The Best Female-Fronted Bands You've Never Heard Of

Published: January 7, 2015

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.

  1. 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:

    El Monte

    For What It's Worth [cover]

    I'll Ask Him

  2. 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).

    Suggested Songs:

    I Can't Go for That [cover]

    Love Letter to Japan

    Polite Dance Song

     

  3. The Blow

    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.

     

    Suggested Songs:

    True Affection

    Hey Boy

    Parenthesis

  4. BABYMETAL

    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.

     

    Suggested Songs:

    Gimme Chocolate!!

    Doki Doki Morning

    Megitsune

  5. The Pierces

    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.

     

    Suggested Songs:

    Lights On

    Kill! Kill! Kill!

    Turn on Billie

     

  6. Mazzy Star

    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'.

     

    Suggested Songs:

    Be My Angel

    Fade Into You

    Into Dust

  7. 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.

     

    Suggested Songs:

    Here and Now

    Co-Pilot

    Veda Very Shining

  8. 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.

     

    Suggested Songs:

    Wishing Well

    Pushing Up Daisies

    Leave You With a Letter

  9. Freezepop

    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.

     

    Suggested Songs:

    Less Talk More Rock

    Freezepop Forever

    Pop Music is Not a Crime

  10. Metric

    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.

     

    Suggested Songs

    Dead Disco

    Combat Baby

    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.