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Guitar Girls: The Unsung Heroines of the music world

KITTY ARABELLA AUSTEN - SAINT AGNES Guitar Girls blog

Kitty Arabella Austen of Saint Agnes (Photo: Katja Ogrin)

At Underground, we do our part in shining the spotlight on women within the creative world. Throughout musical history, there has, and always will be, female talent, and in the 21st Century, more than ever, female talent has been embraced and showcased to the musical world.

Whether it is Poly Styrene, one of the first female punks, to 80s pop sensation Blondie or the 00s figurehead Lady Gaga, all these women share one thing: the unequivocal confidence to be themselves and shed the female stereotypes.

No matter the instrument, women in music are a force to be reckoned with. Our soundwave program reflects our embrace of female talent and below is just an example of some of the artists who break the typically male role of musicians who play guitar.

NOVA TWINS

Nova Twins band photo (Photo: Ant Adams)
(Photo by Ant Adams)

The explosive Nova Twins, Amy Live and Georgia South, are known for their punk spirited guitar driven music, with Amy’s vocals often spreading messages of black and female power. Both girls are known for their ferocious guitar playing, with heavy rock-inspired riffs being played by the duo. Their fierce debut album ‘Who Are the Girls’ showcases the enthralling layered soundscape that they create with their guitars.

BEABADOOBEE

Beabadoobee (Photo by Robert Gallardo)
Photo: Robert Gallardo

Beabadoobee, the grunge-inspired indie pop artist is one who has been catapulted into the limelight due to her bedroom rock. Since a young age, Bea has been inspired by the post-punk scene and has brought this to her musical influence. As the lead singer and guitarist, she is the face of the band which have gone on to make waves within the indie scene.

IZZIE PHILIPS – BLACK HONEY

Black Honey (Photo by Harriet Brown)
Photo: Harriet Brown

Without Izzy Baxter Phillips, there would be no Black Honey. The lead singer and guitarist uses her dynamic vocals to create the Tarantino-esque sound that the band are synonymous with. Their heavy inspiration in 70s culture is not just in the music however, with the precise aesthetic that the band holds being two-fold. The effortless flair that Izzy and the band convey is something that has made her an indie icon within her own right.

MAYA – SIXTY SIXTY SOUNDS

Maya from Sixty Sixty Sounds Photo by Ben Stapleton
Photo: Ben Stapleton

Working at Sixty Sixty Sounds, the guitar shop located on the music-rich Denmark Street, Maya, like her co-workers, is a guitarist at heart. Despite having worked there for under a year, she is a proud member of the Sixty family and the community that is held within Denmark Street. Because of this and the talent that she holds, she is bound to go on to great things within the music scene.

HAN MEE – HOT MILK

Han Mee of Hot Milk Photo by Ellie Mitchell
Photo: Ellie Mitchell

Being led by Han Mee, the pop-punk-inspired emo quartet Hot Milk, sees her on co-lead vocals and guitar with Jim Shaw. Through Han’s lyricism, and her background in political education, the band touches on social and political issues. Hot Milk creates a sound that harks back to the my-space era of emo music, with a slick modern take on the genre with influences from the Hip-hop scene. Despite originating from Manchester, the group create a sound that echoes the American Alternative scene of the early 2010s.

HEATHER BARON GRACIE – PALE WAVES

Heather Baron Gracie from Pale Waves

Heather Baron Gracie, the darling of the indie world, is best known for her distinctive vocals and lead guitar within the gothic-inspired synth pop Pale Waves. Despite the genre experimentation between their debut and sophomore album, Heather’s vocalism is synonymous with the band’s image. From their breakthrough in 2018, Heather has become one of the leading female icons within the current music scene.

KITTY ARABELLA AUSTEN – SAINT AGNES

KITTY ARABELLA AUSTEN - SAINT AGNES Guitar Girls blog
Photo: Katja Ogrin

Being led by Kitty Arabella Austen, Saint Agnes creates a fusion of vampire inspired classic rock with inspirations from the modern rock scene. With Kitty on both lead vocalism and guitar, she creates a fierce and heavy sound to their music, often with live performances of her being covered in fake blood. With Kitty playing lead guitar she uses this to create and shred heavy riffs within the band’s soundscape.

JESS ALLANIC – CALVA LOUISE

Jess Allanic - Calva Louise Photo by Keria Anne
Photo: Keria Anne

Calva Louise, the Manchester-hailing rock trio are fronted by Jess Allanic on vocals and guitar. Being born in Venezuela, Allanic uses this within the band to create bilingual vocals in both English and Spanish. This is not just for the sound but to relate to those from her native country with the rock music they create.

MILLIE KIDD – THE NINTH WAVE

Millie Kidd of The Ninth Wave Photo by Neelam Khan Vela
Photo: Neelam Khan Vela

Co-vocalist and bassist of The Ninth Wave, Millie Kidd is a figurehead of the Glasgow hailing band. She uses her beautifully fragile yet powerful vocals to juxtapose those of co-vocalist and childhood friend Haydn, adding an edge to the post-punk inspired nature of the band. As the bassist of the band, she is the glue that holds the melodies together and her vocals is one of the reasons that sets The Ninth Wave apart. Pick up a copy of The Ninth Wave’s debut album HERE

ROSE YAGMUR – VALERAS

Rose Yagmur of Valeras Photo by Sam McMahon
Photo: Sam McMahon

Led by Rose Yagmur on vocals and guitar, the dynamic indie rock Valeras are a band to keep an eye on. With a new musical direction of recent, Rose uses her distinct vocalism to complement the high-octane riffs that are played. With lyricism that touches on topics of alienation and LGBTQ inclusivity, rose creates “Heartbreak lyrics but [makes them] danceable”.

Underground Soundwave presents an ongoing series of reports on emerging and established bands with close-up Q&As, new release reviews and gig reports with a special emphasis on supporting diversity in music, women in music, independent labels and venues and the local music scene.

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