Monday, March 9, 2015

5 Local Women

Yesterday was International Women's Day, and since I've been meaning to write more blogs about female artists, I thought this would be an auspicious occasion on which to start.

And where better to start than at home? The South Wales music scene, brimming with talent, is another demographic that gets criminally under-represented here at The Album Wall, so whatsay we right two wrongs with in one fell swoop?

Here, in no particular order, are 5 of my favourite female artists from Cardiff and the surrounding area. I've been lucky enough to play gigs with many of them, and I hope very much that I'll see them live again in the near future. Each of these people is awesome and inspiring in a very different way; all of their music is strongly recommended.

Chloe Cooke

I met Chloe at university, and she's one of the most talented singers I know. Based in Barry, she's a proper pop star, and while she's mainly been covering other people's songs of late, I can tell you that her original tracks are absolutely great, too. Here's one of them:

Does she have an album? No, but I saw her live a couple of years ago and she certainly seemed to have enough material to fill an LP. Hopefully, Chloe and her band won't keep it to themselves for too much longer.

Francesca's Word Salad

I've shared the bill with Fran many a time in my Shiny Tiger guise, and even after nearly a dozen viewings, her bizarre live set is still a delight. She uses an assortment of hats and paper plate faces to tell weird, wonderful, and usually rather gruesome tales about people being murdered (there's the one about Vlad the Impaler, and the one about a seamstress who uses human body parts, and so forth).

She does cover more pleasant ground sometimes, though, as in my personal favourite, Something's Missing:

Does she have an album? Not that I'm aware of, but like Chloe, Fran has plenty of material in the bank to work with, and as with Chloe, I'm optimistic that it's only a matter of time.

Jemma Roper

Weirder still is the music of Jemma Roper, who makes post-punky-electro music with occasional avant-garde edges. Many of her songs sounds like they were beamed from outer space:

Catch her live with a full band if you can.

Does she have an album? Yes. It's called Emits Rays, and you can buy it here.

Maddie Jones

Maddie Jones has been making a bit of a name for herself recently, not least because she's been collaborating with Amy Wadge, a cohort of Ed Sheeran's. Maddie's music is a little more easy-going than that of the other artists in this list, but that's no bad thing; she's a very engaging performer, and her repertoire covers lots of different genres, including folk, pop, and - on single She Was Young - a kind of Jack Johnson-meets-Edie Brickell soft rock:

Oh, and if you need any further incentive to check MJ out, know that my mum is a fan.

Does she have an album? Indeed - it came out late last year and it's called Vita Brevis. Listen here.

Oh Peas!

Oh Peas! is Rosie Smith, one half of Cardiffian duo Totem Terrors. I like Totem Terrors, but I think I like Oh Pease! more - Rosie's bedsit tweelectronica is far more approachable than the edgy post-punk stuff she makes with Max, and while I don't know many songs by Casiotone for the Painfully Alone, I imagine that this is what he would sound like if he were British and a lady:

Does she have an album? Yes! Shades of Intolerance is available from the Oh Peas! Bandcamp page, and the digital version costs just £2 at time of writing.

In the spirit of International Women's Day, feel free to tell everyone your favourite female musicians in the comment section. Don't worry - yours don't have to be from Wales.

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