What a time to be alive! Female-fronted and all-female bands are tearing up the rock music world right now and I’m excited about it. In her book Girl in a Band, Kim Gordon says “In general … women aren’t allowed to be kick-ass … At the end of the day, women are expected to hold up the world, not annihilate it.” In so many ways she is right in her observation. Girls in rock music, for some reason, don’t receive as much positive attention as female musicians in other genres. If I hear another person comment on how there “aren’t really a lot of girl rock stars anymore” I may lose it. There are copious amounts of female musicians out there ready to rock your face off who just aren’t getting the proper recognition – probably because they aren’t singing songs like “Dear Future Husband”.
A few years back, a popular online and print publication published a story on their website called “The 25 Hottest Girls in Rock Music”. The piece didn’t talk about the music these women were creating; the sole focus was on how attractive they are to look at. When the article goes on to say “[…] but it’s also nice to hit a concert or a watch a music video that has some eye candy”, I thought I might vomit. It’s old news in saying that when female rock musicians are talked about it’s seldom in pure reference to their craft. It’s important that the world celebrate the females who are not only holding it up but also annihilate with their rock. I’m prepared to share a slew of female fronted bands and all girl bands that are kicking so much ass, you need to be listening to them right now.
01. Aldious (Osaka, Japan | Heavy Metal / Power Metal / Hard Rock)
– Upon looking at them, the gown-wearing enforcers of “kawaii”, Aldious, are not a obvious metalheads. It’s not until hearing their regular supply of rapid-fire drumming, and sharp guitar that you start to realize their hard rock virtuoso. The group of five from Tokyo rock hard from beginning to end encompassed in heavy melodics. The world of Japanese Metal is an interesting and vast one, but Aldious has seemed to have found their footing within it. Their unique style – sometimes sounding like something that would accompany a Sega game soundtrack – is ever intense!
02. La Luz (Seattle, WA | Surf Rock / Surf Music / Doo Wop)
– Seattle’s surf rocking girls, La Luz, are in a league of their own. The group, made up of four highly-proficient ladies, is the kind of unique band that pulls inspiration from unlikely places and don’t care if you catch the reference. Their most recent record, Weirdo Shrine, was inspired by Charles Burns’ graphic novel ‘Black Hole’ (a peculiar, interesting read). Rather than layering their “ooohs and aaahs” over archetypal surf music, their harmonies are lent to creepier themes. If modern day Grace Slick is what you hanker for, La Luz is the answer. They offer a kind of eeriness within profound beauty that the rock world has craved since Jefferson Airplane.
03. Courtney Barnett (Montréal, Québec | Rock / Alternative / Grunge / Indie)
– From Australia, Courtney Barnett is a grunge story-teller who is alarmingly self-aware. She throws her angst around making it easy for any listener to suddenly feel more than just OK. Her self-deprecation translates lovingly on her witty, most recent album Sometimes I Sit and Think, Sometimes I Just Sit. Like a deadpan comedian Courtney delivers her stories seemingly with ease amidst never-quitting ’90s riffs and exhausting drumming from her backing band.
04. Pale Lips (Montréal, Québec | Bubblegum Punk / Power Pop / Rock n’ Roll)
– Self-described as “drippy mascara, slopped rock n’ roll with sprinkles”, Pale Lips owns the title of coolest chicks entering the punk game. There is so much to love about this group its overwhelming! (1) They come from Canada’s – in my opinion – coolest city, Montreal, land of free artistic expression. (2) Their music is girl power punk that is liberal with ’50s rock guitar, a la Chuck Berry. (3) Their most recent album release, a 3 song long EP, is high-energy where the girls of Pale Lips are either singing about candy or dreaming of “killing you”. In March of this year they released their first music video for “(You Make Me) Wanna Be Bad”, a high voltage track that’ll make you forget what year it is while you pogo along with it.
05. Sleater-Kinney (Portland, OR | Rock / Punk / Indie)
– If you are a fan of punk music and you don’t already listen to Sleater-Kinney, either you’ve been music-less in Antarctica for the past two years, or you hate good punk. Those are the only two options. Sleater-Kinney originated in Olympia, Washington eliminating the surprise of where they developed those riot grrrl roots. After a nine year hiatus they returned last year with their noisy No Cities to Love. The album proves that the girls of Sleater-Kinney still deserve the title of reigning Queens of punk, but what’s great about this return is that they play as if this is their first album, hungry to make it. Melding alt-rock and hard rock and of course hardcore punk, Sleater-Kinney slays over and over again on No Cities. There is no slowing down, only rocking harder.
*Be sure to also check out:
– Women of Rock: 5 Female Groups You Need to Hear Right Now! (Part 2)