Does punk and heavy music culture have a problem with women partaking?
Some may argue yes and some may argue no. I know for a fact that the majority are perfectly content for women to get involved, however I cannot help but feeling the general consensus held by women within the heavy music community is that there is a tense friction present.
Being a male myself I have never experienced any gender inequalities first hand so I cannot draw from any personal experiences. I have never had to worry about sexism, gender based violence / hate speech, sexual harassment or gender biases.
I would not feel right in critiquing a women’s perspective because of this; if women within any community adhere to a consensus of gender discrimination being an existing issue, then I do not feel it is our duty as males to question this, rather we must act upon it.
Women within the music industry have fought long and hard for visibility over decades with pivotal cultural movements such as the Riot Grrrl era. This resistance is particularly seen in heavy music culture where frankly it can quite often feel like a sausage fest.
Perceptions that men are simply more fitting in heavy music merely due to the idea that aggression spawns from masculinity is pure bollocks. Time and time again women have consistently established they can dominate heavy music equivalently if not more aggressively and inventively. Moreover right about now you may be thinking to yourself maybe there are are fewer female artists opposed to male artist.
Personally the idea that there “aren’t enough” female bands out there is completely and utterly nonsensical; statements such as these merely avoid the real issue at hand. As a united community we should be encouraging all genders to participate and get actively involved.
I can’t think of a better way to get more females involved than by shinning a light on kick-ass bands with a resilient female presence; not only does it provide support for up-and-coming female artists, it gives young females who may be wanting to start a group of their own some needed inspiration.
So if you happen to be a promoter, manager, in a band or even someone who attends shows on a regular basis, be mindful of this issue and take it upon yourself to push toward greater diversity in your scene.
The punk and metal scenes have been often associated with that of men. We call bullshit on the myth, here are women in punk and metal who dominate.
Let’s get this one out of the way now seeing as, well… it’s an obvious one. Moreover lets be honest if Sleater-Kinney didn’t make this list I’d risk the possibly of rousing an angry mob of intellects in the comment section. Jokes aside Sleater Kinney’s vital impact on the music world throughout the 2000’s has left an indisputable footprint in punk rock and riot grrrl culture, paving the way for waves of future female talent to come.
Furthermore thanks to their proud and outspoken attitudes toward issues including but not limited to feminism, culture, and politics it’s safe to say the group has self-empowered millions of females and males around the world in a fight for a better tomorrow. Needless to say their return from hiatus and bombardment of airways across the world in 2014 was a relief to say the least.
London-Based all girl four piece Savages are in my opinion one of the most exciting bands to hit the scene in recent years. Their Post-Punk vigor has been captured across two excellent full length studio releases, in particular Silence Yourself that easily secured itself as one of the paramount releases of 2013. The group holds a stout reputation of venturing deep into artistic expression through enticingly seductive yet outlandish uncharted musical affairs. Influences including the likes of PJ Harvey, Siouxsie and the Banshees, The Raincoats, plus Public Image Limited can be heard throughout their work, however at the end of the day ‘Savages’ truly hold their own in creating unique textures driven by thrashing percussion, driving bass lines, sniveling guitar lines and of course Jehnny’s dynamic – prevailing vocals.
23. Screaming Females
Hailing from New Brunswick, New Jersey this riveting three-piece have lit a fire under the assess of the Punk Rock community with their ferocious blend of indie qualities along with balls to the wall riffage. It’s safe to say that the characteristics that make the Screaming Females signature sound distinctly identifiable rests in the hands and monstrous howl of front woman Marissa Paternoster. Her sweltering guitar work bears no mercy as it riddles fans across the globe, as a result securing her name in Spin Magazine’s list of ‘100 Greatest Guitarists Of All Time’ landing the snug position of #77. If still unconvinced let Paternoster’s awe-inspiring live presence speak for itself.
22. White Lung
White Lung possess the ability to mesmerize and stun audiences with their enthralling and exhilarating breed of high energy rock n’ roll. In the past six years we’ve witnessed the Canadian punks crawl their way up the ladder of critical acclaim, receiving nominations for ‘Punk/Hardcore Artist/Group of the Year’ at the Canadian Music Week Indie Awards 2011, plus ultimately landing a record deal with Domino Records upon the release of their widely praised 2014 release Deep Fantasy. Front woman Mish Way and her kickass ensemble of Anne-Marie Vassilliou, Kenneth William and latest addition Lindsey Troy (notably notorious from her work in renowned LA blues rock/garage rock group Deap Vally) prove time and time again, White Lung are a force that can not be restrained.
