Stuff We Miss: Women Who Rocked Out

The most visible women of music right now are, in my opinion, pretty rad. Beyoncé’s sass and class is inspiring. Ke$ha’s sense of humor is refreshing. Lady Gaga’s edgy lyrics and synthetic metal costumes are genius. However, I yearn for the real self-made, women rockers of my middle school days.

Mid-90s bands like Sleater-Kinney, The Breeders, Veruca Salt, and Elastica,  and many more, were (or still are) independent and strong minded. Many of the 90s female lead bands were totally unapologetic about being women and were not shy about letting lose with their music.

These bands ranged from the hardcore Riot Grrrl groups like L7 and Bikini Kill (part of which became the awesome Le Tigre) to the “cuddlecore” groups like Cub and Maow. However harsh or snuggly these bands were, seeing a feminine face rocking out and being herself certainly made a positive impact on my life.

There are so many more bands that I cannot fit into this post! What are some of your favorite female centric rock bands, and why? Who do you think are some of the upcoming women rockers we haven’t heard of yet?


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  1. Avatar
    Laura D. 05/07/2010 at 1:55 pm #

    You have to love Girls School & The Donnas if you love girl rockers! Nice mention for L7 (always fantastic), their lead singer Donita Sparks does some really great solo stuff as well. Imelda May is basically the female Brian Setzer, not a rock at all but her sense of style and voice are both amazing.

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    Melanie 05/07/2010 at 2:38 pm #

    I always loved Babes In Toyland, an all-girl three-piece that rocked super hard. Also, Kim Gordon of Sonic Youth was a HUGE inspiration for me as a female, and as a musician.
    and I guess we can’t forget Hole, while we’re at it. 😉

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    Jennifer 05/07/2010 at 2:39 pm #

    I loved all these women! Kate Nash (who is 22 years old, btw) just came out with a new album, ‘My Best Friend is You,’ and, much like her first album, ‘Made of Bricks,’ the album is AMAZING for its fresh, unapologetic lyrics and infectious tunes.

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    abby 05/07/2010 at 3:04 pm #

    Garbage, The Distillers, Tegan & Sara, Save Ferris, Sonic Youth..

    I miss that era so so much. I feel like a lot of ladies don’t rock out anymore. Or they all sound like robots.

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    Angeline 05/07/2010 at 3:23 pm #

    Love it! Gwen Stefani always brings back awesome memories of home (esp. since we’re both from the Anaheim area). Also love Letters to Cleo, Save Ferris, the Donnas, and Garbage. And you can’t forget the classics: Heart, Pat Benatar, Joan Jett. Going to see Pat tomorrow night and I’m so excited!

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    gizmogal 05/07/2010 at 3:44 pm #


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    jill 05/07/2010 at 3:49 pm #

    I loooove Liz Phair circa Exile in Guyville. She’s gotten a little commercial recently. 🙁

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    Lulu 05/07/2010 at 4:12 pm #

    ahh i love No Doubt

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    Angela (ModCloth) 05/07/2010 at 4:28 pm #

    I’m so glad others miss music like this too!

    @gizmogal- The Runaways are totally precursors to these 90s groups! Thanks for mentioning them.

    And yeah, the Donnas! I was supposed to see them once, but my ride changed his mind at the last minute, so I never did see them live.

    @jill- I wish I had room for solo artists like Liz Phair- not to mention PJ Harvey!

    Keep ’em coming, everyone!

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    Kaitlyn 05/07/2010 at 4:41 pm #

    Ahh! No Doubt was my first favorite band! I love them so much. And Pink would be good to put on the list, she’s pretty awesome.

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    Victoria / Justice Pirate 05/07/2010 at 5:39 pm #

    I always loved 90s bands like Dance Hall Crashers. Someone said Save Ferris too. Good band.

    . . .I was in the Lisa Loeb fanclub from ’94-’02 . . .

    Women who rock today though. . hmm well there aren’t any that really get me other than things like Eisley. I need to find more to listen to today. I hate overly known bands and singers honestly. Please give me more underground bands please please!!

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    Alicia / Likely Badger 05/07/2010 at 6:11 pm #

    I miss the 90’s. It was a perfect storm for music and fashion. I still listen to Veruca Salt, Letters to Cleo, Luscious Jackson, Tori Amos …

    As for today, Jenny Lewis, She & Him, Au Revoir Simone, The Bird and the Bee, Camera Obscura, all wonderful bands with unique sounds.

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    Alison L. 05/07/2010 at 8:51 pm #

    Alison Mosshart!

