NEWS ROUNDUP: LGBTQ Love Songs, Cardi B & More

NEWS ROUNDUP: Gender Bending Love Songs, Cardi B & More

By Jasmine Williams

Wedding Dances For All!

What do Bob Dylan, Kesha, St. Vincent, Kele Okereke, Ben Gibbard, and Valerie June have in common? All six musicians contributed gender-reversed cover songs to a new EP called Universal Love. In the goal of providing wedding ditties for the LGBTQ community, the compilation reimagines love songs so that they feature same-sex objects of desires. Dylan substitutes she for he in “He’s Funny that Way” while Kesha, an ordained minister who has married two gay couples, transforms a song by her idol, Janis Joplin. Listen to “I Need A Woman To Love” below.

Cardi B’s New Album Drops

Cardi B was the undisputed break-out star of last year Her meteoric rise to the top was the result of a perfect storm of millenial money moves – a reality tv show, a massive Instagram following, a lack of filters (during a red carpet interview she told Guiliana Rancic that she had butterflies in her stomach and vagina), the ability to make everything seem candidly cute (even gang spelling substitutions), and of course, sick verses. Most importantly, she’s become the figurehead of a new feminist archetype: the bad bitch.

Today, the reigning queen of hip-hop is back with a new album. Invasion of Privacy is out now and despite many months of rumors and fake-outs, the LP’s release early this morning still managed to surprise fans – songs featuring her fellow slighted Grammy nominee, SZA, and Chance the Rapper are welcome, if unexpected, additions to massive hits like “Cartier Bardi” and “Bodak Yellow.”

Cardi will make cable history on Monday when she hosts The Tonight Show with Jimmy Fallon. It will be the first time that the television staple features two MCs.

New This Week

The ladies own this week’s new releases! Audiofemme favorites, Zola Jesus, Tart, and Kim Anderson all delivered today. Earlier this week Zola debuted a new video in anticipation of today’s release of bonus and remix album, Okovi: Additions. Listen to Tart’s new track, “Like Lovers Do,” and check out Ashley Prillaman’s interview with Anderson on her debut album, Yarrow.

Azealia Banks debuted “Anna Wintour,” the first complete song off of her long-awaited album Fantasia II. We also heard new tracks from Washed Out, Rae Sremmurd, and A$AP Rocky this week. A$AP’s offering is a new “collaboration” with Moby. The techno pioneer doesn’t contribute anything new for the song “A$AP Forever,” but his late nineties hit “Porcelain” is sampled. Perhaps the credit marks a shift in the song-writing industry – “Blurred Lines,” anyone?

Coming Soon

With exciting announcements coming from various ends of the music spectrum, this week proves to be an exercise in delayed gratification. Live From Here, the variety show formerly know as A Prairie Home Companion, comes to NYC for three Town Hall Shows later this month, featuring Sufjan Stevens, Janeane Garofalo, Courtney Barnett, Neko Case, Father John Misty and more.

Sonic Youth legend Kim Gordon revealed the July 13th release date for Body/Head’s upcoming album.

The Coathangers, The Get Up Kids, and Arctic Monkeys also joined the promo parade this week: The Coathangers’ upcoming album LIVE condenses two nights of refreshingly raucous rock into one electric LP and is out June 1st; after a 7-year hiatus, The Get Up Kids debuted the first single, “Maybe,” from new EP The Kicker, out June 8th; coming off of a slightly shorter break, Arctic Monkeys spilled the details on their new album Tranquility Base Hotel & Casino, which is out May 11th and is the band’s first album in five years.

Last but not least, the indomitable Grace Jones gets the documentary treatment next week. For Bloodlight and Bami, director Sophie Fiennes was granted intimate access to Jones’ life and even trailed the boundary-pushing performer on a trip to her native Jamaica. You can watch the doc on April 13th.

A couple of days later, score tickets to see more music legends on the big screen. The Beatles’ Yellow Submarine will be back in theaters in celebration of the 50th anniversary of the film.

But for those who can’t wait for their next music film fix, Flatbush Zombies and The Shins both premiered long music videos this week. For even more clips, check out Desdemona Dallas’ column for Audiofemme, Video of the Week.

PLAYING DETROIT: Tart Premiere New Single “Like Lovers Do”

Detroit shred-pop band Tart meet us at the end of cuffing season with the release of their sexually-charged single, “Like Lovers Do,” a lo-fi, lusty track about the electric feeling that comes with a new crush. The trio, comprised of Zee Bricker (vocals), Adam Michael Lee Padden (guitar), and Donny Blum (drums), achieve their gritty sound by layering Padden’s rollicking guitars and slightly distorting Bricker’s sweet and snarly vocals. The combination of the two result in a genre-bending sound that lies somewhere between New Wave, surf-rock, and power glam-pop.

Bricker says the song’s angsty vibe sprouted from a typical band-practice spat. “Donny was being a perfect angel – it was really Adam and me fighting about something dumb at practice,” says Bricker. “We occasionally butt heads creatively. Donny started playing this awesome beat and Adam was super frustrated, so he started hitting chords really angrily and dramatically. And, for whatever reason, this all made perfect sense to me so I told them not to stop.”

