This month we’ve been invited to create a playlist for Rebel Girl a VIVID exhibition in Birmingham. This got us thinking, how to define a Riot Grrrl playlist? We’re normally quite loose with our definition including Riot Grrrl influenced bands, bands that formed from the main protagonists of the original movement and also 70′s/80′s female punk idols that influenced the movement too. So we decided to include all three in our playlist as we play a whole mix at our night too. Because you don’t hear a lot of Riot Grrrl we’re breaking our rule of keeping the list to one track per band!
Influencers of Riot Grrrl (to name a few):
The Runaways/ Joan Jett – Cherry Bomb
The Slits – Typical Girls
The Raincoats – Fairytale In The Supermarket
Au Pairs – You
X-Ray Spex – Identity
Riot Grrrl of the 1990s Olympia kind as well as the British Huggy Bear:
Bikini Kill – Rebel Girl | White Boy | Suck My Left One
Bratmobile – Brat Girl | It’s Common But We Don’t… | Some Special
Heavens To Betsy – Calculated | Axeman
Team Dresch – DA Don’t Care
Excuse 17 – This is Not Your Wedding Song
Huggy Bear – Her Jazz
Original Riot Grrrl band members new bands in the late 90s:
Sleater-Kinney (from Excuse 17 and Heavens to Betsy) – Oh! | I Wanna Be Your Joey Ramone
Julie Ruin (Kathleen Hanna) - I Wanna Know What Love Is
Le Tigre (Kathleen Hanna from Bikini Kill) – Hot Topic | The The Empty
A mulititude of bands influenced by the movement / generally with similar feminist ethics / stuff we love!:
Mika Miko – I Got A Lot (New New New)
Trash Kit – Cadet
Kenickie – In Your Car
Town Bike – It’s My Mic
Wild Flag (Sleater-Kinney members) - Future Crimes
The Gossip – And You Know…
Sleigh Bells – Riot Rhythm
Colour Me Wednesday – Shut
The Tuts – Tut Tut Tut
The Distillers – City of Angels
Flamingo 50 – Count To Three
Pike – Jawbreaker
Fever Fever – Monster
Tegan and Sara – Northshore
There are of course loads of other bands we’d like to include but don’t quite fit into these categories. Such as Britpop bands like Elastica, seeing as they were around at the same time they weren’t necessarily influenced by Riot Grrrl but clearly had similar influences like X-Ray Spex. Also the Breeders who were performing around the time of Riot Grrrl but weren’t part of the DIY scene; same with Hole, Courtney Love even stated she wasn’t part of it. Riot Grrrl was very much a grass roots activist movement, the members of which initially kept out of the media (which was prone to portraying members as either silly little girls or violent criminals hell bent on destroying men… Not that the media is dramatic or anything).
People say Riot Grrrl ended back in the 90′s but it spawned a whole series of Lady Fests across the globe and there are even more planned this year. It also inspired a whole load of girls/women to feel empowered, to pick up a guitar or mic, to ignore the misogyny in the music industry and just create. Without it we probably wouldn’t have started Atta Girl which was inspired by nights like Unskinny Bop in London and Suck My Left One in Leeds and we in turn have received emails and mail from other nights started through inspiration from us. That’s the great thing about the empowering message behind Riot Grrrl, it’s infectious! So thank you to VIVID too for being inspired and inspiring us to write this playlist and keep spreading that empowerment.
Thanks to Atta Girl fans that tweeted their suggestions.
You can hear these tracks as the soundtrack to the VIVID exhibition and also at our night on the 28th Sept.
Oh yes! It’s time at lonnnnng last for Atta Girl again! We’re relaunching the night in a new venue at The Hare and Hounds in Kings Heath. It’s a lovely venue and we’ve room for two ace bands before the clubnight begins. So get down early! Doors are 7:30pm
We’ve been madly in love with Ghost Mice for years now so it’s very exciting to have them visit from the States.
