Music Rules: And toxic masculinity drools

Yes, another post about music, but this goes in a different direction.

I love music and musicianship. Some people bristle when I say, “If it’s not made with instruments or a cappella, it’s not music.” I prefer people who can recreate their work live, alone or in a group, not by “scratching” or “sampling”. Because of this, nearly everything I listen to is individuals or groups who play, very little electronica.

Nearly all of the new musicians I’ve started listening to in the last few years are independent groups found on youtube, people creating new work or younger people doing covers of other bands, and they’re genuinely good. Unintentionally, most of them are women, which is even more exciting, seeing musicians who would normally be ignored or mistreated by record companies and the media.  Youtube and other social media lets them find an audience they couldn’t reach otherwise and control their own content and public image.

An example of being mistreated is a group I hadn’t heard of until two years ago: Fanny, whose first album came out in 1971, fifty years ago (video: trailer for the documentary about their career). They were a fearsome foursome of women, two Filipina-American sisters and two Americans, with great talent. Unfortunately, sexism in the music industry weighed on them and the band came to an end by the mid-1970s. Listen to a few of their songs and find a new/old instant favourites.

Below the fold is a list new musicians I listen to and links to their music. But it’s not just the music that’s interesting, it’s the response of the public.  It ain’t the 1970s anymore.

“Don’t read the comments” is the universal warning whenever women are writing or talking, but that doesn’t apply when it’s women musicians.  DO read the comments.  Sexist and dismissive comments by men are the exception, not the norm, when women are great players.  (Then again, male music heads are different from typical fanboys.)  And it’s not just sexism that disappears, so does racism; one of them (listed below) is MelSickScreamoAnnie, a teenage muslim from Indonesia (listed below) who plays covers of Death Metal and Thrash Metal.  She’s great.

This is NOT to suggest that women should have to be great musicians or be obviously and visibly skilled in their field to be respected.  That should be the default position, women shouldn’t have to “prove” or be challenged by toxic males in any job or field.  But it does show that men can treat women with respect for their ability, not automatically “challenge” women simply for being.

If a nurse or doctor has a job at a hospital, or teaching at a university, it means she’s qualified, end of discussion. If a woman is doing a public speaking event, it means she has the knowledge and qualifications to get an invite.  And even if she’s working a 9 to 5 sales clerk job, that’s still no reason.

More below.

As above:  Read. The. Comments.  on these videos.  You’ll be surprised by the positive masculinity.

For example, the comments about drummer Kristina Schiano’s appearance are almost entirely about her arms (watch her wrists, how they don’t bend when she hits the drum heads, it’s just pure power).  Dragonforce drummer Gee Anzalone (in the video) says “finally a drummer who smiles!”  But he wasn’t telling Junna to smile, he noted how relaxed she is while playing, “someone enjoying the moment!”

If not noted as a cover, the song is an original composition by the artist.

Plush (US): “Hate” (first single), “Isolation” (Alter Bridge cover)

Helen Ibe (Nigeria): “I’d Rather Go Blind / Tennessee whiskey”, “One More Time”

Tokyo Groove Jyoshi (Japan): “What Is Hip?” (Tower Of Power cover), “Run For Cover” (Marcus Miller cover – bassist Juna Serita is an absolute monster on the instrument)

Unlucky Morpheus (Japan): “Black Pentragram”, “Far Beyond The Sun” (Yngwie Malmsteen cover)

Luna Lee (South Korea): “Sultans Of Swing” (Dire Straits cover), “Voodoo Child” (Jimi Hendrix cover)

Laura Lace (Latvia, aka Laura 6100): “Brahms: Hungarian Dance No.5”, “Aerodynamic” (Daft Punk cover), “Время Вперед!” – Г. Свиридов (“Time Ahead!” by G. Sviridov), J. S. Bach’s “Toccata in D Minor”

Alyona Vargasova (Russia): “Hypernova Explosion”, “Journey Through The Milky Way”, “Dancing With A Black Hole”

MelSickScreamoAnnie (Indonesia): “Skyline”, “Two River” (cover of Suikoden anime song)

Elena Verrier (Russia): “The Queue for Oblivion”, “Scourge Of Iron” (Cannibal Corpse cover)

MelSickScreamoAnnie and Elena Verrier duet: “South of Heaven” (Slayer cover)

Junna (Japan): “Genghis Khan” (Iron Maiden cover), “Through The Fire And Flames” (Dragonforce cover, and Gee Anzalone of Dragonforce reacting to her cover his song),

Kristina Schiano (US): “Basket Case” (Green Day cover), “All The Small Things” (Blink 182 cover)

Tina S (France): Beethoven’s “Moonlight Sonata”, cover of David Gilmour’s solo from “Comfortably Numb”

Liheia Metzengerstein (Russia): “Crystal Mountain” (cover of Death), “Culinary Hyperversity” (cover of Necrophagist)

And that’s without bringing up other musicians with record company backing and mainstream success like Tal Wilkenfeld, Esperanza Spalding, Céu and others.


  1. witm says

    Interesting list, I will have to check them out. Alot of it is not ‘my thing’, but neither were at least 5 other things you plugged that are now staples of some playlist or another.