Friday, 23 September 2011

Monday, 19 September 2011

Pauline Black interview

The parallels between Thatcher's Britain and the violent unrest that David Cameron's government have inspired are not lost on Black. “2Tone got together was to address social pressures and inequality and I see no reason to stop doing that now we're older”.

The legendary Pauline Black, lead vocalist of The Selector and first lady of 2Tone, on Black By Design, her just-released autobiography, conscious reggae, losing Amy Winehouse and Poly Styrene, the origins of ska and its women, and the London riots. Read through to the end for her articulate David Starkey smack-down. Rude gyals fi life.

Gazelle Twin interview

"Like Andersson, Walling's works offers the possibility of queer tropes. The Entire City is steeped in sci-fi aesthetic, a traditionally fertile space for deconstructing gender and exploring 'otherness'. “It fascinates me, certainly, and queerness is an interesting thing to have in pop. People like Bowie lived it, to some degree” she ponders. “I suppose what I set out to do - which is not always what you end up doing - was to bulk out my form, hide my face and remove my gender and personality from my performance, but I think the feminine is still very present in what I'm doing”.

I interviewed the lovely Elizabeth Walling, aka Gazelle Twin, the lady behind one of this year's best releases, The Entire City. On queer tropes, computer game scores, supernatural childhood experiences and her primal song-writing process ("I never start out writing lyrics, I just sing sounds; in a way they're quite feral. No matter how vague the sounds may be, I can always return to them and carve words out of them later on")

Saturday, 10 September 2011

She can't feel, she's no queen

I was invited to write a little something for the Evening Standard this week on PJH's Mercury win. Here's the original draft, which they tweaked a little:

Let England Shake is an utterly worthy record, and recognizing Harvey’s continuing ability to break ground is important, but its difficult not to feel a twinge of regret for some of the younger, equally deserving debuts who were eclipsed, perhaps unfairly, by PJ’s established legend. Her undeniably innovative repertoire has had the downside of creating a unwitting, token female icon, the kind of one-in one-out role the male-dominated, white indie music world reserves for a handful of talented women in each rock generation (Janis, Patti, Chrissie). She’s been elevated by the music press as the ultimate measure and go-to comparison for many a fledgling female artist with a guitar - an incredibly reductive situation that also serves to undermine some of her own success as feminist role model - and this rather complex privilege makes Harvey’s win a complicated one, even more so given the serious and ongoing lack of female Mercury Prize winners and nominees (4 out of 12 this year), an issue we’re addressing at Wears The Trousers with our all-female Venus Prize.


I'm a huge fan of PJH, despite her shaky non/feminist stance (repetoire rich with feminist discourse whilst publicly distancing herself from the F word - whether as an ultimately failed attempt at preserving  herself from pigeonholing/stigma in the boyindierockworld or through what she once described as a genuine ignorance about the radical *sigh* notion of gender equality) but I know a bunch of successful female artists - women I've interviewed in some cases - who had to fight off PJ comparisons early on in their careers. Harvey's contributions to music and feminism are redoubtable, but the fact remains that boy rockers are regularly cast as gifted son-and-heirs of their hallowed male predecessors (Dylan, Page, Cobain et al), whilst a whole generation of women who have arrived after Harvey's archetype, even ones who sounds NOTHING LIKE HER, are held up to her legend and denounced as wanting.

This kind of strategy maintains the hegemony; it supports the fallacy that talented males outnumber talented females in indie rock's sphere of influence, and further. Its not about PJ's ineffectiveness as an artist and/or role model (plenty of girls picked up Fenders after Dry) - its about how the old boy network position her as a do-not-pass-go measure, a bad-girl Eve who ate the apple and did something that no other rocker girl to come will ever surpass.

Friday, 9 September 2011

First Sight: Lanie Lane

Crushin' on Aussie songstress Lanie Lane in today's Guardian:

Americana riffs, jazzy feline vox, pin curls, lip lacquer, a 1957 Framer guitar called Betty; real purdy. 

Thursday, 8 September 2011

Amsterdam 2011

Made me think of the cafe in Dark City. Food for a dystopian future.

Anarchist kitteh.

Antique sugar chips.

The hound who stole our sandwiches during an illicit stoner session in Vondelpark.

I fell in love with this gaggle of queer little people we spotted in a art gallery window display. Short, fat, semi naked, ripe and juicy coloured, half-formed indeterminate genitalia, rouged lips, a sense of mischief and collective purpose and action about them. Gobble gobble.

Little Roy speaks on Battle For Seattle

Wednesday, 7 September 2011

End Of The Road festival 2011

 Tune Yards. I got sunburn (or 'TY glow') watching this show. Big and excellent noise, as always.


 The Black Angels

 The unexpected red star firework launched half-way through Mogwai's set.

 The Lazy Susans. Totally awesome mum-and-dad type band with killer violin solos and 2 other band members (a stand up bass player and wheelchair-bound vocalist/multi-instrumentalist) I couldn't fit in to the photo.

 Big Deal.

Moroccan friends of Tinariwen. Didnt catch their band name, though we had a good chat before this impromptu gig and one of them turned out to be an ex Camden market stall trader. All sorts eh?