07-23-19 | Songs for Listening | Kym Register
Kym Register, owner of iconic Durham venue The Pinhook and leader of the band Loamlands, picked tunes for Tuesday, July 23 at Songs for Listening.
Here's Kym's picks with their annotations:
'Babooshka' by Kate Bush
"She may have experienced a sort of fame, but the cult listeners of Kate Bush are who turned me onto the depth of her involvement in the production of her records. Not only did she have 100 songs written by her early teens, she was prolific and eccentric and incredibly experimental in her instrumentation as well. This song is off of her third studio record, 'Never for Ever', and is about a woman's desire to test her husband's loyalty. Her lyrics are political by being personal & speaking to women's struggles in the 70's / 80's. Most iconic in this song is the use of the Fairlight — one of the first programmable synthesizers. She learned how to program this new and computer driven instrument and uses very obviously placed glass breaking samples towards the end of the song. She's just so out there and there's so much to hear that I think this song deserves a thorough listen."
'Goat Shephard' by Mirah
"'Changing Light' is one of Mirah's most produced records to date. She's been recording and releasing and pursuing her career in music since her late teens. She's kept a DIY ethic and also produced one of my favorite records of 2014 because of its intricate percussion that includes electronic drums, hand claps, acoustic drum sets, marimbas, over driven bass, weaving harmonies and vocal parts. This record is just insanely complicated and — in my opinion — one of the best pop releases of the year. I might be biased because I toured this record with her — but her show was symphonic with its instrumentation and she was able to translate this record onto the stage with extremely talented artists and instrumentation. I was and still am blown away by the attention to detail on this record & this song in particular. It just shows that this can be done without pop star funding and studios. Though I'm sure she wouldn't turn that down."
'Like This' by Fifth Column
To be fair — I think Fifth Column deserves more attention as a band in general. This song is amazing. It is six minutes & twenty-two seconds of psychedelic shoegaze from the 60's / 70's Toronto, Canada written and performed by queer / lesbian women. They toured constantly, influencing popular riot grrrl figures like Donna Dresch and Kathleen Hannah. They toured w/ distros and zines, influencing and giving space to queer youth throughout the punk / shoegaze circuit. If you haven't seen it — check out 'She Said Boom: The Story of Fifth Column', a documentary by Kevin Hegge. You still can't find much on Spotify but you can search YouTube for videos and bootlegs. Kathleen Hannah says she things Bikini Kill got more attention at first because they were perceived as straight, whereas Fifth Column were outspokenly queer. Because they are seminal, political, inspirational and make great music — I think they deserve more attention than a few stray YouTube videos."
'I Like the Things About Me' by Mavis Staples
"Mavis' cannon runs deep, but this tune stuck out to me because of the lyrical content and the modern and punk simplicity and aggressiveness of the over driven bass guitar and dampened snare and hi hat combo. The production of this record was collaboration with Jeff Tweedy and son, Spencer, and Mavis herself. It takes such a classic and recognizable voice and keeps the stripped down instrumentation but throws it softly into punk / poetic vibe. I love it. It was my true Mavis gateway and was introduced to me by Scott Solter, the engineer for several records I've done, as a point of reference in voice forward / minimal instrumentation recording, which is in my experience often a new vocalists and songwriters nightmare."
'Carolina Girls' by Des Ark
"When I heard this song I of course was expecting something honest, heart wrenchingly detailed, politically aligned, ironic and mostly destructively beautiful. That's because that's the kind of song Aimee writes. The irony is that this is a song about North Carolina that I actually identify with. It's folk, it's queer, it's lyrically reflective of the trials of growing up in this state as female (and even for me currently as nonbinary). The song title brings up the Chairman of the Board tune, but the content and tone of the song twist it on its head — something I always expect Aimee to do."
Kym Register's band, Loamlands is a distorted country music outfit that places queer storytelling at the forefront of their music. They intimately grapple with identity and by playing with genre and history, twisting tales by tweaking pronouns falling in love with records, not people. Their sophomore release, 'Lez Dance', came out earlier this summer on Cruisin Records. Similarly to 'Sweet High Rise', 'Lez Dance' is hook and story driven, this time stripped down to explore a new kind of vulnerability with all of you.
According to Noisey, Loamlands’ music is “written to directly address North Carolina, the people in the Durham DIY scene, and the area's long history with LGBT communities & police violence, the themes Register … wrestle[s] with throughout — queerness, police violence, bigotry, and general intolerance to those who refuse to adhere to any kind of binary — are poignant no matter where you live."
'Babooshka' by Kate Bush from ‘Never For Ever’
'Goat Shephard' by Mirah from ‘Changing Light’
’Like This’ by Fifth Column from ‘All Time Queen of the World’
'I Like the Things About Me' by Mavis Staples from ‘One True Vine’
’Carolina Girls’ by Des Ark