Cool and contemporary chick bands?
December 17, 2009 11:13 AM   Subscribe

I need some awesome, contemporary girl bands for a mixtape.

My 14-year-old niece just discovered Luscious Jackson and I think she's ready for a cool, "chicks who rock" mixtape. I have some great stuff from previous threads but those are a few years old and I need to flesh this thing out with newer music.

So, please give me your recommendations for current, college radio-ish, smart, strong, rocking songs by women.

Note: Songs with swearing are a-ok, but please no sexy-sex stuff because nobody wants to get that kind of shit from their aunt.
posted by stefanie to Media & Arts (57 answers total) 51 users marked this as a favorite
I'd say Ladyhawke, New Young Pony Club and Ladytron for starters.
posted by hnnrs at 11:15 AM on December 17, 2009

Do you want bands or bands/artists or songs?
posted by Jaltcoh at 11:16 AM on December 17, 2009

"Pull Shapes" by the Pipettes
"Because I'm Awesome" by The Dollyrots
posted by Sticherbeast at 11:19 AM on December 17, 2009 [1 favorite]

Marina and the Diamonds, "I am not a Robot"
posted by oinopaponton at 11:19 AM on December 17, 2009 [3 favorites]

Also, how current is "current"? Is a song by Tori Amos from the mid-'90s too old, or is it OK since she's still regularly putting out new music?
posted by Jaltcoh at 11:20 AM on December 17, 2009

The Donnas.

They have a "greatest hits" album coming out soon.
posted by elmer benson at 11:20 AM on December 17, 2009

Cibo Matto - Know Your Chicken
The Donnas - Too Bad About Your Girl
Veruca Salt - Seether
posted by Babblesort at 11:23 AM on December 17, 2009 [1 favorite]

Is ESG not current enough? I know they are old school but they were sort of underground for a long time and seem to have been rediscovered by this current generation of hip kids. They have that same funky urban sound as Luscious Jackson.
posted by cazoo at 11:26 AM on December 17, 2009 [2 favorites]


Seconding Ladytron and Ladyhawke.

How about:
Le Tigre - 'Deceptacon' (newish? still playing in various commercials?)
Tegan and Sara - 'Hell'
the gossip, although the newest album might be a bit too dosco (for example)
posted by smallvictories at 11:26 AM on December 17, 2009

I like Pocahaunted.
posted by box at 11:26 AM on December 17, 2009

Micachu & the Shapes are pretty fun (and still college-age, I believe).
posted by lisa g at 11:26 AM on December 17, 2009

(dosco = disco.)
posted by smallvictories at 11:27 AM on December 17, 2009

I second Cibo Matto and The Donnas! Also maybe Regina Spektor
posted by bobafet at 11:27 AM on December 17, 2009

Electrelane is on indefinite hiatus now, but they are/were the epitome of college radio-ish, smart, strong rocking songs by women. Their lyrics aren't childish, but they're mostly vague/ambiguous rather than being explicit.
posted by Meg_Murry at 11:28 AM on December 17, 2009 [1 favorite]

Response by poster: I'm pretty much looking for stuff that was released in the last year or so, and in particular from bands or artists that are new-ish. The stuff I'm looking for is what I would have heard if I'd been regularly listening to decent radio in the last couple of years.
posted by stefanie at 11:28 AM on December 17, 2009

Thao Nguyen might be a little too cutesy, but I like her anyway.
posted by oinopaponton at 11:30 AM on December 17, 2009

Amanda Palmer / The Dresden Dolls! Some serious rockin' out on some songs...perhaps of particular interest:

Girl Anachronism -- The Dresden Dolls
Gravity -- The Dresden Dolls
Dirty Business -- The Dresden Dolls
Guitar Hero -- Amanda Palmer
Runs In The Family -- Amanda Palmer

The Amanda Palmer album is fresh new, and the Dresden Dolls' albums are from-this-musical-era-but-not-brand-new new.
posted by threeants at 11:35 AM on December 17, 2009 [2 favorites]

2nding Micachu, and strongly recommending my favorite new act: tUne-YaRds. It's a one-woman, low-fi project, amplified ukulele and drum loops, and Merrill Garbus's great, wild singing. Maybe a bit avant-garde for college radio, but not such a great leap from Luscious Jackson.
posted by neroli at 11:36 AM on December 17, 2009

I don't really listen to her personally, but a lot of my much cooler friends listen to A Fine Frenzy (obligatory youtube link). I second Tegan & Sara, though, those girls are awesome.

