As a blogger, I’m involved in an industry built on and dominated by inspiring, independent and successful young women, and that is honestly so exciting to me. The phenomenal things that some of my friends are achieving literally make my heart swell. By stark contrast, the increased level of outrage at the recent announcement of Reading and Leeds Festival’s almost exclusively male line-up (and then the following slow realisation that it isn’t just R&L – Download features nine bands including women and Slam Dunk has just one act with a female member) has reminded me just how bleak the gender (as well as race, sexual orientation and identity) equality situation is in other scenes which I consider myself a part of.
In some respects I’m conflicted about even making this post because the gender of band members really shouldn’t be a thing of note, and certainly not a defining factor of that band, but at the same time it’s important to recognise the women who manage to go against the generally sexist grain of the music industry as a whole. If we talk about girl bands more, the hope is that more girls will feel inspired and confident enough to start new girl bands (I certainly wish I had this sort of confidence in myself), and there will be less and less of an excuse for the sort of abysmally uneven gender balance on festival line-ups of today. Sidebar: for an interesting read on sexism and the music industry (and more importantly what to do and what is already being done about it) I’d recommend this Noisey article. I’m also going to see Kim Gordon (Sonic Youth) talk about her new book Girl In A Band this week which I’m very excited about, and I’m curious as to whether she’ll provide me with a new angle on women in music – I’ll probably be tweeting about it @hannahlouisef.
In the meantime, I thought it fitting to share some appreciation for my favourite all-girl or girl-fronted current band from a variety of genres. Happy listening – let me know if you’re into any of these bands, or have found something new!
Blah Blah Blah
This girl-fronted band is actually on the Reading and Leeds lineup, hurrah! Perfect indie pop that makes me think of summer whenever I listen to their self titled LP, no matter what the weather is like outside. I was lucky enough to watch Alvvays (pronounced like ‘always’) play at Manchester’s Deaf Institute earlier this year; they were record-perfect and I smiled the whole way through.
Marry Me, Archie
This is one FFO hardcore/punk. If you haven’t already heard of G.L.O.S.S (Girls Living Outside Society’s Shit), they are a fairly new band from Olympia, Washington made up of trans-women/femmes/queers who are sick of punk catering exclusively to white boys. ‘I DON’T REMEMBER INVITING YOUR WORDS / I DON’T REMEMBER INVITING YOUR GAZE / I’D NEVER ASK YOUR OPINION OF SHIT! / MY BODY / MY RULES / GET ON WITH IT’ – from Targets Of Men. They have channeled anger and intelligence into a powerful and cutting demo which has kicked up quite the storm; I don’t think I’ve seen it posted online anywhere without the tagline ‘best demo of the year so far’. In the context of this post, it’s very cool to see something made by trans* women being widely embraced in hardcore and punk across both the US and the UK (and probably elsewhere too) – I hope this sets a precedent.
…actually just listen to the whole thing
Artefact is a very new girl-fronted band from South Wales. They just put out a demo via Bandcamp featuring seven(!) brooding goth-y, post-punk-y songs, which make me want to wear black dresses with bell sleeves and dance around a bit, and I am so into Hannah’s Siouxsie Sioux esque vocals. You can listen to and download the demo for free or with a donation on their Bandcamp.
This Scottish scuzzy indie pop duo is going from strength to strength at the moment. Their 2014 self-titled full length (listen to and download on their Bandcamp) is really great – even when shouting ‘I will hate you forever! Scum bag sleaze! Slime-ball grease!’ on Super Rat they’re still sweet without being too sickly, and just really very nice to listen to. I’m particularly obsessed with the extremely Scottish pronunciation of ‘another fucking bruise, this one looks just like a rose’ in closing track Braid Burn Valley. I imagine the record would make the perfect soundtrack to a warm summer drive down roads lined by corn fields. I hope to catch Honeyblood at Dot To Dot festival in Manchester later this year.
Last but not least is Canadian synth-pop / ‘future-pop’ female/male duo Purity Ring. If you haven’t heard of Purity Ring before you might actually be a little more familiar with them than you think; their song Fineshrine from first LP ‘Shrines’ was used in a Very TV ad, prompting a barrage of ‘very tv ad music’ google searches. That album is quite perfect in my opinion, but they have very recently put out another full length ‘Another Eternity’. I haven’t had enough time to fully digest and figure out what I think of it yet – I love the dreamier songs like Push Pull and sleepy closing track Stillness in Woe but think that the more upbeat like Flood on the Floor (which I imagine would be phenomenal to watch live) are actually more interesting. On early impressions I think I prefer Shrines but that is neither here nor there; you should still listen to this band!
Flood on the Floor
I could go on and on, but if you want more check out A Sunny Day In Glasgow, Adventures, Tropic of Cancer, Grimes, Petal, Warpaint, VUM, Haim, Waxahatchee and to backtrack a little everything on this useful riot grrrl list, and watch The Punk Singer.