Rising young women rock stars: feminine in the violent sense
September 11, 2018 11:13 AM   Subscribe

Not Another Women in Rock Article: A new generation of rising young women rock stars—including Mitski, Soccer Mommy, Snail Mail, Waxahatchee and Camp Cope—has emerged. And they’re redefining what it means to own the room. "Female" is not a musical genre, it's a strength. Lindsay Zoladz, writing for The Ringer, finds inspiration in a quote from Mitski: "When I say [that my album is a] feminine album, immediately the perception is that it must be soft and lovely, but I mean feminine in the violent sense."

Here's Mitski full description in her interview with Alexandra Pollar for The Guardian:
When I say feminine album, immediately the perception is that it must be soft and lovely, but I mean feminine in the violent sense. Desiring, but not being able to define your desire, wanting power but being powerless and blaming it on yourself, or just hurting yourself as a way to let out the aggression in you. It’s a lot of pent-up anger or desire without a socially acceptable outlet.
Zoladz reflects on her article:
I wondered a thousand times while writing this whether I was doing these artists a disservice by discussing them together. Decades of lazy “Women in Rock” articles have polluted the atmosphere so thoroughly that it seems impossible to talk about more than one female artist together without conjuring images of wind machines gently mussing tresses, leather pants, and god-awful adjectives like (shudder) “kick-ass.” I don’t want to suggest that all of these bands sound alike, or that they are the only exciting female artists making rock music (see also Lucy Dacus, Phoebe Bridgers, Julien Baker, and/or their newly formed supergroup Boygenius for four more examples of many), or that female is ever, under any circumstance, a genre. No, no, and no. But I have noticed a shift happening, and to not even try to talk about it, however imperfect the language, feels like doing it another kind of disservice. After that Camp Cope show, a friend—who also came of age at a time when there were hardly any visible women in bands— and I talked about how much we wished a band like them had existed when we were 14. But I’m glad all these artists are making music when somebody out there is 14. I have a feeling we’ll be feeling the ripple effects of this shift for some time to come.
There's more in the article, but I'll stop here.

Bonus Bandcamp links: Sad13, the solo work of Sadie Dupuis, frontwoman of indie rockers Speedy Ortiz. Georgia Maq of Camp Cope also has some early solo work on Bandcamp.
posted by filthy light thief (44 comments total) 85 users marked this as a favorite
A note on the links: all of the links to musicians and bands go to Bandcamp pages, except for Boygenius, which goes to an NPR article with embedded Spotify tracks and other links to their material.

Previously: Great Grandpa: "anxious bubblegum grunge" from Seattle (another Speedy Ortiz reference); and Women at at punk shows are done with your shit, about Camp Cope spearheading a call to action for bands, venue staff, and concert-goers to stand up against sexual harassment at shows.
posted by filthy light thief at 11:14 AM on September 11 [4 favorites]

love this thank you!
posted by nikaspark at 11:30 AM on September 11 [1 favorite]

(that said the new waxahatchee album...I am scratching my head at that one. Also I am questioning my entire existence because I am apparently the only person I know who can't get into Mitski's music)
posted by nikaspark at 11:31 AM on September 11

The new Mitski album is a glorious thing to behold. <3
posted by Fizz at 11:32 AM on September 11 [2 favorites]

And Julien Baker is my jam. All these songs are on my spotify list, so I'm hyped to read this. Great post!!
posted by Fizz at 11:32 AM on September 11 [1 favorite]

I went to see Neko Case last Sunday, and the opening act was Thao from Thao & the Get Down Stay Down. I had assumed going in that since it was just her, it would be some kind of stripped down acoustic set. It was not.

It was just her and an electric guitar, but the way she played it made you forget that she was alone on stage. Then she did the same thing with an electric mandolin that she had set up to sound like an overdriven electric koto. After that she played a fuzzed out lap steel that she made do things I didn't know you could make a lap steel do (and I've listened to a lot of Junior Brown).

