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The Mass Media

The Mass Media

Bitch and Animal

Just released this week on Righteous Babe records, Ani DiFranco’s independent label, is a new release from Bitch and Animal. The duo consists of two women with weird hair and out-there ideas. Animal is from Queens New York and Bitch is from Detroit, Michigan, which she lovingly refers to as a “motor shitty.”

Hardcore Ani Difranco fans who have lost faith since her essential sellout over the past few years may find solace in the fact that the original “righteous babe” produced half of this record. DiFranco also makes a guest appearance on a few songs as backing vocalist and guitarist. Some of the songs are certainly spawned from the post riot-grrl set of spoken word performers. But Bitch and Animal manage to quell some of the anger which can overpower the music of their predecessors in the genre. It’s a refreshing change in female folk-rock, to see a group willing to stay strong and able to avoid drenching their music in anti-male, pro-female sensibility. Not to say that they aren’t opinionated because they certainly are.

The basslines and general groove of the album is very reminiscent of Ani’s angrier albums “Not A Pretty Girl” and “Dilate.” At times Bitch and Animal are spitting rhymes, other times they are harmonizing sweetly. Those lyrics are sometimes very sexual and always high-powered. The first song on “Always Hard,” “Best Cock on the Block,” seems like a half-tribute and half-parody of misogynistic rap lyrics, as if they’re trying to take back some of the negative connotations often associated with that vocabulary. They also have some songs which carry undertones of the “emo” (or emotional post-hardcore) set which I would lump in with the now half-defunct local band Chelsea On Fire and the group That Dog that came out of L.A. in the mid-1990s. Bitch and Animal take no prisoners, they grab you by the hair and yank you along with their grooves and observant spoken-word singing styles.

The album is well-produced but due to some of the effects used it still retains the gritty feel of any good indie record. The only thing missing is a greater presence of a traditional drum kit, since on most of the songs they depend on hand drums and other less conventional methods of percussion.

This album is geared toward open-minded people. The songs are constantly encouraging awareness and acceptance (hint: their previous album was equipped with a song called “Drag King Bar”). Mainstream rockers may be disappointed, but lovers of Liz Phair, Melissa Ferrick, Ani DiFranco, and possibly even Dar Williams will likely find a quench for their folk-rock thirst with this album.

About the Contributor
Natalia Cooper served as news editor for The Mass Media the following years: 2001-2002; *2002-2003 *News writer Gin Dumcius filled in as news editor for Spring 2003 before returning to their writer position. Disclaimer: Years served is based on online database and may not detail entire service.