Join us on 17 March for a LOUD WOMEN takeover at London’s Royal Albert Hall! Headliners ILL will be performing a one-off “witchy queer cabaret”, with a collage of dealing with the topic of identity (with added bits from ILL videos) on a loop as a backdrop to their killer set. Here’s a sneak preview of the video:
Support on the night will come from:
* Nun Habit – London-based five-piece, whose fuzzy garage rock sound places a heavy emphasis on loud noises, pop-y tunes and having a good time.
* Lilith Ai – a DIY singer-songwriter, who performs poignant tales of modern city life. Born in northeast London Ai grew up streetwise. In her early teens with only £70 in her pocket, she ran away to America and spent the next few years living on the streets Queens New York which has heavily influenced her music.
* I, Doris – Mummycore riotpop kitchenpunx. “One of the most radical and fun bands we’ve ever seen … they take a glittering disco punk meat cleaver to the gender challenges that no-one else is talking about. Armed with a keytar, a wealth of wit, and a communal I, Doris pledge, you can imagine these Londoners going down a storm at any kind of event.” – Kitmonsters
The event is part of the Royal Albert Hall’s Unstoppable Voices series of events, in partnership with LOUD WOMEN and The Quietus.
Janelle Borg (of Maltese punk band Cryptic Street) reports on the women at the forefront of the Madrid’s thriving music scene, exclusively for LOUD WOMEN
From the first time I landed in Madrid, its music and its people captivated me so much that the city left a permanent imprint on me, and a constant yearning to hop on a plane and go there again. The area of Malasaña, with its colourful aesthetic, picturesque cafes and rowdy crowd at night, encapsulates the essence of the Madrid underground scene. With the meteoric rise to fame of bands like Hinds, I couldn’t help but wonder: who are the women driving Madrid’s scene and what is their story? To explore this, I approached three artists from this thriving scene, and this is their side of the story:
Elena Nieto – a young multi-instrumentalist who’s a member of the Madrid-based Yawners and Estrogenuinas
Hickeys – a glitter-punk band whose latest release is called ‘Diamond Munch’.
Mad Girls – a collective of badass women who run Mad Girls Magazine, in addition to promoting and hosting events in Madrid.
>>Can you introduce yourselves and your involvement in music?
Elena: I started playing the guitar when I was 10 or 11. Finally, after constantly pleading for it, my dad got me my first electric guitar when I was 14 or 15. I started playing and recording myself non-stop since I couldn’t find anyone to play with. I founded my first band when I was in my second year at university… playing drums in that band. I never stopped playing and experimenting with different instruments in several bands at the same time ever since. Now I’m focused on my main project,Yawners, while also playing the drums for the punk band Estrogenuinas. I also work at the record label and booking agency, La Castanya, so my life pretty much revolves around music!
Hickeys: We are basically a group of friends who started playing music while drinking beer at Marta’s two years ago. We know each other from university; all of us had dreamed about the possibility of being in a band, but it wasn’t until the four of us started playing together that we saw that this dream could turn into a reality.
Mad Girls: Currently, we’re Mimí, Virginia and Ana. We also have an occasional collaborator, Celia, with a foodie column. It all started about two and a half years ago when Mími and Elvira (the other founding member) were too broke to get into concerts, and so, they decided to start a gig photo blog. Virginia joined some time after, with Ana being the most recent addition to the team. We immediately had a lot of very positive feedback and Mad Girlsorganically evolved into what it is now.
>> What do you think makes the Madrid music scene different from other scenes out there?
E: I think the guitar bands scene in Madrid is huge right now. I’ve lived in different cities and countries and I can tell that what is happening here is special. The local scene is very strong as there are many well-established bands that sell big venues, but also a never-ending flow of newer bands. There is a solid scene of local bands – not only in Madrid but everywhere in Spain – that is touring the country and playing in festivals.
H: We don’t know any international scenes directly and in-depth but, in relation to the Spanish ones, we are noticing fresh sounds coming out of the different neighbourhoods, a variety of genres and very young artists that have a lot to say. Madrid is a great city where people from other parts of Spain come to make a living and that makes it a perfect cradle for creativity and fusion.
>>What attracted Mad Girls to get involved in Madrid’s music scene?
M: We have always been connected to the music scene in Madrid. Most of our friends are musicians so we spent most of our free time attending concerts or jamming at someone’s place. We wanted to have an active role in the music scene, and after some of our best friends performed at our first-anniversary party, it encouraged us to start promoting musical events.
>>Describe your perfect night out in Madrid.
