NEWS ROUNDUP: International Women’s Day, Leaving Neverland, and MORE

Maggie Rogers, Mavis Staples, Phoebe Bridgers and Brandi Carlile meet at Newport Music Fest. Photo by Danny Clinch. The artists shared this photo along with messages of empowerment for International Women’s Day via Twitter.

It’s International Women’s Day!

Though some form of International Women’s Day has been around since 1909, the holiday celebrating women around the world has really gained traction over the last decade. This year’s theme was #BalanceForBetter, seeking to promote a more gender balanced world. Here’s how our favorite ladies in the music world celebrated.

  • Cardi B made a playlist on Apple Music for the occasion, featuring visionary women (including Grace Jones, Madonna, Tina Turner, and Solange).
  • Sharon Van Etten and Courtney Barnett both appeared as a guest curators for Amazon’s music streaming platform.
  • Ariana Grande tweeted a short video by director Hanna Lux Davis, reminding everyone a few tweets later “it ain’t feminism if it ain’t intersectional.”

  • Rihanna looked powerful in a black blazer.

  • Miley Cyrus shouted out some of her favorite bad ass bitches:

  • … while Lady Gaga paid tribute to her mama.

  • Maggie Rogers and Mavis Staples both reminisced via this photo with Phoebe Bridgers and Brandi Carlile.

  • Dua Lipa had some tea for those who fall short of protecting human rights.

  • And Micropixie released a video for Como Mínimo (#YesIsTheMinimum), from her upcoming LP Dark Sight of the Moon, out April 9.

The Fallout of Leaving Neverland

The explosive HBO Documentary about Michael Jackson’s alleged child abuse, Leaving Neverland, aired last weekend, and unsurprisingly, folks are divided on its message. Though the allegations are nothing new (Jackson settled a child abuse case out of court in 1994, and was acquitted in a similar case with a different victim in 2005) the harrowing testimonies of two men who say they were abused by Jackson when they were 7 and 10 are hard to dismiss. Radio stations have pulled Jackson’s enduring pop hits,  The Simpsons producers have pulled iconic episode “Stark Raving Dad” from the syndication due to Jackson’s guest voice over, and a Chicago run of biographical jukebox musical “Don’t Stop ‘Til You Get Enough” was cancelled, though its team said this occurred due to scheduling difficulties and that they’ve set their sights on Broadway in 2020. Jackson’s daughter, Paris, seemed unfazed in a series of tweets in which she told folks to “chillax” – implying that even if Jackson’s legacy took a huge hit, his $500 million estate would ultimately be unaffected by the doc (though they’d previously filed a lawsuit to block it from airing). Meanwhile, debate continues to rage regarding blame placed on the victims’ parents, the degree to which Joe Jackson’s horrific behavior absolves his son’s various issues (including the alleged child abuse) and, of course, the idea that Jackson himself is an innocent victim of a slanderous campaign. One thing is certain: Jackson’s story is ultimately one of the saddest in pop music history, taking into account his tarnished childhood, various tabloid scandals, untimely death due to physician-sanctioned drug abuse – and it’s only compounded by the suffering of his alleged victims.

That New New

Solange has blessed the world with the (semi) surprise release of When I Get Home, her follow-up to 2016’s show-stopping A Seat at the Table.

Cementing their legacy as Jersey’s favorite pop punks, The Bouncing Souls released the second single from their forthcoming 30th anniversary EP Crucial Moments, out March 15. Their massive tour kicks off the next day at Jersey City’s White Eagle Hall.

Vampire Weekend have shared two new tracks from their upcoming Father of the Bride LP, out in May

Mac DeMarco announced his next record Here Comes the Cowboy with a single called “Nobody,” giving Mitski fans a little déjà vu; both artists (and their shared PR team) say it’s just a coincidence.

Bedouine is back with a one-off single that reflects on the aftermath of her gorgeous 2017 self-titled debut.

SOAK has released another lovely singled from April 26 release Grim Town., announcing some US tour dates (including two at SXSW) to go with it.

Alan Vega’s final recordings have been released to benefit the Rock and Roll Forever Foundation, which provides teaching materials to educators seeking to engage students by teaching pop music history. The Suicide co-founder passed away in 2016.

Everyone loves a corgi – and that includes illuminati hotties, who are very honest about the fact that sometimes doggos are are the only thing keeping us in a mediocre relationship. They’ll be in Austin next week for SXSW.

Stef Chura has announced her sophomore record Midnight with its lead single “Method Man.”

