THE RADICAL ALL FEMALE ISSUE
ISSUE #2 // MARCH 2015
LAURA MARLING HOLYCHILD PEACH KELLI POP SLEATER-KINNEY VÉRITÉ + MORE!
GIRL GANG ASSEMBLE
and... GIRLS’ NIGHT PLAYLISTS GROWING UP WITH MUSIC FT THE PRETTIOTS SKATING POLLY SKINNY GIRL DIET
THE-RADICAL.COM twitter.com/theradicalzine facebook.com/theradicalzine instagram.com/theradicalzine theradicalzine.tumblr.com soundcloud.com/theradicalzine
FOUNDER/EDITOR-IN-CHIEF April Salud LAYOUT Robert Jackson April Salud GIRLSâ€™ NIGHT PLAYLISTS LAYOUT Natalia Daniels CONTRIBUTORS Paris Masoudi Heather Mason Katie Collins Ashley Maricich Allegra Rosenberg PHOTOS OF KATE NASH Taken by Ruby June White Fur Coat by Gabriela Ostolaza SPECIAL THANKS High Rise PR Girl Gang Virgin Records GoldenVoice
After the release and surprise success of Issue #1, the prospect of Issue #2 seemed more daunting than exciting. I had felt like I had exhausted all my resources and was completely lost on what to do next. When Issue #1 came out, I sent out a bunch of thank you emails to everyone who helped through the process and Jennifer from High Rise PR sent back a response with a party invitation to check out Kate Nash’s Girl Gang TV launch. It had been ages since Kate was on my radar but I always loved what she was about and hey, open bar amirite? I initially was suppose to attend the party with my friend Matt but he unexpectedly came down with a fever that day. I proceeded to invite my friend Annie instead which ultimately became the better decision. Not that Matt wouldn’t have had a wonderful time but Kate Nash’s Girl Gang was filled with female positivity and celebration that it just felt more profound sharing that moment with one of my closest female friends. At the end of the night, we were both inspired by what Kate and the rest of the Girl Gang crew had accomplished and what they represented. They wanted to provided a safe and motivating environment for not just females but for anyone who felt alone. Needless to say, the party (which included a private performance from Kate) was the best way to end my epic first year involved with music journalism. That was when I knew I had to make the next issue of THE RADICAL female centric. What we wanted to do with this issue was not only highlight women who have identified themselves as feminist but also celebrate our favorite female artists because honestly, as girls, we don’t praise each other enough. And as the cherry on top, this issue was completely written by women. We felt that it was important to talk about these artists through an entirely female perspective. The artists in this issue are only the tip of the iceberg when it comes to great females in the music scene. But we felt in this moment in time, these were the women we wanted to talk about. These were the women that motivate us, inspire us, and make us want to change the world.
Fictional Female Bands
Lana Del Rey
Peach Kelli Pop
If You Like This...Then You’ll Like This
Growing Up With Music
Girls’ Night Playlists
First Aid Kit
Female Fronted Bands
TABLE OF CONTENTS
Photo Credit: Eric Penna
The simplest piece of advice Colleen Green offers on I Want to Grow Up comes nearly halfway through the album’s thirty-six minute run time. She lays it out, “I gotta stop doing things that are bad for me.” For a former Stoner Girl of the Year, she might have her work cut out for her. A preeminent voice of a generation, Green’s brand of sunny, laidback garage-pop typically addresses the monotony of day-to-day life, honing in on those more fun and interesting recreational activities we choose to take part in to pass time. In her second album for Hardly Art, she explores some more personal subject matter, including the inherent anxiety of maturing into your adulthood. It’s less about what we do to pass time, but how to make the most of the time we have left. So it’s easy enough to just say you’re gonna stop doing things that are bad for you, but it’s more important to try and follow through on your own promises to be less self-destructive amidst the tedium of living. This is what most of I Want to Grow Up sets out to accomplish. “It’s the culmination of all the weirdest, deepest thoughts I’ve had over the past few years or so,” she says. “It came really between the ages of 27 and 30. It’s a weird time for people to be in, essentially trying to transition from prolonged adolescence to real adulthood. I’ve definitely been feeling that. At this point, I’m just trying to take responsibility for everything that’s happening and just do it completely.” Another first for Green was the chance to record in a proper studio setting. Up until now, Green had established a reputation as a one-woman band, recording and touring on her own often accompanied by a drum machine. For I Want to Grow Up, Green found herself flying from Los Angeles to Nashville to record with JEFF the Brotherhood’s Jake Orrall and Diarrhea Planet’s Casey Weissbuch, the latter of which played an actual drum kit for the album - another CG first! On working with Orrall and Weissbuch, Green explains, “it felt like being in a band. It was kind of like a collaboration. Your ideas always get interpreted in different ways when you’re working with other people and it can be really great, especially like it was with those guys.” Even with the studio approach, I Want to Grow Up never wavers and displays all the great guitar riffs and wordplay we’ve come to associate Green with. If anything, where her former releases were more identifiably fuzzy due in part to the fact that they were all home-recorded, the production now is much cleaner and gives Green the opportunity to really showcase the
strength of her writing in a way it hadn’t before. Despite the fact she recorded the album with two dudes, Green is quick to note that some of her biggest inspirations, musically and in life, are women. She lists Dolly Parton and Aaliyah right off the bat, but more seriously contemplates the role her female-musician friends have had on her. “I am the most inspired by people that are actually in my life, like Dum Dum Girls, SISU, all the girls on Hardly Art, my friend Marisa of Mannequin Pussy is amazing, people like that. These are women who’ve got cool style, are so talented, so nice, and the fact that I get to know them and count them as friends? So rad.” The thing about Colleen Green the person and the music Colleen Green makes is that they’re both sincerely uncomplicated. Much like the early punk bands who’ve influenced her, such as the Ramones and the Descendents (her first album, Milo Goes to Compton, is named after their seminal debut), Green is methodical with her guitar playing and doesn’t have any delusions of grandeur. As for Green the person, she’s grounded. She watches a lot of TV. She likes to read. (If you’re curious, she loves Stephen King.) She still packages her albums with handmade zines that feature her own sketches. We even did our interview while she ate toast. For someone so unbelievably relaxed, it’s insane to think this is the same person whose new record sees her detailing so many deep-seated issues on such a public platform. With questions like “how can I give you my life when I know you’re just gonna die,” Green doesn’t try to shy away from discussing any aspect of her life. “It’s always scary sharing things with anyone, let alone the world. I think that’s part of growing up too. You have to try and open up and not be afraid when the time comes, and start realizing that you’re no different from everyone else. Because everyone is weird and everyone is normal. So you really shouldn’t be afraid of what people are gonna think. It especially helps if you’ve got good friends to support you. I’ve shared some fucked up shit with people and they still want to be my friend. So how bad can I be, really?” It’s a healthy perspective to have and one of many reasons why I think Colleen Green is totally up for the task of being a real life grown-up.
by Paris Masoudi
IKE A GROWN UP
Find Colleen Green: twitter.com/colleengreen420 facebook.com/colleengreen420 www.hardlyart.com/colleengreen.html
Photo Credit: Rankin/High Rise PR
AZAELIA BANKS Azaelia Banks is probably a name you’ve heard but haven’t even heard a single track from. Despite her debut album finally being released at the end of last year, Banks seems to be more known for her controversial outbursts and her Twitter wars that have managed to creep their way into your feeds. After being unexpectedly dropped from her label, Banks continued to work on what would eventually be Broke With Expensive Taste and shopped it around but no one took the bait because well, she had a reputation for being “crazy”. The thing about Banks’ music is that she doesn’t conform to one particular brand. Her brand is that she doesn’t really have one. From confident to wistful to dark to sexy to energetic, her debut is pretty much all over the place. The one thing she does make clear is her stance on feminism and diversity in music. She makes no apologizes for who she is and refuses to let the media tell her she can’t do or say certain things because she happens to be black and a female. What Azaelia Banks represents is something very admirable. What she’s saying is undeniably the truth in terms of feminism and cultural appropriation but many could argue it’s her delivery of them that’s is questionable. Banks’ ultimate appeal is simultaneously could her biggest deterrent: she acts like she doesn’t have millions of eyes watching her every move.
With what seems to be like countless Twitter beefs, there is nothing and no one that is off limits for Banks to confront. Even though a lot of people may have disagreed with her presentation filled with explicits and overtness, there’s no doubt that Azaelia Banks is a feminist through and through. She stands up for what she believes in and calls out people she believes is stopping the progression of women empowerment and equality for blacks including those who are culprits of cultural appropriation. However, because of her antics and reputation, the reaction to Banks’ ramblings have been split between uproariously applause and overall dismissal. Why is this the case though? Whenever a women constantly pushes her thoughts forward, especially in the public eye, and it isn’t wrapped up in the pretty lady-like bow we’ve all decided is “appropriate,” we proclaim it as the result of “craziness” or even worst….a crazy black feminist. The truth of the matter of is, what Azaelia Banks throws out on her social platforms does make people uncomfortable but it does spark a discussion. An attempt to stifle and censor her becomes an issue of its own and something that we can’t afford in this current state.
by April Salud
Find Azaelia Banks: twitter.com/azaeliabanks facebook.com/azaeliabanksmusic www.azaeliabanks.com
FAVE FICTIO JESSIE AND THE HOT SUNDAES
Jessie and the Hot Sundaes is the fictional girl group created by Jessie, Kelly and Lisa in one of the most memorable episodes ever of Saved by the Bell. Jessie Spano, the resident good girl is super stressed out. So Kelly and Lisa sing her a song about how it’s the weekend and they should be carefree. Zack sees dollar signs, dubs the girls “Hot Sundae” and sends their song to his father’s recordproducer friend. So they make a music video, which is so delightfully terrible. But Jessie is stressed and starts taking caffeine pills to cope. Before we know it Jessie is a caffeine pill junkie and unable to hold up her responsibilities in the week-old group which then falls apart. Jessie and the Hot Sundaes were short lived but we’ll always have that music video.
