One of our favourite female bands from Manchester: Witch Fever (Photo Credit: Wildblanketphotography)
As one of the mantras at Underground is to support Women in Music, we are heading off around the UK to check out some of the most exciting female bands from Manchester. Featuring post-punk, dream-pop, alternative rock and more, what better place to start than a report by Tilda Gratton from our hometown of Manchester.
Female bands from Manchester
To quote Dave Haslam: ‘Imagine the Slits meet Black Sabbath partying with Pussy Riot in Kim Gordon’s angry neighbour’s basement. Drunk. Witch Fever are wonderful.’ Witch Fever are one of the most beloved punk-grunge female bands from Manchester, inspired by subcultures of riot grrrl and goth. With their punchy, powerful and politically-charged vocals and explosive grunge riffs, they aren’t afraid to make a glorious racket. Their live shows execute true riot grrrl energy and rage exploring the darker side of femininity. To say they are making waves in Manchester would be a huge understatement, a tidal wave of feminism is more fitting.
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The Red Stains
Hailed by none other than Tim Burgess, The Red Stains are a powerful, subversive and gritty quartet consisting of Natalie Emslie on vocals, Sterling Kelly on bass, Ella Powell on synths and Ben Dutton on drums. Their fierce, highly energetic and chaotic post punk is refreshingly modern whilst echoing their 70s punk and new wave influences. Their debut single ‘Mannequin’, released in April 2020, is sure to set them up for leaving their mark in the Manchester scene, beyond their notorious toilet graffiti.
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Phoebe markets herself as the ‘Shirley Temple of the North [of England]’ on her colour-coordinated Instagram, referencing her curly tresses, but she has a lot more to offer than an aesthetic feed. Her indie synth-pop tunes combine uplifting and dreamy vocals with honest and relatable lyrics that stem from her teenage bedroom poetry. Since the release of her debut album 02:00 AM in 2016 – when she was only 16-year-old – she has created much hype in Manchester. With her band of best-mates and younger sister, live shows have a warm intimate feel. It was enough to catch the eye of Chess Club Records (Swim Deep, Wolf Alice), in which she recently got signed to. Phoebe Green is kicking up a storm far beyond Manchester.
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One of the most raucous punk female bands from Manchester, Loose Articles take an exciting approach to post-punk and new wave. A superb mix of politicised, sardonic bluesy vocals, punchy bass lines and swirly catchy riffs. As their artist bio bluntly puts it: ‘Repetition with ragged edges and a sardonic, sarcastic drawl. Working & class. Feminine and threatening’. Definitely worth a listen for some girl power.
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Dream English Kid
Originally from Preston and later establishing themselves in Manchester, Hannah Cobb, Maria Toase and Liam Ogburn craft gorgeous and elegant dream pop. Their tracks combine melancholic vocals, floating guitar riffs and sombre organs creating a charmingly lo-fi sound. Their hypnotic track ‘Blue’ is a nod to dream-pop legends Beach House. With only a couple of releases on streaming sites, go and delve into their Soundcloud to fully immerse into their world of soft-hazy synth-pop.
Locean are a psychedelic rock/post-punk musical collective, formed by founding members Lauren Bolger and Jefferson Temple in 2012. They have then had a revolving cast of various experimental musicians in Manchester but have been consistent with their dark, heavy and powerful sound. Locean’s live shows are hugely improvisational, filled with rich textures from throbbing guitars and Bolger’s unique presence of spoken-word. The Quietus has described Locean’s music as ‘moments of sparse scatter-brained confusion, moments of pastoral beauty, and moments when their music becomes a fully-fledged krautrock battle cry’.
Follow Locean on Facebook here