A Pink Felt Tipped Pen

Brushing the dust off of the covers of that stack of Rolling Stones taking up space on your kitchen table, one falls to the floor and you pick it up. On the cover is some hi-res, glossy photo of some current musician, or, as the magazine has evolved, some other pop culture icon of the moment. They stare back at you, as bold-print typeface shouts article headlines at you. As interesting as they seem, you flip through and discover most, if not all, of them are written by men. Lester Bangs stands out as one of the most iconic rock critics of all time, spending his short-lived (figuratively and literally) career at

Lester Bangs stands out as one of the most iconic rock critics of all time, spending his short-lived (figuratively and literally) career at Rolling Stone crushing hearts of spiky-collared punks across the globe. Bob Boilen’s claim to fame is NPR’s music branch, particularly those Tiny Desk Concerts you can’t seem to stop watching on YouTube. You’ve probably heard Ryan Schreiber’s name thrown around– he’s the guy that made Pitchfork a thing to love/hate. The list goes on…

And sure, there’s Lisa Robinson as womankind’s claim to fame in the realm of music journalism, but aside from here, there’s not nearly as extensive of a list. While there are plenty of multi-talented female music critics out there writing for all of the publications and more that exist, the issue lies in that we don’t know their names.

And so, as an aspiring music journalist myself, I find that earth-shattering.

Of course, the writers that exist today are well worth their positions, male or female. We simply need some fresher faces for the latter. If women are to make any strides in the music industry, it all comes down to exposure. Musicians have to get discovered, executives have to pull out their claws- and the writers have to document it all. Talent lies within every facet of the music industry, but if none of the goings ons are being publicized, then are we truly making any new strides?

Women have to pick up their pink felt tipped pens, cross their Ts, and dot their Is in order to further break barriers in the music industry. Okay, they don’t have to be pink. Whatever their favorite color is. But I’m making it my personal duty to ensure there’s always a feminine perspective to be given. After all, without women, half of rock and roll’s greatest songs wouldn’t exist to be critiqued.

Until next time, always be yourself. Unless you can be Beyonce. Always be Beyonce. 1419269050tumblr_navcrsaZSl1s6nynxo1_500

Who Run The Industry?

Sadly, unequivocally, and unsurprisingly: men. Whether you’re scanning the Top 40 list, or searching for the names of the people in charge of your favorite record labels, you’re more than likely to read an overwhelming amount of male names. We have our lady diva pop stars, sure. And there are people like Michele Anthony and Julie Greenwald– but the thing is, women on top are few and far between in any industry. And these two aren’t even the head honchos- they’re assistants to them. “How progressive,” said Peggy Olson.

Billboard cultivated the Women In Music awards as well as a series of articles on their website in 2007 in order to shed some well-deserved light on the female musicians, executives, and everyone in between in the industry. You’d recognize Taylor Swift, Beyonce, and others who have won the award- but skimming their list of the 50 Most Powerful (Female) Executives from last year, after first being blindly impressed, you begin to realize something terrifying- you’ve never heard of any of these people.

Okay, perhaps you’re a little more well-versed in music industry businesspeople than I am and you do recognize them. But chances are, each name is equally unfamiliar and frankly disturbing in this right. But it’s easy to rattle off the names of Brian Eno, Quincy Jones, Mark Ronson, and so many others.

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That’s why organizations like Women In Music are so important. We need more females not only stepping up as musicians, but on the business side of things as well. Started in 1985, Women In Music is a collective of women in all fields of the music industry, working to make what they do seem more attractive and plausible. They host events such as workshops and panels to encourage girls to break into the industry, no matter how off-putting it can be.

