Don’t say ‘girl band’: How to effectively write about music


Believe it or not, there *is* a more correct way to write about music. Recently, the world of music journalism has experienced a push in the right direct to write about music more inclusively. Here is a quick, non-exhaustive list of a few do’s and don’ts on how to cover festivals, concerts, and artist profiles without alienating your audience or smearing the artist:

  1. DON’T say “girl band”
    This should be an easy one. Just because a band is comprised of all women, one woman, two women, three women, or however many women, they are not a “girl band.” They are a band. If you feel the compulsion to use the term “girl band,” ask yourself, “Would I call a band of all men a Man Band?” No, you wouldn’t. Because that sounds dumb. Some people believe it to be progressive to highlight that a band is made up of all women or even has one single woman in it. Just simply writing about them (in a non-tokenizing way) gives them the exposure they otherwise wouldn’t have in a heavily patriarchal industry. Basically, don’t tokenize the identities of artists, whether they be women, non-binary individuals, or any form of gender non-conformity.
  2. DON’T use the word “queer” unless it is an explicit self-identifier
    Not all people who aren’t heterosexual identify as queer. “Queer” is a term that has a long, notorious history of being a pejorative phrase, especially towards trans-feminine individuals. However, some people have taken upon reclaiming the phrase to describe their sexuality and gender identity. And that’s fine! That’s awesome! But, if you’re writing about an artist that has made their sexual or gender identity known to the public, do NOT immediately use the word “queer.” If at all possible, reach out to the artist to learn what terms they are comfortable being identified as. If the artist is apart of the LGBTQ+ community, they are not immediately queer. Only use the terms you know they are comfortable with.
  3. DO write about non-male artists and artists of color
    As mentioned before, highlighting artists who are often alienated from specific music scenes can do a lot to overturn racist, transphobic, and sexist ideologies that permeate in the industry. Make it a priority to write about non-white, non-male artists. This is not to say to tokenize these individuals, or make only a surface-level, symbolic effort to include these individuals. DON’T develop a savior complex through your writing. This is not “the least you can do” to combat discrimination, and I wouldn’t even call this activism. It’s just important to give people of color and non-men in music their recognition in an industry that has turned against them. Art, in all its forms, is used and experienced by all types of people, and coverage of these artists who wouldn’t normally have this recognition is necessary. A person’s race, ethnicity, or gender does not speak for them entirely, though it is a large part of their self-expression and identity. Step outside of your “comfort zone” and give 4 piece bands made of white dudes a break for awhile. There’s so much more out there.
  4. DO use your words
    I don’t know how many times I’ve seen electronic artists described as “synthy” or non-commercial (indie) rock bands described as “dreamy.” It can get pretty monotonous, not to mention annoying, pretty fast. This is absolutely just me being nit-picky, but there are many more adjectives out there to describe a band’s sound than the above.
    Other no no’s (because I am an asshole):
    lo-fi: The fact that an artist does not have high quality recordings does not indicate in any way what they would sound like. This does not help me at all. Wavves’ King of the Beach and Neutral Milk Hotel’s In The Aeroplane Over The Sea don’t sound anything alike, but both albums have a lower quality of recording. Calling an act “lo-fi” is fine, but please add a few more genre-indicative phrases along with it.
    bedroom pop: A lot of people make music in their bedrooms!!! Maybe I just hate this description because it’s been mercilessly thrown at every indie artist with a Bandcamp without regard to their sound. Please only use this term if the music is actually poppy and lo-fi. Otherwise there is literally no reason to use either “bedroom” or “pop” in your description.
    beep-boops: This definitely comes with less serious music journalism. Like, I definitely wouldn’t see this word in a Pitchfork write up (I pray I wouldn’t, at least). But if you’re doing a pretty informal write-up about an electronic artist and feel the need to describe a sound they make as “beeps” and “boops,” I implore you not to. I always found this phrasing pretty reductionist (and annoying, but that’s not the reason I don’t think you should use it. I’m annoying too).

