On Oct. 17, Salt Lake City residents will get a chance to see the band that W Magazine called “the saviors of rock music.” The band receiving this lofty praise, Girlpool, is relatively new to audiences. Just a few years ago, Cleo Tucker and Harmony Tividad met through Los Angeles’ underground rock scene. As teenagers, they joined together to form Girlpool. Now, with two studio albums, a nationwide tour and universal acclaim from countless music publications, Girlpool seems to be on the brink of widespread mainstream success.
Girlpool’s hypnotic songs are often no more than simple melodies set to a few guitar chords. This method may sound limited, but Girlpool’s music is surprisingly powerful. The band’s earliest work contained no percussion, lending each track a quiet intensity. The music’s simplicity also allowed Tucker and Tividad’s natural chemistry to shine through. On its 2017 album “Powerplant,” Girlpool’s work evolved to include more varied instrumentation and songwriting. Eventually breaking with tradition, percussion was added to Girlpool’s songs, courtesy of Miles Winter. But the duo’s music still relies on a core of directness and emotional honesty, both lyrically and musically. Vocally, neither Tucker nor Tividad aim for a polished, pretty performance, with raw edges that recall the pioneers of Riot Grrrl. The resulting songs are abrasive, but catchy, avant-garde and accessible.
Like many punk bands, Girlpool creates music that is undeniably political. From the beginning, the duo’s songs engaged with feminist issues such as sexual freedom and empowerment through violence. Tucker and Tividad’s music is unapologetic, loud and opinionated, subverting stereotypes about what female musicians can and should do. All in all, the duo continues a feminist punk tradition by using a genre traditionally associated with male aggression to unsettle the patriarchy. In today’s frightening political landscape, Girlpool’s seething roar may be the perfect soundtrack to the resistance.
Girlpool will be forming at Kilby Court on Tuesday, Oct.17 at 7 p.m. with special guest Palm. Tickets are $12 in advance and $14 at the door.