A Female-Fueled Rock Playlist

Music / Playlist / The Punk Issue / July 22, 2017
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Females are the truth behind punk rock. Behind every Kurt Cobain is the ex-girlfriend who scribbled “Smells like Teen Spirit” on his high school bedroom wall. Being a girl in a punk rock scene can be daunting. Being an opinionated, over-the-top, screechy, powerful female can equal one big bitch to the masses.

But behind what might be discredited as juvenile aggression is a female who has a message. For our punk issue, it would be a clear crime not to praise women in punk. So let’s push our way right through the mosh pit, shall we?

Cherry Bomb
The Runaways

For its time, Cherry Bomb was the raunchiest, barely legal “come hither” the world had ever seen. Calling out shameless ownership to their sexuality, “Hello daddy, hello mom, I’m your ch-ch-ch-ch Cherry Bomb,” these fearless girls came together for a brilliant moment before it fell apart – but not without leaving gems and superstars in its wake.

Horses
Patti Smith

Patti Smith is the quintessential female of punk rock stemming from the NYC punk movement in 1975. This lanky lady churns out one of her famous tracks, “Horses,” with a dark storytelling voice that stands in front of a galloping beat. Fearless and famous Patti Smith is a poet of punk.

Hell on Wheels
Betty Blowtorch

Guitar-driven bad-ass band Betty Blowtorch offers a track that you make you want to drink whiskey (straight from the bottle). Forming in 1998, with three original members of Butt Trumpet, Hell on Wheels evokes a bar band biker feeling that is hard to recapture. Lead singer Bianca Halsted tragically passed away in a car crash in 2001 in New Orleans, but her memory lives on in her female-propelled albums.

Deceptacon
Le Tigre

This is one of the most dancy tracks on the list. The fun claps and the chorus offer a sing-song melody: “Who took the bomp from the bompalompalomp?/Who took the ram from the ramalamadingdong?” Who would’ve thought the song is about a girl rejecting a guy who thinks he’s cool because he has a van and a couple of shitty songs with his band?

Skinny
The Dollyrots

This band started with two friends in Florida and relocated to their new hometown in Los Angeles in 2002. Kelly Ogdan is the lead singer and bass guitarist while Luis Cabezas plays lead guitar. They have written three albums together and are soon to release their fourth. “Skinny” is an older track off “Eat My Heart Out.” As the title “Skinny” would suggest, this song is about the unfair standards women have to live up to in the U.S. and how they can lead to eating disorders.

The Young Crazed Peeling
The Distillers

The aesthetic of Brody Dalle goes without saying she embraces punk fully, which is why she is so adored. The Australian native used her distinct brass voice and guitar-playing skills to keep the band alive through the revolving door of members. “The Young Crazed Peeling” is a track off of their 2002 album “Sing Sing Sing Death House.” The song is a confessional in which Brody explains where she’s from and how things might have been tough growing up, but she doesn’t take life for granted, knowing she has everything that she needs.

Who Invited You
The Donnas

The Donnas got together in the early 90s but are popularly known for their album “Spend the Night,” which was released in 2002. “Who Invited You” stood beside tracks like “Take it Off, Dirty Denim” and “Take me to the Backseat.” The obvious theme was females taking control of not only their personal lives but their sex lives as well. “Who Invited You” is a little bit more about rejection: “We don’t care if you think our party’s cool/because we do/and we don’t care if you have more fun at Sunday school cause who invited you?” You don’t have to be a man to be a bouncer – kick them out and grab their beer as they leave.

Violet
Hole

The Donnas got together in the early 90s but are popularly known for their album “Spend the Night,” which was released in 2002. “Who Invited You” stood beside tracks like “Take it Off, Dirty Denim” and “Take me to the Backseat.” The obvious theme was females taking control of not only their personal lives but their sex lives as well. “Who Invited You” is a little bit more about rejection: “We don’t care if you think our party’s cool/because we do/and we don’t care if you have more fun at Sunday school cause who invited you?” You don’t have to be a man to be a bouncer – kick them out and grab their beer as they leave.

Bad Reputation
Joan Jett

Other people write songs, but Joan Jett writes anthems. She is the definition of tough and the longevity of her career and her popularity make that clear. An executive producer for the movie “The Runaways,” Jett continues to tour, not to mention she provided commentary in Sini Anderson’s “The Punk Singer,” a documentary about Kathleen Hanna. “Bad Reputation” is a timeless song that reminds women everywhere to stay unapologetically true to themselves. There are all sorts of ways women get bad reputations and Joan Jett simply lets the listener know that she doesn’t give a damn.

New Radio
Bikini Kill

Refreshingly honest, Bikini Kill led the largest feminist punk rock movement, Riot Grrrl, to date. It was songs like “New Radio” that encouraged females to act out in a boys-rule-the-universe world. Lead vocalist Kathleen Hanna implores “Turn that song down/Turn the static up.” Bikini Kill, a fairly secretive band that declined talking to the press on most occasions, let the music speak for itself.

This article was originally published in Obsessed magazine’s  Punk Issue.


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Tricia Callahan
Tricia Callahan
Tricia, a graduate from the University of Mary Washington in Popular Media Journalism, is a writer currently residing in Columbia, SC. Tricia is currently obsessed with The Great Gatsby, Jack Johnson, Jack Daniels, large thrift stores, Atlas Genius, and radio shows.




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