Tag Archives: Warpaint

Women’s History Month – Women Who Rock…Lovely & Loud in the Now

29 Mar

The ladies rocking the rock scene right now have the numbers and the talent that rivals any other decade in this series, but they are sadly lacking in publicity and commercial presence. The word “indie” applies to almost all of them in the genre sense, largely out of a lack of knowing where to put them. Too bad, because this part of the list is comprised of some serious kick-ass talent.

karen o

Click to watch “Zero”

Karen O – Karen O wonders where the balls went in rock n’ roll, begging the question, “Where has all the charisma and the sexuality and the gnarl gone?” Nowhere, Karen O. Not as long as you’re around.

alison mosshart

Click to watch The Kills’ “Tape Song”

Alison Mosshart – Mosshart has her hands in almost as many projects as Jack White, which is fitting since  White tapped her to lend her lead vocal stylings to his side project, the Dead Weather. Her day job is with the Kills, a garage-rock duo who are a little bit blues, a little bit American (Mosshart), a little bit British (guitarist Jaime Hines) and a whole lot rock n’ roll. They’re mastering a throwback quality set to a synth soundtrack that is best viewed through a haze of cigarette smoke and after a slow pull of whiskey, which, coincidentally, describes Mosshart’s voice.

Grace Potter

Click to watch “Never Go Back”

Grace Potter – I’m kind of obsessed with Grace Potter and the Nocturnals at the moment, and you should be, too. Potter is a knockout with a voice that’s an aural assault, tinges of Janis Joplin and Sheryl Crow running through, and the Nocturnals are a perfect combination of classic, Southern-flavored rock meets modern indie/synth rock. Check them out now.

lzzy hale

Click to watch “Love Bites (So Do I)”

Lzzy Hale Lead singer for Halestorm, Hale has talked of forming a female rock supergroup a la the Runaways. She was also tapped for a remake of the Ozzy Osbourne/Lita Ford power ballad “Close My Eyes Forever” with Disturbed vocalist David Draiman on his side project Device’s new album. Hale could no doubt give Joan Jett and Lita Ford a run for their money.

bandofskulls

Click to watch Band of Skulls’ “I Know What I Am”

Emma Richardson – As bassist and vocalist for the Brit trio Band of Skulls, Emma Richardson is a woman who rocks because of this simple fact: she can explode out of your speakers with her sultry voice and driving bass line and then quiet it down to a come hither whisper and sing oh-so-sweetly.

amy lee

Click to watch Evanescence’s “Everybody’s Fool”

Amy LeeRecently labelled 2013’s reigning Goddess of Rock by Loudwire, Lee is also the Ambassador for the Underdog, giving a voice to all those who feel misunderstood and different. And what a voice it is.

ritzy

Click to watch The Joy Formidable’s “Cholla”

Ritzy Bryan – Don’t let Ritzy Bryan’s sweet, fairy look fool you. As lead singer for the Joy Formidable, an artsy/noise rock trio hailing from North Wales, Bryan is a smasher of guitars and bringer back of baby doll dresses a la Courtney Love, circa 1992. On second thought, when drawing that comparison, let Ritzy Bryan’s sweet, fairy look captivate you. I interviewed Joy Formidable bassist (and Bryan’s boyfriend), Rhydian Dafydd back in September 2011. Check the interview here.

juliette

Click to watch “Sticky Honey”

Juliette Lewis – It’s true: Juliette Lewis is a woman who rocks, and not just for her Oscar nom-worthy acting skills. She’s a legit Woman Who Rocks, with or without the Licks, the band she formed and fronted in the early 2000s. Think Iggy Pop with lady bits.

warpaint

Click to watch “Elephants”

Warpaint – Like Veruca Salt before them, Warpaint co-founders Emily Kokal and Theresa Wayman are besties and have been since eighth grade. No bad blood and break-ups to speak of yet – and hopefully ever – and after a revolving door of line-up changes, which has included actress Shannyn Sossamon (her sister Jenny Lee Lindberg is and always has been Warpaint’s bassist) and the Chili Peps’ Josh Klinghoffer, Warpaint are a solid all-female unit of art rock, dream pop and beauty. Want proof? Click the pic above.

hayley williams

Click to watch Paramore’s “Now”

Hayley Williams – Paramore’s siren haired songstress has had a rough year, navigating her way through many of the cliched trials and tribs that come with being in a rock n’ roll band. But like any true rockin warrior princess Williams has emerged victorious with some of her fiercest, most honest lyrics yet. After a line-up shake-up last year, Paramore are back with a leaner, meaner version of themselves on what critics are already calling their best album yet, entitled Paramore, which drops in early April.

metric

Click to watch Metric’s “Youth Without Youth”

Emily Haines – Haines has all the trappings, I mean, makings of an independent woman. She’s stylish, talented and smart. An analog embracing, social media shunning, self-aware lady who not only knows the value of cultivating an image but of embracing her post as a woman and lead singer for indie-rock outfit, Metric, Haines is not a bad role model for ladies to have. Oh, and she rocks pretty hard, too.