angel by shaggy

Weekly Charts

WKNC 88.1 FM Charts: October 6th, 2015


1. ALEX G – Beach Music – Domino
2. BEACH HOUSE – Depression Cherry – Sub Pop
4. SODA SHOP – Soda Shop – Velvet Blue
5. MIKE KROL – Turkey – Merge
6. LA LUZ – Weirdo Shrine – Hardly Art
7. HOMESHAKE – Midnight Snack – Sinderlyn
8. DESTROYER – Poison Season – Merge
9. TEEN DAZE – Morning World – Paper Bag
10. PALEHOUND – Dry Food – Exploding In Sound
11. WIDOWSPEAK – All Yours – Captured Tracks
12. GARDENS AND VILLA – Music For Dogs – Secretly Canadian
13. BATTLES – La Di Da Di – Warp
15. FIDLAR – Too – Mom And Pop
16. REATARDS – Grown Up Fucked Up (Reissue) – Goner
17. MORNING HARVEY – Love And Love And. EP – Self-Released
18. JULIA HOLTER – Have You In My Wilderness – Domino
19. TELEKINESIS – Ad Infinitum – Merge
20. TAME IMPALA – Currents – Interscope
21. FOALS – What Went Down – Warner
22. POTTY MOUTH – Potty Mouth EP – Planet Whatever
23. LOU BARLOW – Brace The Wave – Joyful Noise
24. WORRIERS – Imaginary Life – Don Giovanni
25. COKE WEED – Mary Weaver – Beyond Beyond Is Beyond
26. SILICON – Personal Computer – Weird World
27. ARCS – Yours, Dreamily – Nonesuch
28. OBERHOFER – Chronovision – Glassnote
29. MENACE BEACH – Super Transporterreum [EP] – Memphis Industries
30. THAYER SARRANO – Shaky – Guildwater


1. WAVVES – V – Ghostramp-WBR
2. PROTOMARTYR – The Agent Intellect – Hardly Art
3. SHOPPING – Why Choose – Fat Cat
4. AUTRE NE VEUT – Age Of Transparency – Downtown
5. BOULEVARDS – Boulevards EP – Don’t Funk With Me



1. HEALTH – Death Magic – Loma Vista
2. ODESZA – In Return (Deluxe Edition) Counter
3. SPORTING LIFE – 55 – 5s
4. JAMIE XX – In Colour – Young Turks
5. MONOKLE – Rings – Ki
6. HECTA – The Diet – Merge
7. SEVEN DAVIS JR. – Universes – Ninja Tune
8. MARIBOU STATE – Portraits – Counter
9. LA PRIEST – INJI – Domino
10. DJ PAYPAL – “Awakening” [Single] – Brainfeeder

Concert Review

Show Review: Wavves with King Tuff and Jacuzzi Boys

The energy at the Cat’s Cradle on Monday night was electrifying.  We were heartbroken to have unfortunately missed the opening set by Jacuzzi Boys, a trio whose most recent self-titled release dropped this past September, but we were hyped to arrive to catch King Tuff in all his rough and tuffness.  His band’s sound is nostalgic, their influences ranging from glam rock to psychedelic garage. The crowd reached a wide range of ages, from middle school skater bros to cool dads. Towards the stage, throngs of trill bros jammed and moshed out. Even old Old Gary on drums seemed to be having a good time. King Tuffy ended his set with “Bad Thing,” off his eponymous release, a song the crowd chanted and screamed along with him. King Tuff’s persona is out of this world: totes rad, bro. He is bad to the bone.

Rock on, man! King Tuff’s scuzzy performance was loaded with killer riffs and bad ‘tudes.

Why are some people so easy to idolize?  Nathan Williams, the frontman of Wavves, attracts fervent devotees.  His casual, fuck-off charisma is magnetic.  Many of the teenagers in attendance at Monday night’s show knew all of his lyrics, chanting along to his songs while joyfully working themselves into a writhing, moshing mass.

