International Women’s Day 2021: Inspiring Women Who Rock!
International Women’s Day returns for 2021 and the majority of us know what today is all about, but for the ill-informed, let us educate you in the Wall of Sound way…
International Women’s Day to us is about honouring the women in our lives and giving them a MASSIVE shout out on a day like today, to let them know that we see what they’re doing, we’re backing them 100% and we appreciate their work.
Here at WoS HQ, we employ a vast array of incredibly gifted women across the board (in various roles) including Merch Designer/Photographer Jerika Makela, Assistant Editor Tamara May, Contributing Writers Ebony Story, Rihannon Porter, Caitlin MacDonald, Heather McNab, Genevieve Gao, Carys Hurcom, Trudy Johnson, Kelsey Trevan and Photographers Renae Egan, Holly Parker, Bree Vane, Candace Krieger, Kim Anderson, Charlyn Cameron, Cat Louise, Bec O’Reilly and Alison Northway. They have all worked tirelessly to leave their mark on the music industry over the years and if you are looking for someone to help your band/brand get noticed – whether it be new promo photos, graphic designs, band bios, reviews, interviews etc – I can’t recommend them all enough! Don’t be afraid to get in touch if you’re in need of their professional abilities and assistance.
On the other side of the industry, when it comes to music, if we were to say “Name 10 Bands off the top of your head”, could you do it? Chances are the answer is yes! But what if we were to say, “Now try it with bands featuring prominent female vocalists, riff-master guitarists, bad-ass bassists or devilish drummers!” Chances are you might struggle to put a list together as quickly as did could before…
Sadly, women in rock tend to be a second thought for some when it comes to discussing favourite bands (whether intentional or unintentional) so today, the Wall of Sound staff have teamed up to shine a spotlight on some of our favourite inspiring women in rock/metal, to give them the recognition they deserve so you may find your next favourite band/musician/idol…
Lynn Gunn – PVRIS
What a badass. Lynn oozes confidence and attitude, and her music reflects that while also hitting on super personal and emotional topics. PVRIS veered more towards the pop-synth sound in their album Use Me last year, and yet it still delivers a lot of angry and assertive feels. If you ever need to feel powerful with a heavy dose of attitude, chuck that album in your ears and go for a walk through the city.
Ebony Story – Interviewer/Writer/Podcast Host
Lauren Tate – Hands Off Gretel
Spotify tries hard to give me new songs each week they think I’ll care about, mostly they’re wrong but at one point in 2020 they got it right – they gave me ‘She Thinks She’s Punk Rock n Roll’ by Hands Off Gretel. It was love at first listen. I was transported straight back to the 90’s with their grunge-punk rock riot girl sound, with songs about body image, mental health, celebrity and loneliness.
Frontwoman Lauren Tate has a distinctive voice, a less grungey version of Courtney Love/Brody Dalle, that sets her apart from everyone else in the music scene right now. With her style reminding me of 90’s Courtney Love and Jack Off Jill – an influence that’s further fuelled by the Kinderwhore look Lauren occasionally rocks and songs like ‘I Want The World’, ‘Milk’ and ‘Bad Egg’. Lauren is 100% hands on with the band: she writes all the songs and takes care of all of the band’s visuals, designs their merch, created their website and makes their video clips.
If you still need proof on why Hands Off Gretel are a band to go check out here’s Lauren’s public letter to men who attend their shows in 2019
Kim Anderson – Photographer/Writer
Jenna McDougall – Tonight Alive
I love everything about Jenna and if you say anything bad about her I’ll come for you…
Renae Egan – Photographer/Writer
Luana Tosti-Guerra – Paperweight
When we think about women in music, most that come to mind are frontwomen, especially in pop punk. While there are a plethora of females that rock the stage with their stellar voices and complementary instruments, I’m going to shine a light on the new crop of upcomers here. Luana, or Lu is Paperweight’s guitarist and you might have seen her supporting her fav bands from the barrier at shows like Sum 41, Simple Plan and Between You and Me. Now she’s seemingly upgraded on life and can now rock the stage with her very own band. Lu is definitely adding new edge to the females in pop punk realm and showing younger girls/the next generation that you don’t necessarily need to rely on your voice to go places.
When she’s not shredding on stage with her bandmates, Lu is helping out fellow upcoming bands in Melbourne nailing their online presence through her own company, BackBeat Media!
Tamara May – Assistant Editor/Writer/Interviewer
Monique Pym – Reliqa
Monique Pym from Reliqa does women in music and women in general so proud. She’s much younger than me, but I aspire to be like her when I grow up. She’s wise beyond her years, down to earth and incredibly talented. If you haven’t had a chance, make sure you catch Reliqa live to hear her soaring vocals and charismatic delivery.
Caitlin MacDonald – Writer/Interviewer
Hayley Williams – Paramore/Solo
I really love Hayley Williams because throughout the years, not only has she explored many different musical endeavours and had people shit talk her for many different reasons, she’s always risen above it and never really ever talked bad on anyone. I feel like she’s recently come into herself and she’s talked more openly about mental health and life issues and it’s so inspiring to know that she’s talked about how she’s uncomfortable singing Misery Business because of the word “whore” and she doesn’t want to slut shame anyone or be negative at all.
