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.

The Terror Dream: Myth and Misogyny in an Insecure America

Many people are rightfully weary of discussing and analyzing 9/11. While it could be labeled insensitivity, it more likely has to do with a stifled national discourse, repugnant media spin, and a lack of in-depth processing. For the past several years, we’ve all been hibernating, trying to escape the aftermath of the terrorist attacks rather than actively deconstruct their meaning.

Offend Maggie

Some people find Deerhoof unlistenable, with sometimes manic, screeching vocals over strange instrumentation. Some critics think they're twee, and some think they’re the best of noise rock. Most cannot slap a genre label on this expectation-bending band. There is occasional yelling and human-made sound effects, "Beep beep!" You have no idea where the songs will go, or when they will end.

Car Alarm

The Sea and Cake are much as their name suggests: soothing and a bit sugary.


In a past life, I put Brit-Brit tracks on my iPod for the gym. Manufactured sounds make my booty shake, and no matter how high-minded I may be about independent music, I can appreciate pop anthems and radio hits. In my present state, I have compassion for the ubiquitous starlet, her public breakdowns, and her compulsive need to set the record straight in her own tangled way. The spotlight is a heat lamp.

Power Lines: On the Subject of Feminist Alliances

In the past year, I’ve noticed a trend towards bashing the contemporary Women’s Studies programs of U.S. universities. Mostly, I’ve heard critiques of this brand of academic feminism coming from (perhaps not surprisingly) communities of radical feminists, many of whom do not identify as scholars bound by an institution or a set of initials after their names. Myself both in the radical feminist category and also the past recipient of a gendered bachelor’s degree, I can sympathize with the range of emotions this topic can elicit.

Guyland: The Perilous World Where Boys Become Men

Guyland is less of a place than an attitude, a realm of existence. Occupied by young, single, white men, its main demographic is middle class kids who are college-bound, college co-eds, or recent graduates in the United States. They live in communal housing with fraternity brothers or other recent grads. They work entry-level jobs but act aimless. They have plenty of time to party like they did in college and subsist on pizza, beer, and a visual diet of cartoons, sports, and porn. They hook up with women, but rarely form meaningful relationships.

Make A Zine!: When Words and Graphics Collide!

Remember when self-publishing didn't mean having a blog? Remember when you spent time proofreading your random scraps of writing and rearranging clips, when you felt like you had time with your work instead of longing for the compulsive, furtive click of the "publish" button? In a time when ubiquitous technology is rapidly replacing print media as we’ve known it, spending six months on a themed booklet of your own musings might seem odd.

Red Letter Year

Red Letter Year is one of those records about—dare I say it?—hope. Its folksy tunes praise Mother Earth and the blessings we all share at the end of a devastating political era. You don't have to be a longtime fan of Ani DiFranco to be convinced that it is desirable—hell, even possible—to live in the woods, knit your own socks, grow your own food, and exist in a woman-centric world (assuming you don't already).

I'll Stay 'Til After Christmas: A Christmas Album to Benefit Amnesty International

As far as I’ve ever been able to determine, there are two sides of every holiday, binaries inhabited by people who either rejoice in merriment and love, and the rest of us who find holidays—particularly the wintry, mostly-religious ones—vomit inducing, an excuse to sit alone somewhere and cry. If only I were exaggerating. I loathe obnoxiously happy holiday tunes for many reasons, and because my birthday is December 24th (the day known to some as Christmas Eve), I get to listen to them straight through my own Jesus-shared time of year.

Things Are Getting Sinister and Sinisterer

This is perhaps the ultimate postmodern album of the year.

Girls and Weather

Rumble strips are those bumpy edges along the highway that essentially—hopefully—keep you from driving into a ditch. Did you ever start to doze off on an interstate freeway or make a turn too sharp off an exit ramp? Then you’ve probably rolled over a rumble strip. Not really similar due to their lack of grating and bumpy transitions, The Rumble Strips are a UK band with a lot of heart.

Digital Media and Democracy: Tactics In Hard Times

Brittany: I came to this collection with a lot of skepticism, mostly because I’ve grown quickly weary of the narrative about cyberactivism as a fun, accessible substitute for real-time work. I didn’t grow up with a particular activist model, but working as a communication and media scholar in recent years, my response to technology has been lukewarm at best, particularly when it is touted as a surrogate for working with people.

Bubble and Scrape

A fifteen year reissue is much like a greatest hits collection: a triumph or moronic. Since Bubble and Scrape was mostly the former the first time around, Sebadoh’s 2008 re-release of their somewhat classic 1993 album is nothing to sneeze at. Hailed as the quirky, sometimes-inconsistent band’s arrival at the gates of indie rock heaven after a brief period in lo-fi purgatory, this album will either shake you up or leave you bored.


The next greatest soundtrack to your decidedly indie rock life, Tilly and the Wall deliver nothing short of compositional greatness on their third album, O. Known for their youthful, glossy, happy-go-lucky doses of indie pop, this album takes on fun fare while addressing a few deeper issues. “Pot Kettle Black,” for instance, critiques girl cliques and name-calling all too familiar to women of all ages.

