While all-male bands abound, female-fronted bands are starting to take centre-stage in Toronto’s music scene. No matter what genre you’re into – garage, punk, pop, rock – Toronto has exceptionally talented, female-fronted bands playing regular gigs around town. Your best bet? Check them out now and often, before they explode and you only see them once a year when they’re not on tour.
Not just fronted by a lady, this band of self-described ‘junk punk’ rockers is entirely female and they’ll let you know it. With a scrappy, riot grrl-influenced grunge rock sound, they destroy the stage and kill their sets (violent, I know). Joanna Lund, Susan Burke, and Audrey Hammer make loud sound easy and punk sound great. After almost constant gigging for the past few years – and if you take a moment to check out the three-song album, you’ll hear the grizzly backbone of a band in motion.
Maybe I don’t need to bring your attention to this one, because Jasmyn Burke’s idiosyncratic, weirdo pop band, Weaves, has been gaining a lot of momentum in the media in the past year (see: Band to Watch in Rolling Stone), but if you haven’t heard of them, it’s time you did. Weaves’ unique, bouncy and strange pop sound – coupled with Burke’s playfully raucous vocals – hits just the right kind of musically-induced acid trip you might expect their fans to be on.
You can probably guess which Toronto neighbourhood this female foursome is from. The band has officially been together since 2013 and have since been laying down straight forward pop rock all over the country. They have a five song EP entitled Heights out now and you can give one of the tracks a listen below.
I hate to quote Pitchfork, but they nail it here: “Katie Monks sings the way drunk people do at weddings—loudly, messily, and with absolute conviction.” The frontlady of Dilly Dally pulls notes out of a gold-lined garbage can, while the band, including guitarist Liz Ball, propel their songs to a playful but visceral intensity. With a new record coming out this year, and years of shows under their collective belt, Dilly Dally is a band you will want to see (and can actually go see on July 4th).
With a cool new cassette out as of last week (Bang! on Optical Sounds), the BB Guns keep glamming their way into Toronto’s heart (golden cassette tapes? Yes, ma’am). Alana Marta Dee, Laura Hermiston, Charlotte Marie, and Clint Rogerson don’t hold back – their devotion to their rock and roll roots takes them from fun gang singalongs to psychedelic surf pop and 70s rock and roll power pop. Without exception, this band knows how to get your feet stomping and your hips swaying – if you haven’t yet heard them live, now is a good time to make it happen.
This band has been hitting clubs in Toronto for quite some time now and they recently snagged an opening slot for Fucked Up. Their straight-forward approach to spazz-rock makes for a boisterous live outing that you don’t want to miss.
Originally from Calgary, Lowell was penned to Arts & Crafts earlier this year and released her debut EP called I Killed Sara V in February. Lowell has proven to be a fearless female, constantly experimenting with different sounds and themes.
You may have heard the jangly sounds of Alvvays on our airwaves-and with good reason. The band have been turning heads with their impossibly catchy tunes, Molly Rankin’s lilting voice, and Kerri MacLellan’s reedy keys. Their brand of hook-laden indie-pop recalls the best of the shambolic, anorak wearing bands of eighties Britain, and modern day masters like Belle & Sebastian or Veronica Falls. Expect big things from them.