Patti Rothberg, Candelabra Cadabra (© 2000 Patti Rothberg)
That Patti Rothberg is one diverse gal. Her new album, Candelabra Cadabra, is steeped in sitar and bass drums, bringing to mind Kula Shaker and sleepy mysticism. On the title track (which is arranged in a very "Lucy in the Sky With Diamonds" way), she flexes worldly vocabulary and sings "Candelabra cadabra/ abre la puerta nirvana/ I probably can't but I wanna/see heaven's light shine upon us." And yet, on other tunes, Rothberg sounds early-Madonna, such as the song "To a Muse," with weird synthesizers and a voice that hits "Holiday's" rhythmic high notes. Fast-paced skater-rock is the force on "Dish It Out," making me want to grab my board and hit the California skate parks of yesteryear, like, when Tony Hawk wasn't a grown man. Rothberg also dips into '70s trip-rock on "Moonage Daydream" (as if the title of the song didn't make that apparent).
"Wry It Girl" (ha ha) closes the album as a twangy middle-finger anthem.
Overall, Candelabra Cadabra sports some impressive musicianship. You might even catch yourself humming the more memorable tracks.
Related Stories: Patti Rothberg in concert at Chickfest 2000
Various Artists, Ladyfest East (28 Days Records)
Finally, the East Coast has its very own Ladyfest. To herald the triumphant arrival of Ladyfest East, 28 Days Records released a kick-ass compilation of bands that will be playing the four-day festival in New York City, September 6 - 9. The two-disc comp opens with the very grrrl-fueled, very catchy "Just Like Me" by Moxiestarpark (founders of 28 Days and producers of the album). "I'd make the world more like me if I could 'cause I'm sick and tired of being misunderstood," they sing, but go on to realize diversity is a nifty thing in and of itself, as long as you can put up with narrow-minded shitheads along your way. Other artists include Bionic Finger singing the lovely but painful "A.S.S.H.O.L.E" (we can all empathize with this one, trust me) and WomanRock founder Brenda Kahn on "Hey Romeo." The Hissyfits contributed the bitter punk tune "Something Wrong" and Scrapple gives up the hand-clapping gospel ditty "Shesus"
("Shesuuuuus ain't got no pee-nuuuuuhhhs! Oh my my my my my!"). Goddess Perlman closes disc one with a loungey jazz number, "Sound of Love." Disc two features the experimental electronic spoken word "Metaphysics" by Floor, and female-fronted bands like Jennifer Tefft, Marilyn McNeal, and Jennifer O'Connor. The fuzzed-out punk track "Boy Feminist Vs. Boy Misogynist" by the Plath and the melodic-punk track "Of the Pink" by Triple Creme even out the musical scales.
Other artists include Catfight, Galvanized, the Color Guard, the Trouble Dolls, Crowns on 45, the Operators, Lavababy, Chilly Kurtz, Gina Young, Ultrababyfat, Redhot Secret, Chelsea on Fire, the Kitty Kill, One Step Beyond, Chapter in Verse, Lift, and Trance Cult Riot. I'd say more but figure I'll just let you go out and buy your own copy. The stylistic diversity on Ladyfest East will prevent you from stuffing female musicians into a fluffy little box and slapping a pink bow on top. And that will make me very happy.
Amy Ray, Stag (Daemon Records)
She was always the rock-star half of the Indigo Girls, and finally, Amy Ray has made her solo debut, teaming up with dyke-punk trio the Butchies on five of Stag's ten tracks. Add guest artists Kate Schellenbach, Joan Jett, Josephine Wiggs, Danielle Howle, the Rock*A*Teens, 1945 (the band) and you've got one seriously jumpin' hootenanny of an album. Yet Ray never abandons the earnestness that the Indigo Girls exude. The songs are portraits of herself the storyteller, the self-questioning philosopher, the gender-equality warrior and the southern punk kid. The majority of the music is hyper, but Ray retracts some of her recklessness on songs like "Laramie" and "Measure of Me."
On my favorite track, "Lucystoners," Ray grabs the music business (specifically Jann Wenner, founder of that greasy rag Rolling Stone) by the balls (almost literally) and lets it know the girl bands aren't going away, no matter how many times they're overlooked.
The rock 'n' roll force of the music tumbles down on your head like a shelf of books.
Stag unfolds like a Chinese fan. The more of Amy Ray that's revealed, the more exciting the results.
Related Stories: Amy Ray in Concert
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