Pop-Culture | Posted by David G on 02/10/2016
Why Beyoncé’s “Formation” Video Is So Important
This past Saturday, Beyoncé released the first new song from her upcoming album, entitled “Formation.” The song, and accompanying video, may be the most important works the star has released. If her 2013 eponymous album was the birth of her understanding of self empowerment and goal to empower other women, “Formation” indicates that she will only build on this mission and continue to forcefully declare her political views.
Many things make “Formation” special, but perhaps chief among them is Beyoncé’s evisceration of the respectability politics to which African American women are often subjected. The song can be interpreted as a much-needed declaration of defiance, both against the stereotypical, cultural expectations for African American women and against the idea that African-American women aren’t, and cannot be, leaders in …
Pop-Culture | Posted by Liz L on 02/5/2016
How Grimes Is Daring Music Critics to Dismantle Hierarchies in Pop Music
When I met Grimes — the project of DIY musician, writer, performer, and producer Claire Boucher — after her recent Nashville concert, our first exchange was one of unabashed praise. “Your voice,” she said to me. “It is exceptional.”
As a grown woman with the distinctly high-pitched (frequently mimicked) speaking voice of a 3-year-old on Christmas morning, Grimes’ compliment was utterly validating. Naturally, I cried a little, thanked her a lot, and proceeded to truthfully share my gratitude for her work with the same utter sincerity that she presents within her own striking musical oeuvre.
Grimes is completely unapologetic in her art production and presentation of her own self-engineered pop stardom. The musician conjures visions of a sci-fi galactic queen warrior. She is a keen engineer of sound and …
Pop-Culture | Posted by Fiona L on 08/11/2014
Jenny Lewis’ The Voyager Is a Feminist Experience
“I’m just another lady without a baby.”
Jenny Lewis’ delivery of this line in “Just One of the Guys,” the third song on her new album, The Voyager, is quiet, yet powerful. She seems almost to be taunting the listener, or possibly to be imitating someone she once heard describe her. In the video for the song, Lewis’ face is serious as she leads up to this sentence, and the camera zooms in on her face. But, the minute she begins to utter the phrase, her lips widen into a smile–an inside joke with herself, perhaps–and she begins to dance.
The Voyager has been making waves since its release on July 29. It’s Lewis’ first solo project in 8 years, and most reviews are overwhelmingly positive. Jeff Himmelman at …
Pop-Culture | Posted by Julie Z on 02/9/2014
Support Women Artists Sunday: London Grammar
English trio London Grammar combined sparse electronic pop in the model of the xx with dramatic, big-voiced lead singer Hannah Reid, whose vocals evoke contemporaries Florence Welch and Natasha Khan of Bat for Lashes. Reid and guitarist Dan Rothman met in the dorms of Nottingham University where they began writing music together in 2009 and later added multi-instrumentalist Dot Major to complete the lineup. The following years saw them refine their sound with atmospheric electronics and subtle percussion, and they often played to rooms of no more than ten people. Their popularity rose with the 2012 release of “Hey Now,” which they uploaded to the internet and instantly found an online cult following. Their fans were not just in the U.K., but also on the other side of the world …
Pop-Culture | Posted by Julie Z on 01/19/2014
Support Women Artists Sunday: Betty Who
Australian-born pop singer Betty Who makes vivacious yet bittersweet music that calls to mind divas such as Whitney Houston, Robyn, and Katy Perry. Born Jessica Anne Newham in Sydney, she began playing cello, piano, and guitar as a child, and moved to America with her parents when she was a teenager to attend the Interlochen Center for the Arts performing arts school. She then went to the Berklee College of Music for more training as a cellist, but really wanted to focus on being a singer/songwriter (she began performing her own songs at age 16). While at Berklee, she met producer Peter Thomas, and the pair began writing and recording material together. Drawing inspiration from the songwriting skills of Joni Mitchell and Carole King and the epic synth …
Pop-Culture | Posted by Julie Z on 01/5/2014
Support Women Artists Sunday: Beatrice Eli
Beatrice was born in 1987 and received much of her musical upbringing via MTV and the American soul / R & B / hip-hop videos that channel served. Alongside the influential music channel she grew up with Nina Simone and Stevie Wonder, two artists that are constantly played on the stereo at home. She characterizes the music she plays as the soul she loved as a kid meets hip hop. At this year’s Way Out West, she performed at one of Gothenburg’s clubs and her dream is to go around the world and sing for a large and enthusiastic audiences.
Beatrice Eli on iTunes.
Pop-Culture | Posted by Brian C on 09/8/2013
Support Women Artists Sunday: The Ettes
Ever wonder what Heart would sound like had it been a punk band? Welcome to The Ettes.
The Ettes are a rock band consisting of Lindsay “Coco” Hames, Maria “Poni” Silver, and Jeremy “Jem” Cohen. The Ettes are currently based in Nashville, Tennessee and formed in 2004 in Los Angeles, California.The Ettes released their first album Shake The Dust on Sympathy For The Record Industry in the USA and 2Fer Records in Spain in 2006. Shake The Dust was produced/mixed by Liam Watson and recorded at Toe Rag Studios in London, UK.The Ettes’ second album Look At Life Again Soon released by Take Root Records in the USA, 2Fer Records in Spain and KNTRST in Germany, Austria, and Switzerland in 2008. Look At Life Again Soon was also …
Pop-Culture | Posted by Julie Z on 09/1/2013
Support Women Artists Sunday: Alex Winston
A classically trained opera singer and a former opening act for Chuck Berry, with influences ranging from Little Richard to PJ Harvey, singer/songwriter and multi-instrumentalist Alex Winston isn’t the easiest artist to pigeonhole. Born and raised in Detroit, MI, Winston was encouraged by her parents to pursue her musical ambitions. At age seven, she began listening to Carole King and Laura Nyro while playing the guitar with her father in the basement of their home, and her mother once snuck her out of school to visit the Motown museum. After moving to New York, she began performing at various clubs, supported Ted Nugent on his U.S. tour, and teamed up with Chris and Drew Peters (Black Eyed Peas) for her debut EP, By the Roots in 2007. She …