‘The Magic Gang’ – Album Review

On 16th March 2018, The Magic Gang released their long-awaited self-titled album, gratifying their fans with an incorporation of old and new, heavy and dreamy but an all-round beautifully constructed record.

The Magic Gang are currently number 15 in the UK album charts.

We are super enthusiastic about The Magic Gang because they are openly supportive of fighting against sexual assault at gigs. It is extremely important that this is recognised by musicians from all genres, orientations, styles and so forth. By openly supporting Girls Against, The Magic Gang are supporting the fact that intersectional feminism is relevant, appropriate and (almost) as cool as their stage presence when performing their bangers live!

As I strolled down Mount Street in Liverpool with Your Love playing through my headphones, I could have easily been on the way to the Cavern in the sixties.

To me, the album feels like it was made for live performance. Hearing the re-worked versions of All This Way and Jasmine, for example, creates a desire for the atmosphere at a Magic Gang gig because of the memories that these songs have brought fans over the past few years. By including these in the album, the record still has a feel of the bands’ hard work and determination that has lead them to this point in their career – they have been solely committed to their music and it has most definitely payed off. Although, the track list does seem like a trip through the eras because their music could easily fit into the plethora of influential styles and bands that have crafted indie music of today.

I wanted to focus on some of the newer tracks for a deeper analysis – starting with an energetic opening to the album – Oh, Saki. The Motown drums and melodic bass line give an upbeat vibe to the song, leading to an interesting guitar solo to give the track a flare. However, this compliments the beautiful harmony in the second half of the song.

This is also evident in Caroline, where harmonies and grungy guitars blend seamlessly, producing yet another catchy chorus with brilliant vocal arrangement. The bass locks in with the bass drum in the verse which creates the solid beat which we can’t help aimlessly bopping to…

A personal favourite, Take Care has Gus on lead vocals. The Abbey Road piano sound with a reminiscent start leads to the modernised feel of the drum sound. The bass development through the song builds it perfectly, and the well-written lyrics including “take good care of yourself” compliment the new dynamic to the song, whilst ending where it started on piano and vocals.

Finally, Bruises has an interesting vocal sound that compliments the chord progression in the song. There is some great lead guitar throughout, which is reminiscent of Oasis.

The Magic Gang have an incredible summer lined up, playing at various festivals such as Reading and Leeds and TRNSMT Festival. They have also just finished their UK tour; you can find some snaps from supporters on our Instagram @girls.against – keep sending us pictures!

Ultimately, this debut album has impressed, inspired and enriched the music scene. Not only is it an easy listen, but an intricately crafted piece that deserves the upmost success.

Written by Megan Ryder-Maki.
Twitter: @ixxmcmxl | Instagram: @bbtalkz

The Importance of Intersectional Feminism

When promoting her autobiography Brave earlier this year, Rose McGowan was confronted by a transgender woman, who accused her of being a ‘white cis feminist’, following her comment on RuPaul’s What’s The Tee? Podcast, where she stated “That’s [feeling like a woman on the inside] not growing as a woman, that’s not living in this world as a woman and a lot of the stuff I hear trans [women] complaining about, yeah, welcome to the world.”

These comments are undeniably transphobic and unacceptable and McGowan has a history of making offensive remarks such as these ones . She has previously stated that Caitlyn Jenner “doesn’t understand” being female and claimed “I have an indictment of the gay community right now…gay men are as misogynistic as straight men”. Considering that she is a public figure who has the ability to influence the masses, these comments are beyond irresponsible.

The woman who called out Rose was escorted out of the event, whilst she continued to chant ‘white cis feminism’. Girls Against wants to address and respond to this incident in explaining the importance of intersectional feminism.

The term ‘intersectional feminism’ was first used by civil rights advocate and scholar Kimberlé Crenshaw in 1989. Whilst studying to become a lawyer, she noticed that gender and race were perceived as two separate issues. She believed that studying them in isolation made no sense. The Merriam-Webster dictionary defines intersectionality as “the complex, cumulative manner in which the effects of different forms of discrimination combine, overlap, or intersect”. So, to put it simply, intersectional feminism recognises that the discrimination women face does not exist in one bubble – different kind of prejudice can be amplified in different ways when combined. Thus recognising, with regards to this situation, that the prejudice and discrimination a transgender woman might face is undoubtedly different to the prejudice and discrimination that a white-cis woman would is extremely important.

