“Lady-Fronted”: A Top 5 Musical Extravaganza, Installation 1

I have a problem, and that problem is buying vinyl on the internet.

My record collection is relatively spartan (relative to fellow vinyl collectors, not to the general populace), thus the desire to purchase ten records in a week (yes, I actually did that last week—don’t judge me). But records are expensive, so I’ve recently had to curb my internet vinyl spending. And with online streaming tools like Spotify, last.fm, Pandora, Grooveshark, Soundcloud, and Bandcamp, I don’t need to own the wax.

But I want to. I really really want to, and it’s a huge problem.

So I’m going to use Serving Tea To Friends as a place to help me with this addiction by making a weekly list of the top five records I’ve been listening to. They may not have come out this year, or even this decade. They may be of varying genres. They  may be EPs or singles or compilations.

All I can say is that they will be lady-fronted. And they will be awesome.

So, here we go. The first installment of “Lady-Fronted.”

1. Colleen Green, “Green One”

Bandcamp | FacebookOn The Label | Twitter | Real Shit Daily (her webcomic!)

This record came in the mail before my vinyl fatwa, and boy, am I glad it did. The four tracks on this 7″ are poppy, happy, catchy, and poignant; each song delves into a different aspect of the young female relationship experience. I thought she was singing right to me! Female fronted garage pop, this record is sure to get you on your feet and feeling better about whatever it is that ails you.

Also, Colleen Green is like, the quintessential awesome lady. She writes a comic, she keeps it real on Twitter, and she doesn’t seem to care what you think about her. That’s rad. That’s the kind of human I want to be.

The video for the title track, “Green One”:

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2. The Splinters, “Kick”

Facebook | Twitter | Last.fm

So, I actually know these ladies. Once upon a time, I was an intern at a college radio promotion company called Terrorbird Media, working with one of the women in this band, Caroline Partamian. They’re now bi-coastal and working on their own projects, but The Splinters remain a band full of intoxicating energy, tambourines, jangly guitars, sweet female vocal harmonies, and danceable beats. Prior to “Kick,” The Splinters released a number of tapes and handmade EPs, but this collection is the result of years of work perfecting a sound that is, for lack of a better word, uplifting.

Here’s the video for the second track on the album, “Cool”:

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3. Diehard, “The Times We Didn’t Have Fun”

Bandcamp | Twitter | Facebook

I almost didn’t include this record, because it’s only part lady-fronted. Ezra and Liz share the front(wo)man role, with one of them taking the lead on some songs, and the other doing the others. I have listened to this record over a hundred times, and Diehard has recently become one of my favorite bands. It’s pure 90’s indie rock, simple chords and accessible drumbeats, but made right now and speaking to the experience of countless twenty- and thirty-somethings living in a city and experiencing life the same way we’re all experiencing it: blindly, full of unfulfilled expectations and countless mistakes. I think that’s why I like it so much. You can listen to the whole thing streaming at the Bandcamp link above.

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4. Privacy – “Songs”

On The Label (Record) | On The Label (Artist)

There isn’t much to say about Privacy, because there’s not much out there about her. I have deduced that her name is Laurel, and that she is a recording artist on Marriage Records in Portland, Oregon. This record may be the most beautiful thing I have ever heard. It’s acoustic guitar and Laurel’s dark, deep voice coming out of your speakers and directly into your soul. It sounds cheesy, but it’s gorgeous. Take a listen.

Here’s a video for the opening track, “Married”:

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5. Dark Dark Dark – “Bright Bright Bright”

Website | Last.fm | Facebook | Twitter | Bandcamp

Dark Dark Dark is folk rock from Minnesota. I’ve always considered it to fall under the genre of “new weird America,” but it’s not as “weird” as, say, Devendra Banhart. Nona Marie’s haunting voice coupled with the guitars, banjos, accordions, bass, cello, clarinet, and piano create an overture that is undeniably beautiful. The songs are about love, hope, regret, chance, adventure, travel, and escape. It’ll get you hooked.

Here’s the last track on the EP, “Wild Goose Chase”: