Friday, July 1, 2011

Girl Power: Tough Girl Bands

Here's the meanest thing I said to someone today:

Craig: Excuse me, I'm looking for a humidifier. Do you know where I might look?
Terse Walmart Employee: We don't carry those during this season.
Craig: In the middle of the summer?
Terse Walmart Employee: We only carry them in the winter.
Craig: That's nonsense.

Turns out it was nonsense, because I eventually found one. Now when I sleep my body will finally be soaking wet! Every morning I wake up disappointed that I'm not completely drenched from head to foot, my sheets sopping. Problem solved.

Anyway, that isn't what this post is about. This post is about tough girl bands. You could call that last bit the opening act, if you wanted.

For about two years I've been into what I like to call "tough girl bands." Strong lady bands you could call them, if you wanted. Some are all women, some have mostly women, and some simply have a female lead singer. To have a female lead singer is my minimum requirement to be considered a tough girl band. But being a girl isn't all you need, you also have to be sort of tough. The following featured bands have differing levels of toughness. I think they're pretty tough.

Anyway, here you are:


Joan Jett and the Blackhearts:

Obviously, Joan Jett is a tough girl. She is sort of the Godmother of all other tough girls. I imagine the three other men in her band were also tough, because they are all wearing leather jackets in this photo. I can guarantee you that each person in this photo carries a dangerous knife.

Cherry Bomb -

I Hate Myself For Loving You -

Detroit Cobras:

The Detroit Cobras are who sparked my interest in tough girl bands. They have recorded only one original song and the rest of their tracks are covers. However, they've really toughened the songs up, and they've done a great job of taking ownership of their covers. They are also clearly very tough, and could probably break all your fingers. But they won't, because they're a band, not thugs.

I went to a Detroit Cobra show two weeks ago, and it was awesome. At this show I was attacked by a crazy girl to my left. Eventually this girl worked herself into such a frenzy that she slammed her forehead on the stage and had to leave. That's tough. Because I really like this band, I'm including more of their songs than the other tough girls. All their songs are pretty darn tough, even "It's Raining," which demonstrates that even tough girls have FEELINGS!

Shout Bama Lama -

Out Of This World -

Mean Man -

I Wanna Holler -

It's Raining -

Dream Bitches:

Despite their totally tough name, these gals are probably the least tough of the bunch. You can probably deduce that fact by their really sweet photo here. None of the people in that picture are prepared to choke someone out with a tirechain. Still, I'm giving them minor tough cred, mostly because they play guitars. So if these other hardcore ladies are too tough for you, maybe these gals are your thing. Meanwhile, stop being such a baby.

Bad Luck Bill -

Me And The Major -

Sahara Hotnights:

I had a really good time with this band in 2005. They've released two albums since then, but I think their first album is the toughest. Sure, they don't boast knife-fight levels of toughness, but they've been known to don black tank tops and leather jackets during a black-and-white photo shoot every now and again. That's tough. If you like your toughness cooked medium, then these gals are for you.

Hot Night Crash -

Who Do You Dance For -

Mind Over Matter -

Girl in a Coma:

These three strong ladies opened for the Detroit Cobras two weeks ago. If you question their toughness, you should know they were personally signed on the Blackhearts Records label by Joan Jett herself. The lead singer has some pretty fantastic facial expressions on stage, and she has a very, very impressive voice...especially in person. On top of that, I think these girls are tough enough that they might actually be able to seriously injure someone with a pool cue.

I found that they are even harder--aka tougher--in concert. They will play loud music right into your face until it explodes.

Come On, Let's Go -

Walkin' After Midnight -

Static Mind -

Shannon and the Clams:

My friend Bridger recently introduced me to Shannon and the Clams. True, there is only one woman in this band, but she is tough enough for all of us. I think they have a great thing going, and are near the high end of the toughness spectrum. They also make a lot of noise. They'd be quieter, or more carefully produced, but they're too tough to care about things like that.

You Will Always Bring Me Flowers -

The Woodsman -

The Fondas:

I have slightly mixed feelings about The Fondas. On one hand they sound sort of like the Detroit Cobras. On the other hand, they just aren't as tough. But you never know. Give them a few years out on the streets, and they could be tougher than me, even. However, I'm only sharing one song with you, because they have a little while to go before I think they reach maximum toughhood.

Make You Mine -


If you like Japanese women screaming into a microphone, then The's are perfect. Made famous thanks to their melodic "Woo Hoo" featured in Kill Bill and several commercials, I imagine many people immediately purchased their album only to find it was mostly women with very strong Japanese accents shrieking at you in English. The's aren't for everyone, but they don't care, because they're too tough. Or, in Japanese, they are totally タフ...pronounced "TOUGH!"

Jump, Jack, Jive -

I'm Blue -

The Sounds:

The Sounds are a bit more poppy than these other tough girls, which very nearly disqualified them from being pretty tough. Also, they've toured with some pretty un-tough people, which made me think twice about whether or not they were truly tough enough for this list. Tough ladies should be far too busy dying their hair jet black to hang out with people who aren't very tough. Still, in the end, I'm giving them a nod. I'm sure this kind of tough really goes over well in Scandinavian tough. Tough enough to wear wooden shoes.

Living In America -

Painted By Numbers -

Timi Yuro:

Sure, this music is old, but Timi Yuro likes to shout at people in her music. I think she's the only person in the world who has ever managed to make "Let Me Call You Sweetheart" sort of tough. Plus, she was born in 1940, when it wasn't as socially acceptable for women to be so freaking tough. She paved the way for tough women all over the place. Now everywhere you look there are tough women.

If I Never Get To Love You -

I Ain't Gonna Cry No More -

Let Me Call You Sweetheart -

Last, I wanted to stay away from music videos. However, this video of Timi Yuro singing "Let Me Call You Sweetheart" is awesome, I think. It looks great. A classy video for a classy lady...a classy, tough lady. You can find it here. Be tough.