The Best Female-Fronted Bands You've Never Heard Of
I love music, but most of the time, the radio leaves something to be desired. You really have to dig to find any really good female-fronted bands (that aren't prepackaged by music executives for whatever reason).
Well, now you don't have to. I have compiled a list of bands (in no particular order), along with suggested songs, just for you! Isn't that nice?
I have also included whether or not the band has put out any decent covers, because I find that when introducing someone to a band they haven't heard of, playing them a cover of a song they have heard of is a great starting point.
Girl in a Coma
Vocals/Guitar: Nina Diaz
Drums: Phanie Diaz
Bass: Jenn Alva
Girl in a Coma is from San Antonio, Texas and is currently signed with Blackheart Records, which is a huge draw (at least for me). Their name is a reference to the Smith's song "Girlfriend in a Coma."
They are very much an indie band, but don't let that scare you off. Their lyrics are very relatable and at times, gripping. They write their own music and lyrics, and they play their own instruments. There are echoes of their heavier punk and grunge influences, as well.
They have a great cover collection, too: 2010's Adventures in Coverland is well-performed, well-produced, and a great deal of fun to listen to (or to dance around while cleaning, as I have done many times).
They are currently taking a break while the various bandmates pursue other projects, but they have been very clear that GiaC is most definitely NOT over.
Suggested Introductory Songs:
For What It's Worth [cover]
I'll Ask Him
The Bird and the Bee
The Bird: Inara George
The Bee: Greg Kurstin
It is impossible to really describe this band to someone, but here goes: The Bird and the Bee are a duo of multi-instrumental musicians making heavily jazz-influenced electrpop.
Well, I guess it wasn't that hard, after all. These two manage to be fun, emotional, gross, calming, arousing, you name it. They have incredible range, yet manage to make even their covers sound like their own. And they have done covers, but appear to be very particular: their 2010 release Interpreting the Masters Volume 1: A Tribute to Daryl Hall and John Oates is exactly what it sounds like, and it's fantastic (this is coming from some one who doesn't really enjoy Hall and Oates that much, too).
I Can't Go for That [cover]
Love Letter to Japan
Polite Dance Song
Members: Khaela Maricich and Melissa Dyne
The Blow is a great electropop band. There's not too much to say, other than to praise how simple and genuinely pleasant their music is to experience.
Dyne is a late-comer to the band, joining 5 years into what was essentially a solo project for Maricich, but she's an incredible addition and really rounds out the harmonies.
I've never heard them do any covers, unfortunately. It's not really their style, when you really think about it.
They're still together, and fans had lost hope for a new release until 2013, when they dropped a self-titled album.
This band has 3 vocalists: Suzuka Nakamoto (lead), Yui Mizuno (screams), and Moa Kikuchi (screams). Their backing band rotates but has had some distinguished members.
BABYMETAL is a J-pop speed/symphonic/melodic death metal fusion band. It's unbearable cute, the girls are embarrassingly teenaged, and the music is undeniably catchy. I cant tell if they were influenced by Oingo Boingo at a very young age or if they came to the concept on their own, but they are ridiculously hardcore for such a cutesy setup.
This band is extremely important (to me, anyway) because it illustrates the idiocy of the "more metal than thou" movement perpetuated by metal dudebros. This little girls are far more brutal than most of us will ever be.
Obviously, covers are kind of a no-go for this group, but I really hope that they take a crack at some metal standards one day, purely because I can't wait to see what they'd do with them.
Doki Doki Morning
Vocals/Acoustic Guitar: Allison Pierce
Vocals/Percussion: Catherine Pierce
The Pierces are a band made up of two sisters from Birmingham, Alabama. They tend to stand in the fuzzy area between indie, folk, alterntive, and psychedelic rock, but have been known to use myriad instruments, including but not limited to an accordion, a calliope, bassoons, a sitar, violins, an autoharp, and a Hawaiian lap steel. They've received very little attention for most of their careers, mostly due to poor label support, but their album Thirteen Tales of Love and Revenge, released in 2007, has had several songs on television; Secret is the theme song for Pretty Little Liars.
