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Bitch and Animal 

With the Decline. Wednesday, June 11, at the Beachland Ballroom.

Though not the first musicians to wield the word "pussy" as a politically charged feminist weapon, Bitch and Animal are perhaps the first and only ones to inject it with playful humor and infectious rhythm. Like a punk-fem They Might Be Giants, the unconventional duo bops through perky odes to anatomically correct self-empowerment, such as "Sparkly Queen Areola" and "Pussy Manifesto."

When the group started out, Bitch, originally from Detroit, and Animal, from Queens, left New York City together for gay-mecca Provincetown, Mass-a-two-tits, as the girls call it. There they waited tables, made music, and eventually made a bold move. "We just hit the road, and for like two years we didn't have an apartment to go home to," says Bitch. In the midst of this all-or-nothing gambit, good fortune came calling in the form of the little folk goddess Ani DiFranco, who offered them tours, a recording deal, and help with their sophomore effort, Eternally Hard.

The couple's performances and the recent release of Hard have generated not only media attention but also enough analysis to fill a women's studies course. "[A]s colorful and animated as two sex-positive Muppets," cheered Natalie Nichols of The L.A. Times. A "poor attempt at in-your-face fem-core," groused Sacramento News & Review writer Keith Lowell Jensen. But don't think a little pussy envy can dampen the spirits of a pair of crusaders,` bent on bringing about what they describe as a genuine "spread-it-yourself revolution born inside the eggs of us all."

"It feels great that so many people were ready for ['Pussy Manifesto']," says Bitch, adding with a laugh, "It gives me hope in humanity."

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