From St. Vincent to Subrosa, Your Guide to All the Female Singers You Can't Miss At This Summer's Last Great Festival — VIDEOS
You can have your Coachellas, your Lollapaloozas, and your Bonnaroos, as long as Hopscotch Music Festival remains a semi-well kept secret. The annual Raleigh, NC, music festival is having its fifth birthday this weekend, and bringing with it the musical delights exclusive only to Hopscotch: a diverse range of interesting and challenging music, free day parties, and an improviser-in-residence for the festival (this year, it's former Sonic Youth frontman Thurston Moore).
But despite having everything from hip-hop to drone, Hopscotch's amount of female artists is a little disappointing. Only one of the City Plaza festival headliners is a woman, and the amount of women playing the festival's club shows doesn't even come close to half. Of course, this isn't a problem unique to Hopscotch, but rather a reflection of the current state of critically successful music. There are still few women gaining recognition in male-dominated genres like rap, metal and experimental music, and occasionally even women who do are still critically disregarded (just read any comments about a female artist singing). So, to combat this problem, go see some of the incredibly talented women playing Hopscotch this weekend...and even if you can't go, give their music a listen.
St. Vincent is an artist that could easily be disregarded because of her popularity or her model looks, but it would be foolish to do so. Not only is Annie Clark one of the most talented and interesting guitar players around, but she writes subtle lyrics full of a wry wit. She incorporates noise and distortion into popular music structures in a way that will keep you listening and keep you thinking.
From this dark-hearted doom metal largely female quintet emerges swirling, hypnotic songs with strong lyrical storytelling. But really, what else would you expect from a band that can make not one, but two violins sound hardcore?
Circuit Des Yeux
Haley Fohr, known as Circuit Des Yeux, has the kind of deep, dark, Diamanda Galas-esque alto that Lana Del Rey can only envy. With it, she makes every moment of wandering string arrangements and intense guitar distortion on her album Overdue emotionally wrenching, making even lines like "Doesn't it feel grand/to have a second chance?" weep with a dark-hearted sarcasm.
As one of the women on the forefront of the new wave of R&B, this Rhode Island-native-by-way-of-Stockholm has gained a lot of attention so far. And it'll be interesting to see where she goes next — songs like "Change" exude sunshiny radio playability, while "Video Vixens" has a downtown party vibe.
Screature makes music that sounds like it time-traveled from goth's '80s heyday and got a little warped along the way. With a deep alto singing lyrics like "I wish they were all dead" and frequent psychedelic guitar freakouts, just try to resist your urge to put on black lipstick.
Natalie Mering, aka Weyes Blood, has a soulful voice that sounds like it just emerges from radio in the '60s. It's no wonder, then, that she makes ghostly, ethereal music that owes a lot to British folk. Ultimately, Weyes Blood sounds both vulnerable and classic, music that sounds like it has been lost somewhere back in time.
If the incredibly-hard-to-pronounce name sounds familiar to you, that's because the coed duo produced many songs for Kelela's breakout album, Cut 4 Me. Their music is off-kilter and occasionally spooky, but nonetheless danceable, putting together the organic with the inorganic, the ethereal and the angular. It's like waking up to a beeping alarm clock in a room full of shifting, prismatic light and not knowing where you are or how you got there.