Punk: Some of the best punk-rock records created by women

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Punk: Some of the best punk-rock records created by women


Like many styles of music and industries, it’s an unfortunate reality that much of the content and channels of creation and promotion are created and controlled by men. That being said, women and non-binary musicians and artists have had a clear, yet often overlooked, place in the punk-rock (and to a larger extent rock ‘n’ roll) history and legacy since the beginning. These are just a select few of the records that I believe best represent the contributions and talent of women in expanding and progressing the genre.

Sleater-Kinney – One Beat

While each of the band’s records pursues a unique direction and purpose, 2002’s One Beat found Sleater-Kinney focusing all of their energy and musicianship into a cohesive whole. Written in the wake of the 9/11 attacks and ensuing political climate, the record was one of the first in popular culture to deal with the realities of the situation, with razor sharp attacks on the political ruling class, strongly at odds with the popular political sentiment. Musically, the band was at their peak, most notably thanks to guitarist and vocalist Carrie Brownstein’s phenomenal guitar work, melding classic rock and post-punk influences with flawless execution. Other perfect albums of theirs include 1997’s breakthrough Dig Me Out and 2005’s The Woods.

Bikini Kill – The CD Version of the First Two Records

Synonymous with and arguably the originators of the riot grrl movement, the highly influential Bikini Kill were one of the most overtly political and outspoken bands in punk-rock. Moving beyond playing music, the band was actively involved in the production of zines, creating social and support networks, and challenging the damaging effects of the male-dominated status quo. Bikini Kill’s influence and importance in developing all of the above can still be clearly seen 25 years later in modern bands like War on Women and CampCope.

Screaming Females – Ugly

Although not as overtly political as bands like Bikini Kill, the Marissa Paternoster-driven Screaming Females is at the forefront of modern rock and punk. Her guitar work is absolutely phenomenal, with essentially no peers that compare to her level of finesse. While self-indulgent at times, this double album showcases the best the band has to offer. Their recently released album All at Once is excellent as well.

Punch – Push/Pull

One of the fiercest, hardest and fastest hardcore bands of the 2010s, the recently broken-up Punch espoused radical feminist politics with some of the most aggressive music going around. One of the most musically developed bands in hardcore punk/power violence, Punch was a refreshing contrast to the masculinity and male-dominated attitudes of modern hardcore.