JOSIE & THE PUSSYCATS
Josie & The Pussycats are possibly the most famous fictional girl rock band ever. The band first appeared in the Archie comic book, followed by their own series published beginning in 1963. Since then, there’s been a TV show and a live-action movie that’s just insane. The band consists of Josie, Melody, and Valerie who sing and play their own instruments. They also manage to get into some hijinks both on and off stage. In the movie, they send subliminal messages through their music so, there’s that. Basically they dress like cats, play rock music and are just all-around badass.
ONAL GIRL BANDS by Heather Mason
JEM AND THE HOLOGRAMS
Jem is an animated show that began airing in the United States in 1985 about a female record company owner Jerrica Benton. She also happened to have an alterego named Jem, which is in fact a hologram projection made possible by Synergy, a holographic computer. Cool as fuck. The rest of the band is made up of her younger sister Kimber and foster sisters Aja and Shana. Between keeping her true identity a secret and the actual musical things involved with a band, Jem and the Holograms manage to lead pretty exciting lives. A liveaction film is set to be released in 2015.
THE MARY JANES
Gwen Stacy has become Spider-Woman and joined a rock band. In 2014, Jason Latour and Robbi Rodriguezâ€™s Edge of Spider-Verse #2 introduced an all-girl band called The Mary Janes featuring Gwen Stacy on drums, Mary Jane Watson as the lead singer, Glory Grant as keyboardist, and Betty Brant plays lead guitar.
Photo Credit: Neil Krug
SHADES OF LA
Not every artist needs to be happy. We are inundated with happy lyrics, bright beats, and are constantly bombarded with the “life gets better” mantras out there. And while some of her music has been remixed to fit that feel, at the core much of Lana Del Rey’s product is about the antithesis of this: sadness.
hone her craft and create her persona and then you have the girl in her music videos and lyrics that is much harder and abused. Lana came from nothing, once giving a tour of her old trailer park in New Jersey to show when she first started that this is who she was. It was that trailer park where she wrote her first record, as Lizzy Grant.
Elizabeth Woolridge Grant, more commonly known as Lana Del Rey, was never planning on pursuing music as her career. It was something she did for fun, for her, and for the underground scene that cared about her. But then it all the pieces clicked together, and this new persona of Lana Del Rey hit the scene and never looked back.
But even with the good girl / bad girl internal conflict, she is two things: dark and sad. Lana’s music and videos hit from very tough subject matters from hopelessly doing anything to keep the boy to talking about acts that are on the verge of domestic abuse. A lot of this has feminists up in arms, but Lana doesn’t care because she doesn’t consider herself one of them. She believes that a true feminist will just believe that she can do whatever she wants. Period. She leads on that the rest of it is superfluous and that her image shouldn’t hurt or hinder anything because she’s doing what feminism is meant to do: let her do what she wants.
Lana is the good girl and the bad girl, walking a fine line between the two. There’s a natural tension and discourse between who she is, how she is, and what she does. On one hand you have a reformed singer that went from drunk to sober to
ANA DEL REY She’s found a niche though. Born to Die, her second studio album, was certified platinum in 2012. There was a group of fans who loved her for her dark side and a whole other who could appreciate the light side of persona. Was, and is, any of this truly Lana Del Rey or is it all just a facade of who she is? And does it even really matter? She’s just a woman making music that portrays what she’s going through in life and how she’s feeling. It’s taken a bit for the majority to jump on the Lana-bandwagon, but with each hit that she releases, more and more people are finding her relatable. And the more relatable she got, the darker she seemed to be. Her release of Ultraviolence in 2014 was the proof that Lana hadn’t completely explored her darkest side until now. Even though with Born to Die she thought she had told all the stories she had and said everything she wanted to. But Ultraviolence was taking it all to a new level. She romanticized the deep, dark depths
of her mind and her music videos started to lean towards being almost blatantly pornographic. In a time where artists are pushing the envelope, she’s already broken through the seal. What could be next in store for Lana? It was announced that her fourth studio album, Honeymoon, is in production and slated to be released this year. Based on the trajectory of her past albums and productions, we can expect this to be something out of this world too. If it will be in a good way or a bad way, only time will tell. But regardless, Lana Del Rey will be a name we hear for time to come. by Katie Collins
Find Lana Del Rey: twitter.com/lanadelrey facebook.com/lanadelrey www.lanadelrey.com
You may be familiar with Allie Hanlon already. She’s been in a few bands. Her main solo project, Peach Kelli Pop, is one of the highlights of California garage label Burger Records’ roster. Much like the beachy artwork on both of her eponymous albums, Peach Kelli Pop’s music falls in the same vein: fun, colorful, oftentimes grainy, but most importantly features Hanlon front and center. She’s a girl who can and will do everything. In her native Canada, Hanlon was a staple of the Ottawa music scene, playing drums for bands like The Felines, Captain Foxy, and The White Wires. She dabbled in writing her own songs, but reoriented her focus onto Peach Kelli Pop permanently after moving to Los Angeles in 2012. Using Redd Kross albums as a guide in how to maneuver short, easy punk songs (her band’s namesake is indebted to them), Hanlon began work on her first solo effort and the rest is herstory. “PKPI was really me trying to teach myself how to play everything. I was also trying to figure out how to compose songs too. I didn’t really understand the different layers or parts that were involved. People always tell me it’s structured really weird and that’s probably why. It’s because I didn’t know what I was doing,” she laughs. “I think that makes it more special though. Genuine amateur music.” It’s a label that Hanlon somewhat worries sticks to her music too often, being dismissed as “lo-fi” or even being too noticeably “girly” as if that somehow invalidates the work that she does. It’s true, she has no qualms about feminizing her music or style, and she relishes in the intimacy that comes with the recording of pop songs from the comfort of her own bedroom. Peach Kelli Pop even does a pretty damn cute cover of the Sailor Moon theme song, if you haven’t heard. Still, she likes to think her roots lean more towards punk than straightforward pop music. In this respect, Hanlon holds a musical kinship with other female artists of the genre, listing Joan Jett, Debbie Harry, and The Muffs’ Kim Shattuck as a few of her favorites. “Then there’s this synthy band from the eighties called Missing Persons. The lead singer from that, Dale Bozzio, made a big impression on me and changed my ideas about creative, vocal capabilities, and especially being a girl standing out in a band of dudes. I have a lot of respect for her as an artist.” In a bid towards more girl love, Hanlon typically doesn’t need to stand out amongst male musicians because she also happens to enlist a rotating band of female tourmates. Since Hanlon provides all the in-
by Paris Masoudi strumentation for Peach Kelli Pop recording sessions, the performance aspect is a little more complicated to execute and ultimately relies on her to depend on musician-friends to fill out the rest of the roles. “It’s a lot of work for someone to learn a whole new catalogue,” she says. “It’s not ideal to be swapping people out, but it’s the reality of it. Some of my friends have jobs or are not big fans of touring. It’s definitely hard but I’ve gotten good at training people. For all the songs we play, I pretty much have isolated tracks/chords/lyrics already pre-written to send out. It’s definitely lots of work for whoever’s learning the songs, but also me because I have to work with each person and explain what’s going on or how we play it differently live as opposed to what’s on the recording.” In fact, her new album, PKPIII, is the first time someone else was present in the recording process. It’s scheduled to be released in May via Burger and is Hanlon’s first studio-produced release. “The sound quality is going to be a lot better,” she teases. “I’m really excited to just try something new and work with a fuller sound. Even just working with somebody else who has more experience than I do has been great because ultimately I just want to have the best version of my songs as possible.” Of the confirmed tracks is the Nintendo-inspired “Princess Castle 1987,” a song with enough energy to even exhaust Sonic the Hedgehog. It’s a punchy number and definitely falls in with the rest of Hanlon’s oeuvre, characterizing itself as something like bubblegum with a bite. The song’s catchiness, despite only clocking in over a minute, is in a way a longstanding tradition of Hanlon’s ability as a songwriter. She’s got an incredible gift for efficiency which she credits to the tremendous amount of care she takes with the construction of each song, even under constraints. “With the older albums, I took my time writing everything. I went ahead and put out ten songs that I was really comfortable with and liked. With this album, I was working under a time limit. I was writing songs faster and under more pressure than I’ve ever done so it was a really good learning experience. It’s tough to force yourself to be creative and not just do it when you feel like it. It was more stressful but I’m happy with how it worked out and the songs I’ve come up with.” Suffice to say, I’m excited to hear it. This album is inevitably going to be the most fun ~twenty minutes of your year.
