A week ago I found myself in conversation with Phil over his idea for a female playlist for Radio Elba. Somewhere between agreeing that it was a good idea and offering my assistance I ended up being responsible for making you a mixtape. Easy. Only, Phil then featured both of my favourite tracks by Wild Flag and La Sera on Four. Dilemma. Over the proceeding week I have chopped and changed, listened to Romance by Wild Flag on loop anyway, and come up with the below. It’s not who I consider to be the greatest female musicians of all time or the cream of new artists but more what I’ve got playing day to day. I’ve always had an eye for the ladies…
tUnE-yArDs – My Country
I find myself struggling to express how much I adore Merrill Garbus’ second album, W H O K I L L, but I do throw it at people’s ear-holes as often as I can to make up for that. My Country is a nice starting for my first mix as it belongs to an album that sits amongst my top three in 2011. The lyrics scream her questioning of the American dream and even caution about doing so ‘the worst thing about living a lie is just wondering when they’ll find out’ alongside a throbbing and insistent clash of sounds; listening is not optional.
THEESatisfaction – QueenS
I think the sun has been a good influence on Phil and I this last week. We’ve both turned to sunnier music. Hazy pop for Phil and meandering funk for myself. THEESatisfaction made up of Stasia Irons and Catherine Harris-White released their album awE naturalE on Sub Pop this week, hopefully reaching some ears a little further afar than their handmade CD albums could. An MP3 of QueenS can be found here
Sleigh Bells – Comeback Kid
There isn’t much I can tell you that you won’t already know about Sleigh Bells. They are entirely a guilty please of mine. I’m a sucker for a loud guitar and a lady; Karen O and Nick Zinner, Alison Mosshart and Jamie Hince/Jack White and now
Alexis Krauss and Derek Edward Miller.
Wild Flag – Something Came Over Me
As I mentioned, a previous mixtape featured Wild Flag’s Romance. However, their omission from this run of lady-leaden tracks would be insanity. Phil mentioned their supergroup status and I want to add that if I could steal any talent it would be Janet Weiss’. The unfamiliar should watch some Wild Flag and Sleater-Kinney live performances.
My Brightest Diamond – Escape Routes
Shara Worden of My Brightest Diamond has been a constant on my playlists for years now. Her most recent album All Things Will Unwind sees her putting down her guitar and limiting herself to the pseudo-classical style she frequently uses to flesh out arrangements. The album title is explanatory and relevant to this point in her life and reflected in her studio content. This slightly more mellow tone could be a reflection of recent motherhood; something that I find nearly almost brings a change in the female musician’s musical texture. The tone may be softened but Shara’s lyrics remain exquisite and as sensual as ever.
Grass Widow – Disappearing Industries
Lydia Loveless – Can’t Change Me
Another highlight of SXSW posted on blog after blog was the cowboy-booted Lydia Loveless. From the tracks I’ve dipped into she is a fresh and needed break to hazy surf and pop that I’m starting to tire of and doze off to.
Laura Marling – Salinas
If Laura Marling’s most recent album passed you by last year I would highly recommend it. This track in particular shows some really nice vocal developments. She seems to be pulling out a Dylan-esque recitative quite frequently. Lyrically, Salinas is all familial, traditional and identity themed. The scoring is lush; a richer Dear Prudence with a unrelenting banjo firmly planted to let you know that this is folk
Gillian Welch – Scarlet Town
The Harrow and The Harvest topped my end of year album list. Gillian Welch is the mistress of unsettling lyrics. I’m talking about women for this blog but this track would be nothing without Dave Rawlings insane guitar playing. Yes, I definitely want to be either Janet Weiss or Dave Rawlings.
Neko Case – Nothing To Remember
My stalking of Neko Case on Twitter alerted me to her involvement with The Hunger Games movie album tie in. I believe that only The Arcade Fire track appears at the end credits of the movie, the remaining songs must be those ‘from District 12 and beyond’ as per the soundtrack’s explanatory title. I am quite grateful for these ‘inspired by…’ numbers. Any new Neko Case material is a blessing. This was penned as Neko worked through writer’s block. This is what she considers to be a weak offering. If that’s not encouragement enough to go and seek out her material then let me try something else: GO AND LISTEN TO FURNACE ROOM LULLABY! Convinced? Good.