I can still remember the first time I heard her voice. It was the early 90s, and I was listening to Seattle's famed college radio station, KEXP. When the usual barrage of angsty boy-rock was interrupted by a clear, quirky female voice, my interest was piqued. I waited for the DJ to i.d. the song. When he said, "that was the lesbian band Two Nice Girls," I shot a nervous glance at my indie-rock boyfriend and seared the information in my brain for future reference.
Flash forward a few years. I was hanging out at a record store when I came across a DIY cassette by "former Two Nice Girls singer," Gretchen Phillips. I surreptitiously shelled out a few bucks for the tape, not knowing that its contents would change my life.
For me, the transformational song was "Swimming," which is also featured on Gretchen's brand new album, I Was Just Comforting Her. "Swimming" converted me from a "heterosexual with homosexual tendencies" (as Ted Haggard would say), to a full-on dyke. It also led me to spend a lot of time at the pool, in the hopes that something like the scenario described in the song might happen to me.
Follow the jump to win a free copy of I Was Just Comforting Her.
On I Was Just Comforting Her, Gretchen proves that she's a prophet of the current cultural moment with songs like "Red State, Blue State," the perfect Obama-era electro-pop paean to hope (available as a free MP3 download). "In Case of Rapture" begins with a stuck-in-traffic-behind-an-evangelical-bumbersticker kind of moment and ends with a rousing chorus of "Why don't we stay here and try to make things work?"--a sentiment that reflects the feeling of responsibility and optimism in the new political landscape.
In honor of the record release, Gretchen is launching a west coast tour and a YouTube channel, which archives many memorable video moments in lesbian cultural history. Two Nice Girls may have been the first out lesbian band to make the college charts, but Gretchen also helped create influential bands like Meat Joy and Girls in the Nose (who played at the 1993 March on Washington). The YouTube material ranges from live performances, to interviews, to videos for the new album, including the poignant video for "Red State/Blue State."
Three randomly selected commenters below can get a free copy of I Was Just Comforting Her, which features percussion by Melissa York of The Butchies and Thor Harris from Shearwater. Each and every copy comes in a package hand-assembled by the artist herself.
Contest closes Saturday at midnight. To win, just leave a comment. Contributors are not eligible to win.