Elevate Difference

Reviews tagged female musicians

Marnie Stern

The buzzword on Marnie Stern's self-titled third album seems to be "introspective." Frankly, this descriptor hardly seems indicative of a sea change if we've been paying attention to her lyrics. Sure, In Advance of the Broken Arm and her breakthrough sophomore effort, _[This Is It And I Am It and You Are It and So Is That and

Girls to the Front: The True Story of the Riot Grrrl Revolution

First, an admission: like several feminist friends in my age group, riot grrrl didn’t make a profound impact of me until college. I was ten in 1993, the year Sara Marcus claims as pivotal for the movement in her book Girls to the Front. I was moving away from Mariah Carey and getting into the Pet Shop Boys. Riot grrrl was first on my radar through mainstream distortion in the pages of Spin and in the Spice Girls’ defanged “girl power” message.

The Road Home

When I opened my package containing Eliza Blue’s album The Road Home, I was greeted with a little bit of Southern hospitality; the CD was wrapped in a piece of twine and included a hand-written note saying, “Thanks for listening, hope you enjoy!” I felt comforted by that note. It was a little wave “hello” from home, and more than that, a connection between artist and audience.

Princess Noire: The Tumultuous Reign of Nina Simone

Lately, I’ve been reading about artists, creativity, and the psychological eccentricities that draw the two together and force them into a lifelong bond. It is typical for artistic greats to be different from the mainstream, for they tend to be blessed with innovation, perseverance, and, well, a great deal of futuristic talent. If it were to have been different with Nina Simone, I would have been immensely disappointed.

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.

People Eating People

So, back in the day, I was in a struggling band in Seattle. And back in that day, one of the biggest breaks a struggling band could get was getting a blurb written about them in The Stranger, the local indie newspaper (edited by none other than Dan Savage, of “Savage Love” fame). While my band was scrambling between shows, staying up way too late at practice, and generally creating plenty of VH1 Behind the Music drama, another band was stealing all of the time in The Stranger: Mon Frere.


While growing up reading Spin and Rolling Stone, I quickly realized that both publications are fond of describing the sound of new bands by referencing older bands, many of which my twelve-year-old self hadn’t heard. I used to hate it, but now I realize it’s a pretty effective if lazy way of doing things.

Know Better Learn Faster

“Messy” and “complicated” could very well be the two best words for defining romantic love. As suggested by the title of Thao with The Get Down Stay Down’s latest record, Know Better Learn Faster, the brokenhearted masses could easily avoid painful relationships if they were just plain smarter and quicker learners.

Magic Neighbor

Lisa Germano’s music is like finding an old photograph at a yard sale. Somehow, inexplicably, you’re drawn in by a sad or troubled expression staring back in black and white. Soon, without knowing fully why, you feel a connection to the woman sitting in the photograph, hands in her lap, poised in an awkward position that seems unnatural, strange, perhaps even eerie. And you eventually see a story unfolding before you of a quiet childhood with a distant parent, an unrequited love, and precious moments of happiness glimmering in between.

The Supremes: A Saga of Motown Dreams, Success, and Betrayal

Mark Ribowsky did not interview singer Diana Ross or Berry Gordy, the founder and iron-fisted ruler of Motown Records, for this unauthorized look at The Supremes’ rise and fall.

Lost Houses

The only way I could love The Curtains of Night more is if they wore my grandmother’s homemade bread as a hat. It’s like they took a Melvins super burrito and added Kat Bjelland guacamole and made the best dinner entrée ever—with maybe a Big Business tequila chaser.

A Ways Away

I think I’m genetically predisposed to rock; it’s in my blood or something. I want things to be loud, sometimes fast, and always frantic. I like it when a bass line’s so fat you can feel it in your crotch. I like it when guitars rip through your eardrums. I especially like it when a drum beat is so loud you can mistake it for your own pulse.

Girls Rock!

Move over campfires and nature hikes, there’s a new Rock ‘n’ Roll Camp for Girls in town! In Portland, Oregon, campers ages 8-18 discover a fresh summer adventure. During the one-week session, the girls must form bands, choose instruments (which may or may not be familiar to them), and write songs.

Trailer Park (Legacy Edition)

I was twenty and living in Austin when I first heard Beth Orton. She laid the soundtrack to my existential search for love and self and meaning. Trailer Park is the kind of record you listen to while laying on your bed, questioning your life, your love, or playing against the background in a movie scene where you walk along the railroad tracks, hands in your pocket during a particularly emotional moment.

Middle Cyclone

Music reviews are supposed to be about critical analysis, not deferential boot-licking. But Heaven help me, I cannot help it this time. I love Neko Case. Did you hear me? LOVE. L-O-V-E.

Phratry EP

Most people can’t play an instrument, but Lauren K. Newman (also known as LKN) can play at least five. And she plays them all on the same album. This one-woman band has released her fourth album through Greyday Productions.