I have genuinely looked up to her since I was no joke, 10 years old. I’m now 26.
Heather McNab – Writer/Interviewer
Tatiana Shmailyuk – Jinjer
Tatiana Shmailyuk from Ukrainian metalcore group Jinjer is certainly a force to be reckoned with. Having been with the band for around 11 years and three studio albums, the singer is well known for her powerhouse vocals as well as an explosive stage presence. A particular vocal standout is the track ‘Judgement (& Punishment)’ from their latest album Macro, which showcases Shmailyuk as she moves from devastating bellows and growls to delicate cleans with ease. Definitely one to watch!
Genevieve Gao – Writer/Interviewer
Taylor Momsen – The Pretty Reckless
I clearly remember being 19 years old and buying tickets to go and see The Pretty Reckless with my best friend. I’d spent weeks listening to, and watching the music videos. I completely and totally idolized Taylor. She was the same age as me and while I was floundering at school trying to work out what I wanted to do, she was out being scantily clad on stage and captivating everyone with the power behind her performances. Taylor has always been unashamedly herself and is now a leather clad rock goddess who still inspires me, and hopefully a lot of other young women to go out and be the best version of themselves, no matter what anyone else says or thinks
Kelsey Trevan – Writer/Interviewer
Rose Carleo’s voice is as captivating as her soul. I liken Rose to a modern day Janis Joplin and adore everything about her. Rose’s diverse vocal range, along with the sound of her tobacco burst Les Paul through her Fender Bassbreaker Amp, makes her an absolute powerhouse of inspiration and talent. Rose has the ability to visit a multitude of genres both vocally and musically – a little country, a little blues and a whole lotta Rock n Roll. It’s no surprise that Rose’s music bio includes ARIA chart success.
If you haven’t yet checked out Rose Carleo, the ‘Time is Now’.
Trudy Johnston – Brutal Trudes/Writer
Sarah McLeod – The Superjesus/Solo
Sarah McLeod has always been a kind of hero/inspiration/legend in my eyes. At the time there weren’t many rock/heavy musicians with female vocalists that I had come across. I’m sure they were out there, but back in the days of no internet, your local music store was the only place to go.
The vibe of “I am who I am and if you don’t like it.. well that’s too bad! I am who I am” always struck a chord. Here was someone outside the normal doing what she loved and doing it well. Over the years I was inspired by that many times. In 2005 Sarah released her first solo album Beauty Was a Tiger. Even though it had a different sound to Superjesus, it was edgy and grunty and I loved it. Trying new things from stage productions such as “Amercian Idiot” to Superjesus gigs, a bunch of rocking albums and solo shows that even include a grand piano to taking your most beloved dog Chachi on tour. How is that not awesome!? The heavier Superjesus version of Confide in Me is still one of my favourite tracks.
Bec O’Reilly – Photographer/Writer
Booka Nile – Make Them Suffer/Internet Friends
On top of being one of the scene’s most refreshing human beings and talented, multi-band/instrumentalist, Booka is an absolute gem of a human. Most fans would know her from Make Them Suffer where she delivers flawless melodic vocals, powerful performances and killer hands on the keyboard, but she’s also the frontwoman, guitarist and songwriter for indie rock project Internet Friends which is picking up speed at an incredible pace. It goes to show no matter what she puts her mind to musically, she’s got so much to offer the industry (just in the music department).
Outside of the music scene, she’s a mental health worker who began as a recovery partner whilst studying for her psychology degree. Upon graduating, she completed her thesis on music and cognitive psychology which she put to great use recently with her music therapy business Sonic Minds, which helps people with mental health illnesses via music therapy.
Paul ‘Browny’ Brown – WoS Owner/Editorial Manager
Karina Utomo – High Tension
Karina Utomo defines the importance of abolishing terms like “female fronted bands”. When I first heard Utomo’s growl at a Deafheaven gig in Perth, I knew she and the band were the real deal; her unclean vocals were more brutal than so many of her peers. I’m proud to talk about incredible Australian metal and include High Tension in that list. Utomo’s story is inspirational and should be known to all heavy music fans.
Here’s to all the awesome head-banger women out there today!
Ricky Aarons – Co-Assistant Editor/Interviewer/Writer
Jennie Skulander – Devilskin
Mother, wife and with quite possibly the best voice in heavy music, Jennie is rock n roll. While most bands have different singers for unclean and melodic vocals, this kiwi does it all herself with devastating effect. In a live setting, she is a powerhouse, working the stage and crowd to deliver one of the best shows in not only heavy music but any genre. Throw in the ability to write passionate and hard-hitting songs about important subjects like health and mental health, Jennie Skulander is the total package. So this International Women’s Day I’ll be honouring all the women who inspire me with a blast of Devilskin.
Gareth Williams – Writer/Interviewer
Dicklord – (Band)
Dicklord is a prime example of when women play music about shit that really matters to women. Like A-grade classic banger “You fingered me weird”. After reading that song title, you’d think that this lot from Byron were simply out to take the piss, yet their music is perfectly paced and delivered with venom. It’s easy listening, angry and fun all at once. Get on board.