Our DJ lessons (7pm start) are fully booked but we’ll have more later in the year. There will also be a zine swap in-between bands so if you have zines (your own or otherwise) bring them along. If you have zines to sell that’s cool too bring your pocket money if you want to buy some! There will be one table to swap/sell around so dont bring your whole distro or something!
We’re looking forward to getting your dancing feet going to some female vocalist tracks up until 2am! Time to get sweaty x
On the 4th April and on the 14th April there’s a mini festival happening called “Man Down Festival”. It’s organised by four grrrls that want to celebrate and highlight women working hard in the music industry.
The 4th will be a Q&A session, free entry at the Flapper. One of the guest speakers is Atta Girl! We’ll be handing out some of our past zines for free and chatting about DIY and why we do what we do.
The 14th will have live music:
Under The Influence
This guest post and playlist is brought to you by the lovely Kim Trusty, Canadian writer and friend. Every song has a story and a meaning to the listener and a history behind it. Kim span’s 60yrs of female artists in this post, it’s beautiful!
I kinda forgot that today was International Women’s Day. Maybe because it wasn’t in my calendar, maybe because I think everyday is Woman’s Day but whatever, I forgot. Luckily, all my rad friends on various social media sites didn’t forget and as I’m wont to do when happy/sad/angry/freaking out/maudlin/loved up/celebratory, I thought I’d post some videos of songs that mean something to me. In this case, songs by amazing women whose songs mean a lot to me. Now if I was to sit down and make an actual list of all the women in music who have ripped my heart out of my chest/put stars in my eyes/made me shake my ass and pump my fist in the air/inspired me to write and live, then I would be writing that list until I was on my deathbed. So. There was no real conscious thought about who or what I posted, which is really unusual for a list making, control freak like me, artists/songs came to mind and I put’em up there. Hope you enjoy them. Happy International Women’s Day!
1) Nina Simone – Mississippi Goddamn
The first time I remember hearing Nina Simone was in the back of the car. My family was driving back to Toronto from a short holiday in New York City and my dad was playing one of her CDs. Her voice scared the hell out of me – I’d never heard anything so beautiful and decisive and urgent and frightening and because of all that, liberating. An original, a badass and my absolute hero.
2) Roberta Flack – Do What you Gotta Do
Interestingly enough, Nina also does a version of this song but I gotta give this to Ms Flack. The way the piano is arranged… it rolls over you and her voice… oy vey! When your heart’s been broken and no one understands how you’re feeling, here is comfort.
3) Laura Nyro – Wedding Bell Blues
When I first heard Nyro I was like, “Are you kidding me? This woman can’t sing!” Oh, callow youth! Her unusual voice and her imagination and her unquestionable ear for melodies and harmonies (listen to Patti LaBelle and the Bluebells on these BVs!) put her beyond the pale.
4) Carla Thomas – Gee Whiz
The Queen of Memphis Soul! Being backed up by members of The MGs! She was only 15 when she recorded this AND she totally held her own against Otis Redding on their “King & Queen” album. What a boss.
5) Yeah Yeah Yeahs – Maps
There are some songs that make my heart contract until they are so full that they have no recourse but to burst. This is one of them. I love Karen O and her art school, oddball self.
6) The Runaways – Cherry Bomb
When I was a kid Joan Jett was my hero. My friend Roz’s older sister Simone introduced us to Joan and then I, Columbus like, “discovered” The Runaways a bit later. We incorporated their lyrics into our made up jump rope songs.
7) Etta James – Tell Mama
(edit, the version Kim chose isn’t accessible to a UK audience, stupid Warner Bros)
Crazy blonde beehive, chutzpah to spare and a voice like Gabriel’s horn. No bullshit accepted here. A true original.
8) Joni Mitchell – Little Green
It could have been any song from “Blue” but a bittersweet tale of a woman raising a daughter alone and that child trying to negotiate a relationship with her father (not to mention Joni’s voice)? How can you resist this? Oh. That’s right. You have a heart of stone.