To assume that feminism is only for white, cis-gendered women is wounding to the movement itself and feminism that promotes this idea is not really feminism at all. Akilah Hughes, also known as Akilah Obviously on YouTube, has created a great video that explains intersectionality in the form of pizza – it is well worth a watch!

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=FgK3NFvGp58&feature=youtu.be

Laverne Cox, who considers herself a feminist demonstrated how important it is that feminism is inclusive and for everybody, “I think the trans movement and the LGBT movement in general really has to be a social justice movement where we look at issues of race and class and xenophobia in general”.

Another example of someone who has wonderfully demonstrated the need for intersectional feminism is sixteen-year-old Rowan Blanchard who wrote an essay on the topic:

“White feminism” forgets all about intersectional feminism. The way a black woman experiences sexism and inequality is different from the way a white woman experiences sexism and inequality. Likewise with trans-women and Hispanic women. While white women are making 78 cents to the dollar, Native American women are making 65 cents, black women are making 64 cents, and Hispanic women are making 54 cents. Kimberlé Crenshaw said it perfectly in 1989 when she said “The view that women experience oppression in varying configurations and in varying degrees of intensity. Cultural patterns of oppression are not only interrelated, but are bound together and influenced by the intersectional systems of society. Examples of this include race, gender, class, ability, and ethnicity.”

What I have (very briefly) discussed about the importance of intersectional feminism reinforces that feminism is not feminism if it is not for all. Girls Against truly believes in this and as a campaign we are always here for everyone.

 

Written By Megan Ryder-Maki (@ixxmcmxl on Twitter.)

Our Everyday Heroes: Helen Ryder

As 2017 drew to a close, one of the GA reps, Samantha Hall, introduced Our Everyday Heroes: a new blog feature to recognise and celebrate everyday female/trans women who have done something worth talking about. As Samantha mentioned, any contributions or ideas of who you think is worthy of celebration can be tweeted or emailed to us! We aspire to celebrate women from all walks of life.

I’m going to be talking about a woman who has shaped her local community, aided vulnerability to recovery and changed people’s lifestyles for the better.

Helen Ryder, from Bournemouth, Dorset, is my everyday hero. It wasn’t until she was around 40 years old that she found her love of exercise spontaneously leading to  running taking over her extra time. I interviewed her for this post:

How did your passion for an active lifestyle arise?

“I was always reasonably active growing up, but I got into exercise seriously when I was about 39. After a break up, I decided I could either go back to 20 cigarettes a day and feel sorry for myself or do something more positive! A health visitor told me about a local ‘legs, bums and tums’ class for people on low incomes so I decided to go. I also wanted to aim for something and around the same time my sister was diagnosed with cancer so I decided to run the race for life. I did that 3 miles without stopping and felt so proud. When I eventually completed my first marathon in memory of my family friend, Nigel, it gave me an overwhelming sense of achievement and gave me the confidence that I could do anything if I put my mind to it.”

Can you give a brief overview of how you started and the workthat you do now?  

“After that first marathon, I wanted to make a difference in other people’s lives too. I also wanted my two daughters to see me doing these things as a good example. I started as a volunteer in 2002 when I did my first qualification in fitness. I built up my project from then doing more courses. I did two classes a week to 16 hours. Now, I also do talks and workshops in recovery centres and children centres, outings and outdoor activities whilst offering advice when needed”.

Why did you want to get involved with this kind of work?

“I wanted to promote physical, mental and social wellbeing, making exercise accessible for everyone regardless of their social, personal or financial issues e.g. past substance and/or alcohol abuse, low self-esteem and/or confidence, those suffering from depression, single parents, isolated individuals etc.”

