Woman-Fronted Bands for Bandcamp Friday

I was looking over my recent Bandcamp purchases and noticed that most of them happen to be bands with women singers. I didn’t set out to do this as some kind of project—it just so happened that these were the bands I was most interested in supporting. Maybe because women have been historically represented not only in the genres I like most (punk, power pop, garage rock, metal) but also in my own music collection? In any case, it makes a nice theme to tie together a post about some great music I’ve bought on Bandcamp! Buy tomorrow, May 3, and the artists will get an even bigger cut of the purchase price!

LC/50, I Don’t Like Me Either The band kicks out the old school hardcore jams, and vocalist Teresa Ortega elevates the whole affair with her absolutely amazing rock and roll voice. Bonus (from my perspective): recorded live. I think rock and roll should be recorded live, either in the studio or in front of an audience, to capture the energy of a performance. Bands in studios often seem to get obsessive about making sure everyone puts in a perfectly clean performance and so release these perfectly performed but kind of inert studio recordings. Not the case here! Not that this is sloppy in any way—but it just feels energetic in a way a lot of recordings don’t.

Upchuck, Bite The Hand That Feeds— I’ve been following this punk band from Atlanta for a while, and this record finds them branching out a little bit musically and sounding better than ever, and absolutely kicking ass. Absolutely no shortage of energy here, and there’s also melody, some kickass guitar licks, and one inexplicable but irresistable Pixies pastiche. Vocalist KT rocks incredibly hard, as does the entire band.

The Chelsea Curve, All The Things Folks who went to shows in Boston in the 90’s may recall Miles Dethmuffin, whose bassist Linda Pardee fronts this power pop trio providing hummable melodies, irresistible hooks, and witty lyrics. What the hell else do you want from power pop?

Coco & The Hitmen, Coco & The Hitmen Bought this on impulse—no recommendation or anything. I just came across their page last Bandcamp Friday and saw the band photo with the guys in horizontal striped shirts looking like the Rentacrowd-Era Len Price 3, saw it described as “garage pop,” and hit the buy button. Coco’s got a great alto voice, the backing vocals are great, and, best of all from my perspective, the recording sounds kind of terrible. I mean this as a compliment—it sounds much closer to something my friends used to record on their crappy little 4-track recorders than to a slick studio production. The spare, no-frills sound fits the music perfectly.(Bonus: great cover of Frida’s classic “Something Going On”.)

Couch Slut, You Could Do it Tonight. All art forms offer different pleasures, so let me just say first of all that these songs are not particularly melodic, and though it’s usually classed as metal because the songs have bass-heavy doom metal-esque grooves, there are no deedly-deedly guitar solos. And most tracks feature vocalist Megan Osztrosits screaming. And I love this album. People who make heavy extreme music tend to be unhappy about the world and possibly their lives, but metal usually approaches this stuff through metaphor—hence all the Satan stuff (and occasional Lovecraft and/or folk horror stuff.). No metaphor here. The songs are about being in dangerous, drug and booze fueled situations with the threat or reality of rape ever present, and Megan Osztrosits is pissed. Actually that doesn’t do it justice: she’s enraged. And women are usually socialized not to express rage, even in their art, so this, sixty years into rock and roll, feels transgressive in a way hardly any other rock-based music does these days. It’s not an easy listen, by any means—it’s not gonna be background music, and it’s not something (like a lot of metal) where you can enjoy the grooves and riffs and disregard the vocals. This album both demands and rewards your attention. I hesitate to say any work of art is important because a lot of different works of art can be important to an individual, but not that many are important to a culture. I think this is one of those. Uncompromising and powerful, and if you’re comfortable with the extreme metal idiom (which, again, this doesn’t quite fit into but is definitely adjacent to), you should pick it up.

#music #review