IF YOU LIKE THIS... HIP HOP Nicki Minaj - The Pinkprint
For Nicki Minaj, it’s always been about finding the right balance between commercial value and artistic integrity and it’s been a home run for her so far. The Pinkprint is a club-ready, soul-searching album where Minaj gets the realest she’s ever been about her private life, leaving no stone unturned. Despite the rolodex of collaborators involved, her unbelievable control of language undoubtedly makes Minaj her own MVP. Angel Haze: If you like insane lyrical prowess, then you might like Angel Haze’s Dirty Gold. Aaliyah: If you like sex appeal, then you might like Aaliyah’s Aaliyah. Missy Elliott: If you like first-rate production, then you might like Missy Elliott’s Miss E...So Addictive.
ACOUSTIC Angel Olsen - Burn Your Fire for No Witness
Angel Olsen’s Burn Your Fire for No Witness is relentless and also painstakingly brilliant. It’s her first with a full band but the shift between overdriven guitars to more traditional folksy routine is near seamless. In the past, the introspective nature of Olsen’s lyrics had already won her great acclaim, but this time around she’s really outdone herself. Olsen conjures up a lot of anxieties that we can all relate to, with knockout lines like “are you lonely too / hi-five, so am I”. Consider this album a shared comfort blanket for all. Adia Victoria: If you like a fiery Southern twang, you might like Adia Victoria’s Stuck in the South. Fiona Apple: If you like brutal honesty, you might like Fiona Apple’s Tidal. Laura Nyro: If you like arresting vocals, you might like Laura Nyro’s New York Tendaberry.
... THEN YOU’LL LIKE THIS VOCAL Sia - 1000 Forms of Fear
The kind of album that does what it says on the tin. Believe it or not, 1000 Forms of Fear is not Sia’s first album, but her sixth, and features a tremendous amount of depth and vulnerability. It’s all founded on the singer’s real-life personal upheavals, which I’m gonna guess there are about “1000” of. Sia’s emphatic vocals are what’s most interesting. They take charge of the heavy material on display with a violent force pushing it all so beyond just one person. It’s only appropriate that such a cinematic singer be accompanied with a dance routine that is equally as emotive and compelling. Jetta: If you like an anthemic sound, you might like Jetta’s Feels Like Coming Home. Kylie Minogue: If you live to dance, you might like Kylie Minogue’s Fever. Björk: If you like world-building, massively eclectic music, you might like Björk’s Post.
ALTERNATIVE St. Vincent - St. Vincent
There is absolutely no way Annie Clark is a human being. One person can not be capable of the extraordinary feats accomplished on albums like St. Vincent. Subversive, fearless, intelligent. This is an album that plays with such clarity that it even makes its distortions sound pretty. Like I said, she’s light years ahead of us all. She is not of this Earth. All I hope is that she stays here forever. Dawn Richard: If you like heavy experimentation, then you might like Dawn Richard’s Blackheart. PJ Harvey: If you like performance-inspired guitar virtuosos, then you might like PJ Harvey’s To Bring You My Love. Grace Jones: If you like fashion-forward eccentrics, then you might like Grace Jones’s Nightclubbing.
by Paris Masoudi
TOVE LO A HARD HABIT TO BREAK Find Tove Lo: twitter.com/iamtovelo facebook.com/tovelo www.tove-lo.com
Breaking through the musical glass ceiling, Swedish singer-songwriter Tove Lo has taken the charts by storm in the past year. Though she is not royal she has earned thus far the title of Queen. Her debut album Queen of the Clouds unabashedly takes you on a journey of three themes “The Sex”, “The Love” and “The Pain” of relationships and heartbreaks. Although Tove Lo has been writing songs since the young age of twelve and writing songs for the likes of Icona Pop, The Saturdays, Cher Lloyd, and others she decided to put her skills to the test for herself. Her first EP Truth Serum features the catchy and honest “Habits”, later remixed and rereleased as “Stay High”, among “Out of Mind” and “Not on Drugs”. Queen of the Clouds debuted in the U.S. on September 30th, 2014 where it reached number 14 on the charts. This album offered a new way for audiences to deal with heartache, instead of a wallowing ballad. Lo has created a fresh motto which she told to MTV News, “everything’s fucked, let’s go party”; which is clearly evident in her music. The debut song “Habits” talks about drinking the pain away by ‘staying high all the time’ in order to forget about the recent relationship and breakup. Her unapologetic lyrics are raw with emotion and personality. In an interview with Hunger TV about her outspoken nature in her lyrics, Tove said “For creatives, it’s more about emotion, and no one can say what’s right or wrong when it comes to your emotions. They’re a result of what you’ve been through. No one can tell you that the way you choose to react to your experiences is wrong.” Tove Lo opened alongside Betty Who, for Katy Perry’s Prismatic World Tour, although she could not perform at every show due to cysts on her vocal chords, Lo was able to debut some of her talent. She is set to perform at Boston Calling Music Festival in May of this year. Tove Lo is on the rise and looks to be sticking around, so if you have not listened to her dark yet truthful wisdom, you are greatly missing out. by Ashley Maricich
Photo Credit: Windish Agency
GIRL GANG W
Find Kate Nash twitter.com/katenash facebook.com/katenash www.katenash.com www.girlgang.tv
WITH A CAUSE
You know who’s a great role model? Kate Nash. She certainly was for me when I was sixteen years old when I came across her music on Myspace. I remember seeing her show at the time in Atlanta. She banged away at a keyboard all night, singing bubblegum pop music on a stage that was completely draped in pink sashes with her name lit up in neon pink lights. It was one of those unabashedly girly nights out, where even if you didn’t know the person standing next to you, you were going to be professional dance partners before the night was through. Except you know, my dad was there also or whatever. I got to meet her that night, amongst all the other teen girls in the audience, in the venue’s sketchy back alley. Not only was she the loveliest person in the world, but she showered each and every girl with all sorts of compliments to the point where you didn’t know who was more exciting to meet who. That’s just so Kate Nash. It’s all about girl love with her and generally promoting a positive, safe space for anyone to thrive in. Inevitably, this is what’s set the wheels in motion for the launch of her new campaign: Girl Gang. What began as private gatherings in her Los Angeles garage has expanded to an international network of like-minded people who want to make a difference, whether it be on a small or global scale. Nash’s hopes for the collective is that it provides a platform for anyone to share ideas, pick up new skills, and take big risks within the context of a support group. Girl Gang’s newest project is Girl Gang TV, which went live in December, producing supplementary video content that has allowed Nash’s message to reach a much wider audience via YouTube. Allie Hanlon of Peach Kelli Pop is one of Girl Gang’s frequent collaborators and appeared in a recent video installment where she discussed the benefits of fostering dogs and her personal history with it. Hanlon is one of many of Nash’s coconspirators that sees potential in the project and the value it has for younger female generations. Hanlon tells The RADICAL, “A wide range of topics are discussed, but it’s something that’s specifically aimed at girls to inspire them, keep them active, encourages them to create. It’s all really welcoming and tons of fun. It’s good to make it acceptable
to normalize being a feminist in general. That’s one cool part about it, where we can try and get younger girls who are impressionable to get comfortable to identify as feminist and to be friends with other girls. We want girls to be confident about doing things that are outside of their comfort zone.” The project is something Nash had always wanted to develop in some capacity because of the lack of outlet for younger girls to rally around each other. Nash explained to us, “when I was younger, I was really obsessed with the Spice Girls and did Brownies, obviously. Later as a teenager, I used to go to meetings in the library where we’d talk about all these things related to riot grrrl and I learned a lot that way. That was the closest thing I had to a female-to-female support system outside of my own family. I’m lucky, I have a strong mum and two sisters I’m very close to, but not everyone has that.” The start of Girl Gang coincided with a difficult time for Nash career-wise. She had recently been dropped from her label, dealt with the death of friend, suffered through a substantial breakup, and on top of it all had recently relocated to Los Angeles from London, halfway across the world from the family and friends whose support she depended on. To keep herself active and informed, she sought out the new friends she had made in the US and invited them to her home to simply talk things out. “I wanted to see more sides of things. I thought having a group together would make me stronger than I am on my own. I wanted to be educated, inspired, and I can’t just do that by myself. It’s easier to learn in a group of people.” It quickly became aware to Nash that there was something to the idea that was worth expanding. “I figured that this could be a part of my journey with my fanbase too. I knew it was something I wanted to bring to them and bring to the public because I wanted to make a fundamental change. Hopefully something with an output where we could impact the world in a meaningful way.” Girl Gang’s first public meeting occurred in September at Los Angeles’ famed DIY venue The Smell and featured live performances from Nash, La Sera, Peach Kelli Pop, The Aquadolls, Colleen Green, and more. All proceeds from the sold-out event went towards I
Am That Girl. “It was fully at capacity, we couldn’t believe it. We had to send people away even, I felt horrible. We didn’t want to turn anyone away!”
when she misheard the song’s title as being sung as “girl gang” over and over. Her throaty vocals on the track and rough-around-the-edges attitude somewhat conflicts with the image of the girl I saw play live in 2008. It was after the release of her second album that Nash took a few risks of her own and traded in her keyboard for a guitar. “I think I got sick of how I was treated in the media or in interviews in general. It felt like people would always underestimate girls or underestimate me because I liked being girly. It was all too cute or something.” Still, even with the primary instrument change, Nash is inherently the same person she’s ever been. Even on her debut album she channeled serious “hell hath no fury like a woman scorned” vibes but it all sounded so saccharine that I suppose no one seemed to notice the sass. It’s the best of both worlds, salty and sweet. “I really wanted to just try something different, maybe throw people off, so I started to play guitar. Then I picked up bass at some point, joined a punk band, and really fell in love with it all then. I found it made me feel stronger, cooler. It became my weapon in a way. I put it on and I felt like a warrior.”
