10 Female-Fronted Britpop Bands

The term ‘britpop’ is often overshadowed by male band dominance – the likes of Oasis, Blur, Pulp (with the exception of Candida Doyle), Suede, Supergrass… the list goes on. People are quick to forget and undermine the array of wonderful female-fronted bands around at the time.

Well, here’s ten of my favourite female Britpop bands you may not have heard of, but should check out regardless.

Elastica:

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I should probably start this off with Elastica; they are, after all, the seemingly ‘definitive’ Britpop girl band always remembered by critics and music journalists. But was that because of their music? Or the fact that lead singer Justine Frischmann (ex-Suede band member) was in possibly the biggest love triangle of the early 90’s with the two Britpop ‘it-boys’ of the time: Damon Albarn and Brett Anderson? Who knows. However, that’s not to take away from Elastica’s worthiness as a band; their self-titled release in 1995 is easily one of the best Britpop records ever released.

My favourite songs: Connection, Waking Up, All-Nighter

Sleeper:

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Fronted by Louise Wener, Sleeper were one of the more well-known female-fronted Britpop groups. Their sound is quite reminiscent of Blondie and even makes one draws comparisons with their peers at the time in Elastica. It wouldn’t surprise me if Louise Wener was inspired by Justine Frischmann in more than just a penchant for creating catchy pop songs and similar lyrical context (see her haircut for details) – but that doesn’t matter, because I for one much prefer Sleeper over Elastica.

My favourite songs: Inbetweener, Sale of the Century, What Do I Do Now?, Statuesque

Echobelly:

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Like Sleeper, another band that enjoyed moderate success but were often overshadowed by Elastica’s popularity and comparison – were Echobelly. In my opinion, the influence of Morrissey, The Smiths, and jangle pop is much more apparent in the music and lyrics. And after all, Morrissey was an Echobelly fan, which means they must be good.

My favourite songs: King of the Kerb, Great Things, Insomniac, I Can’t Imagine The World Without Me

Lush:

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Originally more of a shoegazing band, Lush’s sound eventually progressed towards uplifting Britpop with feminist undertones and anti-misogyny/anti-sexist lyrical themes. Perhaps their most famous song, Ladykillers, is a feminist anthem embracing fierce female independence. Their most successful album, Lushlife, released in 1996, is considered a 90’s masterpiece (and even features a duet with lead singer Miki Berenyi and Jarvis Cocker). Lushlife would’ve no doubt launched them into Britpop superstardom if not for the shock suicide of their drummer shortly after the release – which ultimately caused them to disband later that year.

My favourite songs: Ladykillers, Single Girl, De-Luxe, Ciao! (duet with Jarvis Cocker)

Catatonia:
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In the days of post-Britpop, Catatonia were one of the biggest – and best – rock bands to come out of Wales. With front-woman Cerys Matthews’ instantly recognisable brash vocal style and sometimes-odd lyrical subtext, they enjoyed quite large success – especially with the 1998 release of their album International Velvet. They even did a duet with Welsh legend Tom Jones.

My favourite songs: Mulder and Scully, I Am The Mob, Road Rage, Strange Glue

Kenickie:
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Fronted by Lauren Laverne and hailing from Newcastle, Kenickie (named after their favourite character from Grease), gained mild popularity with the release of their debut At The Club in 1998 – which, I can vouch for, is a great, upbeat staple to the Britpop genre. Although Kenickie never achieved major success, they were the epitomy of a 90’s pop band — lots of fun and never took things too seriously.

My favourite songs: In Your Car, Punka, Nightlife, Stay In The Sun

The Sundays:
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Okay, probably technically not Britpop and perhaps leaning more towards indie – but it doesn’t really matter – because The Sundays were a really great band and deserve some love and appreciation. Formed in the late 80’s and continuing throughout the 90’s, they achieved almost unprecedented success within their genre for their debut Reading, Writing, And Arithmetic which features songs about living in England, finding a pound coin in the underground, and kicking boys until they cry. They are one of my favourite bands and a nice mellow listen. Highly recommended.