I thought she was really amazing. It has really made me think about my expectations going in. If you get a chance to go see her, I would really recommend taking it.
posted by Quonab at 11:41 AM on September 11 [8 favorites]

Snail Mail’s Pristine is strong contender for earworm of the year.
posted by simra at 11:42 AM on September 11 [1 favorite]

"I mean feminine in the violent sense."

posted by praemunire at 11:59 AM on September 11

Camp Cope is SO GOOD. There’s a lot of great Australian rock right now (them, Alex Lahey, Gang of Youths). Baker, Bridges and Dacus are also all amazing but are definitely a different vibe. (friends know if they see me listening to Baker they should probably check up on me, darkest stuff I’ve heard in years)
posted by curious nu at 12:09 PM on September 11 [4 favorites]

I've been a huge fan of Vancouver's The Courtneys ever since I lost a bet that their album (which my wife and I heard in a bar) was brand-new and not, as I thought, a '90s-era masterpiece I'd somehow missed.
posted by The Card Cheat at 12:14 PM on September 11 [3 favorites]

ctrl + f "Courtney Barnett" = 0 results.

Yo, do yourself a favour and add Courtney Barnett to this list of kickass female rockers. She's legit.
posted by Fizz at 12:16 PM on September 11 [15 favorites]

Yes! Thank you. This is my shit, my area of expertise. If you're interested in these bands, please also check out:

Haley Heyndrickx - literally cannot recommend them enough
Vagabon (previously) - The solo project of cameroonian-American Lætitia Tamko
P.S. Eliot - Twin sisters Alison and Katie Crutchfield of (aforementioned Waxahatchee)
Hop Along
Forth Wanderers
posted by FirstMateKate at 12:21 PM on September 11 [12 favorites]

seconding Snail Mail. it is achingly good...
posted by nikaspark at 12:30 PM on September 11 [1 favorite]

Potty Mouth is my favorite band right now. Maybe a new album soon? About a third of the (short) set was new last time I saw them.
posted by aaronetc at 12:38 PM on September 11 [3 favorites]

If you have Spotify look for the Badass Women playlist . I discovered a lot of these bands from there. Great variety of stuff. Also Speedy Ortiz was great at Hopscotch in Raleigh last weekend . I was in the front row!
posted by freecellwizard at 12:43 PM on September 11 [4 favorites]

This is my shit, my area of expertise.

Mine too, which I guess is weird coming from a middle-aged white English dude. It's just that women have utterly dominated the kinds of music I've been listening to in recent years. A few random noteworthy examples plucked from my playlists, anyway:

Japanese Breakfast
Jay Som
Frankie Cosmos
Pip Blom
Lucy Dacus
Goat Girl
Dream Wife
The Big Moon
Steady Holiday
posted by pipeski at 12:54 PM on September 11 [6 favorites]

nikaspark: Also I am questioning my entire existence because I am apparently the only person I know who can't get into Mitski's music

On a music forum, Yves Tumor's new album (my prior MetaFilter post) was heavily hyped, but a lot of the comments were asking "why the hype? I can't get into it."

I realized one person's hype is another person's meh, and neither should feel bad about it. Like what you like, and let others do the same. Don't submit to pressure to like anything. If you get into something new, enjoy it. If not, try it again in a week, or just move on to find something else, because there's a TON of new music out there every week, and if you can't find anything that scratches your itch, there are decades of recordings (plus centuries of written music) that will eventually be your jam.
posted by filthy light thief at 1:00 PM on September 11 [3 favorites]

Yo, do yourself a favour and add Courtney Barnett to this list of kickass female rockers. She's legit.

The only excuse I can think of for leaving her off is that to indie rock aficionados, she's been a known quantity fot a while already.

I cannot say enough good things about Courtney Barnett. She's got this way of being emphatically herself, such that you feel like know her and like her, almost immediately. She manages to come off as affably plainspoken and sincere and exquisitely well-written and constructed at the same time.

Plus, she can seriously fucking play.
posted by DirtyOldTown at 1:12 PM on September 11 [6 favorites]

You know those Eat This, Not That books your folks probably like? I feel like someone should put together a Listen to This New Thing, Instead of That Old Record for the Umpteenth Time, because a lot of the indie rock sounds from about 20 years ago that aging rock fans like to complain are gone have been picked up and moved onward by women rockers.