9) Jane Siberry and KD Lang – Calling All Angels
I get goosebumps all over my body right from the opening incantation of the saints. If my hair wasn’t so heavy I reckon it would stand on end. I’m a secular kind of girl but voices like Siberry’s and Lang’s could make me a believer.
10) Sophia George – Girlie Girlie
When I was 11 we moved to Jamaica for five years. There isn’t enough space to unravel what it is like to grow up as a girl in that country, so for now, suffice it say that my teenaged girl posse (I was 14 when this came out) LOVED this song and the dressing down it gave to the lying, cheating, “wutless” (instant patois translator: worthless) man dem.
11) Divine Brown – Help Me
When we were in high school, Divine Brown was just Michelle but her voice was definitely divine. I think we used to annoy everyone by singing everywhere we went (or probably it was just me who was annoying). Even back then she knew exactly what she wanted to do and she didn’t let convention (like showing up to school) get in her way. I love that she covered one of my favourite Joni Mitchell songs. Canadians doing Canadians! Yeah!
12) Buffy Sainte Marie – Darling Don’t Cry
Buffy Sainte Marie was one of my favourite people when I was little. She was on Sesame Street. She was funny and smart and super cool and beautiful. Now that I am an adult she is still all those things but she is also a tireless activist, amazing artist and all round good person.
13) Dolly Parton – I Still Miss Someone
Legendary songwriter, incredible musician, philanthropist, reader, so incredibly humble and so freaking funny! I love Dolly Parton! And I’d really like to visit Dollywood.
14) Emmylou Harris – Wrecking Ball
I love this whole album so much it is ridiculous. This song is penned by Neil Young and it just… transports you. Beautiful and atmospheric, this is a regular ear worm of mine.
15) Odetta – The Midnight Special
Socialist, activist, artist… Odetta. When she was 80 something she played a free gig down by Lake Ontario and my whole family went. She needed some help getting onto her stool but no assistance was necessary when she started singing (and reminding us all of our civic and human duties!).
16) Chaka Khan and Rufus – Sweet Thang
This song is like a primer in how to be sexy. In fact, I learned about being sexy from this song. Okay, that’s not true but I’m going to start saying it like it is. “Love me now or I’ll go crazy.” Damn, Chaka!
17) Lauryn Hill – Sweetest Thing
I had the CD single and it was on repeat for months when I got it. In some ways I felt that Lauryn Hill was someone I could really relate to – not a princess or a video vixen but a smart, thinking young woman who was desperately/determinedly trying to negotiate a space for herself.
18) Kelis featuring Too $hort – Bossy
I have loved Kelis ever since her pink Afro’d head and big mouth shouted “I HATE YOU SO MUCH RIGHT NOW” but I also like this song a lot. She’s a badass! “Hey ya/You don’t have to love me/You don’t even have to like me/But you will respect me/You know why?/Cuz I’m a boss!” Can’t argue with that, really.
19) Mary Dillion – Army Dreamers
I outraged my brilliant and very musical friend, Sarah Bing Barrington, by daring to like this version better than Kate Bush’s original. It’s deceptively simple and the purity/beauty of the all female vocal really works for me. Countless listens are not enough.
20) Kate Bush – Running Up That Hill
I guess I can understand why some people think she’s kooky or weird but this is only because of my heightened levels of empathy (ha!). To call her these things only is to overlook the artistry, the magic and the power of Kate Bush. Fools!
21) Grace Jones – Pull Up to the Bumper
What an icon! My friend Anne Lewis and I had the absolute pleasure of seeing Ms Jones at Birmingham Symphony Hall a few years back and were blown away by the artistry of her live performance. Plus, I love that by just being herself she challenges narrow and limiting definitions of gender and race. She’s one of those people who make you think, “Oh yeah. I can do that.”
My friend Erin James and I went to see Martha at Warwick Arts Centre and when she wasn’t being accompanied by her amazing mom (RIP Kate McGarrigle), she was alone with her guitar and there was so much freaking emotion pouring out of her, especially when she sang this, that I actually cried (for those of you who don’t know, this song is kind of a fuck you to her dad, Loudon).
