In Need of Some Amazing Women-Fronted Music to Listen to?

In need of some amazing women-fronted music to listen to? Here are nine songs from a variety of genres by female musicians that I absolutely love and that you might like too.

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1.) “Little Girl Blue and the Battle Envy” by Skating Polly. I have been looooooooving this song. Listen for the harmonies and, of course, the grungy self-ascribed “ugly-pop” unique style. Click HERE to listen. (WordPress now requires users to upgrade one’s blog plan to premium to include videos within blogs annnnnnnd..I’m declining to pay more at the moment…So you’ll just need to click the link. But that’s easy!) 

 

 

Image result for courtney barnett2.) “Hopefulessness” by Courtney Barnett. This song is mellow, beautiful indie-folk at it’s best. My buddy Andy goes to all her shows when she is in town and he swoons, for good reason. Her guitar is so clear and crisp and her lyrics and vocal style resonate with the heart. Listen for how she tunes her guitar a half note or two down and makes it part of the song. Also, listen for the feeling and vibe she creates with the sound of the tea kettle at the end. Love it! Check it out HERE to listen!

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3.) “Block List” by Rico Nasty. Yaaas, this song is so good. Rico Nasty, rapper, songwriter and record producer, has an upbeat, anthemic-style rap for the ladies out there who are blocking those bros that you just don’t need. “He want to smoke but I think I want to rob him.” Haha. Have a listen HERE. 

Image result for ana tijoux 19774.) “1977” by Ana Tijoux. I’ve been listening to Ana Tijoux, particularly this song, for over a decade and it never gets old. This song, in Spanish, is talking about her life growing up in Chile during the 70s. At one point it alludes to the emerging dictatorship of Augusto Pinochet when it says, “La parada militar de paso monótono/The monotonous passing military stop.” This song has so many poetic layers! My students in Rwanda back in 2013 who wanted to learn Spanish loved this song. Check it out HERE! (If that’s not enough to make you want to check it out, it was also featured on an episode of Breaking Bad.) 

5.) “Before There was Fear by Future Scars” This song is by a friend of mine and a band from my home town Santa Fe. (What’s up y’all!) Eliza Lutz’s powerful vocals and incredible guitar wrenches at my heart and I love it. Other friends, who I have showed this song to, have described the style as “heavy rock.” Click HERE to have a listen. At 3:33 minutes into the song is where my favorite part begins. Check it out, I daaaaare you. It’s beautiful. Or click HERE to see the live version which showcases Lutz’s guitar skills. She alternates between finger tapping on strings (badass) and chords (powerful.) You can also read more about Future Scars from the Santa Fe Reporter here. Eliza Lutz is an inspiration to me: Not only is she in other bands too, like GryGrdns, but she also runs her own badass record company called Matron Records.

Image result for angel olsen heart shaped face6.) “Heart Shaped Face” by Angel Olsen. Ohhhhhh this song is so beautiful, I listen to it way too much. Slow, mellow, gorgeous. Just check it out. Listen HERE.

 

 

Screen Shot 2020-03-20 at 6.05.34 PM.png7.) “Soft Stud” by Black Belt Eagle Scout. Y’all: This song is so good. Katherine Paul’s clear, melodic vocals juxtaposed with the gritty guitar are phenomenal. Her passion for music is clear. “I grew up on the Swinomish Indian Reservation in NW Washington state, learning to play piano, guitar and drums in my adolescent years. The very first form of music that I can remember experiencing was the sound of my dad singing native chants to coo me to sleep as a baby. I grew up around powwows and the songs my grandfather and grandmother sang with my family in their drum group. This is what shapes how I create music: with passion and from the heart.” (Quote from her website.) Check out her song “Soft Stud” HERE.

Image result for class actress8.) “Let Me Take You Out” by Class Actress. If you want to dance around in your house, you’ve got to listen to this jam. It’s pretty damn near impossible not to dance to this one. Click HERE

 

 

 

 

Image result for age of consent cayetana9.) Age of Consent by Cayetana. Another dancing one, this cover song is, I would argue, better than the original. (If/when my band gets back together, this is a cover of a cover we would want to cover!) I have a fond memory jamming to this song rollerblading around a DIY roller derby track in a barn in the outskirts of Colorado while a roller derby star skated around me, gliding past with words of coaching and encouragement during my brief (very brief) stint at giving roller derby a go. Ha! (My body was like, noooope. Ouch. Also, shout out to the amazing Boulder County Bombers!) Check out this song HERE. 

Enjoyed this list?! Feel free to share and pass along and tag with #juliaviewsongs

Enjoy listening and feel free to reach out to tell me which song was your fave! 

 

 

 

The Change We Need

[Author’s note: Since free time is short for me as a full time history teacher these days, with a stack of papers to grade and endless lessons to plan, this is a piece I wrote very quickly with minimal corrections, so there may be spelling errors etc.. But I nonetheless wanted to get my thoughts out, candidly, so here they are.] 

With people’s fears about the potential for another war on the horizon due to American actions in Iran recently, I have been thinking again of the importance of elevating the matriarchy. What do I mean by this? 