Because of Nash and the talented band of ladies she associates herself with, there is naturally a strong musical component to Girl Gang. Even the name “Girl Gang” came from a rewritten cover Nash recorded of FIDLAR’s “Cocaine”
“I want to face things that I’m scared of and address those issues so then I can be a part of that change and know what’s going on.”
With a boost in confidence, it’s no wonder she was ready to take on new experiences. One of the initiatives of Girl Gang that Nash is quick to stress is to deter apprehension of any kind. It’s easy to fall into a routine that’s comfortable for you and to think only of the confines of your own world, but it’s critical to acknowledge that not everyone has that luxury and there’s a lot happening outside of your bubble that is worth paying attention to. “It’s really intimidating to talk about politics or world events, especially something that’s controversial. I think it’s really important to have that discussion still be a part of Girl Gang,” Nash remarks. It’s key to being a well-rounded, compassionate person. “If something scares you, you tend to want to stay away from it, but that’s kind of related to what I want Girl Gang to do. I want to face things that I’m scared of and address those issues so then I can be a part of that change and know what’s going on. Then in the future I can talk to younger people and tell them I was part of that. I want to be able to say that I was a part of something.”
Not all the topics brought up in Girl Gang are meant to revolutionize the way we see things, but merely exist for educative purposes. In fact, one of the upcoming episodes of Girl Gang produced recently in New York features Alan Cumming where the pair discuss what else but circumcision. Nash elaborates, “I know people may ask what circumcision has to do with Girl Gang, but it’s an illuminating topic. I visited Alan Cumming backstage when I went to see him in Cabaret and he showed me his ‘I love my foreskin’ badge and we got to talking about it pretty intensely. We’re both from the UK, and circumcision isn’t something people really do there, so it led to this discussion about genital mutilation and what a huge global issue that is and how medical/insurance companies play into it. It’s very interesting information, but secondly, this is great information for potential mothers. You’re going to have to make these decisions and it’s good to know both sides of the story when you’re making your mind up about whether or not that’s something you’d want to do.” It may
seem like a bizarre topic at first, but Nash makes a great point. There are very few outlets for girls to seek out sensitive information like this without stigma, and to hear it explained in a casual environment from a personality like Alan Cumming is is a valuable service. Nash can’t be expected to do all the work however which is why she wants to encourage girls to cultivate their own girl gangs locally. She’s already heard responses from chapters in Brazil and back home in England. What’s important to remember is to be inclusive which is essentially the one and only rule of Girl Gang even if it’s called girl gang. “I have a lot of male or gender nonconforming friends that are a part of Girl Gang too who did feel like they had to sort of ask me if they could be apart of it. I’d be like, ‘yeah! Totally!’ I would respond to anyone who has concerns and explain that it’s not just for girls, we want everyone to join our gang.” Whether you start small and host your own meetings in your garage, forming your own girl gang isn’t as daunting of a task as it may seem. Not everyone’s reach has to be global, but it can if you want! It may be planting a tree, or organizing a protest. It could be learning to cross-stitch or starting a non-profit. The impact you want to make is up for you to decide. The one takeaway from Kate Nash’s Girl Gang is this: “do cool shit, change the world.”
Photo Credit: Kate Nash
by Paris Masoudi
Find Sleater-Kinney: twitter.com/sleater_kinney facebook.com/sleaterkinney www.sleater-kinney.com
R-KINNEY N GIRLS
Photo Credit: Carrie Brownstein
When the news broke that the Sleater-Kinney hiatus was finally coming to an end, the response that followed was well warranted. Tears, parades, unadulterated bliss, the end of wealth inequality, and world peace. Most of that definitely happened, or at least it should have. It’s difficult to fully analyze Sleater-Kinney’s significance and the role they’ve played in shaping the musical landscape of the last twenty years, and more predominantly the trail they’ve blazed for all the talented women and queer artists who’ve come up in their wake. In the months that have followed, so much has already been said and yet there’s always so much more to say. If there’s anything I’ve really gleaned from all the writing that’s been published so far, it’s that Sleater-Kinney has meant something different for everyone. Like, really, really meant something. We all have our own stories about hardships we’ve endured, self-discoveries we’ve made, moments we’ve celebrated that were in some way tied back to Olympia’s favorite daughters. This is a brief summary of my moments with Sleater-Kinney. In middle school, I went through the usual punk phase most kids went through and I thought I was way too cool for everybody. Admittedly, this was the mid-aughts, so it was more likely a penchant for pop-punk like, Jimmy Eat World and blink-182. So basically the stuff everyone listened to, but just me thinking I was better than everyone regardless. I was selfish at that age, much like we all tend to be. I remember buying an issue of Spin magazine (this was 2005 when Spin still made magazines) and reading about this famed trio I’d never heard of, who were all girls. I wasn’t really familiar with the type of music the article was describing, but it sounded cool, and they were all girls. It mentioned all this history about this movement that nobody I knew seemed to be talking about, with this band at the forefront. Also, they were all girls. Did I mention that part? I honestly can not think of that many bands I listened to at the time that had a girl in it, let alone one that was completely comprised of girls. This was the same issue of Spin that had an entire feature on women who had formed tribute bands of macho classic rock acts, like Lez Zeppelin and AC/DShe. Bands who would be subjected to experiencing gross men masturbating to their sets. I flipped back and read the interview with that trio who seemed to have forged their own path,
whose storied history was a direct response and conscious effort to combat the sexism that women like those in AC/DShe have to face on any given night. Who are these girls, what is riot grrrl, where can I listen to their music? I wanted to know more. I almost forgot I bought this dumb thing for the My Chemical Romance cover. This was the first time I heard of Sleater-Kinney and The Woods was my first album of theirs. I played “Entertain” night and day. I loved how loud they were. I loved how “unpretty” (a word I used at the time) their voices were. Not going to lie, I loved how much more authentically punk it sounded, but I didn’t look down on anybody anymore. In fact, I wanted everyone to know this band. I was more open to hearing other people’s opinions. It was a gradual process, but I generally became a more positive, pleasant person to be around as opposed to the little, pretentious brat I’m sure I had been. I loved that I felt like I was learning so much, even if at the time I didn’t know what it was. After all, I was only thirteen. Looking back and connecting the dots, I feel like the person I’ve become was monumentally shaped by what Sleater-Kinney had instilled in me. My early introduction into the basics of feminist philosophies would come via them and even though I feel like I didn’t fully understand the concept of what it meant until later in college, the groundwork was definitely there. I just hadn’t fully put the pieces together yet. I fell so hard, I didn’t know what to do, but I felt like a whole new world opened up and there was a wealth of information and material out there for me to absorb. Then just as fast they came into my life, they went. A year later they broke up. Fortunately, we all know that that didn’t last long. It’s post-Sleater-Kinney where I can begin to plot their influence on my musical growth. It’s so important for girls to be mutually supportive. I started to learn to cherish any female artist that was creating. It seemed to me that anyone who was making a space for themselves in an industry that was constantly finding ways to stifle your voice must have something important to say. Well, at least something different than what I was used to hearing before and that’s reason enough to find these girls and help them make their voices louder. Two of the most important love affairs of my high school days happened to be Jenny Lewis and St. Vincent. Jenny with her wistful narratives, and Annie’s abil-
ity to challenge every preconceived notion I had about song structures. If anything, these days I probably struggle more to think of a male artist that excites me the way these ladies do.
A Decade of Sleater-Kinney
This is everything I know now about the subconscious impact Sleater-Kinney had on me. At the time, it all came down to the phenomenal music they were producing. Like I said The Woods was my first, and it’s still my favorite, but 2000’s All Hands on the Bad One and 1999’s The Hot Rock are fiercely close competitors. This is a band whose catalogue I love so much, that I tore through as a tween, that I’m actually rendered speechless in any attempt to discuss their artistry in a coherent manner. There’s too much sentiment for me. In April, I’m gonna see this band that changed my life play live for the first time and I’m so excited I don’t know what I’m going to do with myself. Corin Tucker, Carrie Brownstein, Janet Weiss, I thank you. You’ve literally changed everything for me, therefore you are my everything. Thanks for coming back, even if it’s just for a little awhile. This is the one instance a good thing stayed, so with a sincerely happy heart, “this time it’ll be alright, this time it’ll be okay.” FYI I still have that copy of Spin. by Paris Masoudi
Photo Credit: Brigitte Sire
HIDING BEHIND THE TRUTH Cinéma vérité is a style of documentary filmmaking that’s sole purpose is to reveal the truth and bring to light things that were once hidden especially through the form of improvisation. Despite this idea being heavily correlated with a visual form of media, Brooklyn native VÉRITÉ has decided to take this concept and apply it to her own musical endeavor. “It comes from the idea of candid reality and being very upfront in trying to portray everything as raw and honestly as I can moving forward,” she told THE RADICAL. Slowly peeling back the layers of not only her personal experiences but the patterns in human behavior is not only indicative of Cinéma vérité but is a prominent foundation when it comes to music as an art form. While VÉRITÉ’s whole mission statement is be open about her personal experiences, she does purposely keep certain aspects of her life private. Hence hiding behind the moniker of truth, which seems to be a trend in today’s music scene. Picking a musical persona to help keep track of different projects. A stage name no longer defines you as an artist but rather as that particular undertaking in that particular moment. The project came to be through the power of the Internet. Meeting her producer initially at a party a few years ago, it was a direct message via Twitter that sparked her and Elliot Jacobson (A Great Big World, The Vamps, Regina Spektor) to work together. “It just happened really naturally. I was in between projects and thinking of getting my degree in sociology. I was in a turning point in my life and career and he [Elliot] was too. We got on an email chain after that initial message and I had the vocal melody for “Heartbeat” and we shared songs that each other liked. It got me excited to write again. The fact we get along musically and personally is just luck.”