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    Jacky 05/07/2010 at 9:34 pm #

    I mean, Alanis Morrisette Jagged Little Pill is pretty much golden for 90’s angry rock… and then she just had to go to India 😐

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    Olivia 05/07/2010 at 10:16 pm #

    I love No Doubt!!! Gwen Stefani stick rocks

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    Megan 05/07/2010 at 10:17 pm #

    Already noted: Bikini Kill, Babes in Toyland, HOLE!!!!, L7.

    Also: Concrete Blonde, PJ Harvey, Sinead O’Connor, Elastica.

    I was seriously obsessed with this album by a band called Pet that was co-produced by Tori Amos:

    Okay all done dating myself.

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    Claudia 05/08/2010 at 8:27 am #

    I’m so much into Alison Mosshart right now. Her way of performing, with either The Kills or The Dead Weather, is just awesome, so energetic and inspiring.
    I will see her in July in Switzerland with TDW and I know it’s going to be great!

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    Kristen Renee 05/08/2010 at 9:31 am #

    Sixpence None the Richer!


    There was also a group my sister loved… I think they were called Stretch Princess…

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    Angela 05/08/2010 at 1:17 pm #

    I second all the mentions of PJ Harvey. I love her to death. And the 70s all-girl punk band the Slits. I’ve been obsessed with them lately. They are a definite precursor to all those Riot Grrrl bands.

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    Nina 05/08/2010 at 3:05 pm #

    I got super into a band called Jale towards the end of highschool.

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    Nina 05/08/2010 at 3:08 pm #

    Whoops, forgot about The Murmurs!

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    Julie 05/08/2010 at 7:35 pm #

    check out Those Darlins!!!

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    Kelly 05/09/2010 at 12:56 am #

    Let’s not forget the woman who started it all Janis Joplin, I wasn’t alive for her era unfortunately but her music still influenced me…
    and has anyone mentioned Stevie Nicks?! OMG how do you forget Stevie!

  24. Avatar
    Nadia 05/09/2010 at 3:31 pm #

    i miss no doubt ):

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    Rebecca 05/10/2010 at 1:21 pm #

    Sorry, but Lady Gaga, Beyonce, and Kesha are all pretty awful. Beyonce I can tolerate, but the other two are trash. I enjoy St. Vincent, My Brightest Diamond, M.I.A., Santigold, and tons more. Just because they’re popular doesn’t mean they are any good 🙁

  26. Avatar
    Angela (ModCloth) 05/10/2010 at 3:06 pm #

    @ Claudia- I’ve been listening to The Kills all day!

  27. Avatar
    Elyse 05/10/2010 at 11:37 pm #

    The Breeders, the Cranberries, and No Doubt! I really want the 90s to come back, haha. =)

  28. Avatar
    Stephanie 05/11/2010 at 10:22 am #

    Blondie, No Doubt, Letters to Cleo, Sixpence None the Richer, Garbage, The Breeders, Veruca Salt, Elastica, Hole, and my newest faves are The Yeah Yeah Yeahs, Metric and Spinnerette—I so have a girl crush on Brody Dalle. 🙂

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    Carmen 05/11/2010 at 3:03 pm #

    All of these are great! But how about some spanish-speaking ladies like Ximena Sarinana, Natalia Lafourcade, Julieta Venegas, Andrea Echeverri/Aterciopelados, Ely Guerra, Hello Seahorse!. Also, Jemina Pearl and i LOVE Regine from Arcade Fire!!

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    Vivian 05/11/2010 at 4:23 pm #

    Girls are still rocking!!!

    I also ADORE Electrelane…wish they make a come back again!!!

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    Joanna 05/13/2010 at 4:00 pm #

    Ohh lord, don’t forget Ani Difranco!!!!

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    Stephanie 05/14/2010 at 2:02 pm #

    Ke$ha is the worst thing that has ever happened to music. Seriously. I don’t understand why everyone thinks she’s so witty. ._.

    The Yeah Yeah Yeahs are amazing, not sure if anyone has mentioned them yet. Karen O is one of my female musician heroes, along with Janis Joplin, Grace Slick, Stevie Nicks, Heart, and OH GOD YES MEG WHITE.

    Why didn’t anyone mention Meg White yet? THERE’S your witty lady right there.

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    Geneva 05/16/2010 at 2:52 pm #

    The most inspiring and passionate – Babes In Toyland! They were amazing live and Kat’s lyrics, wow so gorgeous/crazy.

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    emilyyy 05/28/2010 at 11:50 pm #

    A great new girl punk is The Pretty Reckless. Its Taylor Momson from Gossip Girl, but her band is amazing, and she sounds raw and suprisingly like the runaways a bit! Check the band out though

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