As a history teacher, it becomes very clear to me just how much of a pattern there has been about the type of person who has been in power and who has been making the decisions that lead to war and devastation. Over centuries, there has been one common thread throughout our connected, global human history. The people in power starting wars has been the same. It has been men in power. Although there is nothing wrong with men in power, men do tend to air on the side of violent action at times. By mere observation (and countless data) the people that commit violence, mass shootings, domestic violence and start wars have been men. I want you to know right off that bat, this is not a “venting session” against the male persuasion, this is just fact about the demographic of people who have been in power over the majority of our written history, and who statistically speaking, commit certain crimes and warfare. So what if we changed it? What if we changed the demographic of people in power? What if we avoided the pattern that Einstein so famously pointed out: “Insanity is doing the same thing over and over again and expecting different results,” What if, instead of repeating the trend of only men being in power making the global decisions over and over, what if we elevated the matriarchy? What if we balanced the scales more? We need more women in power. 

Research has shown that women tend to vote more on the side of social well being and gear their lives towards taking care of one another. We have also seen that women are more likely to believe the climate crisis is an important focus and to actually make steps towards alleviating the climate crisis. We need more women in power and steering us clear away from devastation and war. Have you heard the radical phrase “Smash the Patriarchy?” Well that is all fine except I don’t think that would necessarily solve things either: Because then the pendulum would just swing back and forth. I think the real change will happen when we truly elevate the matriarchy: Put women in their rightful place which is right alongside men making history and men being in power. With that type of balance, women alongside men in power, I would be surprised if we didn’t get closer towards creating a better world. 

I went on a date with a guy who I was very attracted to because of how feminist he was. Without knowing my background at all, as we were talking about world events he said candidly “I’m all about the matriarchy. And I’m not saying that to be popular or something, I’m saying that because I really am. I mean, I’m in a profession that is dominated by women (the teaching profession) and I see amazing women leaders everyday.” He then mentioned he believes women will have more power and sway in the world very soon and then he added something I’ve been talking about for years which is this: He stated, “and then once women become in power, that is when the climate crisis will truly hit and you all will get blamed for it, even though it wasn’t your fault!” And we laughed about how messed up that is but very likely could become the case. It’s like a previous president puts a nation into debt or into a recession, and the residual effects carry onto the next president who gets blamed for it. Regardless, having more women in power could be just the thing we need to change this world. It would be a long overdue switcheroo. And it might just be the recipe we need for change.

Lizzo!! Launching Music and Feminism to Greater Heights

(Don’t miss her Tiny Desk Concert where she performs Cuz I Love You, Truth Hurts and her last song where she also plays the flute in her song Juice! ) 

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Lizzo at 2019 BET Awards. Photo by Kevin Winter/Getty Images.

Lizzo, phenomenal singer, rapper and flute player is transforming music and launching feminism to greater heights with her body positivity, black lives matter energy and her message of self love. SHE. IS. PHENOMENAL. Her presence is captivating and her engagement with the audience draws you in, in this absolutely fun way. And she conveys understanding of her self and of society in a profound and to the point manner. Plus, she is a powerful singer and incredible musician. Duh.

In a music interview with NPR’s Terry Gross she talks about her early pursuits in music performance and music theory:

 “I am classically trained in music theory and music performance, so I have an innate ear and actually a highly skilled ear when it comes to frequency and harmony and dissonance and melody. So for me, it’s this thing that I can feel in my body. I’m almost like a tuning fork where if I hear the beat and I vibrate at the level that I’m supposed to, I know that that’s what I want to get on. And from being trained, I think it’s easier for me to speak a language to producers, and I can speak engineer to the engineers.”

She also unapologetically chats about feminism and body positivity: “”About 10 years ago, I made the decision that I just wanted to be happy with my body and I just wanted to be happy with who I am. That was the beginning of my journey with learning how to love my body. … You have to find that love for yourself deep down inside, underneath all of that questioning and ickiness.” Hell yeah, the importance of self love.

She is just incredible on so many levels.

Check out the full NPR music interview with her here, I highly recommend it.

 

New Anti-Choice/Forced Birther Bills Being Passed

In the wake of the anti-choice news coming from the south, particularly Alabama, and even other states across the country, it has been tough for me to express just how horrible this outlawing and criminalization of abortion will be for women and men and the hypocrisy of the people who are anti-choice/forced birthers. So, instead of words, I wanted to share some visuals, news clips and words from other individuals:

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Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez Documentary: Knock Down the House

This Netflix documentary is SO good. Seeing Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez and other women running for the house is truly amazing and inspiring. Check out this film!! It’s on Netflix.

in 2018, never before seen in U.S history, a record number of women took their place among the men in Washington: 90 women were elected to the House of Representatives. Though we still have a ways to go for parity in politics (women still only represent about 25% of representatives in the House and Senate) the 116th congress will go down in history as a historic time. As if that were not enough, these women politicians are fighting for ALL people’s rights: Ocasio-Cortez does not just represent women, she represents the working class and progressives, female and male, and takes on the establishment to create a more equitable world for everyone. This film gives us a glimpse of what that fight for representation in government looks like.

