The second week I moved to Philly I got out of work one day and rode my bike over to a house show just a few minutes away. I grabbed a slice of pizza and hung out on a couch with some new and old friends. Later that week I left some homework to ride over to another show at a small space above a bike shop, and caught up with old friends on the bike shop rooftop after seeing my friends’ newish band.
This is what I was missing from New York, and it’s so easy to get here in Philly that it takes reading news like Glasslands or Death By Audio closing to remind me that not only are there very few house shows in Brooklyn anymore, but even the DIY-ish spaces are closing too now. I mourn for what is happening over there, but also feel comforted that music scenes like the ones I want are thriving, at least, somewhere.
New contributor Jess Meany here with a quick story. I had a good spell of a hangover this past weekend and thought to myself “I’m going to sit in the dark and put together a playlist of the most brutal and badass female-powered hardcore bands I know.” I wanted to put something together that was really going to fuel what was left of my afternoon. So here it is. I dedicate this playlist to finding the deepest, most worthless corners of your mind and rattling them awake. Thanks to Krista Ciminera, the vocal mastermind behind Sorrows to help me build this playlist, and to Meg for humoring me in posting this bad girl up.
Not all bands on the list are currently active, but many are and there’s still some great archives online of everyone on the list. Hope everyone found a new favorite band! Go ahead and post some of your own favorite aggressively awesome and talented female musicians in the comments section—I need something to listen to for the rest of the week.
Sorrows and my old band Zombie Dogs are on this awesome (and downloadable) women in hardcore playlist from Got A Girl Crush! Many many other awesome bands too, put together by the wonderful Jess Meany.
Adam, Rachel, me, Kai, and Chris at the start of stage 3 of the East Coast Messenger Stage race in Philly in front of the Rocky steps. It’s really comforting seeing friends from all over in my new hometown, it helps me adjust! I did this race, a 600 mile bike race over 5 days, in 2012 and I might do it again next year too. Adam and Kai left shortly after this pic was taken to go complete this stage, and they’re killing it!!!
'Forty-five percent of blacks say they have experienced racial discrimination by the police at some point in their lives; virtually no whites say they have,' according to a recent New York Times/CBS News nationwide poll. (I’m shocked the 45 percent figure isn’t higher, considering the stories African Americans tell each other all the time.) So when I share the trauma of that particular incident and so many like it – fraught interactions that may have involved a son (stopped driving a nice car in our nice neighborhood), nephew or friend – I expect, first of all, that I will be believed.
Yet whites are, frequently, disappointingly, incredulous. Very often a ‘friend’s’ reaction that goes something like this: ‘I don’t think a police officer would stop anyone for no reason at all.’ Or: ‘You must have done something suspicious.’ Or my favorite: ‘If you haven’t done anything wrong, you don’t have anything to worry about.’ I am not some child coming home with some tall tale, and I am certainly not a delusional liar.
I don’t expect much. Just nodding and acknowledging my words would be enough. Instead, jumping in to explain what must have really happened before I can finish a sentence means that – whether you realize it or not – you’ve shattered an important bond and traveled the distance from friend to acquaintance. I smile, make a mental note, and change the subject, realizing that with this person, topics from now on will be limited to rating entrées at the latest neighborhood bistro or judging whether the new Scorsese film shows the master back in top form.
The instantaneous defensiveness, that incessant need to find some “other cause,” that instinctive desire to protect Whiteness and eliminate anti-black racism as a cause for anything and everything is so telling.
They’ll try to rationalize it in any way possible, including gaslighting you, not realizing that this pathological and predictable behavior reveals so much more about them than it does about us.
And it’s all intentional. It’s to preserve their innocence, which is to say, their Whiteness.
That’s why it’s crucial for us not to back down or change the subject or accommodate their comforts and illusions in any way.
"Infographic Shows The Differences Between The Diseases We Donate To, And The Diseases That Kill Us"
I think about this a lot, especially since my disease affects more people than those with MS, ALS, and cystic fibrosis combined, yet receives half the funding and a lot less attention. If you want, read more about this here.
"Him and I, we had a fight The kind where nobody wins He used his hands I pleaded, but he had me pinned You know when you take a bath and never get clean? The bruises that never show… I thought you’d know what I mean.
But you changed your mind This time, you changed your mind Because you’re somehow the victim You changed your mind So cast it off, it never meant You changed your mind because it’s easy, because you can So you changed your mind
Well, if he’s a monster then you live under my bed He roughed me up but you left me for dead And I can get your silence out of my head But just remember, I know what you did.”
When I very suddenly found myself in an abusive relationship, my mind went in many different directions at once. I was angry and hated the man that I was with, I was scared of him and wanted to run away from him, I was scared of him and wanted to please him so he wouldn’t hurt me again, so we could pretend it never happened and that I was a good enough person. I worried that my friends would be mad at me, that they wouldn’t want to speak to me anymore. I wanted so desperately to talk to some of them and hide away in their bedrooms. I wanted to defiantly stand in front of my abuser and say every perfect thing to make him feel small. But mostly I wanted to close my eyes and forget everything and never tell a single soul.
But I did. The first person I told, who was my ex and the closest person to me at the time, told me I was probably lying because I didn’t leave the abuser immediately. He then made demands that I cut it off with this person, tell him exactly why, and never see him again. When I didn’t do those things, as this was during a time when I could not take care of myself, he said that it was all very hard on him, that I should be proud of him because he managed to stay sober throughout this, that he would never do anything like this to me, and that he would never forgive me. Him and I no longer speak. This song is about my ex and people like him who claim to be allies, who are comfortable supporting minorities against the media or the government, but run back to their privilege once they or someone in their community is called out or challenged. But there’s more to this post than just him.
The second person I told paused afterwards and said, “…wow, this makes me feel differently about you.” On the flip side, I had friends tell me how much they wanted to kill my abuser, how they wanted to hurt him and while a huge part of me loved hearing this, it also scared me. It felt too fresh to talk about direct, harmful things that could happen to my abuser because I imagined how enraged this would make him, and how it would only lead to more violence, and in this way it made me want to protect him so that violence didn’t fall on me. It was those that focused on me and my feelings, who let me talk it out, who didn’t pass judgment even when I did more bad things to myself, who told me it wasn’t my fault, those are the people that helped me through and out of this relationship, and I’m forever grateful that I have them in my life.
It’s important to positively support victims of abuse throughout their whole path of finding sanctuary, even if that means supporting them during times when it may look like they’re taking self-destructive steps backwards, even if the person ultimately stays in the relationship. It may seem like they are actively trying to disregard help, falling farther into a relationship with an abuser, but they may need to work out certain mental processes on their own, and it’s important to let them know that they have unconditional support. It’s difficult to support people in these situations, and if mutual friends can support each other throughout this process, then that’s even better.