Blushh shared a one-off single to get folks pumped for their upcoming SXSW dates as well.

Toronto punks Greys have announced third LP Age Hasn’t Spoiled You, out May 10, sharing its first single “These Things Happen.”

Rick from Pile remains the biggest babe in all of DIY indie rock; this week the band released their latest single and announced forthcoming LP Green and Gray, out May 3.

In other DIY news, Patio ready themselves for the April 5 release of Essentials with their latest track, “New Reality.”

NOTS have seemingly recovered from their recent lineup changes and shared the first single from their upcoming LP 3, out May 10. Two of its members are also releasing an LP this year as Hash Redactor.

The National have announced a new collaborative project with director Mike Mills entitled I Am Easy To Find. It’s essentially an hour-long companion album to a 24-minute short film of the same name starring Alicia Vikander. The first track on the album, “You Had Your Soul With You,” has some guest stars as well – Sharon Van Etten, Kate Stables of This Is the Kit, The Brooklyn Youth Choir, and longtime David Bowie bandmate Gail Ann Dorsey lend vocals. The band have announced a bunch of tour dates with Courtney Barnett and Alvvays supporting.

Local Natives released two videos this week, one of which stars Kate Mara. Both will appear on the April 26 release of Violet Street, a follow-up to 2016’s Sunlit Youth; they’ve previously announced a slew of tour dates.

Sky Blue, a posthumous collection of unreleased material from celebrated singer-songwriter Townes Van Zandt, arrived March 7 to commemorate what would’ve been his 75th birthday.

Kishi Bashi returns with new LP Omoiyari on May 31, and has released the album’s first single, “Summer of ’42”.

Charly Bliss have shared a video for “Chatroom,” the second single from their upcoming record Young Enough, out May 10.

CupcakKe keeps it topical with a new single entitled “Bird Box,” referencing the recent Netflix horror movie and the Jussie Smollett controversy alike.

Having penned Grammy-nominated hits for Ariana Grande and Janelle Monae, Tayla Parx is poised to break out on her own with a highly anticipated solo debut on Atlantic Records, We Need to Talk, out April 5. Her latest video for “I Want You” follows earlier singles “Slow Dancing” and “Me vs. Us.”

Christian Fennesz, who records electronic music under his last name, returns to basics with a new 12-minute track called “In My Room,” from forthcoming 4-song LP Agora, out March 29.

Ahead of the April 12 release of No Geography, The Chemical Brothers share a video for “We’ve Got To Try.”

Festival faves Marshmello and CHVRCHES have collaborated on a sugary new single titled “Here With Me.”

Dido’s first record since 2013, Still on My Mind, is out today; her first tour in fifteen years hits the US in June.

End Notes

  • The Prodigy singer Keith Flint was found dead of apparent suicide at the age of 49.
  • I would unironically love to attend one of these West Coast Man Man shows featuring “Friday” singer Rebecca Black.
  • Gayle King interviewed R. Kelly for CBS regarding the sexual abuse allegations against him, prompting an explosive on-camera outburst from the singer that has been widely discussed. We’re so tired.
  • Swedish black metal band Watain have been banned from performing in Singapore due to their “history of denigrating religions and promoting violence.”
  • NYC concert-goers spontaneously burst into song on the ACE platform following a sold-out Robyn show at MSG.
  • Speaking of Robyn, she’s been announced as one of the headliners for Pitchfork Music Festival, which takes place in Chicago from July 19-21. HAIM and the Isley Brothers top Friday and Saturday’s bills respectively, with Stereolab, Mavis Staples, Belle & Sebastian, Earl Sweatshirt, Pusha T, Tirzah, Kurt Vile, Low, Julia Holter, Rico Nasty, Neneh Cherry, Snail Mail, Khruangbin, Soccer Mommy, Amber Mark, CHAI, and more set to play as well.
  • While we’re on the subject of festivals, Variety has leaked a potential lineup for Woodstock 50 and it’s not exactly overflowing with “heritage” acts; Jay-Z, Chance the Rapper, and Black Keys look like likely headliners.
  • Elton John tweeted an definite release date in October 2019 for his upcoming memoir.
  • Massive Attack have rescheduled some of the North American Mezzanine reunion tour dates due to illness.
  • You can buy the hospital gown that Kurt Cobain wore during a legendary 1992 Reading Festival Nirvana performance for a mere $50,000.
  • L7’s Donita Sparks emerged as a hero when, in true punk fashion, Marky Ramone and Johnny Rotten nearly came to blows at a panel discussion on upcoming John Varvatos and Iggy Pop-produced Epix docu-series Punk.
  • Morrissey is taking his upcoming covers record California Sun to Broadway.
  • Taylor Swift stalker Roger Alvarado was arrested for breaking into the pop star’s home again, fresh off of a stint in jail for the same charge (bringing his Swift-related arrest total to three).
  • Arcade Fire will reportedly cover “Baby Mine” in Tim Burton’s live-action Dumbo remake, and it’s a real family affair.
  • Mark your sundials – Red Hot Chili Peppers will stream a live concert from the Pyramids of Giza, Egypt on March 15.

