Wednesday, 14 September 2011

RIDING my freedom moped to somewhere pretty bloody amazing: my pick of the best.

Tag: Demonm Eowmeow image, Pumajaw
I know exactly what words NOT to use when describing the voice of Pinkie Maclure and the music of PUMAJAW: fey, tantilising. Forget any alternative-folk expectations, this is film noir, yet vigorous, unsettling. Sexy? Absolutely. Seductive? Er… not really, that word to me, implies an attempt to tease, whereas this album is just “out there”, the experiences of sex, corruption, despair and hope. If you are the kind of person who swims in the metaphorical deep end, calm and free, rather than the shallow end, then you too will appreciate and adore the sounds of “Demonm Eowmeow”, the new album due for release on the 7th November, Bedevil Records. The soundscapes created by PUMAJAW remind me of great's like Jesus and The Mary Chain, Kratwerk and The Young Gods but they didn’t have Pinkie Maclure’s legendary vocal range or her poetry or the spaces in this music, the pauses; moments in beautiful places, held up turned gently, lovingly and observed, balanced with pounding rhythms that know exactly where they want to go. And that’s just the album opener, “The Mazy Laws”. Each song swoons in to the next, so that it is one whole piece of work, rather than an LP of songs. PUMAJAW bring to mind the work of sculpture Barbara Hepworth, who tried to capture the primitive forces of nature, rather than musical references.Follow the link to hear for yourself:

Tag: Rita Lynch, live
The mood of RITA LYNCH ‘s new album, “Crack On” just released on 8th September on the Fruit and Flowers label, couldn’t be more different, for a start it’s about voice, guitar and drums: intensity with a swagger, even “yeah yeahs”. In comes “Counter Cultured”, snap, bop, chugga chugga, Rita’s silver foil vocals and true grit guitar, encouraged to “jump” by drummer John (whom she also plays with in The Blue Aeroplanes). How does she do that? Well, I think it’s just by being herself, you can not separate Rita the person from Rita the songwriter and performer – it all happens whether we are paying attention or not. (See Blog 3.) If there is anything similar about RITA LYCH and PUMAJAW it is that that lyrics are not seeking to “make sense” or tell a story in a plain old linear format, they are about responses, (maybe my feminine language?) but with Rita there are clues in the song titles: Ty “9 Years (Hardcore)”, if you’ve “been there”, you’ll get it or “Masculine Pride”. You can listen to her music, but not yet the album tracks, on the following link: Blinding rock and roll. Love to see Rita and U.S GIRLS IN A COMA together. Hold your breath, my wishes come true these days.

Tag: Austra video
Another album which tempts: my vote for the most confusing video but when I shut my eyes the vocals make it all clear. Like ice. The album "Feel It Break", by AUSTRA was released on 9th September, Domino, I believe.

Always more room for a feminist artist with a real story to tell - in terms of her actions, the logistics of being an independent female artist. This is FEVER RAY, found when browsing for tunes by the also fabulous FEVER FEVER. (Pinkie Maclure also recommends Fever Ray.)  

Tag: Marissa Nadler video
Add to the list MARISSA NADLER, who actually got fans to help pay for the production of her latest eponymous album. The no-messing self-help attitude is in contrast to the sound: sweeping, filtered moods of longing, doubt and wishes. She plays a rare London date on the 4th October at the Bush Empire. 

Tag: The Joy Formidable image and video
I am all over JOY FORMIDABLE and I feel safe with my affections, since this is a really prophetic, hard working outfit. They are touring most of October, including HMV London, Brimingham, Manchester, Belfast, Newcastle and also the Freeze Festival on the 21st October at London's Battersea Power Station. 


Tag: Madam video, featuring Sukie Smith.

I have also been winding myself up about MADAM, featuring Sukie Smith, since I will miss her show  this Friday at the National Portrait Gallery (16th September). This video though gets my vote for the most pretentious presentation. I feel I need to help her learn to love her belly and LAUGH. 

Tag: Kreayshawn video

 Were I in London though I would be upset that I was unable to be at the National Portrait Gallery as well as Brixton Acedemy to see tUnE-yArDs this Friday (16th September) but I have to say that I love KREAYSHAWN even more, despite the repeated used of the word "bitches" in this track - no UK dates planned yet.

