It’s been a while since I’ve posted on here, but the Women’s March that took place this weekend inspired me to write about three of my favourite bands – The Distillers, Hole and Bikini Kill. These three bands (and their frontwomen) really changed my life and empowered me through their music.
The Distillers & Brody Dalle
First, I just have to say – The Distillers are my all-time favourite band, and have been since I was about thirteen years old. They rock and I will love them forever.
I remember coming home from school with my older brother at thirteen years old and turning on Much Loud to watch music videos. The first song I heard by The Distillers, Drain the Blood, was on this TV channel. Seeing this bold woman singing in a sewer with the men in the background was groundbreaking for me. In a world where the only women in music I saw were hyper-sexualized pop stars, The Distillers were revolutionary.
My older brother bought The Distillers’ album, Coral Fang, and let me listen to it. It wasn’t long until I was obsessed. I wanted nothing more than to be just like Brody Dalle when I grew up. The Distillers only released three albums, but all three albums are incredible. Give them a listen!
It so was life changing to learn that girls can be tough and sing in a punk band. So, thank you, Brody Dalle, for being an awesome role model and teaching young girls that they can be equally as badass and tough as boys.
In honour of the Women’s March this weekend, here is an awesome feminist song by The Distillers from their album Sing Sing Death House. Seneca Falls is about the first women’s rights convention that took place in New York. Enjoy!
Hole & Courtney Love
My perception of Courtney Love growing up was drastically different than it is today. As a young Nirvana fan (a real Nirvana fan, not an I-like-three-songs-off-Nevermind Nirvana fan) I was told that Courtney Love was an awful murderer. That was the extent of my knowledge. I didn’t even know that Courtney Love was a musician for a long time.
When my older brother (S/O to Tyler, my brother, for teaching me all about great music) told me I should listen to Hole, I was skeptical. But, trusting in my brother, I started listening to their hits. The first songs I listened to were Doll Parts, Miss World and Violet.
Can I just say – BOY, I WAS WRONG ABOUT COURTNEY LOVE.
I’m sorry Courtney, for ever doubting you. I was misinformed. Not only do I love Hole, but Hole kicks Nirvanas ass. Their early music is SO heavy, grungy and raw. I love it so much. Their later albums, Celebrity Skin and Live Through This, are genius. Courtney Love’s solo albums are incredible. I even wrote a paper in university about how Live Through This has influenced my life.
All of Courtney’s lyrics are poetic and powerful. Her lyrics are brutally honest about not only her own issues but women’s issues as a whole. Courtney Love put perfect music to my feelings against being compliant and being a “good woman.”
Despite Courtney Love’s awful reputation, her music was incredibly influential to me – especially through my years in university.
3 cheers for Hole & Courtney Love!
Bikini Kill & Kathleen Hanna
Last, but certainly not least, thank you Bikini Kill and Kathleen Hanna. Kathleen Hanna is one of the reasons the Riot Grrrl movement took place in the 1990s. In addition to Bikini Kill, Kathleen Hanna is also in Le Tigre and The Julie Ruin.
I only started listening to Bikini Kill a couple years ago, and the first song I heard by them was Rebel Girl. I instantly loved the song because it was girls singing about girls – in a good way:
“That girl thinks she’s the queen of the neighbourhood
She’s got the hottest trike in town
That girl, she holds her head up so high
I think I wanna be her best friend”
How strange is it to hear a girl praising another girl in a song rather than tearing her apart? So many songs that women sing about other women are in regards to a jealous relationship. Rebel Girl was refreshing, to say the least.
Other notable songs by Bikini Kill are Rah! Rah! Replica and Alien She. Check them out!
Kathleen Hanna was also responsible for “girls to the front.” If you have ever heard that phrase before, it refers to Kathleen Hanna making the punk scene safe for women. Kathleen Hanna made a point of asking all women to come to the front of the crowd at each concert to facilitate a safe environment. It’s because of “girls to the front” that I was able to attend punk shows at fifteen years old and feel completely comfortable.
I learned about Bikini Kill during university while I was minoring in gender studies. I was really excited about Bikini Kill because they were so feminist and supporting of everything I was learning at the time.
I don’t think Bikini Kill still tours, but I did get a chance to see The Julie Ruin this past summer at Lee’s Palace in Toronto. It was an awesome experience! I would totally go see them again.
I love how unapologetic and real Kathleen Hanna is. Listening to her music has definitely helped me speak up about what I believe in. The greatest thing about Bikini Kill (and other bands with Kathleen Hanna) is that their music supports all women. None of their songs are jealous or hateful, and their music screams solidarity.
I hope you enjoyed reading about my favourite frontwomen and their bands! These women have really helped shape me as a young woman and their music has empowered me in many ways. If you haven’t listened to/heard of these bands, I really encourage you to check them out.