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Old 10-23-2020, 01:35 PM   #11 (permalink)
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Voodoo Queens

The Voodoo Queens’ music makes me want to be alive. They’re barely riot grrrl; they’re as much Veruca Salt as Bikini Kill (Nina’s bright side of Veruca Salt, not Louise’s angsty side), although they don’t really sound like either of those bands. Their discography consists of an LP called Chocolate Revenge and a bunch of singles/EP’s; of all this, the Kenuwee Head EP is their best. The title track is a wonderful thirst song about Keanu Reeves, and it also features the terrific Supermodel Superficial, an obligatory rant about supermodels and beauty standards (the lyrics are ironically superficial) which is just an excuse to headbang your brains out. Then there’s Chocolate/Girl Solo, which ends in a delicious psychedelic dream (the most wicked moment of their discography).

Their music is at its core poppy, simple punk, but just a bit more colourful, always with little surprises: weird instrumentation and sounds (the random steeldrum surprise at the end of Shopping Girl Maniac lol), or a weird chord. Although songs on Chocolate Revenge are not always individually memorable, it is full of such nice moments. The guitar at the end of You’re Dumped sounds like the desperate last breath of a sea lion. And now and then entire songs come as a cool surprise, like the slow, eerie, sitar(?)-featuring Indian Film Star (many of the band members were of Indian origin) which makes a sudden turn towards conventional pop punk. Also, they have amazing, colourful album covers which appear to be self-drawn (see above). The album closes with the understated My Favourite Handbag: ‘He’s my/favourite handbag/without him/I guess I’m sad’. Amazing.

By the way, their music videos are an absolute delight. They’re a fountain of joy, seriously. If you're going to check out anything in this post, it should be this:
Spoiler for music videos:



Fun facts:
- One of the band members was a musician/painter/go-go dancer/stripper who called herself Ella Guru after the Captain Beefheart song. She married in drag on a Dorset cliff, rode a bike to Lithuania, and spanked Tory politicians in fetish clubs (*). What a queen. She’s the head in the fridge in the Kenuwee Head video, in case you’re wondering.
- They thank Bill and Ted in the Kenuwee Head liner notes lol



Choice tracks:
Spoiler for Kenuwee Head:

Spoiler for Supermodel Superficial:

Spoiler for Chocolate/Girl Solo:

Spoiler for You're Dumped:

Spoiler for Indian Film Star:

Spoiler for Shopping Girl Maniac:

Spoiler for My Favourite Handbag:


-----
(*) source: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Ella_Guru
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Last edited by Marie Monday; 10-23-2020 at 01:48 PM.
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Old 10-26-2020, 07:46 AM   #12 (permalink)
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nice, keep it up

Bratmobile is one of my favorite punk bands, but I was never that knowledgeable on deep cut Riot Grrrl otherwise
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Old 10-26-2020, 08:19 AM   #13 (permalink)
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Thanks, I'm planning on doing a Bratmobile post sometime soon!
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I want to open a school for MB's lost boys and teach them basic coping skills and build up their self esteem and strengthen their emotional intelligence and teach them about vegetables and institutionalized racism and sexism and then they'll all build a bronze statue of me in my honor and my bronzed titties will forever be groped by the grubby paws of you ****ing whiny pathetic white boys.
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Old 10-26-2020, 08:25 AM   #14 (permalink)
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Those Voodoo Queens clips sound a lot like the first Donnas record.
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Old 10-26-2020, 11:35 AM   #15 (permalink)
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That's kind of true! The Donnas sound a lot more like the Ramones though, which is a mostly good thing (duh) but their music is less varied I think
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Old 11-12-2020, 03:04 PM   #16 (permalink)
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Bratmobile – Pottymouth

I don’t know if an equivalent exists in English, but in Dutch there is a saying which can loosely be translated as ‘if you aren’t strong you have to be clever.’ I think this is true for Bratmobile: they come up with alternatives to brute force which result in a similar effect, most obviously in their singing. They’re unique in that they’re the only band which found a way to make riot grrrl sophisticated (Sleater-Kinney is more sophisticated, but they don’t count because it’s in spite of being riot grrrl. As their sophistication increased, they became less riot grrrl: the transition point was Call the Doctor, and by Dig Me Out they had stopped being a riot grrrl band.) Of course Bratmobile is not sophisticated in the usual sense, but there’s something about their irony and the clever use of bouncy, rhythmic, sparse instrumentation. One could call it skeletal music. Their comparative quietude is also their greatest weakness (you can never truly find an alternative to the force of Bikini Kill), but that’s partly a matter of personal preference.

