Marilyn Manson Does Not Count
February 26, 2008 6:39 AM   Subscribe

Help me find some kid-friendly female-vocals rock music for my aspiring riot grrl.

My four-year old daughter has been getting a big kick out of watching me play Guitar Hero 3. After a few sessions she asked, "Papa, why aren't there more girl rock singers?" I would very much like to gift her with a CD of music with "girl rock singers" that I could let her listen to in good conscience.

I would like to find music that's kid-friendly without being kiddie music. For example, the lyrics to Heart's "Barracuda" are opaque enough that I don't mind her listening. As much as I love Tori Amos, much of her music deals with themes that I feel are in appropriate.

I checked this thread and felt silly for not thinking of Shonen Knife myself.

It doesn't even necessarily have to be in English. She loves Superbus's "Radio Song" which is in French.

posted by DWRoelands to Media & Arts (69 answers total) 42 users marked this as a favorite
Pat Benatar!
posted by Sweetie Darling at 6:40 AM on February 26, 2008 [1 favorite]

Kay Hanley
posted by Hugh2d2 at 6:44 AM on February 26, 2008

Joan Jett's version of the Mary Tyler Moore Show Theme is definitely safe. And you cannot be without Joan Jett in this scenario. I Love Rock and Roll is also safe.

Tori's tough. I remember reading in her book that she didn't let her own daugher listen to most of it when she was your daughter's age. She said she liked Cornflake Girl, though.
posted by lampoil at 6:52 AM on February 26, 2008

My kid loves Hilary Duff and Hannah Montana. And of course High School Musical. All kid friendly.
posted by gfrobe at 6:54 AM on February 26, 2008

Best answer: The Aislers Set
All Girl Summer Fun Band
The Breeders
Camera Obscura
Cibo Matto (I'm thinking of their first album; I think your daughter would really love them, but I believe a couple of the songs have cussing, so be careful)
The Detroit Cobras
Dressy Bessy
Gabby La La
Holly Golightly/Thee Headcoatees (some songs may be inappropriate)
The Gossip (again, some inappropriateness, but good stuff)
Helen Love
Helium (The Magic City would be great for her!)
Joan Jett
Kahimi Karie
Kleenex (aka Liliput)
Lavender Diamond
Eleni Mandell
Mates of State
The Primitives
The Raincoats
The Revillos
The Rondelles
Seagull Screaming Kiss Her Kiss Her
Sons and Daughters
Stereo Total
Tiger Trap
posted by kitty teeth at 6:57 AM on February 26, 2008 [15 favorites]

Also, Maya Bond, who recorded her debut album at age four.
posted by kitty teeth at 6:58 AM on February 26, 2008

Evanescence (Amy Lee) Some songs are very inappropriate, but others are fine.

Sixpence None the Richer (Leah Nash) - Divine Discontent is very good, and mostly appropriate.

Ivy is good, especially Long Distance. Not rock rock but it is certainly catchy and fun. I especially like Worry About You

Cranberries is a good bet, especially Everybody Else is Doing It, So Why Can't We?
posted by The Deej at 7:00 AM on February 26, 2008

Response by poster: Wow, thank you all!
posted by DWRoelands at 7:05 AM on February 26, 2008

Laura Veirs
New Pornographers/Neko Case
Regina Spektor
posted by loiseau at 7:08 AM on February 26, 2008

kitty teeth's list is great. I especially recommend The Breeders.

Here are some more:

Cake Like
Dance Hall Crashers
The Dresden Dolls (sometimes inappropriate)
Luscious Jackson
Marine Research
Save Ferris
The Yeah Yeah Yeahs
posted by burnmp3s at 7:11 AM on February 26, 2008

i nominate Alexz Johnson. Most of her songs were recorded for a tv show called Instant Star, so there is the forced appropriateness thing going on. Also she has an amazing, amazing voice and a decent backup band.
Eisley would be a safe choice, I think.
The Veronicas, possibly. I don't have much of their music, but what I do have seems kid-appropriate.
posted by d13t_p3ps1 at 7:16 AM on February 26, 2008

Some songs by Headlights
The Concretes
Taken by Trees
Au Revoir Simone
Christine Fellows
posted by puritycontrol at 7:19 AM on February 26, 2008