Tags: Screaming Females video and Po' Girls video of radio show

MORE WIND UPS: not having caught THE SCREAMING FEMALES London gig's - only one screaming female, but armed with a guitar, that's plenty - and PO' GIRL  who play a date at The Lexington on Sunday 18th September. Also watch out for HANNAH TRIGWELL, currently playing third on the bill, specifically at Leeds Academy on the 21st October.
Tag: Hannah Trigwell

Tag: Dum Dum Girls video

NOTHING gets to me though, if I play DUM DUM GIRLS and this is the type of track for a really good ending. God how I love this band. I would even go so far as to write "Dum Dum" on my forehead, which is dedication indeed. This is a track from the new album. It's the raw guitar, vocals, drum combo with the slick Phil Spector production which gets to me - the lyrics seem appropriate, not depressing at all. Just lovely. 

Tag: Trash Kit video

Stop Press! Dinner burns while I add this essential footnote. The elusive Ut are returning to the tour circuit this month after an allegedly, ten year gap. (See Blog "Rital - Revolution - Reflection, Part One".) They are playing London, Lexington 23rd, Bristol, The Croft 24th and Brighton on the 25th. For an excellent article about the band follow the link:  Support are Peepholes and Trash Kit. (Trash Kit! Wooah! The Slits meet Toxic Shock Syndrome - a reference point which may escape a few of you.) 

Finally, without apology for the last minute addition  or the endless emails of this blog that members will soon discover in their inboxes...another favourite, duo Hysterical Injury are playing at The Green Park Tavern, Lower Bristol Road, Bath, 28th October. See Blog, "We Made A Mess And We're Not Sorry" also

Tuesday, 6 September 2011


Blog 5, reflected: what’s the bloody point of this Blog again? As is a Blogs want, I continued to reflect on MY relationship with feminism, what Riot Grrrls call third-wave feminism but is still really about ALL types of feminism: female empowerment giving female writers and performers “a voice”, sharing information, such as the logistics of finding the space to make music and the savvy to make a living out of music. Riot Grrrls were all about the DIY ethic and this should have exploded with the onset of technology: where are they? Who are they? Ring me!  

 Language is a powerful thing. Academics like Juliet Kristeva Luci Irigaray worked hard to make an intellectual argument that can shift the thinking away from polar opposites, which makes female “the other”, that which is lacking, instead coming to an “otherness”, a Viva la difference! For writers in contemporary culture now then, I think it is their responsibility to embrace and experiment with language – avoiding vocabulary rooted in male references; creating a new format ; avoiding elaborating on clothes, hair, make up of an artist. If the image seems so relevant, then describe the character they are trying to create – the clothes and hair are only part of it. However, the subject material and topics should be rooted in good old feminism and the reason for talking to them in the first place…musical talent.

Live music is a ritual. I could bore you forever with my theatre training about the relationship between performer and audience, use of space and sound. The point is, when you write a review you have a chance to get across the hope, urgency, ideas and sound of a band – not just a furrowed brow, eloquent explanation. You can make people want to try that experience out for themselves; you can make bands read your review and think “that’s it!” bringing the trust to the publisher and the team. These factors, along with the hirdy girdy pace of the live gig circuit, more music than your brain can take, the endless talking with other writers, press officers and performers: What do I think? Why do I think that? What do you think? Why do you think that? What about? It makes me feel alive. Absolutely, nothing else has ever proved so powerful – the consequences being good for all around me, including those for whom I am responsible for.

Revolution is a strong word but let’s just say that the opportunity to embrace female artists and writers is now upon us, because I've decided, of course. Maybe it's because the Riot Grrls have all grown up and are in charge, and making some good and brave decisions?

Some feminists want equality, some love the difference, some want utopia but whatever they want, they seem to be working together; enjoying the creative results, which are sharp enough to warrant mainstream attention. A browse at an on line magazine like www.thegirlsare offers a mind-boggling number of talented women-centred bands and female artists and include Big Names like Lady Gaga, Jessie J, Lana Del Ray as well as the class of the indie underbelly. Comment pieces relating to the representation of women in music, such as at festivals and behind the camera, as directors, have begun to appear in the broadsheets, as people sit up and take notice of people like Laura Kidd, She Makes War or Mimi Cave, who directed tUnE-yArDs "Bizness".

Feminism has stopped pushing itself in to comfort corners and is embracing all culture and cultures; acknowledging women-centred is the thing and balance still essential. I would have loved this blog to be gentle reflections in the form of grown up interviews about vital female musicians and their stories but, then I saw Rita Lynch live, still bitchin', then I discovered Th' Hysterical Injury and the video of "Three", which frustrated the "male gaze" (French feminist film theory). In the end, there's too much out there that's brilliant, boundary crossing and new; it's impossible not to want to join in.

the girls are official image