Monday, June 30, 2008

destroy everything you touch

I promised you all a summer music show but it looks like it's not gonna happen any time soon, considering my $20 microphone broke and I'm waiting for my next paycheck. At this point I'm not entirely sure when RiGIDcast's next show will be, or what it will be about, but you know that I'm always open to suggestions and ideas, so please please please leave me a comment. Leave me a comment even if you don't have a suggestion; I'm just curious as to who's reading this blog. Because you won't be getting a summer music podcast, I figured the least I could do would be to start a weekly (or daily or really, whenever I feel like it) music post.
I thought I'd start off with Ladytron's latest dance-pop offering, Velocifero. I'll admit, it took me awhile to appreciate Ladytron. I discovered them during a time in my life when Ani DiFranco and the Indigo Girls were on heavy rotation on my ipod and really wouldn't bother listening to anyone unless they were a lesbian with dreadlocks and an acoustic guitar. Or Fiona Apple. Anyway, Ladytron definitely did not fit this profile. I have to credit Le Tigre for opening my ears to how good dance music can be, and once I finally let myself enjoy it, I couldn't get enough.
What I loved about Ladytron was the brightness, the energy, and the shameless urge it injected into you to just get up and jump around like an idiot, despite their dark and cynical lyrics. The energy is still there in Velocifero, but it's decidedly less fun than their previous endeavors. Mira's flat vocals deaden otherwise upbeat tracks. The band's growth is hard to track because it feels like they are afraid to stray from the formula or do anything remotely innovative with their sound.
Seeing Ladytron perform live was something of a disappointment, to be completely honest. It's not that they aren't good musicians, it's that they aren't good performers. I know the deadpan, stiff delivery is part of their shtick, but they seemed genuinely unhappy to be where they were. It's understandable, I suppose. They were playing the so-called "Outernational Festival" in Columbia, MD, billed after two shitty no-name acts and before TV on the Radio, who were clearly the main attraction, despite Thievery Corporation headlining. Helen and Mira seemed involved in their own little worlds on stage, and when they did look out into the audience, where practically no one was dancing, the disappointment and frustration were obvious on their faces. Yes, the audience was incredibly stiff(the tall douchebag standing in front of me was texting through their entire set), but I don't think their attitude did anything to help the situation. The set was poorly chosen, allowing Mira to sing on more than a few songs from Velocifero, and leaving old, reliable favorites behind.
Now don't get me wrong, I do like them. They are wonderful for what they are, and when they get the formula right, it's glorious. They don't belong in an outdoor music festival. They belong in a club, under blacklights, with their devoted fans. They played at Sonar in Baltimore the night before and I can only imagine that's exactly what they had to work with, which makes me glad, because they do deserve appreciation.

Download: Ghosts, Burning Up

What I Want for New Year's

Sometimes I see things that are just too perfect not to let more people know about. I'll post a proper blog later, but I wanted to pass this along first.

Tuesday, June 24, 2008

A Late Beginning

First off, I'm going to apologize for having my first blog be about two weeks after I was introduced by Laura. I am a shame to the geek world as I have yet to get the internet tubes hooked up in my new apartment, so I'm blogging this from the public library, ie: where I would live if they let me. Now, on with the actual blog topic...

I'm a geek. I'm a girl. This can be a problem, and this has been considered a myth for a great deal of my life. On the other hand, this is becoming more and more accepted, common, and generally wonderful to actually live with. I find that half the geek things out there have been pretty feminist minded for a lot longer than you would think. For instance, Star Trek The Next Generation has long been regarded as the first TV show to really break racial stereotypes, partly by creating something else that was long considered unrealistic, a black geek. The show creators certainly did not stop there. I'm not going to say the show was perfect, Riker was a bit of a womanizer, but I am quickly reminded of episodes where gender bias was mocked and condemned. One of my favourites being when the crew of the Starship Enterprise went to a world where men were seen as stupid sex objects, and only women could participate in government. They showed them the error of there ways and explained that they got over such idiocy centuries ago. Another favourite involves a character whom I generally refer to as 'Warf's Girlfriend.' She was half clingon, half human, constantly conflicted, and an altogether powerful and well fleshed out character. Actually, she is the basis for my D&D character, but thats the basis for a later blog.

To move on from Star Trek and get into some other great geekery, Joss Whedon most be mentioned. He is the writer of Buffy the Vampire Slayer, Firefly, and enough other quick witted paranormal shows to fill a geek ladies DVD shelf. People who never really watched the shows tend to have a bad impression of Buffy in particular. Whedon actually created this character and many others like her specifically because he had no strong, independent, intelligent female rolemodels growing up. He has said before that he was a fan of horror movies and couldn't understand why every woman was a damsel in distress that happened to really love mini skirts. So he created Buffy, and Willow, and Zoe, and a ton of other brilliant women to kick-ass and let us know that we can do the same.

In later blogs I plan on exploring more comic book feminism (Friends of Lulu anyone?), but since this is mostly a TV themed look at geekery, I would like to touch on Batman the Animated Series. To be brief, there was once an episode where Harley Quinn, the Joker's side kick, was kicked out after severe emotional and physical abuse, and teamed up with Poison Ivy. Ivy spent the episode trying to explain to Harley how she was smarter and stronger than this, how she deserved her own life and respect. Keep in mind this was a children's cartoon that aired in the early 90's. Other episodes have centered around a young girl's struggle into the role of Robin, female supervillians that the viewer can't help but root for, and the debunking of racial, economic, and age stereotypes, to name a few.

So, to sum up an overly drawn out post, the geek world has a lot to offer anyone. Women, feminists in particular, are certainly no exception to this rule. You will find a lot of geeks out there who will be bastards to you because of what's between your legs, but I've certainly found an equal number that will be more willing to accept you as an equal because you, too, know the power that 20 sided dice can bring.

Until I do get internet I probably won't be blogging much, but I will certainly be back with blogs of geekery. I'm planning on doing a comic book/graphic novel blog, a D&D blog, a gamer blog, and an OS blog at some point. The OS blog is purely selfish, I can't stand Vista and haven't ever tried Linux. If there's anything else you want considered, geeked out, or added to the list, let me know! Comment away!

Friday, June 6, 2008

the most beautiful song i have ever heard.

I discovered the glorious CocoRosie yesterday while compiling music for next week's Summer Music show. Don't let the lo-fi "Hairnet Paradise" fool you; when they're not churning out twee harp folk ballads, they're rapping about Native American two-spirits ("Rainbowarriors") and layering their operatic voices atop dreamy orchestrations and drum beats("God Has a Voice, She Speaks Through Me"). And feminist super-crush Ellen Page loves them. I don't think a whole lot more needs to be said.

I've been at Rehoboth Beach all week now, and it's charm is beginning to wear thin on me. I had planned to spend the week on the beach reading the pile of (free) books I got at The Book Thing on saturday, but the sunburn I got on the first day and the wind and the rain prevented that from happening. I suppose it's been pleasant and relaxing, but I'm definitely excited to come home tomorrow.