The Dawn Chorus

Fresh Australian Feminism

Posts Tagged ‘music’

The Twenty-Eighth Down Under Feminists Carnival

Posted by caitlinate on September 4, 2010

Oh my gawd, hi everyone. So this is the first time I’ve done a blog carnival and I put my hand up for it 6 months ago not realising that this was going to be like the busiest two or three weeks I would be having all year. So! There is no theme and things might be organised a little incoherently but I hope I’ve done a good job and you like…

WELCOME to the 28th Down Under Feminists Carnival!

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Posted in Announcements, Blog Watch, body image, domestic violence, Family, glbt, Interviews, law, Media Watch, music, Politics, porn, Relationships, reproductive rights, sex, Trans, violence against women, women we love, Women's Health | Tagged: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 17 Comments »

One more thing about the Hottest 100

Posted by Nic Heath on July 31, 2009

Triple J’s Hottest 100 (OF ALL TIME!) has generated a lot of comment for its rather mannish aspect. I don’t mind, obviously, that it is last fortnight’s news (and now it is another radio station in the news) – I’m all for an ongoing conversation about where women figure, and how well they fare, in popular culture. And if it is even an issue at all.

There is a good list of links to various articles and posts on the topic at Hoyden About Town. Clem Bastow covered it for The Age, listing the women who did make it into the poll, while Mel Campbell, at The Enthusiast, worried that ‘the Hottest 100 also legitimises radio industry strategies that ignore women.’

The skewed result may seem like a blip on the radar when viewed in isolation, but I think it becomes more like a worrying trend when considered alongside other cultural lists – like this year’s Miles Franklin Award shortlist. All men there too. And again, it isn’t like there are no books written by women worthy of being included in this particular shortlist. Pavlov’s Cat posted a great response to this ‘aberration’.

So that is mainstream popular culture. Away from official recognition of cultural pursuits there are women being creative and garnering interest – anecdotally, I went to a day-long gig on Sunday which was headlined by Beaches, an all-female group who I don’t think identify as being unusual because of that.

Sophie Best, from Melbourne’s Mistletone (which released Beaches’ album), gave me a fresh perspective on the skew last week – citing shocking conservatism – and I’ll give her my last word:

There’s obviously so many great female artists. I get really mad when people do articles about women in rock, I find it really patronizing because women have been making music, women have been a huge part of music since the music industry began. Before there was even an industry women have always played music! I find it really strange when people act as thought there’s something unusual about women playing music.

I’ll give you my personal theory if you like. I think it’s because the very idea of music being a competition, you know that there’s a ladder, and that there’s a contest and someone’s going to come out on top, is inherently a male idea. To me that seems to come from the sporting world, you know, the idea that someone’s the best, they’re going to win, they’re going to be on top, it sounds like footballism to me and to me it’s nothing to do with what music and art is about. I said I didn’t blame Triple J but maybe I do blame them for actually making music into a sport like that..

I always hate those lists, they’re always really bad…they always come up with the most god-awful winners. And if you think about it even yourself if you had to do a list, it’s really hard to do, to say what are the best songs. It’s a ridiculous question…My assessment of that is that the whole concept of having a hottest 100 is male, in that clichéd way of the male way of being competitive. I don’t think music is about that, I don’t think music is about whose best. I don’t think it’s a competition.

Posted in Interviews, music | Tagged: , , , , , , , | 3 Comments »

She Kissed Me And It Felt Like A Hit

Posted by Clem Bastow on October 10, 2008

For some time now I’ve been meaning to discuss Katy Perry’s I Kissed A Girl, but find the song (and its reprehensible predecessor, Ur So Gay – I hope Hilary Duff pays Perry a visit) but I find her songs so odious I haven’t been able to bring myself to get into the zone, so to speak. To listen to UR So Gay – and this is speaking as a long-term defender of pop music – is to experience the joy drain from your life like Mosquitor sucking the life-force out of He-Man, only less entertaining. (On that note, you can have a schadenfreudetastic read of this interview with Perry, conducted by TheNewGay, in which she attempts to argue that lyrics like “I hope you hang yourself with your H&M scarf” are, like, not meant to be insulting to gay men.)

Back to the topic of I Kissed A Girl, though – and fortunately, SameSame founder Tim Duggan has spurred me on with his opinion piece, “The dangers of fauxmosexuality“, in today’s Sydney Morning Herald:

In interviews, Perry implies it’s just all a bit of fun. But when up to 30 per cent of teen suicides in the US are by lesbian or gay teens, it’s very a dangerous game for celebrities to play.

The gay equality movement has gradually, thankfully, started to take hold across the world. And then along comes a simple, straight singer with dollars in her eyes who takes us back to a fantasyland created by video-clip directors.

It’s time for Perry to stop kissing girls and start taking responsibility for the knock-on effect of her thoughtless lyrics.

Duggan’s piece is not the first on the topic of the apparent boom in “celesbianism”, though not many have discussed how shrewdly Perry is pitching her material not at lesbians, or even confused teens, but at men. As Jude Rogers said in the Guardian (on the topic of I Kissed A Girl and its video clip):

[…] When she says “it felt so wrong”, she’s pandering to your thoughts. And when she adds that she hopes that her “boyfriend don’t mind it”, she’s not exactly laying the groundwork for a radical lesbian revolution.