Wavves had the crowd in a frenzy; we stood back where the moshing was less intense

Perhaps Williams is so popular because his music fills the pop-punk void left when Blink-182 and Green Day became more self-serious: his songs are anthems for kids yearning for catchy, angry, Endless Summer rock ‘n roll.  As Wavves’ mangy bass player announced the song “King of the Beach,” a trio of high schoolers shoved past me as they raced to the front row.  We stood back and basked in the crowd’s energy, and we couldn’t help but dance and try to sing along.


by e baby and Spaceman Spiff

Music News and Interviews

Best Coast, Coconut Records, and more Provide for Holiday Mix

Recently Anastassia brought to my attention that Target has released a free mixtape that includes a wide range of artists including a collaboration between Best Coast and Wavves, Coconut Records, Bishop Allen, Darker My Love, and more. The bands featured on the mixtape have recorded individual tracks, unique to the collection that Target has put on its website. The tracks are avaliable to download right here. To get an idea of the cheerful winter season vibes throughout, check out the Best Coast/Wavves track below.

Weekly Charts

Week of 8/9: Top Ten albums of Daytime Rock

Artist Album Label
#1 MYSTERY JETS Serotonin Rough Trade
#2 JAILL That’s How We Burn Sub Pop
#3 WAVVES King of the Beach Fat Possum
#4 MAPS AND ATLASES Perch Patchwork Barsuk
#5 DAN SARTAIN Dan Sartain Lives One Little Indian
#6 LIGHTS ON Here Comes the Ocean self-released
#7 STILL FLYIN’ A Party in Motion [EP] Ernest Jenning
#8 DARKER MY LOVE Alive as You Are Dangerbird
#9 ARCADE FIRE The Suburbs Merge
#10 COTTON JONES Tall Hours in the Glowstream Suicide Squeeze
Weekly Charts

8/2 Top 10 albums WKNC’s Daytime music

Artist Album Label
#1 JAILL That’s How We Burn Sub Pop
#2 MAPS AND ATLASES Perch Patchwork Barsuk
#3 WAVVES Kind of the Beach Fat Possum
#4 LIGHTS ON Here Comes the Ocean self-released
#5 DAN SARTAIN Dan Sartain Lives One Little Indian
#6 LONE WOLF The Devel and I Bella Union
#7 BEST COAST Crazy for You Mexican Summer
#8 BOOKS The Way Out Temporary Residence
#9 ARCADE FIRE The Suburbs Merge
#10 MINIATURE TIGERS Fortress Modern Art
Music News and Interviews

DJ Ones’ Five Music Facts from the past week

1. The Antlers have announced that they are releasing a free ep. The two track ep is entitled, “New York Hospitals” and includes a brief introduction to their popular song, “Sylvia.” Alongside the free ep, the band have released a music video for their song “Sylvia.” (via Pitchfork)

2. Crystal Castles have announced that they are set to release their second full length. Just like the first album, their second will also be titled “Crystal Castles.” The new LP is set to release in North America on June 8th through Fiction records. (via Pitchfork)

3. Wavves’ front man Nathan Williams has announced on the band’s blog that they are currently in the mixing process for their sophomore album. Williams enthusiastically wrote on the blog, “SOUNDS CARAAAZAAAAAAYYY AND WILL BE OUT THIS SUMMER. SEEEEEE YA!” (via Pitchfork)

4. Supergrass has sadly announced that they will be breaking up. Jokingly the band cited a “17 year itch” for the reason for breaking up. They were working on a new album before the announcement of their breakup. No plans have been announced if they will release this material. The band will make the split official after their upcoming tour is finished. (via NME)

5. Rumors that Rob Pattinson will be playing the role of Kurt Cobain in the biopic about the 90s grunge rocker. Courtney Love’s manager has since denied rumors that the part would be going to the “Twilight” actor. Love told the Canadian Press, “Isn’t that so stupid? Who would cast him?” When given her direct opinion who would be best to play Kurt, Love mentioned both Ryan Gosling and James McAvoy. (Spin)