Music’s Leading Ladies
The last couple weeks on Stew Over, we’ve started exploring our feminine side. Kristin asked why women are so harsh on shows that star women and Lisa reviewed one of her favorite books, which is based on women in the Bible. Even I got involved looking at The Hunger Games, which as you know stars a woman, Katniss Everdeen. This inspired me to listen to some of my favorite music featuring women. While this list is certainly not meant to be exhaustive, I’ve tried to list bands from the last 10 years or so that you may not be as familiar with. Let me know in the comments if you enjoy any of these bands or if you have some additional suggestions for our readers!
I discovered Metric while watching highlights from the 2011 Lollapalooza on Palladia. The voice of Metric’s lead vocalist, Emily Haines, is what really drew me in. “Gold Guns Girls” is a really aggressive song that slams materialism. Listen to Metric if you’re in the mood for a rock band.
I discovered the Detroit Cobras on accident. I was making a playlist for my friend’s baby shower and wanted to find as many songs as possible with the word baby in them. Enter the Detroit Cobras’ 2005 album titled Baby. I was immediately drawn to the high energy of the songs and the retro/punk sound. Every song is under three minutes long and feels like it could have been written in the 50s if only electric guitars were in style at the time. Listen to the Cobras if you’re looking for something a little more classical with a punk vibe.
I discovered Ana Tijoux while watching Breaking Bad. Her song “1977” was featured in episode five of the fourth season. Ana is a Latin hip hop/pop singer who sings in Spanish and as such I don’t understand a single word she’s singing. That doesn’t affect my enjoyment of her music, however. Listen to Ana Tijoux if you’re in the mood for some Latin-infused hip hop.
Company of Thieves
I think I discovered Company of Thieves when their song “Oscar Wilde” was featured on an MTV show. I was immediately drawn to Genevieve Schatz’s voice. They’re a Chicago band, so I feel good supporting a local group. Their first album, Ordinary Riches, came out in 2009; last year they released their second album, Running From a Gamble. I’m a big fan of both. Listen to Company of Thieves if you’re in the mood for some indie rock with a kick-ass lead singer.
I have no clue when I first heard Regina Spektor, but I’m glad I discovered her. Her voice is one of the best in the business. Her song “Sampson,” about a woman caring for her husband while he dies of cancer, is one of the saddest songs I’ve ever heard. Spektor plays piano and sings on all of her songs, and her style can change from one song to the next. If you want to listen to a great musician and are in the mood for something a little more emotional, check out Regina Spektor.
I first heard HEM in an ad for an insurance company. Odd, I know, but I’m very happy I researched what the song was. As HEM is one of my favorite bands and the focus of my next “I Celebrate Their Entire Collection” article, I won’t spend too much time on them here. Just know that Sally Ellyson’s voice is incredible. Check out HEM if you like country or folk music.
I first heard Kaki King on the Explosions in the Sky Pandora channel. I’m not familiar with Kaki King’s entire collection, but the few songs I’ve heard I like very much. She’s obviously a very talented guitar player, and I love the song “Night After Sidewalk.” She did some tracks on the August Rush soundtrack that are pretty cool, too. The rest of her stuff is a little too hipster-weird for me. Check her out if you enjoy great guitar players, though.
Rodrigo y Gabriela
Unfortunately, Rodrigo y Gabriela won’t let me embed their video of “Hanuman,” but I highly suggest you check it out here. I first heard Rodrigo y Gabriela’s song “Buster Voodoo” on the radio on XRT. This group consists of two members: Rodrigo Sanchez plays lead guitar, and Gabriela Quintero plays rhythm. Their music is amazingly fast-paced. Listen to Rodrigo y Gabriela if you’re interested in some cool guitar music.
Lana Del Rey
My mother first played Lana Del Rey’s “Video Games” for me because she thought I’d like her voice. She was right. Lana Del Rey is a controversial figure because she’s changed her style, name, and appearance. She also bombed on her Saturday Night Live performance, which really fueled a lot of the hate. She’s incredibly attractive, which is one of the main reasons she attracts a lot of attention. If you can get by the haters (or if you’ve never heard of her before), check her out to hear her soulful, unique sound.
“Lacrimosa” from Requiem for My Friend by Zbigniew Preisner
My latest YouTube obsession is playing this clip from The Tree of Life over and over and over again. I don’t know the name of the female singer or what “Lacrimosa” means in English. All I do know is that this one of the most beautiful things I’ve ever seen. Watch this if you’re a fan of living or having feelings.