My favourite songs: I Kicked A Boy, My Finest Hour, Here’s Where The Story Ends, Can’t Be Sure

Dubstar:
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Dubstar were a trio from Newcastle lead by Sarah Blackwood. Their acclaimed 1995 debut, Disgraceful (amazing record) is full of catchy dreampop and indie melodies which gained them a lot of success early on in their career. They had a real knack for writing bright pop melodies which were then underpinned by quite somber, depressing lyrics (see: Just A Girl She Said for example). Often forgot about nowadays, but definitely worth checking out.

My favourite songs: Just A Girl She Said, Not So Manic Now, Popdorian, Stars

The Popguns:
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Formed in the late 80’s, The Popguns never made much of an impact and I have no idea why. Led by frontwoman Wendy Morgan, and with Shaun Charman (ex-Wedding Present) in the line-up, The Popguns’ sound is upbeat jangle pop at it’s best. Despite their lack of mainstream success, they were, however, championed by the late great John Peel – someone who always knew a great band when he heard them. They are seriously good and seriously underrated.

My favourite songs: Waiting For The Winter, Landslide, Someone You Love, Still A World Away

Salad:
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Despite their first album Drink Me being quite well received, Salad never really took off, which is a shame because they were a cool band and wrote some really good songs: one of my favourite lyric of theirs being “I am winter solstice waiting / Like a granite statue”

My favourite songs: Drink The Elixir, Motorbike To Heaven, Granite Statue, Machine of Menace

So there you have it. Ten female-fronted Britpop bands I like, complete with Spotify links for you to enjoy and hopefully discover some new music. Let me know what you think.

xo, c

Band shirts: 95% of my wardrobe

I swear, I find the best places to buy band tees. I love old 80s-90s britpop/alt rock/indie pop and buying their merch has kind of become a necessity for me.

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I can’t attach videos on my phone (I mostly use the WordPress app – I hardly come on the computer anymore) but I thought I’d attach a mini playlist of songs by the artists on these shirts as they’re some of my absolute favourite bands.

X-Ray Spex – “Oh Bondage! Up yours!”, “I Can’t Do Anything”, “Plastic Bag” – Germ Free Adolescents (1978)

Suede – “Trash”, “Beautiful Ones”, “Everything Will Flow”, “Saturday Night” – The Best of Suede (2010)

The Stone Roses – “I Wanna Be Adored”, “Made Of Stone”, “Sally Cinnamon” – The Very Best Of The Stone Roses (2002)

The Smiths – “There Is A Light That Never Goes Out”, “Cemetry Gates”, “The Boy With A Thorn In His Side” – The Queen Is Dead (1986)

Pixies – “Wave Of Mutilation”, “Here Comes Your Man”, “Monkey Gone To Heaven”, “Debaser” – Doolittle (1989)

Teenage Fanclub – “What You Do To Me”, “Star Sign”, “The Concept” – Bandwagonesque (1991)

Oasis – “Hello”, “Roll With It”, “Some Might Say”, “Don’t Look Back In Anger” – (What’s The Story) Morning Glory? (1995)

Monthly Mixtape: August 2012

August was sort of a 90s/riot grrrl month…

Babes in Toyland – Bruise Violet

The Muffs – Lucky Guy

Bikini Kill – RIP

L7 – Wargasm

Excuse 17 – Watchmaker

Heavens to Betsy – My Red Self

Lush – For Love

Bratmobile – Gimme Brains

Sleater-Kinney – Modern Girl

4 Non Blondes – What’s Up

Belly – Feed The Tree

Vagiant – FTK (Fuck The Kells)

Hole – Sugar Coma

Monthly Mixtape: July 2012

Every month I’m going to be making a post of music I’ve been listening to; sort of like a playlist. Expect a lot of variety – old, new, relatively unheard of, insanely popular, old favourites, new discoveries, etc. I listen to a lot of music. Anyway, without further ado, here’s my July favourites!

The Sounds – The No No Song

The Sounds are a five-piece, female fronted band from Sweden. I heard this song on a indie horror movie soundtrack and was instantly drawn to the addictive guitar riffs and that electrifying new wave pop/rock sound which makes for the perfect song. I’ve since bought their latest album, ‘Something To Die For’ and have to say I love it. The band’s lead singer, Blondie-esque Maja Ivarsson, has also been be featured on the 2011 All Time Low album ‘Dirty Work’ – she’s a guest vocalist on the track “Guts”.

