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It’s the height of festival season. Music lovers from all over the world are grabbing tickets to see bands perform and take artsy pictures on their disposable cameras. Everything is perfect.

Until you realize that almost all of the musical acts are comprised of men.

Music festivals have been unnervingly male-centric this year, proven by these very sad infographics by Pixable. It’s inexcusable. And while it’s impossible to change the lineups of upcoming festivals, it’s VERY possible to discover and support new non-male talent. And here is just the place to do so. Below are eleven artists that I think you should check out.

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 Barf Troop

Barf Troop is a rap collective composed of six incredibly talented woman and nonbinary artists. They perform individually and as a group, with members located everywhere from Georgia to Canada. The best thing about the Troop is their punk approach to rap- they’re here to make a point, stand up for their beliefs, and have fun doing it.

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 Ava Luna

Wobbly art-pop quintet Ava Luna, while technically only two-fifths female, impressed me so much at Hopscotch Fest back in September 2014 that I had to include them in this list. Satisfyingly off-kilter and pleasantly groovy, they’ve put out three impressive albums, including their latest, ‘Infinite House,’ this April.

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Wolf Alice

Originally the solo project of frontwoman Ellie Rowsell, Wolf Alice is a punk band that’s taken their homeland of England by storm. Rowsell has a commanding voice that can be both angelic and menacing, and she’s written a plethora of amazing songs, spanning two EPs and several singles, leading up to the group’s first full-length LP this summer.

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Grace Jones

A legend in her own right, Jones has been stamping her personality all over the music scene since the seventies. Aside from seeing success as a model and actress, she contributed to the disco and new wave genres and remains a remarkable artist today.

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Chelsea Wolfe

Known for her “drone-metal-art-folk,” Wolfe has crafted several beautiful and captivating records. Her style ranges from experimental soundscapes to heavy, foreboding pop, but all her music is haunting, surreal, and worth a listen.

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Angel Haze

Angel Haze

Angel Haze is one of the most interesting figures in modern rap. Haze is nonbinary (they/them pronouns) and they grew up in a cult where outside music was not allowed. They left when they were 16 after threats were made against their mother- but not before Haze had experienced sexual abuse and other trauma in the cult. Coming out of this universe, they absorbed pop culture as quickly as possible and began their rap career. Haze’s music is confrontational, heated, and narrative.

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Antony

Antony

Best known for her work as the frontwoman of Antony and the Johnsons, Antony Hegarty is a Mercury Music Prize-winning chamber-pop artist. She has a solo album to be released soon under the name “Anohni” and has collaborated with musicians such as Bjork, CocoRosie, and Lou Reed.

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Tinashe

Okay, I know that she’s already decently famous, but I just wholeheartedly believe that EVERYONE should listen to Tinashe. Her debut album, ‘Aquarius’, was released last October and it’s fantastic. For those of you not familiar with her, she makes dreamy r&b music that’s earned her comparisons to everyone from Aliyah to Janet Jackson.

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Mitski

Really excellent crying music. Mitski is a singer-songwriter who combines folk and rock (but never folk-rock) into a perfect blend of slightly emo indie. Her third album, ‘Bury Me At Makeout Creek,’ was released in March and has garnered much praise for its beautiful composition and dark humor.

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Wendy Carlos

You’ve probably heard Wendy Carlos’s music without realizing it. She created the scores for A Clockwork Orange and the original Tron movie, as well as worked on the soundtrack of The Shining. She was responsible for the commercial breakthrough of the Moog synthesizer and has won three Grammy awards.

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Be sure to list some more favorites in the comments!

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by Kevin Thomas

When Canadian jazz group BADBADNOTGOOD and Wu Tang Clan’s Ghostface Killa teamed up for a studio album, many expected it to be an amazing combination of skillful rap and modern, youthful jazz. ‘Sour Soul’ did not disappoint in any way.

