This is it, International Women’s Day. Remember to go to your local rally this weekend so you can show society at large that you’re not for the oppression of half of the world’s population.
Women in music, because of this massive disparity already in play, gets a lot of well intentioned but sexist attention. Calling a band ‘female fronted’ is reducing all those members of a band to less than what they are. So don’t do that. Just listen to music you like, and respect each other. Just because Rolo Tomassi have a woman as a vocalist, doesn’t mean they’re ‘good’ because of that aspect. They’re good because they’re fucking creative geniuses and technically mastered every aspect of their music.
Today I thought I’d cap off the week with the greatest expression of angst and rebellion (sorry punk), hardcore and noise music. What’s more rebellious than mixing static and wordless screaming and calling it music? What’s more rebellious than redefining an entire genre that has been bogged down for years? The liberation of women worldwide. But until then, we’ll let these wonderful people play their music and rebel in the way they know how.
This is probably more metalcore than hardcore but they’re genre-defining, so I’ll allow it. Seeing Bleeding Through live was a pretty world changing experience. Brandan Schieppati appeared out of literally nowhere in all of his muscly glory. But, likewise, it was really rewarding to see Marta Peterson. As a musical entity, it’s nice to see her not sexualised in their music; she’s there to fucking play the keyboard and blast you away with her skill. Also, how good was ‘Set Me Free’? Good single for a band coming off hiatus.
Any time anyone tries to tell me that a band can’t mix up their sound without losing their identity, I always throw Code Orange at them. Whether it’s the crushing heaviness of ‘Forever’, the horrid distortion of ‘Kill Your Creator’, or even the dirty grunginess of ‘Bleeding in the Blur’, they’ve got their rabid claws tearing into every inch of it. There was an interview I remember with Reba Meyers where she was asked what it’s like to be a woman in a metal band, and she responded with words to the effect of “we’re a group, we’re all necessary, I’m not a fragile piece of the band because I’m a woman.” You’re fucking right Reba, you’re right.
If you like your rock noisy and your bands abrasive, then look no further than Couch Slut. Megan Osztrosits is the culmination of all the collective rage and exploitation that women the world over feel. Their music is just fucking pure anger. Contempt, released last year, is one seriously good album. Droning, repetitive and powerful, Megan’s vocals add a human element to the unnaturally dark, abyssal musical hole that opens up behind her, but frankly, she ain’t going to help you.
The fact they just finishing a collaboration tour with The Body should give you a hint of the type of music that this unit employs already. It’s a cacophony of bone crumbling bass, bowel loosening distortion and flesh rending shrieks. Mariam, vocalist and guitarist apparently has an obsession (like a lot of you I’m sure) with serial killers and weird shit like that. I can tell you that it shows in their music; it’s deranged, insane and trying to kill you. I love it.
Ithaca play like they’re harking back to the good ol’ days where hardcore bands would just torture their guitars, creating weird squeal sounds along with the monotonous chugging. Despite how odd that sounds, Ithaca do an immensely brilliant job of merging massive groove with technicality and mathiness. Language of Injury only came out last month but I must have played it over a hundred times already. I brush my teeth to ‘Impulse Crush’; I cook breakfast to ‘Youth vs Wisdom’. Djamilla Azzouz has noodled her way into my head and my inner monologue is her monstrous screaming.
Old versus new Iwrestedabearonce is vastly different. From the humble beginnings of their absolutely spastic (and brilliant) It’s All Happening, with lighthearted weirdness and abrasive signatures and guitar tones, to the positively terrifying Hail Mary, with its shattered glass riffs and knife through the throat screams… It’s been a journey. Regardless of the direction of their music, it’s consistently off the wall, and consistently noisy as fuck. It really fills that Tony Danza sized hole in my life.
Kristin Hayter is not one to shy away from questions about being a woman in music. Recently finishing her Masters of Fine Arts with a thesis titled Burn Everything Trust No One Kill Yourself, which is a 10,000 page manuscript of lyrics in metal and extreme music that mythologise misogyny. Lingua Ignota is like a sonic realisation of the place that Hayter finds herself a part of day in, day out. And if her music is anything to go by, the place she’s in is absolutely bleak; white noise, liturgical passages and pain are the only defining features of this landscape.
I am terribly biased when it comes to Rolo Tomassi. I am of the opinion that they are one of the few pinnacles of music. Eva Spence’s voice is that of an angel when she’s not shredding her throat getting out the despair lurking within. Lyrically, it’s some of the most inspirational and beautiful construction of words next to La Dispute. The drumming is tender and caring until it rips off the facade and explodes into a drum line that’d make Buddy Rich’s eyes melt from his fucking skull. I can’t explain enough how Rolo Tomassi is just… Ascendant. Time Will Die and Love Will Bury It is a piece of art. Grievances is a piece of art. Going all the way back to their debut… It’s all perfect.
The noisiest sort of hardcore sludge to emerge from the concrete swamp of New Jersey, Sunrot chuck all the disgusting bits of extreme music and hardcore into a blender with the rancid residue of murder, and pour it onto a music sheet, playing whatever splatters onto the staves on the paper. Lex’s performance on Sunnata is second to none in this regard; seeming to bellow and shout without abandon, she punches the music through with the force only a DIY culture can muster.
Hardcore is a wellspring of anger and confrontation, Youth Code is no different. However, a lot of the confrontation may come from within the genre itself. Fusing Skinny Puppy-esque industrial with the spirit of hardcore, Youth Code exude a ruthless individuality, a spirited rebelliousness. Not only that, but the stage presence of Sara Taylor is punishing in its imagery, astounding in its scope. Often jumping, always screaming, Taylor embodies the material angst of not only herself, but of all hardcore.