Pottymouth starts so great. Love Thing is brilliant, with the dynamic combination of relentless, minimal instrumentation and offbeat vocals. The repetitive pattern has such a force that every time the riff briefly bends upwards it’s way more exciting than it has any right to be. Then we get the stab-me-and-****-the-wound song, which is great for obvious reasons. They also give a fantastic rendition of Cherry Bomb, honouring some of riot grrrl’s origins. It features the best take ever on the concept of harmony and some delightful ‘oooh’s. Comparing this song to the original shows the band’s strength really well; it’s almost an exercise in making music work with as little means as possible. **** Yr Fans is the only really screamy song (incidentally, it reminds me of the Descendents’ Parents) but still with the characteristic bright, crisp sound. Panik takes the signature vocals to their extreme, just flying in all directions, it’s almost yodelling ('her name is PaniIiIiiiIIiIik'). For me one of the absolute highlights is the sassy, delightful Bitch Theme, which sounds uncharacteristically warm and fuzzy. And then of course there’s Cool Schmool, which is great for reasons very similar to Love Thing. To be honest I prefer the latter, but Cool Schmool wins when it comes to catchiness. After that the songs are still nice, but not very memorable, or maybe the lack of variation makes things sound more monotonous at this point. Anyway that’s not a strong objection, this is still a pretty consistent and really great record.



Choice tracks:
Spoiler for Love Thing:

Spoiler for Stab:

Spoiler for Cherry Bomb:

Spoiler for **** Yr Fans:

Spoiler for Panik:

Spoiler for Bitch Theme:

Spoiler for Cool Schmool:
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I want to open a school for MB's lost boys and teach them basic coping skills and build up their self esteem and strengthen their emotional intelligence and teach them about vegetables and institutionalized racism and sexism and then they'll all build a bronze statue of me in my honor and my bronzed titties will forever be groped by the grubby paws of you ****ing whiny pathetic white boys.
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Old 11-13-2020, 01:01 PM   #17 (permalink)
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You might have noticed that I’m smothering most of these records in superlatives, so why am I such a pathetic little nerd for this music? Any project of mine wouldn’t be complete without some shamelessly sentimental, angsty introspection, so here’s my personal take on riot grrrl:

Marie Explains Herself

I think that since my early childhood there’s some built-up anger in me which has to do with being a girl. Not that don’t want to be a girl, at least that’s not the problem anymore; it’s just that as a kid I wanted everything which is connected with a boy’s identity. I wore boy’s clothes, I played football (the European kind), I liked cars and dinosaurs and pirates and cowboys, but still I wasn’t one of the boys, and I certainly didn’t fit in with the girls, which is a humiliating and alienating experience. I lacked some indefinite power and part of my identity which most boys took for granted. Then along came Kathleen Hanna, and I think she gave me a glimpse of women just hijacking those things I craved for. Somehow riot grrrl manages to be a medicine for most of my ills. Are you feeling alienated? Riot grrrl affectionately kisses your forehead and tells you it’s ok to be a freak. Gender issues? Riot grrrl spits in the face of gender norms. Are you anxious? Riot grrrl is unafraid and gives you the power to ninja-kick the world in the face. Are you closeted? Riot grrrl is not per definition gay but lesbihonest, it kind of is.
So basically this music stands for everything I aspire to be. I wouldn’t call myself a riot grrrl wholeheartedly; it just sounds goofy, and I have some reservations about the politics. I consider myself a feminist, so I mainly agree with riot grrrl’s core concept, but there are many subtleties of the genre’s message and practice that I don’t exactly identify with. I don’t like the lack of nuance, and the attitude towards men is often too aggressive to my taste. Then again, it’s punk, so it’s not supposed to be nuanced or gentle, and I really think many girls needed riot grrrl to be what it was. My only serious objection is that riot grrrl seems a very exclusive, privileged white scene (I remember Hawk confirmed this once), but there are exceptions to this (especially now, and if you take a bit of a broad definition of the genre), like Emily’s Sassy Lime, Voodoo Queens, Big Joanie, and New Bloods. Also, at least Corin Tucker was aware of the problem at the time:
Spoiler for Heavens to Betsy - White Girl:

Anyway, I can fuss about identifying as a riot grrrl all I want, but the title of this journal says enough and I do have this t-shirt, so there’s that.

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I want to open a school for MB's lost boys and teach them basic coping skills and build up their self esteem and strengthen their emotional intelligence and teach them about vegetables and institutionalized racism and sexism and then they'll all build a bronze statue of me in my honor and my bronzed titties will forever be groped by the grubby paws of you ****ing whiny pathetic white boys.
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Old 11-13-2020, 02:13 PM   #18 (permalink)
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Quote:
I wasn’t one of the boys, and I certainly didn’t fit in with the girls, which is a humiliating and alienating experience.
This is a very important statement. These kind of social outcastings over who follows gender norms cause a lot of people a lot of pain. Often, but not always, this a prejudice against androgyny. If we simply put aside our favoritism for culturally accepted gender norms a lot of other problems would be much easier to resolve. And while I’m on your soapbox here, I’d feel remiss if I didn’t give a shoutout to asexuals. Maybe that’s not totally related but it’s adjacent enough.

Great post. Great journal.
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Old 11-13-2020, 02:33 PM   #19 (permalink)
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Absolutely. Thanks man
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Old 11-13-2020, 05:34 PM   #20 (permalink)
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Shout out to the girl who I used to have no problems playing Barbie with when her mom was babysitting me.
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