10 Best Female Indie Rock Bands

There's nothing sexier than a girl with a guitar, but the 10 best female indie rock bands are so much more than that. The best female indie rock bands aren't just novelty acts; at their best, they're as good as the guys, often better. The 10 best female indie rock bands bring a perspective too often lacking from indie music, with its sensitive boys and hipster-haired men—as women do, they bring life to the music, and to the scene. The following is a list of the 10 best female indie rock bands of all time.

  1. Sleater-Kinney. Topping the list of the 10 best female indie rock bands of all time are the three powerful women of Sleater-Kinney. The dueling vocals and razor wire guitars of Carrie Brownstein and Corin Tucker interlock over the unique, tribal beats of drummer Janet Weiss to create a mix of punk and indie rock that can make gender politics something to dance to. It's hard to think of any boys who've done it better.
  2. The Slits. One of the first female indie rock bands, the Slits came out of the post-punk movement. Mixing dub reggae and punk, they spawned a generation of female indie rock bands.
  3. Le Tigre. From the ashes of Bikini Kill came the far less serious, far more fun, dance-oriented Le Tigre. Their song "Deceptacon" is a female indie rock danch anthem.
  4. The Raincoats. Well known for a cover of the Kinks' "Lola," the Raincoats were one of Kurt Cobain's favorite bands. They were also one of the first female indie rock bands.
  5. Vivian Girls. A newer entry on the list of 10 best female indie rock bands, Vivian Girls play Velvet Underground-influenced lo-fi pop. They are one of the best female indie rock bands going today.
  6. OOIOO. OOIOO are a Japanese experimental noise group fronted by Yoshimi P-We of the Boredoms. They must be heard to be believed.
  7. Tegan & Sara. Though they often get more attention for being pixie-cute, lesbian twin sisters, Tegan & Sara are diverse musical artists. Like many indie bands today, they dip their toes in pop, punk, dance, and more, and come up with their own sound that's a mix of all of the above. 
  8. Slant 6. Washington, DC's Slant 6 were a pure, minimal punk group who didn't last long. Their recorded output stands the test of time, and was an influence on many bands on this list.
  9. Bikini Kill. This "Riot Grrrrl" band did have one male member, but they are regarded as one of the best female indie rock bands of all time. Amateurish punk rarely sounded so angry.
  10. Marnie Stern. Marnie Stern rounds out the list of the 10 best female indie rock bands, though she's more of a one-woman band than a band in the truest sense, shredding guitar over programmed beats live while singing at the same time. She is a guitar hero for the 21st century.
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