By Erika Meyer
After reading Conan Neutron’s list of best 2012 rock releases, I asked myself which female-fronted rock acts I would be watching in 2013. And then I picked out five. Coincidentally, two of them are from Neutron’s hometown of Oakland, California.
I don’t seek the heaviest rockers or the baddest shredders. To me, that’s not what is rock’n'roll is about. Rock’n'roll is about laying it on the line. It’s about attitude. It’s about tradition. It’s about rule-breaking. It’s about rhythm. It’s about chaos. It’s about passion, kicks, hate, love, fear, joy, fun.
Fronted by Vancouver, B.C. writer Mish Way, White Lung is a band for those who still like to jump in the pit – YOU KNOW WHO YOU ARE. They released their second album, Sorry last May, and they released a single last year as well. ‘Take The Mirror’ is currently a free download on bandcamp. SNAG IT!!
EMA is a beautiful collaboration between Erika M. Anderson and Leif Shackelford. I know very little about Ms Anderson except that she is a viking from South Dakota. And I like the daring/heart/sonic experimentation in what I’ve heard from EMA so far.
Here is a digital single they released earlier this year.
It leads me to wonder: why don’t more bands use their art to take a stand and incite positive change in the world?
This Portland, Oregon band started as a duo (Marissa Laurelle and Marty Smith), were a three-piece in 2012, and in 2013, I’m told, they’ll be a four-piece. They are sleazy/sexy/scary/dorky/smart. They have good songs. They are fun to see live. Here is a link to The Slutty Hearts’ 2012 self-titled release on cassette and download.
And here’s a full set from January 2012. It sounds like there are about three people in the audience. Seriously, what’s more rock n’ roll than THAT?
In 2012 they released an album called Internal Logic which received a lot of critical attention. It’s good. I like it quite a bit better than their previous album, Past Time. But I’ve read a couple reviews expressing the opposite opinion. Go figure.
Besides critical debate, there are lots of things that are interesting about Grass Widow including their unique sound and their approach to music as an art and business collaboration. Another thing that I like about Grass Widow is that a band member, bassist Hannah Lew, made the music video for their single, ‘Goldilocks Zone’.
I think this will be a growing trend in the years to come: musicians doing their own graphic design and video-making; and artists working in collectives: videographers, actors, musicians, photographers, graphic artists – all supporting each other. Do it together!
It is also exciting to me to see the DIY music video evolving into an independent art form. With video technology becoming more accessible, and online streaming more sophisticated, I expect a continuing flow of clever and creative music videos from independent artists.
OH MY but there has been some serious rockin’ going on in the 5-1-oh! Like Grass Widow (and Shannon And The Clams! and Midnite Snaxxx! and Cyclops!), Wax Idols are from Oakland, California, just ‘cross the bay from San Francisco. Fronted by Hether Fortune who one article claims was thrown out of the band Hunx And His Punx for being “too serious” (oh Hether Fortune, I TOTALLY love you now), Wax Idols will release their second full-length album, Discipline & Desire, in March 2013. Hannah Lew of Grass Widow made the video for one of their new songs, Dilno. Good golly, it rocks! In fact, by now I’ve listened to at least half a dozen Wax Idols songs and I like all of them! Wax Idols manage to make their punk glam swagger feel fresh – not a rehash of the Ramones so much as the next logical step.
LOOK OUT FOR WAX IDOLS!!!