Diversification is important. Women of all walks of life have been leaping to the top of many end-of-year lists, spanning all genres from pop, to indie, to RnB – and this year has seen massive strides forward for girls in the rock and punk industries too. However, there’s still undoubtedly a lot of misogyny and preferential treatment of men in our preferred genre – we wanted to recognise the talents of some kick-ass, amazing women by counting down our top ten favourite albums they’ve made. So, without further ado…
10. Pagan – Black Wash
Melbourne quartet Pagan‘s debut is a brilliant, chaotic mash-up of the best bits of metal and punk; Nikki Brumen’s guttural screamed vocals mould brilliantly into the harsh guitar that courses throughout the album.
Album highlights: Death Before Disco, Imitate Me
9. Queen Kwong – Love Me To Death
Carré Callaway is undoubtedly a brilliant songwriter, and this shows through on Queen Kwong‘s sophomore effort, Love Me To Death. Sometimes punky, sometimes psychedelic, always packed full of chugging bass lines and beautiful lyrics, this album is a triumph from start to finish.
Album highlights: Love Me To Death, Raptures
8. Nervus – Everything Dies
Em Foster has got to be one of the busiest women in punk, spreading her time between Funeral Shakes, Milk Teeth, and of course, Nervus. Everything Dies is political, socially aware, and packed full of Foster’s own personal experiences that can be heart-wrenching at times. It’s an essential album for detailing the trans experience, and absolutely worth digesting.
Album highlights: Sick Sad World, The Way Back
7. Estrons – You Say I’m Too Much, I Say You’re Not Enough
Feminist punk at its absolute finest. Cardiff rockers Estrons have been making waves this year with their energetic, rage-fuelled bangers and their notoriously crazy live shows; Tali Källström is an absolute powerhouse of a frontwoman. She’s completely unapologetic in her tearing down of misogynist standards and on Estrons debut, the band show they have enough fire to fuel an entire ironworks.
Album highlights: Drop, Make A Man
6. Dream Wife – Dream Wife
It’s hard to believe a band as fantastic as Dream Wife actually exists. Their much-anticipated debut album shows the Icelandic feminist punk trio oozing with confidence and cool – seriously, you don’t get a much cooler trio of gals than this. Rakel Mjöll can sing sweetly one minute before screeching that she’s going to ‘cut you up’ and ‘f*** you up’, whilst Alice Go absolutely shreds and Bella Podpadec keeps the pace with meaty basslines. If you get the chance to catch this band live, do not pass it up.
Album highlights: Hey Heartbreaker, F.U.U.
5. Muncie Girls – Fixed Ideals
Lande Hekt absolutely wears her heart on her sleeve on Muncie Girl‘s second album, and it’s a lovely mix of sweet, powerful, and impossibly catchy. The Exeter DIY punks foray into indie and emo territories on an album full of some of the best lyrics and vocals we’ve heard all year. It’s political, it’s personal, and it’s pretty much perfect.
Album highlights: Picture Of Health, Falling Down
4. Laura Jane Grace & The Devouring Mothers – Bought To Rot
Against Me‘s Laura Jane Grace has always been at the forefront of punk, with her political witticisms and undeniable songwriting talent. On her latest project, she dips into classic rock, indie, rambling folk-style tracks and of course, punk; sometimes tragic, oftentimes humorous, and always honest, Grace’s status as a Goddess of the genre remains as unquestioned as ever on this record.
Album highlights: Apocalypse Now (And Later), Reality Bites
3. Stand Atlantic – Skinny Dipping
Pop-punk is unfortunately a very male-dominated scene – any frontwoman will have to face an inevitable barrage of Hayley Williams comparisons and fight ten times harder than any man, even one who sounds exactly like anyone else in this scene. So when Stand Atlantic released their utterly brilliant debut, the coming-of-age masterpiece Skinny Dipping, Bonnie Fraser’s powerful vocals and commanding, charming presence made sure the band got the recognition they deserved. You’ll have to fight the urge to spring to your feet and start dancing when you put this album on – it’s pure, fun, wholesome pop-punk fun. There’s a good reason they’re our band of the month!
Album highlights: Lavender Bones, Lost My Cool
2. Against The Current – Past Lives
Pop isn’t something we normally delve into at Sound Of Pen, but when it’s pop as luscious, infectious, and glimmering as that produced by New York’s Against The Current, we’ll definitely make exceptions. Chrissy Costanza is magnetic; her vocals and lyrics drift from bubblegum-sweet to RnB-influenced and sensual. The production on Past Lives is crisp, aural bliss, with disco basslines and sparkling eighties riffs – it soars into your eardrums and makes a home in your brain. It’s truly impossible to get these songs out of your head.
Album highlights: Strangers Again, Almost Forgot
1. Marmozets – Knowing What You Know Now
Sheffield rockers Marmozets shot to prominence with their 2014 debut – it was praised by critics and became an instant staple of female-fronted punk music. Knowing What You Know Now is just as enthralling as the band’s debut; absolutely worth the four year wait. Becca MacIntyre’s vocals are second-to-none, as she swoops from almost operatic highs to hair-raising screams, to a backdrop of crashing cymbals and grunge-influenced guitars. There’s absolutely no other band out there like Marmozets and boy, are we grateful for them.
Album highlights: Major System Error, Habits