13 More Women Leading a Stoner Rock Revolution
Blazing and bewitching headbanger heroines—another she-devil's dozen.
When The KIND posted the article "These 13 Women Are Leading a Stoner Rock Revolution," we knew that a heady storm of scorching, distinctly feminine dark magic had been brewing in the realm of marijuana-fueled heavy music. Cutting the list at 13 was a perilous errand.
It's time to revisit the topic. Here now is a salute to yet another high and unholy coven’s worth of wickedly talented women pioneering the blazing edges of doom metal, sludge, blues punk, and ’70s-style riff-pummeling that presently defines stoner rock.
These 13 women, too, are leading a stoner rock revolution.
Mlny Parsonz—Royal Thunder
Online: Royal Thunder
Classic rock, ’90s grunge, and timeless psychedelia echo through the exquisitely crafted songs and performances of the Atlanta-based Royal Thunder. Vocalist and bassist Mlny Parsonz provides soul to the music, which comes off at once time-honored and newly her own. You can feel the trees, mountains, and forest spirits in Mlny’s voice. With the right strain to match your favorite Royal Thunder disc, you'll see all those elements, too.
Gazelle Amber Valentine—Jucifer
Dating all the way back to 1993, Jucifer is an avant-sludge duo consisting of guitarist Gazelle Amber Valentine and drummer Edgar Livengood. In the past decade, though, Jucifer has left its deepest hoof-prints, powered primarily by Valentine’s fret-mangling instrumentation and electrifying vocal incantations.
Stevie Floyd—Dark Castle
Online: Dark Castle
Few stoner-rock guitar shredders cast sonic spells on the intoxicating order of Stevie Floyd, the Flying-V-wielding front-sorceress of the diabolical duo Dark Castle. Arising from the same Florida swamps that begat death metal, Floyd mastered that genre’s level of technical virtuosity early on, and she’s been reinventing them ever since then—at the same time giving voice to DC’s jolting, complex, and profoundly relatable compositions.
Never mind the heat outside: July 2016 begat Welcome to the Graveyard, the most blistering long-player to date from power-trio Castle. Bassist, singer, and songwriter Elizabeth Blackwell is a classic metal whirlwind both on record and in performance. The group is also chronicling its Graveyard tour with a photojournal of their stops in actual roadside graveyards. That's heavy.
Emily Kopplin—Mount Salem
Online: Mount Salem
Steeped in horror and mesmerizing in her presence, it might be easy to misidentify Mount Salem frontwoman Emily Kopplin as “goth.” Then, however, she lets loose her operatic rock-and-roll wail, and it's clear this band’s love of ’60s-era acid blasts and ’70s-style occult experimentation has found its ideal channel by way of the lead singer.
Virginia Monti—Psychedelic Witchcraft
Online: Psychedelic Witchcraft
Stoner transcendence and hyper-groovy black magic, Italian-style. That’s what a reasonable listener should expect from a Firenze-based cabal blatantly named Psychedelic Witchcraft, and that’s exactly what this fearsome foursome delivers. Virginia Monti, wrapped in black and belting cosmic blues, turns every song into a loaded ritual.
Dara Santhai—Serpent Crown
Online: Serpent Crown
Serpent Crown hails from the same legendary Bay Area stomping grounds that, a few decades back, whipped forth Metallica, Exodus, Testament, Possessed, and, in effect, the entire thrash metal movement that forever reconfigured hard rock. Lead guitarist and vocalist Dara Santhai honors the locale’s traditions with chops, speed, and songwriting skills of the most brutal order, and she blasts it all forward with six-string sludge bombs and flamethrower vocals.
Laura Dolan—Electric Citizen
Online: Electric Citizen
Electric Citizen rocks as one of the most dynamic acts on the essential stoner record label Riding Easy. The band discharges propulsive riffs capable of quaking packed arenas while soaring songbird Laura Dolan wails with even more potently enflamed glory.
Andrea Vidal—Holy Grove
Online: Holy Grove
Stoner rock’s Pacific Northwest roots travel back in time through the original SubPop grunge era to no less a lit-up deity than Jimi Hendrix to even the garage-rock stomp of the Kingsmen and Paul Revere and the Raiders. Portland’s own Holy Grove slashes a fresh Oregon Trail up out of that history, largely by way of frontwoman Andrea Vidal, whose masterful performances and rapturous vocals recall another local heroine: Seattleite Ann Wilson of Heart.
Online: Chelsea Wolfe
Unlike the loud, bracing metallic onslaughts typically associated with stoner rock, singer-songwriter Chelsea Wolfe has forged an entirely new direction for the genre on her own. The Northern California native often goes full-on spooky by blending weed-inspired contemplations with gothic and neofolk elements, along with strains of noise-rock and electronica. Still, when it’s time to flatten listeners with a sonic beat-down, Chelsea muscles up and brings it on.
Dana Schechter and Ashley Spungin—Insect Ark
Online: Insect Ark
The genre-decimating two-woman wrecking force Insect Ark features Dana Schechter on bass and lap steel guitar backed by Ashley Spungin on drums. Both members wreak havoc with synthesizers, and Ashley builds the noise distortion pedals that contribute so mightily to Insect Ark’s one-of-a-kind aesthetic. The result is stoner rock gone daringly experimental—the musical equivalent of when you simply inhale deeply and without question after somebody says, “Here, smoke this.”
Taz Corona-Brown and Hel Sterne—Undersmile
Oxfordshire, England’s sisters-in-all-things-sinister Taz Corona-Brown (vocals/rhythm guitar) and Hel Steren (basee) propel the pulverizing might of Undersmile. The group's epic-length songs evoke Melvins-like dirge-rage and Babes in Toyland-like fever seizures, while conjuring a slow-burn madness all their own. Undersmile is positively dangerous. Trip cautiously around in their presence.