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An interview with rap collective Barf Troop / by Claire Macon

Barf Troop is the female and non-binary rap collective made up of Babeo Baggins, Babenstein, Baberella Fox, Babe Field, Babe Simpson, and Babelien. The young 6-piece group has been self-releasing music on Bandcamp for the past four years, as Barf Troop and independently. "When we create we are letting all of ourselves out with no censor, with no restraint," the group wrote in a collectively-answered email interview. "Just like you do when you barf. Troop because we stick together like the Girl Scouts!"

That kind of filterless approach is fitting for members of Barf Troop, who all met on Tumblr, which is where they continue to connect with fans. The members of Barf Troop live all over the country, recording songs on their laptops, sharing and collaborating by emailing new stuff back and forth. The results are powerful and unapologetic takes on self-love, self-confidence, gender roles, and more. They sing about stuff that's hard to talk about, like the death of a close friend.

Barf Troop's lyrics are honest, clever, and full of truth. Each member speaks in their own unique ways, but together they sound cohesive. This past June, Babe Field's debut album Half Ripe was released on the Barf Troop Bandcamp, an addictive eight-song collection; there are songs tackling the gendered nature of rap and power dynamics, a smart and nuanced take on the realities of SNAP benefits, a song sampling Lana del Rey. On "What You Want" Babe Field takes on male entitlement, singing: "I can keep my standards low enough so you can reach the top and everything you felt like you deserve just for breathing, just for being a man . . . I got these silly fuckin alpha males on their bended knees, they want a weak ass bitch, and that's just not me."

"The most important message I want to convey through my music is that honesty is power," Babe Field says. "The artists who I look up to are artists that are unapologetic when it comes to their truth. It's the only way to create your own lane, and I want to inspire anyone who enjoys our music to make the truth a priority."

Because of how spread out Barf Troop is geographically I emailed with the members to talk about everything from working together when they're far apart to who inspires them.

How did Barf Troop form? You met on Tumblr, right? Where are all of you from? . . .

by Sam Lefebvre

The first photocopy is crude, stark, and charged with the inimitable noise of error and chance. Created by a patent attorney named Chester Carlson in 1938, it depicts the year and "Astoria," his neighborhood in Queens. To commercialize his invention, Carlson partnered with a company called Haloid, which coined "Xerography" for pizzazz and old-world appeal - it's a portmanteau of the Latin terms xeros and grafia, for "dry" and "writing," respectively. The process has been so thoroughly refined and digitized that Carlson wouldn't recognize it, but at least one subcultural contingent has actively cultivated the imperfections of his very first copy for decades: punks. Carlson, a bureaucrat in the halls of intellectual property, unwittingly pioneered punk aesthetics.

Channeling Carlson today has new ramifications.

In the digital age, why make punk zines? The question is teeming with assumptions: that online alternatives are the most compelling reason not to make zines and, more arrogantly, that net devotees are entitled to an explanation. Still, someone from the punk camp retorts, "Tradition."

Punk's cabal of influence is certainly familiar with the internet, but for documentation and expression the genre's proponents cling to a dated print ideal: flyers, zines, record sleeves, and inserts. Even novel items like calendars remain its tokens of fandom. Punks aren't just nostalgic, insofar as nostalgia entails emulating something irretrievably gone, because print and zine-making never lost its subcultural cachet. Rather, belying the emphasis on habit and familiarity is conservatism, or an instinctive embrace of seemingly outmoded technology and convention.

Indeed, attesting to the formal and aesthetic stasis of punk rags is the fact that zine culture, considered broadly, is now decidedly separate. The wares peddled at, say, zine fests, where kitsch and craft reign, include everything but the churlish reportage and fan missives that characterize punk zines. For that reason - and in a nod to Daniel Stewart's venerable Distort publication - this essay herein replaces all mentions of "zine" with "mag."

Beyond the visual consequences of cheap reproduction via photocopy, intentional ignorance of doodads and apps and their prescribed use sometimes affects the linguistic content. In the 33rd issue of Down & Out, a Tasmania-based mag created by Sam Rice, there's an interview with Lumpy of Lumpy & the Dumpers. . . .


by Ramsey Beyer
Getting Involved.
(Without getting on stage!)

by Jaclyn Walsh
Mitski, Meredith, Suzy X, and Imogen Binnie talk gender, authenticity & music at Smith.

by Ali Koehler
Lisa Prank plays a classic.

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