NEWS ROUNDUP: St. Vincent Producing Sleater-Kinney LP, Woodstock Returns, & More

sleater-kinney and st. vincent, hollywood, ca, jan 2019. photograph by jonny cournoyer

New Year, New Music

By Lindsey Rhoades

Sleater-Kinney is in the Studio… Producing an Album with St. Vincent

If this tweet didn’t warm your riot grrl heart, we don’t know what will. Though details are scant (no official release date, no title, no tracklist, no leaked audio) Sleater-Kinney announced via Twitter that St. Vincent mastermind Annie Clark is producing their next record, the follow-up to their return-from-a-decade-long-hiatus-instant-classic No Cities To Love, released in 2015. The tweet came with a photo so amazing we thought we were dreaming: four of our favorite female musicians sitting at a mixing board, their expressions saying only one thing: Y’all are not even ready for this amazingness. Though it’s officially become our most anticipated release of the new year, other artists aren’t slouching – keep reading below for the veritable onslaught of recently released jams. But first…

Woodstock Will Return in 2019… Can it Compete With New Festival Lineups?

Break out the patchouli – Woodstock is coming back for its 50th anniversary. The original founder, Michael Lang, announced Wednesday that he’s planning to book multi-generational artists with an activist bent for a weekend-long festival in August at a racetrack called Watkins Glen; meanwhile, another Woodstock Anniversary fest helmed by LiveNation at the Bethel Woods Center for the Arts (the original site of the 1969 gathering) was already in the works. No artists or ticket prices for either fest have been announced, but our heads already ache at the thought of sorting out nightmare radius clauses.

Woodstock, of course, has already had some disastrous anniversaries – most recently Woodstock ’99, which ended in rapes, rioting, and violence. But perhaps the bigger challenge than putting that memory behind them will be simply competing for audience numbers in an over-saturated festival market. Coachella announced its lineup, including headliners Childish Gambino, Tame Impala, and Ariana Grande, onm January 2. This week, Bonnaroo announced they’d also be hosting Childish Gambino as a headliner, along with Post Malone and multiple sets from jam band stalwarts Phish (this prompted Forbes to beg the question: Why isn’t Cardi B’s billing higher?). New York’s own Governors Ball has once again invited The Strokes (who have played the fest before but not headlined), as well as Florence + The Machine and Lil Wayne to play their top spots, with Tyler, The Creator, Nas, Sza, Brockhampton and more rounding out the bill. And though it’s not strictly a festival in the same sense as those mentioned above, SXSW has begun hyping the first handful of buzzworthy acts who’ll play showcases all over Austin in March, including Amanda Palmer, Swervedriver, Ecko, The Beths, and Wyclef Jean.

That New New

Kehlani has a new song featuring Ty Dolla $ign; “Nights Like This” will appear on a mixtape due in February, which is itself a precursor to a new album due sometime this year.

Girlpool have a new album coming out February 1st, and have shared the title track, “What Chaos Is Imaginary.”

Ex Hex is finally releasing a follow-up to 2014’s Rips, called It’s Real (out March 22 via Merge). Their first single is “Cosmic Cave.”

Sharon Van Etten will release her first album in five years, Remind Me Tomorrow, on January 18. This week, she shared a video for “Seventeen,” after previously sharing “Comeback Kid” and the absolutely stunning “Jupiter 4.”


Mineral are releasing new music for the first time in 20 years, including this video for “Your Body Is The World.” The song appears (alongside “Aurora“) on a limited-edition 10” that comes with a hardcover book commemorating the Austin band’s 25th anniversary.

Beirut release Gallipoli on February 1; Game of Thrones actor Ian Beattie plays a kind of klutzy knight in the video for “Landslide.”

Pedro the Lion shared “Quietest Friend,” a companion video to “Yellow Bike.” Both singles appear on the group’s first record in over a decade, Phoenix, which you can stream now in full via NPR.

Priests have announced a new album, The Seduction of Kansas, and shared its title track. The LP comes out April 5 and they’re doing a huge tour around it.

FIDLAR ironically manages to Skype in their entire LA crew in a video for “By Myself,” from their forthcoming LP Almost Free (out January 25 on Mom + Pop).

Cherry Glazerr shares “Wasted Nun” from Stuffed & Ready, out February 1 via Secretly Canadian.

