Various Artists: No One’s Little Girls – Album review


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No Ones Little GirlsVarious Artists – No
One’s Little Girls (Grow
Your Own
)

Vinyl/CD/DL

Out now

Grow Your Own Records gathered together 16 acts from
across the DIY punk and alternative music spectrum demonstrating
the diversity of women led bands on today’s underground scene,
while at the same time raising money for grassroots women’s
charities. Louder Than War’s Nathan Brown says it’s important
in more ways than one.

We live in times in which casual misogyny in general is on the
rise (no, it’s not fucking banter), gender pay disparities are
headline news, the far right are on the rise and on the street, and
there has been an alarming increase in reports of women being
groped at punk gigs(!). The demand for angry wimmin’s voices is
evident in the success of Bikini Kill’s recent Brixton
appearances and the success of bands like Petrol Girls. It is clear
there is a new generation of riot grrl, but the original women who
made a splash in the punk universe never went away, and nor should
they. This album is important for these reasons and more. All the
contributors to the record have female singers and in many cases
are all women bands. Play this compilation and you will hear
women’s voices singing about what they wanna sing about. The
label itself has a woman sharing the helm of the label, of course
(in Hagar The Womb and Anthrax guitarist Steph Summer). Women have
always played a pivotal rather than tokenistic role in punk as far
as I was concerned but my view isn’t shared unanimously. Perhaps
this record can serve as a reminder to the punk community of our
roots and a sign of what our future holds. Whatever, it is worth
picking up as a way of finding out about some of what’s going
on.

That’s all very worthy but what you probably want to know is
does it sound any good?  The album covers all points of the
musical compass from the gnarly shouty punk rock of Bratakus and
Combat Shock to the Ramones inspired pop punk of Werecats, and
everything in between, interspersed with acoustic and more melodic
tracks. Some names are well established, while others are ones to
watch. Be aware that Grow Your Own have their finger on the pulse
so ignore their recommendations at your peril.

Kiss Me Killer kick off with a mix of melodic/twangy punk and
some raucous shouting about a shitty relationship. Something about
this reminds me of old Scots punkers Toxic Ephex for some reason
and there is a mean little bass solo that any fan of Hawkwind era
Lemmy or the Electro Hippies will appreciate. Up next a West
Country band who have received rave reviews from Louder Than War:
The Menstrual Cramps. Rhythmic in a way which is reminiscent at
times of the band No Means No – coincidentally that is the title
of the track, so was that auto-suggestion? Tuneful and almost indie
sounding they send a clear message about sexual violence. The
spoken section at the end of the song details exactly how sex with
someone who is drunk and has no capacity to consent is rape. It
shouldn’t need saying but it does.

The way the guitars and bass work together on Hagar The Womb’s
Visible Woman reminds me a little of post-punk bands like the
Pixies. The song itself looks at how society still judges women by
attractiveness rather than achievement and writes them off at a
certain age. A call to arms or a celebration, the message is
complemented with examples of older women role models on the
Hags’ page of the lyric booklet.

Listen to Visible
Woman
by Hagar The Womb here.

Werecats take their cue from the Ramones and deliver up a prime
pop punk tune without descending into the wacky bullshit that all
too often ruins pop punk. It’s straight up 1234 Play! Being an
occasional gardener, I *think* Strawberries is about slugs stealing
strawberries but I guess this may be a metaphor. Calico’s
acoustic guitar and soulful singing on Empathy stands out from the
punkier offerings so far. Not my thing but they are good at what
they do and clearly a talented bunch. The Black Death is a trio of
young siblings with a largely acoustic song called Victory.

Another family affair, Bratakus drag us back into the world of
punk. Thrashy hardcore, with an acerbic edged guitar, delivered by
2 sisters and a drum machine. Open Your Eyes is a song I already
know well as it featured on the Brats’
LP
.  A melancholy little number called You Don’t Like Me by
Alex Martin sounds like it’s played on a ukelele before Dog Shite
belt out a great 2 fingers in the air to machismo to end the first
side. Like the Bratakus song, Fuck Ya Rude Boy is one I know well
as it featured on a previous
GYO compilation single
.

Sh!ts!ck kick off side B with a melodic, soft subdued sound but
hard hitting words linking weapons sales, their use on women and
children, refugees, starvation and a system that perpetuates global
inequality. By contrast Combat Shock kick off with a humourous
Chris Morris sample before launching into bouncealong 80s style
punk with Mel delivering a gruff vocal attack on the lives people
are expected to lead – job, mortgage, settle down, become
brainwashed.

Mindframe provide the second track on the album to use the No
Means No anti-rape message as a title, and again attack prejudice
– making it clear it makes no difference what your gender or
sexual preference, it’s plan wrong. A bit of a crusty punk ska
number with high octane vocals. Also to be found on their Whiplash
single
on Grow Your Own. Louise Challice is a singer songwriter
with an acoustic guitar and The Isolation is about being detained
in the “hospital on the hill”. Chilling.

The Fleas are a band who imploded last year shortly after their
10″ came out on Grow Your Own. Popstar is a jerky jangly punk
song with a hint of 80s bands like Action Pact, appearing to be
about the narcissism that you come across among the musician
community. That thing that makes some people arseholes and
difficult to work with, but equally can make for some really
interesting performers!

Ball and Strain by Punk Con Fusion has a very gothic sound
combined with some thrashing about and immediately made me think of
Decadent Few. I then found in the booklet that, yes indeed, the
singer is Kay from Decadent Few. As someone who has been making a
punk rock noise for 40 years and remembers what life was like
before, Kay’s words in the booklet are testament to the
difference punk rock made (makes?) to women “Females were not
allowed to feel and express anger! Fortunately punk rock became my
personal liberator”. Something that people critical of the punk
scene often forget. It ain’t perfect but it can make a
difference!

If the title of Lady Wank by Pussy Liquor wasn’t a give away,
the song makes it pretty clear what they are singing about, replete
with orgasmic noises that make Orgasm Addict sound tame and lines
like “My fingers are better than you, anything is better than
you”. And there you have it. 16 songs that cover a broad range of
styles, attitudes and ages but all women’s voices.

The album was originally released in time for International
Women’s Day, I was just slow in getting hold of a copy, and it is
still for
sale now
. As the Grow Your Own crew get fully involved in the
production process, hand making covers and inserts, every record
quite literally has their DNA on it. And if you buy the record
it’s clear vinyl with purple splatter too!

Order the album from Grow Your Own’s growing discography on
bandcamp.

Several of the bands from the album can be caught at this
month’s
Griffstock punk festival
.

~

Words by Nathan Brown. Check out his Louder Than War
Author Archive
.

The post
Various Artists: No One’s Little Girls – Album review

appeared first on Louder Than
War
.

Read more: louderthanwar.com

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