“Female” is not a genre. But rock is a genre where women are thriving in 2015.
Originally posted on BuzzFeed
1. Colleen Green, I Want To Grow Up
Colleen Green’s second album is a quarter life crisis set to music, with her striving to live like a mature adult while insecurities and bad habits make that seem almost entirely impossible. She’s great at writing instantly catchy alt-rock melodies, which is a good thing – the hooks make it easier to handle the dark, self-loathing introspection of songs like “Deeper Than Love” and “Things That Are Bad for Me.”
Out on February 24th on Hardly Art.
2. Courtney Barnett, Sometimes I Sit And Think And Sometimes I Just Sit
Australian songwriter Courtney Barnett has a gift for writing songs that find intense emotions in mundane situations – like, say, having a song start out with her singing about feeling too lazy to mow her lawn and having it climax with her cathartically shouting “I used to hate myself but now I think I’m alright!” Like Green, Barnett is writing songs about trying to grow into adulthood, but she’s a lot more laid back and more likely to shrug off her angst or try to talk you down from thinking she’s cool.
Out on March 24th on Mom+Pop.
3. Sleater-Kinney, No Cities to Love
Sleater-Kinney’s first album in nearly a decade sounds just as vital and thrilling as anything the band made during their run of classic records in the late ’90s and early ’00s, but it’s not a carbon copy of anything they made back then. No Cities to Loveis a quick and brutal record, with the band blasting through 10 top-quality tracks in a half hour. The vocals by Corin Tucker and Carrie Brownstein are all raw nerve emotion, and the music hits with the urgency of a band who probably knew damn well how much the world needed them back in action as they recorded it.
Out now on Sub Pop.
4. Erase Errata, Lost Weekend
Sleater-Kinney isn’t the only all-female punk trio who’ve returned from a long hiatus. Erase Errata’s first record since their excellent 2006 album Night Life is a brief, powerful set of tunes that pushes the band’s hyper-political and highly rhythmic post-punk style in a new direction. Singer and guitarist Jenny Hoyston’s guitar chops have evolved quite a bit over the past decade, resulting in a surprising delicacy on some tracks, while others, like the quasi-industrial “Watch Your Language,” approach the kind of harsh mechanical tones you’d find on a Rage Against the Machine or late period Wire album.
Out now on Under the Sun.
5. Waxahatchee, Ivy Tripp
Katie Crutchfield’s first album for Merge Records takes a more refined approach to the sort of introspective indie rock she’s been making as Waxahatchee for a few years now. Ivy Tripp has a crisp, clean sound that brings out the best in Crutchfield’s voice and her songs without dulling down her rough edges or sounding too much like an overproduced major label record designed specifically for radio airplay.
Out on April 7th on Merge.
6. Chastity Belt, Time To Go Home
Out on March 24th on Hardly Art.
7. Lower Dens, Escape from Evil
Out on March 31st on Ribbon Music.
8. Torres, Sprinter
Brooklyn songwriter Mackenzie Scott sings and plays guitar with a grim yet sexy intensity that recalls PJ Harvey’s first few records from the early ’90s. She’s no PJ clone, though – Scott’s music as Torres has its own peculiar atmosphere, and a touch of country twang buried beneath the harsh tones and distortion.
Out on May 5th on Partisan Records.