Archive for category Women/ feminism
If you like Amanda Palmer, you’ll like Eliza Rickman. The talented piano player, writes weird, dark and beautiful chamber pop songs. She earned a bachelor’s degree in music and orchestration. Rickman is currently on tour. I saw her perform six years ago!
Sarah Blasko, “Read My Mind”
If you like Sarah McLachlan and Tori Amos and St. Vincent, you might like Sydney singer/songwriter Sarah Blasko. Her sixth studio album is Depth of Field. She wrote this gorgeous, heartfelt and rather infectious song, “Read My Mind,” for her son.
Sarah said: “Read My Mind is about unspoken connections, the special ways we communicate with people we love. It was written about my son Jerry & the wonder experienced in getting to know him & looking after him when he was very small. It was as though he was not yet human, very primal, so switched on to me & I to him. We communicated in a very unique way. He spoke to me in a kind of half-speak that was so adorable & I felt like we understood each other perfectly.”
La Luz, “Mean Dream”
New video and another dreamy cool single from La Luz who are on tour now and will be at Once Ballroom in Somerville, Mass. on June 6, 2018. La Luz is: Shana Cleveland [vocals/ guitar], Marian Li Pino [drums], Alice Sandahl [keyboards], and Lena Simon [bass].
The songs on the latest album, Bones Will Last, from Portland singer/songwriter Kathryn Claire exude gorgeous melancholia through violin and strings-based arrangements. Lovely, bold chamber/folk music. The opening track reminded me of the heartbreaking violin melodies played by a character on the television show Treme. Meaningful, profound lyrics delve into existentialism and our place in the world. Just the type of songs to which I most connect. Claire’s deep vocals combine with exquisite layered orchestrations. These dark, provocative, thoughtful songs engage the listener and elicit deep emotions. Claire collaborated with Portland musicians Zak Borden (mandolin), Allen Hunter (upright bass), and Don Henson (piano) on this album.
I spoke with Kathryn Claire by phone last week.
Amy Steele: What do you like about the Portland music community?
Kathryn Claire: So many people are playing music. A lot of people are based out of here and touring extensively. It’s great when I am home because it’s such a thriving scene. It’s a great place to write, perform and record. and be inspired. I love it when I’m out in the world because people are aware of Portland and in the last ten years it has become a popular well-known city. It’s cool to be from Portland. I’m proud of the scene we have here.
Amy Steele: When did you develop an interest in playing music and in songwriting? I think you had some classical training when you were younger
Kathryn Claire: I’ve always been drawn to music and have been very musical from a young age. There was a lot of music in my family growing up. I’m the first person in my family to be a professional musician. My mom was a public school music teacher. My father was a gypsy jazz violinist as a hobby so that is what got me into that instrument. I started studying violin at the age of seven and singing in choirs. I taught myself guitar as a teenager and I started writing. I’ve always been a journal writer and a creative writer. I can’t remember my life without music in it. It is always a vital part of my life. It developed into something that I now do as a career.
Amy Steele: Have you always been a solo artist?
Kathryn Claire: I’ve always enjoyed collaborating. My career has been interesting. Part of what has allowed me to do this full time, to make a living, is that I’ve worked as a side person a lot. The violin is a versatile instrument in that way. I read music. I also have a really strong background in harmony singing. I’ve been hired by a lot of groups and to sing with other singer/songwriters. I like playing solo but I love having a few different instruments and sounds to work with and the energy for collaborating has always been inspiring to me.
Amy Steele: How did the (music) experience you had, working on other people’s projects, help with your own?
Kathryn Claire: I’ve been doing this for a long time and I’ve put out solo albums but this album has been huge for me. It really is my own. I’m totally fronting it. I wrote everything on it. It was my vision. I made all the decisions. I didn’t even work with a producer. I had this vision that evolved. It was my own and my own voice. I feel that the way I arrived at such a clear place was from working as a side-person for so long because I really have developed an ear in how to accompany other people. I have developed my own clear voice as far as being a side-person and I’ve developed a good ear for listening. I took a lot from other people and I’ve been influenced by my classical upbringing. I’ve played a ton of Celtic music. I’ve played with amazing songwriters. I’ve played in a rock band. I think that gave me an eclectic base and I synthesized that into this album. I feel like it’s a unique sound, totally my own, but inspired by all this work I’ve done with other people.
