Despite being heralded as a widely inclusive space, the pop-punk scene has been historically male-dominated. It’s an uncomfortable reality for many, but as iconic artists such as Hayley Williams drag it, kicking and screaming, into the forefront of discussion, we maintain hope that marginalized artists might one day not be regarded as anomalies.
In honor of Women’s History Month, we’d like to set the spotlight on some groups that are bringing a much-needed dose of non-male energy to the scene. And they’re about to take the broader alternative community by storm.
Read on for 10 pop-punk bands featuring women and non-binary musicians that are taking over the airwaves.
Coming from the suburbs of Los Angeles, the Aquadolls are punk pioneers in the broadest sense. They ooze eclecticism, stacking elements of indie– and surf-rock on top of a distinctly pop-punk foundation. While their sound might not exist at a comfortable spot for genre purists, fans of sonic experimentation will surely find their versatility entrancing. Now three full-lengths into their tenure, the band just dropped their latest single, “Take Me Away,” last year.
Though notably unique in their own right, Cherym are a safe recommendation for anyone with more traditional pop-punk preferences. Hailing from Derry, Ireland, the group put forth a sound that’s laden with ’90s riot grrrl energy. It’s nostalgic as all hell while simultaneously giving us hope for the future of the scene. The band’s been releasing music since 2018 and just put out their latest single, “Kisses On My Cards,” in February.
Leave it to a band like Dream Nails to put forth a top-streamed song called “Vagina Police.” Seriously, if that isn’t indicative enough of the in-your-face, political punk nature of this London-based group, we don’t know what is. Like Cherym, they have a sharp riot grrrl flavor accenting their early pop-punk sound. Give it a listen via their 2020 single, “This Is The Summer.”
Potty Mouth exist at the intersection of punk rock and early alt-pop. The Los Angeles transplants are one of those bands that could easily soundtrack gritty ’90s comedies and modern Netflix series alike. Following up their sophomore album, SNAFU, they just dropped their most recent single, “Let Go,” in February.
VIAL exist largely as a type of genre-defying enigma. That said, they boast some serious pop-punk inclinations. You’ll hear it to varying degrees depending on which track you listen to, but the air is notably present throughout. Had you told us that they existed as ’90s Warped Tour staples, we would have easily been fooled. Check out their latest track, “Or Die,” for a fantastic representation of the punk-rock aggression this group are capable of.
Hopeless Records-backed band Doll Skin are quickly becoming a prominent force in both pop punk and the larger alternative scene. They take a punchy approach to the genre, drawing on dynamic elements of 2000s metal and post-hardcore to create a sound deeply reminiscent of the era’s Warped Tour scene. They just dropped their latest single, “Control Freak,” in February along with an accompanying music video.
Meet Me @ The Altar
If you keep up with alternative news, then you’re probably already familiar with Fueled By Ramen‘s new roster addition, Meet Me @ The Altar. Otherwise, consider this your introduction. The all-female, all-POC trio feel right at home with all of the pop-punk powerhouses the label has put forward over its tenure. They’ve got what can only be described as 2000s Warped Tour energy, putting forth thrash-y but polished energy and relatable lyricism. Be sure to check out their 2020 single “Garden” for a taste of what we’re talking about. Or, if you’re in the mood for something softer, stream their recently released acoustic version.
As Silverstein‘s Shane Told recently made clear, there’s no overestimating the Canadian alternative scene. Les Shirley are another notable example to add to the list of punk-rock talents. Drawing on elements of the early 2000s scene, this Montreal-based trio hit hard and fast with anthems fit for basement bars and stadiums alike. Their highly gritty single “Fuck It I’m In Love,” which dropped in January, makes that abundantly clear.
Bad Cop/Bad Cop
If this list is evidence of anything other than the power of punk-rock bands, it’s that Los Angeles knows how to turn them out. Bad Cop/Bad Cop are a particularly formidable force, releasing hard-hitting bangers under Fat Wreck Chords since their debut. They totally live up to the long-set precedents of their labelmates, too, driving their pop-punk edge with maximum energy. Their third studio album, The Ride, dropped in 2020 and is definitely worth a front-to-back listen.
THICK turn driven, punk-rock energy up to 11. But what else would you expect from a Brooklyn-hailing group? It’s not edge for the sake of edge, either. The band use their platform to address various issues that plague our society. It’s the exact brand of raw emotionality that sets the genre apart for the better, and it’s perfectly accented by their ’90s grunge-leaning sound. They dropped their debut full-length, 5 Years Behind, in 2020 via Epitaph Records.
Who are your favorite women and non-binary pop-punk groups in the modern scene? Sound off in the comments!