I realize, scanning my music collection, that I have very few albums by bands that are fronted by chicks. Sure there are some solo acts (Lily Allen, M.I.A., Juliana Hatfield, etc.), but I have very few modern records on which the only voice heard is that of a rockin’ woman. Notice I say “only,” because there are a bunch of bands out there that have bought into the whole boy/girl thing, but still very few (at least in my collection) that are truly fronted solely by a chick. I’d like to think I don’t have a bias against the whole female voice thing, but perhaps I do have a deep-seated problem with estrogen in my rock ‘n’ roll. I’ve actually discussed this with several female acquaintances of mine (just to see if I do indeed have a problem), but to my surprise almost to a woman they claimed to also like the sound of a male voice fronting their bands. Then I started to think that perhaps there was just a dearth of chick-lead bands out there, or that record labels themselves had a bias against the whole thing. Even a relatively testosterone fueled modern rock (or whatever it is these days) radio station like K-ROCK in NYC featured only one band that I can think of off hand in heavy rotation in recent memory. And that was the suckass Evanescence group–and that was a bunch of years ago at this point.
And then I realized that maybe the issue is that there is a lack of interesting female voices out there. I have my wonderful eMusic account from which I’ve discovered countless bands, but will rarely download a band’s album when lead by a chick unless that chick’s voice is in some way intriguing, different or just all-out kick-ass. That tends to fall into a few categories for me: Chrissie Hynde, Edie Brickell, Kim Deal or PJ Harvey. I’m not really sure why, but it seems to be true more times than not. Well, whatever the case, here’s a rundown of the only ten current-ish chick-fronted bands that I could scrape together in my collection:
1. The Blow 2. Cat Power 3. The Detroit Cobras 4. Heartless Bastards 5. Land of Talk 6. The Pipettes 7. Pretty Girls Make Graves 8. St. Vincent 9. Sybris 10. Yeah Yeah Yeahs
Of course there are other older bands scattered around in there (Sleater-Kinney, Hole, the Breeders, The Muffs, etc.), but those really represent a time gone by. Perhaps it’s the public’s lack of openness to the prospect, or perhaps it’s just me…