However, hip-hop heads were pleasantly surprised when they saw MF Doom on the feature list.

British-born, American hip-hop artist, Daniel Dumile, known for his several super villain stage persona and collaborations with the likes of Madlib, Bishop Nehru, and Jneiro Jarel, has remained in the shadows of hip-hop for most of his career. Dumile started his career as Zev Love X with British-American trio Kausing Much Damage. He became MF Doom after the death of his younger brother and fellow KMD member, DJ Subroc, was hit and killed by a car and subsequently dropped by Elektra Records in 1993 weeks before KMD’s second album release.

As MF Doom, or Metal Fingers Doom, Dumile began participating in open-mic events wearing a stocking to conceal his identity. In 1997 and 98, Dumile released three singles under Fondle ‘Em Records. ‘Operation: Doom’, Dumile’s first solo, self-produced LP, was released in 1999 and featured Marvel’s Doctor Doom rapping on the album art, which is said to be the inspiration for MF Doom’s signature mask. However, Dumile was not just MF Doom on the album. He also appeared as King Geedorah, the mythical three-headed dragon known to challenge Godzilla.

In the 2000’s Dumile’s career began to take off. He began to release LP after LP and collaboration after collaboration with only weeks in between in most cases. Dumile took to the cover of the mask to release music under the monikers MF Doom, King Geedorah, Viktor Vaughn, Madvillain, DANGERDOOM, and DOOM. This decade was host to 8 instrumental releases, 9 collaborative releases, and 5 solo releases under the several different personas.

During this period, Dumile took a few small steps towards the mainstream. He began working with Adult Swim Records, Rhymesayers Records, and Stones Throw Records. Dumile also worked with the Gorillaz on their 2005 release Demon Days and produced tracks for Ghostface Killa’s two 2006 releases. After the success of the DangerDOOM EP’s, Dumile signed with Lex records and began working on ‘Born Like This’.

In 2010, Dumile began working with Thom Yorke and Jneiro Jarel and toured Europe with them as well. However, after the end of the European tour, Doom was denied reentry into the United States due to legalites regarding visas. Since this incident, he has lived and recorded in South London working with other Lex artists.

As of late, Dumile has appeared on tracks with Earl Sweatshirt, Flying Lotus, Captain Murphey, and Thundercat. Most recently he appeared on the track “Ray Gun” from BADBADNOTGOOD and Ghostface Killa’s ‘Sour Soul,’ which has received good reviews and praise. While Dumile is still a lesser-known artist, his recent collaboration has given him new opportunities and listeners. MF Doom and Ghostface Killa fans are on the look out for the release of their full LP collaboration and it is rumored that Flying Lotus and MF are working on a full-length project as well.

After almost 25 years, MF is moving out of the comfortable shadows and showing his face in mainstream rap. With “Ray Gun,” MF Doom is becoming a more recognizable name in American hip-hop.

 

Watch “Ray Gun” here:


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by Aimee Myers

Noise Polluter featured folk artist and harpist Risa Rubin back in January, and now the saga continues:

Angeleno chanteuse Risa Rubin’s latest video for her song “Not My Family” features clips of dancers performing everywhere from alleyways in New York City to a garden in Laos. Although these locations may seem exotic to most viewers, there’s a sense of familiarity evident in the video’s hazy, almost dream-like visuals, similar to that of an old home movie. Rubin transports her audience to a field in Santa Cruz, the Palace of Fine Arts in San Francisco, and even a snowy parking lot in Maine, but still remembers to make the occasional visit to the viewer as she sings to the camera with a knowing look in her green eyes, harnessing the aforementioned intimacy.

The video can be seen above, and Rubin’s debut cassette, SHEMA, which features “Not My Family,” is available on Lolipop Records.

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Toliesel Live

Americana has become increasingly popular as a musical genre, with bands like The Avett Brothers and The Lumineers gaining critical acclaim while also attracting attention with airplay on top hits radio. But Toliesel is not your run-of-the-mill, Springsteen-influenced folk rock group.

