May 31, 2012

Ladies First

Let me get this out of the way first. I hate that my gender has anything to do with people's interest in the kind of music I make. In a perfect world people people wouldn't care if I had girl parts or not and they would focus on the kind of music I make rather than credit or discredit me in some way because I am of the female persuasion.

The reality however is that in the 20 years I have been in bands, gender is still a big deal. Journalists and music fans alike STILL say and write absolutely unfair and obnoxious things that they would never say about a male artist. (for instance Adele whose voice is infinitely more interesting than what size clothing she might wear and yet people still talk about her weight when if she was a man, body shape would NEVER be mentioned) And so, even if I don't want to be treated differently as a female musician, I always have been and feel like I probably always will be.*

It is because of this first hand experience of being treated differently (and in fairness not always unfairly) that I have an extra sentimental feeling attached to other female musicians and their art. We as woman often have to brave sexism within our own creative community (from men and other women!) so by putting ourselves out there in the way that we do, we are almost like silent partners.

I realize this makes me hypocrite because female musicians are selfishly more important to me when I just stated than I would rather the world not focus on gender and let us just be humans. Female musicians have to be brave and strong in ways that men will never have to face within their scenes. Knowing intimately the hardships female artists face makes me look to them and their music to fuel my art. Whenever I have ever felt frustrated because I can't just be a musician, I have to also represent my gender and be judged in a unique way because I am a woman, all I need to do is listen to any of the other artists I love who happen to also be female, and I feel re-inspired.

I can't be sure I own more music by women than other music fans but I can say that these records mean a great deal to me and whenever I have the opportunity to share my personal collection of records featuring woman, I am honored and happy to do so. DJing these records gives me the opportunity to share something  that has helped shape and inspire me as much as my family and friends.

I will be playing all vinyl and nothing but female artists during my Gallery 5 First Friday set (6/1/12 - 7PM @ Gallery 5 in Richmond, VA). You can read more about the event here. 

Here are just some of the woman who wow me and whose records I plan on bringing:

* Examples of the sort of thing I have been told as a girl in a band. "So who in the band are you fucking?" "Show me your tits" (yes people really do yell that), "I hate all bands with a girl singer, no offense though." "You must be a lesbian (faggot, dyke....add your own slur here)" "All girl musicians suck."

I have also watched droves of people leave a venue when they see a girl (AKA me) take the stage only to return after a few songs when they realized my old band Dahlia Seed wasn't "pussy shit" as so many hardcore dudes assumed we were. Some of these guys would actually walk up to me after our shows and say "You were pretty good for a girl singer" and expect me to take that as a compliment.

Me circa 1996, final show.

May 27, 2012

Cause & Effect Lambchop Update

If you missed this week' radio show on the band Lambchop, you can download it in full here.  The set list for the show (all done by DJ Baconfat) can be found here.

May 26, 2012

Rock in the kitchen for a mere $10 ...

with this sweet mini Flying V cheese grater.

Candy Cannibalism in the name of Indie Rock

A good or a bad idea, you decide?

The Mock Suns made a video for one of their songs in which they consume cream colored candy hard shell masks of their own faces filled with a red gooey syrup that doubles for blood. The band then hid 100 CDs all over their city of Philadelphia with redemption codes on them. The first 25 people to turn them in were rewarded with one of these edible custom candy faces.

More pictures of this package can be found here.

This clever marketing concept neither made me like their music or inspire me to eat such a creepy confectionery item but I applaud the creativity behind the promotion of their record and it did inspire me enough to post about them here. While I wouldn't buy one of their records or eat one of the unappetizing candy masks, I think this band has a future in advertising.

May 24, 2012

May 24th, 2012 : Cause & Effect : Lambchop

As much as I would love to think I know a little something about all kinds of music, there are always genres and artists that manage to somehow miss my radar all together. 

In my never ending attempt to bring all kinds of styles of music to Cause & Effect I am feeling fortunate to have a special guest this week to take over the Cause & Effect duties and focus on the band Lambchop, an artist I am sadly under-educated on. 

I would like to offer up a huge thank you to DJ Baconfat who will be my guest this week. He does a spectacular weekly radio show on WTJU in Charlottesville, VA. Tune in to WRIR tonight to from 7PM to 9PM to hear all things Lambchop. 

DJ Baconfat has offered up some ideas of what we can expect from his show. Tasty!



