In case you hadn’t noticed, the voters of the United States of America have just elevated Donald Trump to one of the most important roles in global politics.
There’s no other way of saying it: these are dark times. The politician has a lengthy rap sheet for appalling, offensive remarks, routinely focussing on belittling the looks and abilities of minorities and (especially) women.
So, we’ve decided to group some of our favourite new groups in one place. And guess what? They all kick hard, are furiously intelligent, intensely creative… and they’re dominated by women.
Perhaps it won’t change The Donald’s views – or those who voted for him – but we simply find it heartening to note that again and again female musicians are at the absolute vanguard.
These are voices that simply will not be silenced.
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Goat Girl take their name from a Bill Hicks’ skit, and are part of South London’s always enthralling underground scene. Live shows pirouette on the line between fascinating chaos and chaotic fascination, a post-punk template that flits between The Raincoats’ acerbic humour and Bikini Kill’s righteous anger.
Snapped up by Rough Trade, new seven inch single ‘Country Sleaze’ b/w ‘Scum’ was recorded in a no-nonsense fashion: in, lay it down, and get the hell out as fast as you can. Just try and keep tabs on them in 2017 – their momentum is going to smash the glass ceiling into dust.
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Brighton trio Our Girl are part of the Cannibal Hymns coterie, and their debut EP ‘Normally’ impacted in the closing weeks of 2016. All pin-point riffs, helter-skelter rhythms and vocals that zip their way around hugely intelligent lyricism, Our Girl’s material picks apart the problems in their way in a positive, affirmative manner. Expect to hear a lot more from this lot in the coming year.
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Glasgow’s Tuff Love are old Clash favourites – their opening trio of EPs marked them out as a distinctly individual voice in a city that favours those who sit outside the norm. Barbed wire riffs sit against interlocking vocals, Julie and Suse pushing each other to fresh heights. A fantastic live experience who seem to embody everything great about the UK’s DIY tradition, Tuff Love might just release their debut album (proper) next year. It’s one to look out for.
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Inspired by post-punk both old and new, SHOPPING cut their teeth on London’s queer-punk scene, a place where raising questions is pretty much part of the entrance fee. Deeply rhythmic debut album ‘Why Choose’ seemed to wage war on the hips, their driving, urgent, brittle song structures laving the sharp edges on display.
Lyrically, too, it was smart as hell – those repetitive, barbed choruses masking some complications ruminations on both big and small ‘p’ politics. Y’know: gender, sexuality, capitalism, smashing the patriarchy and other good stuff.
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Petty Phase are part of Southend’s close-knit DIY scene, a loose conglomerate of vagabonds, wastrels, and noise-makers. Standing out through their sheer energy, the all-female four-piece recall the unhinged mania of The Runaways or even Bikini Kill’s more driving, direct moments. New cut ‘You’ll Be Dead’ emerges via Asylums’ Cool Thing Records, and it’s the perfect soundtrack for a group of friends ransacking their local vintage shop, then flicking fags off the side of the pier.
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Norwich is one of those unfashionable places that through being able to avoid the spotlight is always able to harbour a pretty creative music scene. Peach Club are fairly new, but they’re already caused reverberations far beyond their home city – whip-smart garage punk, beneath the riotous riffs lie some cool-as-hell hooks that can’t fail to draw you in. Heading into the studio recently, a two-track cassette release is set to emerge on Witch Girl Recordings – it looks essential.
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Ethical Debating Society
One of the hallmark’s of the DIY underground is the feeling that the bands and musicians involved genuinely care about one another. Ethical Debating Society are a case in point – sharing a split single with Skinny Girl Diet, the band also appeared on the Tuff Enuff compilation ‘Why Diet When You Could Riot?’ Debut album ‘New Sense’ was enthralling, fusing the splinters of hardcore’s burnt out stub with the wry, humour post-punk of The Au Pairs or The Raincoats. A band to cherish.
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ILL are pretty much post-everything except a sense of humour. Melody, rhythm, noise are all de-constructed, re-assembled in the manner of a kid piecing together the shattered remnants of its favourite toy: an army where a leg should be, and a head sticking gleefully out of its arse. New single ‘Space Dick’ is schlocky on the outside but profoundly political on the inside, pitting 50s B-movie imagery against some cutting, biting, and absolutely hilarious lyrics. Debut album ‘We Are ILL’ continues the journey in 2017.
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Yassassin are an international collective who have converged on London, each member of the five-piece bringing something new to the table. New single ‘Pretty Face’ is all ominous bass line, jerky rhythms and distorted chanting, and it somehow manages to be both unnerving and completely anthemic. It’s about “the kinds of sexual harassment that a lot of women face every day”, the type of misogyny that often goes unchecked but damages lives with each passing day.
Yassassin genuinely want to make the world a better place, and for that alone their new disc should rain down from the heavens upon the population of the world.
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Skinny Girl Diet
London’s Skinny Girl Diet formed when they were just teenagers, three girls who knew they wanted to make some noize. Since then, the band have explored different paths, always taking the most independent route possible. Debut album ‘Heavy Flow’ shows that the destination is in sight – feminist rock ‘n’ roll with a controlled yet explosive physicality, the band have gone on the road with both Slaves and The Fat White Family, and matched ‘em both.
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Photo Credit: Holly Whitaker