Elevate Difference

Reviews by Brittany Shoot

Brittany Shoot

Brittany Shoot is a freelance writer, editor, and critic based in Copenhagen and Boston. Her work has been published by Salon, The New York Times, Bitch, make/shift, RH Reality Check, ZNet, and AlterNet, and she's worked for WhoRunsGov, a project of The Washington Post. She has a master's degree from Emerson College and loves Scandinavian thrift stores, dance-punk, her 1987 diesel Mercedes Benz, and taking photographs with vintage film cameras.

In Evening Air

Synthpop is my steeze. I like to dance, I like to daydream staring out of train windows, and I’m a woman-child passing for an adult on the days that I’m forced to leave the house. This sappy, manufactured genre could have been created just for me and my wild ideas about the big world in which I am so small. I don’t care in which decade it was produced; I’ve been known to adore anything from Modern Talking to Pet Shop Boys to Freezepop. Are there multi-layered keyboards involved in the making of the music?

Jesus Boy

Star-crossed intergenerational love between a Christian matriarch and a young church pianist sounds like an unlikely fictional masterpiece, but in Jesus Boy, Preston L.

"If You Leave Us Here, We Will Die": How Genocide Was Stopped in East Timor

In 1999, twenty-four years after the original invasion and occupation by Indonesia into the former Portuguese colony, 1,500 East Timorese were killed after a referendum in which the majority voted in favor of independence. Under the Indonesian occupation, hundreds of thousands of East Timorese had already been murdered, debatably, as an act of genocide. That independence was desirable was obvious, yet Indonesian paramilitary groups worked with oppressive diligence to incite fear into hopeful hearts after the country’s landmark referendum.

Galaxia Tropicalia

Blasfemea’s Galaxia Tropicalia is a psychedelic electro-pop album that, while not made by women, is decidedly about and possibly for them. This Lisbon-based quartet of adorable, dark-haired boys makes music that, at least in theory, pays homage to women. This sort of sweeping statement is problematic, because really, when has “woman” ever been a universal label?

No Rest

Brooklyn songstress roommates, longtime collaborators, and bestie brunettes Christy Edwards and Emily Manzo have hipster cred out the wazoo. So do loads of other borough-based bands, but few have the raw talent of these two singer-songwriter women—a label that hardly defines the true depth of their talent. Their music, at times hauntingly sparse, reverberates with their lush voices and minimal instrumentation, often just Christy’s guitar or Emily’s keyboard. Sound cloying? The opposite is true.

Shady Retreat

Here’s the dilemma: I like a lot of divergent genres. Living in northern Europe the past eighteen months, I’ve been able to embrace my unabashed love of electronic club music and synthpop. I live in the birthplace of Eurovision, in the land of ABBA. Well, I’m twenty miles south of Sweden, but you get the idea. My partner and I are making plans to move home within the calendar year, though “home” may become anywhere from NYC to Silicon Valley because he’s a start-up guy looking for funding.

Western Theater

Mighty Tiger are the sort of band to open for Animal Collective or Grizzly Bear on tour—and not just because of their similar four-legged names. It’s easy to compare bands in folksy sub-genres, but the truth is, Mighty Tiger are a solid pop-driven fit among more established bands of similar persuasion. On Western Theater, Mighty Tiger do what other comparable bands do not.


Initially, I was put off by Emanuel and The Fear. I didn’t understand their show tunes inspiration, their jaunty piano melodies, and their choral backing. It’s been a long road from the high school show choir stage to the sofa where I sit today, and it took several weeks for Listen to grow on me.

Masks EP

At best, the EP is a misunderstood, wondrous short form sampling of a band’s experimentation between full-length albums. At worst, it’s a disc of cutting room floor material that should have stayed in the waste bin.

The Beat Is...

For the same reason I celebrate my own existence—the idea of “getting out” of whatever dead-end birth town you once inhabited—Alphabeat make me cheer. Born and raised way off the major highway on Denmark’s lone peninsula (the country is otherwise fully comprised of islands), these young folks not only have the same Jutland accent as my partner; they took off for London after their first album, This Is Alphabeat, created a substantial buzz in the UK.

