December Staff Picks: What We’re Loving This Month
On the last week of every month, She Shreds shares our staff favorites of what we’ve been grooving on lately. Here’s our December staff picks!
Patti Smith’s new poetic book, Fea’s fierce sophomore album, Raveena’s Tiny Desk Concert, and Cate Le Bon’s latest music—we’ve got you covered with our December Staff Picks.
Cynthia Schemmer | Managing Editor
Patti Smith, Year of the Monkey
If you haven’t read a book by Patti Smith yet, I strongly urge you to add this to your 2020 resolutions. The writer, musician, and visual artist has such a surreal and gorgeous talent of conveying ideas and memories through the written word. It’s lures you in, asks you to sit down, offers you a warm cup of tea, and then sends you on your way with much to think about.
Venice Beach, city of detectives. Where there’s a palm tree, there’s Jack Lord, there’s Horatio Caine. I checked in at a small hotel near Ozone Avenue, not far from the boardwalk. From my window, I could see the young palms and the back entrance of the On the Waterfront Café, a good place for lunch. The coffee arrived in a white mug decorated with an engaging blue starfish floating above their motto—Where the Brew Is as Good as the View. The tables were covered with dark green oilcloth. I had to keep swatting flies away, but that didn’t bother me. Nothing bothered me, not even the things that bothered me.Excerpt from Patti Smith’s Year of the Monkey
Year of the Monkey drifts in and out of reality, showcasing a year of Smith’s solitary wanderings and thoughts during 2016. She reckons with aging, grief, and an extreme shift in our political landscape in America. Through her poetic narrative that drifts between fact and fiction, Smith offers us pain, hope, laughter, and resilience from one sentence to the next, interspersed with Polaroids she has taken throughout the years.
Hannah Soffa | Creative Director
Fea, No Novelties
Fea is made up of Girl In A Coma’s Phanie Diaz and Jenn Alva, joined by lead vocalist Letty Martinez and guitarist Sofi Lopez. Their 2019 sophomore full length, No Novelties (produced by Los Angeles Chicana punk legend, Alice Bag) was released on Joan Jett’s Blackheart Records earlier this year. Fea weaves between Spanish and English lyrics, bringing both fierce energy and a whole lot of substance.
Ashley Vaughn | Social Media Director, Junior Designer
Earlier this month, NPR Music released a Tiny Desk Concert with the incredibly talented Raveena. Following her immensely popular 2017 EP Shanti, Raveena self-released her debut album, Lucid, this past year.
Raveena’s music often explores identity and culture of the South Asian diaspora and her latest album continues to beautifully weave those narratives together. To see her music in the mainstream is inspiring, and the visibility is so important. The Tiny Desk performance features the 2018 hit, “Honey,” as well as “Bloom” and “Still Dreaming” from Lucid. We featured the song, “If Only,” from the Shanti EP on one of our early She Shreds playlists.
Watch the full performance below and catch Raveena on tour next year. (P.S.: Shout out to Tiana Ohara on guitar!)
Peter Condra | Operations Manager
Cate Le Bon, Myths 004
In the algorithms of Spotify and in the hearts of music critics, Cate Le Bon has long been grouped in the company of avant-garde and cult favorite artists like Arthur Russell and Broadcast. If heard as background music, however, the casual non-listener might not register anything sonically out of the ordinary from guitar-forward indie rock. Whereas her oddity has been expressed mostly lyrically and hinted at through her jerky, staccato guitar style, her 2019 release Reward saw those eccentricities actualized through every recorded instrumental performance.
After the release of such a methodically written solo album, Le Bon may have been ready for something more brash and carefree, which brings us to her release of Myths 004 in the final hour of 2019. A co-creation with Bradford Cox of Deerhunter, Myths 004 has plenty of head turning moments, including a monologue from a robot-voiced fireman. Having put out five solo albums of refined art rock, Myths 004 rips the mask off and shows Cate sounding as weird as she truly is, and we are here for it.