Jun. 19th, 2013

[identity profile] amethysting.livejournal.com

Remember Who You Are
Team Dresch
Captain My Captain
1996

My Team Dresch CDs arrived in the mail today so I feel I can finally (legitimately?) write my post!

What better way to connect to the nineties than to relish in the irreplaceable feeling of peeling back the cellophane from a brand new CD.  Pulling open the jewel case of Captain My Captain, I smiled at the CD itself--it is fluorescent green and covered with black-ink, hand-drawn doodles.  To the left, on the back of the liner notes, a black-and-white picture of the all-girl, band.  There was something very exciting about sliding the liner notes out; a rush of pleasure at seeing printed lyrics and production credits.

I "discovered" Team Dresch during a particularly absorbing riot grrrl-related AllMusic tailspin.  One band led to another led to another led to another.  Riot grrrl led to queercore.

See, the thing is, one of the things I found so off-putting (not quite the right expression, but it'll have to do) about riot grrrl in the past was the queer implications...in high school, being a proponent of feminism or the riot grrrl movement (though, I wasn't intimately aware of the latter at the time) inevitably led to accusations of being a "dyke" or "lesbo"...things my teenage-self wanted to avoid.  Even if these accusations were not necessarily voiced by my peers, they somehow wormed their way into the back of my mind and stayed there.  It made me uncomfortable.  The implications, that is.  Being mistaken for something I didn't think I was (or didn't want to be; that's something I need to think more about).  In any event, I closed myself off to a lot of things--art or books or music that dealt with having to face those implications.

I like that I came to Team Dresch at this point in my life.  This band and their music fills me with a little sense of buoyancy--uplifted by the fact that these women are embracing who they are, standing up for themselves, voicing their thoughts.  Donna Dresch, the band's guitarist, and Jody Bleyle, the lead singer, both own record labels (Chainsaw and Candy Ass, respectively; Team Dresch's albums were joint releases).  Dresch self-published a zine.  Kaia Wilson, guitarist, co-founded Mr. Lady Records, has released solo-albums, is a founding member of The Butchies (along with TD drummer, Melissa York) and continues to collaborate with a number of artists.  That AND all four women are openly gay.

This is something you covered beautifully in your Foxtrott post, but it really IS exciting to find musicians who are lesbians AND who write about that fact unambiguously.  Team Dresch write about "holding hands with my girlfriend" and "burning just from some girl's stare" and "my girlfriend cuddles me and holds me".   I hesitated a bit over which Team Dresch song I would post and finally settled on "Remember Who You Are".  It so aptly sums up the things I have only begun to discuss here--connecting to art and coming into (out of?) yourself.

"Send out signals telling who you are
Transmit messages about who you are
No matter who you are"
[identity profile] cabaretlights.livejournal.com


I Hate the Way
Polly Scattergood
S/T
2009

: I think I have officially selected my favourite genre of music. Okay, no, I haven't, that's crazy (especially for anyone who, at our age, still lists "listening to music" as a hobby -- and good lord, it IS a hobby, okay, the time put in absolutely reaches hobby proportions!) -- but if you were to do a survey of my favourite songs or the songs to which I am most instantly drawn, the following category would probably come out just slightly, just a little, on top. And that category issss:

Female-fronted, electro and/or synth-influenced, altpop.

Who knows where that one came from, really (maybe Poe?). I can pinpoint New Wave (thanks mom), glam rock (thanks dad), goth (thanks adolescent fashion choices), so many more -- but there's something about this particular genre that just sticks its fingers in my side and makes me sit up straight, skips my little heartbeats, etc. Thing is, I already know so many femaled-fronted electropop outfits, it's hard to even find -- let alone really enjoy -- new ones. I have high standards and extensive experience, and if you sound exactly like someone else, well, why are you making music?

So imagine my excitement when, a couple weeks ago, I stumbled on Polly Scattergood. I'm shocked I hadn't heard about her before (2009? That was electropop's heyday!!), but I've been listening to this album on repeat since. I especially love her voice (it's unique, which is saying something) and how each song on the album sounds like the others (but not obnoxiously -- each seems like a refrain of the one before; it might be lazy songwriting but I'm going to pretend it's intentional until her next album comes out in June). The melodies are gorgeous, and in "I Hate the Way" specifically, the buildup of the song is so well-constructed -- each repeated line sounds intensely different from its antecedent, and it just works so, so well. I LOVE THIS SONG!, and I expect great things from Polly S in the future.

...and I hope it doesn't take me so long to find her [equivalents] next time.

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