Women make noise: girl bands from Motown to the modern


(Photo credit: Supernova Books)

(Image shows pictures of various girl band members)

In recent years, female artists such as Amy Winehouse, Lady Gaga and Adele have had huge commercial and critical success as well as massive media attention. As more and more female solo artists hit the mainstream the question arises: where are the girl bands? Why aren’t they getting the attention they deserve?

Does their gender solely define their music? Do they get gigs and attention just because they are female? Does the media focus on what they look like undermine what they are doing musically?

Women Make Noise: girl bands from Motown to the modern is a collection of 10 essays about all-girl bands from the 1920s up to 2012. Its editor, Julia Downes, invites musicians, promoters, journalists, high profile artists and music fans to discuss their favourite girl bands: not the type who sing along to backing tracks – the real musicians, who can actually play their instruments.

From the country belles of the 20s-40s, Motown groups of the 60s, to prog rock goddesses and punks of the 70s-80s; from riot grrrl activists of the 90s to radical protesters Pussy Riot. These aren’t the manufactured acts of some pop svengali, these groups write their own songs, play their own instruments and make music together on their own terms.

Ten essays aren’t enough to dissect all of the all-girl bands in history but it is a good start on what is a lengthy topic. Including interviews with classic punk groups like The Raincoats and The Slits, as well as household names like Bjork and Beth Ditto, this book demonstrates that all-girl bands have made radical contributions to feminism, culture and politics as well as producing some unique, influential and innovative music.

Further details of Women make noise: girl bands from Motown to the modern can be found on the main catalogue (available in ‘Catalogues’ on the Library’s website)