May 18, 2012

Loser's Lounge : Lee Hazlewood Edition 1999

I just stumbled across the program for the Lee Hazlewood tribute that took place Saturday, April 4th, 1999 at Fez in NYC and thought I would share the scans of it here. My favorite memory of this event is two fold. Lee sat in the back for some of it sipping Chivas and gave funny comments using that baritone voice I wouldn't call velvet-like but maybe more velour in quality? He sat like a king in the back of the small room while his dedicated minions did their best to pay tribute to him.

The other great moment was the surprise guest appearance of my old friend Mark Pickerel, solo artist but also the first drummer of the Screaming Trees, who joined Tiffany Anders and J.Mascis for "Sundown, Sundown". As I have mentioned here on the blog before, Mark is the whole reason I fell in love with Lee Hazelwood in the first place. In the late '80s Mark was my Sub Pop sales rep and was kind enough to send me two of Lee's records to check out. The moment I heard those songs, it was love at first sound. Little did I understand at the time that there was a cult of Lee followers and we would all have a chance to meet and celebrate the legendary artist (no less in his presense) a decade later - timed to go along with the reissues that Steve from Sonic Youth was doing for Lee on is label Smells Like.

Other memorable Lee Hazlewood moments was the meet and greet at Maxwell's in Hoboken, N.J. as well as a Q & A after some film shorts featuring Lee, also in NYC. 

Outstanding Punk Rock Documentary

This documentary comes from PBS circa 1995.  In one hour you will go from NYC to England to Jamaica and back again.

May 11, 2012

Tribute to MCA / Beastie Boys Cause & Effect Recap

Missed last night's Cause & Effect? Download it in full here. The set list can be found on the WRIR website.

May 10, 2012

May 10th, 2012 : Cause & Effect : Revisiting the Beastie Boys

I did a C & E on the Beastie Boys nearly two years ago but with the recent passing of Adam Yauch (MCA) I thought I would revisit that set tonight as my humble tribute to him.

Tune in tonight to WRIR from 7PM to 9PM to hear many of the original songs they sampled in the making of their first four classic albums.

I hate taking a look at the Beastie Boys remarkable discography again for such a sad reason but all of the music you will hear tonight is well worth a second (and a 3rd, 40th, and 5000th...) listen!

May 7, 2012

This Just In

From the creator of the website! 

2 things:

There is a really great book that is like a published scrap book of all of Harry Partch's writings and personal photos and letters -- really amazing and a work of art itself .

Also, there is a Harry Partch Symposium coming up -- a chance to hear and see the original instruments, plus meet some of the people that performed in Partch's ensembles (might be your last chance as these people are getting on in years.)

The Harry Partch Legacy: Microtonal Constructions and Intercultural Dialogues
A Symposium and Festival
September 19–21, 2012
New England Conservatory and Northeastern University Boston, MA

NewBand (Dean Drummond & Stefani Starin, Directors)
Bob Gilmore (Brunel University)
Kyle Gann (Bard College)
Danlee Mitchell (Harry Partch Foundation)
and others TBA

The composer Harry Partch (1901-74) is best known as a radically individualistic musical experimentalist, an emblematic “American maverick.” Seeking to create a music close to human speech, he found himself "seduced into carpentry" to create an orchestra of unique instruments and a substantial corpus of instrumental, vocal and dramatic works. His 25-year career cut across composition, music theory, and instrument building, and its conscious links to music-making outside of Europe have attracted the attention of a diverse following of listeners, musicians and scholars. This three-day event, co-sponsored by Northeastern University and the New England Conservatory of Music, will explore the continuing impact of Partch's work, with a combination of academic conference sessions, interactive workshops, and concert performances.

Preston Wright
Creator of the website

Thanks Preston for the note - truly a fan of the website you have created.

May 5, 2012

I always wondered what the ever talented and sweet Toko Yasuda (Enon / Blonde Redhead / Lapse /The Van Pelt) was up to - (besides apparently playing keyboards in St. Vincent) and now I know.

Check out her solo work : Plvs Vltra! It appears that she has a new record coming next month on Spectrum Spools.

I was at this show!

Toko and I grew up playing in the same music scene around NYC in the '90s and it always feels good to see / hear friends still making music all these years later. 

May 4, 2012

Adam "MCA" Yauch RIP

The Beastie Boys's website has posted a memorial page for Adam.

Playing with Harry Partch

Not the man, but his one of a kind instruments! This website is brilliant; not only does it display all of his various creations in one place BUT you can play them all via your computer. You can see and hear first hand what this "philosophic music-man seduced into carpentry" has crafted and explore the microtonal scale system he was so obsessed with. I have played around with 5 of 6 of them so far and I swear to you, the unique tones you create with just a stroke of a key will make you feel like a member of Boards of Canada or an avant-Asian orchestra. I am obsessed with this wonderful site and am so please I stumbled across this last night when looking up crychord, an instrument he made and I named a Dahlia Seed song after (my old band).

