All-female rock bands are a rarity and while there’s an argument on the need to mention this at all, in the case of Oxford’s Death of the Maiden, it’s the very essence of them as a band. Tamara, Hannah, Emma and Jenny see it as their mission to speak up for women. Recognising that it’s still quite hard to be visible women, feminists, queers, PoC (albeit white passing), in the world at large, let alone in the music scene, these four women are trying to empower women to be themselves.
Their debut album, The Girl with the Secret Fire is full of dramatic, atmospheric baroque/pop/rock/punk music, melded with expressive, thoughtful and emotional lyrics that define the band’s message of female empowerment. However, the songs also explore the universal themes of love, loss, grief as well as feminism. Many of the songs feature the sea and tell tragic tales of women, notably in the raw sound that that is ‘Tess’. Telling the tale of Hardy’s Tess of the D’Urbervilles, the song remains current and relevant to today’s women around the world. Singer and songwriter Tamara’s voice shines with emotion and you instinctively feel that she is singing for all wronged women, whatever their situation.
Before you read on, Death of the Maiden are giving a FREE download of “Tess”, to Angry Baby readers. If you’re not already subscribed to Angry Baby, just pop the email address that you’d like it delivered to here and it will be on its way to you straight away, together with a bumper collection of music that has been shared by Angry Baby. The music comes from outstanding artists that you may not have heard before. With a mix of rock, pop, folk…you name it…there’s bound to be something new that floats your musical boat, and all for free! What’s not to like about that?!
‘Soldier’ is the song on the album that stands out as being most overtly about the ‘fight’; “I am going to war, don’t need no weapons, I just need a cause” being somewhat of a rallying cry.
Another strong track is the stripped back ‘Dream of Drowning’. The lyrics talk of keeping swimming, never getting anywhere and feeling trapped, which is as perfect a description of struggling with depression as I’ve found. Despite that, it’s not a depressing song to listen to.
Girl with the Secret Fire is musically and thematically coherent album with women front and centre. The four musicians work cohesively to present a cogent look at issues that might have previously been deemed women’s issues, enhanced by the rawness of the guitars and strings that accompany the tracks and the ballad style melodies that run throughout. If you want your music to do more than entertain, then Death of the Maiden are a band to watch.
As befits, a band who want to empower women, their advice for those aspiring to get into the music industry looks at how women can be empowered, amongst other things:
- Support women!
- Be inclusive and if a bill isn’t diverse try to say something (if you feel able to). When promoters ask us to play a gig we ask for the line-up. If it is not diverse then we ask them to change it.
- Don’t become obsessed with data/stats/followers. It’s more important to have 30 people who genuinely like your music than 3000 people who are not engaged with what you are doing.
- Remember: resisting change is suffering.
- Have fun with the audience. They sometimes just need a bit of encouragement too!
- Be friends with your band. It is one of the most important relationships you will ever have.
- Don’t let fame/followers get in the way of friends and the joy of creativity.
- If promoters won’t give you gigs, ask other bands if you can support them at one their gigs instead.
- If your parents don’t like your music, then try to give zero fucks about it.
- Remember, most advice people will give you is terrible (apart from here!) and so take what you need and let go of the rest.
- If no one will let you into their clique/music community, start your own and make it INCLUSIVE.
- If someone tells you what to wear on stage or how to play your instrument, ignore them or challenge them if you feel safe to do so. Don’t put up with that crap!
- If your voice is louder than others, use it for good and speak up for those that are silenced.
- Work hard and have fun.
Catch Death of the Maiden ON TOUR through to April 27. Or if you can’t make it, follow them at:
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