Save Ferris
posted by hal_c_on at 7:22 AM on February 26, 2008

Go look up all the kill rock stars heads, there's a bunch of bonafide riot grrrl stuff there that rocks out. Sleater Kinney and The Breeders (Last Splash is crazy good) both get crazy points for rocking out guitar hero style.
posted by history is a weapon at 7:26 AM on February 26, 2008

Melissa Etheridge
The Pretenders
Patti Smith? Not sure for a four-year-old, though.
Janis Joplin (I loved "Mercedes Benz" as a young 'un.)
posted by Savannah at 7:36 AM on February 26, 2008

Pizzicato Five? particularly something like "twiggy vs james bond", which is more awesomely poppy sounding than rocking, but still fun.
posted by rmd1023 at 7:46 AM on February 26, 2008 [1 favorite]

Yes, I second all of these, as well as recommend the one's not yet mentioned:

Neko Case
Rilo Kiley
The Bird & The Bee
Be Your Own Pet (they rock and are young, very young)
Cat Power
Jesca Hoop (and on that note, perhaps Bjork)
Le Tigre
Marnie Stern
The Moldy Peaches
Natalie Merchant
some Pixies tracks
Regina Spektor
Siouxsie & The Banshees
Vashti Bunyan
Wanda Jackson
Yeah Yeah Yeahs (or The Ravonettes)

There ya go, there's a bunch of genres in there for the taking. You're bound to find a couple of tracks she likes in there.
posted by pedmands at 7:47 AM on February 26, 2008 [3 favorites]

Veruca Salt
posted by PenDevil at 7:47 AM on February 26, 2008

And if you want it vaguely Christian themed: Flyleaf.
posted by PenDevil at 7:48 AM on February 26, 2008

And also: Smoosh.
posted by PenDevil at 7:54 AM on February 26, 2008

I've lamented the lack of true female rockers before. And some of the suggestions, while they may have their merits, definitely aren't what I, at least, have in mind when I want to listen to rock (Dresden Dolls, Sixpence, or the truly baffling Hilary Duff and Hannah Montana recs).

But L.P. definitely rocks. Heart Shaped Scar is decent but her latest album, Suburban Sprawl & Alcohol, is really good and well worth picking up for anyone that likes rock. Unfortunately, I've never listened with suitability for children in mind so you definitely listen first; some songs are likely age-inappropriate.
posted by 6550 at 7:57 AM on February 26, 2008

Best answer: She might get a kick out of Devo 2.0.
posted by damn dirty ape at 7:59 AM on February 26, 2008

Vanilla Ninja!
posted by lou at 8:02 AM on February 26, 2008

Ooops, the second link was supposed to be this.
posted by lou at 8:03 AM on February 26, 2008

Stevie Nicks? The Cardigans?
posted by aielen at 8:03 AM on February 26, 2008

When I read this question PuffyAmiYumi's "Love So Pure" jumped in my head and will probably not leave for the rest of the day. It's kinda rockin' and I know they had Jellyfish's Andy Stuermer working with them for awhile. That might stray too far into pop for some tastes, however.

I think Jill Cunniff from Luscious Jackson is involved with a more kid-friendly album, I recall hearing an interview with her in the last year. I don't recall how much it may or may not rock.
posted by dr. fresh at 8:04 AM on February 26, 2008

Janis Joplin - Summertime, Mercedes Benz

Blondie - Atomic, Denis, Heart of Glass, Sunday Girl, Tide is High

Joan Jett and the Black Hearts - New Orleans, Push and Stomp,

The Suzie Quattro covers of Heartbreak Hotel and All Shook Up!