Not for easily offended softcocks.
Duane James – Writer/Reviewer
Honestly for the biggest and best example of women killing it in music, let me wave my hands excitedly in Japan’s direction. Women are dominating in the rock/metal scene over there right now and some are even taking it worldwide. BAND-MAID, Aldious, PassCode, Lovebites, Mary’s Blood, Polkadot Stingray, Nemophila (who did an amazing livestream just the other week,) just to name the tip of a very large rabbit-hole of great acts.
And not only are they dominating but are totally owning their future – a big example of this is my favorite band of 2020, SCANDAL – they’ve established their own label, are conquering the vlogosphere, even breaking into the fashion world, all in the lead up to their 15th anniversary show in their hometown later this year.
Check out this recent belter of a video from Nemophila too!
Simon Valentine – Writer/Interviewer
Shontay Snow – Saviour/Solo
Shontay’s delicate yet haunting clean vocals have definitely been proven to be a game changer for Perth band Saviour’s ever evolving sound. The multi-instrumentalist has also demonstrated that she is no one trick pony as she has effectively expanded her sound with her solo side project. The friendly and vibrant musician is also the successful owner of energy surge cafe as well as a practicing tattoo artist in her home city of Perth. Her brilliance is something that both women and men could aspire to.
if you are yet to experience Shontay’s incredible flair as a musician, the time is now.
Adam Rice – Writer/Interviewer
Alissa White-Gluz – Arch Enemy
Swedish melodic death metal band Arch Enemy are no strangers to powerful women fronting their band, having previously replaced original vocalist Johan Liiva with the iconic Angela Gossow in 2000.
White-Gluz though has more than proven herself worthy, having fronted two albums and headlined festivals across Europe. Not only can she growl and scream, Alissa has also brought a gentler melodic vocal to the mix, which has extended the band into new places.
KJ Draven – Writer
There aren’t that many artists capable of releasing bona fide pop mega-hits and then turning around it and dropping a stripped back, deeply personal and introspective indie record – but Taylor can. And she did it in 2020.
While most of us were binge watching Tiger King and risking the lives of UberEats drivers for toilet paper, Taylor was working on Folklore. It would be an accomplishment unto itself – hell, if you managed to make it through 2020 without developing RSI from Warzone you should be proud, but Folklore is transcendent.
It’s a great album and it proves that Taylor is much more than a pop artist. She’s a god damn rockstar.
Dave Mullins – Writer/Interviewer
Amalie Bruun aka Myrkur
Originally an indie-pop artist featured in the group Ex Cops and even a model for Chanel – Amalie Bruun departed from these burgeoning career paths and returned to her home in the beautiful forests and mountains of Denmark. Once returning to her deep-rooted home, her inspiration to create a Black Metal hybrid musical formula came to fruition and Myrkur was brought into being (Icelandic for “Darkness”).
Originally kept as an anonymous identity, Myrkur’s debut self-titled EP spread like wildfire; an amalgamation of second wave Black Metal along the lines of Ulver with bewildering yet brilliant Enya influences: A revolution in the genre. Relapse records signed and released the EP as well as the following three studio albums from Myrkur: ‘M’, ‘Mareridt’ and ‘Fokesange’ as well as her live album ‘Mausoleum’; but with affluence can come animosity. Death threats and vulgar treatment from putrid “purists” of Black Metal about Amalie being a woman were frequent and despicable – her second LP ‘Mareridt’ translating to “nightmares” was in part referring to the backlash and her suffering of sleep paralysis. She has carried on, expanding her sound moving toward Pagan Folk with her most recent record ‘Folkesange’ (released before Taylor Swift’s ‘Folklore’), become a wife and mother and remained magnificently modest amongst it all.
She puts spirit in spiritual and transcends visceral beauty with her music; my being in all honesty changed when I encountered her art and I am still transported into another world when I listen to her.
Will Oakeshott – Writer/Interviewer
Lzzy Hale – Halestorm
I have to admit, I am a new convert to the incredible voice and talent of Lzzy Hale from Halestorm. Lzzy has one of the most soulful and powerful voices I have heard in a singer who is not ashamed to display emotional vulnerability. I first heard Lzzy on her incredible performance on Song of the Women by The Hu. This band – that normally sings about Mongolian warriors – brought Lzzy on board to honour and respect the women in their lives. Such a powerful song. Her range, emotion and power bring sends shivers down my spine.
Dan Brixey – Writer/Interviewer
Additional mentions to The Beautiful Monument, Courtney Laplante (Spiritbox), Lauren Babic (CrazyEightyEight/Red Handed Denial), Genevieve Rodda (Temtris), Bonnie Fraser (Stand Atlantic), Being Jane Lane, Bad Cop/ Bad Cop, Amy Lee (Evanescence), CJ Gilpin (Dream State), Poppy, Lana Del Rey and Janis Joplin.
Celebrate the women in your life… Not just today, but every day!
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Courtney LaPlante, Spiritbox