jenny lewis

Click to watch Jenny and Johnny’s “Big Wave”

Jenny Lewis – You may recognize Jenny Lewis from the Shelley Long helmed cheesefest Troop Beverly Hills or the obscure girl-power nugget Foxfire starring Angelina Jolie, or you may recognize her from one of the various musical projects she’s dotted the musical landscape with. Rilo Kiley, Jenny Lewis and the Watson Twins, Jenny and Johnny with boyfriend Johnathan Rice, and has made quite an impact all by her little lonesome.

carrie brownstein

Click to watch “Romance”

Carrie Brownstein – Brownstein is a tour-de-force on the indie scene. She was at the tail end of the riot grrrl movement in the late 90s, singer-guitarist for alt-rock trio Sleater-Kinney, star of Portlandia with SNL’s Fred Armisen, NPR blogger and current singer-guitarist for the all-female Wild Flag alongside Sleater-Kinney drummer Janet Weiss. Singer-guitarist-blogger-actress-riot-grrrl-woman-who-rocks. Carrie Brownstein boasts what is perhaps the single most impressive hyphenate.

Click here to hear my Spotify playlist of all the women on all four lists in this series, plus many, many more.

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Warpaint Rocks the TLA

4 Apr

Licking my wounds after not getting to do an interview with Warpaint, the all-fem quartet hailing from Los Angeles, California, I latched onto one reviewer’s labeling them as “hype-darlings.” It’s not hard to see why. Their original drummer was actress Shannyn Sossaman, which put them into the search engine lexicon from the onset. Their first EP, Exquisite Corpse, was released under John Frusciante’s label. He and lead singer, Emily Kokal, dated. Then, filling in on drums after Sossaman left was Josh Klinghoffer, who was also of Red Hot Chili Peppers fame (it’s been recently reported that Frusciante has formally quit the Chili Peppers…again, and Klinghoffer is his permanent replacement), and dating bassist (and Sossaman’s sis) Jenny Lee Lindberg at the time.

Get all that?

With all this name dropping and musical incest going on, it’s easy to see how Warpaint has caught media attention without releasing very much. However, saying Warpaint are hype-darlings would imply that the hype isn’t true. And that just isn’t true. Warpaint live up to the attention that’s been paid to them.

They rolled through Philadelphia this past Friday night, playing at the TLA, and the hipster crowd was out in force. Not surprising, since the ladies hail from Silverlake, California, a hipster mecca near Los Angeles. The wave of plaid and skinny jeans extended almost stage to door, which was a little surprising since Philadelphia can be so finicky when it comes to making bands feel welcome in our fair, fickle city. 

Although they’ve been put in the “psychedelic rock” classification, they cover a lot of ground on the sound spectrum. They can be ethereal and haunting, poetic and raw, but still sound playful and impish at the same time. Seeing them live, though, has proven that they can also be pretty badass rockers. Lindberg’s driving baseline coupled with Stella Mozgawa’s drumming gives them an edge not totally realized on their albums.  

And new drummer, Mozgawa seems to be the missing piece of the puzzle. After years of stops and starts and mismatched drummers, Lindberg, Kokal and guitarist, Theresa Wayman found what they were looking for in Mozgawa. There’s a cohesiveness now and a feeling that they can move forward as a united front, as if to say for the first time since they formed as an all girl band in 2004, “Here we are – this is Warpaint.”

During “Beetles,” and standing on opposite sides of the stage, Kokal and Wayman seemed a polarizing force, volleying vocal parts across the stage, an obvious bond likely the product of a friendship forged when they were kids. For an encore, “Elephants” was ridiculous. Wayman’s guitar hook at the beginning instantly had everyone on their feet.

I go back and forth about even uttering this next statement aloud, so to speak, but I’m gonna go do it – they sound like a female Radiohead. When my friend agreed, I felt a little less crazy at my somewhat bold comparison. Listening to Exquisite Corpse or The Fool, I don’t think the correlation is as easy to detect, but listening to them live really snaps it into place.

There were two opening bands, one memorable in its imitation, the other memorable for their talent. Family Band was first, and if I closed my eyes, I thought I was listening to Mazzy Star, and when I opened them, I thought I was looking at Sinead O’Connor. PVT came next and were the better of the two, by far. They were right on point with the resurgence of 80s music creeping across the airwaves.  They were a musically frenetic mash-up of The Cure meets Flock of Seagulls meets Joy Division. Yea, I went there, too.

I was already a fan prior to the TLA show, but Warpaint totally exceeded my expectations by exponential proportions Friday night, and if you haven’t given them a listen, I really recommend that you do. I’d heard an interview with Wayman once in which she said, “We want to be big in our intention and just to have it be earnest and always getting better, and always pushing ourselves to do better, to play better, to write better than the ones that came before…” Well, their live show proves that the girls of Warpaint are more than capable of topping themselves.

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