23) Le Tigre – Les and Ray
The first time I saw Le Tigre my girlfriends and I (Renee Navarro, Kate Sanagan and Mariko Tamaki) had agreed to go to the show dressed up as Enid and Rebecca from Ghost World, which made it, before the show even started, a bit special (although now that I think about it, I’m guessing none of our other friends even noticed because we always dressed like Enid and Rebecca). JD and Kathleen, in this really long, candid intro to the song, talked about being survivors of sexual abuse and about all the people who help survivors without even knowing it and once the song started we were all crying our freaking eyes it. Note: I tend to cry at shows. A lot. (See previous entry.) I should come with a warning label.
24) Tegan and Sara – Call It Off
Sometimes, in the beginning, it’s a single line that resonates. In this case that would be “Maybe I woulda been something you were good at”. I love that shock of recognition when you’re listening to a song. Plus, I love that two young women continue to be themselves and make their music (largely) on their own terms.
The build up to the last Atta Girl of 2012 started when I met up with Claire and Jen to bake, craft and talk music before Saturday night’s festivities. I always enjoy sharing music with the Atta Girl DJs. As well as Atta Girl enabling me to play music I love, I’ve also been introduced to so much more music since being involved. So many girl tunes have happy Atta Girl associations for me now!
Baking and Crafting
I volunteered for the early graveyard set (no pressure to get people dancing at 8.30pm) so played a chilled mix of Nina Simone, Warpaint, Grimes and Kate Bush and loved it. Music always sounds better through big speakers! It wasn’t as busy as normal at first to be honest (we blamed bonfire and firework extravaganzas) but there was a full dance floor for Rebel Girl and a sing along to Her Jazz by Huggy Bear.
2am came far too quickly for everybody’s liking as we were all loving Claire’s megamix of pop a la Nicki Minaj’s Starships before she expertly wrapped it all up with The Pixies’ Gigantic. My top moments included Jen surprising me that she knew ALL the words to Lisa Lefteye Lopez’s rap in TLC’s No Scrubs (Jen has SASS), playing songs from the 60s (which I’ve known the words to since I was little thanks to my Mum) and seeing Jen buzzing from her first late set to a packed dance floor. Opening with Bootie Call by All Saints was genius; bring it on, bring it bring it on now…!
As ever, thanks to everyone who came (regulars and newbies alike) and we hope to see you at another Atta Girl in 2013 as well as many of you who sadly couldn’t make it this time. Life gets in the way sometimes and even Sarah had to miss out on DJing, but was there in spirit. Basically, as long as you want us to put on Atta Girl, then that’s what we’ll do.
REVOLT happened on 13th October 2012 – a night celebrating DIY, feminism and Riot Grrrl, and what a night it was! We were invited to run a How To DJ tutorial, as well as spin our favourite tunes after the bands had finished.
The turn out was incredible – there was a real sense of community, friendship and safety. All the good things we should expect from a night out, except this one was particularly special. There was a buzz about the place, people chatting and sharing, flicking through the amazing selection of zines from Marching Stars Distro. We also left our own Atta Girl mini zines on tables (Yay if you got one!).
Lauren was busy showing people how to DJ – each person’s face seemed to light up when they faded a track in or out, proving just how simple it can be! Plus, it was great to hear what tracks our ‘students’ chose from our record collection, especially ones that we don’t play as often but clearly should! Hopefully the quick how to DJ tutorial has shown people how accessible it is and hopefully they try it out more in the future – or even set up their own night…
There were some brilliant acts; Lashings of Ginger Beer Time were hilarious with their take on The Lion King’s ‘Hakuna Matata’ (they changed it to ‘Vagina Dentata’ – genius!) Teenage trio Skinny Girl Diet also captured everyone’s attention with their raw, unashamed vocals and grungey guitar sounds. There were also some wonderful spoken word acts – notably Cath Elms of Here In My Head zine, reading about Shyness and how it has affected her personally. Bethany Norris performed the most gorgeous poetry about love, which captivated everyone in the room.
