women to listen to
feb. 11, 2019
words by jenna smith
I have no clue how I stumbled across the Melbourne collective 30/70. I remember trying to describe them to a friend: “They’re like, the younger siblings of Hiatus Kayote and tune-yards.” It made sense when I later realized that they’ve worked with Hiatus Kayote’s Simon Mavin. The parallels are totally there. Allysha Joy’s dreamy, lathered-in-honey voice is just as captivating as Nai Palm’s. Deep, rhythmic, and sultry. It forces you to stop whatever you’re doing and listen.
“Nu Spring” and “Takin Me Back” are my two favorites right now. They’re very different from one another, but both showcase Allysha’s utterly sensual and dynamic voice. She recently released her first solo album “Acadie: Raw” in September. Highly recommend giving it a listen along with 30/70’s “Elevate Yourself.”
Lalin St. Juste
Next up is The Seshen. Led by singer/lyricist Lalin St. Juste and producer/bassist Akiyoshi Ehara, Lalin is another woman whose voice washes over your entire body. Her voice moves in vibrating waves and reminds me of Yukimi Nagano from Little Dragon. Soooooo smoooooooth and so catchy at the same time. “Other Spaces” has a slower build up that pushes you straight into an electrifying dance craze towards the end.
I’m not even sure how to “classify” The Seshen because their sound pulls me in so many different directions. Definitely more on the pop side in my opinion -- but it’s “pop done right.” It’s more potent than your run-of-the-mill stuff. I guess they’ve toured with Hiatus Kayote, tune-yards and Thundercat before, so you can see why I’m into them.
Just wanted to showcase a few women I've been steadily listening to this winter.
Nubya Garcia and Emma-Jean Thackray
Two. Fucking. Badasses. Nubya fucking riiiips on the saxophone. She steals the show on Makaya McCraven’s “Where We Come From” mixtape. She rolls from a heavy, frantic, and almost dark style to sensuous and intimate, sometimes all within a single track. Listen to “The Oracle” and “When We Are” to understand her effortless flow.
And then, Emma-Jean Thackray shows up and destroys everything with her solo on “Too Shy.” Emma-Jean is so talented. She’s a composer, multi-instrumentalist, producer, and more. Last May she released the album “Ley Lines,” and it gives you a taste of the depth of her talent. My favorite track is “Red Bush.”
Nubya and Emma-Jean are killing it in the UK jazz scene right now, but also just in general :~)
UK soul and jazz singer Poppy Ajudha combines her raw singer power with provoking lyrics that touch on feminism, racism, and fetishization. Her voice is so captivating that it can easily distract from what she’s actually saying: “Am I the right shade for you?” she sings on “Tepid Soul.” The dichotomy between her voice and lyrical content is both refreshing and fascinating. It’s nice to hear.
At just 22 years old, this is just the beginning for Poppy. I’m excited to continue listening to the impactful music she makes and see where she goes. In November she released two new songs: “White Water” and “When You Watch Me.” “White Water” is stunning. My favorite right now is “Where Did I Go?” from her “Femme” EP.
Also, the live recording of “Femme” is fan-fucking-tastic. Totally surreal.