Photo Credit: Windish Agency
VÉRITÉ’s debut EP, Echo, may trigger some familiar sounds that are reminiscent of other “female alt pop” such as Zella Day, Ellie Goulding, and Banks but it brings to the table something that only VÉRITÉ can provide. There’s an overall sweetness in Echo’s execution that makes it distinct and allows it to flourish beyond just another synth pop offering. It serves up her own brand of storytelling that is extremely personal and adds layers of depth on what could otherwise be misconstrued as another mindless pop song. “When inspiration hits, the subject matter tends to come from a personal place. It’s natural and organic and sometimes it’s uncomfortable but I kind of view that as…not part of the job but just how it is, you know what I mean? I admire storytellers but my music tends to come from my perspective.”
Crafting the voice of VÉRITÉ came from a very collaborative effort despite it coming from such a personal place. Working closely with Jacobson on the construction of the tracks, the intention of Echo and the overall representation of the project stems from being able to let the music grow on its own. “I tend to be super collaborative but I also appreciate the distance in the writing process,” she explained. “It’s nice to be able to retreat with no pressure to create on the spot. I can just switch gears really easily. I like being in sessions when you have to create on the spot because it’s an exercise in creativity. But with this, it’s so personal it’s nice to be able to create as I feel it.”
With only an EP to her name, VÉRITÉ has already made waves in the indie music scene with her energizing melodies and refreshing outlook on the industry. The canvas of women in music has expanded with more and more unique and talented artists. It’s easy to get caught up with the innate competition of it all. However, VÉRITÉ has been able to recognize that there is room for everyone and in fact, we should celebrate each other’s accomplishments because we all have a different outlook and something to offer. “I see women with a bunch of distinct voices. Even if you go straight to the top, Ellie Goulding, Lana Del Rey, Lorde, Katy Perry, Selena Gomez…they all have a clear idea of themselves. My goal for this project is to develop my own voice and go as far as I can while maintaining authenticity. Katy Perry has a vision and maintained that vision and that’s something that should be respected.” “All of the women who are considered my contemporaries are killing it. I compare myself way too much to others and I’ve made the conscious decision to stop doing that. What that has allowed me to do is appreciate what other people have to offer but then also separate myself. I can appreciate what someone like Banks makes, which is totally badass, but then recognize that I’m not Banks and don’t have to create the same music and that’s totally ok.” While the origins of her name come from a visual and controversial style of film, the product VÉRITÉ has worked on is raw and honest. Her natural need for transparency when it comes to her music is inspiring. The ability to capture the truth and deliver it in such a welcoming package is quite the achievement. The celebration of VÉRITÉ has only just begun. by April Salud
Find VÉRITÉ: twitter.com/verite facebook.com/veriteohverite www.soundcloud.com/veritemusic
TWEETS FROM ISSUE #2 ARTISTS
GROWING UP WITH
There’s nothing more impressive than young people who manage to make an early impression with their creative talents. It’s even more exciting when it’s girls ruffling feathers, because very few demographics are treated with less respect and dignity than that of a teenage girl. It’s hard enough to be dealing with the identity crises that come along with adolescence, but throw in a culture that makes you susceptible to internalized misogyny, scrutinized for any outward expression of emotion as being too “extreme” or “trivial”, and you too might be discouraged from putting yourself in the vulnerable position of being an artist. Your life is being critiqued enough as it is. It’s all ridiculous anyways, because who better than a teenager to weigh in on the meaning of life? It’s an age where every thought and feeling is amplified, leading to a line of thinking that displays a tremendous amount of romance in practice. It’s a microcosm of human struggle on a smaller scale but voiced through familiar, hyperbolic gestures. I mean, that’s why I’m drawn towards music written by teens. It’s the same ideas floating around (love, life, death, faith, oppression, fear of change, etc) but hardly as loaded in retrospect when you realize you’re talking about high school heartbreaks and being misunderstood by your parents. It doesn’t invalidate those feelings in any way, but releases enough stress from the circumstance to still embrace the vitality of adolescence. Most bands talk about how they’ve matured and grown as people from album to album, whereas for bands like The Prettiots, Skating Polly, and Skinny Girl Diet, it’s become a literal document of their progression into adulthood. These are bands whose musical fingerprints came at an early age, each with their own specific purpose. Like most things as a teenager, family was a major contributing factor for all of them in some sense. Still, the best part is that having come from different walks of life, it’s also an honest showcase of the diversity of available music made by teens for teens. For some, The Prettiots’ ukulelebased pop might be the defining sound of their adolescence, whereas others might find comfort within Skating Polly’s lyrical urgency or the timeless quality of Skinny Girl Diet. If there’s anything that really ties these three bands together is that they’ve all managed to break through and make an impression on all audiences as well, eliminating any stigma associated with teen bands.
by Paris Masoudi
For New York’s The Prettiots, it was important that they transcend the implication of their band name. Inspired by a former co-worker’s rant against “pretty idiots”, singer/ukuleleist Kay Kasparhauser thought the turn of phrase was interesting enough that it was worth reclaiming and making her own. Kasparhauser, along with bassist Lulu Prat and drummer Rachel Trachtenburg, form the trio and began playing together in late 2013. Though some of the band members are approaching their early twenties and haven’t played collectively for too long, The Prettiots’ connection to music started much younger. For this band, it was a family affair. The family business, let’s say. “My dad used to be a record executive and now manages his own music production company,” Kasparhauser shares with THE RADICAL. “I’ve been going to shows my whole life, so I feel pretty well versed when it comes to music. It’s always been around me in some capacity.” It’s something Trachtenburg can relate to, having famously played drums on tour with her parents in their family band, the Trachtenburg Family Slideshow Players, from as young as the age of six. Kasparhauser herself never recalls having had a strong push from her parents to get involved in the industry, but received nothing but support once she did begin to write her own music around her high school graduation. “I think my parents’ biggest concern for me was that, being in the industry, they knew how corrupt this business can be and didn’t want me to be too crippled by it.” The band found each other once Kasparhauser and her experimental solo project opened for Trachtenburg’s former band, Supercute!, who Prat happened to frequently play bass for. The resulting sound they created is nothing short of that band’s namesake. It is indeed...super cute. “The main influence for The Prettiots mostly comes from seventies French pop music or any of that edgy sixties girl group stuff. That’s where we draw the most from when we’re writing,” Kasparhauser explains. Their first single, “Boys (I Dated in High School)”, is a tongue-in-cheek archive of her younger self’s misguided romantic exploits. It’s a very straight-forward song, simple in premise and execution. The boys in the song are all real boys Kasparhauser dated, specific to her own experiences, but with a chorus this catchy you can’t help but find yourself singing along and commiserating. Oh yeah, I remember Beardy too. Oh man, that guy! This summer, following their first tour and a stint at SXSW, The Prettiots hope to release their debut album recorded last year with famed Paul Q. Kolderie, who’s a regular with the likes of Hole, the Pixies, Throwing Muses, and more. These are huge prospects for any band, let alone one that sings love songs about detectives from Law & Order: SVU. Kasparhauser isn’t intimidated, but does have a worry when it comes in respect to the band being reduced to a persona. In addition to the high profile modeling work Trachtenberg takes part in, Kasparhauser too has a strong background in fashion design, which explains why any Google searches for the band will lead to interviews conducted via fashion publications more than anything else. “Honestly, I am so tired of doing the interview thing and having people just ask us about our style. I mean obviously our band’s aesthetic is really important to who we are, and we are admittedly a very girly band, but being asked about that and only that makes me want to not take part in it at all.” These days it’s getting to the point where she thinks of herself more as a “former fashion enthusiast” than anything, but after recent positive notices on Billboard.com and Noisey, The Prettiots are finally proving that they’re more than just pretty faces.
