Two of the best albums from 2010 featured Marissa Paternoster. As the lead singer and guitarist of punk trio Screaming Females and the only member of her solo act Noun, the out musician is as well-spoken as she is talented, as evinced in an interview she gave to Jessica Hopper for The Guardian. “Riot Girl: still relevant 20 years on” celebrates female artists of today, who are like Marissa — fiercely unapologetic music makers who feel free to express themselves however the hell they want.
Exhibit A: Screaming Females‘ video for “Wild.”
Marissa told Hopper:
“When I finally heard [all-girl bands] Heavens to Betsy and Bratmobile, it was a revelation – it was instantly relatable, musically – it made me not want to give up. I had never been into political ideology, but I got really excited when I read about their ideals.”
“At 16, I had no gay peers and a lot of gay shame. Hearing that made me realise that there were people out there who were cool and they were queer, and unbeknownst to me, it wasn’t a big deal. That was the most important part for me.”
It’s probably no coincidence, then, that Screaming Females have a very ’90s aesthetic. The band is consistently on the road and wowing with their Sleater-Kinney meets Jawbreaker sound. And, sure, some people marvel over how small Marissa is, or that she’s a female and she is able to play the guitar so well! (Shocking, I know.) But riot grrl’s influence on the likes of Marissa, and her influence on the young girls of today, that will hopefully all get to experience her in addition to the Katy Perrys and the Ke$has will hopefully make way for women not only to want to play and enjoy music, but their individuality and their freedom to be whoever they want to be.