The band’s heated jam sesh translated well into a fiery infatuation anthem, at times almost mocking conventional courtship rituals. “We could shake hands like lovers do / Make plans like lovers do / Take it slow like lovers do,” Bricker sings with an eye roll that can be heard through the speakers. After a face-melting solo from Padden, the song breaks down into a sickly sweet Bricker singing, “I could be gentle / I could be calm / I could be cool for you,” as her vocals slowly work back into a blustery fever dream, guided by Blum’s rousing drum beat.

Ending on a single note from Padden’s warbly guitar, the song leaves us breathing heavily and wanting more, almost as if we’ve got the hots for a new flame. In Bricker’s own words, “The song’s about desire, but in the least melancholic way possible. It’s less about longing and pining, and more about feeling desire as a bubbly, exciting heat in your body. It’s not about love, it’s about crushes.”

PLAYING DETROIT: Tart Returns as a Trio on New EP Toothache

Sweet, sour and glittering with adrenaline (appropriately named) transcendent Detroit trio Tart have made a reputation for themselves by deconstructing new wave and electroclash to spawn their genre-defying sound. Together, vocalist Zee Bricker, guitarist Adam Michael Lee Padden and drummer Donny Blum form a vibrantly expressive shred-pop outfit who approach each song as a fresh start.

Formed formally in 2014, best friends turned roommates turned sonic architects Bricker and Padden ventured to create a sound that fused the intricacies of their contrasting musical backgrounds: Bricker’s disciplined theatre education and Padden’s untamed, collaborative rock and roll fire. While the then duo explored the marriage of Bricker’s haunting vocal prowess and piercing lyrics with Padden’s intuitive and calculated guitar treatment, it was their inanimate third member, the drum machine, that filled a percussive void yet also strained Tart’s potential.

Blum (who also drums in The Von Bondies) helped them achieve it fully when he began playing with Tart for their live performances in 2016. Both Bricker and Padden discovered a raw beginning within the preexisting framework, Blum being the missing ingredient. It is Blum’s primal endurance and virtuosic stylings that helped birth a new, energized Tart with the same name, but an entirely realized vision.

Earlier this month, Tart saw the release of their third (and in many ways their first) EP Toothache, a well-rounded, eruptive 4-track collection that defines the band’s ardent past and shimmering future with a fully formed ferocity. “Metal Eyes” (which Bricker jokes is their one true “pop song”) feels more Dandy Warhols than glittering excess whereas Toothache is a riotous Tank Girl worthy banger. Pared down from six tracks, Toothache finds a polished momentum that embody what Tart has come to do best: sincere and sinister tornadic shred-pop with a well-roundedness that feels radio ready.

If you’ve got a sweet tooth and a bad attitude check out Tart’s latest below:

PLAYING DETROIT: Best of What I Missed in 2015 – Ladies Edition

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Pretty Ghouls left; Mz. Mockery, T.J. Ghoul and Li’l Queenie

Considering that Playing Detroit is still in its infancy at just four months old, it’s no surprise that there are a slew of notable releases I missed out on this year. While compiling my Best Of list, I found it only fair to do my research and revisit the women (and their male counterparts, respectively) who made 2015 one of Detroit’s most memorable music years to date. Here are five releases from the past year that slipped under my radar but stopped me in my tracks.

1. PRETTY GHOULS: Dead At The Dandy Teen Club

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Probably my favorite local punk trio, Pretty Ghouls, taps into classic punk elements without sounding like a carbon copy of yesteryear. Their energy is unmatched and their EP Dead At The Dandy Club (released in June) is an unapologetic six minutes of angst-y bliss.

Favorite Track: “Cool Girls”

2. TART: These Are Not Love Songs

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Adam Michael Lee Padden and Zee Bricker are Tart. Aptly named, Tart’s July 2015 release, These Are Not Love Songs tempts 70’s L.A. new wave with bursts of Bjork worthy howling and manages to be both cathartic yet danceable.

Favorite Track: “Hello”

3. BEST EXES: Cactus Demos
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Cactus Demos is a conversational collection of tracks that feel like a poignant post-one night stand breakfast tied with an email entitled “I Think We Should Talk.” Best Exes channels Jonathon Richman’s banter-y cadence. It feels familiar and sometimes sad, but they found a perfect formula to provoke a sense of comfort throughout. Cactus Demos is a hug, but one with pats, not rubs.

Favorite Track: “Weird Kind of Nice”

4. VALLEY HUSH: Don’t Wait

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Lianna Vanicelli and Alex Kaye make up Valley Hush. Their June 2015 release, Don’t Wait, is a vast and colorful EP that could be the love child of St. Vincent and Karen O. Vanicelli’s vocals are impressive not only in regards to range, but in its evocation. The orchestration sometimes sounds like a video game under water. Don’t Wait is from another planet and undoubtedly one of the most thoughtfully produced releases this year.

Favorite Track: “Children”

5. PRUDE BOYS: Family Style Glamour

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Garage punk trio Prude Boys (Sadie Slam, Caroline Myrick, and Quennton Thornbury) fuses Joan Jett with The Ramones with Hunx and His Punx to make a frantically catchy cocktail on their debut EP Family Style Glamour. It’s punk you can do the mashed potato to while still feeling enough rage to break something (which you’ll clean up, of course).

Favorite Track: “The Devil Was Adopted”