Dedicated fans of Shiragirl know: she’s always going to speak her mind, and she’s always going to act on behalf of the things she believes in. Nobody told Shiragirl to show up at the Warped Tour in the early ’00s and create a makeshift stage for female punk performers — but she saw a woeful lack of representation and decided to do something about it. Tour organizer Kevin Lyman noticed, acknowledged that Shiragirl was right, and allowed her to host an official stage. Over 200 female-fronted acts would play the Shiragirl Stage – including Joan Jett, Paramore (on their first tour ever), and Justina Valentine (current MTV star on Wild N’ Out and other shows) – and it’s become an essential part of the history of the Tour.
Shiragirl’s advocacy didn’t stop there. She’s raised money for girls’ charities, shot a live video at the Women’s March, and pushed hard and effectively for gender equality throughout the music industry. Lately, she’s been looking hard at the digital dystopia we’ve created and asking whether the world we’ve made with our phones and computers is optimal or even sustainable. “Antisocial Media,” her latest single, picks up and extends the critique she began on the trenchant Andi Underground (produced by Tim Armstrong of Rancid). That six-song concept EP followed a rebel against techno-conformity who, in her irrepressible energy and determination to defy an oppressive system, resembles Shiragirl more than a little. “Antisocial Media” has the same punk rock energy and pop immediacy that made the Andi Underground EP such a delight. Expect big beats and buzzsaw guitars, a catchy melody, an irresistible riff, and pointed lyrics about pointless online activities. As always, Shiragirl is irreverent, funny, smart, and swaggering, and impossible not to root for.
Heather Ballish puts the star’s personality front and center in the colorful video for “Antisocial Media.” Shiragirl leads her all female band with the sort of ferocity characteristic of a Warped Tour cornerstone: the whole group is wonderfully abrasive, fiercely kinetic, and totally committed to the message. They approach the camera with the confidence of seasoned stage veterans and the enthusiasm of kids with a story they’re burning to tell. Ballish also captures Shiragirl and her bandmates in rooms too tight for them to inhabit comfortably: some rainbow-striped, some covered in newsprint and decorated with dangling chains and staticky television monitors, and some that resemble the cells of an insane asylum. It’s a striking visual metaphor for the technology that has held us all captive — the digital walls that we’ve created and which we could tear down, if only we had the guts to break free.