#EndDressCodes Friday Jam(s): Aye Nako

We’d argue vocerifously that Aye Nako’s Silver Haze is among the best albums of 2017. Over twelve dense, melodic, inventive tracks, the band grapples “with identity — the intersections of race, gender, and sexuality operate in differing ways for the four band members, and exploring these traumas together provides a sense of healing.” Sources of healing were, of course, welcome in 2017, as they are every year.

We’re posting a flawless live session the band performed in April, in which Jade and Mars reveal they live with a dog named Broccolini, and in which Joe plays a bass bearing the message “ARM TEENAGE GIRLS” — a sentiment that’s evergreen, but that feels especially urgent as this year comes to a close.

#EndDressCodes Friday Jam: Shawnee

November is one of the longest, most trying months of the school year — congratulations on making it through!

Of course December can be challenging too. Twenty days from now is the darkest day of the year, and the holidays can be especially difficult for 2SLGBTQ youth. Please hang in there! Consider cranking up “Warrior Heart” by two-spirit Mohawk singer-songwriter Shawnee when you need a boost: “Stay / And show them what you’re made of.”


#EndDressCodes Friday Jam(s): RIFFS!

Last week friend of the collective Julia Tausch published an essay disavowing Toronto band Death From Above. One member of the band was recently accused of associating with the alt-right; Tausch shows that the band’s music has always been misogynistic.

The news that a fave is problematic — or a straight-up problem — is never welcome, and Tausch acknowledges DFA fans who were genuinely heartbroken at seeing their image of the band tarnished. One good thing about our historical moment, though, is that there is so much art out there, so many potential faves.

For example, there are plenty of bands out there that trade in heavy rawk riffage, like DFA, but that manage to not accompany that riffage with arguments for patriarchal family values. Some of our faves from the last few years are: Big Joanie, Bully, Dilly Dally, Downtown Boys, G.L.O.S.S., HIRS, Lithics, Marnie Stern, Melkbelly, Mourn, Priests, and Xenia Rubinos. These artists rock out and punch up; they bring the riffage, and they sing (or scream) about intersectional feminism, systemic racism, trans liberation, xenophobia, as well as anxiety, depression, desire, relationships, and sex.

When faves are called out for being problematic, some people worry that a witch hunt is in progress. To borrow from Lindy West: it’s true! — our faves are witches, and they’re on the hunt! Instead of choosing just one song for today’s jam, we’ve made a whole playlist of heavy music. Good luck, and good hunting!

#EndDressCodes Friday Jam(s): EnVision Playlist!

This week was EnVision 2017, a conference for LGBTQ students and their allies presented by the TDSB’s Gender-Based Violence Prevention Office and the Canadian Centre for Gender and Sexual Diversity. We set up a table at the community fair, alongside awesome orgs like Send the Right Message, LGBT Youthline, NBD Campaign, Planned Parenthood, and Toby’s Place. At the End Dress Codes table, we debuted five brand new posters, and we asked students to suggest songs for today’s Friday Jam.

Rather than choose just one of the suggestions we received, we made a whole playlist. One student asked if the song they suggested had to be “appropriate”; we responded, enthusiastically, “No!” So be forewarned!

#EndDressCodes Friday Jam: The Rascals

On the day that Douglas Hamburgh got sent home from Castle Frank High School (now Rosedale Heights School of the Arts) because his hair was too long, the number one song on Billboard‘s Hot 100 chart was “People Got To Be Free” by The Rascals. How apt!

Did you know that The Rascals refused to perform on segregated concert bills? In other words, if no black artists were on the bill, The Rascals weren’t playing. Another reason to make this 1968 hit a Friday Jam forty-nine years later!

#EndDressCodes Friday Jam: Weaves feat. Tanya Tagaq

Like last week’s Friday Jammer, Weaves performed at Toronto’s Venus Fest, a music festival “in the spirit of feminism.” In a profile leading up to the performance, Jasmyn Burke talked about the power of hair.

After performing with her band Weaves in New York last year, lead singer Jasmyn Burke found herself surrounded by a cluster of fans resembling mini versions of herself.

“I had all these girls with ’fros coming up to me and saying, ‘You look like me and [now] I feel like I can make music,’’ Burke says. “That’s where I felt a switch. I’m not just making music for myself any more.”

She also discussed the thinking behind “Scream.”

Scream, which Burke wrote during the American presidential election, is about how as a Black woman, she’s trying to make sense of the world as it unhinges.

“I was thinking about being a woman of colour and how people might perceive me without knowing me,” she says. “Sometimes in your head you’re like, ‘I’m just like everyone else’ and then through your life, you have people say dumb things and you realize, oh, some people might hate me because I’m Black, and that’s bullshit.”

Burke’s joined on the song by the incomparable Tanya Tagaq, whose earth-shattering throat singing helps propel the song into a feminist anthem as Burke sings, “My thighs are too big, my head isn’t small, my brain is on fire, I’m feeling this fall.”