11 Female Bands To Keep on Your Radar from the British Isles

Published on 08 March 2024

Today is International Women's Day - and I am thrilled to write this blog as I find the music scene in the UK and Ireland to be filled with outstanding female musicians absolutely killing it out there!

As an active musician in my local scene I can definitely see a plethora of positive changes already happening and an amazing amount of bands formed by (or with) girls - just like back in the 90s. 

And then also as a guitar industry professional, I am happy to report that we  are seeing more & more girls coming through the doors of our stores, trying out guitars and basses, upgrading their current rigs and testing out the best amps and pedals for their gigs and tours. The intimidating guitar store myth is long gone at guitarguitar!

Girls - we’re rocking hard and we’re doing GREAT. Let’s keep it up!

To celebrate the 8th of March in a very guitar-y way, I’ve picked 11 bands that are taking the British Isles by storm - each has either a charismatic frontwoman, female guitarist, producer, songwriter - or all at once. Keep them on your radar as the festival season approaches and you’re guaranteed to catch them in the top lineup if not headlining!

Contents

  1. Wet Leg
  2. Nieve Ella
  3. Siights
  4. Hot Milk
  5. The Last Dinner Party
  6. Sorcha Richardson
  7. The Big Moon
  8. Cherym
  9. New Dad
  10. Holly Humberstone
  11. Sprints
  12. Bonus: Beabadoobee
  13. Final Thoughts + Playlist

 

1. Wet Leg

2023 Grammy award winners (Best Alternative Music Album for their self-titled debut, and Best Alternative Music Performance for "Chaise Longue” and 2024 Best Remixed Recording just 4 weeks ago!), it seems as if Wet Leg played local venues only yesterday. Established in 2019 on the Isle of Wight by two guitar-slaying friends, Rhian Teasdale and Hester Chambers, Wet Leg rose to success literally in front of our eyes. You know, just a female-fronted band doing what they do best - making most awesome rock music! If they happen to play a festival near you, trust me you don’t want to miss out on their gig!

2. Nieve Ella

Hailing from West Midlands, Nieve Ella is a trendsetting young artist who’s turning into the voice of the youth.  

Having picked up the guitar just 4 years ago, she started to post short reels of her songs to TikTok, and quickly won herself a huge fanbase. In Summer 2023, she released her debut single (a refreshing mixture of grunge and pop) and played her first ever show shortly after. Nieve Ella’s been featured on BBC Introducing, played TRNSMT festival and just recently went on tour and sold out pretty much every single show! Her latest release titled "The Things We Say" dropped yesterday. Give it a listen!

3. Siights

I saw Siights play TRNSMT Festival last year whilst working at our guitarguitar VIP Artist Area and I was blown away by the sheer amount of energy these two had on stage! 

SIIGHTS are a Fender-shredding alternative pop duo made up of Mia Fitzgerald (Ireland) & Toni Etherson (Scotland). They supported.. Erm.. LANA DEL REY. Epitome of cool.

Catch them at this year’s TRNSMT Fest - I know I will!

4. Hot Milk

Hot Milk are a rock group formed in 2018 and based in Manchester. They consist of a Flying V shredding Hannah and Jim. Legend has it, the two met on a Tinder date that ultimately led their relationship to turn into bandmates. Hot Milk absolutely tore it up on King Tut’s Stage during last year’s TRNSMT and I was gutted I only caught the last 3 songs.

They have released three Eps and a studio album A Call to the Void which took them touring with Foo Fighters, playing Lollapalooza and Download. Hannah’s raw girl-power energy on stage got them the attention of music critics and lovers alike. They have just returned from their own headline tour across Europe, Japan and Australia.

5. The Last Dinner Party

The Last Dinner Party hail from London town and are honestly HUGE worldwide. This is an all-female band which consists of 5 mega-talented multi-instrumentalists and songwriters. 

They have just released their debut album Prelude to Fantasy which includes the mega-hit "Nothing Matters". The band won the BRITs Rising Star award at the 2024 Brit Awards.

LDP are heading out across the pond to play their first North American tour but we can rest assured they’re coming back for a UK & Ireland tour this Autumn!

