Music Music reviews Women in Music

On my stereo this week: The new Bethlehem Steel track ‘Govt Cheese’.

Last weekend I didn’t have the time to properly immerse myself in New York band Bethlehem Steel’s new self-titled album. So this week I’ve pulled out all the stops and had it playing at home, in my car and at work, as if I’m on some unstoppable mission to prove my undeniable loyalty to the band. 

For the record, Bethlehem Steel a few years ago was made up of the close-knit trio of frontwoman Rebecca Ryskalczyk, bassist Patrick Ronayne, and drummer Jon Gernhart. More recently singer/guitarist Christina Puerto joined the band after an invitation from Ryskalcsyk, when a close bond between them formed while touring their debut album. Importantly, Puetro’s own songwriting chops complimented and gave Ryskalcyzk the strength and support she needed, arguably helping lighten the burden of being the primary songwriter.

Anyway, let’s get back on topic and check out one of the songs that has grabbed my attention this week. But before I introduce Govt Cheese written by Rebecca Ryskalczyk, it’s important to note that at the heart of the new album, a lot of the same issues that popped up on the last record are interestingly still front and centre. That said, in Ryskalczyk’s America, you’ll find a lot of men out there that are still assholes (not all of them of course) who continually exclude women from power, demean their achievements and even their self-worth. So while much of the album might come across uncomfortable lyrically speaking, Ryskalczyk’s isn’t at all apologetic about it. And honestly, why should she apologies for it!? In short, what Rykalczyk’s has to say is food for thought in our trying and politically charged world.

Govt Cheese is a song that takes a look back at some of the toxic and abusive relationships that Ryskalczyk’s has had to endure with men. Ryskalczyk points to in particular how “A lot of them made me smaller and were holding me back from becoming a stronger woman. Sometimes you can still feel like you’re emotionally held hostage by them while trying to find a way to be there but at a distance.”

Ryskalczyk also recently added in relation to being held back that “In letting some of that go I could grow as a person and find more strength in myself.”

Check out the self-directed music video here below which finds Rhyskalczyk and Puetro play dual dancers. The significance of the dual dancers according to Ryskalczyk is suppose to highlight ‘the importance healthy friendships and a solid support system if you’re lucky enough to find that.”

Robert Horvat is a Melbourne based blogger. He believes that the world is round and that art is one of our most important treasures. He has seen far too many classic films and believes coffee runs through his veins. As a student of history, he favours ancient and medieval history. Music pretty much rules his life and inspires his moods. Favourite artists include The Beatles, Pearl Jam, Garbage and Lana Del Rey.

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