Although, it’s worthwhile to note the growth we’ve seen in the past few years. With pop powerhouses like Beyonce and rap queens like Nicki Minaj promoting feminist ideals (more on that in another post) in their music, and heartwarming singer songwriters like Taylor Swift proving that girls can pick up a guitar and make a song just as catchy as any flannel-clad, horn-rimmed glasses wearing guy can, this past decade has certainly seen lots more girl power. Not that girl groups or female-fronted groups haven’t been present in the past- each decade has certainly been host to some talented ladies. It’s just that we seem to be on the cusp of an estrogen fueled revolution in the music industry, as well as the world. There’s recently been a noticeable influx of these female artists, and certainly more of them stepping up in business.

And we can’t lose momentum. Billboard took a step in the right direction with their awards, Women In Music is a beautifully empowering organization that only has room to grow and everything to gain, and there are emerging publications like She Shreds that showcase some talent that might not get picked up in Rolling Stone. More and more ladies are picking up the microphone, the guitar, the drum sticks, you name it. But we need more. We need to keep going until Queen Bey is satisfied, and the industry, and maybe some day the world, is run by girls.

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Year in Review: Top 10 Albums

As part of the “Year in Review” series, I’ve compiled my top 10 albums of 2013.

Whilst many artists don’t like these lists, it is usually because they aren’t in them.

I urge you to have a listen to the ‘key tracks’ if you haven’t heard them before, and if you’re feeling super crazy, comment with your top 10 below!

Here we go…

10. Palma Violets – 180
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This raw, punk debut from English band Palma Violets captures a sound that matches their energetic, booze filled live shows. They definitely deserve the attention NME and Rolling Stone paid them this year.
Key Track: Best of Friends

9. Childish Gambino – Because the Internet
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I’ve only had about a week to sit on this one and I really dig it. If you want the full experience of Childish ‘Troy from Community’ Gambino’s playful and extremely clever music, read the screenplay that accompanies it. It’s epic.
Key Track: 3005

8. Foals – Holy Fire
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With their third album, Foals produced a tight and hard hitting sound, they smoked less Weed during the recording of this album and it shows.
Key Track: Inhaler

7. Jagwar Ma – Howlin
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These lads from Sydney managed to break overseas as well as tearing the Australian scene apart with their psychedelic/dance sound. They’ve got a big future ahead of them; after all, Noel Gallagher proclaimed that ‘the future of the galaxy depends on this album.’
Key Track: Come Save Me

6. Arctic Monkeys – AM
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Arctic Monkeys are a band that has matured aesthetically and musically in their now 11 year history. AM still has the grit from their early days with an almost funkier vibe, accompanied by some smooth falsetto from drummer Matt Helders.
Key Track: Do I Wanna Know?

5. Disclosure – Settle
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In my opinion, this UK dance duo should have won the Mercury Prize over James Blake. This debut album will get any party started.
Key Track: When a fire Starts to Burn

4. Chance the Rapper – Acid Rap
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Technically classified a mixtape, not an album. Chance is an unsigned artist from Chicago. For more information, have a read of this phenomenally written piece.
Key Track: Favourite Song

3. Unknown Mortal Orchestra – II
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This New Zealand band brought out this sun soaked album in the prime of the Australian Summer, the psychedelic pop infused guitar lines and vocal melodies made this an awesome album that not enough people know about.
Key Track: So Good at Being In Trouble

2. Kanye West – Yeezus
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It is quite hard to deny that Kanye is a genius. This album polarised fans and is a hectic 10 track epic. Have a look at this recent graphic published in the New York Times.
Key Track: Bound 2

1. Daft Punk – Random Access Memories
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If you haven’t heard Get Lucky the lead single of the RAM, I congratulate you. Even if Get Lucky were not on this album, it would still be a phenomenal throwback to the 70’s from the French duo that was marketed ridiculously well and in my opinion, lived up to the hype.
Key Track: Doin’ It Right

Honourable mentions:
Wavves – Afraid of Heights
Arcade Fire – Reflektor
King Krule – 6 Feet Beneath the Moon
Vampire Weekend – Modern Vampires of the City

Don’t agree with my choices? Don’t bicker and mumble to yourself. COMMENT BELOW.