You might also check the lineup for next year's Lilith Fair, too, for ideas.
posted by kerning at 11:36 AM on December 17, 2009

OK, if you're really looking for nothing before 2007 or 2008, then I recommend:

"Stillness Is the Move" by the Dirty Projectors

"Actor out of Work" or "Black Rainbow" by St. Vincent

"Inside a Boy" or "Ice and the Storm" by My Brightest Diamond

But I recommend going a little earlier than that. There was more good music in the middle of this decade than in the past couple years, IMHO. Then you can include Regina Spektor's "Better," Rilo Kiley's "The Good That Won't Come Out," Psapp's "Hi," Decoder Ring's "Fractions," the Dresden Dolls' "Good Day," Edith Frost's "Cars and Parties"... There hasn't been a major shift in music in the past couple years, and a 14-year-old probably won't care much if a song is from 2007 or 2002. For that matter, I'd throw in Tori Amos's "God" or "Cornflake Girl" from the '90s.

(If you're looking at other Dresden Dolls songs, be sure to check the lyrics for appropriateness.)
posted by Jaltcoh at 11:41 AM on December 17, 2009

Vivian Girls
Mika Miko
Sia. She's a weirdo and maybe not rock enough.

posted by smallvictories at 11:43 AM on December 17, 2009 [1 favorite]

Reject All American -- Bikini Kill

They (Bikini Kill) no longer exist, but has anyone EVER come up with a better band name?
posted by Danf at 11:44 AM on December 17, 2009 [1 favorite]

Some recommendations:

Tegan and Sara
Yeah Yeah Yeahs (men in band, but female singer)
Ani Difranco (might not be current enough, although she is still doing stuff)
posted by backwards guitar at 11:46 AM on December 17, 2009

Neko Case must be mentioned here; Middle Cyclone is about a year old. Her backlist is also a blast.

Okay, and I also have to mention this, despite your time injunction: Sleater-Kinney. They broke up a couple years ago, but Jesus God, expose your budding little rocker to these incredible women.
posted by Skot at 11:47 AM on December 17, 2009 [3 favorites]

Any reason why you want really new stuff? If she's young, she might enjoy foundational chick rock too.

Camera Obscura - French Navy
Rilo Kiley - Silver Lining
posted by zoomorphic at 11:49 AM on December 17, 2009 [1 favorite]

palomar's last album came out in 2007.
posted by phil at 11:50 AM on December 17, 2009

I really wish there were more awesome girl-rock released in the last year. We're in sort of a conservative-patriarchy renaissance right now. You'll find a lot more if you open the search parameters to include the past, say, 5 years even.

When I was around that age and discovering Luscious Jackson, I also loved Veruca Salt, Sleater Kinney, Bikini Kill (also Le Tigre and Julie Ruin) , that dog., and The Breeders.
posted by so_gracefully at 11:59 AM on December 17, 2009

Amanda Palmer FUCK YES!

Also Smoosh! And Lez Zeppelin.
posted by Lutoslawski at 12:01 PM on December 17, 2009

Florence and the Machine- Kiss with a Fist, Cosmic Love, Drum Song
Chatmonchy- Sekai ga owaru yoru ni
Howling Bells- Treasure Hunt
Kate Nash- Shit Song
Metric- Gimme Sympathy
posted by raw sugar at 12:10 PM on December 17, 2009

Visqueen (maybe 'Hand Me Down'?) and Be Your Own Pet ('Becky' is awesome and I would have loved it at 13, but you might want to make your own judgement on appropriateness - sweary and threateny but not sexy) are both contemporary and girl-fronted and full of moxie. I think they're both 2008 singles.

I really second the ESG recommendation - they're obviously not current, but damn, as someone slow to grow to love the rockin' ladies, I wish I had discovered them a lot earlier. Could you b-side the mix with a rockin' 90s/early 00s section? It seems a pity to miss out on prime age territory for discovering riot grrrl and Sleater-Kinney and the like, given the strong female identity there is and how vital that can be heading into one's teens.
posted by carbide at 12:14 PM on December 17, 2009 [1 favorite]

Seconding The Gossip. Lez Zeppelin and Sleater-Kinney.

Also, PJ Harvey, The Asteroids Galaxy Tour, Ida Maria
posted by archimago at 12:15 PM on December 17, 2009

Sorry, links to those two songs: Hand Me Down, Becky.
posted by carbide at 12:15 PM on December 17, 2009

I've been trying to expand my female vocalists, and right now I am really into Jesca Hoop -- incredible stuff.
posted by june made him a gemini at 12:17 PM on December 17, 2009

Seconding Visqueen, Metric, and Yeah Yeah Yeahs. All have new albums out this year, so they should count as current. All of them are mixed-gender acts, but with a female lead singer who pretty much defines the band.

No one's mentioned The Ting Tings yet, so here you go.
posted by mhum at 12:34 PM on December 17, 2009

Nthing Vivian Girls - lo-fi punk.

Erase Errata - noisy experimental rock.