E: It always starts with a show for me. Lately, I’ve been going to Tempo bar (Malasaña). It’s a sketchy but really cool old cocktail bar run by classic-style bartenders … you really wouldn’t expect to find them in such a place! You get a weird bowl of peanuts mixed with gummy bears with every drink.
Also, if the weather is nice, there’s a big chance that I end up hanging outside drinking beer. If you’re around Malasaña, that’d probably be in Plaza del Dos de Mayo.
H: Fortunately, there isn’t one specific type of a perfect night. It can sound cliche but we don’t really care about where to go or what to do. In the end, the magic happens when we are with a group of people who are in the same mood, are open-minded, and you can talk and dance with them without being judged. One of the feelings we like the most takes place at the end of a night out when we walk down the streets of Madrid in the early morning during those hours when the city is still quiet and peaceful.
M: Our perfect night out would definitely have a lot of music involved. First stop would be a place to eat tasty food and gather all together to drink and chat…most likely at the delicious Italian restaurant Menomale. Then a concert, of course! You can often find us atSirocoor Costello – small venues where upcoming bands often start their careers. Then we would most likely stop at Lucy in the Sky where we occasionally DJ, and where the underground music scene gathers. We’d probably end up dancing to rock ‘n’ roll and 60’s beats at FunHouse Music Bar. At the end of it all, we’d grab some churros ‘con chocolate’ while watching the stunning Madrilenian sunrise.
>>Do you feel that women and non-binary folk are well-represented in Madrid’s underground scene?
E: I believe that in Madrid’s underground and punk scenes, women have been well-represented and supported for a long time. Also, at the moment, there are quite a lot of active female-fronted bands in the local scene such as Las Odio, Repion, Hickeys, Hinds, Estrogenuinas, LadyBanana, Pelícana, Cariño, Yawners…to name but a few. In the urban music scene, female artists such as La Zowi are being acknowledged for their work. Another good example is Clara Te Canta: she creates internet pop, sings openly about ‘taboo’ topics, and speaks up for women in general… she’s fun!
H: We have seen an increase in female presence in the underground scene, and also in different bands and musical ensembles. In the past, women were usually cast as the singers in a band, as opposed to playing an instrument. We think (or want to think) that little by little prejudices are being destroyed and that is being reflected on the stage too. Nevertheless, being perceived as a woman performing in a woman’s body in this patriarchal context is still coupled with some comments and judgements relating to our body/face/movements that wouldn’t be commented upon if we were male musicians. We are progressively conquering this field with our presence but, at the same time, we are still referred to as a Girl-Band when a “Boy-band” is an obsolete term that died with Backstreet Boys era.
M: In the past few years there has been more attention drawn to women and non-binary musicians. Nevertheless, we’ve still got a long way to go. We always try to promote bands with female/non-binary members in them. Also, we don’t only focus on the band members themselves…. For example, sometimes it may be an all-male band, but with a female manager. We like to give attention to the women behind-the-scenes who sustain the industry since it can be a very sexist sector. We can vouch personally for this.
>>Any upcoming plans you’d like to tell the world about?
E: We’re releasing Yawners’ debut album in March 2019. I’ll be performing at SXSW, touring around Spain and doing festivals here. Hopefully, we’ll also have some dates in Europe and in the UK by the end of the year. Can’t wait!
H: Right now, we’re focusing on songwriting and not that much on performing live (even though we’re planning a couple of shows abroad in early 2019, mainly in the UK and the US). Three of us are going to finish their studies, so this is going to be a really exciting, twisted and spontaneous year because, in addition to the above, we are also preparing an LP! It seems as if 2019 is going to be full of surprises. A British record label, perhaps?
…and finally, Mad Girls, can you give your recommendations of some Madrilenian female musicians and artists that we should definitely check out?
M: Our favourite female musicians emerging from this scene include Rayo, Melenas, HoaxFellows or Hickeys, amongst many others. As for other artists… photographer SharonLópez!
Last night was TOP FUN! Thanks so much everyone who came and celebrated with us! Huge thanks to stars of the show Young Romanceand Sit Down, and I, Doris we’re on particularly awesome form too if I do say so myself 😍 a lovely night filled with lovely music and people – hurray! If you missed it, do check out the bands’ pages and show them some love – we only book the very best you know!
Special thanks to the multitalented and ever generous Jelly Cleaverwho rushed over after band rehearsal and came and sold merch to help us raise funds for the night. People like Jelly keep the DIY scene going ❤️ check out Jelly’s music page while you’re at it too!