PREMIERE: Lauren Eylise Documentary “The Most” Centers Female Experience

Lauren Eylise wanted to do something special for the music video for her song, “The Most.”

“The Most (Madonna-Whore Interlude)” comes off the Cincinnati singer’s most recent album, Life / Death / Life and explores themes of shame, expression, and owning the dialogue surrounding female sexuality. Because of her connection to the song and the conversation it promotes, she decided to film a mini-documentary targeting the exact same subject.

The Most documentary asks four Cincinnati women – Brittany, Savannah, Erin, and Sandra – as well as the singer herself, about their first introductions to sex, not just from a physical standpoint, but also about their mindsets surrounding it. Lauren wanted to feature women of different backgrounds, races, ages and experiences in order to properly portray the diversity of women in general. While they differed in first times, body image and upbringing, the women shared similar anxieties, initial introductions and perceptions. The documentary sparks a conversation about slut-shaming, the media’s role in body image and sex, sex portrayal through a predominantly male gaze and the harmful initial introduction many women have to sex and their bodies. The documentary closes by asking each of the women “Who are you?” All of the subjects look taken aback and contemplate the question. The doc then transitions into the music video portion, where Lauren creates a visual image of self-love to her song “The Most.”

Here, Lauren talks about The Most documentary, future visions for a similar ongoing video series and why she’s an advocate for open and honest dialogue about sex. We’re premiering it below in honor of International Women’s Day.

AF: Congrats on your premiere! What made you want to do this documentary-style video, rather than a traditional music video?

LE: Thank you! There were so many risks with it. For one, it’s an interlude. It’s the shortest song on the album, but it really means the most to me because of the commentary. It was definitely a labor of love. But I’m not gonna lie, even premiering it, I’m very nervous about it from a music perspective, with it being a lot more message-centered. It’s in alignment with me, but still. And then the actual music video portion of it is just me touching myself, which was very intentional as well! Every time we see sex portrayed, generally, it’s through a male gaze. Sometimes it’s a woman perpetrating it, but it’s pretty much her putting on a show of her internalized misogyny. As bare as possible, I don’t need to be doing anything extreme, it’s not about that; it’s about the female form.

I think it was Brittany in the video who mentions how women see themselves. She talks about seeing things in lines and curves and shapes and I’m like, sister, I’m with you! When I talk about sex it’s not necessarily in alignment with the way the male gaze perpetrates it. I see lines and curves and shadows and all those things I demonstrated. I’m very proud of myself and the team for executing it and I just hope it’s well received. But at the same time if it’s not, I don’t give a shit! If you don’t receive it, it’s not for you. It is for us, the women who are seeking to redefine that narrative.

AF: Why do this video and style for “The Most”?

LE: There are women, generations even, removed from this conversation. Woman and wife are not synonymous. Woman and nurturer are not synonymous – though, that’s a very positive and beautiful trait of women. My entire purpose of “The Most” was to express female sensuality and female autonomy therein through a woman’s language, a woman’s gaze, because it’s very important to me.

I love my parents, but a lot of their old paradigms and thoughts were manifested into me. ‘Don’t have sex until you’re married,’ which I’m not saying is a bad thing, but it can be a bad thing. We’ve gotta get to the why. Why? Why shouldn’t I have sex until I’m married? And why is that the beginning and the end of the conversation? I don’t even know my body and you’re telling me not to use it. I was not comfortable with [the fact] that I was 23, 24, 25, reflecting and trying to figure out my body. And what really sucked is that I’m trying to learn some of these things, and unlearn some of these things, in the middle of conflict with my body. I’m already using my body at this point, and so now I’ve got shame and guilt because of things I was taught that aren’t necessarily true.

Tradition and truth are not interchangeable. My purpose for “The Most” was really like a fuck you to patriarchy and the way that it plays itself out in life and the way that it manipulates women, and men too, and how we’re all bound to it and enslaved by it. Transforming our thought process around sex is important to me because it’s a pillar for bigger conversations.

