Captain’s Log: Chick Bands Get Loud

feature image via Richard Gin

Hello friends and lovers!  This is another edition of the Captain’s Log, a recurring series wherein I tell you about cool new songs I might have heard while sailing the high seas in pursuit of the great white whale that took my leg.  This month’s edition is all about chick bands – badass women who play their own guitars, program their own beats and hit their own things with their very own sticks.  Sometimes Top 40 radio makes it seem like women only exist to prance around in flesh-coloured thongs or shoot whipped cream out their bras, but it turns out that if you look hard enough, there are still women out there who write their own songs and give zero fucks.  Let’s get to it!

The Blow – Make It Up
I have never entirely trusted Khaela Maricich’s electro project The Blow, mostly because when I listen to her sweetly heartbroken lyrics I wonder how the hell she managed to get into my brain and steal all my feelings.  2006’s Paper Television was particularly suspect, as all of my major breakups since then have had one particular The Blow song dedicated to them (“The Big U” and “Fists Up,” if you wanna get personal).  After teasing us with rumours of an album allegedly ghost-written for Lindsay Lohan and based around her relationship with Samantha Ronson (!!!), it seems like her new material is finally ready to see the light of day – the new self-titled record will be out Oct 1, and you can preorder it here.

Speedy Ortiz – Tiger Tank
This video is like jumping into a time machine and going to a basement rock show in the mid-90’s, something I was never old or cool enough to do in the actual 90’s. Speedy Ortiz sounds sort of like Liz Phair fronting Pavement, right down to the smart, cynical lyrics and angular guitar riffs.  Fun fact: frontwoman Sadie Dupuis was actually in an all-female Pavement cover band called Babement, which is an automatic free pass to my heart.  Speedy Ortiz’s brand new record Major Arcana is full of sardonic wit and blissed-out distortion, and it’s quickly becoming one of my favourite go-to rock records of 2013.

Hunters – Seizure
While we’re still partying in a decrepit basement sometime in 1993, Brooklyn-based co-ed babes Hunters have just released this brand new video from their forthcoming record.  The song “Seizure” is a gorgeous mess of sing-song vocals, squealing guitars and sludgy, raucous drums, so obviously they paired it with the most mosh pit-ready visuals possible: synchronized swimming!  I’m not sure why it works, but it absolutely does.

Ume – Run Wild
I’m gonna be honest with you – this isn’t even a new record, you guys.  I’m just a sucker for a badass babe with a guitar and I’m so into this band that I’M JUST GONNA GO FOR IT.  I saw Ume open up for …And You Will Know Us By the Trail of Dead last week and fell completely in love with their dreamy, fuzzed-out psych-rock record Phantoms and I feel like maybe you will too.  These delightful Austinites are finishing up a brand new record thanks to a very successful Kickstarter campaign – they asked for $7,500 and raised over $20k, which means they got to make an even better album than they were anticipating.  Now would be a good time to brush up on their record from 2011, so you can be just as excited as I am about the forthcoming new tunes.

Deap Vally – Bad For My Body
If you’re into chicks who shred a la the Dead Weather, then you have probably been dreaming about this LA-based all-girl blues-rock duo your entire life.  Since melting everybody’s faces off with their debut single “Make My Own Money,” they’ve been working on their much-anticipated debut album Sistrionix.  At long last, the record will finally be released in October, and you can fall in love with their brand new single “Bad For My Body” right now, because I love you.

Those Darlins – Oh God
Yo check out these cute chicks singing great indie country songs and being generally adorable.  Those Darlins’ new record Blur The Line sounds a bit more sweet and subdued than the rowdy and occasionally raunchy stuff they’ve put out in the past, but they’ve tempered that with the new record’s slightly NSFW cover art, which features the lower half of the four band members clutching each other, naked.  Into it.

Chelsea Wolfe – We Hit A Wall
For the last few years, Chelsea Wolfe has been amassing a dedicated cult of followers with her droning, goth-lite folk songs which can occasionally sound like the score to a horror film.  On her new record Pain Is Beauty, Wolfe appears to be experimenting with a larger, more pop-structured sound while maintaining the same dark, mournful energy – think Bat for Lashes if she was a teenage witch.  Put this record when you and the other chicks in your coven are ready to light a couple of candles and cast some sweet spells.  Or just when you’re sad.  Whatever.

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Stef Schwartz is the Music Editor at Autostraddle.com. She's a rock'n'roll jack-of-all-trades, vegan crusader and legit professional weirdo. She lives with her cat Scully in the wilds of Los Angeles, where she writes terrible dance music, drinks quality bourbon and misses New York City. Follow her on twitter.

Stef has written 102 articles for us.

18 Comments

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    Ooh, very good stuff, will deffo be checking out the ones I’ve not heard of. I got into an exponential girl band obsession via tumblr, thus am excited by this list.

    Also, Deap Vally’s album is out already! At least in the UK (and on UK spotify). It’s good, although it makes me feel kind of hungry, maybe because of the primal rocky-ness of it, or maybe because it’s almost dinnertime.

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          whoops, i’m in a band like that. he answered the ad! he played the way we wanted him to! WE DIDN’T KNOWWWWW

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          Well, I would say it’s never too early/late to have that conversation about flexible gender identities with your bandmate.

          But really there are so many great bands I am forced to discard from my girl band tumblr (breeders, elastica, barbie and the rockers…) I’m gonna have to make a new one called fuckyeahalmostgirlbands.tumblr.com

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          I think “answering the ad” and “playing the way we want” should really be all the criteria that matter in a bandmate. I’d have no problem calling a band a girl band if it was three/four ladies and a guy, also, as long as a woman was the front-person. Then again, I am not a music expert person although I am a captain.

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    oh good! i kinda read this specifically ’cause I was hoping it’d mention speedy ortiz. i mean, also for the rest of the list, but i’ve been a bit obsessed with speedy ortiz for the past while. i’m seeing them live next week and am giddy about it (atlanta ladies, holla)!

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    Ah best news about The Blow! I recently-ish got way into their earlier mini-album Poor Aim (after having only heard Paper Television and seen her incredible live show/Lohan-based-performance-art piece). I fear that sonically I won’t be quite as into it now that she’s not working with Jona Bechtolt anymore, but we’ll see.

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