Pop-Culture | Posted by Julie Z on 07/22/2012
Support Women Artists Sunday: Shilpa Narayan
Shilpa Narayan, the woman behind the Youtube username Shilax0929′s musical rendition videos had an unlikely beginning that sets her apart from the vast majority of musical acts these days. As a young child, Shilpa gained a sincere appreciation for music. Her parents exposed her to a variety of genres and a particular influence for Shilpa was the Indian music that her mother would sing. As a busy student at Georgia Tech a few years ago, where a musical scene “wasn’t too widespread,” Shilpa did not have much of an opportunity to become involved in exploring her love of music and singing. However, her musical interests still continued to flourish despite her surrounding environment. Shilpa’s final motivation to begin recording covers and share them with the world via Youtube came during …
Pop-Culture | Posted by Julie Z on 07/15/2012
Support Women Artists Sunday: Kelly Hogan
In the 1990s, Hogan sang with The Jody Grind, singing on their full-lengths One Man’s Trash Is Another Man’s Treasure (1990) and Lefty’s Deceiver (1992). The group disbanded after two of its members were killed in a car crash. She then co-founded the Rock*A*Teens, playing bass on the guitar and singing backup vocals. She appeared on their 1996 self-titled LP and the 1997 album Cry. Her debut solo record was released in 1996, which featured covers of songs by Will Oldham and Vic Chestnutt.
Hogan left the Rock*A*Teens after the release of Cry, and signed with Bloodshot Records, releasing two full-length albums in 2000-01. Among those appearing on the records were the Pine Valley Cosmonauts, Andrew Bird, and Edith Frost. In the 2000s she also collaborated with Neko Case, The …
Pop-Culture | Posted by Julie Z on 07/8/2012
Support Women Artists Sunday: Haim
According to California-based sister trio HAIM, the origin story of their band starts with their parents’ shared love of music. As a teenager in the 1970s, their mother won an episode of The Gong Show, singing a rendition of a Bonnie Raitt song, while their father spent time as a drummer.
“It might have been why they fell in love,” says Alana Haim, guitarist and, at 19, the youngest of the three. “They met at some disco in the eighties. I guess back then it was kind of hard to find a cute girl who could also play guitar.” As a result, the siblings were raised on a strict diet of classic rock, like the Rolling Stones and Fleetwood Mac, and old-school Americana. When they reached middle school, Mama and …
Pop-Culture | Posted by Julie Z on 07/1/2012
Support Women Artists Sunday: First Aid Kit
Prodigious Swedish teenagers Klara (17) and Johanna Söderberg (19), AKA First Aid Kit, have been gathering fans apace since the release of their ‘Drunken Trees’ EP in February 2009. They are proud to have since released their glorious debut full length, The Big Black and The Blue.
Spending their formative years drinking from the fountain of American classics – everything from Buffy Sainte-Marie (you can hear FAK’s revamped version of her 1964 protest classic ‘Universal Soldier’ here, to the likes of Conor Oberst – it shaped their way with song writing, arrangements and even the use of a second language. Audiences have been falling at their feet, enraptured by their pure, shimmering voices in harmony.
Until now they have been rightfully praised for their astonishing cover versions, such as their …
Feminism, Pop-Culture | Posted by Camille B on 06/27/2012
The Feminist Dilemma of Rap
Lately, I have been struggling with music — specifically, rap. I am an African-American girl and rap is very popular not just in my culture but in my own family. I recently realized that the struggle I feel is not just about the rap itself, but the way of life that goes along with it, in which degrading women is not just accepted but actually praised. Getting “pussy” is the goal and rap describes the actions required to accomplish that, including manipulation, drugs and alcohol. Rap music makes me feel dirty, as if it has been a few weeks since I bathed or, more accurately, as if egotistical, misogynistic leeches have began to suck my blood.
But then why can’t I stop listening?
Day after day, I sit in the …
Pop-Culture | Posted by Julie Z on 06/24/2012
Support Women Artists Sunday: Gemma Ray
The early 2000s had their share of retro-soul and R&B acts, but British singer/songwriter Gemma Ray had a more complex m.o. than simply aping the greats. Reaching back to pre-Beatles rock for inspiration — but tossing in a jumble of influences as disparate as Tom Waits, Kate Bush, film scores, flamenco, and the sparkly indie pop of the ‘90s and 2000s — Ray sculpted a sound that was familiar and warm, but also appealingly off-kilter and full of noir-ish touches that were part homage, part pastiche. The Essex native released her first album, The Leader, in early 2008 on the U.K.-based indie label Bronzerat. Aloft on a cloud of positive reviews from the British press, she was about to embark on a tour when she became ill and had to …
Pop-Culture | Posted by Julie Z on 05/27/2012
Support Women Artists Sunday: Hello Saferide
Hello Saferide’s cheery pop/rock is primarily the work of Annika Norlin, a Swedish music journalist and radio DJ who launched her songwriting career in the early 2000s. Although Norlin had written songs in the past, she hadn’t released any material until 2004, when the burgeoning songwriter uploaded her first recordings to the Internet. She quickly received label interest, and in September 2005, the Swedish label Razzia Records released Introducing… Hello Saferide. A live band was quickly assembled, and the newly expanded Hello Saferide toured throughout Asia, Brazil, and Europe in support of the debut album.
In addition to issuing a batch of EPs and singles, Norlin released a Swedish-language record under the name Säkert! in 2007. The album went gold and won two Grammis, Sweden’s equivalent of the Grammy Award. …
Pop-Culture | Posted by Julie Z on 05/20/2012
Support Women Artists Sunday: El Perro del Mar
El Perro del Mar is the musical work of Swedish songstress Sarah Assbring. Drawing influence from ’60s girl-group music, church hymns, buddhist mantras, and twee pop, Assbring makes slow, sad, achingly beautiful pop-songs that favor simple repetition over overblown ostentation.
Assbring (born in 1977) was raised in Gothenburg, and was exposed to music at an early age via the record collection of her jazz-loving father. From her childhood, Assbring wanted to “first and foremost” be a singer. “I remember being amazed by Annie Lennox and Kate Bush as a kid,” Assbring has recalled, to Identity Theory. “I was totally into their way of going in and out of different personalities, almost as a form of acting when singing.”
Assbring abandoned early piano lessons because of their “restrictive” nature, and took …