Our 9 Favorite Female-Fronted Bands
Against Me! 2013 by Jesse DeFlorio
Frontmen are cool, but as a girl, it can sometimes be frustrating not to have a relatable performer on stage - it's nice to see a frontwoman who rocks. No shade to Lorde, Lady Gaga, or Iggy Azalea, pop star solo artists have their place, but plenty of female-fronted rock bands are hitting the festival circuit, with music that's everything from abrasive punk rock to melodic electro-pop. We're not trying to be exclusive here, so we compiled a list of the must-see female-fronted bands who rock hard enough for everyone, no matter their gender, to enjoy at festivals this year.
Against Me!'s front woman Laura Jane Grace has become somewhat of posterwoman for queer girls in the punk scene since publicly coming out as transgendered 2012. AM!'s 2014 album, Transgender Dysphoria Blues, speaks on gender dysphoria, but also on broader topics of alienation, depression, and angst. The band seems reinvigorated with the new release, and their live performances reflect that. Their mainstream success means they can bring their punk sensibilities to the masses at larger festivals - they've toed the line throughout their whole career between being labelled "punk" and "sell-out," but their music speaks for its own quality, and regardless of Grace's gender identity, Against Me! are the punk band to see this festival season.
Catch Them At: Osheaga, Forecastle, Punk Rock Bowling
The Julie Ruin
Formed in 2010 by riot grrrl pioneer and former Bikini Kill and Le Tigre front woman Kathleen Hanna, The Julie Ruin has elements of all of Hanna's previous efforts. There's poppy synth beats, abrasive vocals, and subversive lyrics with a feminist edge. Hanna may have grown up since her anti-everything days in the '90s, but her newer efforts are just a more polished, thought-out way to deliver her gospel, and she goes for it in her live performance now as much as ever.
Catch Them At:Øya, Way Out West
Like Kathleen Hanna, Brody Dalle has a pretty solid punk foundation - she screamed and shouted as lead singer of The Distillers for eight years, before fronting the alt-rock outfit Spinnerette. Now, she's going the solo route (but still counts for this list because she's got a touring band!), and judging by the few tracks released so far, she's still got great music to make. If her passionate, aggressive performances with her previous bands are any indication, she should be a worthy stop on any punk rock-inclined festivalgoer's list.
Catch Her At: Sasquatch, Øya, Way Out West
Dum Dum Girls
As their Facebook biography reads, Dum Dum Girls are "chasing pop into the dark," and we can't sum it up any better. Smooth, synthy choruses mix with deep, articulate vocals to evoke an '80s new wave sound. If their live shows are anything like their videos, prepare for a smoky, richly colored, art-haus extravaganza.
Catch Them At: Pitchfork, Primavera Sound, Outside Lands
HAIM don't like being described as a girl band, which is completely understandable since that phrase can undermine music created by genuinely talented artists. As a regular-ol' band, HAIM are totally catchy and groove-worthy, playing easygoing, yet cinematic, funk-infused pop jams. Apparently, they cried when they found out they were playing Coachella, and we trust that their enthusiasm will carry over to the rest of the festivals they'll be playing this summer.
Catch Them At: Sasquatch!, Primavera Sound, Roskilde, Open'er Festival, Melt!, Outside Lands, Latitude Festival
We really can't imagine many experiences chiller than watching this surf rock quartet in the middle of a long, hot festival day. The all-girl garage band La Luz plays easygoing, feel-good music totally worthy of relaxing to, with the power of a full band that creates an element of old school beach rock.
Catch Them At: Sasquatch
If you want to leave a set feeling exhausted and physically assaulted solely from the music you just heard, Perfect Pussy is your best bet (although, you could totally also leave their set exhausted and physically assaulted from the mosh pit that is sure to erupt). The band, whose assent to legendary is quickly accelerating, is fronted by Meredith Graves, who uses her voice as an instrument parallel to, not above, her bandmate's instruments. This means that you can't hear her voice perfectly clearly - and that's the point. The band's live shows are about as abrasive as they come, so it's the perfect break in the norm that you're sure to remember long after festival season is over.
Catch Them At: Pitchfork, Primavera Sound, Pukkelpop
Like Perfect Pussy, London Grammar seem to have skyrocketed to stardom in no time. But it's not undeserved - singer Hannah Reid's deep, operatic voice is like nothing else in pop music right now, and London Grammar's ethereal sound is sure to capture your attention through the chaos of a festival.
Catch Them At: Glastonbury, Lollapalooza, Bestival
Seattle natives Tacocat pride themselves on being "Kurt Meets Courtney," but their sound is more like a surf-punk, nouveau riot grrrl, pizza party soundtrack. Above all else though, Tacocat is fun, and are a worthy set to watch at a festival for that reason alone. You'll jump, dance, and have a sugar craving when you see their candy-coated album cover. But, if you're someone who can relate to feeling uncomfortable when a construction worker calls you beautiful, you might have the added bonus of letting Tacocat's performance being completely cathartic for you when they play "Hey Girl."
Catch Them At: Sasquatch
See Also:On the Scene: Perfect Pussy at Death By Audio, NYC
Photo Gallery: Against Me! Riot Fest Chicago After Party
Photo Gallery: Firefly 2013 Featuring HAIM