“That MSG tastes good to me
I disagree with all your warnings
It can't be true that they use glue to
Keep the noodles stuck together”
So sings Courtney Barnett about her love affair with Mi Goreng instant soup in “Three Packs A Day”, another sublime song about the simply mundane from the young Australian songwriter who has taken the world by storm.
It begins our Savannah Stopover mid-year playlist of the best new music, one that started off coed but ended up all female. There were so many female artists making the list that we decided to go “all in” because the women are seriously kicking ass this year.
This isn’t a new thing, women have been dominating commercial country and pop for years but it is a growing trend in indie music, long the perceived bastion of predominantly white, bearded, flanneled men. We listen with our ears not our eyes and in this day and age, we really shouldn't have to make any gender distinctions; no one ever says “here's a great new band that's all male”. But I think this class of 2016 females deserves some strong attention and if separating them out helps that, let's do it!
What do these women have in common? They're all gifted songwriters and lyricists and they’re fierce, often without ever having to raise their voice, and in our opinion, most possess a singular voice. Within the first several seconds, they are identifiable. They sound like no other. That's a harder qualifier than you might think until you start putting it to the test. In many cases it applies as much to lyrical style as it does to musical style. When Eleanor Friedberger opens her mouth, I know it's her. Instantly. I'm not scratching my head and saying “wait, wait, who is this?”. Ditto for Beth Orton, Thao Nguyen, Haley Fohr (aka Circuit Des Yeux) and of course Barnett, to name just a few. (Caveat: you won't find any Beyoncé/Kesha/Adele here, this playlist’s for the curious explorer of the non-mainstream.)
While the list skews to American artists, the rest of the world is in on the trend and in some markets leading it: Australia (Barnett and Julia Jacklin), New Zealand ( Yumi Zouma, Tash Sultana), England (Beth Orton- who's been at this for years!, She Drew The Gun, Alice Jemima), Spain (Hinds), Denmark (Agnes Obel) and Ecuador (Maria Usbeck).
Many of these artists may be new to you; there's a slew of newcomers who made the cut, many of whom are garnering much deserved praise -Lucy Dacus, Margaret Glaspy, Japanese Breakfast, Big Thief, Tash Sultana, Julia Jacklin, etc.
I hope you love it as much as we loved putting it together and that you find a few new favorites ~~from folk to punk and back.
Special thanks to Peter Robaudo who kicks ass every day helping with all things Savannah Stopover and MusicFile Productions and loves female artists as much as I do. He helped me both cull down and add to this list.
Circuit Des Yeux
She Drew The Gun
Thao & Get Down Stay Down
The Casket Girls
The Julie Ruin