International Women’s Day: Celebrating Women in New Music

Although we’re keen to promote upcoming female talent every week here at Gigslutz, as Tuesday is International Women’s Day we thought it would be a good opportunity to celebrate some of the new and upcoming female bands and artists who we’ve been particularly inspired by over the last year.

I think it’s safe to say, the last year has been filled with plenty of awesome women in the world of music: from Beyonce’s incredible return to our lives with the poignant video for ‘Formation’ and spectacular performance at the Super Bowl, and Lady Gaga’s moving performance of ‘Til It Happens To You’ alongside survivors of sexual assault at The Oscars, to Adele and Taylor Swift’s latest hoard of awards – the success of women has been at the fore, and rightly so.

Alongside the success of these mega-stars, there’s been an incredible wave of newer female bands and artists who the Gigslutz team have been particularly enjoying and inspired by of late. The likes of Chastity Belt, Tacocat and Dilly Dally have been grabbing our attention with their riot grrrl-inspired raucous energy, whilst Grimes’ latest incredible album Art Angels leaves us speechless, and Lizzo’s Big Grrrl Small World makes us feel like we can conquer the world. And, as rockers like Courtney Barnett and Ex Hex continue to wow with their energy-fuelled live performances, there have been plenty of wonderful women filling our ear drums.

 International Women’s Day offers an opportunity to raise awareness of, and celebrate, being female. So, here are just a few of our reasons to celebrate…

Melissa Svensen (Festival News Editor):

2015 saw Charli XCX, one of the coolest women in music, release a BBC 3 documentary ‘The F-Word and Me’. Said documentary is when I released just how cool Charli is.

From the outset, the documentary is entirely personal; Charli isn’t, as she said herself, trying to be a feminist hero, she’s simply documenting her experience and those of her peers. Rather ironically, this seems so much more ‘feminist’ than an academic telling us how we should be feeling, thinking, acting: ‘The F-Word and Me’ left little room for debate because it never claimed to do anything other than offer an insight into the reality of the music industry.

Charli XCX reinforces the idea that feminism is a personal matter; we can create our own versions of feminism whether that means singing about love and dancing around in skimpy costumes or doing the complete opposite. ‘The F-Word and Me’ reminds us that feminism should be about personal empowerment and not angry debates.

Kate Crudgington (Associate Editor): 

PINS were the first band I saw with my sister at The Great Escape Festival last year, and they set the precedent for a truly blinding weekend. The Manchester post-punk five piece played a matinee slot at Brighton Dome’s Studio, and I was dazzled by their precise and powerful sound. ‘Girls Like Us’ and ‘Young Girls’ were anthems made for young women to cut loose to, and albums Wild Nights and Girls Like Us have been the soundtrack to my Saturday nights ever since.

During the same weekend, we found ourselves in The Haunt anticipating a knockout set from The Vaccines. The lads put on a great show, but it was The Big Moon who unexpectedly took our breath away. The London-based garage rockers performed with infinite confidence, and the sounds of ‘Sucker’ and ‘Eureka Moment’ rang in our ears long after their set concluded.

Watching PINS and The Big Moon perform live proved that despite what the crusty, patriarchal critics say – female friendship is alive, well, and absolutely fucking thriving on the live music scene right now. I reviewed both bands in an article for Gigslutz, and it was one of the first pieces I submitted to the site. Now, I write for the magazine on a weekly basis, and feel humbled to the bone that I’m part of a writing team which champions women’s achievements in new music.

Other personal highlights include: Grimes telling everyone where to go with her new album Art Angels, FKA Twigs being both master and muse during her Bestival performance, and discovering the magic of Hinds.

Nicky Lee-Delisle (Contributor):

Fans of Warpaint’s LA dream-pop sound will still find the trademark psychedelic sounds but with an injection of deep bass and a hint of goth-rock riffs in Jennylee‘s creations. One of the many reasons why I deeply admire her is due to the fact she expresses sexuality in her songs without being sleazy or trying too hard – ‘Boom Boom’ and ‘He Fresh’ are examples of this. She lets the haze of the keyboards and the plucking of the bass set the mood as she croons “if you see me, move my body, that’s a sign to…”

When I saw Jennylee trial Right On in Rough Trade East it was refreshing to see a female artist who was obviously very cool, yet didn’t put up a barrier between herself and the people around her. She played her set in a pair of jeans with her pastel hair tucked underneath her hoodie, and I knew this was a female artist who exudes enough confidence to be able to do whatever makes her feel comfortable. No matter how old we are we will always seek artists and musicians we can relate to, and so having an ethnic female who doesn’t worry about make-up, tucks her hair underneath a hoodie and purely focuses on the music means that I (and no doubt countless other girls too) finally have an artist who I feel I can relate to on the pop scene.

Mari Lane (New Music Editor): 

I can honestly say that the majority of my musical highlights over the last year have involved women. I’ve enjoyed a weekend of live music from the likes of Courtney Barnett, St Vincent and The Staves at Green (Wo)Man Festival, had all my dreams finally come true being in the presence of my hero at The Julie Ruin’s show in Camden, felt enthused and empowered at PINS‘ Women’s Equality Party gig, and discovered fantastic bands such as Chastity Belt and Skinny Girl Diet it’s been a pretty awesome twelve months.

However, there’s one young band that stand out as being a reason to celebrate being a woman in 2016: Hinds. The buoyant, infectious charisma of this Spanish band is just what the doctor ordered. Oozing their fantastically catchy lo-fi garage rock, they truly have brought a new meaning to the word fun. Seeing them live at Visions Festival was simply an incredible, uplifting and joyous experience; I left feeling motivated, inspired and full of hope by their energy and sunny charm. And, with songs such as ‘I’ll Be Your Man’ and ‘And I Will Send Your Flowers Back’, the witty, fun-loving way in which they turn gender norms on their head is pretty special.

And take a listen to our International Women’s Day special women in new music playlist here. Enjoy!


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Mari Lane

Mari Lane

Editor, London. Likes: Kathleen Hanna, 6Music, live music in the sunshine. Dislikes: Sexism, pineapples, the misuse of apostrophes.