Women’s Music: The Be Good Tanyas

April 13, 2009

In avoidance of my anger towards the Amazon Fail (recent details coming soon not withstanding), I thought I would introduce you to one of my favourites. A Vancouver trio of folk artists, The Be Good Tanyas have so many beautiful songs I wasn’t sure which one I wanted to share, but as soon as I came across this one I thought it best. The Downtown Eastside of Vancouver is widely known for it’s jarring poverty, homelessness, prostitution and drug addiction. Over the years the neighbouring communities have pushed the down-trodden further and further into its belly, leaving it possibly the grimmest part of British Columbia. While the Junkie Song embedded below is not necessarily speaking about the Downtown Eastside (there are no Skytrain stations within the community – ok there’s Main St, but that’s actually just south of the area), the video maker has fittingly included many shots of this part of Vancouver.

What am I supposed to do? 
There are too many of you 
Too many of you… 
Yet sometimes I look you in the eye 
And say that I too am human. 
I could easily be you… 

You know we all hover between apathy and compassion. 
We fill up all our days with so much distraction. 
It makes it easier not to see what we don’t want to
But we all live here
We all live here.
We all live lonely.

From Ken Cox’s biographical blurb on their website:

Some have called these three anachronistic – they dress in outfits that hearken back to the Roaring Twenties; their Chinatown cover is decorated with Tetley Tea graphics from long ago. Perhaps they are neoclassicists; perhaps they are pacifistic postmodernists; perhaps they just love the old songs and love writing and singing new songs that just sound old. It is amazing that a group from Vancouver, British Columbia shows Americans what their own music sounds like. The Be Good Tanyas make modernly nostalgic music; one listen to any of their projects (especially the Stephen Foster song “Oh, Susanna” on Blue Horse) and one is hooked permanently.

If someone’s looking for traditional American sounds that return to the Jimmie Rodgers/Carter Family era, he or she can find those sounds in this trio. If a person longs for sparse instrumentation along with voices that do not bellow or boast, he or she can find musical peace with these three ladies. If a person wants to hear performers who embrace the folk, country, and blues roots of American music with a little touch of the contemporary, then The Be Good Tanyas are voices that come out of the wilderness and onto center stage, performing music that transcends their birthdates and transports their listeners from the past to the present and vice-versa. Sam, Frazey, and Trish are an open-ended musical time capsule in suspended animation – out of the wilderness and into CD speakers and human ears – awaiting a musical feast.

I don’t know what else to add. Oh! I love them 🙂


Women’s Music: Bif Naked

March 29, 2009

Gonna promote a local gal tonight! The awesome Bif Naked. This is the only video I could find for one of the songs from her new album. Have a listen to Sick:

I am seriously loving this song! I know the video itself doesn’t really have anything to do with Ms Naked but it’s the only one I could find for this song. Of course, I suggest you go to her website (here’s another link) and listen/purchase her music there. In fact, if you go to her site Sick starts playing. And “you make me siiick!!” is such a great song to have in the background when reading feminists blaming the patriarchy! 😀

Ahh, I do have a fondness for women yelling their rage into microphones! This other one, unfortunately only a link, is older but it was pretty cathartic after a shitty relationship: Moment of Weakness. Hmm, am I detecting a theme? :-p

Ok this one is I Love Myself Today and it’s – oh wait. It’s also a break-up song (sorta). heh

To Bif, lots of love and good health and happiness, you awesome badass woman. Keep kicking that cancer to the curb and producing these great songs! Namaste and blessed be *smooches* 😀

Women’s Music: Nedra Johnson Edition

February 23, 2009

I’ve been wanting to share one of my favourite Michfest wimmin musicians with y’all: Nedra Johnson! While I’m not usually very much into this style of music, I find I just love her stuff. She has a number of pieces that I really love, particularly “Ahha (It’s A Good Thing).” Sadly I can’t find any good quality videos on youtube so please go to her site and give her stuff a listen. But, just to peak your interest, here’s a reeeealllly shitty tape of her live (heh). Now GO to her website and listen to a good version! heeh 😀

Women’s Music: Down the Lees

February 22, 2009

I got the following email a while ago, and accidentally left it withering in my inbox for a month! But now I am sharing it with you:

Hey Eloriane,

I’m a queero from Vancouver, BC that has just released a new album and I thought maybe you would want to listen to some tunes. I have some free mp3’s on my website. Here’s a little synopsis:


A veteran of the Vancouver music scene, Laura Lee (LL) Schultz gained a plethora of experience playing in bands such as NEW YEARS RESOLUTION, the SKINJOBS, SINGLESEVEN and QUEAZY. Having a career that sparked in the early ‘90s gave LL the opportunity to play with bands such as The Rose Chronicles, Propagandhi, Minus the Bear, Pansy Division and Xui Xui . Being involved with and having 4 full length albums under her belt, LL welcomes the extra notch with Down the Lees’ The Guest Room. The new album was engineered and produced by LL in her home studio, Off White House Studios, in the summer of 2008. Drums and additional bits here and there were recorded by Shawn Penner (Hot Hot Heat, Mother Mother) and boasts performances from members of Portico, Wintermitts and New Years Resolution. Songs roam from full on rock out epics ‘The Lullaby’ to acoustic ditties about love ‘On a Lie’ to poppy regretful friendships in ‘Talk is Not Cheap’.

