Beat on the Street: Vol. 1.1 – Wanna Be Startin’ Somethin’

Intro to Stef. What is Totally Gay Music. Röyksopp. SXSW.

Hey guys! My name is Stef and this is “The Beat on the Street,” where I’ll be writing to you homos &  homo-allies about music every week or so (except um, this week, when you’ll hear from me a LOT — but more on that later). If there’s one thing the gays are particular about, it’s their tunes, so this is actually a really daunting task, but I feel like I may be uniquely qualified. I could list reasons why I believe this to be true, which would be boring, or I could show you this diagram of my brain, which would be both exciting and colorful! See:

brain

That being said/diagrammed, I initially found it a little odd that Riese and the team selected me for this position – basically because – deep breath – though I’d definitely describe my taste in music as totally gay, I’m not sure I’d describe myself that way.

It’s not that I have a problem with “girl-on-girl culture” – obviously if I’m writing for this site with its big purple banner, it’s hardly an issue (hello, ladies).  The truth is, I don’t identify myself as lesbian, straight, or even bisexual really - and this isn’t some self-loathing homo psychobabble, I just don’t really see myself as any of these things. I hadn’t really even thought about what “category” I fit into until a few years ago, at which point I decided labels made me uncomfortable anyway. See — for me, sexuality is arbitrary.  I like to reference that scene in Trainspotting when, after Begbie accidentally hooks up with a drag queen, Renton declares: “It’s all about aesthetics, and fuck all to do with morality.”

canada11Similarly, I’ve never really subscribed to a single musical subculture either. Growing up, I flirted with everything from Jewel to drum’n’bass, owned t-shirts from Ozzfest and Lilith Fair and I’ve spent many years as a closeted Spice Girls obsessive. Since admitting my abiding love of bubblegum pop (and attending the Spice Girls reunion tour in full costume – twice), I’ve stopped believing in guilty pleasures — why not just enjoy it?

So now I shamelessly continue amassing an iTunes library stockpiled with eclectic music from nearly every genre, including everything from Loretta Lynn to Lithuanian synthpop, Romantic composers to Real McCoy, Pantera to Portishead and back around again. It’s pretty serious. I make intense mix CDs.

We’ll be talking about just about everything in this column, mostly new music as I encounter it – streaming new content, videos, precious bands with phased-out keyboards and asymmetrical haircuts. There’ll be interviews with some lovely musicians we all admire, and

I hope to cover shows happening in the greater NYC area with honesty, integrity and a certain amount of ridiculousness.

We’ll try on mirror masks with Lady Gaga, we’ll wax poetic about sensitive ladies with guitars, we’ll drool over hot throbbing synthpop, we’ll discuss Karen O and her sparkly feetie pajamas – we may even talk about GWAR. We’ll play it by ear.

Because I’m all over the place, I can’t help but think that trying to convince you of my homosexual musical preferences would be a little patronizing – we are all unique, like snowflakes. Let’s just say that I think we’ll get along just fine.


So back to the “more later” —  this coming week, we’re gonna get especially close, as I’ll be bringing you a near-constant stream of updates from SXSW in Austin, TX.  I’ve got some sweet interviews lined up, and I’ll also be reporting back about hot new bands I discover down south… and I can guarantee there’ll be a few drunken-shenanigan-related blind items.

This is my second year going to SXSW, and I know from my experiences last year that I shouldn’t overplan – but if there’s a certain band you guys want covered, hit me up on the contact page and let me know so I can check it out!  Are any of you guys going?  I’m always up for adventures (and aforementioned drunken shenanigans), and I’m super excited to be the first Autostraddle reporter “in the field.” I’m also quite stoked about sunflower tamales and AN ENTIRE STORE DEDICATED TO HOT SAUCE AND HOT SAUCE ONLY.

Here’s some stuff to check out in the meantime:

  • royksoppThe new Röyksopp album “Junior” is streaming in full from their MySpace. If you appreciate Scandinavian people who like to make you dance, I believe you will strongly enjoy their latest offering, which includes amazing cameos from some fine-ass ladies including Robyn, Lykke Li and my personal favourite, Karin Dreijer from the Knife (who also worked with them on one of their best tracks, “What Else Is There?”). If that’s not enough to suck you in, let me also mention that there is also a lyric about 6 being afraid of 7 because 7 8 9.
  • Oh hey!  Speaking of Scandinavian dance bands and fine-ass ladies, the Sounds are back!  They’re about to embark upon a massive tour with No Doubt, and they’ve finally finished what we can only assume is yet another album of almost obnoxiously catchy pop songs that I’ll be unable to turn off for months at a time.  Listen to “No One Sleeps While I’m Awake” off the new record “Crossing the Rubicon” at their MySpace.  Jesus freakin’ Christ, what a goodlooking band.
  • The indomitable Ultragrrrl described the new Bat for Lashes album “Two Suns” as being like “OK Computer on the rag.” I get more of a Kid A vibe from it, in that I want to do a bunch of drugs and put on some weird lights, and then lie on my bed and absorb this gorgeous record.  Stream some content over at Stereogum.
  • Oh, and the Yeah Yeah Yeahs are back. Our buddies at Spinner have the exclusive premiere of their kick-ass new video “Zero,” which offers irrefutable proof (as if we needed it) that Karen O is having more fun than any of us.

I want this column to be for all of us so I def want you to feel free to let me know what you think of what I think, what music you’re into right now — anything all over the map; if it’s happening, we’ll try to make it happen here. I approach music like I do everything in life — open minded, ready to discover new stuff and sans prejudgment.

Ultimately — it’s my total passion for what I’m writing about that places me solidly on common ground with Team Autostraddle.  I look forward to sharing that passion with you — and vice versa, if that’s what you’re into.

The next time you hear from me it’ll be LIVE and FREQUENT-ISH from the FRONT LINES of SXSW in Austin, TX!

Profile photo of Stef

Stef Schwartz is the Music Editor and self-appointed Vapid Fluff Editor at Autostraddle.com. She's a rock'n'roll jack-of-all-trades, vegan crusader and legit professional weirdo. She lives with her cat Scully in the wilds of Brooklyn, where she plays a bunch of instruments in some bands or whatever. Follow her on twitter.

Stef has written 110 articles for us.

20 Comments

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    I’ve said it before but I’ll say it again I totes love your diagram of your brain.

    I think you should make a video at SXSW where you dance around like Karen O in the streets.

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    I am seconding Riese’s suggestion for the Karen O video. Watched “zero” this morning, and it put a smile on my face, as KO always tends to do.

    I’m super looking forward to your articles, and all the SXSW happenings! Kick ass.

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    Stef, you are always the best person to suggest music. The first time I heard about Lady Gaga (who i lala love, and who everyone is now calling the “new princess of pop”) was many moons ago, from you, before anyone, maybe even PEREZ, was talking about her! You’re the source, obvs. Love the column!

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    looking forward to reading your posts! seems like we have similar tastes in music. I totally studied jewel tabs in high school like i was going to be tested on them.

    are you on last.fm? it would be cool for us music freaks to see what we’re all listening to, maybe create a group for us queers on last.fm?

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    Stef! Awesome entry! I spent about 15 minutes perusing your brain and getting lost in its depths, but maybe that was just all the pretty colors. And although I mainly devote the center of my brain to kittens rather than drum machines, I am looking forward to your next article! yay!!

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    SXSW interviews = super excitanting! I only wish I could go. So many things are holding me back though [like the fact that I’m a poor college student, it’s far away, and this week is finals week].

    Also, I’ve been listening to The Sounds a lot lately. Their new single is super hot.

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    I promise I will give ‘The Sounds’ the correct (i.e. maximum) amount of my attention when I get my hands on their album.

    Also, the graphic made me lol. More of those plz ktnks.

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    haviland, i beat perez on that by at least a year and a half, obvs.

    scantron, i do have last.fm – username is silenziosa – maybe we can use last.fm in these posts somehow! i’ll work on it.

    everybody else, thank you for being so kind! i was really nervous about my first article. i leave for texas late tonight/early tomorrow and i’m super excited.

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    Loves the new Royksopp album and now, loves you! Ps. Have you heard Fever Ray? It’s Karin Dreijer’s new solo project. I just downloaded the album but haven’t had the chance to give it a good listen – but so far I’m liking it.

    I’m also obsessed with the Yeah Yeah Yeahs song ‘Hysteric’

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    I feel the need to point out, since I’m unfamiliar with the riot girl music scene (as per that L Word episode), that I enjoy Röyksopp, and Portishead :)

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    i just wanted to high-five you after reading this, stef! i’m not 100% sold on the new YYY, but i’m trying. please don’t kick me out of the treehouse.

    do you sell your mix cds on the black market, perhaps? i’m not even kidding.

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    Your brain frightening musically looks like mine…except mine has huge spaces for Jazz, classical and ABBA and good 70’s disco (gay).

    For much hillarity and not being able to get a dang song out of your head, check out this amazing German Techno/dance song:
    (*mocking Italian soccer player Luca Toni*)

    Song is in the German Top 100:

    “Numero Uno” By Matze Knop

    Hillarious mock youtubevideo:

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ko8UqPvGJAA

    And for comparison, the original video:

    http://vids.myspace.com/index.cfm?fuseaction=vids.individual&videoid=50744719

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    meant to say something when i read this when it was first posted. anyway! im really excited about your musical contribution to autostraddle. well done. :)

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