Rock music is dead they say, and one glance at the charts or a festival lineup might lead you to believe the same thing. Funny that when I look for a rock album to listen to I can always find loads of good stuff, usually sung by women – from Honeyblood to Bully to Lucy Dacus to this new album SNAFU from alternative punk pop queens Potty Mouth. Rock music is alive and it still sounds fucking great. Continue reading “Album Review: Potty Mouth – Snafu”
The subtitle to Wanda Jackson’s engaging memoir signals an important conflict at the heart of her career: she started as a country singer but found herself serendipitously transported to the world of rock and roll, firstly thanks to her boyfriend Elvis and more recently due to the dedicated fandom of the rockabilly scene. Yet she never left country music behind and you can tell as you read her life story that in her heart she wishes for more recognition from the genre she began singing in. Continue reading “Book Review: ‘Every Night is Saturday Night: A Country Girl’s Journey to the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame’ by Wanda Jackson”
Any woman being signed to a major Nashville record label is positive progress for the genre, especially when they are a talented songwriter like Arkansas native Ashley McBryde. Her single ‘A Little Dive Bar in Dahlonega’ has even begun to slowly move upwards on the country charts, which really is something to celebrate in this current climate of bro country dominating the genre. McBryde has supported Miranda Lambert and worked with Eric Church, both of whom understand how to sell quality music to the masses, in the face of the trend towards pop country. Her new album ‘Girl Going Nowhere’ follows in their country rock footsteps, showcasing her powerful vocals and classic songwriting style. Continue reading “Album Review: Ashley McBryde – Girl Going Nowhere”
High Up singer Christine Fink didn’t originally intend to become a singer, but after working in a series of unfulfilling jobs she found herself drawn to performing in karaoke bars. She would sing classic soul songs and tear down the house every time. Eventually she moved to Omaha and began working with her sister, musician Orenda Fink, writing songs together for this new band High Up. Their debut album You Are Here, produced by Mike Mogis of Bright Eyes, combines soul influences with a gritty garage rock sound to create a ferocious collection of songs. Continue reading “Album Review: High Up – You Are Here”
Back home in her native Australia Ruby Boots, real name Bex Chilcott, found few opportunities for the blend of classic rock and Americana she was playing so she decided to up-sticks and move to Nashville. Since then she’s been frustrated by the assumption that because she lives in Music City she must be a country singer. Signing with Bloodshot Records based out of Chicago has given her freedom to push her music beyond such genre limitations and Don’t Talk About It is a confident collection of killer tunes. Continue reading “Album Review: Ruby Boots – Don’t Talk About It”
Classic guitar/bass/drums rock music might be dead right now but that doesn’t mean it isn’t fun to kick the corpse a little – you might not being it back to life but maybe an army of angry zombies will wake up and try to kill Ed Sheeran or something. Step forward Canada’s Weaves to have a go at the revival, combining influences like Springsteen, REM, Yeah Yeah Yeahs, the Slits and maybe even Americana. Wide Open is an impressive album, exploring love and identity in a world gone mad. Continue reading “Album Review: Weaves – Wide Open”
Pitchfork do a lot of things wrong but their article written a few years back about Lucinda Williams was an illuminating assessment of her career, expertly analysing why she remains one of the most overlooked and underrated artists in music today. In the constant search for new voices, new talent, new narratives we don’t stop to appreciate those who have been consistently producing quality music for years. The writer asked the simple question: why go looking for the new Lucinda Williams when she’s still out there playing live and releasing some of the best work of her career?
In Celtic mythology the shriek of a banshee was the sign of death approaching. Some women even worked as banshees, wailing laments for lost souls for a price. The sound of a woman screaming had power to strike fear, but at the same time it was also a howl of pain which was understood by all.
Researchers into use of language in literature identified that women invariably are described as ‘shrieking’ and ‘screaming’ while men are more likely to be said to be ‘shouting’. Therefore you could argue that screaming is seen by many as an expression of unwanted emotion, as though such outbursts are a sign of weakness or madness.
You’d think then that this would mean women would be known as the best screamers in music. Somehow the music industry bias means even this accolade is skewed in the favour of men. Quite a few publications have run ‘the best screams in music’ lists and women are poorly represented on them all. Paste magazine’s list included zero female screams, Pigeon and Planes had a few but nowhere near 50% and The Independent actually said: ‘Great female screams are quite scarce, it seems.’ That of course is totally wrong and insulting. Women have been screaming on record for a long time and they still are, just listen to the new Bully album.
So in honour of all banshees everywhere and since it’s Halloween here are my five favourite female screaming songs.
Continue reading “Favourite Female Screams”
There’s something refreshingly different about Jade Jackson’s version of country music. Her debut album Gilded mixes a little punk rock and motorcycle roars alongside the slide guitar and violins. Somehow it seems to work perfectly – after all some hell’s angels wore cowboy boots, didn’t they? Continue reading “Album Review: Jade Jackson – Gilded”