The influence of women in music is immense, immeasurable, and nothing new. According to a 2018 study conducted by Fender, women account for half of their guitar sales. From Soccer Mommy’s Sophie Allison to Japanese Breakfast’s Michelle Zauner, a girl-powered, feminist 2019 movement in the indie scene is certainly underway.
Artists like these are unapologetic and prolific with their songwriting, experimental with their instrumentation, and not only share feminist beliefs but show young women their age what they are capable of as musicians.
To celebrate, check out ten essential live covers performed by badass indie girls of the past, present, and electrifying future:
St. Vincent — "Dig a Pony"
St. Vincent’s Annie Clark impressively shreds her way through this classic Lennon-McCartney song with a riveting Harmony Bobkat electric guitar. Watch below to see NPR’s 21st Century’s Guitar Vanguard put her rousing spin on the Beatles track from 1970:
Björk — "Like Someone in Love"
Avant-garde icon Björk is no stranger to captivating audiences, as evident in this live cover, which was also notably recorded by classic jazz artists; Chet Baker, Ella Fitzgerald, and Frank Sinatra. The timeless genre-bender’s eccentric voice transcends through this live set, along with a backing harp:
Kali Uchis— “Venus as a Boy”
Complete with an accompanying jazz band, bongo beats, and smooth-flowing vocals, Kali Uchis’ version of this 1993 hit gives it a contemporary, new feel. Uchis truly does Björk justice in this recent cover:
Beach House — “Everybody’s Got To Learn Sometime”
From her soaring synths to her distinctive contralto, Beach House’s lead singer Victoria Legrand delivers a dreamlike cover of this ‘80s track originally penned by British pop band, The Korgis:
Amy Winehouse — “Valerie”
In this stripped-back acoustic set, the late soul queen’s three-octave range is on full-display. Check out her raw, effortless vocal trills in this cover of indie rock band, The Zutons:
Boygenius — “Read My Mind”
In forming this rock supergroup, Lucy Dacus, Phoebe Bridgers, and Julien Baker bring their exhilarating voices and accomplished guitar backgrounds together in exquisite harmony. Watch them cover a mid-2000s indie favorite by The Killers:
Mitski — “How Deep is Your Love”
Declared by Iggy Pop to be “the most advanced American songwriter,” he knows, Mitski Miyawaki is a star on the rise. Treat your ears to her incredible vibrato in this rare, intense cover of the popular Calvin Harris track.
Snail Mail — “2nd Most Beautiful Girl in the World”
Lead singer of Snail Mail, Lindsey Jordan, is acclaimed for her futuristic guitar techniques, stark vocals, and insanely wise lyricism. Listen to her poignant, shattering cover of this song from Lois Maffeo’s riot grrrl side project made in the early ‘90s.
Girlpool— “Cut Your Bangs”
Cleo Tucker and Harmony Tividad make music together as the LA-based lo-fi duo, Girlpool. Hear their breathtaking harmonies and subtle joint strumming transform this punk-bred Radiator Hospital tune into something deeper, more profound, and emotional.
Courtney Barnett — “Everything is Free”
With her signature half-sung and half-spoken vocal style, Courtney Barnett gracefully makes this folky Gillian Welch song her own. In this Aussie indie rocker’s intimate cover, she will pluck at your heartstrings: