Guest Mix: Women's Realm

curated by Karen Locker


I am about to seriously date myself. What I mean to say is that I'm writing this on the eve of my 41st birthday, and I'm not even sure how I managed to garner the invitation to wax nostalgic on The Grey Estates. That's an unlikely honor, considering that Lauren's got her finger on the pulse of all the latest and greatest indie music, and here I am – a middle-aged lady who's unleashing what is likely the most self-indulgent playlist I could possibly muster. I've been introduced to so much great music through this blog, so it's my hope that I might be able return the favor by blowing the dust off of some oldies. Maybe someone, somewhere will find something relatable in all these words and tunes and stuff...

Then again, I guess that's what birthday's are for; reflecting over the changes that span the decades of our lives. The older I get, the faster everything seems to change, and the faster things change, the more bonkers the world seems to me. It's maddening trying to follow all the newness, music not withstanding. I'll admit it -- I am TERRIBLE at keeping up with what bands I should be paying more attention to, but my brain is so saturated with stuff these days. Luckily, there's The Grey Estates. For an old-timer like me, TGE is a godsend because I just can't stomach the snobby music blogs that so many of my peers follow. It's a real struggle to be in your forties and not feel like everything is over your head, so props to Lauren for bridging the gap between me and -- how do the kids say it these days? -- relevancy? It's highly likely that I'm not the only 'lady of a certain age' that's reading the blog though. 

Speaking of ladies, March isn't just my birth month. More importantly, it's Women's History Month. As I started culling together songs to share, I realized something; I am almost exclusively listening to female musicians these days. Sorry fellas, I don't mean to castrate you, but women are ruling a lot of things right now, including the music (and blog) scene. Come to think of it, I guess they did back in 1992, when I was writing a music column for my high school newspaper and listening almost exclusively to Siouxsie and the Banshees... but that's the black hole of nostalgia I'm prone to falling down, and this is now. We are living in bullshit times where women are facing mounting oppression while the patriarchy runs roughshod over us all. For me, listening to the voices and noises of women has felt like both an act of protest and a source of comfort.  In a way, this collection of songs feels like a collection of women; both young and old. Some are bawdy, sexed-up & proud of it, others more vulnerable... almost painfully shy. Nurturing and delicate, or pissed off and wicked. Mercilessly outspoken and opinionated. STAUNCH. Frenzied. Frenetic. Forlorn and fraught with emotion and worry. Snarling and wild. At once stronger than any man, yet more fragile and wispy than gossamer – and I've been every one of them, if only for a fleeting moment. 

That's the thing though: If you identify as female, chances are you've been some of them, too. Whether you've been standing on the front lines of an army of determined feminists, or on the fringes of that same sisterhood, you've felt the power and the energy you wield within your body no matter its age. Sometimes gender can be such a drag (no pun intended), but if there's one thing I'm learning as the years roll by and I grow older and, dare I say, wiser –  is that I was dealt a lucky hand when I was born, because womanhood, with all its facets and pitfalls, is a strange and beautiful gift that grows easier to embrace with age. 

So here it is: A women's realm to keep you company tonight. This is by no means meant to alienate TGE male readers. In fact, I hope you guys out there will feel encouraged to give it a listen! After all, we're all allies here, right? 

When I hear these songs I know the ladies who are singing them feel that same gift of power, and they're here to remind you like they remind me. Always following me around like ghosts of my former selves; always whispering or sometimes wailing in my ear that I can be whoever I want, whenever I want. Just like you.

mp3 premiere: "Gossip Girl - Tony Peachka & "The Lake" - Ahem

rewind: Messes - Stef Chura