I haven't heard them cover a song yet, but they frequently reference the likes of Joni Mitchell and Billie Holiday.
Kill! Kill! Kill!
Turn on Billie
Vocals: Hope Sandoval
Keyboards/Guitar/Percussion: David Roback
The band performs with several musicians on tour, which have changed several times.
Mazzy Star is probably the most well-known band on this list, as they had some radio in the 1990s. They're from Santa Monica, California and put out thoughtful alternative rock that always manages to sound vaguely spiritual. They've had a few songs played on television shows and have been on MTV and VH1.
You get a real sense of longing from their music. Another word that comes to mind is 'ethereal'.
Be My Angel
Fade Into You
Letters to Cleo
An alternative rock band from Boston, Massachusetts, Letters to Cleo is mostly known to people from the movies 10 Things I Hate About You (a vastly underappreciated modern interpretation of Shakespeare's Taming of the Shrew). They did a fun little cover of Cheap Trick's I Want You to Want Me, but have far better songs in their discography. They're predictable, but in this case, it's not a bad thing. Every song is exactly what you'd expect: a clever, slightly irritated rant about something that upsets the narrator in her daily life. But it works, utterly. It's catchy and fun and really, really well-performed.
Here and Now
Veda Very Shining
The Black Belles
Vocals/Guitar: Olivia Jean
Bass: Ruby Rogers
Keyboards: Christina Norwood
Drums: Shelby Lynn
From Nashville, Tennessee, the Black Belles call themselves a "garage goth" band, and it really fits, but there's something undeniably poppy about these chicks. They're adorable in pretty much every single way, down to the keyboardist's dancey little knee bends during choruses. The band was put together by Jack White and is signed to his label Third Man Records.
They appear to have a sense of humor, too. In 2006, Stephen Colbert recorded a song for Rock Band called Charlene (I'm Right Behind You) by Stephen and the Colberts (mostly about stalking his high school girlfriend). In 2011, The Black Belles recorded a sequel called Charlene II (I'm Over You). They're both funny in very different ways, I recommend them.
Pushing Up Daisies
Leave You With a Letter
Vocals: Liz Enthusiasm
Keytar: The Other Sean T. Drinkwater
Synthesizer: Robert John "Bananas" Foster
Drums: Christmas Disco Marie Sagan
Freezepop is a synthpop band from Boston, Massachusetts. They have had songs in several rhythm simulation games like Frequency, Rock Band, Guitar Hero, Karaoke Revolution, and Dance Dance Revolution. This follows, as their music was originally written on a small MIDI sequencer, giving rise to the false rumor that they had used a GameBoy during the process. However, a Commodore 64 was used by the band 8 Bit Weapon when they remixed the Freezepop track Shark Attack.
It's definitely very quirky, but great for dancing -- if you don't believe me, play one of the songs below at your next party.
Less Talk More Rock
Pop Music is Not a Crime
Vocals/Synthesizer/Guitars/Tambourine/Harmonica/Piano: Emily Haines
Guitar/Synthesizer/Theremin/Backing Vocals: James Shaw
Bass/Synthesizers/Backing Vocals: Josh Winstead
Drums/Miscellaneous Percussion: Joules Scott-Key
That's a lot of responsibilities for each person up there. From Toronto, Ontario, Metric is a very busy band, and you can hear it in their music. This is an awesome sensory experience; there is always a LOT going on in every song. The only real genre I can give them is "indie modern new wave."
They're pretty socially aware, and several songs have anti-war messages. This makes sense when you realize they've covered the likes of Pink Floyd, Neil Young, Tom Waits, and Bob Dylan. They've actually done more covers than any other band on this list, and they've got a real talent for it. That said, their original work is way better.
Help, I'm Alive
These bands are all well-worth your time. Give them a listen. That's really all there is to it.
And if you like a band that no one has heard of but deserves success, promote them! Word of mouth is really important to lesser known bands. It's up to the fans to force the music industry to pay attention to talented musicians.