6. Sorcha Richardson

A Dublin native, Sorcha Richardson is a singer-songwriter who offers a unique and marvellous blend of indie, synth-pop and folk-rock. She released 2 full studio albums to date with her second one, Smiling Like an Idiot (2022), landing on the fourth place of the Irish Album Charts. Sorcha has toured with Villagers and collaborated with Ellie Goulding. She’s been named “One of Ireland’s most intriguing songwriters” by The Irish Times, which intrigued me enough to listen to her. I've never looked back since!

7. The Big Moon

The Big Moon are a British all female indie rock band formed back in 2014 by frontwoman Juliette Jackson, guitarist Soph Nathan, bassist Celia Archer, and drummer Fern Fordin in London. They supported Pixies in 2019, played a plethora of festivals worldwide and are truly a force to be reckoned with when on stage. I loved their show last year in Glasgow and 11/10 would go to see them again!

8. Cherym

Cherym are an LGBTQ+ band from Derry: Hannah (she/her) on guitar and lead vocals,

Nyree (they/them) on bass and backing vox duties and Alannagh (she/they) - drums and backing vocals, serving up their own unique  pop rock. They’ve caught the attention of BBC Radio 1, Kerrang! Magazine, and recently supported Enter Shikari. They’ve just dropped their own version of Doja Cat’s “Boss B*tch” especially crafted for International Women’s Day. Let’s hear it!

9. New Dad

Straight out of the vibrant shores of Galway, New Dad are one of the most exciting Irish exports in the current music scene. A punchy fusion of grunge and indie rock, this dual female-fronted group have been releasing one exciting tune after another. Raw energy, edgy stage presence and great hooks, New Dad are on top of my gigs-to-go list!

10. Holly Humberstone

It all started off when Holly Humberstone performed at Glastonbury Festival in 2019, stealing the show on the BBC Music Introducing stage. In 2021 Holly released her debut EP The Walls Are Way Too Thin which landed her the Brit Award for Rising Star at the 2022 gala. Her full studio album, Paint My Bedroom Black, followed in 2023 only strengthening her position in her native English scene. Humberstone's songwriting sits somewhere between alt rock, indie and pop all nicely connected by her atmospheric vocals and soft guitar melodies. 

11. Sprints

Sprints are a garage punk band from Dublin. What’s different? Get ready, these lot have a badass, frontwoman, Karla, making some rather mighty noise on her beloved Telecaster paired with an equally charismatic bass player and vocalist Sam. Inspired by the likes of Siouxsie and the Banshees and PJ Harvey, Sprints have only just released their debut album earlier this year but have already amassed a huge following and demand for their shows is unlike anything we’ve witnessed in the recent years.

Sprints are currently on a mega tour, spanning some European cities, UK, Ireland and the USA. 

I am a big fan, they’re freaking awesome and I was planning to catch them at one of their Scottish gigs but it’s already sold out. Phew! Next time I guess but the wait will no doubt make it more exciting.

Bonus: 12. Beabadoobee

Beabadoobee is already an icon in her own way: 3 million followers on Instagram, 1.15 million subscribers on YouTube, an opening act for Taylor Swift, all at the tender age of 23! And that’s just skimming through the top. Let me tell you: this girl MADE IT. Why is she on this list then you may ask? Well because she’s only just beginning. And if that’s what she achieved before her 25th birthday then what else can this girl do? So yeah, we better watch out for some incoming awesomeness!

Final Thoughts + Playlist

How COOL are they huh? I honestly think these artists are reviving the modern rock scene and forming a new genre we can’t quite label yet. I also can’t stop listening to these bands so to bring them all into one place for you to enjoy, I have created an IWD guitarguitar girls who rock Spotify playlist! PLAY IT LOUD!

I also hope that this blog inspired you to pick up a guitar and play YOUR OWN MUSIC. Whether you’re just starting or have been too insecure to go for it, this is your sign to just GO AND DO IT.

Happy International Women’s Day, fellow guitar-slinging gals.

 

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About the author

Anna

Marketing and Social Media Assistant, Warehouse

Obsessed with guitars, live shows & travels.

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