After a seven-year hiatus, Denver-based Dressy Bessy have returned with the sugary popified, jittery delicious Kingsized. Joined by a who’s who of the what-used-to-be-college-radio stalwarts (but is surely called something else now), Kingsized is a return to form with an added grittiness. Guitars are fuzzy and heavy, providing a smart counterpoint to meringue light, sunshiny melodies and Tammy Ealom’s distinctive vocals (think: the sound of the Shangri-La’s smoking under the bleachers with the Slits).
Your Friend’s follow up to 2014’s self-recorded EP, Jekyll/Hyde, is richly textural and gorgeously produced. Gumption is enigmatic, with much to unpack. You can listen to the layers and loops, you can listen for Taryn Miller’s fascinating vocals, you can close your eyes and let the waves of sound wash over you. It’s an immersive, intriguing album.
When Sloan’s Jay Ferguson was writing “Waiting For Slow Songs,” he may have been writing about Cait Brennan, but didn’t even know it. “‘Cause you write the saddest songs / turn around and make it a singalong / the heart scratch melody / means there’s more than this for you and me.” Cait knows a heart scratch melody and knows how to swaddle a sad song in the prettiest, most glorious melodies and harmonies, and make it furiously catchy. I’ve had Cait Brennan’s Debutante on my iPod for quite a while now and every time one of the tracks pops up, I immediately need to rewind and hear it again. Simply put, Debutante is the kind of record that artists dream of recording. It’s been a long time coming.
Sonya Kitchell began her recording career in 2006 when she was 17 years old, which is impressive enough to note. Better yet, after her debut, Words Came Back To Me, Kitchell diversified by recording an EP of string quartets, collaborating with Herbie Hancock on The River: The Joni Letters, playing at Montreaux Jazz Festival, the Newport Folk Festival, and winning two Grammys (for The River: The Joni Letters, and Tedeschi Trucks Band’s Revelator). She’s a woman of many parts and a rich wellspring of talent.
Country music has always been a male-dominated genre, from Hank Williams to Hank Junior to whatever the hell you want to call Florida-Georgia Line and Locash. You can hear a strong female voice every once in a while, but in a ratio comparison to men, those ladies are few and far between. But it is far to say that there was a female revolution in country, starting in the late 1950s when one of the most distinct female voices the world has ever known got her start on a national television show.
This was a crazy—cahhhhrazy—awesome year for women in film and TV. So many amazing films, shows, speeches, tweets, pictures… even Barbie dolls, guys. We (Lisa, Richelle, and Siân of The MUFF Society) thought back over the past year (thank god for the Internet) and picked out our favourite moment[s] for each month. We undoubtedly left out a lot of great moments so instead of whining about it, tell us yours!
Not only are we getting LADY Ghostbusters, but we get these goddesses? Bless you, Paul Feig. Since that announcement, we’ve seen first-look photos, amazing girl power crew photos from the set, and most recently, these amazing teaser posters. Basically this movie needs to come out yesterday.
Marjane Satrapi’s (Persepolis) first live action directorial feature The Voices got its wide release in February. Fitting because this movie is all about love. Do yourself a favour and skip the trailer–just watch this cold.
Patricia Arquette won an Oscar (yay!!!) and spoke about the wage gap during her acceptance speech (even more yay!!!!). While she could’ve chosen her words more carefully, we admire her for using the platform of Live Television to deliver such an important message. She had more to say recently, too.
Watch out, late night. The ladies are coming. In March we were blessed with the news that The Daily Show’s Samantha Bee would be starting her own late night show called Full Frontal. It airs in February of 2016 and it is the late night show we need and deserve.
Amy Schumer has been killing it this year but our favourite moment of hers was unanimously Last Fuckable Day. We would like to come and talk about our pussies over there.
We were as shocked as you were that 2015 marked the first year since 1987 that Cannes had opened with a woman-directed film. How is that even possible? That’s a 29-year-old person! In any case, here’s to more women opening Cannes (and every other festival) in 2016 and beyond.