21. Neighborhood Brats
Lead by lively vocalist Jenny Angelillo, Neighborhood Brats are a LA four-piece Punk act, boasting a ferocious sound intended to blast faces and kick start your heart in ways Nikki Sixx never could. Their 2014 release ‘Recovery’ via Deranged Records (a quick heads up, Deranged put out some of the best punk material in the world. Get on that shit) was a frantic experience littered with old school vibes, akin to the likes of Circle Jerks. If you’re a fan of old school punk I can safely vouch that you will be hooked on The Neighborhood Brats from the moment you hit play; just make sure you play it LOUD!
20. Red Red Krovvy
All welcome the first Aussie act to grace this list. Not many bands can claim to have gone through puberty together, however Red Red Krovvy are an exception. Featuring members of Sydney’s Bed Wettin Bad Boys and Pop Singles, the trio from Cairns produce spanking no-bullshit rock n’ roll, coupled with some raw and brittle production. Fronted by the antagonistic Ash Wyatt, the group have made a name for themselves around-and-about the live circuit, for their consistently killer forceful performances. You can catch their material via one of Sydney’s utmost praised indie labels R.I.P Society or likewise Perth’s exceptional Helta Skelta Records.
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19. Rata Negra
Rata Negra are a relatively new group, merely forming in 2014 as a result of Juanita, front woman of Juanita Y Los Feos and Pablo Silva, drummer from Spanish punk group La URSS gathering in Madrid for some experimentation. After some remarkably good results the pair were joined by Juantia Y Los Feos guitarist Fa Feo; uniting as a trio to brew some of the finest melodic punk on offer. The tunes are brief, frantic and catchy as all hell; get on it!
18. Juanita Y Los Feos
Time to take a trip across the world to Madrid, the home of ‘new wave’ punk group Juanita Y Los Feos – directly translating to ‘Juanita and the Ugly’. Lead by Juanita’s heated vocals (who’d of guessed it) the five piece have fashioned an ever-evolving signature style, still managing to keep each album stimulating after what has now been a twelve year streak. Their 2014 release Nueva Numancia is an absolute powerhouse, blending flavors of indie rock, punk, and new wave – each wrapped together in a dark blanket, providing a opaque atmosphere compared to their previous works.
If anyone knows how to create a suffocating concoction of grit, it’s Brooklyn’s noisy all-girl trio ADVAETA. Compiled of guitarists Sara Fantry and Amanda Slane, along with drummer Lani Combier-Kapel, ADVAETA boast mammoth sprawling soundscapes riddled with feedback textures and eroding fuzz grains, reaping havoc on the unwary one fragile mind at a time.
Their noise-rock spirit is akin to the footwork of Shoegazers, along with their inherent ability to create suspense through patience. Furthermore the three-way distribution of vocal roles creates for some nice variation. Their latest 2015 effort Death & The Internet crams influences ranging from the likes of Sonic Youth, Savages, Black Angels, A Place To Bury Strangers, Spaceman 3, plus The Jesus and Mary Chain. ADVAETA rock!
Hailing from Seattle, Washington, Childbirth aren’t as painful on the ears as you’d imagine. Childbirth are an all-girl Alt Rock/Punk Rock trio, comprised of front woman Julia Shapiro, bassist Bree McKenna, and drummer Stacy Peck. Amongst the group there is certainly a fair share of experience distributed throughout having collectively played for various killer Washington bands including, Chastity Belt, Tacocat, and Pony Time… all of which you ought to explore.
I guess this makes them somewhat of a supergroup. Their breed of catchy alternative punk is best described as clever yet impertinent humor blended with a twist of tough feminist, political and cultural themes. Theses qualities are very akin to riot grrrl culture, and the influence is unquestionably there. You can check out their latest and greatest 2015 release titled Women’s Rights via Suicide Squeeze Records.
