Tune in to These 13 Women/Femme Artists for Your 420 Groove
This 4/20, buy from a woman- or femme-owned dispensary and then slap on some tunes made by these talented non-male artists.
Stoners, potheads and burnouts everywhere wait with bated breath as the holiday approaches.
Named after code for cannabis culture, April 20 marks the annual, unofficial marijuana holiday.
Pot may not seem like a gendered thing, but cannabis culture often ends up being a brodeo of mansplaining and other lovely masc-centric behaviors. However, there are many ways to celebrate and keep the bros at bay. One of the best ways? Buy from a woman- or femme-owned dispensary and then slap on some tunes made by talented non-male artists.
Check out these 13 artists to set your mind right for this year’s 4/20.
1. The Seshen
The Seshen, based in the Bay Area, is a six-piece band making amazing walls of psychedelic electronic soul sounds. Led by the diminutive Lalin St. Juste, her immense songwriting skills, singing and other musical talents help push the band forward like a train. Combining synthesizers, drum machines, live percussion and gorgeous harmonies, the sound is simultaneously bold and intricate, which many layers to navigate, as well as beautiful, well-thought lyrics layered upon the surface.
Check out their 2016 release, Flames & Figures, their debut with electronic music label Tru Thought. The release is bursting full of gorgeously complex psychedelic trip-hop, with more emphasis on the “trip” than the “hop.” The Seshen is absolutely one of those bands which you must not miss if given the chance to see them live. You will not be disappointed!
2. Jane Weaver
English musician Jane Weaver is finally in the process of releasing Modern Kosmology, a psychedelic progressive rock masterpiece, on May 19. The first single, “Slow Motion,” is a gorgeous song that embodies the best parts of psych, typically a male-dominant genre. The album stands strong without the pretense and costume of a fully retro sound.
In order to fully celebrate 420, we suggest digging into the digital crates for her previous releases The Silver Globe, The Amber Light, and The Watchbird Alluminate.
3. Jamila Woods
Chicago-based Jamila Woods sings of Black Girl Magic and feminist themes within her incredibly versatile music. With her remarkably beautiful voice, Woods creates beautiful folk tunes along with soul and hip-hop.
Her most recent offerings are powerful feminist and womanist anthems, singing of Black Girl Magic and other themes. Included in this round-up is an amazing Roots-produced song called “Heaven.”
Described as “experimental folk soul,” SHIRA’s 2016 release Subtle Creature is a perfect way to celebrate 420. An intricate patchwork of women, femmes, and other non-male voices, SHIRA has released a brilliant album which is psychedelic at times and always interesting. Brilliant musicians like Shannon Funchess, Jamila Woods and Emily Dix Thomas contributed their beautiful voices and unique talents to the project.
For those of us using cannabis as medication to help address symptoms of psychological illnesses, Subtle Creatures may play an even deeper, more important role. SHIRA speaks earnestly about living with bipolar disorder and the disastrous challenges she faced by going off of her medications, including the two-year delay of Subtle Creatures.
5. Grace Jones
Gender-bending genius and goddess of sound Grace Jones is still making music and kicking ass well into her sixties. As a singer, songwriter, lyricist, supermodel, record producer and actress, Jones is an artist extraordinaire. Born in Jamaica and raised in New York, her look has been as influential as her sound for many women, femmes, and anyone who bends and blends genders.
Jones’ sound is bold, danceable and avant-garde. She blends New Wave with reggae, funk, post-punk and pop, leading many beautiful strangelings to the dance floors, easels and runways alike, as well as inspiring folks to pick up instruments of their own.
If “My Jamaican Guy” sound familiar and you do not know why, it’s been sampled by L.L. Cool J. for his song “Doin’ It.”
Lowleaf is a Los Angeles, California-based artist who combines psychedelia with R&B and soul, along with gorgeous nature-based imagery. Filipina-American Angelica Lopez influences her sound with love and care using her gorgeous harp.
“(I was drawn to) the vibration when I play it. I immediately wanted to get closer to that sound,” Lopez tells the Filipino publication Coconuts.
Drawing influences from Lauryn Hill, Aaliyah, jazz, bossa nova and The Beatles, Lowleaf seems to blend all of the sounds into hers to create something gorgeous and unqiue.
7. Rita Lee
Brazillian rocker and composer Rita Lee was the iconic voice of Brazillian tropicalia/psych rockers Os Mutantes. Further into her career, she became a pivotal member of the animal rights movement and an early voice of vegetarianism. Os Mutantes combined elements of Latin American tropicalia, bossa nova, and samba with popular rock sounds to create music which has left a lasting influence on music for decades to come.
Based in Seattle, Washington, THEESatisfaction was a duo of two amazingly talented Black queer artists. Stasia “Stas” Irons and Catherine “Cat” Harris-White. These West Coasters have created gorgeous Afrofuturist sounds with sci-fi vibes and both environmentalist and feminist politics. Unfortunately, you won’t be seeing them on tour any time soon — the band peacefully decided to focus on their solo careers after seven years of incredible music-making.
Alison Goldfrapp has been creating electronic dreams since 1999. Along with musical partner Will Gregory, Goldfrapp makes danceable bangers for clubs and bedrooms alike. From glam to synth to dance, Goldfrapp occasionally touches upon some prog aspects in her most recent offering.
Taken from the seventh studio album from the pair, “Anymore” toys with sexuality, gender and identity. Check out the full album, Silver Eye, if you dig this.
10. Janelle Monae
Janelle Monae is one of the most important and innovative musicians in modern music. While she may have made some poor Lysistrata-like suggestions recently, her incredible voice — both literally and otherwise — is incredibly important and should not be dismissed. A drop-dead gorgeous triple threat, Monae combines her incredible singing, dancing and acting abilities to create a complex fable of the android uprising, paralleling the struggle of BIPOC people in the modern world.
For a bit of feminist fun, we revisit her single “Q.U.E.E.N.” with Erykah Badu.
Fuck Lady Gaga — Grimes is the Queen of weird pop. With a voice that sometimes sounds like Britney or Katy, Grimes is poised to take the crown once the world embraces her amazing levels of strange obscurity. Grimes’ music videos are as visually striking as her songs are awesome to listen to. Toying with gender and sexuality, the young Canadian queer artist makes apocalyptic pop perfect for the modern age.
Check out “Venus Fly,” a perfect melding of Grimes’ alien goth vibe with Monae’s incredible android aesthetic.
While Willow Smith may not be old enough to smoke yet, her music is so far beyond her years. Producing psychedelic soul, the 16-year-old daughter of Will Smith and Jada Pinkett Smith is one of three incredibly talented gender-bending, forward-thinking, mind-meltingly talented siblings. Smith’s latest offering, “Jimi,” is a super mellow R&B song with beautiful vocals and an easy vibe. For absolutely out-of-this-world fantasy folk-infused Afropunk, check out her full-length debut ARDIPITHECUS.
“Ardipithecus Ramidus is the scientific name of the first hominid bones found on earth. I wanted to name my musical compilation after it because, while I was making these songs I was in such a transitional state. Digging deep in the soil of my heart and finding bits and pieces of my ancient self that tell stories, which end up being the lyrics to the songs,” Smith explains.
13. Bat For Lashes
English folk-pop chanteuse, songwriter and multi-instrumentalist Natasha Khan makes music for sad femmes everywhere. The resulting fantasy sound, melded with realism, is simultaneously ethereal and accessible. Turn it on while you’re stoned and tune out the real world, visiting her crystal palaces and dreamscapes.
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