Chub Rub Is Fat, Proud, & Powerful on their Debut EP

Chub Rub. Photo by Irene Victoria.

A month after the Grammys, I’m still thinking about Lizzo’s opening performance: how she belted “Cuz I Love You” in a black, bedazzled Christian Siriano ball gown, and just moments later, danced across the stage in a neon bodysuit, rapping the lyric of the year: “I’m 100% that bitch.” And let’s not forget about that flute solo.

It’s empowering that a self-proclaimed “fat bitch” is one of the most successful musicians in the world right now (side note: did y’all see this perfection?). But it often feels like the Lizzos of the world – the women who see their fatness as a point of strength, rather than weakness – exist only in these untouchable, highest echelons of fame. Where are the musicians who are fat and proud, but don’t yet have their own Rolling Stone cover?

That’s where Chub Rub comes in. If you have your own personal, tried-and-true method for mitigating chub rub in summer months, then this band is tailor-made for you, like that pair of jeans that actually fits the shape of your body right.

It’s still an incredibly radical act to be a fat woman who is comfortable in her body. In the Huffington Post feature “Everything You Know About Obesity Is Wrong,” Michael Hobbes explains, “… the most unique aspect of weight stigma is how it isolates its victims from one another. For most minority groups, discrimination contributes to a sense of belongingness, a community in opposition to a majority. […] Surveys of higher-weight people, however, reveal that they hold many of the same biases as the people discriminating against them.” Fat people rarely join together in solidarity, because calling oneself fat is still often perceived an admission of shame, or a self-deprecating insult.

This is what makes Chub Rub feel so victoriously ground-breaking: that they’re four femme people demanding “fats to the front!” at their shows, performing alongside other explicitly body-positive acts like Thunder Thighs. By encouraging support and community among fat femmes, the four-piece addresses an aspect of accessibility and inclusivity in the DIY scene that is often ignored.

Representation aside, Chub Rub’s debut Make Some Fucking Space is a triumph. The four-song EP is reminiscent of Girlpool’s debut, thriving on vocal harmonies set atop simple, stripped-down guitars. And, like the former Philly basement dwellers’ early music, Chub Rub’s lyrics are cutting and clever (“I watch too much true crime to think that I’d get away with it/But the thought of you six feet under keeps me from losing my shit,” they sing on “50 Ways to Kill Your R*pist”).

Make Some Fucking Space evolves in tone from start to finish, in spite of its brevity. The EP opens with “Portland, Maine,” a love song anchored by a ukulele and surf pop twang. At first, they try to be blase (“It was nice kissing you/or whatever,” repeats the refrain), only to ease into a confession of love: “Trying to be subtle about how into you I am/but I just wanna kiss your fucking face/and hold your fucking hand.” On the other hand, “CoDA” reflects on the emotional baggage that comes along with romance gone wrong. These first two songs aren’t as explicitly political as the ones that follow, but there’s something inherently subversive about this duality. It acknowledges that we are capable and deserving of love even after we are hurt, and that we can move forward even when pain still lingers – that we can be both confident and insecure at the same time, even when trauma is nonlinear and unpredictable.

The song title “50 Ways to Kill Your R*pist” primes us for an angry punk treatise, but instead, it’s a dark folk ballad that demands a dramatic, Western-style music video (I volunteer to direct this). The quartet sings, “I carved R-A-P-I-S-T into the side of your shitty Honda Civic/and still to this day I wish I had cut your breaks along with it.” Each couplet follows the same melody, making this a song that you can sing along to upon first listen – it’s a brilliantly subtle choice for a song that all too many listeners may be able to see themselves in. But even more anthemic is “Shrink,” the final song on the EP, which boasts the titular lyric: “If you think I don’t fit in, well/Make some fucking space.” It feels like the entire EP has built to this moment: a declaration that no matter what size jeans we wear or what abuse we’ve faced, we deserve to be on stage, whether at the local bar or the Grammys.

With their long overdue messaging and irresistible four-part vocals, Chub Rub will certainly “make some fucking space” for themselves in the Philly music scene. And, P.S.: the best antidote to chub rub is a solid pair of bike shorts. That shit is magical.

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.

DOCUMENTARY REVIEW: Girlpool “Things Are OK”


In the days of self-inflicted constant surveillance we all bring out cameras to shows, but it’s rarer for artists to return the favor, capturing their intimate moments of tour to give us when they’ve already poured all their essence into a performance. When music documentaries are done, at worst they’re overly promotional and obviously fake, at best they’re tender, inspiring, and revealing.

From Philadelphia by way of LA, Girlpool consists of Cleo Tucker (Guitar) and Harmony Tividad (Bass). They’ve become known for their stripped down minimalist sound and honest, bare lyrics. On their first east coast tour their friend director Cory McConnell mixes show footage (including performances at the dead but not forgotten Brooklyn venues Death by Audio and Glasslands) and strikingly insightful interviews. The result is the 25 minute documentary Things Are Ok.

In the film, Cleo and Harmony dicuss growing up feeling different, the strangeness that comes with spotlight and public perception, and most fascinatingly, their relationship.

“It’s been about a year since we’ve started, and think what’s changed the most is Harmony and I’s relationship, and how honest and close and comfortable we’ve become with one another,” reflects Cleo.

“Cleo and I’s friendship is really honest, and intimate, and straightforward and turbulent, but only because we’re so honest,” continues Harmony.

In fact, the undeying theme throughout the interviews with the duo is honesty. Sounds like their music.

Their self-titled EP is out now on Wichita Recordings. Watch the documentary below. After you’ve been let in their tour life via film; check out the tour dates below to catch them live.


1/28 – Brooklyn, NY @ Silent Barn
2/3 – Philadelphia, PA @ PhilaMOCA  ^
2/16 – London, UK @ Lexington
2/18 – Manchester, UK @ Soup Kitchen
2/19 – Glasgow, UK @ Broadcast
2/21 – Paris, FR @ Pop Up Du Label
2/23 – Berlin,  DE @ Berghain Kantine ^
2/24 – Hamburg, DE @ Exile Molotow ^
4/24 – Albuquerque, NM @ Sister *
4/25 – Phoenix, AZ @ Valley Bar *
4/26 – San Diego, CA @ The Casbah *
4/28 – Los Angeles, CA @ The Roxy *
4/29 – San Francisco, CA @ Great American Music Hall *
5/1 – Portland, OR @ Doug Fir *
5/2 – Vancouver, BC @ Biltmore Cabaret *
5/3 – Seattle, WA @ The Crocodile *
5/6 – Minneapolis, MN @ Triple Rock Social Club *
5/7 – Chicago, IL @ Empty Bottle *
5/8 – Chicago, IL @ The Beat Kitchen *
5/9 – Detroit, MI @ UFO *
5/10 – Toronto, ON @ The Garrison *
5/11 – Montreal,  QC @ Bar Le Ritz PDB *
5/12 – Burlington, VT @ The Monkey House *
5/13 – Boston, MA @ The Sinclair *
5/14 – East Greenwich, RI @ Greenwich Odeum *

^ = w/ Alex G
= w/ Waxahatchee