My So-Called Freelance Life

Goodman has been freelancing for sixteen years at the time of publication. From the jump, her writing is accessible and fun. The follow-up to the somewhat well known The Anti-9-5 Guide: Practical Advice for Women Who Think Outside the Cube, Goodman is once again onto something. What other how-to guides (repeatedly) use phrases like “get this freelance party started”?

Snoop: What Your Stuff Says About You

I hate to make the comparison, especially so quickly, but I will: Snoop is like Blink’s half brother. They aren’t technically related, but they live in similar worlds, have similar parents, and sometimes their content overlaps.

Lookout Mountain, Lookout Sea

The Silver Jews are one of those bands shuffling around in the back of the club, the members sort of trading places with each other, not sure which one should settle behind the front man, who takes the stage.

When Mothers Kill: Interviews from Prison

Perhaps predictably, _When Mothers Kill: Interviews from Prison_ is not a fun or heartening read; it is a somewhat scholarly book featuring in-depth accounts of women who have murdered their own children.

Feed the Animals

When I heard the first Girl Talk album a few years back, I was pretty excited. It isn’t like remixing is innovative, nor is Gregg Gillis fashioning a new art form (even if he has made it more fashionable again).


The state of mainstream hip-hop is pretty damn depressing. The entire genre has been declared dead a number of times, and the best of a generation make reality shows instead of change. Similarly, the city of Detroit has been ridiculed as economically depressed and full of unprosecuted crime in the shadow of police scandals that have come to prominence again this year. Some might say these are symptoms of a dying city, if it not a dead one. Of the respective states of Detroit and hip-hop, it is also sometimes said that one death begets the other.

The Devil, You + Me

I think The Notwist are a fun, synthy explosion of goodness, and I loved and lived with their 2002 album, Neon Golden, since its release. In the interim, the band members have been keeping busy with projects 13 & God and Ms. John Soda, both excellent acts in their own right.

Bright Shiny Morning

I have no beef with James Frey. I think he’s a talented writer; a zeitgeist of a generation; a younger and less punctuationally-correct Don DeLillo, of a sort; and I believe Oprah is a mean and deceitful ratings leech. I think memoir is a complicated genre at best, and I tend to believe most (if not all) of the story as told in this recent Vanity Fair article.

Rigoberta Menchu and the Story of All Poor Guatemalans

For those unfamiliar with 1983’s I, Rigoberta Menchu, or the controversy that surrounded the initial publication of David Stoll’s contentious academic countering in 1998, it would be best to revisit the debates that have raged for the last ten years.

Sex and the City: The Movie

Far as I can tell, there’s never been a consensus on Sex and the City’s feminist appeal. It shows intimate female relationships, but it’s heteronormative, white, and the characters often talk past each other. The women live (mostly) sexually liberated lives, but they’re nevertheless forever in search of the perfect man to fulfill their emotional needs.

Silk-Screened Bird Patch

Andy Eats Only Candy (also known as Finnish student, designer and textile maker Niina Katinka) is an incredibly Earth-friendly little outfit that specializes in silk-screening, one-inch buttons, and various clothing and purses. With a focus on squirrels, rabbits and birds, the designs are cute and a tad whimsical, without being too precious.

FabricLive 39

This record is sick. By 'sick' I mean off the charts wicked, all night booty-shaking, dance party-inspiring, screaming while you crash down the rollercoaster of noise sick. Woah. DJ Yoda, the mastermind behind this collaboration, hails from the UK and focuses on hip-hop turntablism, making a name for himself since the late 1990s with his How to Cut and Paste album series. Joining the ranks of Fabric DJs, he’s outdone himself.

Fabric 39

Robert “Noise” Hood is one of the original members of the Detroit collective Underground Resistance (UR) and a solo DJ with an incredible discography. His work is informed by militant politics of music as a tool for social chance, and coming out of Reagan-era inner city Detroit, his radical views are personally informed.

Chart Your Cycle and Adventures in Menstruating #1-3

I’m one of those women who has never been terribly fond of her period. I spent years trying to escape my own bodily functions and wrote my undergraduate thesis on suppressing menstruation by using birth control pills. More recently, I’ve discovered that my lifelong migraines are linked to my cycle. My period and I have come to an understanding, so while I don’t make up funny nicknames for it, I use cloth pads and organic tampons whenever possible. But I have never been overly fond of my menses and to say my feelings about menstruating are conflicted is quite an understatement.

Nowtopia: How Pirate Programmers, Outlaw Bicyclists, and Vacant-lot Gardeners are Inventing the Future Today

Veteran writer and activist Chris Carlsson’s new book is nothing short of an urban working-class blueprint for change. Drawing on Marxist theory and powerfully deconstructing modern assumptions about class and work, Nowtopia presents fringe utopian ideals as well-reasoned, proactive solutions for how to authentically survive in our struggling society.

It’s a Jungle Out There: The Feminist Survival Guide to Politically Inhospitable Environments

If you keep up with the purported leaders of feminist blogging, or if you heard any of the controversy about the John Edwards campaign bloggers last year, the name Amanda Marcotte may ring a bell.