Bleached and Hardcore Women who Rock

bleached2012

Rejoice! After passive-aggressively checking WUD Music’s and the band’s own website for the last couple weeks, I was thrilled to hear that Bleached, a four-piece punkish-rock “girl band” (more on this later), is FINALLY coming to Madison. For the longest time, their venue listing was labeled “University of Wisconsin-Madison” — frighteningly generic, with no corresponding time. Furthermore, their show here was sandwiched between two festivals in Illinois and Ohio (gross and grosser). Well, I’m happy to say, Bleached will be at the Rathskeller at 9:30 Friday Sept. 27th.

I originally heard of Bleached, whose music sounds somewhere between Wavves and the Black Lips, through Pandora, the Internet radio service. I enjoyed their music, but didn’t truly start listening until I was reminded of them by their appearance on the hilarious Gorburger show. The band, formed by sisters/vocalists/guitarists Jennifer and Jessica Clavin, includes Jonathan Safley and Micayla Grace for live performances. It wasn’t long until I was hooked, watching their vibrant new music video for their song, “Dead In Your Head,” enough to bug my roommate.

Opening for Bleached is Potty Mouth. They describe themselves as, “four ladies doing what we want to do.” Their raw music definitely gives off that feeling–I foresee moshing and/or head banging at this opener’s set. I gotta hand it to WUD Music for this great pairing!

Anyway, my newfound interest in these bands got me thinking about the music I listen to, specifically the gender of my favorite artists. In short, my iTunes library is a musical sausage fest. I have a lot of curmudgeon-y concerns about the “indie” industrial complex (coming from being raised on classic rock and whatever my parents played), but one of its biggest breakthroughs is the fact that there’s been way more gender parity among artists, across any genre than ever before. Personally, I wish there were more female rock bands. They offer up much-needed distinctions, not only with timbre, but also with feeling and personality. Unfortunately, it seems that most female popular music performers either are aloof, stale hipsters, or melodramatic, over-commercialized divas. Women have been downright pigeon-holed in the music industry! So, it’s great to see bands surface that better reflect the gender distribution of their genres’ audiences. I can thank the “indies” for that, at least. I’m happy we are reaching a point in the music industry where the label “girl band” is no longer constraining nor diminutive. In fact, here are some of my favorites:

Shannon and Clams. While Shannon is the only woman in the capsized-by-reverb-and-noise trio, this band has a unique take on the soulful 60’s female vocal. Great overall songwriting and pseudo-nostalgia.

La Luz. Made up of four women, this surf rock band is the definition of catchy. Superb instrumentation and vocals. I’m totally looking forward to their upcoming debut album release.

Deap Vally. Take the lately fashionable guitar and drum duo concept, but replace all speakers with sound volcanos, and you come close to the sound of Deap Vally. This band has had some pretty interesting interviews about how they carry themselves and how they feel about the “girl band” label.

Thanks for reading! Now, I have Breaking Bad finale theories to read…

By: Leo Rudberg