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Music

The first time I saw k.d. lang and the Reclines was on Dave Letterman’s Late Show in the mid-'80s. Luckily, my parents had set the VCR to record that night. Letterman introduced lang as a “unique performer from Canada in her American television debut,” and she enthusiastically bounced onto the stage like Elvis in a cowgirl dress. I was stunned into confusion and awe. Synapses that had not yet been connected in my brain fired wildly. She was unmistakably female and yet unapologetically masculine, all...
She was a lean, mean, rock'n'roll machine, and her name was Cordell Jackson (aka "the rock'n'roll granny"). Jackson is likely among the greatest female rock pioneers you’ve never heard of. Many believe her to be the first female rock musician to take full creative control by writing and engineering her music on her own record label, Moon Records, which she started in 1956. Yet, like many women ahead of their time, details of Jackson’s life are hard to come by, relgated to niche corners of the...
  SIR BABYGIRLCrush On Me(Father/Daughter) 
In early 2018, Sir Babygirl—the nom de guerre of musician Kelsie Hogue—erupted onto the pop scene with the release of her debut single, “Heels.” The song, about breaking up and running home without shoes, felt like a revelation. Crush on Me, her debut on Father/Daughter records, is even more of a triumph. Over the course of nine tracks, Sir Babygirl manages to hotwire queer desire, inject it with manic abandon, and drive it straight to Claire’s. Album standout “Haunted House” is the...

LADYTRONLadytron(!K7 Records) Releasing its sixth studio album after a seven-year hiatus, Ladytron has come a long way since the band’s inception in the late ’90s. Still combining shoegaze and indie synth-pop, the British foursome has stepped back from the blunt lyrical stylings of earlier hits (think 604’s “He Took Her to a Movie” or “Seventeen” from Light & Magic) to create a more complex sound, hinting at a world full of discontent. The unmistakable voices remain intact, carried by smoother, heavier dance tracks—most notable on the...
JESSICA PRATTQuiet Signs(Mexican Summer) Jessica Pratt spins a mood—hushed, hazy, and beautifully off-center. In fact, the entire world of Quiet Signs seems to live in a single, smoky room, mottled with late-day sunlight. Despite its neofolk quietude—many tracks are pared down to only guitar, flute, and a few room sounds—this follow-up to Pratt’s 2015 release On Your Own Love Again feels absolutely enormous. From the small hypnosis of “As the World Turns” to the rolling trills of “Poly Blue,” each moment throws Pratt’s enigmatic soprano into...
“Times evolve or change,” Julia Wolfe, composer of the recently premiered oratorio Fire in my mouth, inspired by the Triangle Shirtwaist Factory fire, says. “The piece changes, as with all forms of art; we bring not only the history, but where we are now. That’s part of the dynamic: how do these things resonate back and forth?” Considering the perils many immigrant woman are facing in America today, her piece could not have come at a better time. Wolfe seems to be attuned to the zeitgeist,...
TINY RUINSOlympic Girls(Ba Da Bing Records) On Tiny Ruins’ third release, Hollie Fullbrook returns with complex and cryptic lyrics, touching and emotional vocals, and intricate guitar work. Fullbrook eschews a tight, predictable pop structure in favor of songs that change sound and mood during their duration, never meandering and always captivating. Lyrically, she often conveys idealism contrasted with cynicism.  On the title track, she seems to contemplate female empowerment and revolution, noting progress but also the journey ahead by singing, “We were only inches away/Still have a...
GIRLPOOLWhat Chaos Is Imaginary(ANTI-Records) Girlpool’s Cleo Tucker and Harmony Tividad have always been in perfectly imperfect harmony with one another. So much so, that on their first two albums, the BFFs-since-high-school’s voices were often hard to tell apart through all the charming dissonance. With What Chaos Is Imaginary, they’ve both discovered their own voices, and together have found a new sound that’s more refined yet as earnest as ever. Tucker, who uses they/them pronouns, has gone through a transition, which they prefer to call a “gender...

Happy February! While you're inside hiding from the snow and cold, enjoy our picks for the best in feminist-friendly pop culture this week, including Natasha Lyonne's new TV series Russian Doll, new music from Girlpool, and The Collected Schizophrenias by Esmé Weijun Wang.  PODCASTS Poptarts: Feminist Folklore The hosts of the podcast Feminist Folklore join BUST editors Callie and Emily on the latest episode of our podcast Poptarts. Listen here or on iTunes.  MOVIES Miss Bala Gina Rodriguez stars as a makeup artist who has to take down a drug cartel...
Lady Gaga’s September 2017 deposition in Kesha’s ongoing legal fight with her former producer, Lukasz “Dr. Luke” Gottwald, has been unsealed, according to The Blast. The Blast and Pitchfork viewed the unsealed document and reported on the heated questioning between Lady Gaga and Dr. Luke’s lawyer. Gaga is also a sexual assault survivor and according to the reports on the documentation, she was crying and struggling with PTSD throughout the deposition, which her lawyer addressed at the start of the testimony. During questioning, Lady Gaga said...