In August, The Killers drummer Ronnie Vannucci Jr. was asked why rock acts today aren’t as commercially successful. He pompously responded, “People are very quick to blame a changing of the times for a lot of things, when it’s really that they’re just not good enough .”
Coming from the leader of arguably one of the most mediocre rock bands of our generation, he could not be any farther from incorrect. The problem with people today is that their scope is still limited to focusing on the media–driven image of a rock band: all–male. In some instances a token female bassist might be present to ‘shake things up,’ but the music industry propagates rock superstars as men. Recently, though, the tides have turned. Women are the new rock gods.
I’ve been going through my iTunes lately and have come to the realization that every single great rock band I listen to today is either all–female or female–led, to name a few: Girlpool, Big Thief, Priests, Guerilla Toss, Hinds, Julien Baker, Japanese Breakfast, and Paramore. It's awesome. There's something amazing that women bring to the table when it comes to rock; the energy is raw, unfiltered, and downright rad.
One of the best examples of this energy can be found in the group Ex Hex led by rock band nomad Mary Timony (most recently of Wild Flag with Carrie Brownstein from Portlandia—). Formed in mid–2013, this garage–rock band’s self–titled debut (and only) album reinvigorates the vibes of '70s rock 'n' roll. Though clean–cut, the crisp production mixed with the thrashing of Timony’s mean guitar solos coupled with her sing–speak monotone creates a mood that can bring back that high school summer of blasting The Strokes in your car while speeding down the highway (if this is something you haven’t done, I highly suggest adding it to your to–do list immediately).
On the other end of the spectrum is Haim, a sister supergroup focused on making pop hits. They help fill the void in radio–rock hits through their simple melodies and high–energy tunes. Their heartthrob lyrics share great stories in a medium easily accessible to a new generation of music listeners who have grown to appreciate computer–generated beats over live instruments. Even with their quick mainstream success, Haim has continued to stay true to their '80s glam–rock style.
And tehese two groups are exemplary of the type of searing rock music coming from the women of the world. Like any other group of people, they are all–encompassing (what a surprise). Artists range in sounds from the Seattle–punk of Taco Cat, chill jams of Australia’s Courtney Barnett, and even some downright hard–rock classics coming from Philly–based group Sheer Mag. I could go on and on, but really what is to be understood from this is that the throne has been conquered.
Through articles like this, I hope that people will start opening up their minds to step outside the normal rock male–centric idealism. In truth, it's all the same: great rock is great rock, no matter from what gender it originates. On that note, here's a playlist to get you started: