The re-emergence of Riot Grrrl music and politics?
Riot Grrrl celebrated its 20 year anniversary earlier this year, and Hayley Foster da Silva is pleased to discover evidence of its legacy in the form of Atlanta's Coathangers and Oxford's Secret Rivals
On the surface, it might seem like the era of Riot Grrrl, spearheaded by such feminist icons as Kathleen Hanna and Corin Tucker has long since faded from view. But it needs to come back. Not only because of the lack of female music in the charts, but also because there is so much to be angry about at the moment; our political system, all the cuts, university prices, and the fact that we are still fighting many of the same battles we have been for years regarding feminist issues.
The original riot grrrls had something to say because they were angry and there is still so much for women to be angry about. Luckily for us, it seems like Riot Grrrl may be making a reappearance: The band The Coathangers have emerged with their own take on the genre. The biography on their website even implies that they have the same attitude: they had already decided to be a band before they were able to play instruments, the instruments came later.
We desperately need more music like this to help make our days fighting the patriarchy, as well as the 1%, just a little more bearable
The Atlanta based band are on their third album. They have kept their garage lo-fi roots, while moulding their sound into something more mature and interesting. Their new single ‘Hurricane’, which was released on the 24 October by X Ray Recordings, has a fabulous riff that will stick in your head for days. As if that wasn’t enough, the B-Side ‘Johnny’ is just as awesomely noisy and hectic in a marvelous original way.
As well as The Coathangers, another band based in Oxford is also labeling themselves as Riot Grrrl. They are called Secret Rivals and their sound is a little different. They have a quirky shouty feel to their music that may not immediately make you think of Riot Grrrl, but when the catchy riffs kick in, on tracks such as ‘These are Only Obstacles’ from their nine track debut EP Made Do and Mend you can see that there is certainly an influence of riot grrrl mixed in with their melodic tunes.
The bands might not be as outspoken (yet)! The sound may not be an exact copy of the nineties version of the Riot Grrrl scene but perhaps it had to change to fit in with our current situation- and we desperately need more music like this to help make our days fighting the patriarchy, as well as the 1%, just a little more bearable.
Picture of the Coathangers courtesy of Work It Media. Sleeve image of Secret Rivals ‘Make do and mend’ courtesy of Secret Rivals