Teenage Reading Guide

So, being a teenager myself, i have read quite a lot of YA fiction (though i still have rather a lot to read). The thing i have found is that though some of those massive bestselling series like The Hunger Games and The Fault In Our Stars are brilliant, there’s a lot of other teen fiction that’s awful, like Twilight. I was thinking about how some of the most amazing books i have read over the last few years are books no-one has heard of. So here are my top ten

5 albums that made 2013 bearable

13. Unlucky by name. Unlucky by nature. Here are my five albums that made 2013 bearable.
1. All Fall Down – Shawn Colvin
2. Once I Was An Eagle – Laura Marling
3. Matangi – MIA
4. Purgatory/Paradise – Throwing Muses
5. Warp & Weft – Laura Veirs

Yes I have realised that this list is highly female dominant. That was completely unintended. Also I think there are many other great albums released last year, but it takes me a while to digest albums so I haven’t quite got round to listening to them and probably will at some point in the next two years

This Week’s Playlist

Just a quick post this week; sorry, very busy at the moment. This sounds really cringey but this week’s playlist is Break Up songs. I’ve recently just been through a particularly nasty one, so here are my five songs that helped me through

1: Change Is On The Way – Shawn Colvin
2: If You Were There, Beware – Arctic Monkeys
3: Salvage A Smile – Laura Veirs
4: Love Bites – Halestorm
5: Stongehedge – Ylvis (It’s good to laugh)

This weeks Viewpoint

I feel like i would like to start blogging again, but apologies if it’s not very good. Every week i will post one Viewpoint, one Playlist and one Spotlight (this is liable to change). So here’s my first one, and it’s one i touched on a long time ago. WOMEN IN MUSIC.
I am playing a local gig tomorrow, where many different local bands play, and my band is the only female-dominant band playing. This makes me sad. We’re a kind of rock/punk/alternative mix, with female lead, rhythm guitar and drums, and a male bassist. The closest thing to us is a few bands who have women singing and the men playing the instruments. Unfortunately, this is reflected a lot in the music business. When I read NME, most of the bands talked about are all male or male-dominated. This makes me sad, because as much as i love (some) of those bands, i want to see more women doing their thing, in all walks of life, not just music. Young girls have a tendency to think ‘i love music, but i’ll just stick with singing or following the bands around.’ Personally, i can’t sing without wanting to accompany myself. If i hear a song i love, i’ll want to know how to play it as well as listening to it over and over.

All too often, the fact the it is such a male industry makes it hard for women in the music business. Katie White, of The Ting Tings, said about her experiences with record labels: 

“The first marketing meeting we had with our last label, I’d gone to all the effort of making a look book of all my favorite art and photographs, just to show them what I’m about. And I took it in and they said, ‘Oh, yeah, great…’ They didn’t even look at it, just pushed it to one side and asked if I was prepared to take my kit off for men’s magazines. And I was like, Aaargh! I would feel terrible doing that – I could never do it in a million years.”

This is one of the ways that women are put down in the industry. People want to use sex to sell things, and yes, this does happen with men, but it’s become the norm with females in the music industry. People think to sell you have to be sexual, good-looking and available. In reality it is not the case. Take the single cover for Burn by Ellie Goulding. This song was a number one, sold extremely well, because people liked the song, it’s a catchy pop number. Yet somehow there is still a need for Goulding to pose sexually in a revealing, can i call it, dress?

Finally, i’ll leave you with a quote from Sheila Chandra, which sums up what i am trying to say:

“There is this attitude of ‘sound pretty, be accessible and don’t be dangerous, or we wont call you dangerous we’ll call you mad, and that way we can say your work isn’t worth anything. You’re a woman, you’re not supposed to be like that!'”

Seeing Black

“When did you start seeing black
Was it all the good you felt you lacked
Was it all the weight riding on your back
When did you start seeing black”

This is such a powerful song. I saw Lucinda Williams play this live with her band in November, and she was like a true rockstar. It just pulls something inside you.

“Did you feel your act was a final truth
A dramatic end to a misspent youth
Did you feel you had all the proof
Did you feel your act was a final truth”

And yes, it is about suicide

Diamond In The Rough

This book. Amazing. Colvin tells the story in such a straightforward, honest way that is actually truly addictive. She doesn’t dwell on things and you’ll find yourself on a completely different subject by the end of the chapter.
I’ve always loved Shawn Colvin, but this book just strengthened my affection for her. Many problems, situations and things that happen in her life are things I can completely relate to. She portrays a wonderful character, one I’m sure many people will begin to admire. But’s it’s her unorthodoxness, her struggles and the way she addresses them that does it for me

Bring Back Punk Girl Groups!

Has anyone else noticed a lack of punk girl bands around? As a fan of the original Slits line up, punk is something I love. I think it’s a really important part of music culture, especially female punk groups.
A few months ago, I went to a pussy riot fundraiser gig, and I saw a really good band called skinny girl diet. Ok, so it was very loud (But that’s what punk’s about!) and you could not hear a word they were singing (Well, mostly screaming), but all these things made the band more attractive to me. I then went home, followed them on soundcloud, and eventually downloaded their demo. Their tunes, such as dimethyltryptamine and Eyes That Paralyze are truly infectious. Some, like Homesick, just make your head jerk up and down like crazy, like true punk should. Sometimes people look at me funny, if I’m in a public place and listening to their demo, because I probably look like a demented maniac! Female music is so important and often so good! Bring back female punk, I say
You can buy skinny girl diet’s demo at http://www.milk-records.co.uk/index.php?/bands/skinny-girl-diet/