The concept for this post originated after watching Sunday night’s MTV VMAs. It has been years since I’ve actually watched the show and more often than not you could find me the morning after Googling the highlights of the show just to have a relevant point of view in the conversations at school and work. It’s not that I’m not interested in pop culture it’s just there are usually better things on. In fact, this goes with all award shows for me except the always interesting red carpet entrance. After that I move on. None the less, I did make it a point to watch this one mostly due to Beyonce’s performance. I was not the biggest Destiny Child’s fan nor can I say I love every album she’s put out, but her latest greatly resembles the vibe of Dangerously In Love which is the only album of hers I’ve purchased prior to BEYONCE. Instead of just watching my tweets to know when her performance was on, I decided to watch the show tuning in for the Artist To Watch award and it being handed to the group Fifth Harmony. Prior to Sunday I can say that I haven’t lived under a rock so much to have never heard of this group before but compared to fellow nominee Sam Smith with such amazing talent, I was completely taken aback by the decision. I mean who are these girls anyway?
One quick search and I realized that with Simon Cowell backing the X-Factor formed group, there’s really no way the group won’t receive the needed exposure to stay mildly relevant. Moving on to whatever was after that award I couldn’t help but find myself thinking about girl groups and their extremely limited shelf life. Very similar to fresh vegetables in that if not eaten soon after purchasing they will rot in your fridge, not only creating quite a smell but potentially ruining other food, girl groups are cool and then just as quickly not. And, because of this trend, every other new girl group enters the industry with the left over stench from the failures before them.
But some items live closer to the baking soda in the fridge, managing to avoid the overpowering stench of the stereotypical. The real problem lies in that they are the ones often forgot about. I mean lets be honest, how often do you check the expiration date on your mustard or jam or butter or even salad dressing. You don’t use them as often and usual have multiples depending on your mood but time and time again when you feel like having a bit of fig jam with crackers you can open your fridge and it will be there. Getting back to the music, the nearly invisible yet powerful girl groups of our time are nothing short of resilient much like our favored condiments. Some have been around since the mid 90s and yet most will never reach the fame seen by groups like Danity Kane or Little Mix. Some may not even have the career of those not born from reality shows like 702 or Blaque. However most will continue to make music for what few devoted fans they have and be happy. They, in my opinion, are the artists to watch.
In an effort to show some support for talented yet lost female bands I’d buy albums from here’s my list of the you outta knows. 11 amazing groups, 31 supremely talented individuals all toting a unique but familiar musical vibe. And just on a complete side note with this post feminist overtones isn’t a bit ironic I used a domesticated concept to explain my point of view. That’s gonna leave a weird taste in my mouth. But again back to the list.
THE STAVES – Folk Rock – UK
Don’t get easily confused as there are two current bands running around with this name despite this trio being the band with what I would say is the most right to the name. Sisters Emily, Jessica and Camilla originally started in 2010 performing at local venues under the name The Staveley-Taylors, their full surname, then after a slight mix up slashing the hyphen and landing with The Staves. With a few appearances after that, they were the opening band to The Civil Wars tour in 2012 followed by performances at SXSW and the “Austin to Boston” tour. Their debut album Dead & Born & Grown released in 2012 despite putting out two EPs prior including Mexico with Atlantic Records. What I love about their music is its easy vibe and the girls piercingly deep vocals. This is exactly the kind of music I would listen to on my long train ride home from college in Boston back to Connecticut as a way to decompress and begin the second part of my day with renewed energy and positivity. Above all else these girls have amazing talent which is evident from the first few seconds into any of their songs.
PINS – Garage Punk/Pop – UK
With their “fuck yeah girl power” song Girls Like Us, it should come as no surprise why Faith Holgate, Lois McDonald, Anna Donigan, and Lara Williams are not only on my list of Artists to Watch but more aptly in the same blog post about female empowerment. With heavy punk influences and yet a pop like undertone, their melody is textural. If your not one who’s ever considered jumping into a mosh pit this might not be the band for you but it would be hard to say their unique vibe isn’t needed in the music world today.
WARPAINT -Indie Rock – L.A.
Warpaint is another bad ass girl band, similar to Pins, you should know. Emily Kokal, Theresa Wayman, Jenny Lee Lindberg and Stella Mozgawa make up this Indie Rock band haling from L.A. Originally founded in 2004 and with a rotating crew, today these four girls offer up transient vocals over psychedelic beats said to be comparative of the Slits and Cat Power.
STONEFIELD – Rock – Australia
Amy, Hannah, Sarah and Holly are the four sisters that make up the band Stonefield. With a slight psychedelic undertone, their bohemian rock vibe is something I can definitely get into and outside of the attention grabbing vocals the instrumentals are reminiscent of some of the greatest rock bands around.
SAVAGES – Punk/Pop Noir- London
All I needed to hear was Fuckers and I was sold on the best Monday morning blues anthem. With the unique vocals of lead singer Jehnny Beth and the sharp instrumentals, the group also including Gema Thompson, Ayse Hassan and Fay Milton, offer a level of severity and harshness once reserved for the boys but comes off surprising refreshing from this all girl band.
SAY LOU LOU – Dream Pop – Australia/Sweden
Elektra and Miranda Kilbey-Jannson are the sister team that makes up the band Say Lou Lou formerly Saint Lou Lou. With their musical roots in tow, their father is Steve Kilbey of The Church, these two released their first single in 2012 then formed their own record label a Deux with which their debut album Lucid Dreaming will be released in 2015.
JUCE – Pop – London
Nothing like other girl groups out of London like Sugarbabes or The Spice Girls this trio (Cherish, Georgia and Chalin) are about as organic a 90s Girl Power group can be. Despite having all having a foot in the music realm prior to meeting at a party one day and an awkward “hey do you wanna form a band” kind of conversation, this group should be at the top of your radar. For me the sound like the awkward child of the two 90s group Zhane and All Saints but somehow the nostalgia seems modern. If nothing else they will be completely responsible for the resurgence of fanny packs…preferably with your name written across the front in gold lettering.
EVAROSE – Rock – UK
Evarose is the type of all girl band Hayley Williams of Paramore could fit into. Purely alternative rock and strong vocals the UK band made up of Robyn Griffith, Connie Raitt, Dannika Webber and Imogen Leslie was started in 2010.
HAIM – Indie Rock – L.A.
What could be called the love child of Fleetwood Mac and En Vogue, the Haim girls are clearly influenced by 70s rock and soul. Comprised of Alana, Danielle and Este Haim, these sisters have been making rounds within the music industry for some time and have landed on Jay Z’s Rock Nation Label.
TEGAN AND SARA – Indie Electronic – Canada
Another sibling duo, these twins hail from 1995 with their first album released in 1999 titled Under Feet Like Ours. With current hits like Closer (yes you know this song…..think Express commercial with models walking down runway) and Back In Your Head their upbeat vibe is made for long drives, house parties, cool summer days with the windows open and a good breeze, and you guessed it..fashion shows.
COCOROSIE – Freak Folk – U.S./France
Probably the most eclectic on my list, this sister duo Sierra and Bianca Cassidy appear to have used their culturally rich childhood as inspiration for their music. With lots of moving, a Native American/Syrian mother and a farming father, it does come as a surprise to see such diverse musical undertones in their songs. Using a bit of pop, opera, hip hop and electronica, the girls have churned out not only unique songs with intoxicating vocals but are fans of visually moody and dark music videos full of period-esqe footage.
So there you have it, my list of artists who should have been on the Artist To Watch roster. Each group is talented and worthy of your $10 so do yourself a favor and get whatever you can from these ladies for your Labor Day weekend. You won’t be disappointed.