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Mark’s List: Les Femmes


Last month my dear friend Mark sent me a list of music to refresh my collection. I thought it was so good that I couldn’t keep it to myself. As Women’s History Month concludes, our guest blogger is back with Part III, Les Femmes.

As a kid growing up in the Owens Valley, my family listened to many female artists who were breaking the rules and opening the way for other women. And almost all of them were country music stars—Loretta Lynn, Dolly Parton, Patsy Cline, and Tammy Wynette. These women asserted their rights to equal billing, royalties, and publishing revenue in a male-dominated, good ol’ boy network that ruled Nashville and Memphis. Loretta Lynn was one of the first artists to talk about a woman’s right to choose when she has children in “The Pill.” Parton’s song “Just Because I’m a Woman” was one of the very first songs about women standing up for themselves. These women helped me grow up and see that I could try courage on for size, too.

Mark’s list is a brilliant selection of women artists over the past ten years. I love it for its mix of beauty, humor, elegance, mystery, and inspiration. As we eke out these final months of a global pandemic, don’t we deserve this joy, this jolt of energy? I for one need this list. There’s something here for every taste and generation, a song or an artist for every mood. Mark, over to you! ~Owensrivergirl

Mark: Let’s conclude with some fantastic female artists that have hit the scene in the last decade. Definitely not your Mom’s music! My quick takes (or even simple mentions) don’t give these artists the full appraisal they deserve, but at least there’s a list to get you started.

I feel that the #metoo movement has really lit a fire for female creativity. In the past, you were lucky to find artists like Bjork, Tori Amos, Kate Bush, or PJ Harvey that really put it all out there creatively, sexually and emotionally. Now there’s a whole new wave of wonderful music that’s being generated from the female perspective, from soft folk to R&B to goth metal. I’m very excited to see what comes next! Enjoy!

Chloe x Halle

There’s been a treasure-trove of great female artists/band over the last decade:
Emma Ruth Rundle
– Beautiful, dark & brooding. She was the last artist I saw live before the pandemic. “Protection” is a haunting song.
St. Vincent bordering genius.
Caroline Rose – her Loner album is AMAZING! “Money” cracks me up.
Cherry Glazerr – Stuffed & Ready album is fantastic. “Daddi” is quite the shocker.
Phoebe Bridgers Stranger in the Alps. She did a diss-song for her ex Ryan Adams called “Emotional Sickness.” She’s also in Better Oblivion Community Center, which is good.
Soccer Mommy  – her debut Color Theory is excellent.
Chelsea Wolfe  –  darker, kinda slow Doom metal, a beautiful voice.
Florence & the Machine – almost every song she sings sounds epic.
Fiona Apple’s latest Fetch the Bolt Cutters is shockingly good.
Sharon van Etten
Angel Olsen – is wonderful, “Shut Up Kiss Me” makes me laugh every time.
Alice Merton
Japanese Breakfast – good indie solo stuff.
Kazu – of Blonde Redhead, one of my favorite bands.
Sylvan Esso – “Die Young” is a great song.
Madison Cunningham
Jenny Hval
Myrkur – gorgeous pagan singing from Iceland.
Jessie Ware
Kelly Lee Owens
Kate NV
Le Butcherettes

On the dancey side:
My Brightest Diamond – the lesser known “Florence.”
Hell, I even like Billie Eilish and Grimes!

Bjorkish (LOVE both of these artists):
Bat for Lashes
Fever Ray

Some more R&B (dare I say mainstream?) female artists:
Chloe x Halle
Janelle Monae

Avant Female artists that continue to surprise:
FKA Twigs
Holly Herndon
Sudan Archives
Cate le Bon
Dawn Richard
Let’s Eat Grandma
– this 16-year-old duo blows me away.

Kazu – of Blonde Redhead

Mark is a San Diego-based theater director, and proud papa of an eight-year-old-boy. We met in the eighth grade in eastern San Diego County. Mark is an astute listener with an open mind – no wonder we would find ourselves yakking late into the early morning all through high school.

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