AF: How did you find women who wanted to share their stories and perspectives of sex?

LE: These are all women that I know; we’ve become friends for sure. Brittany, I didn’t know her at all before. A friend of mine called me and said hey, my friend is getting engaged and she wants you to sing for her engagement. I said okay, I sang at her engagement, her and her wife Erica, and then I sang at their wedding. So we’ve built a relationship because I was so involved in their union. And then the other women I’ve worked with in more professional spaces and then came to build a relationship.

It was interesting; I didn’t know anything about them, to that degree. I was grateful that I had different perspectives. Savannah, who’s been comfortable with her body—she’s a dancer, whereas someone like Brittany who grew up in the church and had a lot of issues with her body image. It’s very reflective of women, generally. I appreciated their honesty and transparency. Even the conversations we had off-screen—I was bawling.

The Most
Photos by Kevin J. Watkins (@ohthatsdubs).

AF: What’s something you learned or had solidified in your mind about the various female perspectives of sex through filming this documentary?

LE: Something that was solidified was that I’m not alone in this. And they’re not alone in this. Sure, all different experiences [but] there were so many similarities. It was reassuring that the work I am seeking to do through my art is necessary. Because again, just as there are men who don’t know, there are women who don’t know. Women who are like very stuck in these roles and these beliefs, they don’t even know why they believe them. My thing is always like, believe what you want to believe, but know why you believe it. If your answer is just ‘the way it is,’ nah. Come again.

AF: You talk about how we need to open up a dialogue with other women and men about sex and that you’d also like to turn this documentary into an ongoing series. For future videos, would you include men in the conversation?

LE: Absolutely. We actually talked about that. I have a song that will hopefully make my next project, it’s called “Real Boy.” It’s a play on Pinocchio and it’s very intense. It’s a call for the destruction of toxic masculinity. Masculinity has a place, just like femininity has a place. Neither of them are tied to either sex. Women have masculine traits and feminine traits. But yes, this conversation definitely has to keep going. I’m going to use my art to push that conversation along, so I do hope that I can manifest that with this next song and this next project.

It’s funny because it was a male videographer who worked on this and it was interesting to hear his response to the women and to hear his response to the questions. He was baffled. He was like, ‘Man, I didn’t know.’ He was baffled at the entire concept of these roles not being innate to us. And I know there are levels to that. Some men are deeper in the rabbit hole and some are not. But he even said, I would love to have this conversation with women and more men because I don’t think a lot of us even know about these things.

Unfortunately, we have our experiences, and some of the women talk about their first times and whatnot, we make the mistake of assuming that all men are like those men we had those experiences with, when they’re not. I don’t think any real healing will take place until we have that open dialogue. It’s still going to be an imbalance if we have all these women healing and gaining awareness and then we have all these men falling behind. We’re still not connecting, and that’s important. We’ve got a lot of healing to do!

INTERVIEW: Trans Rapper Mz. Neon Celebrates Her “Pussy Stick” with Newest Single

Sporting an ecstatic mane of blond curls and heart-shaped sunglasses, it’s easy to mistake Neon Music for a living Barbie Doll and not the trans Lil’ Kim. She’s five-foot-four-inches of teased-out Hollywood glamour that stares down the blond bombshell archetype, then dropkicks it. But rhymes come just as effortlessly as fierce-femme style to this up-and-coming artist.

Neon’s vicious-glam stage presence has made her a staple of the underground disco scene, but she’s always loved pushing the boundaries of genre as much as gender. Her experiments began as a middle-schooler in Boston, when she would make what she called “one-twink recordings” in her bedroom with a microphone, guitar, and beat machine. In high school, she was in a band that toured with acts such as the Mighty Mighty Bosstones and H20. For two decades, she’s borrowed from influences as diverse as ’70s punk, ’80s industrial, and ’90s rap.

Now the East Coast native is making beats in LA. In her latest project, she steps out as Mz. Neon, a nimble-tongued rapper who’s grabbing the mic to confront ideas about her body, her sexuality, and her experiences as a trans woman. On Friday, March 1, she dropped her first rap track, “Pussy Stick,” a catchy celebration of being a self-described “chick with a dick.”

Audiofemme sat down with Neon to discuss her transition into rap and why she considers Mz. Neon her most honest project to-date.

AF: Your song “Pussy Stick” is very tongue-in-cheek while confronting a lot of taboos about trans women. Can you explain what a “pussy stick” is?