Find The Prettiots: twitter.com/theprettiots www.theprettiotsmusic.com
Photo Credit: Nick Sethi
Kelli Mayo and Peyton Bighorse are step-sisters from Oklahoma City. Together, they’re “ugly-pop” duo Skating Polly. Again, music is a personal affair here and became an activity that bonded two newly-united families. Separately they had their own musical development (Kelli in particular participated in many family jam bands alongside her brothers), but formed a close friendship with one another after sharing similar musical ideas and started playing together. At the time of the first proper Skating Polly show at a family Halloween party, Kelli was nine years old and Peyton was fourteen. Within two years, they had a debut album. It’s been a beautifully prolific partnership with the pair in a constant state of touring and recording ever since.
road, sharing stages with Kate Nash, The Flaming Lips, Deerhoof, and more. They’re a band that has so much life experience behind them where you’re immediately reprimanding yourself for not having been a more productive at an earlier age. That’s the thing about Skating Polly. They figured out what they wanted to do early and got to work right away. Peyton recalls, “when I was in third grade, I thought I would maybe start a band with my friend at the time, but assumed it would never happen. I thought being in a band was only for really lucky people. Then when Kelli and I started to play together, I figured why wait when nothing was stopping me?” Kelli feels likewise, having once missed sixty-four days of school because of Skating Polly commitments. Finding that appropriate balance between daily teen life and a working musician took its own emotional toll. “The worst thing would always be coming back from tour and end up just being super depressed that I wasn’t doing Skating Polly stuff. It made me realize I never want to quit the band, ever. It made me want to quit school to be honest!” If that band from We Are the Best! was a real band, it would probably be Skating Polly.
Both girls spent their younger years honing their craft, picking up as many instruments as they could to expand their sound. “During my family jam band days, I would normally sing and play keyboard because at the time I had never really shown an interest in anything besides keyboard. Then that changed once I heard more new music,” Kelli tells THE RADICAL. “I pretty much owe all of my taste in music to my dad and my brothers. I pick my favorites of what they introduce me to, obviously, but I wouldn’t have the years of passion I have for music today if it wasn’t for them sharing everything they could find with me.” For Peyton, who was already older by the time Skating Polly was really picking up steam, it was also a time of changing musical interests. “Right now my favorite musicians are Elliott Smith and Neutral Milk Hotel, but when we were first starting playing music, I wasn’t listening to stuff like that. I was very influenced by punk music at the time, like the Sex Pistols, the Ramones, and X. I had been going through this huge phase and everything, reading a bunch of books about that era of music. When I think about it now, I think that’s what was really most important in how I developed when it comes to writing music. Those influences are always going to be there for me no matter where my tastes go to.” Together, Skating Polly plays what they like to call “ugly-pop” - fast and furious, but with an emotional component that softens the mood.
It this’s driven, wise-beyond-their-years mentality that surprises people. You consider their age and make your assumptions, but Skating Polly knows precisely what they’re doing and manage to hold their own on any bill, earning the respect of their peers and the musical idols that inspired them in the first place. In May, they’ll play a string of shows in the United Kingdom with Babes in Toyland, whose frontwoman Kat Bjelland happens to be a Skating Polly fan. They show no signs of slowing down, but speeding up in fact. Their last album was 2014’s Fuzz Steilacoom, and they’ve already finished recording an unannounced fourth album and are already in the throes of album number five. “The first one we recorded that is coming out soon is just a bunch of pretty, ballad-like songs,” Kelli shares. “At first I hated it because I had no song where I could be loud and aggressive, but then I really started to enjoy them because they’re legitimately some of the best songs I feel we’ve written. In fact, there’s a song on there that’s probably my favorite ever! I’ve never written a song that makes me feel remotely the way my favorite musicians make me feel, but this one is pretty close.”
By the time they started to approach the age when most people consider starting bands, in their midteens, Skating Polly were already veterans of the
Oh my god, these girls. Slow down, I’m panicking.
Find Skating Polly: twitter.com/skatingpolly facebook.com/skatingpolly www.skatingpolly.com Photo Credit: Skating Polly
Coming out of the underground London punk scene is Skinny Girl Diet, comprised of sisters Delilah and Ursula Holliday, and their cousin Amelia Cutler. For them, creating and playing music originated with a love for the art but fed into a platform for them to communicate their staunch political beliefs. Skinny Girl Diet became an act of protest, a means to acknowledge and legitimize not just a young person’s presence, but a female presence, in an otherwise male-dominated field. For a band that first started playing together between the ages of twelve to fourteen with this ideology already in play (having chosen such a socially-charged band name to boot), these girls are bold. They like to shake things up, making Skinny Girl Diet a true punk band in every regard, even in respect to the traditions of the genre. None of the girls claim to be perfectionists or even particularly skilled at their instruments, but perform with enough gusto that would prove otherwise. “I think it’s key to have fun in everything you do and to restrict your raw edges would defeat the whole concept of being in a punk band,” Ursula told the THE RADICAL. “I still haven’t mastered paradiddles and other technical things like that, but I still have people twice my age saying that they like my style, which is lovely as a lot of guys like to penalize female drummers. I’ve been put down quite a lot in the process of learning how to play, but I think that’s why it’s even more important to keep at it.” Skinny Girl Diet has been making the rounds in London circles for years, even racking up fans like Viv Albertine and Primal Scream, whom both the band have opened up for on a number of occasions. They’re currently in the throes of re-releasing their single “Nadine Hurley” on new label Raft Records. The song’s title is in reference to the the Twin Peaks character of the same name, but is musically just as indebted to the show’s peculiarity of playing audio tracks backwards. Delilah shares, “we were listening to a vast range of music, experimenting with different tones and textures. Taking little things from different genres.” Their influences seemingly come from everywhere, and extends past their music as well. Their early “girl-power” mentality makes much more sense when you consider how often the band use The Powerpuff Girls as a reference. “The Powerpuff Girls were part of what made us play our instruments,” according to Amelia. “They’re really cool female characters, defeating monsters, and even commenting on sexism in an easy-viewing format for young children to be exposed to.” The crime-fighting trio is the unofficial logo of Skinny Girl Diet, branded across all their merchandise and is typically featured in the many zines the girls produce. If it weren’t for the cultural markers, it would be hard to pinpoint a specific period for the band. Skinny Girl Diet is a distinctly current band, but it’s also one that could feels like it would find a home amongst the wave of nineties riot grrrl bands or the early grunge bands of the eighties. When asked if they ever felt their age or gender ever played a factor in how people in the scene treated them, Amelia considered, “when we first started it was a lot worse and people could be quite condescending since we were young girls. They’d just assume we wouldn’t know what we’re doing. We still get people assuming we’ll sound a certain way because we’re women and they come up to us afterwards saying that they didn’t expect us to be so noisy.”
Find Skinny Girl Diet: twitter.com/skinnygirldiett facebook.com/skinnygirldiet www.skinnygirldietband.tumblr.com
SKINNY GIRL DIET
Photo Credit: Dave Roswell/Skinny Girl Diet
Playlists Get Over It!
Blood by ARCHIS Quit Pulling Me Down by Secret Someones Never Wanna Know by MØ I’m A Ruin by Marina and the Diamonds Every Tear Disappears by St. Vincent You always want what you can’t have, and you can’t always get what you want—so to heal your heartbreak and get a handle on your feelings, spin this set of emotional but empowering tracks.
Running Behind by HOLYCHILD Sick by Crying Don’t Run by Mr Little Jeans 285 by Kitty push pull by Purity Ring Girl’s night in? After you’ve finished dancing around the room to the obligatory Top 40 bangers, vibe to these laid-back synth-pop tunes while you bond over embarrassing moments and makeovers. 39
Take My Heart by Donora Overdose by Little Daylight Archie, Marry Me by Alvvays Weekend by VERITE Human Contact by Catey Shaw Whether it’s a Tinder matchup or an old fashioned blind date, being in the right mood is essential when you’re heading out to meet a potential new special someone. These poppy jams are perfect to stick upbeat melodies in your head to match the hope in your heart.
Out on the Town
Rattle + Rollin’ by Tweens Wild Fire by Dorothy Beast by Ex Hex White Flag by Slutever Out On A Ride by Beverly You’ll feel like you can take over it all when you listen to this collection of jangly girl-rock anthems, whether you’re heading to the hottest nightclub in the city or to that not-so-secret house party everyone’s talking about.
Wide by Madi Diaz The Voyager by Jenny Lewis Heart Calls by Jackie Stabb Boardwalks by Little May Dreams by Wet If you’re A) stressed, B) depressed, C) a mess, or D) all of the above(-ess?), then just lay back, let go, and check out these soft-spoken and soothing indie rock tunes. They might not solve your problems, but their gentle melodies will definitely lift your spirits. 40
by Allegra Rosenberg
Photo Credit: Neil Krug
The Swedish sisters Johanna and Klara Söderberg, better known as duo First Aid Kit aren’t new. In fact, they gained notoriety in Sweden back in 2007 at ages 14 and 17 when they began uploading their music to Myspace. But it was a 2008 cover of Fleet Foxes’ “Tiger Mountain Peasant Song” that led to International recognition. By 2009 they were touring internationally and in 2010 released their debut album “The Big Black & The Blue”. Their sophomore album “The Lion’s Roar” debuted in 2012, which is when I saw them at Coachella and became a fan. The young duo’s lyrics and storytelling ability led to critical acclaim for the album landing single “Emmylou” on Rolling Stone’s list of “Singles of the Year” in 2012. With appearances on Conan and their songs being featured on shows such as Misfits and Bones, their presence was cemented in the US music scene. Commonly categorized as folk, they’ve cited early influences of Bright Eyes, Patti Smith, Bob Dylan and Leonard Cohen. What’s most striking about their music is the honesty and sincerity of it. With a soulful mix of strong vocals and melodic instrumentals, they manage to make even some of the darker lyrics catchy. Listeners simultaneously feel the heartbreak of the words mix with the soothing harmonies creating an atmosphere of warmth surrounding them. Their third album Stay Gold was released in 2014 leading to sold out shows, late night appearances and more critical acclaim. Their single “My Silver Lining” was listed on Billboard’s “Best Songs of 2014 (so far)” list and by the end of the year the album had gone gold in Sweden. Between touring and festivals the duo kept busy in 2014 and remains on tour for a large portion of 2015. Make sure to catch them out on the road.
