Leading Ladies: Female-Fronted Bands You Must See Live

All-female and female-fronted bands have been present throughout the history of indie rock, but 2013 saw a notable rise in prominence among these bands. The movement was highlighted by Haim’s recent breakout performance on Saturday Night Live, earning them rave reviews from critics and audiences alike. As the new year unfolds, I’m excited to see what lies ahead for a movement that has given us some of the most refreshing and forward-thinking music in recent years.

Top 10 Best Female-Fronted Bands to See Live

Here are some of our favorite female-fronted bands you have to see live:

The Kills

Though we haven’t heard much from The Kills since their critically acclaimed 2011 release, Blood Pressures, their current arena tour with Queens of the Stone Age and announcement for a 2014 release aims to change just that. The Kills combine that post-punk edge with some killer riffs that will undoubtedly leave you groovin’ on the dance floor.


Arguably the MVP’s of 2013, Haim saw their stock absolutely skyrocket following the release of their studio debut, Days Are Gone. The three Haim sisters have taken their blend of 80s r&b and ’90s alternative rock to become big draws at festivals such as Reading, Leeds, and Austin City Limits.

Sleigh Bells

Over the past 3 years, Sleigh Bells has created some of the loudest, nastiest, catchiest pop the world has ever heard. With the 2013 release of their latest studio output, Bitter Rivals, this Brooklyn boy-girl duo looks to further decimate ear drums with their infectious rhythms. Don’t let the name fool you, these Sleigh Bells pack a pretty raucous punch when you hear them live.

Best Coast

Best Coast is an indie rock duo dedicated to reinventing the laid-back surfer rock sound of the 1950s and 1960s. In addition to the October release of their EP, Fade Away, the band has also been tapped to take their carefree vibes on tour with the Pixies this winter.

Purity Ring

Purity Ring is an electronic pop band that has been melting faces with their intoxicating and bass-heavy melodies since as early as 2010. The band saw a great deal of success with the release of their debut, Shrines, in 2012. Spearheaded by lead singer Megan James’ haunting vocals, Purity Ring proves they can replicate their studio magic with a breathtaking live show.


Led by the angelic voice of lead singer Lauren Mayberry, CHVRCHES has become the front-runners in electronic pop music. They first made big waves in the music industry following the release of their Recover EP, and a successful run at the South By Southwest music festival. CHVRCHES continued the momentum with the release of their excellent studio debut, The Bones of What You Believe, which ultimately led them to opening up for electronic music juggernauts, Depeche Mode.


Savages is one of the coolest bands in rock right now. Their 2013 debut Silence Yourself will surely top plenty of yearly “Best of” lists in the weeks ahead, and for good reason. The intense atmosphere created by the dizzying guitars and driving basslines on their debut sounds even better when experienced live. Lead singer Jehnny Beth adds to the mayhem with her razor sharp vocals and commanding stage presence.


The combination of Sarah Barthel’s ice-cold vocals and Josh Carter’s bass-heavy production is an absolute force. Phantogram’s sound got the attention of hip-hop veteran Big Boi, who they collaborated with this year in addition to releasing an EP. The group now prepares to release their next studio album, Voices, in early 2014. It’s sure to be huge, in every sense of the word.

Deap Vally

I happened to stumble upon this LA duo on a whim at Austin City Limits Festival, and I am glad I did. Lindsey Troy and Julie Edwards, better known as Deap Vally, released their fuzzed-out debut, Sistrionix, in the middle of 2013, and I made sure I grabbed myself a copy after seeing what they could do live. Deap Vally is just some straight up, heavy blues rock that makes for one entertaining live show.

White Lung

White Lung is one of the most exciting bands to come out of Canada in recent history. They’re loud, they’re aggressive, they strike quickly and take no prisoners. If you want to experience an old-fashioned “not sure who’s blood is on my shirt” punk show, look no further than White Lung.

Article by Trevor Ziegler

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