Kenickie - Punka

Breeders - Cannonball

PJ Harvey - O Stella, Good Fortune

Pretenders - Cuban Slide, Dont get me wrong

Koko Taylor - Wang Dang Doodle

Nina Simone - Got Life
posted by runincircles at 8:08 AM on February 26, 2008

A little more metal, so you'll probably need to look at it a little more but:
Lita Ford
Beautiful Sin
Nightwish (Mixed vocals but their latest CD is really good)
Stream Of Passion (Can't recommend this band enough)
Elastica (80s Rock Goodness)

That's the closest I have to good-for-kids I've got.
posted by Ikazuchi at 8:10 AM on February 26, 2008

The Kennedys - More folk rock than rock though. They are my daughter's favorite band.
posted by COD at 8:15 AM on February 26, 2008

The Free Design.
posted by drezdn at 8:15 AM on February 26, 2008

I really enjoy Mama Guitar. They are a female Japanese trio that plays 60's styled rock/R&B and are a lot of fun.
posted by Dr-Baa at 8:33 AM on February 26, 2008

I'll throw in early Throwing Muses (Real Ramona for example)

and relatedly, perhaps some of Tanya Donelly's work in Belly (Star in particular) or her later solo work (Love Songs for Underdogs or Beautysleep).

Some songs not appropriate as usual.
posted by elendil71 at 8:35 AM on February 26, 2008

posted by cmiller at 8:37 AM on February 26, 2008

Pizzicato Five. ("Made in USA" is the best, says me.)
posted by cmiller at 8:40 AM on February 26, 2008

posted by lohmannn at 8:43 AM on February 26, 2008

Other options:
Maow- Neko Case's cuddlecore band before she went Country.
Go Sailor- Featuring Rose from Tiger Trap and Amy from Henry's Dress. Really good!
The Riff Randells from Vancouver are really fun.
Nikki and the Corvettes are classic power-pop/pop-punk.
What the Kids Want and the Sissies are good, sloppy pop-punk from Bloomington.
Tilt from the East Bay.
And I'd be remiss if I skipped Judy and the Loadies who were great, but obscured by The Ne'er Do Wells/Hi-Fives.
posted by kendrak at 8:58 AM on February 26, 2008

The Collins Kids
The Go! Team
Selected songs by The Grates (check for cussing)
Mika Miko, maybe. Again, check the lyrics.
posted by hydrophonic at 9:03 AM on February 26, 2008

Since you mentioned they didn't have to be in English, I have some suggestions for Spanish-language singers/bands. They're not necessarily Barracuda-like, but if you want some variety in terms of genre/melody/style, these might work:

Julieta Venegas

La oreja de van Gogh

posted by DrGirlfriend at 9:13 AM on February 26, 2008

posted by BlzOfGlry at 9:27 AM on February 26, 2008

Jenny Lewis & the Watson Twins
posted by electroboy at 9:31 AM on February 26, 2008

No Doubt! Gwen Stefani!
posted by Mach5 at 9:35 AM on February 26, 2008

Bjork has been mentioned; you may, more specifically, want to check out her first (?) band, the Sugarcubes. The album "Life's Too Good" has some great rocky, screamy stuff. Her early solo album "Debut" is more straightforward than some of her later music. You may want to review these if you're worried about adult themes.
posted by ajp at 9:39 AM on February 26, 2008

I'm coming into this thread late, so most of my favorites have already been mentioned. (For good measure, I'll second Puffy Ami Yumi, Go Sailor, Joan Jett, Cub, Shonen Knife, etc.) BUT! You've GOT to check out The Trachtenburg Family Slideshow Players. The drummer is a 14 year old girl!

Also, possibly the Apples in Stereo, Yo La Tengo, Talking Heads, the Velvet Underground, and the Magnetic Fields as [mostly] kid-appropriate bands with strong female musicians who don't always do the singing? Or how about ESG?
posted by tugena13 at 9:40 AM on February 26, 2008

If you're coming off Guitar Hero/Rock Band, don't forget Freezepop. Their songs from GHII and Rock Band both mention beer ("keg of PBR" in Less Talk, More Rokk and being drunk in "Brainpower") but "Pop Music is Not a Crime" is pretty clean.
posted by robocop is bleeding at 10:02 AM on February 26, 2008

I wish it came to mind right away, but yeah, I'd say Blondie, above everything else (and be sure to tell her that that's the name of the band and not the singer). Maybe some Fleetwood Mac.

The Cardigans might appeal to her (First Band on the Moon was their big album), but the occasional lyric is non-kid-friendly. Ditto Rilo Kiley.

