Sound Check: May 2008

Another fun record to check out is MC Flow‘s Incredible. A hip-hop “femme-c” from San Diego, Calif., Abby Schwartz is definitely good at rhyming (she manages to flow lines ending in “edible,” “incredible,” “beddable,” “sweatable” and “treadable”— wow.) But no matter how talented she may be, MC Flow knows she has two things against her: She’s white, and she’s a lesbian — not exactly MTV’s idea of a rap star.

So she takes on this idea in songs such as “Boxes and Squares” alongside other songs about gay marriage, body image issues and friendship. She’s political with a quick tongue, and it makes you want to listen to what she’s spitting.

MC Flow’s ironic, metaphorical and perfectly timed lyrics are the main event on Incredible, as the beats and choruses can be boring and lackluster, especially on otherwise great tunes like “Carousel,” about Flow helping a friend through rehab and recovery from drugs and a suicide attempt. It’s these kind of words and calls to action that the gay youth is likely to listen to, so I hope her words come true when she tells haters, “Tell me who’ll be laughing last when this track’s playing every station.” Never say never!

Someone who might have a better chance at becoming mainstream is lesbian pop singer Lori Michaels. The New York singer calls herself The Dyke Diva, and her background tracks are a little more radio-ready on Living My Life Out Loud.

Half of her songs are club-esque jams that call out to straight girls (“Girl Thing,” which at least has a rap interlude from Feloni). There’s also a bizarre song called “Meet Me at the Partay” which has a flamboyant man calling out “Ow!” and “Hey ho, ho hay! Everybody knows you’re gay!” Michaels sings the chorus robotically: “Meet me at the partay, meet me at the partay.” Sounds like a great time.

The slow jams are what save Living My Life Out Loud from being a total train wreck. If she stuck with her sincere-sounding love songs where she sings lines such as, “My brand new life, and those blue blue eyes, maybe this time this love will finally be my someone right,” she might find a little more success. Or maybe I’m wrong, and most people won’t think ending a song with a whisper of, “You know, not too many guys can say they do the things we do” is totally ridiculous and cheesy. Who cares if it’s true?

Lori Michaels

Photo credit: Mark Weiss

News and Notes

Tegan and Sara recently released the Live Session EP on iTunes. It includes four acoustic tracks from The Con and one from So Jealous. It was recorded in San Francisco on the last day of their previous tour and obviously recorded just so that I have to write about them in Sound Check every month.

After decades of being a rock icon, Joan Jett is releasing a greatest hits album and DVD this September. She’ll be touring with her band, the Blackhearts, this summer.