Intern Picks of the Week – Women in Rock

Women Who Rock - Intern Picks of the Week
Women Who Rock - Intern Picks of the Week

Happy March! The sun is shining, the St. Patrick’s Day plans are being created, and your favorite interns are back with more picks. In honor of March being Women’s History Month, we wanted to highlight the amazingly talented women who are crushing the rock scene right now. The music industry has been a boys club for far too long – here are some women who are changing it! Today’s a beautiful day to diversify your music taste with your favorite interns – Madeleine, Emily, Brooke, and Benni! 

Madeleine’s Pick: Ellie Rowsell of Wolf Alice – “Giant Peach”

I’ve been drawn to Wolf Alice’s music for years because of its versatility. I’m continually impressed by the band’s ability to effortlessly weave in and out of soaring indie-pop, ethereal shoegaze and searing alt-rock. The band’s heavier songs are my favorites. Singer Ellie Roswell’s palpable energy and unapologetic yells make each line a sucker punch. This shines on the band’s 2015 LP My Love Is Cool. Tracks like “Giant Peach” and “Moaning Lisa Smile” feature crashing drums, distorted electric guitars and Roswell’s vocal howl. Every Wolf Alice song is an experience that builds and explodes in striking, surprising ways. 

My favorite Wolf Alice track is “Giant Peach.” From the start, listeners are met with gritty guitars, ethereal harmonies and driving percussion. As the instrumentation builds, Roswell sings in an expressive 90s-punk taunt. She ends the verses in a scream as the track switches to an ascending instrumental section. The electric guitars are a soaring wash behind Roswell’s sustained “ahs.” The track comes down in the bridge as Roswell sings in a conversational, low register. A suspenseful guitar chord strikes and the full band joins back in. The arrangement becomes tense and jarring as it rises to a blistering climax. Roswell repeats “Our dark and pretty town,” slightly raising each line’s pitch. This repetition is broken by Rockwell’s bone-chilling scream, which propels the track into an explosive, distorted guitar riff. 

I’d venture to say that Rockwell’s scream at the end of “Giant Peach” is one of my favorite moments in music. Simply listening to Rockwell express her anger is a cathartic experience for me. The grit and power in her voice is what makes Wolf Alice songs so memorable. Rock is in good hands with Roswell and the many other female artists impacting the scene.

Listen to “Giant Peach” below!

Emily’s Pick: Hayley Williams of Paramore –  “Ignorance”

I don’t think there is a band that has influenced my music taste more than Paramore. Despite being in the industry for nearly two decades, the band has been able to completely revolutionize the rock industry with every new release. Their newest This is Why, is the perfect culmination of their past works- it continues to house Hayley’s insane vocals and the powerful sonics of Taylor York and Zac Farro. It features subtle hints to their punk beginnings, as evident in All We Know Is Falling, Riot!, and Brand New Eyes, while still having the pop influence of After Laughter. 

This week I have to highlight my favorite Paramore song, “Ignorance.” Coming from the 2009 album Brand New Eyes, this track has continued to be in my heavy rotation. The lyrics are flooded with the imagery and storytelling that they’re known for, while still being sonically complex. I will be honest in saying picking a favorite song was a difficult ask;it’s only fair to mention my runner-ups. The deep cut that is “In the Mourning” to the live anthem that is “Caught in the Middle” and the radio hit of “C’est Comme Ça” deserve as much spotlight in this pick. 

Hayley’s vocal ability is one I cannot help but be gravitated toward. Her ability to belt almost nightly and sound just as organic as the studio recordings is a true talent. Their live show is electric, especially in their hometown of Nashville. The trio are rock stars and put on a live show for the history books.

Paramore is the first female-fronted band to win Best Rock Album at the GRAMMYs. This monumental award isn’t one that came lightly to the band. They’re proudly trying to push the rock and alternative spaces to be more inclusive, and have been for years. This win is one that transcends the music. Celebrate the women in rock music this month- the GRAMMYs already have! 

Listen to “Ignorance” below!

Brooke’s Pick:  Karly Hatzman of Wednesday – “Bull Believer”

Wednesday is a southern alt-rock band from Asheville, North Carolina that’s fronted by my woman in rock, Karly Hatzman. Blending shoe gaze with country, the band simply rocks. Their songs are loud, angry, distorted, and a little twangy, influenced by their time growing up in the South and the bands that came from here. But what really makes Wednesday special is Hatzman’s soul bearing lyrics and propensity for storytelling. No more of the whispering of vague lyrics to acoustic guitar that has dominated the indie scene for the past few years, Hatzman is going to make sure you hear what she has to say. 

The band also consists of guitarist MJ Lenderman, lap steel player Xandy Chelmis, drummer Alan Miller and bassist Ethan Baechtold. They lay it all out at their shows and Hatzman keeps the energy up the whole night with her already iconic black lip/mullet combo. After seeing them this past month at EastSide Bowl, “Bull Believer,” easily became my favorite song of theirs. The eight and a half minute long song closed out their show and the command that Hatzman had over the crowd at that point was like a conductor to her orchestra. This song tells the story of a girl being hurt like a bull in a bullfight and her pleadings for someone to notice and believe in her, filled to the brim with religious imagery and cultural references. She pleads a St. Augustine prayer she first heard in The Sopranos, “God, make me good, but not quite yet.” And finishes the song repeating Mortal Kombat’s iconic catchphrase, “Finish him,” over and over growing louder and more guttural until it finally becomes an incomprehensible scream.

Listen to “Bull Believer” below !

Benni’s Pick: Nova Twins – “Antagonist”

The Nova Twins are one of this decade’s most exciting and energetic rock groups. Led by the UK’s Amy Love and Georgia South, the duo brings fiery, fast vocal deliveries to the noisy sound of industrial rock and nu metal. Their music draws on the same energy that made up early rap-influenced rock music in the 80s like the Beastie Boys and Outkast, including classic tropes like rap verses between shouted choruses, dense arrangements with a multitude of sounds and effects, and heavily rhythmic vocals that drive the songs and accent the thickness of the accompanying drums and bass. The confidence that Love and South bring in their vocal and instrumental performances are truly the selling point of their sound, bringing not only the power necessary for hard-hitting rock music, but also a unique versatility that allows them to effortlessly switch between styles and maintain a constant sense of intrigue.

“Antagonist” is the lead single off of their second album, and uses its full runtime to weave between the many different musical elements on display throughout the record. It is a perfect showcase of The Nova Twins’s stylistic flair, musical expertise, and unrelenting high-energy. Kicking off the song with blasting drums and a twisted electronic hook, the Nova Twins use the first seconds to immediately throw the listener into the middle of the chaotic collage of noise and rhythm. In doing so, the listener becomes instantly primed to the quick, sharp rap-like vocals that are shouted over the first verse. The instruments provide an intense grinding and chugging backbone that beefs up the vocals and evokes the feeling of an unhinged live show at a crowded local punk venue. The chorus introduces a wider arrangement of loud guitars, synths, and sound effects that harken back to well-loved industrial rock tracks from the early 2000s. As the song progresses, Love and South’s vocals only grow more fierce and unhinged, frequently devolving into screams, chants, and accented hits. The impact of the song is maximized towards the closing of the track as the beat switches into a slower, brutally punchy half-time section that begs to be head-banged to, with an insane rhythmic kick that rocks the listener’s body head-to-toe.

Listen to “Antagonist” below!