I am big sucker for animation. And when it comes with Neko Case, well, say no more, I’m sold.
Neko is a woman after my own heart - besides being an incredibly talented musician, she is always quick to give props to her influences, especially women who have inspired her. She’s also hil-freakin-larious in interview - I highly suggest checking out some of the archives on her website to hear about how what we call PMS is actually anger that comes from not being allowed to “mate”, and how Poison Ivy‘s guitar-playing can get you pregnant. Her travelogues and biography also read better than most fiction out there. In short: a gem.
This is from her fresh-off-the-CD-burner album Middle Cyclone.
Whew! I’m still spent from last week’s rant on community radio. While I gather my energies for the next round, please enjoy this “music video” from Dutch band The Shocking Blue. I really appreciate that period in musical history (the 60s?) when someone had the idea of recording and broadcasting bands, but the whole thing was so new that you mostly just got a lot of awkward standing around in random locales (are they at a zoo? A medical laboratory?) with, like, two cuts, and “special effects” meant flashing an image of a record cover or Mariska Veres’s face really quickly to implant subliminal messages. Enjoy!
Very pleased that the mighty Sister Suvi will be launching long-awaited full-length album Now I Am Champion at the end of the month. Basically because I think anything Merrill Garbus (aka Tune-Yards, who I profiled waaaaay back when) touches turns to diamonds. But not blood diamonds. Maybe more like crystals - perfectly formed crystals you find in a cave somewhere that seem like they ought to have been manufactured by elves wearing tiny hardhats and riding magic ponies, but they really just grew that way, because that’s their nature.
The launch happens in Montreal on Sunday March 29th at Il Motore, 179 Jean Talon Ouest, at 9 PM, with Takka Takka and Postcards. The Toronto launch is March 28th at Lee’s Palace.
Here Sister Suvi plays live in Ottawa, with surprisingly good sound quality for a video recording:
In other news, I can’t wait for another show coming up this weekend, as part of Montreal’s Radical Queer Week: it’s called Folk as Queers, and it features Sarah Mangle, Rae Spoon, and The Inappropriate Hymns and Hers, a band which started last summer at a band-off where names drawn from a hat determined the members, and the rest was up to ingenuity and badassitude; eight months later they’re still going strong, and word has it that a recording is in the near future. If the Moldy Peaches in their weirdest, most perverted incarnation (I’m thinking like Who’s Got The Crack and Steak For Chicken Moldy Peaches, not that soppy song that Michael Cera eviscerated) teamed up with the Indigo Girls, they would still be less awesome than this band.
This one happens Saturday March 14th at Le Chat des Artistes, 2205 Parthenais, at 9 PM. Check out the Radical Queer Week facebook page for more events listings - they are a-plenty.
The Mentalists are an all girl dance-rock band from London who were featured on Make Zine for covering Kids by MGMT on their iPhones. While the rendition isn’t the best, the inspiring possibilities are endless. It has been argued that computers and technologies are solitary activities and the getting-back-to-the-internet by young feminists and activists holes ourselves away, geeking out, and not building community.
What I love about what The Mentalists are doing here is that they’re using free applications (on expensive hardware mind you) as tools to recreate a piece of popular culture, giving it their own spin (free performance, all-girl band, not perfect in execution). They’re building relationships with each other, performing in public (and on YouTube), and providing us with a conversation piece concerning media-ownership, the ability of young women to master an application, and the one and only girl band. Happy IWD!
When a bunch of Argentinian and Mexican women from various queercore and feminist punk bands decide to get together to form a supergroup sensation, you know the results will be a force to be reckoned with. What you maybe didn’t see coming were the Madonna covers.
But that’s what’s so sweet about the Kumbia Queers - they combine the fearlessness and energy of punk rock with the infectious bubbliciousness of pop music. Oh, and they’re also really gay. If the name Kumbia Queers didn’t give that away already.
Cumbia is a traditional form of Latin American music that’s somewhere between folk and popular; in the context of this band it seems to refer less to a specific kind of music than to the idea of “popular music” itself, the sort of tunes that are unavoidably cheesy, kind of lowbrow, and completely irresistible. Which might also seem like a pretty apt description of the Kumbia Queers, except there’s something sophisticated and complex about the way they flip a traditionally masculine genre of music on its head, making it both female and queer.
The video for Chica de Calendario (“Calendar Girl”) is a lezzie take on the old standard of the song written to the babely object of desire:
Montreal filmmaker Omar Majeed is currently working on Taqwacore: The Birth of Punk Islam, a feature documentary about the real-life bands who were inspired by Knight’s fictional creation. Majeed and Knight will show footage and discuss the politics of the Muslim-punk scene. Knight will then have an extended Q & A session with the audience, to be included in the documentary-in-progress. – A This Is Not A Reading Series Event presented by Pages Books & Magazines, Publishers Group Canada, Eyesteel Films, EYE WEEKLY, Gladstone Hotel and Take Five On CIUT.
Gladstone Hotel Melody Bar, 1214 Queen Street West, Toronto Tues Feb 24; 7:30pm (Doors 7pm) $5 (Free With Book Purchase)
Partridge is a writer and performer of Inuit and Scottish descent. But instead of choosing between differing realities - Indigenous and white, Up North and Down South, big open spaces and cramped bustling skylines - she keeps them in constant conversation, merging hip-hop and throat-singing, poetry and storytelling, the personal and the political. In her own words,
It’s very strange to me how we can live and have two realities. I come from this place that’s vast and open and beautiful, but I live and work in this place that is constricted and full of so many things going on. I love Montreal and I love the city, and [yet] in many ways I feel like an outsider.
I profiled Partridge for the Fall 2007 issue of Shameless, so you can read more about her here. And if you just can’t wait until Sunday, check out her Myspace page. Although she claims she wrote it more for a laugh than anything, the piece Eskimo Chick is a wry and touching crowd favourite, and Battery features a haunting string arrangement. Can’t wait to hear what’s next.
So, I don’t know if y’all noticed this or not, but Barack Obama is president of the USA. This, for many reasons, is cause for celebration. But while it is very exciting and thrilling and hopeful to have a person of colour holding the highest office in the United States (some would say the world, but that’s a little America-centric, don’t you think?), there is occasionally a slightly disturbing undertone to all the optimism; the joy has the possibility of sliding into smugness. It sometimes seems like we’re thinking “Alright, it’s been proven that people of colour can do anything, that means oppression and racism are things of the past!” This seems akin to if, had it been Hillary in place of Barack, we here at Shameless would pat each other on the back, shake hands, and retire the magazine, because – guess what! Feminism is over!
Well folks, it’s not over. We are not, as some would like to believe, post-feminist. And we are definitely not post-race. Although major ground has been gained in high office, struggles continue every day, on the street, in the home, in prisons, in hospitals, in the workplace. So this Black History Month seems like a good time to think about what those struggles mean, and where they’ve come from.
For everyone who occasionally needs to slam their sweaty body into a bunch of other sweaty bodies in order to remind themselves they’re still alive, and then afterwards wants to eat hummous and chips and talk about their favourite Kate Bush song; for every girl who met her best friend at a hardcore show after all her guy friends told her she wouldn’t have a good time; for everyone who doesn’t know the difference between hardcore, grindcore, crust, d-beat, or screamo, and frankly doesn’t give a flying rat-tail hair-do, I give you Preying Hands.
With members of the much-loved and dearly-departed Ballast and Snakemaster, people are freaking out about this band, and with good reason. If you’re in Montreal, you can freak out too, tonight at the Decadent Squalour, 3627 Notre Dame West. Also playing are Switzerland, The Castevets, and Double Dip, another especially notable girl- and queer-positive punk band. A mere $5 gets you in, and it’s all ages.