Now Playing is a blog highlighting three different emerging or lesser known artists each week that have released exciting new music in 2020. Each week will follow a specific theme varying from genre specific themes to artist characteristics. With every artist, I include a short review of their latest release, similar artists (denoted with RIYL, recommended if you like), genres they may fall under and a couple of songs you should listen to!
For this edition of Now Playing we are showcasing some rock bands led by powerful women.
Location: Los Angeles, CA
Spotify Monthly Listeners: 537K
Latest Release: “I Love Us,” July 13
RIYL: Bikini Kill, Bratmobile, L7
Genre: Riot Grrrl, Punk Rock, Garage Rock
The Regrettes are one of the best modern day examples of riot grrrl, a sub-genre of punk music and the early ’90s underground feminist political movement fighting for the equality of women in the music industry. Punk rock builds the foundation of all of the band’s songs while elements of pop, ’60s doo-wop and surf music round out its sound as they sing about various politically and socially relevant topics among young women. The song “Poor Boy” is a call out on rape culture, mocking those who sympathize with abusers while “Ladylike” is a track that lists all of the outdated and sexist cultural norms expected of women. The band’s 2019 album “How Do You Love?” covers all of the highs and lows of a relationship while empowering women and teaching them their worth. The unapologetically honest lyrics coupled with the infectiously upbeat pop-inspired punk make this the perfect band for music loving activists, hopeless romantics and punk fans alike.
Best Songs: “California Friends,” “Poor Boy,” “Come Through,” “Picture Perfect”
Location: England, UK
Spotify Monthly Listeners: 225K
Latest Release: “Run For Cover,” September 18
RIYL: Blondie, The Big Moon, Starcrawler
Genre: Indie Rock, Pop Rock, Alt Pop
Black Honey is a four piece, fully independent pop rock band formed in Brighton, England. Since the band formed in 2014, it has embodied the true sound and spirit of indie rock, drawing from that original guitar pop rock that popularized the genre, while maintaining fluidity. Its 2016 EP “Headspin” ranges from fast, fuzzed guitars and angsty vocals on “All My Pride” to Lana Del Rey-esq psychedelic rock on “Headspin” for quite the diverse four-track EP. The band’s 2018 self-titled debut LP received praise from critics as it extended that range even further in such a way that creates cinematic imagery in sound. We see disco infused pop in “Midnight,” polished pop rock in “Crowded City” and spaghetti western influences in “I Only Hurt the Ones I Love.” Black Honey’s most recent single, “Run For Cover,” is a grungy, bass heavy, garage rock track with hints of the band’s signature pop rock for an exciting look on its upcoming album. Black Honey is doing exactly what independent rock bands should be doing – creating a recognizable sound that doesn’t disappear despite extensive experimentation.
Best Songs: “All My Pride,” “Run For Cover”,” “Crowded City”
Spotify Monthly Listeners: 93K
Latest Release: “Sorry for the Late Reply,” January 31
RIYL: Cherry Glazerr, Charly Bliss, Bully
Genre: Pop Punk, Riot Grrrl, Indie Rock
Norwegian band Sløtface (formerly known as and still pronounced Slutface) is a pop punk band inspired by the riot grrrl movement. The name Slutface was changed to be more commercially friendly but the band’s strong feminist message still holds true to the original name. Much of the music that the band creates is intended to make the listener think about how women are portrayed in popular culture, but it also tackles other political topics and common romantic relationship themes. Songs like “Nancy Drew” comment on the boys club seen in indie music while “Sink or Swim” discusses the urgency of the ongoing climate change battle. Sløtface’s sound is distinctly pop and rock based, but it has two different styles: the sharp, fast paced pop punk heard in “Sponge State” and the mid-tempo, indie rock that gradually builds to an exciting emotional ending heard in “Slumber.” Sløtface takes both thematic and musical elements from riot grrrl but develops them into its own unique, modern interpretation of the genre and movement, which I would recommend to anyone who wants to start listening to riot grrrl but is intimidated by the heavy punk rock.
Best Songs: “Nancy Drew,” “Sink or Swim,” “Sponge State,” “Slumber”