Heart of the Old Country

Mike’s life isn’t going anywhere quickly. A townie car service driver who lives with his widower father, he barely tolerates his girlfriend of four years, Gina, and spends most of his time contemplating an escape from his South Brooklyn stomping grounds. After a friend is brutally murdered with Mike driving the assailants’ getaway car, Mike doesn’t flee. Instead, he accepts a coveted job working for one of the local mob bosses running packages—contents unknown—between an Ethiopian hustler and a house full of Hasidic Jews. His tough guise doesn’t last long, though.


The first Wolf People album released in the U.S., Tidings is comprised of three years worth of psychedelic, folksy Brit rock recordings, some of which were composed before the formation of the current lineup.

Changing My Mind: Occasional Essays

Many readers know literary wunderkind Zadie Smith for her raging success propelled by novels such as White Teeth and The Autograph Man.


Do you have a band with which you feel a connection that far surpasses all others? Are you a writerly music nerd who wouldn’t dream of interviewing said band for fear the mystique would be shattered? I reserve such ardor for only one band. I met Spoon frontman Britt Daniel a few times over the years at various North American concerts. Once, I had the guts to say, “Hi, I’m Britt too.” He put his arm around my shoulders, made a fist with his other hand, and took a photo with me. It’s crazy intense.

The Rise of Disaster Capitalism

Recorded from a lecture in May 2008, The Rise of Disaster Capitalism is an engaging, well-crafted talk by economist-writer-activist Naomi Klein about the problems of increasingly pervasive neoliberal privatization of land and resources on a global scale.

Jesus Girls: True Tales of Growing Up Female and Evangelical

Jesus Girls is a truly beautiful array of humbling feelings and bittersweet experiences, from fears of generational sin to tales of exchanging the pants off your own body with those from a hitchhiker. Divided into sections—community, worship, education, gender and sex, and story and identity—many of the stories were first printed in publications like Geez Magazine.

Dead Zone Boys

Critics like to explain that because Jookabox’s David Adamson is from the east side of Indianapolis, he understands poverty, racism, and its symbolism in society. Check cashing joints and vacant strip malls feature prominently on the list of his influences. Perhaps this is why Jookabox appeals to me so greatly. In addition to my own near-Indianapolis roots, I find meaning and take solace in failing capitalist structures: dilapidated mini-golf courses, repurposed gyro drive-thrus that now house wristwatch wholesalers, theaters that seem to double as half venue, half asylum.

Quick and Easy Vegan Comfort Food: 65 Everyday Meal Ideas for Breakfast, Lunch and Dinner with Over 150 Great-tasting, Down-home Recipes

As someone who has been cooking far less time than I’d like to admit, I should explain that I’ve gotten quite skilled in the arts of chopping, mincing, and sautéing in a very short time, and I enjoy my kitchen prep time far more than I ever expected. I’m a vegan in a decidedly un-vegan land, so I had little choice when it came to learning to cook. After going vegan, the options were eat junk or go hungry. Alicia C.

For the Love Of Animals: The Rise of the Animal Protection Movement

Most people seem to agree that on some level, animal abuse is wrong. Whether this judgment is applied equally across species, however, is another matter. One hardly has to look further for modern examples of animal rights cognitive dissonance than the public outcry against Michael Vick’s dogfighting ring.

Green Arm Cuff with Wooden Marble Buttons / Flax Farm Hoop Earrings / Face Scrubbies

I have a proud family history of hand-me-downs, secondhand stores, and thrift. My mother once had a bumper sticker: “This car stops for yard sales.” I am familiar with “rummaging” as a sanctioned, communal activity for acquiring goods; have visited flea markets in several countries; filled paper sacks at $1 “bag sales”; and as a child, I often accompanied my realtor father to tag and estate sales. For years, I have longed to visit the Highway 127 Yard Sale.

