Men are in my speakers all the time.
I don’t mean the little green men in the funky striped hats who live between all that wiring, merrily pushing all the buttons and making all that shit work. My mother told me they moved out of there a long time ago and I’ve dealt with my grief and subsequent abandonment issues.
Instead, I mean that – as primarily a listener of punk rock (except the Sex Pistols), metal (heavy, death, and alternative mostly), and classic and alternative rock (not to mention the early days of rock ‘n’ roll) – a vast majority of my favorite bands are fronted by deep-voiced, long-haired, guitar-and-anger wielding men. And while I love men, and love how the jarring, low registered, almost chestular quality of their voices perfectly suits the frustration (whether it be the quiet and subtle kind, or the in-your-face, I-will-fuck-you-up kind) that pervades the music, there has never been a single doubt in my mind that there’s plenty of room for chicks to do their thing in the aforementioned genres.
For starters, there already have been. My musical life has always consistently contained four women: Janis Joplin, Suzi Quatro, Joan Jett, and Debbie Harry. The Big Four, as I like to call them. And I am constantly on the prowl for more women to join their ranks.
My search thus far has landed me in the midst of the following bad-ass women: the kind of women you can kick back and have a beer with, but wouldn’t ever want to cross (especially if there’s a dark alley nearby); the kind of women who can say what they mean – no games, no guess work; the kind of women who are shamelessly themselves, fearlessly loud (even when they’re quiet), and admirably gettin’ theirs. In other words, exactly the kind of woman I strive to be.
They’ll stun you. And you’ll like it.
1. Grog, of Die So Fluid
I’m just gonna come out and say it: I’ve got a bit of a girl-crush on Grog. She’s got a killer vocal style, she plays bass, and she’s probably what the love-child for grunge, punk, and metal would be if they could somehow have a three-way with an equal gene spread. She and Die So Fluid have a new album dropping on May 5th that I, for one, can’t wait to get my hands on.
2. Maria Brink, of In This Moment
Maria Brink doesn’t give a fuck – she’ll say what she has to say, and she’ll make you listen. And she’ll do it all while being sexy as hell. She’s living proof that a chick doesn’t have to decide between being a bad-ass and being feminine – she can be both, in equal parts, and do it better than most. (Also: “Shove your kiss straight through my chest…” Fuckin’ a, how sexy is that?)
3. Nicole Estill, of True Widow
One-part stoner rock, one-part shoegaze, True Widow is the perfect mellow cool-down to any day without getting too bogged down in all that sentimental, hearts-and-flowers shit. At the center of it all, is Nicole Estill’s melodic, almost other-worldly vocals – absolutely essential to the band’s edgy, cerebral sound.
4. Alia O’Brien, of Blood Ceremony
I’ll tell you this right now: you’re going to notice the flute. And at first, you’re going to be all, “What up with this?” But then, Alia O’Brien is going to start telling you a story in her charming, old school rock ‘n’ roll, Jethro Tull-ish way, and everything will start to make sense. For more range, also listen to the song “Witchwood” off the album The Eldritch Dark.