. Tell me more about women in your creepy shoegaze fantasy world. Oh wait. Don't. Just don't. It is exhausting (not to mention insulting) to see comments like this about women in bands that treat us more like an accessory than a talented member of the band. We are real people who make art.

This article slipped through the posting cracks a few weeks ago. Why are more women freelancing?

Titwrench is raising the bar for music festivals according to this story.

Shirley Manson has some words for you about fetishizing the '90s, body image, and well, click here to see what else.

Friday, September 9, 2016

Music News and Muse: September 9th, 2016

The best thing I saw all week are these vintage suitcases turned into functional boomboxes.

I had the opportunity to interview Alice Bag for Le Sigh and if you don't know anything about her, this is a great place to start if I don't say so myself. If you want to know more about the birth of NY punk, this interview with three east coast legends is worth your time.

Holy crud - did you see the U+NFest 5 fest happening in Baltimore? ESG is the headliner and the line up of awesomeness explodes outward from there.

Paper wants you to know about 15 rising DJs and producers which also happens to = a whole lot of talented ladies.

What is better that one iconic punk singer? Two powerhouse vocalists! New band Sex Stains on Don Giovanni Records features Allison Wolfe of Bratmobile and Mecca Vazie Andrews.

Laura Marling is so curious about how equal women in music are, she has launched a new Podcast series dedicated to it.

Backyard Report! The Richmond Folk Festival is RVA's flagship annual music event and our friend/neighbor Katie McBride has designed the perfect poster for it this year.

Doe breaks down their new record track by track and I want to crawl inside of it and live there forever. Rawkus power Pop from the U.K. is what anyone with ears needs to hear on a Friday.

The feel good story of the month is this Mary Boyer, a 93 year old Prince fan from Cleveland. Thanks Drew Cary for making me instantly sing Cleveland Rocks.

Miranda Lambert has created a scholarship for female songwriters because she knows women in the industry could use the support. And while we are talking about scholarships. Bitch Media is currently accepting applications for their 2017 writing fellowships.

Learn more about the woman who helped shape the music of Britain's legendary series Doctor Who and has gone on to influence music decade after decade. Stranger Things included.

Wow busts some of the most common myths of being a woman in music.

Do you live in DC and dream of working for NPR? Look at this - they are currently hiring!

Pearl Jam's sound engineer for over two decades is Karrie Keyes and she has a group that supports and mentors women in in professional audio called SoundGirls. I now have a favorite new charity!

In my ears this week is Lithics from Portland, OR - brilliant post-punk. While we are on the subject of Portland, musician Joel Magid posted on Facebook a confession to sexually assaulting a woman in 2010.

Brix Smith-Start of The Fall was a guest on WFMU this week and you can listen to the full show here.

Prom Queen from Seattle nailed a mash up between the Stranger Things theme and Twin Peaks soundtrack song "Laura's Theme".

You might have been wondering what the singer/songwriter Jewel was up to and slaying Ann Coulter at the roast of Rob Lowe leads me to believe that comedy may be in her future.

The Black Girls Talking Bandcamp picks for August are worth your time.

Toxic masculinity is everywhere and I definitely have been literally punched out by it at shows, made the mistake of dating a few people who were fueled by it years ago, and watch the horror unfolding in the news each day and think to myself that there are a lot of angry men out there. There is now a zine about this and they are looking for submissions. And the dumbass of the week award goes to Cute is What We Aim for Singer for denying rape culture is a real thing. Idiot.

Living room tours are all the buzz and I am not just saying that because we recently sponsored one in our home. They are an offering a real way for touring artists to make money and reach fans in a sincerely intimate setting. Small and curated is the new making it. Shannon Curtis will fill you in.

T-Rextasy will make it all better.

And Bomba Estero too.

Saturday, August 27, 2016

Music News: August 27th, 2016

The New Yorker reminds us that nostalgia is what really drives the music industry these days.

There is an all lady tribute to Devo called We Are Not Men. Thank you universe.

I spy a lot of old friends in this traveling photography exhibit curated by Mark Beener called Still Screaming. It also reminds me that the world of punk and hardcore through the '90s was a lot of dudes but glad to see Toko from The Van Pelt and Arabella from Jejune among the images.

Apple doesn't no jack. Industry talk says the new iPhone won't support the typical headphone jack. Music fans have yet another reason to be frustrated with a brand that feels less cutting edge and more like a dying cult these days. And if you don't believe me, here is reminder that iTunes turned 13 and "it is still awful".

Two bad ass ladies of color in punk from two different generations talk over tacos.This short film with Michelle from Spitboy and Christine of Try the Pie is tremendous.

Pitchfork schools us on the Miseducation of Lauryn Hill.

We continue to have a sexual assault problem at music festivals but what exactly are we doing about it?

We can always use a reminder that Pylon is one of the best bands to ever come out of Athens, GA. Don't worry, even R.E.M. and the B-52s agree.

Did you know there is a book that compiles every film that includes punks or new wavers? It exists and it is called Destroy All Movies. The celebration of the 40th anniversary of punk also carries on in London. While we are talking the U.K., hero status, Poly Styrene. Lastly the Amy Winehouse foundation opened up Amy's House, a 16- person home for women recovering from drugs and alcohol.

I know they are cute but you really, really should not buy a Crosley turntable if you care about fidelity or your records. Keep them away from your record collection at all cost!

Turn your favorite ticketstub into a swank doormat.

The great news is 29 private sector companies including Apple and Facebook have signed a pledge to commit themselves to helping close the gender pay gap for their employees. The bad news is that this is still an issue at all. Thanks guys?

Backyard report, my friend and favorite local DJ Sara Gossett talks Richmond in giving us the perfect "staycation"  via a wonderful Anna Goldfarb piece on Kitchn.

Our band recently played a benefit in Philly to help end rape culture. In between bands Kevin from Mercury Girls DJ'ed and at no point during the day was I ever disappointed. He has been kind enough to post his entire set (links for every song!) which is seriously a must check out for fans of girl groups spanning the past 60 years from all over the world.  

Inspired by the pages of fashion magazines, self taught artist Helen Rae who now at age 77 is both deaf and non verbal, had her fist solo art show. Not only did all of her detailed colored pencil pieces sell out immediately, she has become an outsider art sensation and with good reason. Up next, a show in Paris.

Hey! You! This is a reminder that you can be a mother and still be a successful artist.

Touring as a musician with a chronic disease is exhausting but it allow you to channel pain and frustration in important ways. Rachel Browne of Field Mouse shares her personal experience.

Folk music's answer to Billie Holiday; get to know Karen Dalton.

Australia's feminist music convention LISTEN returns in October.

UMG doesn't like Apple after another one of their artists (Frank Ocean) has worked out an exclusive deal that limits digital sales and marketing with a larger group of partners, the stuff that big businesses don't appreciate when they have heavily invested in them. UMG has decided to ban the practice of exclusive streaming which seems ironic since they were the ones who love giving major chains like Best Buy or Target exclusives in the physical world of CDs.

Beverly Watkins is a 77 year old Blues guitar player that says slowing down is not an option.

This is a half fast but well meaning collection of NYC venues/clubs that no longer exist in a photo form was a nice trip down memory lane regardless.

Speaking of Frank Ocean, could visual album releases be music's newest format?

Copyright violations are the flesh eating bacteria of the music industry with sites like YouTube (tech companies) acting as the filthy germ spreaders.

Ending with this beautiful Santigold video, a collab with Kara Walker.