It’s been another great month for shit things happening in the world, but I won’t make this column as grim as my last because on a personal level I don’t think I can handle it.
Good things to think about instead: the Aldi at the end of my road is back open (tiny beers and cheap cheese are back, baby!), a bird pooped on my head yesterday (that’s good luck according to my nan!), Mercury’s very nearly out of retrograde (woohoo!) and this month has offered up a veritable treasure trove of excellent political music spanning from alt-country about bawling your eyes out on the bog to weird electronic songs about periods. And it’s all here! Yes!
Jenny HvalBlood Bitch
When I think about the taboos that are still entrenched around the topic of periods, it makes me want to smack my head on the desk and somehow awaken in a menses-enlightened utopia. We’ve come this far, and we still can’t openly chat about the uterine lining that leaks out of one half of the world’s population once a month? Come the fuck on. Art pop auteur Jenny Hval shares similar thoughts, it seems. On Blood Bitch, her fourth album under her own name, she examines this dumb and dangerous taboo from all angles as well as meditating on time, relationships and obsession. It’s surprisingly beat-driven from our Jenny, but there’s some mind-bending bits in there too just to remind you that this is Norwegian freak-pop royalty we’re dealing with here. Gorgeous work as ever, and don’t forget: “it’s only blood.”
Dicks are everywhere, man – the Eiffel tower? Dick. Nelson’s Column? Dick. The Washington Monument? That one’s definitely a particularly huge, marble-mix penis, and there’s no denying it so don’t even try. Taking this idea and running with it, South-East London’s Petrol Girls are kicking heteronormative approaches right in the balls with punk banger Phallocentric. After recognising that they’re 100% sick of cock dominating our advertising, art and architecture, they’ve constructed a liberating scream against “conservative attitudes,” instead choosing to celebrate “the full rainbow of sex.” As well as all that, this song is Petrol Girls at their most fun, and they were already pretty fun to begin with.
clipping.Splendour & Misery
Experimental hip-hop duo clipping. fuck Planet Earth off completely on Splendour & Misery, an “Afrofuturist, dystopian concept album that follows the sole survivor of a slave uprising on an interstellar cargo ship, and the onboard computer that falls in love with him.” Oppressed since birth, the character in question decides to plunge into the unknown instead of heading back to the planet that staged his unremittingly violent past. One of the ideas of the narrative arc is that the world holds no significance at all when held up against the rich, unsympathetic tapestry of the universe, which is quite a nice thought in my opinion as we’re fucking it all up pretty badly at the minute.
Dyke DramaUp Against The Bricks
The second album by Sadie Switchblade’s solo project, Dyke Drama, was released last week. While Sadie’s band G.L.O.S.S. tries to eviscerate ingrained political structures via tough, inflamed hardcore, Dyke Drama flicks two fingers up at the shit of the everyday with the help of a helplessly catchy alt-country tilt. Crying over an ex in the loo, treading over terrible thoughts about lost lovers, and the rest of the crappy stuff that comes with being in love are all fair game in Dyke Drama’s lyrics. Having a pop at some real bullshit is in Sadie’s blood though, so when she has a go at the music industry (on the joyfully defiant You Can’t Count On Me) and at the awkward position trans women are put in by the queer scene (Cis Girls), you don’t flinch.
M.I.A.’s latest album (which is purported to be her last) pairs hyped up bangers with commentary on the refugee crisis, globalisation, and holding onto your identity in an increasingly digitised world. It’s incredibly timely, and occasionally incredibly fun: “I’m a swagger man / Rollin’ in my swagger van / From the People’s Republic of Swagistan,” she raps at one point, positively bathing in her own M.I.A-ness. A creative closer from an artist that’s never afraid to act (for better or worse).
Back to this column’s bread and butter: angry girls shouting. Lily, Jack, and Colter from Olympia, WA (also called Bad Sleep) make guitar-driven power pop that’s written about girls with bad reputations, girls who don’t care, and girls who are trying to have a nice time even though they’re heartbroken. It’s scrappy, high octane fun and it’s immensely listenable. There we go – we’ve ended on a high note. Bloody lovely.