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Archive: Planningtorock


To state the obvious: this is not a review. I have no taste in music and I have no desire to cultivate a viable critical voice regarding musical authenticity, innovation or their less appreciated opposites. Planningtorock is always seductive and I am always easy. Instead, this is first a brief review of some the reviews of All Love’s Legal followed by a series of questions activated by the new subject, Jam, within the larger project of Planningtorock.

Samuel Tolzmann of Pretty Much Amazing manages to reduce the album to: “45 minutes of ‘Born This Way,’ only it’s also not very catchy.” Fair is fair. Jam borders an excessive amount of sloganeering within the album. Tolzmann grieves her inability to sell him the appeal of ending patriarchy (Trigger Warning: Total Dude Review). But I must say that thoughtful politics rarely stem from music. Emotional politics however, are fed by song and let us for a minute not value former or the latter, instead allowing them to simply be.

For me, the immaturity of these lyrics reflects beautifully the unimaginative present of gay politics and it’s hijacking of human rights dialogue. Reviewers of the album link it with the Sochi Olympics, exotic counties who punish homosexuality with death, and of course the more evolved Western “shift” away from “inhumane and outdated ideas around marriage.” Released within the same year the Associated Press Style Book declared that no human is to be described as illegal, All Love’s Legal must have a more layered intention than simply gay marriage… legality and love are never comfortable in bed together.

How, within the sweeping universality of Jam’s lyrics, can we only relate one singular image of a love that’s possibly illegal? From a gay perspective alone, aren’t there multiple forms of criminalized love? Sex work? Man/Boy? CHEMSEX? Public Cruising? Sero-discordancy? Anonymous monetary domination? Polyamory? Indeed, these are disparate examples but love exists in all of these places regardless the legal positioning of the Nation/State.

Isn’t the idea of a citizen put to death for being homosexual terrifying because it reflects the infinite capacity for violence within and by the Nation/State? A nation putting any citizen to death is the real horror. Isn’t the reading of love by the Nation/State inherently violent regardless homosexual inclusion because the Nation/State requires permanent otherness by its very nature? Doesn’t legal consideration eliminate and manipulate love?

Born_This_WayWho is the ‘you’ Jam speaks to when she says “You can’t illegalize love?” I read it only as a statement to the Nation/State… it’s the only universal application of the lyric that aligns with her utopic message. Indeed the failure to hear anything but a gay agenda in this song, reiterates the lacking imagination regarding a stand against queer oppression in Russia: rather than challenging the laws of our own countries with the aim of making asylum and a path toward citizenship viable to persecuted Russians, we simply held slogan signs in our undies and staged kiss-ins. Challenging the path to citizenship works not only on behalf of queer Russians, but also Syrians and other victims of nationalist violence. Isn’t this equality our goal?

“Love is the one thing that gives life its purpose.” Planningtorock

When law and Nation fail us, love is supposed to sustain us. Are we criminal if it doesn’t? I believe many lives are given purpose outside of love. And love is a slippery slope. The struggle to cultivate, define and maintain measures of authenticity in one’s love life is its accompanying violence: She’s not in love, she’s having an affair. Look at the younger guy with his sugar daddy… he must just want his money. His wife was once a man so actually he’s gay right? Suddenly our most private ‘sustaining’ love-partner relationship brings everyone else’s private lives to be judged and labeled because our love must always be different, and better.

The globalized values of capitalism have fingerprints all over our love lives. We believe we invest in relationships, and that longevity inherently produces more. We believe our children owe us and our parents cheated us. Our friendships become banks of love to withdraw when needed, and store for later while we leave all other love transactions to clear their approval ratings.

Clearly a humanist politics of love as universal doesn’t digest well for me. And a genderless society sounds about as hopeless as believing we no longer have to ‘see race.’ But perhaps now somewhere there is a frustrated lonely teen jamming out in their room to these anthems of refusal. Gender is not just a lie in the scope of the world, gender has a very real gravity and violence in reality… but for a moment maybe our previous teen gender deviant selves would have relished such explicit and catchy belligerent refusals of reality.

Planningtorock’s “All Love’s Legal” is out via Human Level.


This recording of the live show “Common Visions” is a rare opportunity for non-New-Yorkers to see the post-drag (don’t find a better word) sisterhood Chez Deep in full force. Watch the collective consisting of Colin Self, Alexis Penney, Hari Nef, Sam Banks, Bailey Stiles re-interprete and transcend songs by artists like Lana Del Ray, PLANNINGTOROCK, Christina Aguilera, Kat Bush, Diana Ross, Imogen Heap and Brownstone through dance and lip-synch pieces full of mystic passion, dark glamour and DIY-creativity. It feels like the show is taking the original political spirit of drag and taking it to a new place by giving it new, contemporary forms of expression. The video was taped by Tony Lowe on June 28 2013 in the Ace Hotel NYC and edited by Drew Bolton. More information about the show and the performers in the “Common Visions” Facebook invitation and this article on, where all Chez Deep members of them share their influences through YouTube videos.

Directed/edited by Planningtorock. More about the song here.

+++ Cakes Da Killa‘s new album “The Eulogy” is now online and can (and SHOULD) be streamed and downloaded for free via Bandcamp / Mishka NYC or right here:

+++ Planningtorock has released a new song Misogyny Drop Down - a wonderful, de-gendered hymn against gender-based discrimination with nice house references. The song will soon be released on a new EP on the new exciting Human Level label, which also released Planningtorock’s Patriarchy over & out split single with rRoxymore last year.

