It’s all well and good highlighting these bands with shiny new material incoming this year, but some of the best female voices in rock have fallen silent, whether through lineup changes, retirement or death. I’m closing out female fronted rockbands week here at the bottom of the internet and it seems unfair not to give these musicians their due, so here are a few of my favorites who won’t be releasing new material any time soon, but I really wish were.
Kicking off with a local group, we have The Chalets, the Irish indie rockers who turned a hipsterish contempt into easily digestible, straight ahead hooky goodness. While I normally treat hipsters with the same caution I employ for weapons grade plutonium and blood caked syringes, the Chalets get a pass for the irresistible simplicity of their music. Ten years on, I’m pretty certain I still know every word on Check-In, their debut (and ultimately only) album, which only made it harder to pick a song. In the end I went with album closer Beach Blanket, because, after all, what song could better represent an Irish Band than their ode to getting wasted.
The next band on the roster of the disappeared are Lecarla, their vanishing act made only more saddening by the fact that the last communications from them were studio diaries for a full length album. But the band’s online presence has grown silent, their drummer moving on to man the kit for White Clouds and Gunfire. Still, we’ll always have their closest thing to a hit, Dilligaf, a party metal anthem even with its strangely subdued chorus. From its tapped verse riffs to the outro strummed at blender like speeds, the only bad thing about Dilligaf is that I wish there was more of it, exactly the same way I feel about the band as a whole.
While Hole aren’t technically disbanded, the soul of the band checked out long ago, and I find it hard to imagine a reunion approaching anything close to the level they were at when they hung up their guitars. It would be even more of a miracle if they ever create anything with the raw power of Live Through This, an underrated nineties rock gem. The grunge tone combined with Courtney Love’s punk rock screams to create forty minutes of forlorn, angry and strangely beautiful music that could go toe to toe with Nirvana any night of the week. Asking For It is the pick here, nicely summing up the tone of the album as a whole, in addition to being a cracking song.
And lastly, we have the queen of the death metal growl, Angela Gossow. When Gossow took over the vocalist slot of Arch Enemy in 2000, a woman fronting a death metal band was an unheard of thing. I still hesitate to call it an everyday occurence, but Gossow has done more to normalize female-driven death metal than anyone, by being one of the best vocalists the death metal world has seen. A combination of easy crowd rapport, larynx shredding howls and massive stage presence made her a shoe-in for the top tier and while she has handed off vocal duties in Arch Enemy to (the also supremely capable) Alissa White-Gluz, her influence will be felt forever (or at least until there’s an extinction level mosh pit event caused by one of her proteges). You can check out the queen at work in the live performance of We Will Rise below.