15. Pleasure Leftists
Moving into Post-Punk territory, Cleveland’s abstract quartet Pleasure Leftists merge moody atmospheres of shimmering guitars and forceful rhythms, with vocalist Haley Morris’ whaling and rather torturous howls. Morris’ vocal performance is often mesmerising and ridden with genuine passion. Moreover Morris is supported by two former members of Cleveland hardcore group 9 Shocks Terror which is enough creating for an epic listening experience. You can find their latest 2015 release The Woods Of Heaven via Deranged Records
Yew! Don’t think for a second I forgot about Aussie acts because there’s plenty more to come. Notably praised for her efforts in Sydney’s garage rock icons The Straight Arrows, Ruined Fortune and Circle Pit; Angie Garrick has most recently been focusing on her dark and promiscuous solo efforts. Her debut LP Turning via Rice is Nice is a superb collection of gritty lo-fi fuzz splattered guitars, and absurdly memorable melodies, often effortlessly articulated by Angie through her badass and habitually blasé attitude.
Sydney trio Bloods have been blazing their wicked garage punk anthems across Australian soil for roughly five years now. Along their journey the trio have established a notably respected reputation for themselves having played alongside noteworthy acts such as Sleater Kinney, Redd Kross, Unknown Mortal Orchestra, Dum Dum Girls, Jeff The Brotherhood and Wavves.
Front woman Marihuzka Cornelius better known as MC, has consistently exhibited time after time her innate ability to captivate audiences with her infectious buoyant charisma and vigorous melodic power. You can find Bloods’ debut LP Work It Out via Tiny Galaxy Records.
12. LA Misma
LA Misma; Spanish for ‘The Same’. Despite what the tag may suggest, LA Misma is truly a breath of fresh air, an all girl punk group, blazing trails of skull crushing fury like no other. Although front woman Nay Vieira-Rosario spits her boisterous vocals in Portuguese LA Misma are well and truly a NYC hardcore act; quickly rising to the top ranks of New York’s exhilarating punk scene.
Their most recent 2015 release Kanizadi via the stupendous UK label LA VIDA ES UN MUS, is deemed by many as one of the most exciting and enjoyable Hardcore releases in recent years. Blast this record through a worthy set of speakers and after twenty minutes you’ll awake to a trashed apartment ridden with filth… simply put, you’ll have a blast.
11. Skinny Girl Diet
One word… Badass. Skinny Girl Diet are a British all-girl Punk trio comprised of sisters Delilah and Ursula Holiday, plus cousin Amelia Cutler. The trio are frequently associated with riot grrrl culture primarily due to their earnest social commentary on feminist and political ideals. Skinny Girl Diet boast an all- pervading concoction of ruthless energy and mesmerising melodic flow. You can find their most recent EP Reclaim Your Life via Fiasco Recordings or their Soundcloud page.
10. Exit Order
Yikes! Exit Order are just one of those bands that aren’t necessarily trying to revolutionise the genre, however holy shit! They most certainly know how to create a ravaging hardcore record, and boy-oh-boy do they do it well. Lead by the exceedingly enticing Anna Cataldo, Boston’s hardcore punk act Exit Order project insanely appetising riffs directly into your skull, specifically designed to barrage ear canals and snap necks.
Coupled with Cataldo’s utterly killer vocal performance, reminiscent to the good old days of Hardcore. Featuring members of Boston’s Green Beret plus Chain Rank, Exit Order are simply a punk powerhouse, seamlessly crafting some of the finest hardcore in existence today.
9. Cold Beat
Front woman Hannah Lew has certainly had her fair share of acclaim in underground music culture over recent years. Originally building hype through San Francisco garage pop act Grass Widow, Hannah Lew is now focusing her energy on Post-Punk group Cold Beat. The quartet craft a lustrous soundscape riddled with textures of lo-fi synthesisers, noisy degrading guitars and Lew’s chilly vocal melodies. Their latest 2015 release Into The Air can be found on Hannah’s own D.I.Y label Crime On The Moon.
8. Destiny 3000
Dirty, noisy, grimy, catchy… yes please. Welcome to the list Sydney’s all girl garage noise pop group Destiny 3000. Time after time these five girls inject a lethal dose of dynamism throughout anything and everything they touch. Their studio records are dark and murky with large visceral wall of sound atmospheres. Not only do they kick ass live, they consistently deliver an unforgiving raw mentality reigning as the Aussie queens of D.I.Y lo-fi waves. Check them out via R.I.P Society.