– On the launch date the track ‘Alone on a Thursday’ was featured as track of the day on CBC Radio 3

– The Guest Room has been added to numerous radio stations across Canada and continues to have regular rotation on CBC 3 Radio 3

– The album can be purchased at many various online retailers, including Chapters and HMV

Here are a couple links for you to grab high res photos, mp3’s and a one sheet….if you want 😉


www.downthelees.com/music.html (mp3 downloads)



Her music didn’t really inspire any critiques, but Crowfoot and I certainly liked it and we thought a self-proclaimed queero (and a butchy one at that!) deserved a bit of promotion, especially since she’s not likely to be too popular with the big recording studios etc. (boo on them!) Also, one of her songs is called “Jekyl Hearts Hyde,” which is awesome.

So, there you go! Check out her music; you may like it. And LauraLee, we’re wishing you the best of luck.

I’m not unfaithful, but I’ll stray: Tegan and Sara’s “Back in Your Head”

January 9, 2009

I feel a little silly reviewing a song, compared to a movie or TV series; it’s mere minutes of a story, plus the convention of repeating choruses gives me precious few words to work with. But this is a song that I’ve always enjoyed, but which is only starting to make sense to me.

(I still don’t really have an explanation for the video, except that it looks cool and Tegan and Sara are cuties.)

And then, just because I’m sure to be quoting bits of them, the lyrics:

Build a wall of books between us in our bed.
Repeat, repeat, the words that I know we both said.
Relax into the need, we get so comfortable.
Remember when I was so strange and likeable?

I just want back in your head.
I just want back in your head.
I’m not unfaithful, but I’ll stray.
When I get a little scared,
When I get a little scared,
When I get a little,

When I jerk away from holding hands with you,
I know these habits hurt important parts of you.
Remember when I was sweet and unexplainable?
Nothing like this person, un-loveable.

I just want back in your head.
I just want back in your head.
I’m not unfaithful, but I’ll stray.
When I get a little scared,
When I get a little scared,
When I get a little scared,
When I get a little,
Run, run, run, run.
Run, run, run, run.
I just want back in your head.
I just want back in your head.
I’m not unfaithful, but I’ll stray.
I’m not unfaithful, but I’ll stray.
I’m not unfaithful, but I’ll stray.
I’m not unfaithful, but I’ll stray.

(See what I mean about repeating chorusus?)

Anyway, as much as I liked this song, I just could never figure out the line “I’m not unfaithful, but I’ll stray.” How is that even possible? I’m not hot, but I’m warm? I’m not purple, but I’m violet? But I knew it had to mean something, or else they wouldn’t repeat it eight bajillion times (I counted.)

Especially after I learned that Tegan and Sara were gay (hurray!), I started to “get” it; I think it’s about a relationship that is failing, not necesarily because of problems among the two people, but because of the strain that being out can have on a couple. For support, the lines “When I jerk away from holding hands with you,/ I know these habits hurt important parts of you,” which makes me think of PortlyDyke’s post, Take My Arm, My Love (read it!), especially since it’s “when I get a little scared.”

And finally I came to the thought that that’s what the “straying” is. It’s not actually cheating on your beloved, but it’s the way you suddenly pretend you have no idea who they are when someone comes in the room. It’s the way you reply to “I love you” with “yeah” when you could be overheard. The way all your photos of your beloved disappear into drawers. Maybe it’s the way you turn down a good date because it would be in too public a place. It’s not unfaithful, technically, but it’s still a betrayal of the relationship. One’s partner matters, as a person, and that should be apparent in one’s life, not in a “it is the right thing to do” kind of way, but by definition. Someone who matters has a visible impact. If one is not allowed to be true…what about the other?

But at the same time, everyone gets scared. And I certainly find that as a woman and as a lesbian, my fight-or-flight response has been trained into a flight-dear-god-flight response. Run, run, run, run. So…I’ll start going into closet-mode almost against my will, when something penetrates my dangerously-thick safety bubble. I’ve done the “best friend” thing, the “not here, people are looking.” All the little ways of pulling away that are so painful. It hasn’t really happened for years, not since I turned 18 and became a lot more independent of my parents, but the instinct is still there.

I’m not unfaithful, but I’ll stray.

When I get a little scared.

Women’s Music: Erin McKeown Edition

December 4, 2008

One of the things that I lovelovelove about the Michigan Womyn’s Music Festival (or any music festival, really) is the opportunity to hear new music. As my writer’s block is STILL seriously kicking. my. ass I thought I would try and introduce y’all to one of my new favourite musicians. Of course, some of you might already know her!

Her name is Erin McKeown and she puts on a great GREAT live show. So awesome! If she’s playing in your neighbourhood go see her; you’ll be assured of a good time. (plus, she is omg very hot)

Here’s a little clip:

*edit: gah! wonky linkage. Let’s try again!

*editedit: ok the link looks like it’s working, but the sound and visuals are waaaay off! lol