Amy Steele: What do you think makes a good song?
Kathryn Claire: Lyrically I tend to like it when you have a personal connection to the imagery and poetry of the connection. You’re writing from something that’s touched your heart but you’re not overly explicit so it allows the listener to make their own connection to the words and images that’s completely their own. I tried to be specific and close to me but letting there be openness to it so there can be some universality.
I think over time I’ve learned how to edit. Not trying to cram in so many words. Editing down so there’s a bit more simplicity in it. I’ve come to value that in a song.
Amy Steele: It seems that a lot of the songs are sad and a bit darker. Is it an outlet or your general mood and temperament? I listen to a lot of dark music but I think I’m very dark and gravitate towards that music. I was wondering what draws you to make that type of music.
Kathryn Claire: I definitely do have a darkness or a pensive side to me but as a performer I have a lot of energy and joy on stage and I really do feel that in my own life. I have a more positive and joyful energy. This music has been a way for me to express sadness and melancholy. The world is really beautiful and really sad. I tend to be compelled especially on this album in tapping into that darker nature in myself and in the world. I put the violin at the center of the album in the sound –it’s a violin/strings-centric album—and the violin has a deep sad melancholy to it as well. I tend toward darker music. I like minor keys. I like haunting melodies. I can get behind a major up-tempo song but my heart is really with the darker music.
Amy Steele: The song “Bones Will Last” you wrote about thinking about death and dying. How did you write that?
Kathryn Claire: It’s a really personal song that I initially wrote reflecting upon a loved one. The chorus got written a little bit later. I was just thinking of that image –“we’ll be gone but our bones will last.” The passing of timed. The ephemeral nature of life. That was central to what I’ve been thinking about. I’ve been thinking about death a lot and trying to be present while I’m here. I’ve had a lot of people pass away. Not just grandmas and grandpas but people my own age. You never know when it’s our time. In holding that and looking at that I think what are those things that last? That we leave behind? What are the bones of who we are? It became the theme of the album overall.
Amy Steele: What about the song “Sweet Chariot?” What inspired that song?
Kathryn Claire: One of the famous cemeteries in Paris where Jim Morrison was buried [Père Lachaise Cemetery]. I was in Paris in the fall of 2013 walking through that cemetery just reflecting on all these people that have gone before us. In the end that’s where we all go. The first verse of “Sweet Chariot came”—when I was imagining Jim Morrison. What would it look like to see his skeleton? Just ruminating on our bones. I wrote that first verse there and worked on that song for over a couple of years. I got to be in India doing some work [artist-in-residence at the American School of Chennai in 2015] there and I finished some more there. I wrote it in my journal and I’d sit with it and find a melody for it. I’m also grateful for our iPhones because I can collect these little pieces. That first verse felt like it came though me. It’s an interesting song and people have responded to it on such a deep level.
Amy Steele: What about the song “Never Be?”
Kathryn Claire: That is such a heartbreaking song. That was a breakup song. That one I wrote super fast. I was looking at this person I’d gone through a difficult breakup with. I’d seen some stuff on social media. You see images you don’t want to see. Unfortunately these are aspects of our time. Breaking up is even harder because you have all this access to people’s lives. I wrote the whole thing in a sitting.
I started playing around with my violin and a little loop pedal and that’s where I came up with the actual orchestration of that song. It starts with the pizzicato. It’s so strings-central. That was built on this loop pedal. Everything on that track is me. I’m playing the guitar and the violin and there’s no other person on that track. In the end I love that song so much.
Amy Steele: Over the years how has your music evolved?
Kathryn Claire: As a writer I have become a better editor. I went to Boston University for my freshman year and that’s when I got into writing and going to Club Passim and hearing singer/songwriters. I wrote a lot that year in Boston but I never edited. The songs were like journal entries. I’m now able to write a lot more universally. My voice is deeper and relaxed. My voice sounds like is has dropped into itself. It’s settled. The orchestration of the violin has evolved and grown and changed. I’ve just gotten to be such a better musician by playing with other people.
Amy Steele: Aren’t there fewer music programs in schools now? I played the violin and then I played flute. I didn’t continue it because in my high school it was required that you play in the marching band and I rode horses and it conflicted and also I just didn’t want to play in the marching band. Music and arts are so important in public schools.
