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Neo-Riot Grrrls: Today's Top 5 Female Punk Rockers

There have been punk-rock chicks as long as there has been punk rock. That much is true, but what is also unfortunately true is that the genre can all too often be a boys' club. Consider that emo, an entire genre based around angsty young men bemoaning their troubles with women, spawned from punk. Then take a gander at the genre's biggest icons: From Johnny Rotten to Henry Rollins, it's mostly all men.

But does that mean women can't be as punk or hardcore as men? Of course not. Even back in the '80s, there was Kira Roessler jamming on bass alongside Black Flag. In the '90s, there was an entire movement of female punk rock bands: Riot grrrl. And while riot grrrl has mostly petered out since then, that doesn't mean there aren't many badass punk rocker girls dominating the scene today. These are just a few of the best.

5. The Coathangers

The Coathangers learned how to play their instruments by playing them in front of audiences. This trial-by-fire approach to starting out led them to not only frequently trade out instruments, as each of them had as much skill with each instrument as anyone else in the band, but led them to craft some of the most interesting, craziest punk rock going on right now.

4. Teri Gender Bender (Le Butcherettes)

Le Butcherettes are a punk band out of Mexico that has quickly been rising to prominence since signing to Sargent House Records. Front woman Teri Gender Bender is known for her absolutely bonkers stage presence, where she typically wears a blood stained dress.

She's often seen being extremely sexual and violent onstage, and has even peed on the stage a few times (shades of GG Allin). As for their music, they take a slightly poppy tone at times, but they can rock out with the best.

 

3. Vivian Girls

Vivian Girls are an all-female garage-rock revival band. Their sound is lo-fi and noisy, but their best feature is their songwriting. They slowly built upon their talents on their first two records, a self-titled debut and Everything Goes Wrong, but it's on their most recent album Share the Joy where everything comes together for them.

Their sound on this record is still firmly DIY, but with their songwriting, they are becoming the heiresses to the throne vacated by Sleater-Kinney. Indeed, Share the Joy sounds a lot like Sleater-Kinney's The Woods when Vivian Girls get around to jamming and rocking out, which is what they seem to do the best.

2. Wild Flag

Speaking of Sleater-Kinney, Wild Flag is the latest band from Carrie Brownstein and Janet Weiss, two-thirds of that band's line-up. Together with Mary Timony from Helium and Rebecca Cole from the Minders, they've gone back to their punk roots and stripped down any excess.

Even better, they prove that front woman Carrie Brownstein may be funny on Portlandia, but she can still absolutely rock when she feels like it. They're also just pure fun. None of the members of Wild Flag have anything to prove to anyone at this point; they're all veterans. That gives them free reign to do whatever they want, and makes the music all the better.

 

1. Marissa Paternoster (Screaming Females)

Marissa Paternoster at House of Blues in October
Marissa Paternoster at House of Blues in October
Photo by Marc Brubaker

Screaming Females have been slowly building a fanbase for several years now. They've already got a devoted cult following and have recently been getting even more attention from a tour with Garbage and an album produced by Steve Albini.

Their defining feature is front woman Marissa Paternoster, whose screams and yells make up the band's vocals. She also plays the guitar and, unlike a lot of punks, knows how to wield an axe. Paternoster is a shred guitarist from hell.



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