Private Playlist is a listening session with Southern California’s most notable musical figures in their private creative environments. Alice Bag is a singer/songwriter, musician, author, artist, educator and feminist. She was the lead singer and co-founder of The Bags, one of the first bands to form during the initial wave of punk in Los Angeles. She was featured in Penelope Spheeris's seminal documentary on LA punk, The Decline of Western Civilization. She is the author of the critically acclaimed books “Violence Girl” and “Pipe Bomb For the Soul.” Her second album, “Blueprint,” was named one of the Best Albums of 2018 by NPR. Her third, “Sister Dynamite,” was released under quarantine in April 2020.
When this whole stay-at-home order went down, I was obsessed with the news. And I was obsessed with this feeling that something terrible was happening outside, and I have to stay in. And, damn it, if this is happening, I am going to die with a cookie in my hand! At a certain point, I realized I should not behave as though there's no future. So I decided to create my own workout to the songs that really motivate me, which are punk songs. My husband and I posted them on Instagram, and then I decided to move them over to YouTube so that people could do a single-song workout, or a ten-song workout if they were feeling up to it. And it didn't have to be Top 40, it didn't have to be the popular music. It could be the music that spoke to punks.
The first song that I recorded was kind of a warmup, getting people ready to exercise. It's by a group called Fea from San Antonio, TX. The song is all about having an itch to go outside and play music. It's particularly appropriate right now, since we can't go out and watch live music. So this one's for dancing around, scratching your body, and doing the withdrawal dance!
Soga is a band from Mexico City. Their song is "Resistir," which means "resist" or "resistance." This band has great energy. "Resistir" makes me want to move; it makes me want to dance; it makes me wanna put my fist up in the air and say, "I'm going to resist!"
AMYL AND THE SNIFFERS
Last summer, Amyl and the Sniffers were on my Spotify heavy rotation. I was on my headphones listening to that album over and over again. I don't like a vocal that makes me think a woman is a pushover. I like to hear female voices that are strong and saying positive things, and that are speaking from positions of power. But I also like to hear that in the vocal delivery. And I think you hear that in Amyl and the Sniffers: you hear power, but at the same time, a kind of vulnerability that is really beautiful.
Let me take you to New Orleans, where there's a band called Special Interest. The song that I'm choosing is called "Young Gifted, Black, in Leather." I love the message, first of all. It's like, "Whatever it is, we want more of that. Young, gifted, Black, in leather? I'm all in." Plus, it's really catchy and makes you want to dance.
Janelane is a singer and guitarist who plays in Peach Kelli Pop, but she also has her own band. She has a beautiful voice and she's a great songwriter, and I think more people should know about her.
Check out KCRW’s other Private Playlists:
Inara George shares tips for raising music-literate kids during quarantine
Chris Cohen shares Algerian synth funk, avant jazz, and more far-out sounds
Hand Habits’ Meg Duffy offers an earthy soundtrack for the homebound
Mia Doi Todd recommends space-age sounds and Brazilian tunes
Neon Indian shares music for your inner monologue
Thundercat on the importance of albums as a journey
Dorian Wood is walking a tightrope and trying not to look down
Jeff Parker is busy studying music in hibernation mode
TOKiMONSTA is rediscovering her love for the guitar
Adrian Younge and Ali Shaheed Muhammad on finding solace in Gil Scott-Heron
Aimee Mann looks past the snark to appreciate Steely Dan’s craft
Madame Gandhi on Fela, feminism, and the bravery of Brian Eno and Jon Hassell