Music Reviews

Badass Women: The many faces of a musical rebirth and the women leading them

Spotify released a playlist highlighting some amazing women in music and it got guest writer Daisy Sunsine thinking.

When thinking about women musician figureheads of the alternative spectrum such as; Alice Glass (Crystal Castles), Amelia Murray (Fazerdaze), Patti Smith, Karen O (Yeah Yeah Yeahs!), Bilinda Butcher (My Bloody Valentine), Annie Clark (St. Vincent), Molly Rankin (Alvvays), Eva Hendricks (Charly Bliss), Claire Boucher (GRIMES), Mitski Miyawaki (Mitski) and Ellie Rowsell (Wolf Alice) to name a few-

Jay Som (Source: )
Jay Som (Source: Jay Som Bandcamp)

Spotify’s Badass Women playlist showcases the women of the 21st century who are changing up the Indie scene from the underground and on the frontier; ranging from a diverse selection of women from different backgrounds, musical styles, and motivations.

Through decades of grit and survival in a male-dominated music industry, these women have reclaimed the old saying of “Drugs, sex and Rock n’ roll”, with earnest story-telling, passion-filled musicianship, and raw lyricism.

Exploring the essence of sexuality, relationships, and self-care

Nana Adjoa (Source: )
Nana Adjoa (Source: Popronde.nl)

With the knowledge of the playlist’s main genre in mind, the world of Indie is a diamond in the rough- the quiet beauty of Lo-fi Dream-pop or the frenetic energy of Indie Garage-Rock may be different in terms of sound- but the messages sent through are of an immutable quality.

On the soundscape, topics like sexuality, relationships, and self-care are either translated into a trance-like sensuality or a rage-fest of epic proportions.

Either way, I’m definitely all here for it– so here are five tracks from the playlist that encapsulates the core of the message!

(source: timeoutkl.com)
Lurkgurl (source: timeoutkl.com)
  1. Anna BurchTea-soaked letter
  2. Lucy Dacus – I don’t want to be funny anymore
  3. Nana AdjoaLate Bloomer
  4. HaterBlushing
  5. Sidney GishRat of the city

For our Malaysian pick? We call upon you to check out bedroom artist Lurkgurl’s “Sariah“- Khadijah Juswil’s lovely tribute to her late grandmother.

Activism through the sound!

2017-2018 has been a milestone for women all over the world in the music, film, and arts industry,

and this playlist showcases the musical works of a plethora of remarkable women, with powerhouse celebrity, Oprah Winfrey’s iconic “Time’s Up” speech at the 75th Golden Globes for the Cecil B. DeMille Award also making an appearance on the playlist as well.

(Source: )
Weaves (Source: Noah Bender)

For too long, women have not been heard or believed if they dare speak the truth to the power of those men. But their time is up. Their time is up. Their time is up. – Oprah Winfrey, 2018

Music has been a medium for activism through the eras of Angelic Upstarts, The Cockney Rejects, Sham 69, The 4-Skins all the way to the days of Pussy Riot, where music was a platform for political activism with anti-establishment messages against authority. Oh, you’ll definitely be pleasantly surprised with the number of activists who have a music career on the side!

Shh... Diam! (Source: )
Shh… Diam! (Source: Shh.. Diam! FB)
  1. SAMIA – Somebody Tell The Boys!
  2. Cayetana – Age of Consent (New Order)
  3. Childbirth Siri, Open Tinder!
  4. WeavesWalkaway
  5. Downtown Boys – Lips that bite
  6. Sammi Lanzetta Circles 

Check out Queer and Happycore outfit Shh.. Diam!’s “Guangzhou Girls” for a taste of frenetic Malaysian magic; I’ll be really, super honest.. you won’t find a band like them anywhere else here in Malaysia!

The long-awaited resurgence of All-Girl Bands

The Impatient Sisters (Source: )
The Impatient Sisters (Source: Bubblebeam Magazine)

Freshen up your all-girl band palette, and check out these rockers from Gold Coast, Australia, to Puerto Rico and all the way to Detroit.

All-girl any-things are often correlated with genres such as RnB and Pop, where groups like HAIM or DEFAM take center stage in the industry- the likes of  Candy, Juliet the Orange, SheWolfe, Vermillion, Misgive, KK, Intoxicated gained popularity in the late 90s and early 2000s when MySpace was the go-to; but only a handful of exclusively women bands/groups or even women-led bands are active in the scene as of today. (expand)


  1. Camp Cope (Source: )
    Camp Cope (Source: Darwin Festival)

    Camp Cope – The Opener

  2. HabibiSiin 
  3. Body TypeSilver
  4. Pinky Pinky – Ram Jam
  5. Daddy IssuesLocked Out

Current household names like Crinkle Cut and Bottlecapt becomes the alternative standard of Girl bands in the Malaysian music scene- but we undoubtedly lose out on the end of variety. Or maybe, the rising tide of R&B and hip-hop means that rock bands become a less appealing musical style to adopt? Either way, a richer music scene where all of these genres come to live would be our ideal scenario.

Check out Indie-Folk sister band The Impatient Sisters‘ “Hey There Young Sailor!” Their vocal harmonies and folk sensibilities tell moving stories or convey simple messages with a heart.

Daisy Sunshine’s Top Picks That Will Convince You To Listen To This Playlist

I would’ve listed these as ‘Honorable Mentions’, but these tracks either resonated with me on an emotional level or came out to me as an unexpected surprise! These tracks also showcases a type of rawness that captures the essence of the indie, alternative scene – with all of its flavours.

    1. Takahara Suiko (Source: )
      Takahara Suiko (Source: Beehy.pe)

      Lunar VacationBlue Honey

    2. San MeiRewind
    3. Sheer MagFan The Flames
    4. KississippiCut Yr Teeth
    5. RackettPrey
Eff Hakim (Source:)
Eff Hakim (Source: Pastel Lite FB)

On a finishing note, it’s time that women of the music industry know their absolute worth- that compromising or “accommodating” shouldn’t be an option for women to take. It’s why cases of abuse such as Alice Glass and former bandmate Ethan Kath happens. I say the era of objectification and empty “Sex Sells” is  over, and the empowerment of women across in however way they choose – positive sexuality, punk rock ativism, gritty androgyny -all on our own terms

There is a lot of space for more musicians to come into the fold and have their voices heard. In a world where there is a rising tide of awareness when it comes to patriarchal structures in every aspects of our lifes, all-women bands would be a great source of inspiration for future generations to come.


Featured image is of Crinkle Cut. Source: Crinkle Cut FB. Picture by Aldwin Lee.

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