As for ATTA GIRL? We got to spin our full set at the end of the evening. There was something intimate about all these people coming together, dancing and enjoying the tunes we played. On a personal level it gave me (Sarah) a lot more confidence to play more popular girl tunes – and observe what is happening on the dance floor to decide what to play next. It was also really fun having people ask me for requests! The sweetest part of our set was when Lauren played Kate Bush – Running Up That Hill and we saw some of the cutest slow dancing ever! It was truly heart warming.
Overall, REVOLT was an awesome night to be involved with, and we are so glad we were invited! The turnout showed that DIY, Feminism and Riot Grrrl are certainly not dead, but going from strength to strength. It was an exciting and inspiring evening!
See you all on 5th November for more fun and dancing!
On October 13th, Atta Girl are heading to Coventry for this amazing event! We’re DJing alongside our good friends Ditch Your Boyfriend DJs.
If you’ve ever wanted to learn to DJ pop down early as we’ll be on hand alongside other DJs to show you how. There’s also a zine exchange and loads of bands playing.
“Our upcoming night in Coventry will feature punk, burlesque, spoken word acts and zine creators from the local area and further afield. We feature many female artists whilst welcoming allies of all genders, as performers and in the audience.” – REVOLT
We’re very excited to be heading down to London on Friday 28th September for the Tender Trap show… Even more so to be DJing the party afterwards!
There will be Town Bike (totally fucking awesome!!), The Choo Choo Trains and Flowers playing. All girl vocalist lead just like an Atta Girl clubnight where the musicians have come out of the speakers and turned into real human beings in your face! (Disclaimer: This may not have happened officially). AND fellow DJs what-have-played-at-Indietracks Riots Not Diets are playing between the bands.
So that’s pretty ACE and so is this (my face is in it briefly!-Claire):
It feels cool to write that. Atta Girl has been something of a source of inspiration for me over the past few years, so to be part of it feels special.
Lauren, Sarah, Me and Claire
I’ve spent my 20s figuring out what I want from life, pushing myself to try new things and setting myself challenges. Feminism and music have provided the backdrop for all of this.
I played my first set at the last Atta Girl (18th August). Claire, Lauren and Sarah gave me the warmest of welcomes and showed me the ropes. Atta Girl doesn’t just happen; these ladies work really hard to make sure people have a good night. There were lights to hang up, bunting to be swagged, cakes to arrange…
…oh yeah, and the decks.
I’d been quite arrogant about the whole “playing music” business. That was until I saw the decks. Thankfully, Claire was on hand to give me my first DJ tutorial. She showed me the basic functions and explained how to fade in and out of tracks. By my third track (FYI: it was Cruel by St Vincent), I was having the time of my life.
I’d spent a fair bit of time beforehand putting together a playlist. It had been great fun to pull together some old favourites (such as Chewing Gum by Annie) and some new music. I was especially excited to play Ungirthed by Purity Ring.
With my set over, I got handed a Margarita and got to enjoy the rest of the night. The other DJs played a wildly diverse range of music by female vocalists. I loved it when Sarah played Moon River as sung by Audrey Hepburn in Breakfast at Tiffany’s. Claire always knows how to fill the floor with Riot Grrrl classics before keeping everyone dancing to something out-of-the-blue but awesome. Lauren prompted many a cheesy nostalgic smile with her selection of 90s dance.
My highlight of the night was standing on the packed-dance floor as Claire played Don’t Look At Me (I Don’t Like It) by The Lovely Eggs. People were dancing and smiling and happy. It was a great moment.
It was also great that someone had bought along a batch of “FREE PUSSY RIOT” t-shirts and Claire played Peaches protest song. Feminism can be fun, but it is about something bigger and more powerful.
I can’t wait until the Autumn Atta Girl and have already started scouring around for songs to play. The date will be announced here and on our Facebook page as soon as it is confirmed.