Epilogue to last year’s weekly challenge

Posted by jill

For nearly all of last year (I started two weeks late), I set myself a challenge to listen to a new band every week. I started this because I’d been finding that I was listening to the same few 5+ year old albums and hadn’t been actively seeking out new music to listen to.

Looking back at last year, what has surprised me was how many of those acts were female solo artists or female fronted bands. I had always commented that my music collection was very male led (reflecting on the nature of the music that I like listening to). But a third of the posts from last year featured solo women or lead singers and of the ones that I liked enough to go and buy the albums, three-quarters were female. Two of these were probably my favourite records of the year: Susanne Sundfør and Emily Hall. Mothers only released their album on Friday, but it would have been on the list too.


The swings in their music comes out even more live than on record. One minute Kristine Leschper’s voice holds everyone’s attention, the next, the guitar pedals are used to full effect to re-create the 90s via grunge. The tension between the fragility and the full scuzziness is what makes them interesting to listen to. There was still some looseness in the way they played, but it would be fun to see them in the Autumn to see what a full summer’s touring would do to tighten up the way they sound.


Week 50: Grimes

Posted by jill

It’s funny how that about halfway through the year I commented that I didn’t listen to enough female artists, but since then pretty much every other week I’ve been blogging about a female act. This week is Grimes (was reminded of her via the Pitchfork end of year list).

I probably should have started listening to Grimes a lot sooner, but it’s also quite apt that I came across her work first drawing the alternate cover for my favourite comic series of the year. It’s a good summary of where my music listening has gone (e.g. a lot more innovation and experimentation in print than in music and comics providing better commentary on music than music itself). I like the airiness of the track. Along with last week’s track, maybe I should listen to more pop music in 2016.


Week 49: Susanne Sundfør

Posted by jill

This blog plows on regardless of the season or what day it is.

In making myself find something new to listen to every week this year, it’s very noticeable how the landscape for music discovery has changed, even just in the last couple of years. Gone are the fan-based blogs, which were one of the primary ways I used to find music. Gone too are many of the independent music websites, with most of their creators moving on to ‘proper’ jobs. Sadly there doesn’t seem to be much coming up to fill in the vacuum. Having said that one blog which is still consistently good, and has been since it started, is Popjustice. This week’s artist comes from their Top 45 songs of the year list (though I’ve selected a different song).

This song by Susanne Sundfør also suggests that I might have been looking for interesting music in the wrong place, having overlooked pop music for most of the year. This however, isn’t very pop. It’s a 10 minute epic, which features a grand classical bit with piano half way through the song. It’s far more ambitious that a lot of what I’ve been listening to all year.


Week 48: Girlpool

Posted by jill

The trawl of end of year lists continues and this week’s song came as a relief after 2 hours of listening into the NPR 400+ songs long end of year list.

Girlpool are a duo from LA, but they wouldn’t be too out of place in New York, 10 years ago during the peak of the Anti-folk era. Like those NY Antifolk bands, they have ridiculously cute, hooky and simple songs, that are almost like nursery rhymes.