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Various - Ladyfest Uk 2003

  by John Clarkson

published: 3 / 9 / 2003

Various - Ladyfest Uk 2003
Label: Bearos
Format: CD


Eclectic charity compilation, which "showcases several of the best female-led acts on the current alternative music scene"

The Ladyfest festival is an international series of female-related events, the aim of which is "to encourage the musical, artistic, political and organisational work of women." The first Ladyfest event took place in Olympia in Washington State in 2000, and stemmed out of a reunion of people from the early 1990's Riot Grrl movement of punk rock feminists. Since that first inaugaral event, other Ladyfest shows and conventions have taken place in a variety of other states and cities including in America Massachusetts, Michigan, Ontario, Chicago and New York, and in Britain London, Glasgow and Manchester. 'The Ladyfest UK 2003' CD follows on from a British Ladyfest tour that took place in May and which was headlined by Katastrophy Wife, the new band of former Babes in Toyland frontwoman Kat Bjelland. Katastrophy Wife open up the album with 'Nothing'. Predictably, as a result of Ladyfest's Riot Grrl connections, they and several of the other groups who also appear on the compilation (The Suffrajets, Little Girl With Cherries, Hooker) all exhibit, depending upon what your viewpoint is, both the grandiosities and the excesses of that era-the shouted, often indistinguishable vocals, the abrasive, grinding guitars and the top heavy drums. Other tracks, however, thankfully perhaps for those of more sensitive dispositions , prove to be more mellow. Glaswegian musician Manda Rin acquits herself well twice, once with with her recently broken-up former band, perky keyboard-driven popsters Bis, who have contributed the album's final track, 'Protection', and again a third of the way through with her new group, the Kitchen, which she has founded with her husband, Ryan. The latter band's track, 'Blind Tease', finds her showing off a more experimental, grown-up side to herself than that of the often deliberately adolescent Bis. Rooted in Euro pop, it combines ethereal, surreal vocals with a hard synthesiser sound. The Wolverhampton singer-songwriter Carina Round, who has recently toured with Ryan Adams, also proves herself to be a major new talent. Her song, 'Monument' starts out as a swampy blues solo acoustic number, but with the gradual induction of her band, whips up to climax in a storm of frenzied Crazy Horse-style electric guitars. In what is Ladyfest, and also Bearos, the Birmingham label, which has released the CD's biggest coup, the album also sees the welcome return of Siobhan Fahey. The epic six minute 'Bitter Pill', a paaen to a lost love and the former Banarama star's first release in nearly seven years, shows itself to be the sort of slinky diva-style dance number that has not been heard since her last band Shakespear's Sister broke up. It is good to have her back and on such striking form. With all its profits being donated to victims of domestic violence and rape, 'Ladyfest UK 2003', like many other compilations assembling together a wide range of acts from a wide range of genres, is a decidely mixed bag. It is unlikely that all it tracks will appeal to even the most eclectic of minds. It is, however, well-produced and well-put together and, with something for nearly everyone, serves as a superb showcase for several of the best female-led acts on the current alternative music scene. With several stand-out tracks and much of it making compelling listening, this worthy compilation deserves to do very well.

Track Listing:-
1 Katastrophy Wife– No Thing
2 The Suffrajets– Shy
3 We Start Fires– Bang Bang
4 Little Girl With Cherries– Remove Your Face In The Name Of R.O.C.K.
5 The Kitchen– Blind Tease
6 Hooker– Like It My Way
7 Carina Round– Monument
8 Kirby– You're On The Way
9 The Shocker– Smoke Rings
10 Siobhan Fahey– Bitter Pill (Droyds Mix)
11 Gertrude– Remote Control
12 The Flamingo 50– Shame About Blame
13 Motormark– 2/2 City Girl
14 Angelica– Evergreen
15 Bis– Protection

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