For some aggressive but still poppy punk rock, I like Tsunami Bomb, and their album, Ultimate Escape.
posted by TheSecretDecoderRing at 10:13 AM on February 26, 2008

My girls are into Superchick (I ended up putting them onto my mp3 player myself). Although marketed as a Christian band, it's not religious music...more like scrappy, upbeat feminism. They blend punk, rock, pop, rap, and modern r&b. (Check out the song, "We Live".)
posted by keith0718 at 10:36 AM on February 26, 2008

Thao and the Get Down Stay Down
Kate Voegele
Stephanie Dosen
Emaline Delapaix
Christabel and the Jons
Basia Bulat
Marissa Nadler
St. Vincent
One Star Story
Tiffany Christopher
April Inez
Kal Calhoone
Jillian Leigh
Nora & Gnoll
posted by psylosyren at 10:53 AM on February 26, 2008

Wendy and Bonnie - Genesis
posted by rhizome at 10:56 AM on February 26, 2008

Kind of surprised nobody has mentioned The Donnas yet.
The Pipettes - indie pop inspired by 50s-60s girl bands
About half of the stuff by Os Mutantes
posted by gauchodaspampas at 10:59 AM on February 26, 2008

Response by poster: Good heavens, I'll be poring over these for weeks. As always, I am grateful. Thank you!
posted by DWRoelands at 11:14 AM on February 26, 2008

While mostly folky, Dar Williams has several songs with a rockier feel, and most of the lyrics are totally kid-appropriate.
posted by Myself at 11:19 AM on February 26, 2008


Brazilian Girls (not all age appropriate, but Sabina has a great voice)


Aimee Mann
posted by InstantSanitizer at 11:30 AM on February 26, 2008


One of my favorite bands, I'm still in mourning from them breaking up two years ago.
posted by CharlieChu at 11:52 AM on February 26, 2008

Half of the White Stripes is female and kids seem to really love their music.
posted by sid at 12:19 PM on February 26, 2008

Aimee Mann

Oh duh I forgot about her. Definately a second for everything she's done solo (Lost in Space perhaps?). And perhaps her second Til Tuesday release, Welcome Home.
posted by elendil71 at 12:24 PM on February 26, 2008

Seconding Shonen Knife and Dressy Bessy.
posted by davetill at 12:29 PM on February 26, 2008

Tangential: Have you heard about Girls Rock camp? There's a documentary coming out:

The website has a trailer as well as a listing about the various Girls Rock camps throughout the U.S., though 4 might be a little young for it.
posted by HeroZero at 2:35 PM on February 26, 2008

Ack, let me try that again:
posted by HeroZero at 2:36 PM on February 26, 2008

Nthing most of the above. Also: Tuscadero, Gossip.
posted by SassHat at 2:52 PM on February 26, 2008

I came in here to mention the girls rock movie!

Also worth a try:

Soda Pop Rip Off
and the Spirit of '73 Rock for Choice benefit, which is all contemporary-ish female artists covering songs from the '70s.
posted by dizziest at 2:58 PM on February 26, 2008

Would anything by Garbage work?
posted by divabat at 3:58 PM on February 26, 2008

The Rentals have some female vocals and I love rocking out to them with my elementary students. LCD Soundsystem is mainly a mix of male/female vocals, but has some great kid-friendly lyrics, too. Holly Golightly has many tracks that have inappropriate lyrics, but she's so great it's worth the listen to find the ones that would work for you.
posted by evalenza at 4:43 PM on February 26, 2008

The Four Nonblonds "What's goin' on"
posted by HotPatatta at 6:34 PM on February 26, 2008

Wait, how has no one mentioned the Go-Gos and the Bangles yet?
posted by TheSecretDecoderRing at 11:44 PM on February 26, 2008

Get the Josie and The Pussycats movie soundtrack. It's actually pretty good (Bif Naked and a whole heap of awesome chicks worked on it), and totally family friendly.
posted by indienial at 12:26 AM on February 27, 2008

I came in to second The Pretenders and add Concrete Blonde
posted by softlord at 6:01 AM on February 27, 2008

Tokyo Jihen
posted by healthytext at 6:42 AM on February 27, 2008

Tegan And Sara!
posted by ChrisNoXmas at 12:07 PM on February 27, 2008

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