Bands featuring "arty" female vocals?
July 29, 2020 2:12 PM   Subscribe

What are some bands and albums that feature, for lack of a better word, "arty" female vocals, a la Life Without Buildings, Suburban Lawns, Bjork/The Sugarcubes?

These artists are fairly different from each other, but there's an angular, theatrical, weird, arty quality to the vocals that they all share in my mind. I guess they're all also somewhere on the post-punk/new wave spectrum, and maybe that's part of what I like. I'd love to discover more music like this. Thank you!
posted by scarylarry to Media & Arts (55 answers total) 21 users marked this as a favorite
 
Hop Along's Frances Quinlan uses her voice in interesting ways.
posted by soy_renfield at 2:22 PM on July 29, 2020 [5 favorites]


Tune-Yards is my first thought
posted by babelfish at 2:25 PM on July 29, 2020 [5 favorites]


Austra/Future Politics/Utopia might fit the bill
posted by They sucked his brains out! at 2:26 PM on July 29, 2020 [1 favorite]


First thing that comes to mind based on the description is the Cocteau Twins.
posted by subocoyne at 2:26 PM on July 29, 2020 [17 favorites]


These may not be quite right but here goes: seconding Hop Along. Adding anything by Vagabon. Maybe Big Thief's Adrianne Lenker (UFOF). Maybe Mitski.
posted by ferret branca at 2:27 PM on July 29, 2020 [2 favorites]


Angular, theatrical, weird, arty female vocals and post-punk/new wave makes me think of Poly Styrene and X-Ray Spex and Siouxsie and the Banshees.
posted by googly at 2:31 PM on July 29, 2020 [6 favorites]


Oh, also Shara Nova (formerly Worden) and her band My Brightest Diamond. And maybe Saint Vincent?
posted by ferret branca at 2:47 PM on July 29, 2020 [2 favorites]


Sonic Youth's songs that feature Kim.
posted by vunder at 2:50 PM on July 29, 2020 [4 favorites]


Kate Bush
Grace Jones
10,000 Maniacs w/ Natalie Merchant
Throwing Muses w/ Kristen Hersh
posted by RobotVoodooPower at 2:51 PM on July 29, 2020 [7 favorites]


Ponytail
Kate Bush - (theatrical but not really 'angular')
FKA Twigs
tUnE-yArDs
The Raincoats
posted by theory at 2:53 PM on July 29, 2020 [2 favorites]


One of my favourite bands is Cocorosie - two sisters, one of whom is a trained opera singer, the other definitely not (she has a yelping rap I personally find delightful). This song, Tears For Animals, from their best album, Tales of a Grass Widow showcases their interplay and, as a bonus, is one of their semi-frequent collaborations with Ahoni (previously known as Antony of Antony and the Johnsons). It might scratch that itch...
posted by deeker at 2:54 PM on July 29, 2020 [6 favorites]




Not a band, but Mary Margaret O'Hara
posted by ShaSha747 at 3:09 PM on July 29, 2020 [4 favorites]


And I guess we should include Joni Mitchell too
posted by RobotVoodooPower at 3:16 PM on July 29, 2020 [1 favorite]


PJ harvey
mazzy star
tank and the bangas

come to mind..
posted by elgee at 3:25 PM on July 29, 2020 [1 favorite]


Fever Ray. When I Grow Up. If I Had a Heart. Keep the Streets Empty for Me.

Thao & The Get Down Stay Down. Phenom. Temple. Meticulous Bird.
posted by Lexica at 3:28 PM on July 29, 2020 [4 favorites]


Trish Keenan of the band Broadcast
Latitia Sadier of the band Stereolab
posted by JimDe at 3:33 PM on July 29, 2020 [3 favorites]


Sylvan Esso? Imogene Heap/Frou Frou?
posted by Sublimity at 3:38 PM on July 29, 2020 [1 favorite]


Janice Joplin had a throaty artsy voice.
posted by AugustWest at 3:38 PM on July 29, 2020 [1 favorite]


Diamanda Galas? Lest we forget Laurie Anderson???
posted by Sublimity at 3:39 PM on July 29, 2020 [4 favorites]


Joanna Newsom
posted by galvanized unicorn at 4:07 PM on July 29, 2020 [10 favorites]


Jesca Hoop
Laura Viers
Britanny Howard from Alabama Shakes
posted by kitten kaboodle at 4:35 PM on July 29, 2020 [1 favorite]


Cibo Matto are super arty, not only with their dual lead female vocals.
posted by SaltySalticid at 4:38 PM on July 29, 2020 [3 favorites]


Meara O'Reilly - Hockets for Two Voices
posted by scruss at 4:49 PM on July 29, 2020 [1 favorite]


The Knife / Fever Ray (If I Had A Heart, I'm Not Done)
Aurora (amazing cover of God Is A Woman)
Bat for Lashes (Two Planets, What's A Girl To Do)
Sinead O'Connor (Troy, Jackie)
PJ Harvey (To Bring You My Love)
London Calling (Rooting For You)
posted by ourobouros at 5:07 PM on July 29, 2020 [3 favorites]


Sarah Blasko
posted by kjs4 at 5:16 PM on July 29, 2020 [2 favorites]


Hundred Waters is like Cocteau Twins meets Bjork
posted by saladin at 5:18 PM on July 29, 2020 [3 favorites]


First thing I thought of was Camille's album Le Fil, the track that hooked me was Ta Douleur. Great video, especially if you can understand any of the French (mine is rusty and I only get bits).

