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Expatriarch Radio has been running on a monthly basis since early 2010, collecting transgenre music selections with a queer-feminist focus, placing special emphasis on Berliner artists as well as international acts touring through Berlin. The 50th episode dropped last week, premiering new, unreleased cuts by Alexander Geist (produced by Snax), Rodeo and Perera Elswhere (in the form of a rRoxymore remix). It’s now streaming online at Expatriarch’s site (along with all past episodes).
The documentary “Sounds Queer” by filmmaker Dan Bal will previewed in conjunction with the Marry Klein event series at the Harry Klein club and the DOK.fest in Munich tonight. The film portrays the three Berlin based DJs Tama Sumo, Resom & Ena Lind and gives insights on their work and everyday live. For more information on the event please visit the clubs’ website or the event’s Facebook page (both in German), for an English summary of the film please check out its Vimeo page.
Video 2/5 from Black Cracker´s new album “Poster Boy”, out on Gully Havoc March 20th, 2014. Record release party at Prince Charles in Berlin on March 20th, with Black Cracker (live w/ band) + DJ sets by Planningtorock, Stimulus, Tokyo Hands, and more.
+++ Rodeo: “Final Light” +++
Yes, hip hop has seen a queer revolution in the last two years, and it was pretty exciting to see it happen. But unfortunately this shift had no actual effects on the gender balance in the hip hop business. It feels more like the opposite – while hip hop music performend by women was pretty successful in the late 90s/early 2000s with artists like Missy Elliott, Lil Kim, Eve or Foxy Brown, it is nearly invisible in today’s mainstream hip hop. But of course it’s not like there are no great female MCs out there. How big the gap is I realized when I started researching music for my DJ evenings at the Berlin based SISSY party, where only female hip hop and R’n B is played. Before the first gigs I actually believed that it would be a tough job find enough music by female artists to fill a 2-hours set. But I just needed to do my homework to find out how many amazing artists are there and how ignorant I have been, especially as someone who believes to have a feminist mindset.
It is really not my aim to re-establish the term “female hip hop” with the following list or claim that there is a new female movement, this is something my music journalist colleagues would do. But I really want to share the experience I made in the last few weeks, because it has changed my perception of what contemporary hip hop is like. Some of you might already know the following artists, because many of them have been around for a while. Please feel free to use the comment section to extend this list. For others I hope this list can be an inspiration to dig a little deeper and reconsider their hip hop listening habits. And happy International Women’s Day by the way.
Brooklyn based rapper Junglepussy is definitely one of the most exciting female MCs at the moment. Her style is weird, sexy and suberversive, her rhymes are bold and straight-in-your-face, her beats are as dark, hypnotic and might remind you of NYC rapper LE1F, who also works with with producer Shy Guy. After releasing two videos in 2013 and opening for Lil Kim at the WestGay party in June 2013, Junglepussy just recently has announced a debut album Satisfaction Guaranteed, which will released this month. Check out her Soundcloud page for the laid-back title track of the new record.
22-year old Brianna Perry from Miami has started her rap career at the age of 10, when rapper Trina featured here on the track “Kandi” from her 2002 album Diamond Princess. This caught the attention of Missy Elliot, who signed her to her label “The Goldmind Inc” and invited her to support her on tour. But due to “creative differences” Brianna resigned from her contract and since then has regularly been releasing free mixtapes, which are all still availale online. I especially recommend Symphony No. 9 from 2012 and Face Off from 2011. Her debut album Girl Talk is still TBC.
After the quick demise of Witch House and Sea-Punk’s losing its popularity, the deliberately trashy, overly emotional and teenage-y face of underground electronic music has surfaced. The new sub-genre combines an attitude of 90′s boy bands and Mariah Carey-y heartbrokenness, inspiration from adolescent love stories, video/computer/console games, basketball courts, imagery of tribal tattoos, roses and modified cars with processed or auto-tuned vocals and hip hop/dance music with strong ambient undertones and sometimes with a Latin American take.
Here is our picks of love-hurt boys and girls:
PALMISTRY – CATCH
Palmistry is a South London-based producer, who has worked with Triad God on his previous and upcoming releases. “Catch” is his first solo release from Mixpak Records.
E+E – FIRE GUTღ
E+E is a producer from Los Angeles releasing independently on Bandcamp.
YUNG SHERMAN – C2SL VOL. 5
Member of Gravity Boys, Yung Sherman hails from Stockholm.
SHLOHMO & JEREMIH – NO MORE
Not obscure at all, but WeDidIt Collective producers Shlohmo and Jeremih quite often answer to our description. “No More” is their freshly released collaboration.
ECCO2K – MIRAGE (Prod. by ALOEGARTEN)
ECCO2K and Alóegarten are also members of Stockholm based Gravity Boys.
o F F Love – EVERYDAY (PROBABLY LOVED)
Paris/Berlin based, bandana-bedecked o F F Love has a distinct ghostly and melancholic sound.
MERELY – HELIOTROPE (SUN ANGELS REMIX)
Merely from Gothenburg and Sun Angels from London meet on this dance track rework.
+++ ATMA is Jane Arnison aka Jon Dark, member of the Berlin based band Kool Thing. The band is currently working on new songs for the follow-up to their wonderful self-titled debut, and all members will be releasing new material from their side-projects in the next few months. Jane does the start with a beautiful self-recorded and produced 5-track-EP “Remedy in Motion” entitled out Jan 28th via Mad Dog & Love. The lead single “Roses” is as athmosperic and longing as the whole record and can already be streamed and downloaded. If you like the vibe as much as I do you can already pre-order the whole thing it via Bandcamp.
