26 January 2006

chick up on it: girls who rock

I decided that this is the year for women in music. All the boys are dead to me. Mostly because I picked up the most recent issue of BUST magazine which contains everyone important--- Peaches (on cover), Trina, and Jenny Lewis. Therefore, this is going to be a long music post about recent albums by female pop artists. Because women are awesome...even if they have vaginas.

I've posted so often about Jenny Lewis, but I don't think I ever explained who she was. Some of you may be familiar with her as the lead singer of Rilo Kiley. Some of you may know her as the girl doing background vocals on The Postal Service's Give Up. And if you're not familiar with that album by now (whether you love it or hate it), you fail college. What you may not know is that she is a former child actress who started off in Jell-O commercials. And she has a solo album with the Watson Twins entitled Rabbit Fur Coat. It's countryish-girl rock and it is my favorite album of 2006...so far. Even if I owned it in 2005 when it leaked.

Lady Sovereign is about to blow up BIG in "the states". She has been signed to Def Jam records and will have an album out this year in America. Reigning as one of the UK's only white female rappers, the Sov is all about the grime. She also likes to make fun of people...a lot.

The Pipettes take me back to better days. Consisting of 3 female vocalists who are hot and wear cute polka-dot dresses, The Pipettes write songs that are short and sweet...just like most British people. What? They are off the same record label as The Go! Team and take a page out of Phil Spector's book.

THE PIPETTES- Why Did You Stay? (XFM session)
THE PIPETTES- Really That Bad
THE PIPETTES- It Hurts to See You Dance That Well
(BUY the single)
(WATCH the video for "Dirty Mind")

You may know Amerie from the much-hyped top 10 hit "1 Thing", but she is so much more than that. Amerie somehow bridges the gap between ol' skool R&B and today's pop/hip-hop world. While a lot of her sound is thanks to Rich Harrison, her vocals add a lot of SOUL to her sophomore album Touch. She is by far the most underappreciated, underrated female R&B artist of today.

AMERIE- All I Need
AMERIE- Rolling Down My Face
AMERIE- Talkin' About
(BUY Touch)

I could assume that you already know who M.I.A. is, but then again...you could be some random person who discovered this blog through The Hartford Advocate. She's been through a lot, and you can read up on her through wikipedia. The most exciting thing I learned from that entry in wikipedia is that Timbaland will be producing several songs on her next album. Assuming that you already have Arular, here are some other songs to listen to...

The new Girls Aloud album has a few great pop gems. It's not what you'd expect from a group that formed through the British version of the WB's Popstars. In the US, this show formed the short-lived US group Eden's Crush...which gave us the lead singer of The Pussycat Dolls. Unlike the singers of "Get Over Yourself, Goodbye", Girls Aloud is really good...producing amazing dance-y pop songs on their most recent album Chemistry. They're no Spice Girls.

(BUY Chemistry)

I didn't realize for the longest time that this was the same Robyn who gave us "Show Me Love" and "Do You Know (What it Takes) back in the 90s. This Swedish pop import has evolved quite a bit since then. Her latest album, simply titled Robyn, involves her rapping in such a way that would make Missy Elliott proud. And she sings too...and the songs are amazing.

ROBYN- Be Mine!
ROBYN- Konichiwa Bitches
(BUY Robyn)

Trina is the queen of the dirty south. And I mean D-I-R-T-Y. "See if I had the chance to be a virgin again, I'd be fucking by the time I'm ten." In her first two albums Da Baddest Bitch and Diamond Princess, Trina talked about many things that you wouldn't want your mother to hear. Now, she has calmed down (kind of) thanks to her engagement to rapper Lil Wayne. Her singles are pretty brilliant...

Brought to me by the wonderful Naomi Ekperigin, this Manhattan School of Music dropout is the cutest thing on the planet. She started out playing in Greenwich's gay bars and now will be starring alongside Alan Cumming and Cyndi Lauper in The Threepenny Opera. Her solo work draws influences from jazz, funk, cabaret, rap, and more. A lot of her music centers around politics...for example, "Columbia is Bleeding" is about cruelty to animals at Columbia University. Unfortunately, her sophomore album Pretty Little Head was not released by Sony because they wanted to release it as 16 songs and she wanted 23. Luckily, we at least have those 16 thanks to the internet.

I discovered The Veronicas in the most unlikely place to discover good music...The-N. I mean, they're good for what they are...Australian teen pop. Think Avril...but identical twin sisters. They're number one in Australia and gaining spots on TRL here in the US. They toured with The Click Five and Ryan Cabrera. With all that said, none of you will ever want to listen to The Veronicas. However, I think they are a great guilty pleasure now that it's okay to like Kelly Clarkson.

THE VERONICAS- Everything I'm Not
(mp3s courtesy of Veritas Lux Mea)
(BUY The Secret Life of The Veronicas)

I honestly don't know much about Cat Power. She has seven albums behind her and it'd be a shame for me to try talking much about her. Instead, listen to two new songs and two rare songs.

CAT POWER- Deep Inside (Mary J. Blige cover)
CAT POWER- Dreams (from Japanese release of The Greatest)
CAT POWER- Where is My Love
CAT POWER- The Greatest
(BUY The Greatest)

No matter what Mary J is singing about...there is so much emotion and sincerity projected in her voice. With six albums behind her and freedom from Diddy's production, her new album features everyone from Jay-Z to U2. It not only features U2, but it makes their song "One" ten times better than it ever was. The Breakthrough is essentially The Emancipation of Mary. It showcases her at her best, a great follow-up to the dull Love & Life album.

MARY J. BLIGE f/ U2- One
MARY J. BLIGE- Baggage
(BUY The Breakthrough)

This post comes in perfect time to promote auditions for The Vagina Monologues on Saturday and Sunday.

Rock On Vagina Warriors,
Joe John


DJ Garage Flower said...

Do you go to Shag Frenzy in Hartford? I have been playing the Pipettes' "School Uniform" for months to a packed dancefloor. I started reading this based on the Advocate article, and the promise of killer Project Runway recaps (they were so right), but now you go and mention the Pipettes too - you have my heart, please take care of it.

Johnny Strangler said...

I've been in love with The Pipettes for the better part of the past year. Thanks for making sure the rest of CT loves them as well.

Oh yeah, what my wife above (Sara) said...