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Music

Early this year, Lifetime premiered the groundbreaking docuseries Surviving R. Kelly, renewing public awareness of Kelly's decades-long predatory behavior. In 2002, Kelly was indicted in Illinois on 21 counts of child pornography in relation to a videotape reportedly showing a then-32-year-old Kelly sexually assaulting athen-14-year-old girl. The case didn’t make it to trial for six years, during which public attention waned and Kelly re-branded his image, even going so far as to poke fun at the allegations against him (Remember Trapped In The Closet?). Kelly...
You enter the crumb-laden church of Fatty Cakes and the Puff Pastries ready to laugh, cry, and maybe even catch a flying slice of pizza with your mouth. Kathleen Hanna knew that to witness Fatty Cakes live was to unofficially join their ravenous ranks—to be reborn, covered in a fine dust of powdered sugar (or, depending on the mood, parmesan). Alice Bag of pioneering LA punk band the Bags felt the hunger pangs, too, swiftly jumping into the role of producer and “fairy punk mother” about...
Seven women and over a dozen associates have spoken out against singer-songwriter Ryan Adams, exposing his manipulative, inappropriate behavior towards women. According to a report by The New York Times, Adams would promise career opportunities, pursue artists for sex, harass his victims over text and social media, and he would rescind his support the minute he was spurned. Mandy Moore was married to Adams for about six years and remembers a relationship full of verbal and emotional abuse. She told the Times, “music was a point...
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...