I’m covering a nightly radio show for five weeks with another broadcaster and every few songs we look over what we’ve played, look to each other and say “more girls”. It’s hard, the music industry is male-dominated, and while there’s swathe of lilting female singer-songwriters, I prefer walls of noise, thank you very much. With that in mind, I decided to make my first top five for the Ruby blog a collation of the girl groups – mainly brand new, too - that are getting down.
Wild Flag ‘Romance’ Wild Flag are a supergroup of sorts featuring members of seminal nineties girl groups Sleater Kinney and The Minders. They have just released their self-titled debut and a video clip for single ‘Romance’ and it’s the kind of motivating riot grrrl the likes of which we haven’t seen since both Peaches and Le Tigre lost their edge.
Evil Twins ‘Buddy’ Evil Twins are an Auckland two-piece who recently released a killer EP. The same time they were releasing that Flying Nun were announcing their thirtieth anniversary celebrations, so it’s apt then that this duo covered the track ‘Buddy’ by seminal Flying Nun band Snapper. Evil Twin’s EP is available for free download here and you can listen to ‘Buddy’ below:
St Vincent ‘Cruel’ I had the pleasure of interviewing Annie Clark AKA St Vincent recently and being on the telelphone with the songstress is like communicating to an alternate plane. I don’t mean it was hard to understand or interpret her nor was she straight-out crazy, she simply had a unique – and highly intellectual - perspective on everything. ‘Cruel’ is the single from her latest album Strange Mercy and articulates the contradictions rife in the album’s title. You know the one, that old nut of suburban idealism A.K.A pretending your family life is perfect right up until a husband or a child shoots you point blank.
Haunted Love ‘Solaris’
A duo from Dunedin (my home town!) Haunted Love are due to release their album Spirit Revival next week and it is just as the title would suggest: lilting, ephemeral and – like their press photo – slightly morose. They are playing in Auckland this weekend and I have a feeling this will be delightfully atmospheric, thus I urge you to go here, buy tickets and listen to my favourite track ‘Solaris’ below.
PJ Harvey ‘Good Fortune’ Hardly original I know, including PJ Harvey in a top five list of female artists I admire because EVERYONE admires her and why am I writing this if not to inform? But alas, it’s impossible to understand my other picks without acknowledging that the starting point for my taste in female artists lies with Polly Jean (and of course, Patti Smith, but we’ll save her for a later date). Let England Shake, her 2011 release was a perfectly realized concept album about the tribulations of war and England’s involvement in them (particularly WWII) and she took home the Mercury Prize because for it (the first artists to win it twice). It is this track – from her breakthrough album Stories from the City, Stories from the Sea – that’s my absolute favourite. Unapologetic and honest, it’s PJ Harvey at her best, which is second-to-none.