9 Femme Fatales in rock that are killing it right now

Rock band. There is so much that is synonymous with that word. Guitars. Stage dives. Circle pits. Cramped tour vans. Lead singers going solo. Eventual cash-grabbing reunion tours. Dudes. It’s funny, when you think about a band you automatically think of three to five sweaty guys with some poorly thought out tattoos. Not the case kids, there are many great female rockers out there. If you’re not sure where you should be looking then start with these nine artists below!

Courtney Femme Fatale

Let’s not use the term girl power lightly. Here are 9 female-fronted rock bands that really know how to get loose and sweaty with a guitar.

Ex Hex

Just like in The Ocarina of Time, this is a three-piece like a triforce you’ve been looking. If you’re looking for an all-female rock trio that is. I wrote about Ex Hex a while ago, and they’re a good choice to get us started. Watch out for the hairspray, vibrant pantyhose and glam rock; fronted by old-timer Mary Timony, Ex Hex are trying to bring the ‘80s back, screaming and crying, etc & so on.

Hailing from Washington D.C., the girls pump out some fun, Eagles 0f Death Metal-esque garage rock, with their years of experience not only providing some ripper lyrical themes, but also pretty tight songwriting. Also their debut album Rips received some rave reviews from most corners.

Le Butcherettes

Yet another project linked to Mars Volta’s Omar Rodriguez-Lopez (currently of Antemasque), who is god-like in his omnipresence, rock outfit Le Butcherettes is and always has been the fiefdom of Mexican-American Teri Gender Bender.

Gender Bender – let’s just call her TGB to save on time – fronts the band with a snarling vivaciousness that made her and her band fit in quite well at the just-passed Soundwave. I should know; I saw Le Butcherettes play live for only the last 20 minutes of their set, and am now deep in regret that I didn’t see more. TGB – who was born in Denver, moving to Mexico when she was a teenager, before returning to LA in adulthood – and her band thrash out a very sweaty Californian style of garage rock that at first seems incredibly simple but quickly grows on you due to the catchy and latching no-frills riffs.

St Vincent

St Vincent – aka Annie Clark – ripped up the hipster world last year with her fifth album, St. Vincent (it seriously should be a punishable offense to self-title any album that isn’t your debut, by the way). For many, St. Vincent was the best album of 2014. If that doesn’t sell her to you, I don’t know what will.

The art-rocking and show-stopping American virtuoso guitarist one-piece has also recently been on our shores, showing her face at HipsterStock (I think it’s called Laneway Festival) earlier this year, where she headlined. With her ability to throw influences around like potatoes, pull out amazing technical guitar parts out at any moment, slice through a wide range of social issues with sharp word-smithing and to shapeshift in the manner of Lady Gaga (but without the crap music) St. Vincent is an shining beacon of art and indie music.

Courtney Barnett

Indie singer/songwriter Courtney Barnett is the anthropomorphic distilled essence of every inner-city high school English teacher’s hopes and dreams as they beg the eternal didactic question: “How do I reach these kids?” This Shakespearean rambler has caught audiences around this country with her very Australian wandering poetry, even if one of her songs is about struggling whilst doing the gardening.

Barnett released her debut album only just this year, and things are looking vertical for the closest thing Australia’s got to Bob Dylan (Peter Garrett comes a close second). So vertical in fact, that’s she going to make an appearance at iconic American festival South by Southwest (or SXSW) later this year.

Dark Fair

These two lasses – one on gee-tar, one on dee-rums – come to us from Melbourne via Brisvegas. Dark Fair are slowly getting some steam under their belt, to use a mixed metaphor. As to their style of play, it’s something in between indie and garage rock, glued together with some dissonant riffs.


Sort of like a necklace, Pearls hangs around sort of close to your ears and sort of gets into your head, if you know what I mean. If the band’s name doesn’t ring any bells, unless you’ve been living under some lemon-shaped rock, you’ll probably recognise this band’s big hit, Big Shot. Some may not be a fan of this rabid shoegaze and dream-pop trend, but this band may have you reconsider. Seriously, the below song is a contender for the 2015 Hottest 100 title. Anyway, it’s not about me. It’s about the song, listen to the song.

Pitt the Elder

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This list needed more bands named after long-dead British Prime Ministers, and by gum, it’s got it. Pitt the Elder is a post-punk band, fronted by Em, from Melbourne’s “pumping” post-punk scene that deliver a nice little smack of pace and snaking riffs with a nice cucumber crispness. They’re very shortly about the release their first record, At the End of the Day, on 20 March. In the meantime, hit yourself up with this select tune.

Julia Why?

Presumably this band was eavesdropping on Kevin Rudd when they arrived at this name. Julia Why?, a trio of female frontwoman and two supporting blokes from Sydney describes themselves as “clit rock” which doesn’t really do much to describe how they sound. Simply, they’re between the straight-up garage rock of Dark Fair and the dreamier and bubblier parts of Pearls. Soon enough, they’ll have an album out, so if you like what you hear below, get ready for that rumble.

Ecca Vandal

If The Prodigy and Gwen Stefani came together, this is what you’d get. Ecca Vandal is yet another sheila from Melbourne rocking her way onto this list, which probably gives another ‘Capitol of’ title to Melbournians , who fall will over themselves to claim. Ecca Vandal has managed to sew electronica, punk, grunge and pop into a very workable sound (hence the comparisons with The Prodigy) and displays a very strong punk attitude in her work. Her interesting background (Sri Lankan via South Africa) also intrigues, and actually probably has resulted in this boundary-pushing product.