They've been around for a while, but The Breeders are still kickin'.
posted by kpmcguire at 12:47 PM on December 17, 2009

Some of my recent favorites in the female vocalist department:
Metric, sample: Help, I'm Alive from their last album
Neko Case, sample: People got a lot of nerve
Ida Maria, sample: Oh my god
Yeah Yeah Yeahs, sample: Cheated Hearts
CSS, sample: Beautiful Song
Charlotte Heatherly, sample: White
Dar Williams, sample: Book of Love
Eisley, sample: Taking Control
New Years Day, sample: I was right (warning, fabricated girly-radio-rock, I like this song though)
One True Thing, sample: Sound of my voice
One Way Letter, sample: Hospitals aren't so hospitable
Rainer Maria, sample: Catastrophe
Sahara Hotnights, sample: The lonliest city of all
Sarah Blasko, sample: All I want
Tilly and the Wall, sample: Pot Kettle Black

And there's always older, absolutely outstanding stuff by Mirah, Amy Milan, Rilo Kiley, Tegan and Sara, Emily Haines (of Metric), Stars, The Arrogants, Bif Naked, Cat Power and Rosie Thomas.
posted by starzero at 12:51 PM on December 17, 2009 [1 favorite]

The Unlovables.
posted by pete_22 at 1:17 PM on December 17, 2009

the all girl summer fun band
posted by phelixshu at 1:20 PM on December 17, 2009

Seconding carbide's love for BYOP -- sadly, they broke up, but Jemina Pearl (their singer) has an album out now that's pretty great, but may be swearier/illicit-content-ier than you would want. Or maybe not! You know your niece best, obviously.
posted by kittens for breakfast at 1:22 PM on December 17, 2009

The Noisettes, British rock pop. Go for the track: Sister Rosetta (Capture the Spirit)

Mika Miko was mentioned, but it's worth noting they just broke up. Punk, from California.

Regina Spektor, though I was disappointed with her latest album, Far. She's being a bit overproduced now. Soviet Kitsch has all the lovely quirkyness, a strong woman having fun at her piano, that I fell in love with. Sample lyric "a gargle with peroxide, a steak for your eye/ But I'm a vegetarian so it's a frozen pizza pie" <3>
Cansei De Der Sexy aka CSS, Brazil indy dance pop
posted by fontophilic at 1:24 PM on December 17, 2009

Marnie Stern
posted by WeekendJen at 1:36 PM on December 17, 2009

Seconding starzero with Sahara Hotnights. The albums I'm familiar with (Jennie Bomb and Kiss & Tell) are a few years old now, but they have some newer stuff out.
posted by indyz at 2:27 PM on December 17, 2009

The Ditty Bops! They are awesomely fun and have a kitschy-retro vibe without being *too* much. Their first single was "Ooh La La," which wasn't from all *that* long ago (2004 maybe?).
posted by lysimache at 2:36 PM on December 17, 2009

Beach House - Norway

(From Teen Dream, an album that doesn't come out till next month, and is amazing)
posted by eggplantplacebo at 2:48 PM on December 17, 2009

Lucky Soul are awesome.
posted by PhatLobley at 3:38 PM on December 17, 2009

Serena Ryder - Little Bit of Red

And... (relatively) current Pretenders - Boots of Chinese Plastic (Chrissie can still rip it up)
posted by hangashore at 3:49 PM on December 17, 2009

The Soviettes. They have a male drummer who sings sometimes, but I think they meet the spirit of your search. If you forced me I'd say this or this are their most mix-friendly songs.
posted by Doublewhiskeycokenoice at 4:26 PM on December 17, 2009

Got into The Raveonettes a few months ago and really like their sound and lyrics.
posted by white_devil at 8:42 PM on December 17, 2009

The Veronicas
posted by various at 9:07 PM on December 17, 2009

Here are a few ladies I haven't seen mentioned yet - they've all been around for a few years but are still active, and I tried to pick mostly recent songs:

Thea Gilmore - Come Up With Me or Avalanche
Santigold - L.E.S. Artistes
Heather Nova - Beautiful Storm
Maria Taylor - A Good Start or Cartoons and Forever Plans
Jenny Owen Youngs - Last Person
Imogen Heap - Tidal
Camaromance - What Happens Next?
posted by unsub at 9:38 PM on December 17, 2009

Seconding Electrelane. Fantastic band.
posted by You Should See the Other Guy at 10:20 PM on December 17, 2009

Response by poster: Thank you all for the suggestions! I'll follow up when it's all done and let you know what she thought of it.
posted by stefanie at 9:47 AM on December 18, 2009

Best new female performer, Karin Andersson of Fever Ray. C.f. When I grow Up.
posted by xod at 11:08 AM on December 18, 2009 [1 favorite]

Lash - Take Me Away fo sho.
posted by Sutekh at 4:28 AM on December 20, 2009

The Veronicas, Paramore, (paramore has guys as instrumental backup, but Hayley Williams is about as power-chick as you get) the Ting Tings, A Fine Frenzy, Imogen Heap, Regina Spektor.
posted by linzenoonoo at 10:20 AM on December 22, 2009 [1 favorite]

posted by The Whelk at 6:14 AM on January 19, 2010

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