Punk rock has always been a place for the “riff-raff”. Punk was born out of anti-authoritarian ideologies – influenced by the aftermath of the 60s and conservative, anti-working class leadership and the desolation of being an outcast. Punk was formed by and is maintained by working-class, marginalized outcasts. That being said, punk has never, ever been just for cisgender, heterosexual white men.
Over at Noisey, Dan Ozzi wrote a piece “saying that 2013, as a whole, was possibly the best year ladies have had in punk in a long, long time” in his attempt to regulate inclusivity in the punk scene. The title itself which starts with “Look, Dudes” is direct address to the stereotypical male oriented populous of punk scene as if to say, “Hey, sorry dudes, some ladies can actually punk. And here — I’ve discovered them!” (Congrats.) The list included Hop Along, Worriers, Laura Stevenson, Jenny Owen Youngs, and Laura Jane Grace – the latter of whom, he insults more than praises.
All of this is well and good of course (even if they all sound nearly similar from one another) because this list is comprised of Dan Ozzi’s own personal preferences and what he deems to be ‘punk’ — which (this is the icing on the cake) includes Miley Cyrus, the punkest of them all. (Which seems to be a general misconception on Ozzi’s part. He’s still viewing punk as this misconstructed genre of ‘anarchy for anarchy’s sake’ – which, sure the initial movement had plenty of that, but the main body of punk, especially the current main body of punk, has its focus turned to social equality.) Shortly after, Suzy X. of Shady Hawkins took to Twitter to point out some pretty glaring oversights on Ozzi’s part and the exclusion of people of colour in punk.
So here are some of our best punk acts of 2013:
Kera & the Lesbians
Kera & the Lesbians is the punk answer to the whole vintage-sound thing Lana Del Rey is trying to do – perfect rich vocals with a Nancy Sinatra vibe, but with just enough garage rock vibe to keep it interesting and fresh. I am maybe a little bit obsessed as I’ve had their track “NAILBITER” on repeat for the last hour. Give it a listen. – AR
What has always drawn me to punk is the aggression in the music – and Permanent Ruin music has that. They released two songs off their 7 inch Más Allá de la Muerte on their Soundcloud this year and it’s one of the rawest records I have ever heard. The power that comes off the two released tracks leaves me speechless. You can follow them on Tumblr here. – AR
The Younger Lovers
Growing up on the Atlantic Ocean in a surfing hub, I have a fondness for beachy punk sounds and The Younger Lovers really fucking deliver. If you liked Wavves’ King of the Beach and everything that Best Coast does – The Younger Lovers are for you. Their new record, Sugar in My Pocket, takes me back to summers spent biking to the beach and getting sand between my toes. They’ve quickly become one of my new feel-good bands. – AR
Though she is undoubtedly not punk at all her in her ‘sound,’ this 25 year-old R&B/Hip Hop artist is perhaps one of the punkest ladies out there. In the release of her video “Pour it Up”, for instance, she removes the White male faces from the dollar images and alters it with her own image, reclaiming the female body and the exploitation and objectification of women within pop culture. If Ozzi thinks that “Miley Cyrus just does not give a fuck, plain and simple,” he clearly missed Rihanna’s memo. – Pamela
I can safely say that M.I.A.’s album Matagni is perhaps the best album of 2013. Full of synth and heavy in drum machines, the album is more dance/electronic and hip-hop than what many would consider punk. But like Rihanna, M.I.A. proves that being punk is a lot more than just a ‘fashion statement’ or a ‘musical genre’. She’s reclaiming the Western negative connotations of the middle finger and has asserted control over the release of her own album (that was due for release in late 2012, and she threatened to leak it). The album is a transcending experience of an upbeat mixture of eastern and western sounds. Give it a listen, it’s like being touched by the divine. – Pamela
“***Flawless”, one of the tracks Beyoncé dropped just yesterday, deserves at least something of an honorable mention. While musically it draws mostly from pop and R&B for inspiration, the video shows Beyoncé and many other women of color partying in what most would call punk clothing. The song focuses on the need for women (especially Black women) to reclaim power and actions that are considered “unfeminine” for them to have, so combined with the music video, this seems to very much so include women of color being visible and active within the punk scene (among others). – William