+++ THEESatisfaction have a beautiful new EP dedicated to Erykah Badu. You can stream “THEESatisfaction Loves Erykah Badu” here and buy it via Bandcamp (price on a sliding scale):

+++ Portland based duo Unicorn Domination aka Chelsea Dixon and Clint Havard have self-released a cute synth and beat based debut album entitled “Status” in March last year. Last week I’ve stumbled over the video to their single “Babblestacks”, and since then I can’t get the track out of my head. The video shot in Los Angeles was directed by artist and filmmaker Jessie Kahnweiler.

+++ Planningtorock has recently released a new free song: “My Valuable Hunting Knife” is a cover of Guided By Voices and part of the free “DFA Shamash Hits 2011 Collection“, which you should really check out if you haven’t yet. You can stream and download the song right here:

+++ The fashion brand Hood By Air has just released a pretty crazy free hip hop mixtape called “Swagot Thrilltape”. You can download it from their website.

+++ For their new single “Shady Love” the Scissor Sisters have teamed up with Azealia Banks, a 20-year-old rapper and lyricist from NYC and producer Alex Ridha from Boyz Noise. The song is not really my thing, but if you’re curious what this strange combination sounds like you can watch the new video to the song on YouTube (if you wonder who is “Krystal Pepsy” – it’s Jake Shears’ DJ side project)

+++ I guess I’m a little late with this video for the song “Stay In Touch” by a Sydney based beary electro pop duo called Garçon Garçon, which was already released in October. Nathan Mahon and Nick Tsirimokos (the guy on top, picture by Elvis Di Fazio) will release a full EP on the 14th of February. You can listen to two demo songs of Garçon Garçon from early 2011 on BIGSTERO.

+++ S.C.U.M.: “Whitechapel” +++

Album “Again Into Eyes” out via Mute Records.
Full album stream on here, free awesome Light Asylum Remix of “Whitechapel” here.″>.

+++ Planningtorock: “Living It Out” +++

Album “W” out via DFA

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Toronto-based, minor-key-addicted Austra have blown up in such a short amount of time since the May release of their debut album Feel It Break, so it would be easily to dismiss them as hype — a video censored for nudity and a mention on Jay-Z’s blog couldn’t have hurt — but thankfully the quality of the music indicates otherwise. Their cold synth patterns and Katie Stelmanis‘s rich voice are a soft sell on melancholic ears, and their sound perfectly defines the Blacksmith Synth-Bop trend of 2011 (a micro-genre I coined just now).

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Berlin based Janine Ronstron aka Planningtorock is the first female artist ever to release a solo LP on DFA records (“W” is out now) and has created quite a hype around herself  with her releases “Doorway” and “The Breaks” recently – especially because of the irritating, transgressive visuals that accompanied them. It’s been a while that a pop artist has played so effectively with gender roles and concepts of identity in such a straight, puristic way I think, this is why I was quite happy when the German music magazine Intro asked me to interview her a couple of weeks ago (The issue with the text was published a couple of days ago). This is the transcript of the conversation, in which Janine talks about her approach to “extent herself” as a (feminist) artist on different levels and gives a little insight on the origins of her new nose drag appearance.

Janine, as part of your artistical work you’ve always been wearing masks and playing with concepts of identity. At the samt time this new “character” you’ve created as part of your new record seems to hide yourself less than before. Like you’re being someone else and yourself at the same time. Was this part of the conecpt.

Kind of. It’s an evolution from the masks and the helmets, because for me they were always like extensions and adding. But I didn’t want to do that this time, I didn’t want to repeat myself. I thought it was interesting to push this side more.

But it’s still some sort of an extension.

Yeah, absolutely. There’s this term in English – “augmented”. It means that you maximize something, add something and by that disturb or disjoint reality, but it’s still reality. This is what I wanted to do. Also, I’m not the kind of person that feels a “the real me” kind of thing, there’s no “real me”, and that’s what it is about.

It’s also very interesting from a gender perspective. I wouldn’t have expected that changing the nose and the brow would make such a difference, would make a person seem so androgynous…

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The video just premiered over at Gorilla Vs. Bear. “The Breaks” will be relelased as a limited 9″ single on May 9, the new album “W” is out on May 24 via DFA.

A little journey through last 3 decades of pop culture I just put together for a German music magazine. You can watch all the music videos after the jump, and don’t forget to click away the advertisement in the Dailymotion videos by using the cross in the right corner.

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This past Saturday was the second edition of Berlin’s Gegen party at M.I.K.Z. Club, including DJs Olof Dreijer of The Knife and Mt. Sims, plus a second room for experimental music and live performances from Mater Suspiria Vision and Butterclock. In keeping with the party’s theme (“gegen” is German for “against”), I decided to cause a bit of a stir by approaching bearded bears with a pair of scissors and an edition of ten “Bartbeschneidungsbescheinigungen” (“Beard circumcision certificates”). I was happy to find a few good sports – including co-organizers/DJs Warbear and Tom Ass — who let me take a small symbolic snip of their facial foliage, and Verena of Transnational Queer Underground was there to photographically document my victims and my dumbass smirk.

“…while there’s nothing inherently wrong with facial hair, beards have become a tired cliché in the “alternative” gay scene, a gesture often signifying little more than conforming to nonconformity, a superficial expression of masculinity in an attempt to compensate for personal insecurity. Plus, food gets stuck in there.”

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Planningtorock’s new album ‘W’ will be out via DFA records on May 16