2010 Slingshot Desk Organizer

I am an INFJ, which means that among my other characteristics is the somewhat innate desire to plan. Since discovering them several years ago at the Lucy Parsons Center, I have been hooked on Slingshot planners.

Raindrops Keep Falling on My Head Earrings / Lady Robot Red Pocket Mirror

I used to be a fussy gal when it came to keeping up appearances. I obsessively straightened my hair, checked my makeup many times a day, and had a sizable collection of collared shirts. Along the way—between the radicalizing of my politics, inheriting much of my grandmother's wardrobe, and deciding that what I call ugly chic best represents my humble upbringings and current socioeconomic situation—I put my flat iron in storage, threw out all of my makeup (save for a mascara wand for special occasions), and gave away all my collared shirts that required starch.


I am not a house head, as some enthusiasts of electronic music might insist. I am, however, deeply rooted in my musical past, a history punctuated by middle-American rave culture, pre-emo indie shows in Ohio clubs, and stints at several of the top college radio stations in the U.S. They say it’s bad for a woman’s roots to show, but as one who sports natural color, I have nothing else to hide.

Wings Earrings

When I was coming up, it was all the rage to pierce your ears in multiple places—the higher the potential risk for infection, the better. Multiple holes in your cartilage was not only standard; it was expected. I knew guys who wore safety pins in their ears, whether they'd been professionally pierced or not. I had a friend who let her high school boyfriend pierce her nipple with a safety pin too.

All Tomorrow’s Parties: The Film

Lightning Bolt jams in a courtyard. Grizzly Bear harmonizes on the beach. Concert-goers play Dance Dance Revolution, and young hipster musicians experiment with theremins, wind machines, and banjos. If you know of—or even had the supreme privilege of attending—All Tomorrow’s Parties (ATP), this likely sounds like a plausible scene. Named for the Velvet Underground song of the same name, the annual event has been running for nearly a decade, with parties in the UK that have since expanded to the U.S.

Green Meadow Earrings

When cold weather settles over the Northern Hemisphere, it's all I can do to get out of bed in the morning. I live far enough north that the daylight time literally cuts in half—what was once a twelve-hour-day becomes six measly hours of cloud-covered sunshine. In addition to bundling in many layers, pulling the cat in for extra snuggles at night, and cranking up the heater, I try to keep my appearance fresh. I can all too easily spiral into a dark months depression.

First As Tragedy, Then As Farce

Slovenian philosopher and cultural critic Slavoj Žižek’s latest work—a call to the Left to reinvent itself in a time of international crisis—begins with a nod to Marx’s correction of Hegel in The Eighteenth Brumaire Of Louis Bonaparte: “Hegel remarks somewhere that all great events and characters of world history occur, so to speak, twice.

Two Roads Necklace / Forever Necklace

Cloudberries—also known as 'bakeapples'—are a tiny fruit found in the Northern Hemisphere. Like jewelry designer Ioulia, who hails from Espoo in the Helsinki municipality of Finland, cloudberries thrive in colder climates and produce rich color. Influenced by their delicate vibrancy, Ioulia named her shop for the cinnamon-colored berries. In her beautiful handcrafted designs, it's easy to see the simple but elegant inspiration. I’m a sucker for pretty gift wrapping.

Spearmint Soap

Who doesn’t love soap? Besides a Chilean pal I had in college who insisted “Americans bathe too often,” I’ve never known anyone who took issue with washing. I have a complicated relationship with bathing, though. It takes me a while to deal with my hair once washed, and for this reason, I’ve been experimenting with less frequent showering this past year. Some people think this is a ‘green’ habit. For me, it’s mostly about convenience and comfort. I grew up loving baths, and my current apartment features only an awkward shower with two levels.


In my mind, you either love drum and bass or you hate it—or you have no idea what it is. Pretty much indistinguishable from other Fabric mix albums and the Fabriclive series releases, this is the second d&b-heavy Scratch Perverts addition to the Fabric Records discography.