Also definitely agree with Imogen Heap, she gets artier and artier as time goes on. Try Hide and Seek to start, not her most recent but a good example.
posted by Athanassiel at 5:25 PM on July 29, 2020 [3 favorites]


Laurie Anderson's United States is a whole performance piece that has exquisite visuals. It's brilliant. Her Mister Heartbreak and Moby Dick performances are also really wonderful. Her work with Brian Eno, Like Pictures as well.
posted by effluvia at 5:45 PM on July 29, 2020 [2 favorites]


Portishead? Lead vocalist Beth Gibbons has some solo albums as well. I *love* her voice.
posted by sara is disenchanted at 6:03 PM on July 29, 2020 [5 favorites]


Au Pairs
The Slits/The Raincoats
Altered Images
Romeo Void
Nico solo albums
Annette Peacock

Patti Smith is like the fairy godmother of this style, any early album, Radio Ethiopia comes to mind.
posted by ovvl at 6:06 PM on July 29, 2020 [3 favorites]


Definitely Cocteau Twins and the Sundays
posted by tafetta, darling! at 6:08 PM on July 29, 2020 [2 favorites]


Hugo Largo
posted by thelonius at 6:16 PM on July 29, 2020 [1 favorite]


Ludus
posted by Bigfoot Mandala at 6:26 PM on July 29, 2020 [1 favorite]


yeah yeah yeahs
cate lebon
girl ray
sleater kinney
l7
hole
posted by askmehow at 6:36 PM on July 29, 2020 [5 favorites]


Yoko Ono?
posted by Faint of Butt at 6:58 PM on July 29, 2020 [3 favorites]


Nico, on the Velvet Underground’s first album.
posted by ogooglebar at 8:09 PM on July 29, 2020


Seconding My Brightest Diamond.

Also, Grimes, Rubblebucket and Ladytron.
posted by stella1 at 8:18 PM on July 29, 2020 [1 favorite]


Cate LeBon is ***great***
posted by cotton dress sock at 8:25 PM on July 29, 2020 [4 favorites]


Blonde Redhead (ex. "In Particular")
Lene Lovich (ex. "Lucky Number")
The Mo-Dettes (ex. "White Mice"
The Slits (ex. "I Heard It Through the Grapevine")
Delta 5 (ex. "Mind Your Own Business")
Au Pairs (ex. "It's Obvious")
The Concretes (ex. "You Can't Hurry Love")
Jessica Pratt (ex. "Moon Dude")
Bikini Kill / Le Tigre (exs. "Strawberry Julius" / "Deceptacon")
Beach House (ex. "Silver Soul")
[Piggybacking off of the previous Fever Ray suggestion] The Knife (ex. "Pass This On")
Anika / Exploded View (exs. "Yang Yang" / "No More Parties In the Attic")
Deerhoof (ex. "Apple Bomb")
Glass Candy (ex. "Beatific")
Them Are Us Too (ex. "Eudaemonia")
Dead Can Dance (ex. "Avatar")
Young Marble Giants (ex. "N.I.T.A.")
posted by misscleo3861 at 9:14 PM on July 29, 2020 [3 favorites]


Seconding Deerhoof: Xmas Tree
posted by They sucked his brains out! at 11:22 PM on July 29, 2020 [2 favorites]


Going back to the lyrics, I do wonder if that song inspired Katamari Damacy
posted by They sucked his brains out! at 11:29 PM on July 29, 2020


Canada's own Jane Siberry perhaps:
Map Of The World
One More Colour
posted by i_mean_come_on_now at 5:35 AM on July 30, 2020 [2 favorites]


Tamara Williamson
posted by Poldo at 6:12 AM on July 30, 2020 [1 favorite]


Toyah Willcox
posted by flabdablet at 7:02 AM on July 30, 2020 [1 favorite]


Jolie Holland fits the bill, I think. Check out my favorite song of hers, "All Those Girls" off of Pint of Blood. Also a Tiny Desk appearance.

Another "arty" performer I really love, Eliza Rickman. Here's a Tiny Desk appearance from her Tiny Tour Bus doing Lark of My Heart," and also check out "Pretty Little Head," (video has a Marie Antoinette theme, so... some network-TV level losing a head imagery).

You might like Beth Quist, described on Magnatune as "electro-Balkan / Indian meets new age," in the alt-rock category. "Crazy," is really good. More on Magnatune.
posted by jzb at 7:05 AM on July 30, 2020 [2 favorites]


Rasputina!
posted by knile at 7:09 AM on July 30, 2020 [2 favorites]


Trio Bulgarka
posted by flabdablet at 7:13 AM on July 30, 2020 [1 favorite]


Light Asylum, feat. Shannon Funchess blew my mind most recently.
posted by cogat at 7:37 AM on July 30, 2020 [1 favorite]


To me, The Slits would definitely be a prime example of the "angular/post-punk" vocal style you're talking about.
posted by demonic winged headgear at 9:32 AM on July 30, 2020 [2 favorites]


Also seconding Blonde Redhead!

(Also this band reminds me that Johnette Napolitano of the band Concrete Blonde is a huge vocal talent, probably falling into the arty-but-not-angular category)
posted by demonic winged headgear at 9:44 AM on July 30, 2020 [2 favorites]


And, Tori Amos has not been mentioned yet.
posted by demonic winged headgear at 9:57 AM on July 30, 2020 [1 favorite]


Response by poster: Thank you for all of these fantastic suggestions! I favorited all of them because they are all my favorite.
posted by scarylarry at 1:29 PM on July 30, 2020 [1 favorite]


Meryn Cadell?
posted by a person of few words at 4:11 PM on July 30, 2020


I really like Kate Miller-Heidke (God's Gift to Women)
posted by wheek wheek wheek at 5:17 AM on August 1, 2020


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