SKINNY GIRL DIET – Lucky 7
LUCKY 7 is the feature where we ask bands to name their 6 favourite songs by others, and a lucky 7th song of their own…
Here’s the latest by a band from North London with an eviscerating sound and a penchant for many of the bands that made me start the fanzine back in the day. There’s not many new bands that instantly feel like a Velvet Sheep band, but this is one, it’s SKINNY GIRL DIET!
I knew I’d love Skinny Girl Diet as soon as I saw the cover of their “Reclaim Your Life” EP (Fiasco Records). And that name, it instantly made me think of Skinned Teen and recalled “Supermodel Superficial” by Voodoo Queens. Back in the early 90s when I started Velvet Sheep as a xeroxed zine that I gave mates for free in the sixth form, I’d been inspired to start after picking up copies of Huggy Bear and Cornershop singles on Gary Walker’s Wiiija Records from Rough Trade. Riot Grrrl had a lot to do with me being the feminist that annoys all my mates now. I hated the slam dancing meat head machismo of punk, and much as I have enjoyed being at the front in a Cramps gig, my ears (which nearly became cauliflowers didn’t), so I very much bought into the DIY zine culture around Riot Grrrl and the strong principles it held which to me were continuing the traditions of one of my other (at the time) new favourite bands Fugazi. I obviously reviewed back in the day the likes of Bikini Kill, Bratmobile, Seven Year Bitch and latterly Slant 6, and interviewed London contemporaries Linus, Blood Sausage and Mambo Taxi, but it was seeing this Skinny Girl Diet artwork that instantly took me right back to when I first got my hands on a four way split 7″ record called “Some Hearts Paid To Lie” (also Wiiija Records) that felt exciting and dangerous featuring the fierce sounds of Pussycat Trash, the aforementioned Skinned Teen, Linus and Comet Gain. Not to look at things through rose tinted wrap arounds but it felt like anything was possible and that I had a punk scene I could call my own. Sure I’m not a grrrl, but I could identify with Dale Shaw of Blood Sausage or Huggy Bear’s Jon Slade. When I realised recently I couldn’t find the record in amongst the vinyl I managed to get in touch with Tammy from Linus and bought a new copy!
Sure, it’s been amazing to have Sleater-Kinney back this year with for me one of the albums of the year, and yes there have been strong confident female soloists in the years since riot grrrl but it’s been a while since there has been a band that has truly seemed up for a fight, a fight that feels even more one-sided than it did in the early 90s – where women are being marginalised in all walks of life – from FGM to the kidnap of girls in Nigeria, from pay inequality (still in 2015!!!) to lack of representation at the top of government, and family allowance cuts that hit women hardest. Christ, sanitary towels as “luxury” products! That Tory grandees can’t even bring themselves to say. Yes we’ve got rid of Loaded & Nuts, and there may be less boobs in the tabloids, but we still live in an age where a man is defined and described by their job and a woman by their age and looks, a land where Bruce Forsyth can front mainstream Saturday night TV but as soon as a woman hits her 50s (or younger) she is replaced by a younger model. Wake up! A band that looks like it has the volume and the agg to help at least shake things up, is this trio from North London – Skinny Girl Diet.
They’ve been tearing it up on tour with Slaves and the essential Fat White Family. Meanwhile my hero and now broadcasting hero Iggy Pop recently said on his “Iggy Confidential” show on 6Music about the band “here are some people who just want to reach out and grab your ears”. He must like them as he’s played them three times, and doesn’t seem to go for that much music save Fat White Family, Sleaford Mods & Protomartyr.
It seemed an obvious move to get Skinny Girl Diet to choose their Lucky 7 tunes, and Delilah stepped up. I wasn’t disappointed. Over to Delilah!
1. Clara Rockmore “The Swan”
I have always had a a big amount of respect and admiration for Clara Rockmore. I think she’s one of the most talented musicians that ever lived. Her story is inspiring, she had to give up violin because of muscular problems but she didn’t let it stop her and she took up the theremin, excelled in it and became a pioneer. She discovered and created a whole new technique for playing the theremin.
Clara Rockmore used the theremin to perform classical works. She produced a sound that sounded like a blend of the cello, violin and human voice. Her music is definitely my favourite thing to listen too late at night.
2. Memphis Minnie “World of Trouble”
An often overlooked musician, Memphis Minnie is definitely one of my favourites. I always get blown away that there were women picking up guitars back in 1920. She played music for 30 years.
When she first started she would make money by playing the guitar, singing and prostitution. I love listening to her music because you can tell that every aspect is real. Something that is very uncommon in today’s music. The song I’ve chosen is “World Of Trouble, released in 1953. The song says so many things in so many different ways. It truly is a work of art.
3. Pussy Galore “Dick Johnson”
Pussy Galore are awesome. They taught me not to give a fuck about making digestable music and thats an awesome thing to never forget.
4. The Whyte Boots “Nightmare”
We’ve been called the “evil twins of the Shangri-Las” as much as I love that statement I feel like these lot fit that statement way more. This a track off of their only single. They were never really a group but a one time project by songwriters Lori Burton and Pam Sawyer, who had written for acts like The Supremes. Its a dark tale, describing a girl getting her revenge on another for stealing her man, which ends in one girls death and the other getting dragged off by the police. I’ve never heard 60s girl groups sound as tough and dark as this. I think its amazing.
5. La Misma “Saudade”
I saw this band at DIY spaces for london and they blew my mind, i’m a fan girl for life. They are probably the most genuine, real band I have come across all year (or all my years of watching live music) and I was thankful I got to see them live. I just got really inspired because all the bullshit doesn’t phase them and they just are in it for making music which is really refreshing too see and its awesome not to see women not playing placid music about heart break.
6. Lady Saw “Loser”
I love finding Bashment music made by female MCs as its quite rare in Jamaica and the music scene is heavily dominated by males. Also I feel like this has an awesome message behind it to be strong and independent and not rely on a man for anything. Another thing that is rare in music generally.
7. Skinny Girl Diet “Silver Spoons”
OUR NEW MUSIC VIDEO, BEATING UP OPPRESSORS IS ALWAYS GOOD.
THANKS TO DELILAH FROM SKINNY GIRL DIET & TO SEAN FROM MUTANTE INC.
“RECLAIM YOUR LIFE” EP AVAILABLE NOW ON iTUNES AND VARIOUS.