Kathryn Claire: I will continue to do work in that direction throughout the course of my career. I believe in music education. We had such a killer music program in Eugene, Oregon. I grew up in the 80s and 90s. In that era you could join orchestra in fourth grade and by the time you’re in high school you’re playing symphonies with your friends. That was normal.
It becomes this elitist thing. Portland is cool to have these alternative programs. I’m grateful to have done that basic classical training.
Amy Steele: What type of challenges have you faced as being a woman in the music industry? I listen to a lot of female artists. I try to support women in music and all arts. women are still not the majority.
Kathryn Claire: It is challenging. The thing is like any work environment is still very male-centered. I get to collaborate with women but when I started out I played in a band and didn’t know how to set up a PA. It has been so important to me to work a PA, to know how to speak the lingo when you go into Guitar Center and there are all these dudes and they make you feel stupid because you don’t know what an XLR cord is. I went through the time to learn all the technological jargon to function. It was important to me to know it. I was talking to a female musician friend and I asked her if she knew of any well-known female music producers. In the studio I’ve never worked with a female engineer. These things make you realize that the music industry is really still male-dominated.
Amy Steele: I’m curious how many women study the business side of music/ the production side of music at Berklee or other schools. [note: Fader piece: Why Aren’t More Women Becoming Music Producers?]
Kathryn Claire: I’m in my late 30s. There probably is a lot of movement forward. I’m basing this on my experience as coming up in this 15 or 16 yrs ago. In that time it is changing but it is also women being able to shred and own it and front-women and to speak the language of music. I know for me in high school so many guys were in bands.
It can be intimidating and that’s where Girls Rock Bandcamp and other programs can get girls past that. I would have loved to have played in a rock band but I was intimidated. Where does that come from?
Amy Steele: our patriarchal society and assumed gender roles.
Bones Will Last is available now.
National Women’s Soccer League Game of the Week to be broadcast live on Lifetime on Saturdays beginning April 15
Lifetime cements its commitment to women and women’s television and entertaining by airing National Women’s Soccer League (NWSL) games on Saturdays. Supporting and showcasing women’s sports strengthens Lifetime’s position as a television station focused on women and airing programming by women, about women. I played soccer in my youth and it’s an empowering team sport. I look forward to watching the games. Honestly I’ve always wanted to watch women’s soccer but it’s often difficult to find the games on cable. Knowing that there will be a NWSL game every Saturday makes it easy to support NWSL.
The NWSL Game of the Week on Lifetime will air Saturdays beginning at 3:30pm ET with a 30-minute pregame show leading up to kickoff at 4pm ET. The season opener on Lifetime will be Portland Thorns FC hosting the Orlando Pride, The schedule includes 22 regular-season matches as well as playoff semifinal games and the NWSL Championship.
|DATE||PREGAME||KICKOFF||HOME TEAM||VISITING TEAM|
|April 15th||2:30PM||3:00PM||Portland Thorns FC||Orlando Pride|
|April 22nd||3:30PM||4:00PM||Orlando Pride||Washington Spirit|
|April 29th||3:30PM||4:00PM||Portland Thorns FC||Chicago Red Stars|
|May 6th||3:30PM||4:00PM||Chicago Red Stars||Houston Dash|
|May 13th||3:30PM||4:00PM||Houston Dash||Sky Blue FC|
|May 20th||3:30PM||4:00PM||Sky Blue FC||Houston Dash|
|May 27th||3:30PM||4:00PM||Houston Dash||Seattle Reign FC|
|June 3rd||3:30PM||4:00PM||North Carolina Courage||FC Kansas City|
|June 17th||3:30PM||4:00PM||Chicago Red Stars||Washington Spirit|
|June 24th||3:30PM||4:00PM||Orlando Pride||Houston Dash|
|July 1st||3:30PM||4:00PM||North Carolina Courage||Sky Blue FC|
|July 8th||3:30PM||4:00PM||North Carolina Courage||Seattle Reign FC|
|July 15th||3:30PM||4:00PM||Portland Thorns FC||North Carolina Courage|
|July 22nd||3:30PM||4:00PM||Chicago Red Stars||Orlando Pride|
|August 5th||3:30PM||4:00PM||Portland Thorns FC||Houston Dash|
|August 12th||3:30PM||4:00PM||Orlando Pride||Sky Blue FC|
|August 19th||3:30PM||4:00PM||North Carolina Courage||Washington Spirit|
|August 26th||3:30PM||4:00PM||Seattle Reign FC||Portland Thorns FC|
|September 2nd||3:30PM||4:00PM||Orlando Pride||Boston Breakers|
|September 9th||3:30PM||4:00PM||Orlando Pride||Seattle Reign FC|
|September 23rd||3:30PM||4:00PM||Houston Dash||Chigaco Red Stars|
|September 30th||3:30PM||4:00PM||Portland Thorns FC||Chigaco Red Stars|
The NWSL Game of the Week on Lifetime will be available for live and on-demand streaming via the Lifetime iOS and Android apps and online at MyLifetime.com. Use #NWSLonLIFETIME to discuss on social media.
The National Women’s Soccer League (NWSL) is a ten-team Division-I women’s professional soccer league featuring national team players from around the world. The clubs are the Boston Breakers, Chicago Red Stars, Houston Dash, FC Kansas City, North Carolina Courage, Orlando Pride, Portland Thorns FC, Seattle Reign FC, Sky Blue FC, and the Washington Spirit. Based in Chicago, the NWSL is supported by the Canadian Soccer Association and the United States Soccer Federation. For more information about the NWSL, log on to the league’s official website at www.NWSLsoccer.com.
Lifetime is a premier entertainment destination for women dedicated to offering the highest quality original programming spanning scripted series, non-fiction series and movies. The critically acclaimed UnREAL, Project Runway, Dance Moms, Bring It!, The Rap Game and Little Women franchises anchor the network’s programming, in addition to its over 25 original movies annually that continue to define the TV movie genre. In 2015, Lifetime launched Broad Focus, a major global initiative dedicated to supporting and hiring female directors, writers and producers to make its content which totals over 450 original hours. Lifetime’s Fempire positions the network as a curator of feminist content and conversations, as well as a place where women connect, learn and are entertained. Lifetime Television®, LMN®, Lifetime Real Women® and Lifetime Digital™ are part of Lifetime Entertainment Services, LLC, a subsidiary of A+E Networks. A+E Networks is a joint venture of the Disney-ABC Television Group and Hearst Corporation.
“My First Day,” Wiscon
Here’s an edgy song with garage rock fervency and potent vocals from pop-punk Seattle band Wiscon to add to your anti-Trump inauguration day playlist. The band wrote the new single in response to the growing hatred and intolerance in the United States. Proceeds will be donated to Southern Poverty Law Center –an organization focused on fighting hate groups.
After attending the Boston Women’s March For America during the day, head over to Allston to continue the party that night to support the ACLU!
Doors at 7pm
$10 (More if you’ve got it! All donated to the ACLU!)
Band curated playlist will end the night and there will be a raffle for a prize package. (including goodies from do617, Winter Hill BC, Mad Oak Studios, Tres Gatos, and more!) so bring cash!
$10 donation, Saturday, January 21, 7 p.m., O’Brien’s Pub, 3 Harvard Ave, Allston, obrienspubboston.com.
“I think the most aggravating part is people who write off women immediately for being not funny or that all they talk about is their vaginas. We have vaginas so we’re going to talk about them. I don’t want those people to enjoy me anyway because they’re just dumb.” –Nikki Glaser
I first noticed comedian Nikki Glaser when I saw the documentary I Am Road Comic in 2014. I then started following her on twitter and quickly became a fan. Last year’s show Not Safe with Nikki Glaser turned into must-see television as she explored sex and dating in a fascinating and fun manner while also powerfully elucidating rape culture.
Glaser approaches comedy in a fresh, engaging manner. She’s genuine, passionate and if I had a girl squad I’d want her in it. She grew up in St. Louis, Missouri and earned a degree in English literature from University of Kansas. I spoke with Nikki over the weekend about feminism, dating and the presidential election.
Amy Steele: You got into comedy at 18?
Nikki Glaser: That’s the first time I did it. It was my freshman year of college and my friends really pushed me to do it because I didn’t really know what I wanted to do and they kept saying, ‘you should be a comedian.’ I gave it a shot at a talent showcase on my campus and it went really well and I thought this is what I’ll do forever. So it is.