Find First Aid Kit: twitter.com/firstaidkitband facebook.com/firstaidkitofficial www.thisisfirstaidkit.com
RST AID KIT
STAYING GOLD 42
by Heather Mason
THE EMOTIONAL STA
Seinabo Sey was suggested to me by Beau Colburn during our second meeting after we were discussing Ella Eyre. His version of “if you like this…then you’ll like this.” He had mentioned she was a new sign and that she making waves with her song “Younger” in Sweden. I took a listen and was completely engulfed by her powerful tone. It was a quiet confidence that echoed throughout the track. I was immediately sold. Often compared to the likes of Adele and Sam Smith as an “unconventional” pop star with a big booming voice, Seinabo Sey’s music reflects her life experiences and how she chooses to present them to the world. When I met her backstage at her first headlining show at Hollywood Forever in Los Angeles, I instantly felt a connection to Seinabo Sey: the person maybe even more so than Seinabo Sey: the singer. The moment we truly bonded was when the subject of love was brought up. At 24, she had this sinking feeling that it was not in the cards for her. Admittedly, I’ve felt the exact same way at 26. The nagging whisper that you yourself have placed in your brain that no one does nor will ever love you. At that moment, I knew that she and I were on a similar wavelength. Her music is a perfect representation of human emotion and how fickle and subjective they are. Your emotional state is something you create in your head. Luckily we have artists like Seinabo Sey to articulate things for us.
Photo Credit: Mikael Dahl
ATE OF SEINABO SEY by April Salud
HAPPY I think about my friends. They’re proper funny people. And my family. STRESS I don’t get stressed enough. But when I do I get angry. I hate being rushed. I hate stress. CONFLICTED I feel that every morning, on a daily basis. All the time. Why am I doing this? It’s constant. I think about what is real and what is not real a lot. INSPIRED Any time I feel alive. When you’re just filled with so much emotion. I can never pinpoint exactly what that is in the moment. I don’t have a go-to thing that inspires me. It’s one of the secrets of life. SADNESS I think about my dad who died two years ago. I’m a lot sadder than I thought I would be after two years. I’m starting to realize that I’ll always be sad. I wonder if it’ll stay this way. SURPRISED When people don’t know their limits and boundaries and don’t ask for help. My time management always surprises me as well. LONELINESS It’s interesting how you can feel lonely even when you’re around people. Loneliness is a state of mind. I feel lonely a lot and it’s not a bad thing. I think it’s good to be alone with your thoughts.
Find Seinabo Sey: twitter.com/seinabosey facebook.com/seinabosey www.seinabosey.com
LOVE I wonder when that is going to happen in my life. It’s something I’m worried about. I wonder if it’s ever going to happen. I think I’ve been close but then something turns on its edge. Everything can be something or nothing at all depending when you want it to be. It’s interesting how people can interpret their feelings and how they can be so different. Love is a big question mark. Maybe you only get one true love…and what I really love is singing and maybe the other stuff isn’t meant to happen.
It’s undeniable that HOLYCHILD have a distinct sound. I mean they created an entire genre for crying out loud. With the power of brat pop behind them, you instantly know when a HOLYCHILD track is filling your ears. HOLDCHILD is more than just their sound though. The visual elements that accompanied their EP, MINDSPEAK, were as important as the music they were helping elevate. When I met Liz and Louie, they were bubbly, inviting, and all around #adorbz. A traditonal interview can’t even begin to do HOLYCHILD justice, so we didn’t even try. Instead, we handed over a disposable camera to Liz and let her run wild for the day. Here’s what a day in the life of HOLYCHILD looks like. by April Salud
Photo Credit: Shervin Lainez
HOLYCHILDâ€™s BRAT LIFE
Find HOLYCHILD: twitter.com/holychild facebook.com/holychildmusic www.holychildmusic.com
Photo Credit: Jon Lee Parker
ROAD TO VICTORY
The first time I heard Kate Tempest’s voice, it was on a one-off song off of Bastille’s second mixtape, Other People’s Heartache, Pt II. Over a throbbing beat extrapolated from the band’s debut title track “Bad Blood,” Tempest spun a stirring story of a childhood friendship destroyed by drugs and crime, but when I listened to “Forever Ever” for the first time I barely even caught the narrative of her spoken-word intensity— I was too entranced by the nuances of her delivery.
and curly blonde hair, Tempest stunned audiences with her lyrical prowess as she opened for poets and artists across the UK, as a solo poetry act as well as the MC/frontwoman of her band Sound of Rum. As she toured the poetry circuit, getting gigs at bookstores, libraries and bars, the evolution of her narrative sense created a positive feedback loop that allowed her to learn to create characters and craft stories as deep and powerful as her stark stanzas.
With a distinctively thick (yet entirely intelligible) London accent and an incredible fluidity of phrase, Tempest’s verses were so entrancing that I went back to that track again and again, isolating it from the rest of the interwoven mixtape and trying to figure out what made it so damn good. Was it the rhythm, solid and secure yet not predictable or pandering? Was it her accent and pronunciation, the vocal equivalent of an appealing font? Or was it the tale she told, archetypal and familiar but given a blazing clarity by the freshness of her chosen format? I decided to investigate.
“There’s always been heroes, there’s always been villains / The stakes may have changed, but really, there’s no difference,” Tempest proclaims soulfully in a promotional video excerpt of Brand New Ancients, her critically acclaimed solo play/epic poem/spoken-word performance commissioned by the Battersea Arts Center in 2012. This couplet is characteristic of Tempest’s oeuvre as a whole, demonstrating her common motifs of mythology and the great human stories of good and evil. She speaks in specifics, of lovers and families and particular streets around her London home, but frames them within the larger-than-life mythic monoliths of gods and history, bringing mystery to the mundane and magic to the oh-so-ordinary.
The answer (or at least part of the answer) to the question of my impression of Tempest’s undeniable brilliance, as it turns out, lies in her storied background as a spoken word artist, rapper, and performance poet. Growing up in South London in a hard-working family, she began performing at age 16 as an MC, but when she struggled to find a footing in the crowded hip-hop field she turned to poetry slams at the suggestion of a friend, and soon she had gained a name for herself in the poetry scene of the city at large. Visually unassuming, with a youthful round face
Brand New Ancients proceeded to win the prestigious Ted Hughes Award and launched Tempest even further into the spotlight. I may have never heard of Tempest before I stumbled upon her while delving deep into Bastille’s discography, but right around the time that “Forever Ever” gained the top spot on my playlist, she began popping up everywhere. Recommended videos on YouTube, showcasing her standing in front
of a microphone reading poems with titles like “Icarus” and “My Shakespeare;” a glowing review of the January 2014 New York City production of Brand New Ancients in the New York Times, interviews and showcases and collaborations. Impressively prolific, within the last few years Tempest has applied her creative talents to written poetry and playwriting alongside her spoken word and musical endeavours—which have, unsurprisingly, continued to garner attention and acclaim worldwide.
and powerful even as the characters spiral deeper into immorality and untenable emotion, leaving the listener simultaneously unsettled and impressed. Uniting the cousin-close yet disparate landscapes of rap and lyric poetry under a single graceful umbrella, the unfamiliar undefinability of Tempest’s work is her greatest weapon. The songs on Everybody Down are not strictly melodic, structured around beats and meter as they are, yet they are musically hummable all the same. Her verses burrow into your head, demanding repeat listens to unravel, layer by layer, the delicately woven tapestries of narrative, metaphor and myth contained within them. It is tempting to say that the album defies genre, so different from anything you may hear on the radio as it is, but Everybody Down is not necessarily a rule breaker—merely a stop-and-stare shining example of the dark and grimy English hip-hop that got Tempest started when she was only a teenager, combined with her unique literary perspective. Intellectual but never highbrow, Tempest’s debut showcases her lyrical and rhythmic prowess as well as her stunning sense of character and narrative.
