Female fronted bands have been making a resurgence in recent years. Even though there are more and more leading ladies in punk bands lately, there are always quality acts that get overlooked for one reason or another. Sure, you got your Bad Cop/Bad Cops and your RVIVRs, but there are so many, equally talented bands are out there tearing it up with little to no recognition. Check out my list of just a few of these often overlooked Female Fronted punk bands below.
Possibly the best band name to grace this list, The Forty Whacks (is this a Lizzie Borden reference?) have recently been added to the ranks of female fronted punk acts. In 2013, then lead singer Johnny Pierro vacated his position and was promptly replaced with Kati Olsen. So, although the Garage Pop Band has been around since 2009, until recently this quartet from Chicago wouldn’t have qualified for my list. Their first EP with their newly acquired leading lady, Saturday Night Loud was released in late 2014. It’s filled with simple riffs and stunted, straightforward lyrics. Think The Ramones but with a little more pop.
Recommended Track: “Change Everything”
Girls Living Outside Society’s Shit. The name alone provides some insight into what you’re getting with this crew. Formed in the fall of 2013, this quintet from Olympia, Washington is transgender, feminist, queer and indignant. With their unexpectedly well received demo released earlier in 2015 they have managed to breathe a bit of fresh air into the hardcore scene, which had become a bit stale and predictable. This is honest, fundamental hardcore punk. You can feel the rage from years of being labeled as outcasts in every lyric. There’s a valid, tangible reason for the emotion in the vocals that you can’t find in most contemporary hardcore. Word has it they’re working on a new 7” and I couldn’t be more excited about it.
Recommended Track: “Lined Lips and Spiked Bats”
3. Not On Tour
Founded in 2009, this four piece hardcore pop act is considerably more tenured than some of the others on the list. Hailing from Tel Aviv, Israel, they recently released their fourth album Bad Habits in June 2015. Their experience shows in the end product. They are precise and polished. It’s overall faster and cleaner while being more complex than you find with newer bands. Their sound reminds me vaguely of Fat Wreck Chords skate punk legends Tilt. They’ve also been keeping extremely good company recently, opening for Off With Their Heads, Teenage Bottle Rocket and Masked Intruder. That kind of exposure coupled with playing their first Groezrock Fest this past year can only add to their success.
Recommended Track: “Flip”
Coming to us from Gold Coast, Queensland, this melodic skate punk quintet is no stranger to the scene. Since 2010, they have been busy burning up the local scene as well as most of the major Australian punk festivals. They’ve also helped increase their profile by supporting bands like Propagandhi, A Wilhelm Scream and Pour Habit during their respective Australian tours. The reason most people outside of Australia haven’t heard of them is because they have only released one EP in the five years they’ve been around. So, although they aren’t a recognizable name here just yet, they are very well known in the deep talent pool that is the Australian touring circuit. Good news here is that they are in the studio working on their debut full length album which should be out sometime later this year. If nothing else, give them a listen for their drummer Josh Higgins, who reminds me a lot of this Galaxy’s finest percussionist: Jordan Burns from Strung Out. Always busy.
Recommended Track: “One Chance”
And now, for something completely different… Philly’s (and history’s) first S&M Punk Band GASH is a sadist’s dream. A quick stroll through the band’s Facebook photos will tell you all you need to know of this bondage loving four piece. Depraved displays of debauchery, titillating torture and handcuffed harlots reign at live shows. It’s no surprise that the band’s house dominatrix, Stephxecutioner has been linked to Gwar. Tibbie X who also plays bass in the new Reagan Youth reformation, provides the gritty, violent vocals that overlay the simple, fast paced music. The sinful fetishes and lurid acts that accompany this troupe would make The Dwarves blush.
Recommended Track: “Astral D.S.”
OK, I may have taken some creative liberties on this one as I’m sure there’s plenty of you already listening to War on Women, but they’re on the cusp and definitely too damn badass to exclude, so here they are. This five piece from Baltimore, Maryland was founded in 2010 and rose quickly from relative obscurity with the release of their debut EP Improvised Weapons. Their self titled full length album even made our Top 25 Albums of 2015 (so far) List. Labeled as a co-ed, feminist hardcore punk band, this group hits extremely hard. Lead vocalist Shawna Potter reminds me of the late Mia Zapata of The Gits. Simple, raw and unforgiving. I recently caught them for the first time live on Propagandhi’s Failed States tour. From the first couple riffs of the opening song, there was instant brutality in the pit.
Recommended Track: “Confess”
Another band that hasn’t garnered much attention Stateside is DIY street punk outfit Burning Lady, who are well known in the Euro scene. Started in 2008, this energetic quartet from Lile, France has been a stalwart on the Euro touring circuit playing over 200 live shows. That may be why they haven’t released an album since their debut full length Until the Walls Fall in 2013. But this a similar path that most DIY bands travel. There is nothing wrong with taking the more difficult path to success. Hard work always pays off and it shouldn’t be any different with this diligent lot.
Recommended Track: “Story of My Scene”
8. Damn Mondays
Founded in 2012 this quintet has been busy, releasing three LPs and touring heavily in that span. Although they’re from Berchtesgaden, Germany, the American skate punk sound is evident. You can tell that they’ve done their homework. The sound is tight with clean harmonies. It’s fast paced but precise and doesn’t sound too over-produced. A bit more pop, but a similar sound to RVIVR. They just released their newest two song EP Detours in June 2015. The quality that we’ve become accustomed to hearing from them has carried through from album to album. So, one of the concerns of a newer band, consistency has proven to be a non-issue. I can’t wait until they can put together enough material for a full length. These guys have a ton of talent.
Recommended Track: “Detours”
I love a good Anarcho-punk band (as if you couldn’t tell). So, no surprise here that London’s SHOT! is one of my favorite up and coming acts. This hardnosed four piece has been around since 2012. They have an unpolished sound but not as extreme as other DIY bands like early Against Me! (although they do both share a love of exclamation points). They just released their first full length, self titled album in late 2014. ‘Full length’ being the operative word in that last sentence. It’s rare these days for a band to put out a thirteen track, thirty minute debut album. But that’s why I love that scene so much, they ain’t afraid of a little hard work. When not shredding the stages of the local dives, they stay true to their DIY roots and visit the “autonomous spaces of London” raising funds for grass roots causes.
Recommended Track: “Generation”
10. Manic Pixi
For those pop punk enthusiasts out there, I give you Manic Pixi. Formally known as Sugar Bomb, this trio is pop punk defined. Among their wide ranging influences are Paramore and Katy Perry which is vividly apparent in some of their songs. However, successfully switching from those bubblegum pop love songs to grittier, more brooding tracks also showcases the other spectrum of their influences, like The Distillers and the Riot Grrrl scene. As such, their sound is predictably eclectic but still very cohesive throughout. Lead vocalist Kat Hamilton has a solid, well trained voice which lends well to the genre. There aren’t many good female fronted pop punk bands in the market right now as the trend has seemed to flip a little more towards the edgier, hardcore acts. So these guys could just fill that void.
Recommended Track: “Suddenly Stuck”