Helen is self-employed, which allows her to have an individualised commitment to work. Yet, it is evident that she goes above and beyond to make the participants of her class feel connected, inspired and motivated:

I have so much to say about her – such a strong and empathetic woman who endlessly helps others through her exercise classes in more ways than ‘just exercise’”

“She is always there for a listening ear, organising lots of activities which for me has kept me motivated and busy!” 

“Helen encourages and has inspired me throughout. I am very lucky to have her as an instructor and as a friend. I admire her and if I could ever be as half as strong as she is in mind and body then I’ve achieved”

Throughout the years, I have met numerous amounts of people who have been inspired by Helen. From experiencing her classes myself, I know that she will push her participants to be the best they can be, which gives a sense of ultimate achievement and fulfilment after an activity – just like she felt after that first running event she partook in.

Exercise is a wonderful tool to combat difficulties. Releasing endorphins, feeling social and part of a supportive team are just a few of the attributes of Helen’s activities. I could not recommend it more to anyone and I cannot put into words the wonders of the programme Helen has created.

Now, the reason that I am writing about this particular woman is because I know truly that she puts her life into her job and making others feel worthy. Alongside her numerous efforts within her community, she has single-handily raised two daughters, one of which received a First-Class Honours degree in Events Management whilst I am currently studying at one of the country’s top Drama Schools.

She has also run over one hundred marathons, including extreme events such as

a 24 Hour running festival! More recently, she has used her love of running to fundraise (mostly in fancy dress!) for The Bike Experience – a non-profit organisation that helps injured victims of bike accidents to get back on theirbikes.

However, Helen never asks for any recognition, praise or reward for doing this. She is truly an unsung hero and deserves to be recognised.

Mum, this one’s for you. From your daughter, Meg x

 

Written by Megan Ryder-Maki (@ixxmcmxl on Twitter).

A History of Women in Rock Music – A Response To The Exclusion of Those Who Helped Shape the Genre

To please customers or to fight against everyday sexism? It’s shocking that we even consider this question. However, unfortunately, recent events have reinforced that inequality within the music industry is an ongoing issue.

I’m sure you’ve heard about the Middlesbrough pub – Doctor Browns – who recently introduced a policy that does not allow female-fronted bands to perform in their premises. This was after customers complained that some rock songs, which are supposedly “male”, should not be performed by female singers. Manager Paula Rees even stated in defence, “we’re a rock bar and they don’t think women should sing male rock songs”. It is worth asking – who are ‘they’ and why are ‘they’ saying this?

‘They’ are customers with an opinion, of course. However, I cannot fathom the idea of excluding women from the rock genre. Just thinking about the numerous iconic women who have fronted and influenced the rock scene throughout history creates a plethora of names that jump into thought:

Janis Joplin. “One of the first female artists to break the “girl singer” mould… her fusion of rock and blues influenced both male and female artists”. With four studio albums, two live albums, a set at Woodstock in 1969 and influencing Nancy Wilson, Joan Jett and Chrissie Hynde to name a few – this woman was powerful, strong and could definitely front a female rock band.

Stevie Nicks, an absolute inspiration. She joined Fleetwood Mac in 1975 and her singer-songwriter talent flourished. Her solo career in 1981 commenced whilst still working with Fleetwood Mac; not to mention a hefty 16 studio albums and three live albums under her belt. Even most recently, she joined Harry Styles on his tour for a “Landslide” duet. Like the music style or not, there is no denying that Nicks is an icon.

There shouldn’t have to be explanations for the likes of Janis Joplin, Joan Jett, Pat Benater, Blondie, Patti Smith… the list goes on. There are also tons and tons of female-fronted rock bands, both upcoming and current who are paving the way in the rock industry. We have another blog post coming up which highlights important women in the current rock scene so be sure to check it out.

I just wanted to highlight the fact that the history of rock has influenced and created wonderful, inspirational women who have provided and continue to provide the music industry with talent, content and entertainment. There is no excuse for isolating female musicians from any venue. It is shocking, unequal and something must be done.

The negative response that came with this initial policy, however, does give hope. People realise that this is sexist and unjust. Let’s do something about it.

Written by Megan Ryder-Maki (@ixxmcmxl on Twitter).