Amy Steele: What do you like about it?
Nikki Glaser: I always stick with things I’m good at naturally and I had a knack for it. I was good at writing jokes from the beginning. not great but I had potential. so that was a good reason to keep doing it.
One of my favorite things about doing stand-up is the people you get to know and meet and be in the same industry as. It’s a relatively small industry and I’ve met great friends and the funniest, smartest people through it. I’m in the company of all these people that I think are so great.
The stage is a nice place to let out your anger and it’s my only creative space to do that. I can’t paint about a break-up or write a song so it’s nice. You get to say whatever you want and no one stops you. I love the honesty of it.
Amy Steele: What are the greatest challenges with being a woman in comedy? You’re also really active on twitter about politics and feminism.
Nikki Glaser: I think the most aggravating part is people who write off women immediately for being not funny or that all they talk about is their vaginas. We have vaginas so we’re going to talk about them. I don’t want those people to enjoy me anyway because they’re just dumb.
I don’t see any hard parts about being a woman. I know that there’s discrimination and we don’t get enough opportunities but I love being a woman in stand-up being able to speak for a group of people who don’t often get to speak up about stuff. This new wave of feminism is really exciting and I like riding that wave.
Amy Steele: I list that I’m a feminist on my website and social media profiles and get ‘what type of feminist are you?’ when I’m trying to date.
Nikki Glaser: I read Jessica Valenti’s Sex Object and I love what she said in it about angry feminists: Wouldn’t you be angry?
Why shouldn’t we be angry? If you’re going to write a woman off because of that you’re a fucking idiot. I don’t shy away from being any kind of adjective feminist. Of course I’m angry. If you look at the injustice and how this election went you have to be angry. I’m a furious feminist. That sounds better because of the alliteration.
Amy Steele: Furious feminist. I like that. If you’re not angry and upset and affected by things then nothing’s going to change.
Nikki Glaser: It’s just a way for them to diminish us. When I’m in a relationship, I’m so afraid of being called a nag. We’re so scared of being stereotyped that way and being labeled those things when women misbehave.
Amy Steele: There are guys who might question it but then they agree with the basic definition of feminism. Then he’s an ally or a feminist. I wouldn’t date someone who was not. He might not walk around saying he’s a feminist.
Nikki Glaser: My ex-boyfriend– when we got into arguments with his family about women’s reproductive rights I remember him saying to his brother: ‘you don’t have any right to speak on this because you’re not a woman.’ I told him it was the hottest thing he’s ever said. I love feminist men. I think a lot of us should put our foot down about that.
Amy Steele: That’s why someone like Cory Booker is amazing. Right now with the Planned Parenthood de-funding …
Nikki Glaser: It’s just ignorance and religion. A mixture of those things. I love Cecile Richards. I’m so inspired by her. It just seems so daunting. All these fucking men are so angry. It all comes down to them not wanting women in charge of anything: not their bodies; not the government; nothing. It’s so maddening. I’ve been reading celebrity news right now because I can’t take the news. I’m back to being the way I was at 17. I can’t walk around in a perpetual state of anger.
Amy Steele: NPR is okay and I feel somewhat soothed by the things I hear on NPR. I usually watch Maddow or listen to the podcast and I can’t right now.
Nikki Glaser: It’s a bad time right now. My boyfriend and I broke up the night before the election. I thought ‘Hillary is going to win and this is a seminal election and I’m becoming an independent woman tomorrow. This’ll be the first day I’m single and I’m taking back my life.’ Then that night I thought everybody was going through a break-up with me. It was like September 12.
Amy Steele: I volunteered at Hillary’s campaign in New Hampshire and then in Massachusetts, not as interesting as a swing state. It was devastating to sit in the campaign office with everyone that night crying. I was dating a guy at the time and he didn’t even call me. My therapist couldn’t believe it. From then on I thought ‘red flag. This is not cool.’
Nikki Glaser: What the fuck. That’s unacceptable. He should have a stamp on him. Scarlet letter. He’s an asshole. It was devastating for so many of us and I can only imagine being at the campaign.
Amy Steele: You have a new album?
