You might have noticed from the music that we cover, that women are just as much a part of the music we cover as men, and they always will be. In recent years as well, as the likes of Beyonce, Taylor Swift and Adele pretty much ruling the music industry, there seems to have been a gradual shift and the number of women in alternative bands and making amazing non-mainstream music is, in our eyes at least, on the rise.
While the shift in the people making and playing music is a huge step forward, the music industry has more questions to ask about what’s going on off-stage. Since 1974 only 6 women have been nominated for a best producer Grammy, another estimate suggested only 5% of producers are women and a recent Huffington Post article concluded that there were so few female producers, nobody was bothering to count. It is of course not the only area where women are grossly under-represented; anyone who’s been in a touring band, or even takes a regular glance at the sound-desk, will know how rare it is to see a female sound technician. Record label bosses, tour managers and almost every other position within the creaking music industry are also still far too male dominated.
The music industry, like any profession should reflect the society in which we live, and slowly a shift has to come, the old boys club must crumble down, women in music are only going to get stronger and more represented, and as Bikini Kill sang, “the revolution’s coming”.
One of our picks for 2017, Vancouver power-pop trio The Courtney’s are just one band doing their bit to showcase the current crop of brilliant women in music. The Canadians are set to release their second album, fittingly titled The Courtneys II, later this month on legendary New Zealand indie-label Flying Nun, and it’s predictably brilliant.
Described as “artisanal-grunge”, there’s something delightfully uncomplicated about The Courtneys’ sound. The drums pound solidly as driving guitar chords, rumbling bass and perfect, sweet vocals drift by with a hazy, warm melancholy. Channelling the likes of Best Coast or Vivian Girls, it’s hard to believe a band who write choruses this sun-drenched aren’t from California. Lyrically these are tales of love, infatuation and escapism; straight talking and very chantable, their return feels a bit like spending forty minutes with a bunch of old friends.
Today, The Courtney’s have put together a mixtape for us based around Women & Songs, an annual Canadian compilation that only contains tracks by female artists. The band say of the compilation, “It was very big in the 90’s, and we’ve been revisiting a lot of those songs on tour because the albums are everywhere in thrift stores (where we get a lot of our tour tunes), and we would have heard them on the radio when we were younger, i.e. they are very nostalgic.” They go on to explain, “The comp is interesting because it sets women composers as having some sort of a “women music” genre, which is ridiculous because women make and perform all kinds of music.” Check out The Courtney’s picks from the compilation below.
1. Sheryl Crow – Strong Enough
2. Pistol Annies – Boys from the South
3. Sophie B. Hawkins – Damn I wish I was Your Lover