The Sounds Official website

Girl In A Coma – Their Cell

I’ve known about Girl In A Coma for a few years (something which brought them to my attention is the fact they’re on Joan Jett’s “Blackheart Records” label!), but for whatever reason, never got round to listening to them until recently. As soon as I heard the bittersweet introduction to Their Cell, followed by the painfully honest and intense lyrics, I knew I would love this band – and I was right! I looked through YouTube, listening to every possible GIAC song I could find, and to my pleasant surprise, I haven’t been able to find one I dislike. This three-piece all-girl band from San Antonio, Texas are definitely now on my ‘favourite bands’ list.

Girl In A Coma Official website

Superbus – Radio Song

Playing Guitar Hero III copious amounts with my step-sister has it’s advantages! This catchy, upbeat tune by French five-piece Superbus is featured on the game as an unlockable bonus song. After discovering this band via good old Guitar Hero, I was on Spotify straight away and listened to their Greatest Hits album so many times that I succeeded my play limit! Sad times. I’m going to buy that album asap.

SUPERBUS Official website

No Doubt – Oi! To The World

No Doubt: one of my favourite bands ever. Gwen Stefani: my goddess. An oldie, but a goodie, everyone should be aware of this cover of The Vandals’ song of the same name – it’s just wonderful. Infact, I like the No Doubt version way better. Seriously, can this band do anything short of amazing? I’ve loved No Doubt ever since I was a kid when my dad used to play Tragic Kingdom in the mornings on the way to school. The band’s highly anticipated new record is coming out in little over a month [September 25th!] and I can’t effing wait.

No Doubt Official website

Bikini Kill – For Tammy Rae

Hands down one of the most beautiful songs I’ve ever heard; it’s the perfect ‘best friend’ song. It’s no secret that I adore Bikini Kill, so I just had to include a song by them; and this one’s my favourite. For the grrrl who changed my life…

Bikini Kill Official website

Kathleen Hanna Official website

Chantal Claret – Honey, Honey

Channeling that retro motown beat and taking listeners on an audio journey back to the 60s via her recent debut album, ex-Morningwood frontwoman Chantal Claret has won me over yet again. I listened to this track consistently for about 3 hours when I first heard it and can you blame me?

Chantal Claret Official website

Gossip – Move In The Right Direction

This song is a feel-good, inspiring, motivational anthem that I can’t get enough of. Beth Ditto is without a doubt one of the coolest frontwomen in rock today… She’s a controversial, outspoken, lesbian feminist, and she  doesn’t give a fuck. I love her.

Gossip Official website

Band Of Horses – The End’s Not Near

The song title sounds slightly uplifting, right? Wrong. This song is melancholy and depressing as hell… but that’s what’s so gorgeous about it. I’ve been listening to Band Of Horses a lot recently; it seems all their songs share the same beautifully destructive vibe; lovely yet awful, happy yet sad… After listening to their third album ‘Infinite Arms‘ in it’s entirety, the only thing I was sure of was that I loved this band. I’ll definitely be buying their new album in September!

Band Of Horses Official website

Frank Black – I Heard Ramona Sing

I’m a devout Pixies fan, so it would make perfect sense that I adore everything Black Francis does; his solo album that this song is from (and one of my favourite albums) was released shortly after the break-up of the Pixies – the material is definitely similar to the likes of Bossanova (one of my other favourite albums) but at the same time it’s distinctly different. This song was featured on the Scott Pilgrim vs. The World soundtrack; ‘Ramona’ obviously being in reference to the character Ramona Flowers (although according to Black, it was written about the Ramones).

Frank Black Official website

The Jesus & Mary Chain – Head On

This is one of the constantly played songs on my iPod… JAMC are one of my favourite bands of all time. I don’t have anything else to say. If you don’t like this song… I don’t know what’s quite wrong with you.

The Jesus & Mary Chain Official website