17 Kickass Female Rockers You Need to Know

As far as the hard stuff—the sort of live rock & roll that inspires sweating, pogoing and, if you’re in a particularly bro-tastic mode, fist-pumping—it’s still very much a man’s game. But that’s not to say that the fairer sex isn’t “killing it,” to quote countless concert-going tweeters. Here are the ladies from recent bands (dizzying fret-workers, awesomely raw vocalists) that we love right now. A new crop of Karen O’s, if you will.

Izzy Almeida, HuntersWhy she rocks: Speakingof the Yeah Yeah Yeahs frontwoman, the similarities between her and Almeida are pretty striking. During shows, the vocalist yelps, emitting naughty mantraslike “I want it, I need it” while writhing around onstage with pink hair and cut-up pantyhose. And come to think of it, the NYC outfit’s crunchy-riffing’ axeman, Derek Watson, has taken a trick or two from the Yeahs’ Nick Zinner. The band’s self-titled debut full length just dropped. Key track: “Blackheart”

Jehnny Beth, Ayse Hassan, Fay Milton and Gemma Thompson, SavagesWhy they rock: Okay, so at this point Savages have probably surpassed rising band status—which is rather insane, considering the young London outfit released their first LP, the manifesto-like Silence Yourself, only a few months back. The all-female post-punk sensation earns all the buzz, though, creating an intoxicating storm that mixes Beth’s steely-eyed vocals with Thompson’s fuzz-laden, patient guitar work. Key track: “She Will”

Jennifer and Jessica Clavin, Bleached Why they rock: The sisters created this punky pop project—whose sound is not pop punk, we swear—after their wonderfully energetic L.A. scene staple, Mika Miko, dissipated. Bleached cooks up catchy, open-hearted, harmonized ditties (many of which seem to beabout crushes and boys) with a hefty amount of rock-girl swagger to balancethings out. Key track: “Looking for a Fight”

Britty Drake, Pity SexWhy she rocks: Well, she’s in a band called fucking Pity Sex for starters. As a guitarist-singer for the Ann Arbor, Michigan, four-piece—she trades main-mic duties Brennan Greaves—Drake provides big, beefy (and very ’90s-in-a-good-way) guitar chops and breathy vocals. The crew’s infectious first album, Feast of Love, was released this summer. Key track: “Keep”

Emily Rose Epstein, Mikal Cronin and Ty Segall BandWhy she rocks: Don’t let the tattooed, raven-haired drummer’s slim physique fool you. She is an absolute force behind the kit. Need proof? Check out her early-Sabbath-worthy fills on Ty Segall Band’s blistering Slaughterhouse LP from last year. Or catch her on the road with fellow TSB member Cronin, showing off her ace ability to tackle more upbeat, pop-oriented material. Key track: “I Bought My Eyes”

Natalie Hoffman, Ex-CultWhy she rocks: We realizing we’re approaching Ty Segall–overload here, but what the hell.... The prolific Cali garage-rock king produced this powerful punk quintet’s debut LP after being rightfully wowed by their live set last year. Hoffman throws down a thumbing bass, tossing in appropriately snotty backing vocals, to add to the Memphis crew’s sonic assault. Key track: “Shot the Beehive”

Laura Lloyd and Jasamine White-Gluz, No JoyWhy they rock: Signees to the buzzy Mexican Summer label, these Montreal musicians do an excellent job of wading in the shoegazey waters of bands like My Bloody Valentine without, you know, sounding they’re just trying to be MBV. Lloyd’s squalling, feedback-prone guitar loops wash against White-Gluz’s airy vocals in a way that’s oddly hypnotic—as evidenced on this year’s Wait to Pleasure. Key track: “E”

Grady Mackintosh, Mish Way and Anne-Marie Vassilou, White LungWhy they rock: “Pummeling.” That might be the best single-word review of this ferocious Vancouver punk quartet. (Guitarist Kenneth William is Lung’s lone dude.) They’ve been kicking around for a few years, but their sweaty live shows at DIY spaces across North America have turned the heads of many a mosher. Thankfully, the blogosphere has taken notice, too. Key track: “Take the Mirror”

Marissa Paternoster, Screaming FemalesWhy she rocks: Screaming Female is more like it, am I right? While Paternoster is the only lady in this New Jersey trio, she’s definitely the heart of the hard rock outfit. Her fret-burning guitar pyrotechnics and, yes, screaming is something to witness live. Key track: “It All Means Nothing”

Shannon Shaw, Shannon and the ClamsWhy she rocks: That voice. Damn. Shaw, the Oakland throwback trio’s bassist-frontwoman, can give grimy growls like Iggy, get soulful like Redding or charm like the Ronettes, and scream like Jagger. In other words,her band would provide a perfect soundtrack for your next wild, smoky, boozy after-hours bash. Key track: “Rip Van Winkle”