Right then. That’s LOUD WOMEN done for the year! Next stop … New York!! 2019 is gonna be a very exciting year for us – thanks to all our amazing friends and supporters for coming along on the ride. Lots of festive love to you all ❤️💋❤️💋❤️💋
The 2018 LOUD WOMEN album of the year is therefore shared by five artists; and if that wasn’t enough we’ve inaugurated a spanking new LOUD WOMEN People’s Vote Readers’ Choice Award chosen by LOUD WOMEN readers themselves (who are clearly better at making decisions!)
Without giving too much way at this stage let’s just say that it’s been a good year for block capitals: here goes!
With stellar gigs performed all over the London-based DIY scene that they call home and extensive radio play on shows like BBC Music Introducing, it’s been a big year for Big Joanie. The feminist punk trio have certainly ended 2018 with a bang thanks to the acclaim that’s already been given to their debut album Sistahs…By allowing their true feelings to be at the forefront of their songwriting, the band create tracks that truly empower the listener; not only to rebel but to check their own activism, to continue growing, and to do better. [Read full review here]
“An irrepressible sense of fun runs through Tits and Nails, in spite of everything its lyrics address. GUTTFULL has created a brilliant and uncompromising summation of the trials of being ‘other’ in 2018 and they’re ready to shout down their oppressors – with wit and with groove.” [Read more from this review]
They write songs which are both silly and serious, and they attack them (as well as each other) playfully. You can make a case for pretension in art, but there’s none with ILL; like so many of the best bands they seem like a gang you’d love to join, but ILL go one better and make you feel like you’d be welcome: friendly if not quite family-friendly (unless the family in question is more Addams than Partridge, perhaps). … A perfect storm of enigma, whimsy and controlled violence, and a genre-straddling state-of-the-nation address. With added bear growls. [Read more from this review]
‘Long-awaited’ might be a cliché, but in the case of LIINES‘ debut album, it’s a fitting description for a band that’s evolved steadily from fin-de-siecle Manc post-riot grrrl stalwarts Hooker: the tightest, heaviest rhythm section in DIY supports Zoe McVeigh’s emotional vocals and haiku-like songwriting, together conjuring an atmosphere of taut, claustrophobic menace like a UK postpunk time capsule. [Read more from this review]
A perfect ten tracks of no wave-disco electropop on a brilliant debut album from this Norwich duo. Described by The Guardian as “Thrillingly chilly, perfectly funky, no-wave straight out of early 80’s NYC…except that Sink Ya Teeth are a duo from Norwich. In a different era they’d have been all over TOTP” 4/5
The LOUD WOMEN People’s Vote Readers’ Choice Award:
The Menstrual Cramps is an anti-capitalist feminist band, therefore expect direct attacks on Tories, Neo-Nazis, big brands, business owners, famous idols who shouldn’t be idols anymore, and of course, “boyz-who-will-be-boyz”. The songs are so catchy that half of the album will get stuck in your head after giving one listen to the whole album. They produce music rapidly, though diligently. This rapidity actually shows itself in the guitars as fast riffs, playful strokes and abrupt small silences and it just sounds so good and steady. [Read more from this review]
The Top Twenty in full:
Big Joanie – Sistahs
The Breeders – All Nerve
Colour Me Wednesday – Counting Pennies in the Afterlife
So so SO excited to announce the launch of the new LOUD WOMEN NYC chapter’s first gig, at Brooklyn’s The Well – with Basic Bitches and I, Doris confirmed so far, more TBA soon! This will be a night to remember – tell all your NYC friends! Event link here!
The new LOUD WOMEN NYC group has been set up by Cady Siregar, a musician we got to know through her awesome band Spare Rib, and also through a magazine she set up, Girl Fiend. In her own words:
I’m a transplant of the London DIY scene now living in NYC and I’m keen to start a Big Apple leg of LOUD WOMEN, and to build and grow a New York-based community of great female & non-binary musicians. I’m eager to start organising regular LW gig nights in the city with some amazing women-led bands. I’d also love some help with running the group and putting on events and reaching out to bands so if you’d like to join, please reach out! I’d love to put our first gig on sometime early in the new year.
it’d also be great for this to be a group for women looking to start and join bands, so we can form thousands of bands and then take over the world. 🆒.
***PLEASE ADD PEOPLE*** to the group who you feel would like to be involved, be it anyone who’d like to help organising events / musicians / bands / anybody wanting to start a band but needing that extra push / anyone & everyone who would like to be involved, period! 🤙🏽 peace out xxx
For all those who support putting women on stage, and turning up the volume