Vexx are yet another one of the numerous Punk acts coming out of Olympia, Washington. When it comes down to savagery and intensity, Vexx know where it’s at; particularly front woman Mary Jane, a wild soul with a taste for frantic tendencies. The quartet’s debut EP s/t dropped via Mladys Records in 2014, serving up some of the most electrifying punk grooves around. If you’re in the moody for an adrenaline rush boarding the lines of anxiety, give Vexx a well-deserved listen.
6. High Tension
High Tension’s Karina Utomo is hands down of the most exhilarating front women in Aussie punk. Her explosive vocal dynamic acquires the vitality to blow 90% of male and female leads out of the water. Hailing from Melbourne High Tension have been shredding their inexorable breed of noise across the country, sporting their outstanding 2015 release Bully; packed with sludgy riffage and the menacing marriage between Utomo’s vocals and feature guest Matt Young’s vocals from highly praised Melbourne metal act King Parrot. High Tension truly are one of Australia’s most badass groups.
Belgrado are yet another one of the plethora of killer artists to come out of Spain. Lead by Patrycja, Barcelonan group Belrgrado sports an enticing intermingling of Post-Punk sensations and Goth Rock influence. Patrycja is native to Warsaw, Poland; often her vocals are sung in her native tongue.
Their latest 2013 release Siglo XXI is loaded with 80’s English Post-Punk influence along the lines of Killing Joke, and Blood and Roses. The 11 track LP showcases breathtaking gloomy atmospheres, almost as though it was recorded in a cave; moreover the beautifully crystal clear production is the cherry on top.
Hands down, one of the gaudiest, petrifying noise acts out there. RAKTA are an all-female trio from Sāo Paulo Brazil, crafting arguably some of the utmost interesting and distinctive soundscapes today. Borrowing elements from old school post-punk classics, and shoegaze/noise textures, RAKTA shape an irrefutably unique and abrasive atmosphere. Their 2014 LP hit the nail on the head, an in my opinion was an irrefutably perfect piece of art. You can check out this release amongst other RAKTA releases via DAMA DA NOITE DISCOS’ & ‘NADA NADA DISCOS.
Hailing from the streets of Melbourne NUN are one of the most striking Aussie bands heard in a while, blurring the lines between Synth-Pop and gloomy noise-punk. Despite the rather straightforward structure that stays true to the typical punk ethos, NUN produce an extremely expansive and viscerally saturated environment well away from the predictable. Jenny Branagan’s stern vocals seamlessly blend with the sinister instrumentation, fluidly utilising melancholy gothic and post-pop characteristics. You can have a devious geez of their debut album via the awesome AARGHT Records.
2. Melt Banana
Chances are if you’re a fan of wacky experimental noise rock you’ve heard of the infamous Melt Banana. Know for their wildly experimental blend of Noise Rock, high velocity grindcore and somewhat poppy-electronica inspired sound, Tokyo’s Melt Banana have developed into a sort of cult classic over the years.
Yasuko Onuki’s vocals are arguably the quirkiest and most ear piercing in rock today; not only are her vocals gushing with raw intensity, they are incredibly ear grabbing. With now a myriad of releases under their belt Melt Banana still remain unpredictable in their experimentation, always finding ways of keeping listeners on their toes.
G.L.O.S.S are valiantly unapologetic raw hardcore punk group out of Olympia, Washington. G.L.O.S.S being an acronym for ‘Girls Living Outside Society’s Shit’ strive on giving a much needed voice not only to females, however more perhaps importantly the homosexual and transgender community. The group openly and proudly sports their homosexual/transgender spirit both on and off stage.
Their 2015 demo was easily one of the most pummeling records of the year, littered with an unmatched bombardment of energy along with integral relevant political and cultural meaning. In the larger picture G.L.O.S.S are many ways one of the most important punk bands to emerge into the limelight in recent years, arising in a time where we are slowly beginning to break down societal stigmas, they are yet another vital voice fighting for change. You can find G.L.O.S.S releases via Total Negativity and Nervous Nelly Records.
Cover photo Matt Warrell.