Thursday, August 12, 2010

Girls! Girls! Girls! pt. III


Note: in no way is this any sort of definitive list of female musicians.  Just a mix I came up with, randomly, when I wanted to listen to a wide variety of girl singers.  Proceed.

21. "Tightrope" Janelle Monae (ft. Big Boi)
Everyone I've seen post about this chick has been a dude.  I don't know why this is.  An old friend who lives in Japan immed me for the first time in years, asking me if I had heard her album and that it was amazing.  This list probably doesn't adquately cover female contributions to hip-hop; sorry.  She does indeed kick some ass though (and is also probably a better dancer than Beyonce, too!).

It's TOO BAD that they've disabled embedding the video, but please please click on the link.  The video is really, really good.  Even the short Wes Anderson-inspired title sequence.  I'm not going to take credit for it, but I did write something a month or so ago about how awesome it was back in the day that Janet Jackson just danced her ass off, covered head to toe in clothes and didn't spend all her time gyrating.  Looks like someone was either paying attention, or more than likely that the sentiment is shared among lots of folk.

22. "Hustle Rose" Metric
For whatever direction this band is taking now, this album is an early-aughts classic.  For a lot of reasons.  And this song is super sexy.

23. "Leeds United" Amanda Palmer
Another recent acquisition.  Thank Tori on this one, too - only really learned about her because she's engaged to Neil Gaiman.  However, she stands on her own.  To be honest, I don't love her voice,  I never got into the Dresden Dolls, and I'm not exactly huge into her look, but I think she stands for a lot of good as far as women in the music industry.  Not to get all "message over music", because I'm not about that at all, but she has a lot to say that I find myself really agreeing with.  Her ukelele Radiohead covers album is quite good, too.  And I actually find myself really liking this song, like a lot.

24. "Spitting Wooden Nickels" Gina Riggio
This gal is a Pennsylvania-based pianist and songwriter who is a good friend of mine, and she's been a huge influence on me.  Quite frankly she amazes me, and always comes out with something more amazing than the last thing she did.  Check her out, like big time.

This is not the aforementioned song, but here she is...

And she also performed this song on a podcast my friend Ryan and I used to do.  Whoo!

25. "Parentheses" The Blow
How cute can you get with these lyrics?  This song is brilliant, and I want to hear more from this chick.  Seriously.  I suppose it didn't get more play because it was So Very Portland, and maybe turned people off?  But anyone who I've turned onto this song just about adores it.

26. "Sailor Song" Regina Spektor
It took me way too long to get into her stuff.  Way way way too long.  By the point she was on VH1, I wasn't interested in learning more, but digging to the past, um, whoa.  This song is fun and neat, but the video for "Us" will really blow you away if you haven't seen it yet.  It did me.  For some reason, if I ever get scared or weirded out or uncomfortable, I put on that song and it immediately calms me down, like a lullabye.  She may not be revolutionary, but she's very talented, and Russian, too.  

27. "Bridges and Balloons" - Joanna Newsom
You either love her or hate her, but females who play instruments and somehow get into (what is still) the boys' club of popular music rank high in my book.  And especially instruments that will usually get you kicked out of your local rock club.  Even in large, classically based ensembles, harpists usually have to sit there and look pretty for very long periods of time.  Not her.  Hence I will always admire Newsom a harpist who causes popular music media to drool.

This video is actually really amazing.

28. "Bull in the Heather" Sonic Youth
Kim Gordon is my goddamned hero.  Let's not even take into consideration the whole "having it all" thing mentioned earlier (we'll get to that later).  Let's instead take into consideration that her band has been together, with three of its original members (and the same drummer since about 1988, if memory serves correctly - wait, let me check the Gospel According to Azerrad!) for longer than I've been alive, have put out a million side projects but still managed to put out a quality album (Dirty actually being my least favorite) every 2-3 years throughout.  That she, in essence, was the most important predecessor to the Riot Grrrrrl movement.  That I personally consider Sonic Youth to be the most influential band since the Velvet Underground - and I can argue that point if you'd like to get into it.  That they invented alternative rock.  "I Broke Punk and All I Got Was This Lousy T-shirt?"  And if you read the Azerrad Old Testament, you understand that Gordon's husband Thurston Moore is the reason that Kurt Cobain signed to Geffen Records and that Nirvana even became what they were?  And maybe they're even responsible for so many young 90s hipsters coming back around to The Carpenters?  I don't care that Gordon is as old as my mother.  In my opinion, Sonic Youth is still, as they were regarded in the years immediately preceding Daydream Nation's release, the coolest band in the world.

Not to mention that years before M.I.A. was performing preggos, Gordon shot this video while she was first pregnant.  Before she spawned an awesome and amazing rock'n'roll kid.  Word.

And as of a few years ago, at the height of my SY obsession, they appeared on my favorite show.  Every time I watch it on DVD, I still start to shreik and geek out and go absolutely nuts.

The Gordon-Moore family shows up at 6:24 (another awesome group that is 33.3333333% female, Yo La Tengo, makes an appearance, too).  "There's no jumping in the town square!"

29. "My Moon My Man" Feist
I don't care how many iPods she sells.  She is freaking awesome.

30. "Our Lips Are Sealed" The Go-Gos
The quintessential girl group, rising out the California punk scene.  Jane Weidlen wrote this song, and I didn't even lose respect for her after she was on The Surreal Life.  As a friend of mine would say, she gets a Universal Hall Pass from me.  And this song holds up, going on three decades later. 

And there we have it.  Hope you enjoyed!

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