Tuesday, 9 June 2015

Don't Call Me Names | Why do bands hate labels?

We're out of the ghetto and over the wall, what's next? Plus two new Riot Grrrl and proud bands. 

Bands always moan about being given labels by the media: lo-fi, indie, punk, folk and the term Riot Grrrl is no exception.

Why do bands dislike the Riot Grrrl label?
The label Riot Grrrl has been used to categorise almost any dynamic woman or women on the stage – not just DIY outfits. But Riot Grrrl isn't just about girls, or women, it's a sound, an attitude; ultimately it's feminist to the very bone, which again does not mean women only.

Slipping the term into conversation to describe a sound, rather than the feminism revolution on which it was based, has ruined many an afternoon tea. But generally, sometimes musicians irk at the mention of the label, Riot Grrrl, because it is 20 years old and they think such a comparison means they are doing nothing new. 

Yes you are and GET BLOODY USED TO IT! Did Blur complain about being compared to The Kinks? No! If we don’t claim Riot Grrrl as a genre then it does not become part of the cannon. This is truly important.

  • It means more feminists in music (boys and girls).
  • It means more women writers in music criticism.
  • It means more women’s writing in music criticism.
  • It means we can stop writing reference books that catch up on forgotten women’s talent and art because they won't disappear in the first place. Instead, we can write essays and books which extend thinking. Such resources will give students in women's studies, journalism and media published theories to back up their arguments/point (evident over the last decade), and statistics (what needs to be done now/next), which can put pressure on change. 
  • And we still need to apply the RG manifesto using layman’s language, in little reviews or new's stories – see Kathleen Hanna | A feminist criterion or anything in this Blog  - takes a bow. (And how many of the next generation will be able to afford university even if they want to?) 

Exit | Riot Grrrl and proud
A celebration of two new DIY bands channelling the spirit of Riot Grrrl

The Ethical Debating Society
Starting from the viewpoint that every genre is a tradition (Billy Childish/Peter Dale)) the trio The Ethical Debating Society (Tegan & Martin, guitars, Elli, drums) believe that you shouldn’t be egotistical and reject labels, in their case Riot Grrrl, punk, indie, or reference points (Prolapse, Nirvana, Huggy Bear), thinking that you are doing something completely new, because what’s actually new is the energy: fresh, biting, sincere, cute. And the themes: politics, snapshots, cut and paste, sardonic, relationships. The debut album (released 22nd June) is called New Sense , Odd Box Records, geddit? 

TEDs: dragging the universal and their joint influences kicking and screaming  into the personal experience, try 'Cover Up' (about ecology) at Overblown. 

TED’s want to get women into music. They want to get 
ordinary people who don’t think they can be in a band to Just Do It. It’s music for all at this north London camp. They headline Powerlunches on 21st June and The Hope & Ruin, Brighton supporting Slum Of Legs + Prolapse Tuesday, 23rd June. 


Skating Polly
Another group that deserve faithful adoration and over the top encouragement is Skating Polly, who also embrace the Riot Grrrl label and recently supported Babes In Toyland on the UK tour - and made a big impact.

Photo from Kendalllacey
From Oklahoma, US, Deerhoof, Kate Nash and Flaming Lips are just a few of the cool bands who want Kelli and Peyton in their gang from a big list of cool bands  - endearing all with a fresh attitude and an articulate fury. The popular observation is that they are selling out venues they're not actually legally allowed to be in yet. 

Read Hannah Golightly's interview at  Collapseboard

Footnote: Please respond to call out for stats: June 6th Blog

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