Allison Duggan, Label Manager, September 2nd, 2016
When did we decide that rock was dead? Ann and Nancy Wilson are still rocking it, proving that their music is still chill-giving at the 2012 Kennedy Center Honors. Melissa Etheridge is making noise still, proving that rock and soul are in the same roots. Women have always made a mark in music, whether it be pop, rock, or R&B. In a world that is fascinated and focused on pop music, it is time to give these rock goddesses an ear to listen to. Women are still making a huge impact on rock music, and these ten artists are not only shredding, but belting, performing, and writing their feelings away as much as their predecessors.
10.Lindsey Troy and Julie Edwards-Deep Valley
A small duo with a whole ‘lotta sound! Lindsey Troy and Julie Edwards tear it up with an 80s metal style band Deep Valley, which exploits femininity in the most masculine of ways. In a review of their album Sistrionix, Caitlin White describes their sound as “…a sound and style that’s been generally tagged as “masculine” — mostly just because a good proportion of women choose not to make this kind of music……[they] receive comparisons to Jack White and Led Zeppelin on a regular basis. Perhaps the patriarchy is at fault for forgetting their more obvious predecessor though, the Wilson sisters of Heart.” (Caitlin White, Consequence of Sound, October 2013). Their sophomore album, “Femejism” is set to release September 16th!
9. Theresa Jeane-The Nearly Deads
The Nearly Deads are a powerful rock-anthem group led by the talented Theresa Jeane. Her voice sticks out more towards the Amy Lee category- versitile and a wide range that brings energy her performance. “Mixing the powerful pop vocals of singer Theresa Jeane with the aggressive grunge-inspired instrumentals of Steve Tobi, Javier Garza Jr., Josh Perrone, and Kevin Koelsch, The Nearly Deads have managed to create a truly unique genre that not only gives a nod to gritty grunge, but brings it back in a way never heard before.” (BIO). The Nearly Deads give rock a pop kick, without stepping too far into the indie-pop sound. Jeane has a voice to reckon with, and gives rock that pop essence that pop fans will scream to.
8. Elle King
A Rob Schneider spawn Elle King made big moves in 2015 with her killer hit single “Ex’s and Oh’s”. This sexual rock anthem brought forth a sound that was blues-ish, with that minor sound that brings men and women to their knees for her “oh’s”. One of my favorites from her album Love Stuff, “Where the Devil Don’t Go” has a White Stripe feel with that Memphis sound that us blues lovers like to tap our feet to. Go Rob Schneider for giving birth to a blues-rock Rockin’ rockstar.
7. Gin Wigmore
Gin Wigmore’s nasal and raspy voice is nothing more than energizing. Her pop beats mixed with her blues/folk melodies with a dollop of grunge guitar makes you want to drive down a dirt road in the middle of nowhere in a pickup truck. Whether or not that is your fantasy, her music brings an eclectic sound that makes you want to wander, and wonder how you can sing as high with that vocal technique.
6. Louise Post and Nina Gordon-Veruca Salt
Veruca Salt is nothing sweet nor anything like the famous Willy Wonka Character. This alternative-rock band has that edge that gives metal and rock something raunchy to listen to, and also The Bangles a run for their money. Lead singers Louise Post and Nina Gordon released their album Ghost Notes in 2015, almost fifteen years after their unsuccessful Sophomore Album, Eight Arms to Hold You (1999). Their breakup was fumed by disagreements and arguments, which fueled and inspired their newest album. “We let it simmer for years, and finally it stopped. We just kind of grew up.” ( Julia Felsenthal, Vogue, July 2015). You can hear the maturity in your newest album ladies! Listen to “Laughing in the Sugar Bowl”, to their pop rock sound.
Who does not love Grace Potter and the Nocturnals? Her voice hits all dimensions, her stage presence is of a flower child on speed, and her energy as she stated, “ the part that likes to play characters and dive into little versions of myself” (Annie Zaleski, River Front Times, Jan 2011), Grace Potter’s influences include the great Robert Plant, which defines her high notes that are out of this world. Check out her song “Delirious”, debuting at Mountain Jam in 2015.
4. Erika Wennerstrom-Heartless Bastards
A southern sound with a bit of edge, Heartless Bastards is composed of a four piece band with a powerhouse front vocalist Erika Wennerstrom. Their music brings blues rock into modern day stylings of music, but what makes the band? Wennerstrom’s powerhouse voice playing as an instrument amongst her quartet. With their newest album, Restless Ones, released in 2015, The band has been compared to Alabama Shakes, The Strokes, and Black Keys. As stated by Jason Heller from NPR “ she’s found the perfect vessel for that voice — a mix of country-rock twang, classic-rock heroics and restless ambition that’s not afraid to incorporate psychedelia, indie rock and pure pop songcraft” (Jason Heller, NPR, June 2015). We cannot wait to see what else she has to whip up in sound.
3. Amanda Palmer-The Dresden Dolls
Theatrics with rock have always captivated me. From Genesis to Jethro Tull, and of course any band from The Velvet Underground venture, to hear music that can be visualized in dance, obscure imageries and stories is an art form of itself. Dresden Dolls execute this with their alternative rock style with a sense of theatrics, self-proclaiming themselves as a dark cabaret. Amanda Palmer and Brian Viglione create a sound and story that takes the heart to places it might not want to go, but curious enough to venture. My favorite, of course, is “Coin Operated Boy”, building up this wind-up play-thing in a mixture of sexual innuendos and fantasies beyond your wildest dream. Although parted ways in 2008 to focus on both their personal projects, they tour together every so often to keep their cabaret alive.
2. Shirley Manson-Garbage
Yes, I know Garbage has been around since the 90s, but they can still make me feel feelings that are mixed with love, hate, and femininity. But with the new release of Strange Little Birds in June of 2016, Singer Shirley Manson calls the album a romance album, “And what I mean by romance, really, is vulnerability. I used to feel so scared, and I think that was why I was so aggressive — but I’m much more willing to admit weaknesses than I was before.” (May 20, 2016, Mushroom Promotions). And if you are used to songs such as “Dumb”, you might want to check out “Sometimes”, for the song has that anger that is lusted with Manson’s delicated yet harsh voice.
1. Brittany Howard-Alabama Shakes
With their blues/funk/soul-rock sound, Alabama Shakes lead singer Brittany Howard and her band of talented instrumentalists writes their second album to reflect their years on the road. Howard’s voice is not only captivating, but engaging in that southern comfort that makes you feel like grooving, crying, screaming, and cheering. From their iconic song “Don’t Wanna Fight” , the message is true to every musician trying to balance a steady job and art. “when you’re working to get ahead but you can’t because every time you try, someone gonna take it from you,” she says. “Like when I used to work and I was going to school and paying my utility bills and you end up with not enough at the end of the day but you go to work anyway and there’s still not enough and lots of people live that way.” (Brittany Howard interview, Emily Jupp, The Independent, July 2015). Howard makes her sound relatable, yet gets that frustration out of making art happen in any way possible. Practice screaming like her, only Janis Joplin could do it with such class and attitude. Listen to her voice in “Always Alright”, and you will find yourself grooving in funk but in your Woodstock jeans, really feeling and emphathizing her lyrics.
Did I leave out your favorite female rocker? Write in the comments below and tell us what your favorite female rocker is!