Hi, I'm Clara. I'm a music critic, and on Sunday 12th June, I tore my eardrum.


It's funny, writing about music. My friend Karren is fond of the phrase, "writing about music is like trying to dance about architecture." I've never watched a good piece of interpretive dance about architecture, but I bet one exists, and I bet the moment between two architects when they catch each others eyes watching it is really something.

Yesterday morning, I read an article in The 405 by Samantha O'Connor about the rapper YG. She described his new music as being "strengthened by abrasive snare and springy bass lines." Springy bass lines - what a phrase to discover. It unlocked something for me. If bass lines can be springy - and of course they can, I knew just what Sam meant - what are they when they aren't springy? What are bass lines that don't tauten a song but loosen and deepen it like? What's the word for when an instrument often thought to be there for structure rather than sound quality doesn't clarify, but occludes?

Yesterday afternoon, my friend Will came round and dropped off a copy of Carrie Brownstein's Hunger Makes Me a Modern Girl for me to borrow. At first I thought that the band I would want for that evening as I read was Sleater Kinney, then I changed my mind. I decided that it would be unfair to cloud out Carrie's writing voice now by listening to her singing voice 20 years ago. Cruel almost, like when friends post screenshots to your Facebook wall of now stilted MSN messages you wrote years ago when different emojis were funny. I wanted to make a space for Carrie to come into my life and exist as she was when she wrote Hunger Makes Me. Morally, I smugly thought, if I could listen to music that day I would go instead for a different Riot Grrrl band. Bikini Kill were what I started wanting for, Bikini Kill playing 'Feels Blind'.

Having given it some thought, I would characterise Bikini Kill's sound as 'abrasive snare and spongy bass lines'. Each bass note is porous, managing to seem both time-consuming and clipped - long but still cut short. The bass lines in these songs don't bounce you along into the next part of the song, they motion downwards to all the things that haven't been said. It makes sense now why listening to Bikini Kill has always made me think of my brother, even though he is a Bob Marley man through and through who looks pained if I try and play anything with vague grunge credentials to him. It's an imagery connection. My brother is a gardener, and I've often gone to watch him work, pulling small cactii out of pots and revealing startlingly long masses of curling tendrils.

"How does it feel? - it feels blind" is the chorus played over spongy bass lines on my song of the day. I thought again of Sam's article. Trying to write about music really is like trying to dance about architecture; really something when you manage it.