Neon: Maybe people want language that, like, feminizes a penis. I still say “dick” a lot, but a woman’s dick is her own thing. Having a dick does not make you a man. “Pussy stick” was something I heard on this really great show on YouTube called T-Time with the Gurlz. It was like a DIY version of The View with trans women from New York talking about trans issues really unfiltered. They would use that word a lot, and it just stuck with me.

AF: What does it mean to introduce this vernacular to a mainstream audience?

Neon: We keep reinventing trans language. When I moved to New York and was finding my trans community, people still used the word “tranny” like it was no thing. Then time went by, and the word “tranny” became unacceptable. People within the the trans community were divided about it. Like the N-word to Black culture — if that word applies to you, you can use it, but if it doesn’t, you can’t. So “tranny” went in that direction where certain trans women, mostly of a certain age, kept that word going as a thing that you could talk about among yourselves, but it wasn’t okay for people outside your community to use it. That goes into things like “chicks with dicks” or “she-male.” Personally, I always really loved the word “she-male” because it seems exotic. And the word “she-nis” — I think it’s cute. But it’s something I can say and my community can say. If a guy says it to me, then it’s a different thing.

AF: Your song “Pussy Stick” is irreverent and fun, but it also feels like it has an urgency. What made you think now is the time for this track?

Neon: People project a fantasy onto me, partially because I’m a performer. Being trans on top of that, I’m often fetishized. [Porn featuring trans women] is one of the most searched porn categories on the Internet. Porn is how a lot of men learn about sex and certainly about trans women, so we lose a lot of our humanity because of that. Navigating the dating world as a transitioned woman, I’m meeting a lot more guys that I used to be attracted to as a boy but were never interested in me. Now they’re very interested in me, but a lot of them see me as something that’s even more objectifiable than women already are. So this music plays on that. Men project fantasies onto me, and I use music to reclaim the power in those fantasies and to live out my own fantasies.

Every trans woman identifies in a different way. Trans women are entitled to do whatever makes them most comfortable in their bodies. But when it comes to a chick with a dick, it’s still seen as a fetish-type thing or something that’s supposed to go unspoken. I want to speak to girls that specifically may not know how to feel comfortable with having a dick or feel like having a dick is submitting to some guy’s fantasy. It’s sexy on your terms, not his.

I have no hangups about [my penis]. I really celebrate that about myself. I don’t want to pretend like that’s not a part of me — that’s a very big part of me – no pun intended! I want to get it out there and make it a non-issue. You can be a woman and have a dick.

AF: Rap music is a traditionally Black music form. Many white performers have been called out for using their racial privilege to advance in a genre by and for Black people. Being white, did you have any hesitations about rapping?

Neon: Well, it’s a misconception that I’m white. I’m half Dominican and half French Canadian. But to me, music is music. Rap began as a voice for a marginalized community. Rap, like punk, is very lyrical and very DIY. I listened to a lot of rap music growing up. I know I’m coming into it as an outsider, but I’ve come into a lot of music and a lot of spaces as an outsider.

AF: Does rapping help you express things you haven’t been able to in past projects? In what ways?

Neon: This project is very lyrically different from past projects. Before, lyrics were always the last part, and it would take me a long time to write them because they were so contingent on fitting into a certain melody or something. The themes were more broad and generic. Rapping makes me focus on the written aspects. Now I’m writing lyrics first, and then making a beat around them — or people are sending me beats. The lyrics’ content is a lot more specific. I’m really saying something, not just singing along, and I’m feeling a wide spectrum of emotions while I work. I’m cracking myself up. I’m getting myself horny. I’m making myself terrified. I’m really writing content that’s shocking to me, which makes it exciting because it’s really real.

AF: You’ve mentioned having more songs on the way, though you’re unsure if you’ll release a mixtape or a full-length. What can listeners look forward to when those tracks drop?

Neon: I’m definitely expanding on the themes that I talk about in the opening track. I explore themes of female domination, misogyny, dealing with tranny chasers, being fetishized. I go more hardcore, but I also get more esoteric and spiritual. Where did we come from? Where does gender begin and end? And I give men a taste of their own medicine.

Follow Mz. Neon on Facebook for upcoming appearances and future singles.

ONLY NOISE: A Woman Like Your Kind

Today is International Women’s Day, and people are celebrating in many ways. This American Life devoted their entire show on Tuesday night to listening to the stories of five women who were sexually harassed by media executive Don Hazen, giving individual voice to members of the #MeToo movement. Mattel came out with 17 new Barbie dolls celebrating diverse and historic women like artist Frida Kahlo, Australian conservationist Bindi Irwin, and NASA mathematician Katherine Johnson. Our favorite female and non-binary music festival, The Hum, has announced a new run of shows slated for May, and various Women’s Day events have sprung up across the world. In my own way of celebrating women, here are five groundbreaking female musicians pushing their formats forward.