If you aren't familiar with this American composer, inventor of instruments, theorist, ex hobo, and visionary, check out this BBC documentary. (And I salute the BBC for having the best documentaries on every possible subject. I swear I watch a different one a day!) 

May 2, 2012

Powers of Ten

My new band has posted a new song tonight! The band is called Positive No and the song is called "Powers of Ten". You can listen to it here. Positive No is my better half Kenny on guitar, me singing, and on these first three demos a fella from L.A. named Jody on drums. Kenny and I do all the songwriting together.

We used these first three demos to find local Richmonders to play with and we almost have our line up secured. Our new local drummer is Willis Thompson who plays in / has played in a ton of bands but I guess the best known of these is Tao with the Get Down Stay Down (Kill Rock Stars). More news on our bass player soon!

Lyrically "Powers of Ten" is an ode to some thinkers, philosophers, and artists I admire : Carl Sagan, Alan Watts, Charles and Ray Eames.

May 1, 2012

Brief Music Reviews

Occasionally I do CD reviews for the radio station and share them here. They need to fit on the front of a CD so they are brief and to the point. The Richter Magnitude Rating Scale key is on the right side of my blog.

Artist: Twilight Sad
Title: No One Can Ever Know
Label: Fat Cat
Genre : Rock
Richter Magnitude Rating Scale: Strong
Review: Analog Synths! Programmed Drums! It's the late '70s meets the '80s meets '90s! They are still very Scottish, moody (emotive) but channeled through a whole new filter; less noisy but no less dramatic. Now a trio on their third album, they are Suicide 2.0 while still managing to stay true to their Arab Strap heart on the sleeve doom and gloomery. (That's a word, right?) Perfectly under-produced by Andrew Weatherall, I give this a solid B+. Next time when I am in the mood for Fad Gadget or Cabaret Voltaire, I am grabbing this instead.
Recommended tracks: 6,1, 8, 3, 4 ,5

Artist: La Sera 

Title: Sees the Light
Label: Hardly Art
Genre: Rock
Richter Magnitude Rating Scale: Minor.2
Review: Let's agree to disagree. If you are like everyone else out there in the music critic world, you probably found this record to be a delightful, pleasant Pop romp but I find this 30 minutes of music to be annoyingly average and all rather sound-a-likey. Katy Goodman who exited the Vivian Girls a few years ago has moved just slightly away from her garage rock Wipers meets '60 girl group concept and moved into soundtrack work for romcoms and shampoo commercials. Rather than carry the expressive power of Blondie, these songs are compressed into flatined BLAHndie.
Recommended tracks: 3,9, 4, 2, 6 (since I have to pick some for on air play)

Artist: Breton
Title: Other People's Problems
Label: Fat Cat
Genre: Electronic / Rock
Richter Magnitude Rating Scale: Moderate to Strong
Review: So what does a bunch of UK filmmakers gone musicians named after the father of the surrealist movement Andre Breton sound like? Apocalyptic glitch-hop party music where some of the crew has taken some brown acid so it doesn't exactly sound like a good time. It sounds paranoid, disjointed and at their more commercial moments, like The Streets. With three well received EPs under their belt from the label that brought us James Blake, there are several moments of greatness (see reco tracks for the hits) and luckily those aren't diluted by the misses of which there are a few of as well. 
Recommended tracks: 3, 5, 7, 8, 10

Artist: Feedtime
Title: Sampler
Label: Sub Pop
Genre: Rock / Blues
Richter Magnitude Rating Scale: Moderate for me, Strong to the Northwest
Review: For those looking where bands like Mudhoney (and so many other early Sup Poppers) get their primal raw chainsaw slide guitar sound from, look no further. This '80s noisy Australian trio churns out rock that is rooted in Blues but sounds more like Birthday Party or Flipper. Barely melodic, file under heavy uneasy listening that Sub Pop is reissuing to give a whole new life. Makes sense as this will appeal to those who appreciated the bands who helped put Sub Pop on the map as well as followers of Amphetamine Reptile Records or that Chicago chunky bass sound ALA Shellac. 
Recommended tracks: 6,1, 4, 7, 9 (straight up blues)

VERY Rare Mogwai Record With a Twist

Mogwai not only doodled the cover art of this Young Team LP but this Ebay item also comes with a handwritten note from a member of Interpol. If you care about Mogwai , Interpol, and rare records...this one is for you!

And if you are a Murder City Devils fan, this LP comes with the rare promotional crime scene band photos / postcards.