I may be mere days in, but this experiment has a weird knack for revealing challenges I’d never considered. Now, that might just say something about a lack of foresight on my part, but, like hide and seek, it doesn’t matter if I’m ready or not.
The latest obstacle came about after a shitty work day on Saturday. Once I got away (45 mins late, mind you), I realised that all the music I’d reach for when I’m low is now out of bounds to me. I tend to be homeopathic in my music choices, so a mood like this usually calls for stuff like Bill Callahan or the National: sombre, miserablist stuff, for sure, but also very masculine. Deep voices, spare lyrics and country-ish inflections aren’t a sole preserve of the menfolk, but they’re far more common in male performers. So where do I go to scratch that itch without ruining this project in the space of days?
Start with Gillian Welch. Similar in timbre and tempo to Mr Callahan, her reflective, melancholy brand of Americana carries a kind of gravitas that leaves you breathless, even if the ‘country’ section makes you break out in hives. Her borderline-perfect 2001 album, Time (The Revelator), is an excellent introduction, and its closing track, ‘I Dream A Highway’ is a 14 min epic that seems to drift by in moments. Just don’t forget that you’re on a bus; I’ve missed my stop more than once because of this track.
Sometimes Gillian just isn’t enough to soothe what ails you, and that’s ok. On those days, flick your way down to Waxahatchee‘s album, Cerulean Salt. My love affair with this record was instant and deep: something about Katie Crutchfield‘s direct, bare-bones recording style speaks to my lo-fi heart. There are a handful of fuzzed-out power-pop numbers to get your heart rate going, but the slow numbers are what kept me coming back. I listened to this album endlessly in 2013, and went through phases in which each track on the album was my favourite, so choosing one to show you is difficult. Give ‘Hollow Bedroom’ a spin, and tell me you aren’t in love before she hits the chorus.
Other suggestions worth trying out:
Kimya Dawson – ‘Loose Lips’. I’ll never not tear up at this song. I genuinely believe Kimya when she says, “remember that I love you”.
Sleater-Kinney – ‘Entertain’. Sometimes, quiet and reassuring just won’t cut it. On those occasions, crank this and kick arse.
What Ladyist-friendly stuff do you turn to? Suggestions are not only welcome, they’re positively encouraged.