Deerhunter released the third single, “Plains,” from Why Hasn’t Everything Already Disappeared? but Bradford Cox is worried no one will listen to the record in its entirety when it comes out January 18.

Also releasing an album on January 18, experimental rock duo Buke & Gase premiered the title track from Scholars.

End Notes

  • Attention Brooklyn! Early aughts rap-rock one-hit-wonders Crazy Town are inexplicably playing Sunnyvale on February 23rd. Sorta wondering if it’ll just be one forty-five minute set of “Butterfly” played over and over.
  • If you’ve got kids, or have simply interacted with one in the last year, you’ve probably had “Baby Shark” stuck in your head at some point. But this week made it official – every toddler’s number one jam appeared for the first time on Billboard’s Hot 100, making it one of the few children’s songs to do so.
  • A documentary on Lifetime called Surviving R. Kelly aired the first week of January, and with it has come some new hope for victims seeking justice. The doc has prompted a kidnapping investigation in Georgia, more victims have come forward, and Phoenix, Lady Gaga, and Chance the Rapper have all recently released statements apologizing for working with R. Kelly in the past. Chance recently appeared on Sesame Street and admitted in an Instagram recap that he saved someone’s life by pulling them from a burning car last April, so we think his karma may be in the clear.
  • In a rare interview, Frank Ocean shared his very respectable skincare routine (and some other stuff) with GQ.
  • Risqué rap sensation CupcakKe (real name Elizabeth Harris) made some worrisome allusions to suicide on social media, prompting her hospitalization – but she seems to be on the mend, having released a single on Friday called “Squidward Nose.”
  • Queen biopic Bohemian Rhapsody was a big winner at the Golden Globes last Sunday, taking home Best Picture and Best Actor for Rami Malek’s portrayal of Freddie Mercury – all in spite of its negative critical reception. Honors for Best Song went to Bradley Cooper and Lady Gaga duet “Shallow,” from A Star Is Born.

EP PREMIERE: Devin Davis of Ramonda Hammer Discusses “Destroyers”

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Ramonda Hammer is Devin Davis, Andy Hengl, Justin Geter, and Mark Edwards .

Ramonda Hammer is named after one of the contestants on the 90s reality show Cheaters. Lead singer Devin Davis, along with Andy Hengl (bass), Justin Geter (guitar), and Mark Edwards (drums), give a fresh twist to a modern classic: grunge. We sat down with Devin to talk about her favorite female grunge acts and the realities of writing from the heart. Listen to the premiere of Ramonda Hammer’s new EP Destroyers below!


AudioFemme: Ramonda Hammer is Los Angeles-based. Are you native?

Devin Davis: I grew up about an hour(ish) south of LA, in San Clemente. But I’ve been living in LA for three years now. So close, yet worlds apart!

AF: I couldn’t help but notice a Fidlar album lurking in the background of the video for “If, Then,” Who are your musical influences in respect to Ramonda Hammer?

DD: YES! Andy our bass player bought me that record for my birthday a couple years ago. We do share a love for FIDLAR; we covered their song “Awkward” at an Anti-Valentine’s Day show once. I have many, many influences, but for Ramonda Hammer I’d say the main influences for my guitar vibes and vocal ideas are the Pixies, Nirvana, Pavement, Hole, and Yeah Yeah Yeahs. Lyrics come from everything I’ve ever heard or seen or experienced.

AF: You’ve been called a “grungier No Doubt” by a few publications. I don’t know if I hear that comparison per se, but I will say your music feels both fresh and retro. Do you think that with the oversaturation of EDM music, grunge will start to move to the forefront again?

DD: I think that grunge never really left! It just morphed over the years. There’s always kind of been artists making music for everything – pop, dance, hip hop, rock, butt rock, grunge, folk, country, whatever. So grunge is always there because it’s always needed for the people that need it, the angsties and the introverts, and the outcasts, and the ones who feel too much but still need to feel more. And now in this weird political climate, we’re even more confused and angry and sad and frustrated, and there’s too many emotions to not have grunge be at the forefront. Oh and there’s a LOT of female-fronted grunge inspired bands killing it right now, so I can’t wait to see what happens.

AF: Who are a few of your favorite bands in the grunge scene right now?

DD: Slothrust, Pile, Speedy Ortiz, Iress, Dilly Dally, Bully, Goon.

AF: Back in 2015, you raised money on Kickstarter to create your EP Whatever That Means. Tell us a little about how that first recording process went.

DD: Making a record is hard work! Takes a lot of time and money and favors. The Kickstarter was totally necessary at that point in our budding career, but I don’t think we could go through that again. So much work. Also, I wrote most of those songs myself before I met my bandmates so they were just adding in parts and we were still navigating how we all worked. I produced the record with some advice from one of my music professors at UCLA and help from our homie Morgan, who engineered and mixed the tracks. It was a really great learning experience and the record sounds dope for our first try! The new Destroyers EP though is something else. We now write everything together and it’s getting heavier and more unique with all the different moving parts. And Greg who runs the label produced it and his input really made a huge difference. Just so stoked where RH is headed.

AF: You recently told Consequence of Sound that the your single “Too Much, Too Recently” is about your ex-boyfriend and Ramonda Hammer’s bassist Andy Hengl. It sounds like it was a cathartic experience for you both working on the song. Was it scary coming to him with those lyrics?

DD: Actually not scary at all surprisingly! Andy is my one of my best friends and we have pretty great communication. Plus “Goddamn Idiot” and “See” are about Andy too, and he knows that! I think for how sad this song is, it really is cathartic like you said. We’re both trying to move on in our romantic lives and it’s been over a year now that we broke up, so we’re doing that. Well sort of – I don’t date! But I hope Andy finds someone because he is the best!!!

AF: Do you usually draw from personal experiences for your lyrics? Have you experimented with concept-driven pieces as well?

DD: Every single song comes from some sort of personal experience, but there are a few that are more concept-driven (or more like a social commentary).  “Strangers Love You” and “Zombie Sweater” for sure, and then then “Same Thing” from the new EP is actually a social/historical/political/pop culture commentary. But there’s always personal stuff in there.

AF: Tell us about your new EP Destroyers. What differences can fans of Whatever That Means expect?

DD: Grungier for sure. Still feely AF, but less sad and more sass!

AF: Is there another Ramonda Hammer tour in the works?

DD: YUP! We’re doing a bunch of U.S. dates in September, lots on the East Coast and Midwest-ish. People can check our website in the coming weeks for cities and dates! Also doing first two weeks of November on the West Coast.

AF: You’re currently up in Santa Barbara doing work with Rock n’ Roll Camp for Girls. Have the girls taught you anything surprising about the process of making music?

DD: THEY ARE EVERYTHING. I learn a lot about life in general from these kids. Also, we call them campers because not everyone identifies as a “girl.” But yes, there’s so many personalities and levels of skill and we encourage them to build each other up and collaborate. I mean, they have to form a band and write an original song in just one week, and then perform it at the end of the week at a showcase! It’s incredible. I’ve definitely learned to get weirder with my music and be my most authentic self creatively and in general.

AF: You talked about the writing process for the single “Bender” saying that “The verses ask questions from the more sane, healthy part of one’s psyche, and the choruses respond from the anxiety-ridden, depressed, and very frustrated side….In a final cry, I end the song with, ‘I swear that I deserve good things’ because I think I do and I know other people feel the same.” How would you encourage a creative person caught in that cycle of depression and angst?

DD: I honestly think it’s good for creative people to just be with their emotions and feelings, because that’s how the art even happens. I mean of course I don’t wish depression on anyone because I know how debilitating it is. But it happens in so many people and it really does fuel creativity if you learn how to navigate yourself and take the time for self care and self love. I don’t care how cheesy that sounds, you gotta put in that work. I used to be way worse and have panic attacks all the time but I’ve found techniques through therapy and friends and listening and trial and error with my own body and learning from my mistakes, all to learn how to self heal. And you really don’t have to be okay all of the time – you can be sad or angry or numb or whatever, but accept it while it’s happening and know that feelings come and go. And use those feelings for your art! It’s actually kind of lucky in a way when a creative person is struck with an intense emotion because it’s an opportunity. I really love how in ancient Greece they would say that instead of someone “being a genius” that they were “with genius.” as if something passed through them and they were the vessel for the art being created. And it was so fortunate to be “with genius.” So I try to feel fortunate to have all spectrum of emotions!

Preorder Ramonda Hammer’s new EP Destroyers HERE

Native to LA? See Ramonda Hammer LIVE at Echo Park Rising (August 17th-20th).[/fusion_builder_column][/fusion_builder_row][/fusion_builder_container]