Exciting times here at Just Another Blog from a Woman as I have my very first guest post on my blog today. Let me introduce you all to Em Linthorpe. Her blog covers everything from music to parenting with a little bit of Cumbria mixed in. She also happens to be a very nice person to boot. She’s here to talk about her time in an indie girl band and about her favourite indie girl bands of the 90s. Enjoy!
Hello you sweethearts!
I’m Em, captain of the fair blog Em Linthorpe
and I have sailed over to this part of the internet to say hello and to have a natter about lasses in music. Thank you
very much to Hayley for having me!
Many years ago, when the world lived in fear of the millenium bug and and it was still socially acceptable to like Tony Blair, I was quite cool. I have no idea how this came about. I had a part-time job in a record shop. A vinyl record shop, yes. I had bright pink hair and my boyfriend was a sound engineer, meaning I obtained free entry for almost every gig and nightclub in town.
A second hand guitar happened, some friends of friends happened too, and all of a sudden I was a rhythm guitarist in an all-girl Riot Grrrl-inspired
I want to make this quite clear, I am not a great guitarist. I could never quite hold down an F chord properly. But the freedom of the Riot Grrrl ethos meant that didn’t matter particularly. I just made sure that all the knobs on the guitar and the amplifier gave me epic distortion and it was all good.
This new and exciting adventure (coupled with the Sociology A Level I was studying) thrust upon me my first real experiences with feminism. Music was so important to me, and I evaluated how little of what I listened to was coming from a woman’s perspective. The artists and bands I grew up listening to that had my heart? Queen, Elton John, Dire Straits, Davids Bowie and Essex…
And the bands that I had discovered myself, through mixtapes or gigs or the NME or recommendations? Super Furry Animals, Lo Fidelity Allstars, Blur, Bob Dylan…et cetera…
…you can see where this is going, can’t you? Of course there were some ladies I listened to, but my balance was all off kilter. I began listening to more girl rock, more American soul, jazz and R&B…in fact, any genre was a goal, but my focus was much more on the women leading the show. I thought I would compile a list of some of the best female fronted and girlstrong bands from the 1990s, as a tribute to the time where my true musical awakening happened.Bring on the girls!
Kenickie – Punka
It’s not particularly my story to tell, but this song pissed off a fair few folk who had helped Kenickie get to where they did. It still stands as a proper belting tune, I cannot deny them that.
Catatonia – Strange Glue
I really held a torch high for Cerys Matthews and her band in the late 90s. Sad to say, I don’t think a lot of the tracks have aged that well. Sorry Cerys. This one however still sounds beautiful.
The Breeders – Divine Hammer
From the album Last Splash which I played again and again and again. It’s utterly fantastic and I found it inspirational, although I knew I would never have as much talent as Kim and Kelley Deal et al.
Bikini Kill – Rebel Girl
Just empowering and perfect and AWESOME. Can’t really say much more than that. Just listen to it.
Republica – Drop Dead Gorgeous
Full of energy, style and strength, despite the admittance of a weakness for pretty boys.
Skunk Anansie – Charity
I was a great fan of this band, Skin’s vocals always blew me away and the band’s heavier-leaning rock sound was something that made me smile loads too.
Shampoo – Trouble
Bubblegum-rebel faux-punk PERFECTLY executed. Marvellous.
Want to read more about the fabulous contributions women have made to popular music? I stumbled across The 150 Greatest Albums Made By Women a few days ago and it is a fantastic and inspiring list. A great resource for expanding your playlists.
You can find more of my writings on life, music and feels on my blog Em Linthorpe, or if you prefer fewer words at a time, I’m on Twitter too.
Em in her 90s indie girl band heyday!
And here’s a Spotify playlist of Em’s selected songs.