“For one of us to make it through, 100 of us have to try.” Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez.

After seeing this film, I thought to myself, “She could be president someday.”

Game of Thrones: A Game Played on Women’s Backs

Game of Thrones is a fascinating show that has engulfed the minds of millions of Americans. According to CNN, the recent premier of season 8 captivated 17.4 million people. But what is even more fascinating is how everyone seems to just gloss over the disgusting way women are treated in the storyline. Yes, the idea of Game of Thrones is that it is a cruel and dark world. But it just astounds me how millions of people consume these images of naked women being pushed around, raped and degraded without question. (Or maybe they do question it?) Image result for game of thrones treatment of womenPeople do not seem to bat an eyelash at the way the characters refer to women as whores, twats and cunts at every other word. Apparently, there are empowering aspects of this show where the women take control of their own lives, but I have yet to see this. I have numerous female and male feminist friends who love this show, and perhaps I’m missing something, but after only getting midway into season 2 I’ve stopped. I can’t stomach seeing women be treated so grotesquely. Maybe we can acknowledge the awful treatment of women and still watch the show? The thing is, I haven’t even gotten to season 5 where one of the characters is gratuitously and brutally raped. Millions and millions of people watch this show. What does this say about the society we live in where we are ok with watching women be treated this way? If there are empowering scenes of women, cool. But it seems these scenes are few and far between. From what I can tell, it rarely passes the Bechdel Test. I wish I could watch this series but I can’t stomach seeing women being used up in brothels and battered around sexually. Numerous articles have been written about this topic from TIME magazine to Esquire.  Does it get any better as the seasons progress?

As writer for BookRiot, Olivia Páez points out, “As one of the biggest shows on television, one has to wonder what message it sends to its audience when the majority of its female characters are subjected to some form of abuse for the sake of shock factor.” Who benefits from this shock factor? Are we, the viewers, growing ambivalent about seeing women battered around and used like objects? It honestly really disgusts me if so.

And then there’s another side to this argument. Perhaps, according to the Telegraph, we should applaud seeing this horrific violence towards women? In an article titled, “Game of Thrones: Where Sexual Violence and Misogyny are good news for Women” writer Rhiannon Evans states, “We’re talking about that rare breed: a TV programme that portrays women as well-rounded. A programme that says wars aren’t all about men –both sexes can be players and pawns.” The article goes on to discuss the rape scene in season 5. Game of Thrones author George RR Martin said that excluding sexual violence from a story about war was “fundamentally dishonest”. He went on to say, “Rape, unfortunately, is still a part of war today. It’s not a strong testament to the human race, but I don’t think we should pretend it doesn’t exist.” Ok that, I understand: This horrific part of humanity (masculinity, b/c, let’s face it, not a lot of women are raping) still exists and perhaps Game of Thrones is trying to draw attention to it to make people more aware. Certainly it would be wrong to pretend it doesn’t exist. Writer Rhiannon Evan goes on to say, “There is much to be said for this argument. Yes, the women in Game of Thrones ‘suffer wrongs’. But whether it be lost daughters, forced marriages or physical injury in battle, why should they be ignored?”

I still can’t stomach watching the violence against women…

And I honestly can’t help but think the major reason behind the violence against women is more about shock factor and viewership than about awareness about the realities of war. And there are going to be those people out there who get off on watching violence against women, because, as we unfortunately know, violence against women is a common aspect of porn. (Some estimates say that up to 88% of porn shows violence against women. But that is a different, albeit related, issue.)

Ok so the argument is that we cannot ignore this uncomfortable reality that violence against women is a product of war. One thing we ALSO cannot ignore is the fact that war and rape have been man’s creation. Not woman’s; man’s. We cannot ignore this uncomfortable reality either. For centuries, male rulers and citizens have started wars and perpetrated rape. Full stop. Women have not been the creators of these major wars, nor have they been the majority of people perpetrating rape and other types of violence. If indeed we cannot ignore the horrifying reality that rape and violence against women occurs in war, we ALSO cannot ignore the uncomfortable reality of who is behind the wars and who has started them in the first place. So what do you we do about all this? Not all men do this; not all people are ok with this; not all people have to just accept this.

In the meantime, I wish I could watch Game of Thrones… but I’ll pass.

 

Paid Maternity Leave: U.S Still Does Not Require it

Just a reminder that this is a thing: “The United States is one of only eight countries, out of 188 that have known policies without paid [maternity] leave.” (New York Times) Employers may provide paid maternity leave, but it is not a guarantee nor a mandate. Three states do ensure paid maternity leave: California, New Jersey and Rhode Island, but other states do not require it. So… You could have a baby and have to leave for work the next day if you cannot afford unpaid time off. Seems harmful not only to the baby but for the mother who would certainly need some recovery time. Don’t you think our country would thrive better if mothers had a chance to take care of their children when they are first born? And fathers too! We need paid maternity leave AND paid paternity leave. Parents being able to afford to take time to be with their new born seems like a no-brainer to me, especially when the rest of the world is already on board. Paid Maternity Leave Worldwide Map-U.S Has No Paid Maternity Leave .png