There is a saying that has been making the rounds in the recent past (thanks to Rebel Soul Collective and this picture): “Strong women intimidate boys and excite men.” It’s unfortunate that this expression only just sprung up because it so accurately represents so many facets of life, especially music. Growing up, it seemed everyone could access and enjoy male-fronted groups, but anything with female vocals was meant for girls, or was essentially considered a novelty…and while it was great to see girls had someone to relate to, someone who could sing about their experiences, those artists were few and far between, especially if they sang about anything besides boys/men and cliché young love/heartbreak. While there have been female rock artists/bands who have broken through the barrier early on and occasionally over time, like Tina Turner, Janis Joplin and Hole, it feels like the scales have only more recently started to balance.
Whether it’s all-female groups, or a woman who has the helm with vocals/guitar, I’ve compiled a playlist of some of my modern favorites (8 bands, 2 tracks apiece). These are songs that put numerous other artists to shame, from the raw, lo-fi garage shit, that gets you thrashing around the room, to the masterfully-produced pop rock that gets you dancing in your seat. And if you want a live show that’ll imprint itself in your memory, I can personally attest to three of these groups doing it perfectly: Joy Formidable (x2…fuckin-a they can dominate a stage), Dum Dum Girls, and Daddy Issues. Ume is firmly at the top of my bucket list at this point, and I hope/plan to catch the other four bands on any upcoming tours.