Ever since my first job at MTV working as a music programmer, I can't stop trying to match people with music they might like. So, I wrote a book called Record Collecting for Girls and started interviewing musicians. The Music Concierge is a column where I share music I'm listening to that you might enjoy, with a little context. Get everything I've recommended this year on Spotify, follow me on Twitter or Facebook, and leave a comment below telling me what you're listening to this week.
It's International Women's Day and (honestly, completely by accident) the songs I picked for you this week are about women standing on their own two feet. In this one, ABIR let's someone (sounds like a narcissist) who is insisting they're needed in her life know that she can tango away at will. If it's a man, a job, or the average terrible person just cut 'em loose girl.
Shingai "Coming Home"
If you were heavy enough into indie rock in the '00s, you recognise Shingai as the frontperson from the Noisettes, a rad and punky band. Her solo journey is a whole other thing, but just as good if not better. Some of that post-punk aesthetic can be heard in the disjointed beats that make up this song but its whats making the beats that's different: those are two types African drums both steel and animal hide. Even the computer generated tones take something from the natural world, mimicking a heartbeat. In the lyrics, Shingai talks about coming home to the land that built her as an adult and the joy it brings — which you can hear in her voice as clear as a bell.
KIITA "I Miss You"
This 16-year-old from Ohio is out of the gate swinging with a bleak, blunt song that extols the heartbreak you feel when you're young; it's all-consuming and dark as fuck. But, at the same time, she has no problem pointing out the flaws in whoever left her. It hurts. It's about time for a new generation of women's rage to come out in music, it's been too long since women were publicly angry on the radio in the '90s. It's time for the world to have to look at our anger and examine how their actions weigh on us as a result. KIITA may be the harbinger of a musical movement like that — she's already playing with conventions around behavior for young, attractive women and it's pretty badass.
Rayana Jay feat. ESTA. "Real Something"
Rayana Jay's voice is like slipping under a warm quilt. In this song, she talks about the search for a relationship that's true, a partner who is a real partner, and you'll practically get the warm fuzzy butterflies of love by just listening to it. There's a confidence in her voice that I want, a sense of self that makes me believe her. There's a vulnerability to letting someone in, and Rayana Jay sounds like she's got the kind of self-assurance to let down her walls for love.
Hailey Reinhart "Honey, There's the Door"
In honour of the story this week that Maggie Gyllenhaal was defined by her "cartoonish" high-pitched voice: Hailey Reinhart is here to sing a fuck you to people with the highest of voices. Take it seriously. The weight of the words women say are the same, whether you like they way they're delivered or not.