If you asked me about all female bands in the 90s, I would have said that people just never really judge female bands as a band, but always as a female band. As a woman, in music and in life, you have to prove yourself harder than a man has to. But things are changing. We are in 2015, and the music scene is a mirror for society's progress regarding gender equality. Both producers and fans are finally starting to give less of a shit about what gender you happen to be.
Instead, they're caring more about novelty. If you want to be recognized the only thing you have to put out there is something novel. The irony is, of course, that the way to produce novelty is by not caring about what the world thinks or what gender you are but instead developing your own creative sound. A good rule of thumb is that if you put something into the world that deserves noticing, it will be noticed. So, I've noticed these badass all-girl bands, not because they're all girls but because they don't let that get in the way of novelty, good sound, and great music.
Not only is this band all women, they're all sisters... plus drummer Dash Hutton (so more like almost all-sisters). The band has had some great public moments. Their music video for "My Song Five" featured rapper A$AP Ferg and they recorded a cover of Fleetwood Mac's "Rhiannon" with Stevie Nicks. What really makes Haim stand out is their inviting, natural, and free sound -- probably because these songs were recorded in their shared living room. Haim is without a doubt only going in one direction and that direction is up.
LA-based punk rock band Girlpool is impervious to being branded. They're on a winning streak, staying focused because they're clearly doing something right. Their music is a romantic act of rebellion, and I am all about it. While other bands keep their independence in mind when creating new sounds in their music, Girlpool has made independence their mission, and their music is very much like a splash of cold water in your face, reminding you to keep it real at all costs. I'm usually not for agendas, but when the agenda is to not have one, I say, "Where do I sign up?" These soul sisters have plenty to say.
Don't be fooled by the ethereal beauty of duo Stina Marie Claire Tweeddale and Cat Myers. The name says it all. The more you listen to Honeyblood, the more you recognize the deliciously macabre soul of Honeyblood. But its not macabre for macabre's sake; the band is adamant about reminding its audience that whatever doesn't kill you makes you stronger. This is why they've made my list of badass all-girl bands. You get the feeling listening to Honeyblood that their message comes from personal experience. Their song "Super Rat" is fierce: "You are the smartest rat in the sewer/You know all the nooks and the cracks to allure/Unsuspecting mice, they don't have to think twice..." I'm not about to cross these two.
Russian feminist punk rock protest group Pussy Riot is something special. There is something militant about their music, and this is because they have purpose. One might even say that their purpose precedes all else. This is why their first song in English, "I Can't Breathe," is dedicated to the words Eric Garner repeated 11 times before his death. In the world of badassery, Pussy Riot rules.
The Prettiots are so incredibly memorable. Their song "Boys," is so full of irony that you have to laugh. In fact, I think this is what really blows my mind about the Prettiots -- their ability to laugh at themselves. We can all laugh because, hey, haven't you dated that ridiculous guy in high school too?! The Prettiots make my list because they are so much fun to listen to and because their snarky girl commentary sums oh-so-much up from those awkward years of self-discovery.
And because I apparently couldn't keep myself to just 5 acts, here's a sixth for good measure. If you want to complain... don't.
I want to listen to the Wharves all day, all the time because they are so damn groovy. Let's just say that I would pour their song "Thick Syrup" all over me any day [Ed. Note: That sounds sticky and unpleasant.]. When you listen to the Wharves you feel like you are floating in a field of lilacs, on a balmy summer day looking up at the clouds. I kid you not, the Wharves are epic, and they make my list because their sound is so angelic, graceful and powerful all at once -- a true paradigm of the female spirit.