As the cultural climate warms to her curious artistic combinations, Tempest’s star continues to steadily rise. In May 2014, she released her debut solo album Everybody Down on Big Dada Records. Produced by Dan Carey (Bat For Lashes, Chairlift), Everybody Down tells the story of two London twenty-somethings, struggling to find their footing in the “lonely daze” of the 2014 economic and social climate. Rapping over driving beats that vary in genre, depending on the location of the “chapter,” from techno to indie rock, Tempest unfolds and examines the lives of Becky and Harry in astonishingly and vividly visual detail. Never wavering in its potency, Everybody Down weaves verses of story around hard-hitting choruses. Tempest’s writing is clear
by Allegra Rosenberg
Find Kate Tempest: twitter.com/katetempest facebook.com/katetempest www.katetempest.co.uk
PERMANENT RECORDS DJS
Saturday March 28 » Club Nokia 2nd show added! 8pm & 11:30pm
April 13 & 15 » Club Nokia
April 14 » El Rey Theatre
April 14 » Club Nokia
April 14 » Fox Theater Pomona
April 15 » Fonda Theatre
April 15 » Fox Theater Pomona
April 16 » Club Nokia
April 21 » El Rey Theatre
April 28 & 29 » Fonda Theatre
April 30 » Fonda Theatre
Friday May 29 » El Rey Theatre
The Spring Standards aren’t *technically* a female fronted because all three members equally share the load, vocally and instrumentally. However, with Heather Robb in their arsenal, The Spring Stanards are unlike anything you’ve ever experienced.
Lucius has built their sound on two powerful women: Jess Wolfe and Holly Laessig. Seamlessly blending their voices together, Lucius has paved the way for own style of music that perfeclty align musically and aesthetically.
CHVRCHES have dominated the electro-pop scene for the past couple of years and its largely because of the sugar sweet vocals of Lauren Mayberry. The pureness of Mayberry over the band’s distorted song structure has made them stand out in an oversaturated market.
Deerhoof have not been afraid to be erratic when it comes to every aspect of their career. Self-managed and self-produced from the very beginning, having Satomi Matsuzaki at the reigns for this band of weirdos is incredibly rewarding.
E FRONTED BANDS
Diet Cig are virtually unknown but have already made a gigantic splash. Only an EP to their name, Diet Cig has captured the attention of the industry with a refreshingly frantic and freeing delivery and a side of freaking adorable. Just please listen to this band.
Field Mouse produce a sound that is reminiscent of 90s alt rock...if that 90s alt rock had about 3 Red Bulls in one sitting. Theyâ€™ve made a cacophonic guitar riff the most pleasant experience. Who wouldâ€™ve thought this much noise could come from a small group of people?
HAERTS could be the absolute definition of indie pop. Combining synths and the traditional structure of an alt rock band, Nini Fabi gives the band a boost of airy vocals that is so distinct in this genre. HAERTS sounds like all of your favorite bands in one.
Pearl and the Beard are a folk trio that packs a punch. Armed with perfectly executed harmonies and sometimes a kazoo, Pearl and the Beard are cool af without even really trying. The perfect blend of familiar and inventive, this is a band you should give a folk about.
Perfect Pussy on the surface sounds like just a bunch of noise. Digging a bit deeper and you’ll discover a band that is filled with emotional complexities and intelligence. Amidst the angry punk screams lies a jolting vulnerability that is begging to be listened to.
Swearin’ has helped defined what we now know as “indie rock”. The band’s foundation of melody and distortion of sounds has catapulted them as one of the most influential artists even if others weren’t aware of it.
Tweens probably sounds exactly how you think they would. Bratty but honest. They are the voice of the screaming fangirl, the rebellious phase, and the fear of the unknown. Driving behind a intense punk execution, Tweens is about being excited about life, even the bad parts.
Via Audio is one of the most respected bands in the Brooklyn music scene. Comprised of multi-talented humans, Via Audio has garnered attention from every music blog in existence and still continues to challenge the restraints of what music can be.
Wet is fronted by one of the most delicate and unassuming vocalist, Kelly Zutrau. They don’t present themselves as an important band but as result have become a force to be reckoned with. Quiet and strong, Zutrau’s gracefulness help Wet rise to the top of everyone’s list.
Wolf Alice is intimacy at its finest. Led by Ellie Rowsell, the London band has gained momentum with their acoustic sessions and dreamy delivery. Signing with Dirty Hit Records, Wolf Alice is on its way to being one of the biggest surprises on the scene.
The Pauses are Orlando’s best kept secret. Headed by Tierney Tough (who wins the award for coolest name in the history of FOREVER), this band is that little gem that will fill your ears with delight via a jamming bassline and nostaligic vibes.
Joanna Gruesome are known for their feminist stances and anti-homophobic just as much as they are about their emotionally charged music. Spawned from Alanna McArdle’s need for an outlet for her anger, push forth a brand of pulsing rock that is matched by its compassion.
by April Salud
BECOMING A WARRIOR by Paris Masoudi
In the short amount of time since Laura Marling’s last spellbinding album, 2013’s Once I Was An Eagle, the singer/songwriter found herself at a crossroads. Having moved to Los Angeles from her longtime home in London, the folk singer was poised to finally become the household name stateside as she had already been in Europe since the tender age of sixteen. Now approaching her midtwenties, Marling found herself traveling across the country with just her guitar to keep her company, playing a string of intimate, critically acclaimed shows. Her new full-length album is Short Movie, her fifth studio release and her most vulnerable work yet. It’s inspired by Marling’s time living in America (even though it was recorded in London, where she currently is back residing in), and it shows. Short Movie is a distinctly American-sounding album, in scope and spirit. Marling plays more to her rock sensibilities here than the nu-folk purism she and her peers became famed for. The basis of why Marling went electric for the album is purely circumstantial. It’s the only guitar she had at the time. Its presence is subtle, and doesn’t drastically impact the album’s sound, though Marling feels it definitely informed how she approaches writing songs. “I’m very attached to acoustic guitars. When you play one, it resonates against your stomach. There’s not that sort of immediate impression with an electric guitar. It’s an outward body experience then it is inwards, so I had to work with that,” she told THE RADICAL. As a first-time producer, the studio veteran took on the daunting task in stride. Seeing it more as taking up a directorial role, she shares, “the key to producing, as far as I can deduce, is a correct control of vulnerability. You’re able to expunge from people that kind of brilliant first ache that is very vulnerable and has the weirdest stuff in it. All of my takes that have appeared on any of my records were the first or the second take. I’m a big believer in the more you play stuff, the more the magic disappears. I just wanted to capture moments.” The story of Short Movie began roughly two years ago. “I was doing a lot of traveling on my own the first year, and I was having all these incredibly positive experiences. They were odd, but very positive,” she reminisces. Spending hours at a time driving through the American countryside, Marling first started to feel confronted about what her purpose was and whether music might really be it. “Being
Photo Credit: Laura Marling
a foreigner in a random town, talking to people in bars, restaurants, and cafes, I experienced a lot of kindness to strangers which there is a lot of in America. What I had expected was particularly this feeling of enormousness, confirming my insignificance, which is exactly what happened. Everybody has a story there. They just want to be heard, and I understand that. It’s such a big place. You want somebody to converse with you or confirm your existence somehow.” Returning to Los Angeles, Marling felt that sense of displacement and loneliness profoundly. It’s there where her disenchantment with her musical path really began. Having jumped straight into the routine of recording, touring, etc, as a teenager, Marling never gave herself the time to figure out the foundation of her own identity. Those late teens, early twenties, are crucial years for that very reason. “I kind of kept asking myself, who am I without that persona? I suddenly became very aware that without identifying with anything, without having a purpose, you’re just this lost human. In a city constructed for careers, purpose, and drive, and you don’t have any of that, then it’s a very surreal juxtaposition. I think I was pretty much confused the whole time I was there. I was also being overwhelmed by inspiring people, crazy experiences, and stuff I’d never gone through before and it was a lot to process.” The singer began to prioritize figuring out who Laura Marling “the person” was outside the context of Laura Marling “the musician” and made a conscious effort to distance herself from music, at least for a time. On learning to adapt to that normalcy, Marling says, “I was interested in being confronted by this mundane life. Obviously, I was in this very unmundane place, but the mundaneness of not having that purpose.” She applied to poetry workshops, worked as a yoga instructor, acted in a short film, filling her days with an assortment of unrelated activities. In fact, at one point, she didn’t even own a guitar. Having kept herself mostly isolated, she spent a lot of time reading and indulging an attraction towards mysticism which Marling feels kept her positive. Those two interests interlapped after finding a biography on Chilean filmmaker Alejandro Jodorowsky in a bookshop on one of those early days. “The fact that it exists, somewhere, on some body, on this earth a person with that much imagination, but most crucially with so much kindness? I love that. I think it’s brilliant to not have such a destructive quality about yourself. He’s extraordinary.” What Marling eventually came to realize, after a year away finding herself, is that her grand purpose might lie in creating music after all. This is the story that birthed the songs that became Short Movie, which is doubtlessly another masterwork from a world class storyteller. It’s an album that draws a very fine line between its own pointed confidence and simultaneously tackling a frightening sense of uncertainty. “I got up in the world today / wondered who it was I could save / who do you think you are,” Marling sings on the album’s title track, recounting the story of her own short movie, her short time away. “Just a girl that can play guitar.” Find Laura Marling: twitter.com/lauramarlinghq facebook.com/lauramarling www.lauramarling.com
NEVER BAC NEVER UP “WE CAN’T STOP” MILEY CYRUS
“YELLOW FLICKER BEAT” LORDE
R LOOK CK. R GIVE P.
BURN. “COMBACK” ELLA EYRE
An all female issue featuring Kate Nash and her plan to change the world with Girl Gang. Also included: interviews with Laura Marling, Seina...