With her latest album, Stunning, Hex Poseur is taking a serious look at one of the most disappointing parts of Hollywood and the pursuit of fame and notoriety. Released on June 16th via Manic Kat Records, the album is a dark, provocative look into how young women are treated within Hollywood and the troubling concept of celebrity worship. The album title is a pun, referring to the enormously high beauty standard women are held to and how sheep are slaughtered at a slaughterhouse. In essence, young women are being given the indication that they will be living out their dreams, seizing on their every wish, when in actuality, they are essentially being led to the slaughter, cast aside in favour of a younger or more attractive woman.

Stunning is the follow-up to the Leicester, UK native’s 2022 EP Hearsay, a disappointed commentary on modern-day politics and society inspired by the 1990s Riot Grrrl movement. (We debuted a video from that album here.) As a piece of music, Stunning is inspired by sludgy stoner metal with elaborate arrangements and heavy intonations. Hard-hitting in so many ways, it’s a real evolution, both sonically and thematically, showing great maturity for an artist who is still very young. There is a real garage rock element to her music, harkening back to the classic English era of the genre.

Today, we are pleased to be joined by the fabulous Hex Poseur for our latest Women of Rock in which she joins us to share with us her top five female artists who have helped shape her into the progressive, self-aware artist that she is.

“It’s very difficult to pick just five women that inspire me as there are so many amazing women in music. But I have narrowed it down to the artists I feel have had the biggest influence on me as an artist.”

1. PJ Harvey

“Anyone who knows me, knows I talk about PJ Harvey a lot, but that is for a good reason; she probably has had the largest impact on my artistic identity than any other artist has. I had always struggled to fit in in a band scenario, as I have always preferred to write music on my own, but I didn’t want to be another acoustic singer-songwriter. I remember being shown a video of her V Festival performance of ‘Dress’ at university and I was stunned. I was surprised I had made it 18 years without coming across her before, I don’t think I’ve ever seen an artist before or since that I have so instantly connected with and understood. She was so raw and powerful, the performance was so stripped back, she didn’t need a huge band behind her. It was harsh and grungy, but also clever and musical.

“She writes music which is confrontational, discussing uncomfortable topics and she doesn’t censor herself in order to gain popularity; she is totally authentic. There are a lot of women in music who are very polished and glamorous, there’s nothing wrong with this, I just never felt I related to it and often struggled to find artists who are more like me, androgynous and with a less conventional vocal style.

“Harvey clearly wasn’t just a pretty frontwoman; she was truly an artist, and the music was coming from her. This is what led me to set myself up as an artist and what convinced me that I could write by myself and have a band support my music. If I hadn’t discovered her music, I don’t think Hex Poseur would exist, at least not in the same way.”

2. Alison Mosshart

“I first discovered Alison Mosshart through her band with Jack White, The Dead Weather. I remember watching the music video for ‘Treat Me Like Your Mother’ at the age of 14 and thinking she was pretty much the coolest woman I’d ever seen. She had so much style and attitude that I had rarely come across before. I was used to seeing female artists who were either soft and pretty, or glamorous and sexy, but Mosshart was totally different. She was androgynous and just a badass, she has this very don’t-give-a-fuck attitude and is effortlessly cool. She’s artistic and unkempt and has this deep, husky voice which massively appealed to me.

“I got really into her band, The Kills, who have a very DIY, minimalist sound and who fuelled my love for garage rock even more. She also played instruments, which might sound silly, but I rarely came across women in music who played instruments and didn’t just stand and sing while men played instruments behind her. As a young teenager, she embodied everything I wanted to be.”

Hex Poseur ‘Stunning’ album artwork
Hex Poseur ‘Stunning’ album artwork

3. Poly Styrene

“This is one that had to be included if not just for the fact that she is the inspiration behind my name (‘I am a Poseur’ by Xray Spex), but also for the fact that she is an icon in the original punk scene.

“I listened to Xray Spex as a child and always adored Poly’s unique voice and energy-fuelled, manic performance. She is the embodiment of punk authenticity, and you can hear it in her performance, she is screaming her lungs out with fury. I particularly love her little voice cracks throughout the songs, they are a reminder of how young she was at the beginning of her career. She was just a teenager, a teenager filled with rage and excitement and the punk movement was the perfect outlet for her to express herself. She created revolutionary tracks like ‘Oh Bondage Up Yours!’ and ‘I am a Cliché,’ setting the stage for so many Riot Grrrls in years to come.

“In a music scene dominated by white men Poly was a shining star, a teenager and woman of colour from a very modest background, she perfectly illustrated how powerful and subversive punk music could be. She has inspired so many other artists and continues to influence women today.”

4. Siouxsie Sioux

“The Queen of Goth herself, Siouxsie is such an icon it’s difficult to know where to start. As a lover of goth fashion, I was instantly drawn to her over-the-top and abstract makeup. She didn’t use makeup to be pretty, but used it as part of her performance, and now her style has inspired generations of young goths. If I was better at makeup, I would look like her every day.

“But my favourite thing about Siouxsie is her musical style. In particular, Siouxsie and the Banshee’s first album, The Scream has largely influenced my sound. The album is perfectly insane, tribal like drums and discordant guitars under Siouxsie’s totally unhinged vocal performance create an incredible and unique sound. They showed how punk music was being taken to more experimental places and shifting into the post-punk era. Her vocal style is one of my favourites of any women in the rock scene, it is powerful, but rough around the edges and very unusual.

“One of my favourite covers to perform is the Banshees’ version of The Beatles’ ‘Helter Skelter.’ It’s such an intensely fun song to play and a completely transformed version of the original, showing real creativity and intelligence in their writing. Siouxsie’s legacy, I’m sure, will continue for many years to come, both in her visual style and her art.”

5. Taylor Momsen

“A slightly different choice than the others, but I felt I couldn’t leave her out. Like a lot of queer alternative teenage girls, I was totally obsessed with Taylor from the age of 14 and her band The Pretty Reckless, who were the first rock band I went to see live.

“The band have a great hard rock sound and Taylor’s voice adds something really unique. It is grungy and sultry and not overly polished or produced. She can scream and belt as well as sing softly and gently when she needs to. Out of all the artists I listen to, she has one of the technically strongest voices, which really makes the band special.

“In her early days, she was a cool goth teenager and an icon for many young girls who felt a little different or wanted to go against the grain. But as the band have progressed, her lyrics have become very powerful, and I’ve found myself relating to them a lot, especially in songs like ‘The Devil’s Back’ where she details the difficult transition from being a teenager into becoming a woman.

“I have also always admired the way she owns her sexuality in the face of criticism, it is a large part of her image, but she does it in a way which is so in-your-face it’s almost confrontational. She also seems to annoy angry old metalhead guys, which of course makes me like her even more.”

Author

Born in 2003, V13 was a socio-political website that, in 2005, morphed into PureGrainAudio and spent 15 years developing into one of Canada's (and the world’s) leading music sites. On the eve of the site’s 15th anniversary, a full re-launch and rebrand takes us back to our roots and opens the door to a full suite of Music, Film, TV, and Cultural content.