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Posted in Celebrity, glbt, Media Watch, music, Sex And Love | Tagged: , , , , , , , , | 10 Comments »

“Hey Boss, I’ve Got This Awesome Metaphor To Use As A Critical Tool…”

Posted by Clem Bastow on August 1, 2008

It’s no secret to anyone working in the music business that it is a foul and shallow money trench (thanks, Hunter S.) where sexism still flows freely; as a music critic by day, I would say that the music journalism/criticism world is even more riddled with back-slapping boys’ club-isms, whether it’s the complete lack of female artists in The Age’s recent 50 Greatest Australian Albums list, or simply the distinct lack of female staffers at titles like Rolling Stone and Pitchfork.

(Incidentally, it also seems to be very hard to discuss the sexism inherent in music criticism without being accused of bitterness, sour grapes or, even better, having my period. Go figure.)

So when I was trawling the net for Weezer info (having written a column on the topic this week) and I stumbled across this review of their most recent album, from Australian webzine Wireless Bollinger, my eyes rolled so hard they almost fell out – to wit, the writer, Ed Butler, paints each of Weezer’s most noted records as, wait for it, women! (Sorry, “girls”.) Stick that in your Music Criticism 101 pipe and smoke it!

Pinkerton. The apex of indie pop-rock. Smart, funny, willfully abstract; if it was a girl, it would be the perfect girlfriend – challenging, attractive, good dress sense, a mysterious, darker side, a real class act.

Weezer (The Blue One). The debut de rigueur of indie die-hards the world over. Flawless guitar pop. If it was a girl, it would be your best friend’s gorgeous younger sister – not so challenging, but great fun to spend time with on the odd occasion, and always tempting to revisit.

Make Believe. Urgh. The drunken, shambolic chick passed out in the corner of the pub, semi-conscious fingers clinging desperately to a half empty bottle of vodka.

Nice, huh? He then takes a holiday from trying to be Lester Bangs for a few paragraphs (conveniently forgetting – as most jock wannabe critics do – that Bangs was, in fact, a feminist) before returning with this denouement:

Right now, if The Red One was a girl, she’d be the slightly unhinged girl with a twinkle in her eye, Doc Martens and a tutu. In other words, probably not marriage material.

Now, I’m no fan of metaphor in criticism at the best of times (I used it when I was but a wee critical bairn; I look back at it and cringe, hard), but this instance is particularly odious. I mean, where do I start? Fitting value judgments, lecherousness, and sexist stereotyping into a handy metaphor, all within the space of a capsule album review? Ed Butler, you are clearly “THE MAN”!!

Posted in Blog Watch, Media Watch | Tagged: , , , , , | 6 Comments »

Weekend Love-In: We Love You, Carol Kaye

Posted by Clem Bastow on July 5, 2008

Carole Kaye in the studio

Carole Kaye hard at work in the studio, c. 1960s

If you have ever listened to the Beach Boys’ Good Vibrations, The Monkees’ I’m A Believer, Glen Campbell’s Wichita Linesman, Nancy Sinatra’s These Boots Are Made For Walkin’ or Ike & Tina Turner’s River Deep, Mountain High, you will be familiar with the work of ‘The First Lady Of Bass’, Carol Kaye – only chances are, you didn’t realise it was Kaye’s nimble fingers providing those hits’ undulating basslines (that’s her, at right, hard at work in the studio during the ’60s). In short, Carol Kaye is a stone cold legend of popular music; Brian Wilson called her “the best damn bass player in the world”, and many others would agree.

Kaye is a freelance session bassist and was a member of the celebrated session band The Wrecking Crew and has played bass (and guitar) on approximately 10,000 recordings and countless #1 and Top Ten hits since 1957, not to mention numerous television themes and film scores. She even “played” The Truck in Steven Spielberg’s Duel.

Kaye is also a leading bass guitar educator, having taught since 1949, and published many books and tutorial DVDs on the subject; as a teacher, she has instructed many noted bassists; Sting and Led Zeppelin’s John Paul Jones are both vocal fans of her instructional books.

So, for this Saturday’s Weekend Love-In, pull out your old Beach Boys/Phil Spector/Glen Campbell/Nancy Sinatra/Cher/Joe Cocker… records and have a drink to Carol. Here is an excerpt from filmmaker Pekka Rautionmaa’s documentary, Rockin Suuri Tuntematon (First Lady of Bass):

(Additionally, the son of Wrecking Crew guitarist Tommy Tedesco, Denny, recently made a feature-length documentary – The Wrecking Crew – about these legendary musicians; it is currently doing the film festival rounds and will hopefully be picked up commercially, so that more people can learn about these amazing figures of music history, and in turn, so that Carol Kaye can show the rock snobs of the world that sneeringly calling someone a “chick bass-player” is pretty much the biggest compliment you can give a musician.)

Posted in Weekend Love-In | Tagged: , , , , , | 2 Comments »

When A Successful Female Actress Dates A Recording Artist, What Does She Become?

Posted by Clem Bastow on June 30, 2008

Your daily sexism groan from Britain’s delightfully reconstructed Daily Mail, who have outdone themselves (something the seemingly do quite regularly) in the sexism stakes with this corker of a headline:

Groupie Jennifer has the look of love as boyfriend John Mayer rocks London’s Hyde Park

Yes, that’s right – “groupie”. Despite being a successful Hollywood actress who was this year ranked #17 on Forbes’ Celebrity 100, with earnings of US$27 million, and having been dating Mayer for three months now, it seems – according to the Mail, amongst other media outlets – all women who date musicians must just be starry-eyed band-aids.

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