For one thing, the band is from Oxford. As in England.

Toliesel gracefully blends the classic Americana sound with traces of grunge and alt-rock, creating a strong and vibrant presence. Their music is refreshingly bold, trading twee for sheer power.

‘Wildnerness Blues,’ the band’s forthcoming EP, will be released on March 16th through One Note Forever. In the meantime, listen to the first single, “Bones,” or pre-order the EP here.

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by Aimee Myers

Thirteen years ago, Risa Rubin was in the first grade, living with her Jewish-Republican parents, a comedy writer and a clothing designer, in their Laurel Canyon home. It was here, just blocks away from Joni Mitchell’s ‘Ladies of the Canyon’ house, that Rubin began singing and writing her own music, following in the footsteps of her idols Patsy Cline and Martina McBride. She began taking singing lessons, but her twin brother’s rage disorder halted her musical development. Fast forward ten years and she’d been accepted to UCLA as a photography major, had moved out of her parents’ house, and was taking vocal lessons, singing only soul and jazz standards. She was enamored with Nico. She spent class time writing songs, singing them in her head until she had the chance jot them down and take them to the studio where she’d been recording for six months. At this studio, she completed three soul songs, but ended up hating them so much that she swore off both soul music and UCLA, deciding to dedicate both her time and energy to finding her true sound.

After couch surfing around New York for several months, Rubin found herself at the Ché Café in San Diego, playing an album that she had recorded while living in Buffalo with her family. After the show, one of her friends suggested that she ditch the piano for a synthesizer and explore the realm of doom folk. With this idea in mind, she wound up in Berkeley where she decided to take up harp after listening to Joanna Newsom. Perhaps by fate, she met a harp teacher at a BART station in Berkeley, and finally she had everything she needed to begin writing and recording her debut cassette, ‘SHEMA.’ While splitting her residential time between two farms near Santa Cruz, she made several unfruitful attempts at submitting her cassette to labels around the area, but it wasn’t until she met Wyatt Blair of Lolipop Records through mutual friends that the LA-based label decided to release her music.

The album art for ‘SHEMA’ features a photo of a singing young Rubin, surrounded by lines of glitter glue and a collage of old photos, perhaps a nod to the artistic inclinations of her childhood. ‘SHEMA’ is comprised of eight songs, four of which come close to five minutes in length. Each song is created with a simple formula: a combination of Rubin’s whimsical voice, a harp, or a synthesizer (or both), but produces an entirely unique and otherworldly sound. As the newest member of LA’s underground scene, Rubin provides an incredibly refreshing break from the usual punk-psychedelic-garage rock combination that has sonically dominated the scene for the past decade. Regardless of your string instrument of choice, ‘SHEMA’ demands attention, beckoning the listener into a world of charming lyrics such as “High above/I didn’t know what love was/so I could not pretend to fear it any longer” accompanied by a marriage of sounds so seemingly foreign and tranquil compared to most LA bands that the listener wonders what to make of it all, but understands as the final notes of “Folk Song” fade out that Rubin is unequivocally one of the brightest stars to frame the LA skyline.

Listen to ‘SHEMA’ on Bandcamp and keep up to date with Risa Rubin’s future performances and releases on Lolipop Records’ Facebook page. ‘SHEMA’ can be purchased on cassette from the label’s website as well as from their shop in Echo Park, CA.

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I played the new Fall Out Boy album for my unsuspecting yet cooperative friend, Zac. Here is a conclusive summary of ‘American Beauty/American Psycho’ entirely in pictures of his facial expressions. I personally think it says everything.

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So…not Fall Out Boy’s best work, though I do enjoy “Uma Thurman.” In the (paraphrased) words of Zac: “There are parts that make me want to like it, but then they add unnecessary things in that ruin the songs completely.”

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