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Rock 'n' Roll Girls

Rock 'n' Roll Girls

Courtney Love once said “I want every girl in the world to pick up a guitar and start screaming.” In 2014 it seems legions of us have decided to do just that. As all-female prog-rockers Warpaint, hard riffing sister trio Haim, post punkers Savages and the folksy First Aid Kit break into the charts and win over festival fields across the world - now is the time for women to shine. Solo artists St. Vincent, Cate Le Bon, Charli XCX and Sharon Van Etten are way ahead of the male pack too. As this new wave of women lay waste to blokey preconceptions of guitar music, the original female rock rebels are also back in full force. The Pretenders’ Chrissie Hynde is releasing her very first solo album, Debbie Harry is back gigging with Blondie, The Slits’ guitarist Viv Albertine has just penned a brilliant book about her punk days and the aforementioned Courtney Love is touring and prepping a new solo album. We’ve somehow managed to whittle it down to our current favourites. Read on to find out which girls are really rocking our world.

Karen O


Yeah Yeah Yeah’s frontwoman Karen O has been the queen of New York cool for well over a decade. She shows no signs of giving up her crown, releasing her debut solo album, Crush Songs, on Cult Records - the label run by The Strokes’ Julian Casablancas - at the end of the summer. Working with her longtime stylist, costume designer Christian Joy, Karen O’s current wardrobe is defined by sharp tailoring in luminous colours, accented by a fair helping of Studio 54-worthy lame and sparkles. A sturdy, well-worn leather biker jacket is also key to her look: Karen’s customised classic boasts her initials ‘KO’ spelled out in studs inside a giant eye on the back.

Hero Items: Leather biker jacket, neon trouser suit

FKA Twigs


She might be a former backing dancer for Jessie J, but don’t let FKA Twigs’ commercial pop background give you the wrong idea. The Gloucestershire-born, London based singer’s sound and style is far more experimental. Her debut album, LP1, comes out this summer through Young Turks, the same label that gave us The xx. Made up of a mixture of ’90s trip hop and moody, post Burial electronica, her music delivers an otherworldly, full body sonic shudder. Known as Tahliah Barnett to her mates, FKA Twigs’ look is as electrifying as her tunes. Bright Frida Kahlo colours meet ’90s streetwear, with tropical prints, heavy gold earrings and ruby red lips alongside septum piercings, sporty crop tops and bold, pattered trousers.

Hero Items: Chunky gold hoop earrings, crop top

Mish Way


Front woman of poetic punks White Lung, peroxide blonde Mish Way is a force to be reckoned with. Her music is as tough as she is - the band’s most recent album, Deep Fantasy, is stacked full of hardcore hollers over razor sharp riffs and squalling guitars. Her style is just as badass, chanelling equal parts early ’90s Courtney Love and Hollywood diva, mixing up leopard print and high-waisted denim with fringed shawls, kimono tops and bold lippie over her smattering of subtle tattoos. “I have a stack of my boyfriend’s old tees that are stage worthy,” she says of her onstage basics. “Big shoes and rhinestone porno jewellery mixed with metals.”

Hero Items: Anything leopard print, cut off black denim shorts

Courtney Barnett


Australian artist Courtney Barnett has been the toast of this year’s festivals. From SXSW in Texas and Coachella in California to our very own Glastonbury, the singer- songwriter has been charming audiences with her deadpan brand of psych-folk. She’s just finished recording her first album, but grab the brilliant The Double EP: A Sea of Split Peas to tide you over until its release. Courtney’s style reflects her sound – laid back and relaxed. Rocking her very own brand of slacker cool with baggy band tees and lived-in, faded denim, she’s a modern-day tomboy, layering the look with well-loved plaid and print shirts.

Hero Items: Baggy band t-shirt, plaid shirt

Ellie Rowsell


London based alt-rockers Wolf Alice make the kind of grimy indie pop that wouldn’t sound out of place amongst the ranks of Britpop girl-fronted bands like Elastica and Lush. Mixing sweet vocals with heavy riffs, they put out their grunge- inflected Creature Songs EP at the start of this summer and an album is set to follow in early 2015. Singer Ellie Rowsell is a total guitar goddess - and style icon - in the making. In her vintage psychedelic ’60s mini dresses and shimmering ’70s disco tops layered with sloppy, fluffy cardigans, thick tights and chunky boots she’s got the glitzy glam, yet perfectly practical look nailed. “I like to wear a nice dress, but I’ll keep my dirty Dr. Martens on,” she tells us. “If I wear something pretty I’ll wear lots of black eye shadow too.”

Hero Items: Psych print mini dress, big boots

WORDS Leonie Cooper

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