Despite riot grrrl arguably having it’s heyday in the 90s, the riot grrrl spirit still carries on for many bands today through their punk attitude and lyricism about issues of inequality that still affect many people today. Covering topics like consent, being independent as a woman, bodily autonomy and the male dominated political sphere, there are still plenty of riot grrrl bands around to give people a dose of riotous activism.
With the scene being fostered by organisations such as Loud Women and Girls That Gig, new feminist bands are cropping up all the time, so we’ve compiled a list of some of our favourites.
Three-piece The Tuts have been kicking up a fuss about inequalities in this world since 2012, and just last year released their debut album ‘Update Your Brain’, an insight into the many reasons why people need to renew their way of thinking. From the pop-warble of ‘I Call You Up’, complete with gang vocals and lyrics such as “I’m not just starting beef but you’ve gone to sleep” to ‘Dump Your Boyfriend’ which eloquently tells people to be empowered to dump boys that aren’t good for them, this band have pretty much all bases covered.
Having only released one EP in their time as a band, DREAM NAILS have managed to create quite an impact on the underground scene, with a headline tour that’s hitting up venues such as The Islington in London and Rough Trade in Nottingham, with even a few dates in Austria. Their abrasive tracks which cover topics such as setting someone’s dick on fire are just the right amount of fun and angry to win over anyone, so keep an ear out for these “feminist punk witches from hell”.
Describing themselves as an “activist, riot grrrl” band, Peach Club are bringing the riot grrrl sound of the 90s up to date with chunky guitar riffs and a more melodic approach on their 2016 EP ‘The Bitch Diaries’. Their releases since then have embraced the lo-fi, wailing sound that have characterised their music since, but the hard-hitting topics are still well and truly there, as they tackle not only issues of inequality but issues of inequality within feminism, such as on their track ‘White Girl’ which calls out a lack of intersectionality in some circles of feminism.
Leaning slightly more post-punk than punk, Petrol Girls are a feminist band worth talking about. Packed to the brim with metallic riffs and hoarse, impassioned vocals, Petrol Girls hit on so many topics within their ‘Talk of Violence’ album it can be overwhelming at times. Perhaps the best example of what they do is ‘Touch Me Again’, a roaring explosion of a song that ends with an a cappella chant of “touch me again and I’ll fucking kill you” over and over.
THE MENSTRUAL CRAMPS
When an album includes song titles such as ‘My Bush Ain’t Ur Business’ and ‘Hashtag Sad Penis’, you know it’s going to be an interesting listen, and it’s to be expected from an album entitled ‘We’re Not Ovaryacting’ by a band called The Menstrual Cramps. Full of low-fi punk tracks that can go from making you feel angry to laughing at the crudeness of it all, The Menstrual Cramps really are “smashing the patriarchy one track at a time” with every song they release.
Pretty new to the scene, GUTTFULL have released just one single so far, with another soon on the way. ‘Arsehole’ is a vehement track, getting straight to the point in calling Donald Trump an arsehole whilst utilising a saxophone amongst the usual punk fare. It’s a loud and angry track, and the music video which features people in London giving the middle finger matches perfectly.
FIGHT ROSA FIGHT
Sounding a little more melodic but still riot girl, Fight Rosa Fight have released three EPs: ‘Step One: Start a Band’, ‘Rotten’, and a split EP with Little Fists. Their sound has developed over all three releases, with a ramshackle, DIY sound on the first one that’s given way to a much more refined sound on their more recent releases without sounding too polished and overdone. ‘We Scream In Silence’ from their ‘Rotten’ EP will have you singing along at the top of your lungs to it’s pop refrain, whilst ‘Sick Of You’ warrants a cathartic shout-along– they’re all worth listening to.
Based in Bristol, three piece Drunken Butterfly focus on all types of inequality whilst flitting between folk and punk music. Their recently released EP ‘Socialist of the City’ contains gems such as ‘Not All Men’ which states that it’s “impolite to build a system out of hatred” over a buzzing guitar riff and ‘Shells’ which makes use of an acoustic guitar and harmonica. An interesting juxtaposition of genres, the band describe themselves as “quiet riot-grrrls”, and when they’re singing feminist lyrics over an acoustic guitar, it makes perfect sense.
Tuffragettes make riot girl music with synthesisers and guitars, and three EPs into their career, the use of synthesisers gives the band a bubblegum sweet sound to their music, making everything sound a little tongue-in-cheek in a good way. Describing themselves as a collective, the band play “as and when time/energy/health allows”. It’s an interesting concept, and one that lends itself to each track released sounding passionate and full of life. Highlights include ‘(I Am) My Own GF’ from their ‘sugary sweet’ EP and ‘Gone’ from their ‘sways’ EP which sounds very 80s synth pop.
This two-piece from Scotland are a riot girl band influenced by the likes of Bikini Kill and Minor Threat. Most of their tracks are short and sweet, with razor sharp guitars and rhythmic vocals that sound gravelly and angry. Their track ‘I Know Nothing’ features a refrain of “I know nothing” that’s easy to pick up on and have stick around in your brain all day. Live, the band are a formidable force even with just the two of them, a testament to the power of their songwriting and performance.