There's plenty of good rock n' roll. A person just has to accept that it's probably not going to be coming at them from four straight white guys playing guitar/guitar/bass/drums.
posted by DirtyOldTown at 1:19 PM on September 11 [6 favorites]

Thank you @filthy light thief :-)

pretty much everything else mentioned here (OMF FRANKIE COSMOS I WILL BEAR YOUR CHILDREN) has me squealing with delight on one release or another (Also anyone here fans of "O" used to be "Eskimeaux")

Also La Sera.

Also. Also Also Also...seriously so many women out there making rad as hell music.
posted by nikaspark at 1:23 PM on September 11 [1 favorite]

We got to see Courtney Barnett live at a festival this summer, and she was unfuckingbelievable! I knew I loved those songs, but her guitar-playing is phenomenal.
I love Waxahatchee, and if the new album (the six-song EP) isn't your thing, I'd recommend the previous albums Out in the Storm, Ivy Tripp and Cerulean Salt. Also, Alison Crutchfield's solo album from last year was probably my favorite album of 2017.
Would also suggest Girlpool, and one of my favorites from this year, All Nerve by the Breeders.
posted by cottoncandybeard at 1:32 PM on September 11 [1 favorite]

Love this post!! I saw Camp Cope play a sold out show with Petal and Sidney Gish, it was such a fantastic and affirming experience. Liked Sidney Gish so much I went up to Portsmouth a few weeks later to see her open for Mitski (I'll also admit I can't really get into Mitski). And I'm going to see boygenius in December and can hardly contain myself, I've been listening to the few songs they've released over and over. Hop Along is one of the best bands I've ever seen live.

More recs: Katie Ellen (band fronted by Anika Pyle who I just adore); Tancred; Cayetana; For Everest; awakebutstillinbed; Sincere Engineer
posted by banjo_and_the_pork at 1:44 PM on September 11 [1 favorite]

Also I am questioning my entire existence because I am apparently the only person I know who can't get into Mitski's music

Same, although there is one song on her new album that I liked. But overall it's the same tired, washed-out production style as with Angel Olsen etc. Why does everything sound like that right now? I HATE. IT. It's overly zeitgeisty and the dispassionate vocal style feels forced. And like they just discovered Tammy Wynette and want to replicate that sound, only with the recording mic placed way across the room for that extra apathetic vibe. I'm open to being wrong about this, but I currently hate it.

By contrast, the sincerity and dexterity of Thao, Speedy Ortiz, and the Weather Station (for example) is my favorite thing, just in general.
posted by witchen at 1:50 PM on September 11 [1 favorite]

You think Mitski has a dispassionate and apathetic vocal style?! I could see that argument against Soccer Mommy and Snail Mail, but not Mitski. She doesn't do a lot of yelling, but her vocal delivery is dripping with emotion.
posted by grumpybear69 at 1:57 PM on September 11 [1 favorite]

her vocal delivery is dripping with emotion

I can see where that might be. I mean, I also don't really like St. Vincent, so take my opinion with a massive chunk of salt. It might be that some flavors of emotion/vocal delivery thereof are unappealing, for whatever reason.
posted by witchen at 1:59 PM on September 11

Camp Cope is great and the lyrics to the opener fill me with a wonderful sort of righteous indignation.
posted by PhoBWanKenobi at 2:15 PM on September 11 [2 favorites]

Chastity Belt is a good band.
posted by Tha Contender at 2:26 PM on September 11 [3 favorites]

La Luz and anything else Shana Cleveland has done, like The Curious Mystery
The She's
posted by kewb at 2:46 PM on September 11 [3 favorites]

Guess I'll add my (unmentioned) favorites from this and last year then. :)

Carla Bozulich - [YT] [Spotify]
Hatchie - [YT] [Bandcamp] [Spotify]
春ねむり AKA Haru Nemuri - [YT] [Spotify]
illuminati hotties - [YT] [Bandcamp] [Spotify]
L'Rain [YT] [Bandcamp] [Spotify]
Miya Folick - [YT] [Bandcamp] [Spotify]
Sidney Gish - [YT] [Bandcamp] [Spotify]
The Beths - [YT] [Bandcamp] [Spotify]
U.S. Girls - [YT] [Spotify]

+1 to almost every other artist in this thread! I'll have to check out the ones I am unfamiliar with, asap.