Nikki Glaser: My album came out in April but I have a whole new hour of material. I’m going to tape something for Netflix coming up in February. I don’t really do anything from the album so people won’t hear a repeat.
Amy Steele: So, a mix of sex and politics…
Nikki Glaser: and my dog. Sex, relationships, pretty much what’s going on in my life. I feel like every time I talk about my material I feel that it’s about being at an age and feeling I’m younger than that age, the responsibilities of my age. I always feel stunted. This special I have is dogs that I’m going to talk about. But in a fresh way. Yeah, I’m going to talk about dogs in a fresh way. I’m excited about it.
Full Circle Commonwealth Women Up Front
Static Motor Recordings
–review by Amy Steele
Do you feel that you aren’t that familiar with new bands and artists around Boston? I know that I’ve lost touch with the local music scene. Not that I was ever “in” the scene but I knew lots of bands in the 90s. So oldster that I am now, this GenXer gets excited to discover local artists like Petty Morals, Will Dailey, Telectrix and Freezepop. This 10-track compilation Full Circle Commonwealth Women Up Front developed through a SoundCloud group for indie music in Boston. There’s another site I don’t spend enough time on. Everyone’s on Facebook and I just don’t spend enough time there. Yes, I listen to links that publicists send me but I don’t spend the time browsing the site as I should. Spotify is my go-to and I’ve discovered lots of cool music there.
If you read my website you know that I support women in music and women in the arts and women all around. Women to the front! These days I mostly listen to female solo artists and female-fronted bands. This compilation features Massachusetts women– an eclectic mix of solo artists and female-fronted bands. If, like me, you want to support women in music and women in the arts then check out this collection. Discover some new artists. All these singers and bands excel in writing cool, gorgeous songs. They showcase vocal range and musical prowess. Impossible not to listen to it from start to finish again and again and again. Every song impresses with its songwriting, composition and ability to move, soothe or groove.
Here’s the track listing with my thoughts:
1. Imani Sherley – “I Will Go In Waves”
–gentle. emotive folk from this Smith College student
2. Marriage Material – “Fresh Air”
–60s-inspired electro-pop, extremely catchy and high-energy. female-fronted band composed of: Chelsey Reynolds [vocals]; Beck Goguen [vocals]; John Lieneck [keyboard/synth]; Matt McCarthy [drums];
3. Electric Wave Inspection Bureau (feat. Kate O’Connor) – “Packets”
–serious EDM. deep beat, quirky and spirited. reminds me of Stereolab.
4. Rachel Thomasin – “Laurels”
–achingly, heartbreakingly gorgeous. lovely vocal range. this singer/songwrier uses a variety of sampling and instrumentation in her mesmerizing arrangements.
5. Aüva – “Into Place”
–shimmery retro-dream pop with sweet female-male vox harmonizing.
members: Miette Hope [keys/vocals]; Jack Markwordt [guitar/vocals]; Jake Levine [guitar/vocals]; Michael Piccoli [drums]; Andy Metzger [bass]; Austin Birdy [percussion]
6. Satellite Sound – “Sunday”
— grungy guitar rock, muffled sounds, strong vocals. reminiscent of 90s bands That Dog or Velocity Girl. members: Danielle Mishkin [vocals/keys]; Michael Miller [guitar]; Jamie Martini [bass]; Levi Ali [drums]
7. Pleasure Garden – “In Death”
–dark, ethereal, dreampop. in the vein of Chelsea Wolfe or Bats for Lashes. duo of Anne Bennett and Ryan Lord.
8. A/J\E (feat. Ada Obieshi) – “Unknown”
–complex arrangements. heartfelt and powerful in its instrumentation and range. Vocals remind me of Valerie Forgione of Mistle Thrush [my forever-favorite Boston band].
9. And Then There Was One – “Dawn”
–pretty, lilting vocals. Melody effectively moves from lulling guitar to churning guitar. solo project of Stevie Caldwell.
10. Six Times Seven – “One of These Days”
–Stevie Caldwell possesses an absolutely gorgeous voice and can shred on guitar. impressive. upbeat pop with this band composed of: Stevie Caldwell [singer/guitar]; Ron Levine [bass] and Dave Zimmerman [drums]
Full Circle Commonwealth Women Up Front is currently available as digital stream or download. Support local music!