U.S. Girls

U.S. Girls mastermind Meg Remy has always looked to the past for inspiration – her decade-deep catalog often reverberating with sounds of ‘70s disco and Phil Spector’s girl groups. Those influences haven’t dissipated entirely on Remy’s latest LP In a Poem Unlimited, but Remy has forged something completely new from them. Remy has garnered more widespread attention with this album than any prior release, and while that could easily be attributed to its near perfect track list, it may have occurred as a result of topic and timing.

In a Poem Unlimited chronicles female rage in an era when it’s finally being recognized. From James Bond-tinged revenge epic “Velvet 4 Sale,” to the satirical “Pearly Gates,” Remy and her U.S. Girls collective have crafted something fresh and relevant, wrapping rocky subject matter in swaths of multicolored silk. Standout track “M.A.H.” (“Mad As Hell”) combines these two assets seamlessly, succinctly verbalizing what women have been feeling for too long over an ABBA-esque dance cut. “As if you couldn’t tell, I’m mad as hell,” she sings. “I won’t forget, so why should I forgive?/Supply me with one reason why, boy?” Pertinent questions these days.


Chicago rapper CupcakKe, aka Elizabeth Harris, has been in the game for longer than you might think. Harris began releasing music on the web in 2012, and her 2016 mixtape Cum Cake caught the attention of critics for its unabashed lewdness. None of that raunchiness is lost on CupcakKe’s most recent LP Ephorize. Harris is the lightning-tongued, pornographic poet we’ve all been waiting for. Her brand of female sexuality is raw and unapologetic, debunking the myth that women are less sexual creatures than men with streams of dirty verses. She celebrates LGBTQ love on “Crayons” and her love for dick on “Duck Duck Goose.” Cupcakke is easily one of the most progressive MCs on these matters, and when it comes to the societal damning of women’s sexuality, she’s furious. “Females have sex on the first night they get called a ho for that one night stand,” she raps on “Self Interview,” “Men have sex on the first night, congratulations!” “Most wouldn’t comprehend/Double standards need to end.” Preach, High Priestess Cupcakke.


Scotland born, Los Angeles based producer SOPHIE is making pop music dangerous again. The transgender artist is seemingly allergic to binaries, and therefore makes music that is difficult to categorize. There are elements of techno, disco, and deep house, but her work also boasts more the “difficult” sounds of industrial and noise music. “A lot of the stuff I’ve done takes the attitude of disco but tries to bring the sound world forward,” she told Teen Vogue last year. “We’re in a different world now. I’m trying to imagine what music that’s positive, liberating, weird, dark, and real could be in the current day.” SOPHIE has achieved all of those descriptors in her music, and she’s one of the few contemporary artists that can truly be called cutting edge. Her live shows are a mixture of theater, rave, and performance art, and her skill as a producer is unrivaled. She can turn the fizz of soda into a symphony and the screech of latex into a solo. SOPHIE will undoubtedly have a hand in how the future of pop music is shaped.

Moor Mother

Moor Mother is the project of Philly poet, musician, and activist Camae Ayewa, whose music blurs the lines between hip-hop, gothic industrial, and spoken word. Moor Mother is angry, and she has every right to be. She raps about domestic violence, race riots, and police brutality through layers of distortion, and her live sets are a blatant display of her rage. Ayewa’s music is compelling through headphones, but contagious in person; her body thrashes with each verse, making the air around her taut with fury. Her last record, 2016’s Fetish Bones is a stirring amalgam of disturbing poems laid over horror movie noise-scapes. Moor Mother’s sound is a much-needed slap in the face to oppression.


Jerilynn Patton is one badass woman. A top-notch producer and steel mill worker from Gary, Indiana, Patton, aka Jlin, has taken the independent music community by storm with her last two records, 2015’s Dark Energy and last year’s Black Origami. Jlin’s music is instantly recognizable, and while it incorporates electronic genres like footwork and house, her stamp of authenticity lies in the clanging metallic rhythms, West African percussion, and dizzying synths she weaves through her beats. Her live sets are robust and disorienting, causing more convulsions than dancing. In an industry, and a genre (electronic music) that is overwhelmed by men, Jlin makes harder beats than just about anyone.