+++ I discovered hip hop artist Jay Boogie through the latest issue of BDGRMMR magazine, which we posted about last Wednesday (click here or see below). I highly recommend his 7-track album/EP “Pretty Spitta”, which was released late December on Jay’s Bandcamp page is described as “The sound of struggle, beauty, pain. Sex, spiritualism, opulence and self-awareness.” I have nothing to add here, except for that you can stream the whole thing here, to buy it click on “download”:
+++ sean360x is based in Paris and does very jazzy, intimate soul music with a wonderfully releaxed, funky vibe and a the right amount of creative chaos. His song “je ne sais quoi (know not)” was released in November last year as part of on the EP “one” and now comes with a nice split-screen-heavy video, which according to the YouTube info text shows the artist “embracing the uncertainties of life for 3 years through ritual and symbolism in the jenga of Paris, Haiti, New Orleans, & Alphabet City”. Check it out:
We’ve already introduced you to the agenda and the history of BAD GRAMMAR aka BDGRMMR in early 2013 in conjunction with a showcase of the zine at the queer pop-up book shop BGSQD. If you missed it check out the full story told by BDGRMMR editor Justin Allen here. The fourth BDGRMMR issue entitled “Execution” is now out and features an interview with MC Jay Boogie and an interview-based portrait of house artist Tigga Calore. The combination is especially interesting since both artists are based in New York City and grew up there, and both of them were influenced by the ballroom scene and share their perspective on it.
Perreo is a street dance very popular in Latin American countries like Puerto Rico, the Dominican Republic or Cuba and usually danced to Reggaeton beats. The style is a Southern American equivalent to grinding (= twerking) in the US Bounce music culture and might even be its original form, although as far as I could figure it out the connections between the two aren’t really clear yet. The word “perreo” means dancing doggystyle and derives from the Spanish word “perro”. And yes, it has increasingly become a guy-on-guy thing, especially amongst younger guys of all sorts of sexualities – sometimes more serious, sometimes less. Here’s a little YouTube video compilation.
In his article Hey Mrs. Carter—What About the Gays? published on Slate.com a week before christmas author Matthew Capetola criticizes Beyoncé for her take on sexuality and gender on her new self-titled album. He states that especially the videos promote a heteronormative value system based on family and monogamy, where sex is only functioning as highly stylized counterpoint to ”a vision of the family and childhood purity”. This is why according to Capetola queer protagonists only appear in the video for “Haunted”, where they are presented as as part of a “freak show” that Beyoncé rather observes than actually taking part in it. ”In this light”, he conclues “the album starts to seem more conservative than revolutionary”. And he asks himself: “Does she have my back?”
I agree that even though she seems to take her feminist approach very serious, queer or gender-bending moments are rare on the album. And yes, especially the videos are clearly targeting a straight audience. But if you dig a little deeper it gets obvious that the Beyoncé’s politics are not as clearly black and white as Capetola describes them.
Let’s take a look this BuzzFeed-style and start with “Haunted” by Jonas Åkerlund. Okay, we can see that Beyoncé only walks the halls of the mysterious mansion / hotel and does her highly sexual dancing in a separate room. But hey, isn’t she totally enjoying what she sees? Isn’t she turned on? And shouldn’t she be rather shocked if she would be only be there to watch a “freak show”?
And isn’t this strong beautiful back woman who reminds me of Grace Jones (I wish I knew who this is) rather the secret star of this video than just a “freak”?
She’s even so important that Beyoncé (with her Marlene Dietrich/ Madonna-in-her-Erotica-era sort of hairstyle) appears as between her spread legs in Åkerlund ’s vision.
And what is so freaky about this beautiful person in the bathtub?
It’s no secret – I love Christmas. The snow (should we be so lucky), the lights, warm alcoholic beverages, pine scents, tolerable members of your family. Should there be such a thing.
Christmas is about tradition, a precarious sentiment when you’re a queer in a season synonymous with Macy’s, normative family values and corporate capitalism. Should we embrace the holidays or deride them, forging new territory with a separatist’s zeal? I’ve always opted for the former. Sorry. But it doesn’t mean you can’t have fun with the normative.
So in the spirit of juggling the conventional with the peculiar, naff or unlikely, I’ve assembled a pedigree of my favorite “Christmas classics” for your seasonal enjoyment, ranging from the obvious (Mimi) to the self promotional (me) in what is, for the most part, an unironic playlist.
1. The Christmas Song – Peggy Lee
This is perhaps the most traditional tune here. Recorded in 1960, it really spins the sensation of warmth and coziness found in suburban fortitude, which was the way of the era.
2. Santa Baby – Kylie Minogue
A few years back, when Kylie was trying to break into the American market for a zillionth time, she thought that the best route was to light up that Rockefeller tree and put out a holiday “EP” (2 songs) – though this recording had been floating around for years. Gotta love this budget video. Is that Kylie or Amanda? We’ll never know…
3. Frosty the Snowman – Cocteau Twins
Christmas Classic. Next.
4. It Doesn’t Often Snow at Christmas – Pet Shop Boys
This was a nail in the coffin of the Boys 27 year record contract with Parlaphone. Instead of releasing “All Over The World” as the lead single to their 2009 “Yes,” the label was like, “let’s slow the song down, throw on some french horns and toss out a christmas EP.” So they dusted off this track, which was once but a 90s fanclub Christmas card trifle, for what became the Boys’ poorest charting release to date. Watch out for the dancing Christmas trees near the song’s crescendo.