(sigh and I wasn't even done with the classical music thread from two days ago...)
posted by bigendian at 2:47 PM on September 11 [4 favorites]

May I suggest Emma Ruth Rundle, who has a new album coming out this Friday, and is also about to go on tour.
posted by curiousgene at 3:19 PM on September 11 [1 favorite]

I usually save my SoundCloud for Twitter, but since curious nu mentioned Alex Lahey upthread, I’m going to link to I Love You Like a Cover, a song-by-song covers album I did earlier this year. I was inspired by Alex’s straightforward songwriting style and her sense of humor. This past winter I had the worst depression I’d experienced in nine years, and recording this helped me distract myself from that. It doesn’t rock like Alex does, but if you like Marine Girls or Talulah Gosh you might like this as well!
posted by pxe2000 at 6:42 PM on September 11 [4 favorites]

Le Butcherettes are an astonishingly great band and Teri Gender-Bender is a first magnitude Rock Star.
WCPO 2018 (song 1, song 2, song 3)
Alex's Bar, Long Beach 2017 (full show!)
Covering "Rebel Girl" with the Melvins
Amoeba Records 2015 (during the last song, Teri keeps playing, leaves the store and gets on a LA city bus)
posted by quartzcity at 6:48 PM on September 11 [3 favorites]

This is why I love you people.
posted by signal at 3:39 AM on September 12

I’ve seen Le Butcherettes but other than that, I’ve never even heard of any act linked on this page. (Except for Speedy Ortiz, but I’m thinking Love and Rockets, not the band.)

So this is what it feels like to be old and out of touch...
posted by sirshannon at 4:57 AM on September 12 [1 favorite]

Also, has anyone mentioned Hinds? I really like Hinds.
posted by PhoBWanKenobi at 5:07 AM on September 12 [4 favorites]

Yeah hinds is freaking great I saw them a couple of years back live.
posted by nikaspark at 5:41 AM on September 12 [1 favorite]

Looove Hinds! Definitely check out their interview on Sound Opinions, apparently they met because their boyfriends had a band, and they decided to make music together. They didn't imagine much would come out of it, because women didn't play music where they were from. And now they're the frickin' Hinds and screw that band their boyfriends were in.
posted by cottoncandybeard at 5:58 AM on September 12 [1 favorite]

Hinds seems to have more fun playing music than almost anyone.
posted by DirtyOldTown at 6:49 AM on September 12 [2 favorites]

I have nothing to add here except that I'm going to see Liz Phair next week and I am SUPER excited about this.
posted by hanov3r at 8:20 AM on September 12 [2 favorites]

Her vocals aren't for everyone, but Marissa Paternoster of Screaming Females is amazing in so many ways.

Here's Boyfriend, about coming out as a teenager.

While you sit on the bench, I will burn in hell
posted by Gorgik at 9:20 AM on September 12 [4 favorites]

A worthy addition: Land of Talk! - YT playlist
posted by piyushnz at 9:29 AM on September 12 [1 favorite]

This is the best post and so relevant to my interests which are all about this genre of music lately.

The new The Beths album is the best thing I have heard in a long time.
posted by urbanlenny at 1:01 PM on September 12 [1 favorite]

Oh also Bat Fangs. I saw them open for Hop Along a few months ago and they totally wailed.
posted by urbanlenny at 1:12 PM on September 12 [2 favorites]

Couple more faves...

Beaches from Melbourne, Australia - terrific blend of heavy Loop/Spacemen 3 motorik and girl-group harmonies: (all three albums highly recommended: s-t album, She Beats, Second of Spring)

Melenas from Pamplona, Spain
posted by quartzcity at 8:31 AM on September 13 [1 favorite]

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