Since it’s women’s history month, I’m featuring 10 of my favorite female musicians on Hoopla, the library’s newest site for digital content. I realize that women can rock in any number of ways, but it just so happens I’m talking about Rock n’ Roll. Top 10 lists are inherently subjective, and if you caught my post of 10 African American artists last month, then you know mine are no exception. 10 is the number of albums the library gives you on Hoopla per month. While I naturally recommend you download all of 10 of my picks, I encourage you to sign up and take a look : hoopladigital.com.
10) Lorde: People come in to the library all the time trying to get their hands on this one. I show them the CD hold list and watch their face drop. Then I tell them it’s available instantly on Hoopla, and now I tell you…
Album : Pure Heroine
9) St. Vincent : Her new album dropped just 2 weeks ago and was available on Hoopla that day. Using her guitar more as a noise-maker, Annie Clark forms infectious pop from chaos. For now, check out her back catalog from the library’s CD collection.
Album : St. Vincent
8) Bjork : Always on the cutting edge of pop and electronic music, she also proved capable of shedding the machines with 2004′s Medulla, one of her most brilliantly layered albums; done almost entirely with vocals.
Album : Medulla
7) Le Tigre : Everybody gives Seattle credit for grunge, but mostly leaves out the other half of the story, dubbed Riot Grrrl. Kathleen Hanna was it’s leader (she coined the phrase “Smells Like Teen Spirit”). Check out her recent bio pic, the Punk Singer, from the library.
Album : This Island
6) Sleater-Kinney : Carrie Brownstein as a highly underestimated rock guitarist in my humble opinion. But you may know her better as half of the comedy duo in IFC’s hipster parody, Portlandia.
Album : The Woods
5) Ani Difranco : Folky yet righteous. What’s always impressed me is her guitar playing, with inventive open tunings and notes so fiercely plucked it becomes like a percussive instrument. Her label, Righeous Babe Records consistently puts out new quality artists (See : Anais Mitchell)
Album : Living in Clip (Live)
4) Tori Amos : A piano player with chops and vision, who writes songs that feel like journeys into fairy tale realms. She’ll be at the Ryman this summer. The title of her recent retrospective is too good to pass up.
Album : Tales of a Librarian
3) Joni Mitchell : One of the best songwriters of her generation, and often lost in the shadow of her male counterparts. She managed to assemble one of the best jazz bands of the 70′s on her Shadows and Light tour. This double disk finds legendary bassist Jaco Pastorious at his finest.
Album : Shadows and Light
2) Nina Simone : If the record starts in her low register, you might assume she were a man, but her range is more than vocal in nature. Runs the gambit from peppy jazz to some of the deepest, most mournful cries put to acetate.
Album : I Put a Spell on You
1) Sister Rosetta Tharpe : An unsung pioneer of the electric guitar. Download an album then watch her go to town on YouTube.
Album : Gospel Train