Mad Max: Fury Road was released. Charlize Theron. Furiosa. Enough said.
Rose McGowan was our hero when she tweeted about a disgusting, sexist casting note. She’s always been outspoken and blunt about the realities of the industry for women and it’s so damn refreshing.
Summer was great for indie film releases like Tangerine–an amazing film that is deservedly creating a lot of buzz this awards season. Mya Taylor has already become the first trans actress to win a Gotham Award.
This summer we also got Marielle Heller’s Diary of a Teenage Girl. Don’t let the trailer fool you: this isn’t a light, fun coming of age movie. It’s troubling and moving and absolutely beautiful.
If you haven’t listened to Viola Davis’s Emmy acceptance speech multiple times already, what’s wrong with you?
In October, the Federal government officially began to investigate Hollywood’s lack of women directors. Earlier in the year, the ACLU sent a letter to three organizations requesting official investigations. We wonder what the results will be. Ha.
Céline Sciamma’s absolutely brilliant Girlhood was also released in October, along with Room, which features a screenplay by Emma Donaghue and stars Brie “Finally Getting The Attention She Deserves” Larson.
The end of the year was all about speeches and we can’t get enough of the speech Reese Witherspoon gave at Glamour’s Women of the Year Awards.
And then the New York Times and Maureen Dowd blew us all away with this absolutely arresting piece: “The Women of Hollywood Speak Out.”
We already knew filmmaker Ava DuVernay was absolute perfection but now that she has her own Barbie, she’s reached a new level totally unattainable by the rest of us mere mortals. This Barbie sold out in minutes, guys. Minutes.
We loved Lena Dunham’s speech at Hollywood Reporter’s Women in Entertainment brekkie. We also really need T-shirts with “Power Bitches” on them.
Damn, if 2015 was this good, imagine what 2016 is going to be like!
Before we go, we couldn’t end off any Faves List without our combined most favourite thing of the entire year. Ahem: Shia LaBeouf’s #ALLMYMOVIES. This captured our hearts in a way we are still trying to comprehend. Also, picking a favourite Shia was the hardest thing we’ve ever had to do. But we did it. For science!
But actually, the real winner of the year is this cat. Nothing in 2016, or any upcoming years ever for that matter, will compare.
By Tyler Hodg
If you’re an ignorant, regressive feminist-hater, the best course of action would probably be to skip “Ladies and Gentlemen.”
Holly Golightly has been particularly productive lately, releasing Slowtown Now! last month (review), and now reuniting with The Brokeoffs for Coulda Shoulda Woulda. Recorded on the Georgia farm Holly shares with Lawyer Dave (aka The Brokeoffs), Coulda Shoulda Woulda comes out swinging for the fences, and connects like mad. Songs of salvation for sale, dances to be learned, and an awfully sad Christmas are all here, along with some of the most delightful swearing ever laid to wax.
One might say that if it weren’t for the Carter family, country music as we know it (or knew it, rather) wouldn’t exist. Director Beth Harrington’s film, The Winding Stream: The Carters, The Cashes And The Course Of Country Music, explores that notion, starting with A.P Carter, his wife Sara and sister-in-law Maybelle, following that stream to the Carter Sisters, to June Carter and Johnny Cash, all the way to Rosanne Cash. The Carters’ influence was far-reaching, shaping ancient melodies into popular songs, and pushing the guitar into the forefront of American music.
There’s a line in Bruce McDonald’s Hard Core Logo in which Pipefitter, drummer savant says, (and I’m paraphrasing wildly here) “No one ever writes checks to the bands who influenced them.” Upon listening to Everything Is Roses 1985-1989, an anthology of Nashville’s Raging Fire, it seems like a whole lot of bands should have written some checks. The music of Raging Fire sounds familiar (though I’d not heard them) because so many bands aped their style. Strong front women with their own eclectic voices owe a debt to Melora Zaner. She doesn’t have a bombastic voice, but she makes you listen because of her nuance and passion. Without Raging Fire, a whole slew of bands wouldn’t exist.