Loud Women – Volume One is a state of the world address, brought to you by some of the most exciting female-led punk musicians at the forefront of the UK riot grrrl scene. Twenty artists and bands, plus one poet have gathered together as part of the Loud Women collective to create this CD compilation. If you ever wanted an introduction to UK Riot Grrrl, this is it. Most of the bands are DIY, underground and fierce as hell.
It starts with Dream Nails‘s song ‘DIY’- an underground anthem about being capable and female. I bought this single along with their zine a while back and it’s an upbeat raucous call to arms with a catchy pop sensibility.
Next is Bratakus – ‘Pollution Evolution’ a Distillers-esque DIY sounding song lamenting the lack of discussion about pollution and global warming (from what I can tell.) “This is what we should be talking about.” It’s delivered with an impressive Brody Dalle rasp and confined to just over a minute, it packs a punch into a small package.
“Touch me again and I’ll f*cking kill you!” Screams Ren Aldridge, lead singer of Petrol Girls on ‘Touch Me Again’. And you can tell she means it with all of her being. It’s empowering to behold and would be healing for anyone who has experienced sexual assault, which is far too many women. “It’s my body and my choice.” Under the current political climate, with pussy grabbing examples of masculinity in power, this song takes on a new relevance. I love the delivery. It’s an album highlight.
Dolls – ‘Audrey’ is Debbie Harry vocal purrs and power. It’s post punk guitars reminding me of Wire. It’s spacious cityscapes, cracking chorus and punk pop coos. (But not pop punk you understand.)
‘Deeply Unlovable’ by Manchester band The Empty Page is another highlight. I discovered them back in the summer when they played the GRRRLS WITH GUITARS party that evolved into this blog. “Oh sisterhood I wish you would be open armed/ entirely disarmed/ But you side eye me shape and size me compare contrast / Always the first and last”- the song calls for women to be more supportive to each other in a culture that makes “nothing ever good enough” for women. All delivered with punchy basslines, sexy guitars and a Courtney Love scream.
Tasty distorted guitars crash in while Tegan Christmas delivers a Ramones-worthy punk vocal with pop sensibility. It all sounds like the doors may come off at any moment, but they never do. This just adds to the urgency of the song ‘Poor Liam’ by the Ethical Debating Society. The production is deliciously lofi and sounds like it’s been recorded in a garage.
Gladiators Are You Ready? deliver an unexpectedly heavy and brutal number with ‘I Want To Love You.’ It’s distorted bass-heavy sound, jangly drums and the sweetest cutest vocals ever juxtaposing over the top, which is a powerful combo and I love it. “I wanna love you like I love myself but I love myself just a little too hard.” sings VULVERINE aka Vagina Dentata.
The volume steadily gets turned up from nought to eleven as ‘Out of My System’ by deux furieuses– a band I have been following for a while and am friends with on facebook- comes in through my headphones. Tumbling drums, deep distorted guitars collide with distorted TV vocals. The pacing is like being repeatedly beaten with punches of sound.
Fight Rosa Fight! are up next with their garage punk sounding ‘Sick Of You.’ “Who do you call when there’s been a crime? / Call your local Girl Gang instead on 999.” It’s Seventies style punk perfection.
‘Keyboard Warrior’ by GUTTFUL is about trolls on the internet and an important subject for our times. Delivered in a similar style to Dream Nails. “Checking out my videos / Telling me I’m hideous.” It seems to be a problem that disproportionately affects women. “Never read the comments!” Wise words.
Hannah Golightly founded GrrrlsWithGuitars in 2016. She is a riot grrrl musician, singer, guitarist and drummer from the UK. She has been a music critic and rock writer for over eight years and has previously written for collapseboard.com for six years, godisinthetvzine.co.uk, mother's pride zine and vulturehound.com. She has a passion for guitars and amps and owns a lot of them! She is passionate about promoting and helping grrrls and women play guitar and form bands. She loves female rock musicians' music and he favourite band is Skating Polly. She believes that a grrrl with a guitar can change the world!