Behind every music genre is a dynamic female artist who is further developing the genre’s sound. Check out four female musicians challenging the status quo.  

1) Brittany Howard

Looking back on Brittany Howard’s brief but impressive career as the lead singer of blues-rock band Alabama Shakes, it’s almost comedic the song that made her famous featured the lyrics “I don’t know where I’m gonna go / Don’t know what I’m gonna do.” Howard’s career might have seemed uncertain in 2012 — the year she released the Alabama Shakes’ first album, Boys & Girls — but, three years later, the Alabama Shakes has three Grammy nominations, spots on the “Silver Linings Playbook” and “12 Years a Slave” sound tracks, and two Saturday Night Live performances under its belt.

Howard’s beautifully androgynous voice serves as the foundation of the band’s deep blues-rock sound. She effortlessly explores octaves most female artists can’t reach and certainly can’t maintain without strain. The band’s April 21 release of its sophomore album, Sound & Color, relies on her vocal abilities more than Boys & Girls did. Howard, an Alabama native, takes listeners on a loud, emotional ride through issues of desire, loneliness and the struggle for power.

Artist you might like — Nina Simone, Janis Joplin, The Rolling Stones

Listen to Alabama Shakes' "Sound & Color" here:


2) Florence Welch

Florence + the Machine is arguably the most commercially successful female-led band to emerge from the U.K. since the Spice Girls. By age 28, lead singer Florence Welch will have recorded three full-length indie-rock albums with the band. The festival-favorite’s third album, How Big, How Blue, How Beautiful, will be released June 2.

Welch’s dark, daring sound successfully revitalizes the rock subgenre baroque pop that emphasizes the use of string instruments not common to popular music, including violins and cellos.

The three singles the English singer-songwriter prereleased — “What Kind of Man,” “Ship to Wreck” and “St Jude” — reflect her brooding style, spooky vocals and affinity for dance music. If the singles are any indication, this album will be performance ready, making this tour a must-see.

Artist you might like — Lykke Li, Annie Lennox, Belle and Sebastian, Regina Spektor

Listen to Florence + the Machine's "What Kind of Man" now:


3) Niia Bertino

Niia Bertino, 26, may be the least commercially accomplished artist on the list, but she certainly has the most musical training. The classically trained pianist, who goes by “Niia,” learned from a number of Juilliard vocalists, attended The New School for Jazz and Contemporary Music and won a National Foundation for Advancements in the Arts award for her jazz vocals.

Bertino’s appeared on the scene in 2007 when her vocals were featured on Wyclef Jean’s hip-hop single “Sweetest Girl (Dollar Bill).” Seven years later, Bertino released her first and only solo record, Generation Blue. The six-track EP is short but sweet. Her jazzy vocals and expert piano skills shine on the track “Body.”

Bertino is an emerging artist who speaks for her generation. The single “Telephone” is a beautiful ode to the role communication plays in a modern relationship with lyrics such as “I love it when you text me first / I love it a little too much” and “Yeah my line’s wide open / You just keep me holding.”

Artist you might like — Fiona Apple, Björk, Nina Simone

​Listen to Niia's "Body" here:


4) Mackenzie Scott

A decade from now, Mackenzie Scott, the singer-songwriter behind Torres, might be the poster-child for southern rock. Born in Macon, Georgia, Scott moved to Nashville, Tennessee, to attend Belmont University, where she graduated from in 2012. After graduating, the 24 year old recorded her debut, self-titled album, which nails the indie-rock-meets-folk sound so many southern artists attempt to achieve. Music publication site Pitchfork named her debut single, “Honey,” best new track and gave her album 8.1 out of 10.

A master of pacing and clever lyricism, Scott writes and records songs that are guitar heavy with minimal production. Whether she’s performing a solo acoustic set or with her band during South By Southwest, Scott commands listeners’ attention thanks to her deep, raspy vocals, quintessential to southern rock.

Scott’s second album, Sprinter, comes out Monday. Torres will perform at The Mohawk on Saturday. Tickets are $10 and doors open at 9 p.m.  

Artist you might like — Sharon Van Etten, Cat Power, Waxahatchee

Listen to Torres' "Honey" now:


From left, Andrew Penmer, Jack Thorton, William Glosup and Marcus Haden make up local surf pop band Shivery Shakes. The band will headline at Riot Act Media’s Tuesday showcase at Cheer Up Charlie’s.
Photo Credit: Stephanie Tacy | Daily Texan Staff

Editor’s note: Some answers were edited for length and clarity.

Austin-based band Shivery Shakes’ infectious, glitzy, surf pop entertains Austinites throughout the year. During South By Southwest, Shivery Shakes will headline Riot Act Media’s Tuesday showcase at Cheer Up Charlie’s. Their latest album, Three Waves and a Shake, sets a beachy, chill backdrop to this year’s festival. 

Austin mayor Lee Leffingwell named June 27 “Shivery Shakes Day” after the band gained serious acclaim in the community. The Daily Texan spoke with the band about their SXSW showcases. 

The Daily Texan: Is this your first year performing at SXSW as “official” performers? 

Shivery Shakes: This is our first year performing at SXSW officially as this band. A couple of us have done South By officially in the past in other bands or as “hired guns,” but it will be a different experience with this project.

We’ve been working really hard on this band for the past couple of years, and, while it might not be the ultimate measure of success, it’s cool that we were accepted. 

DT: Are you guys working on a new album? If so, when would it come out?

SS: We put our last record pretty recently, and we are still doing the best we can to get it out there. We have a few new songs in the works and preliminary recording on our next record is on the horizon, but we’d like to do our best to get our debut album out there before we put it behind us.

DT: Do you think Austin shows local bands enough love during SXSW? 

SS: Honestly, I think SXSW is a little harder on local acts. However, Austin is generally hard for local acts. It has become a hub for international talent year-round, so local bands are measured against national talent way more thoroughly than anywhere else. 

That being said, I think it pushes local bands to be very hard-working and well practiced. We are stoked to be a part of SXSW and other festivals around here, but we also have our own scene and friends to enjoy.

DT: What is the best/worst part about SXSW? 

SS: The best part is all of our friends from out of town come here; the worst part is all of the people we aren’t friends with come, too.

DT: Can you describe your sound/your goals and aspirations as a band? 

SS: Our debut record sounds pretty surfy and poppy. We enjoy that musical genre, but, for whatever we do next, I think we’d like to evolve and transcend genre. We like pop music and also music that we naturally gravitate toward. I think any aspirations we have musically will occur without effort. Other than that, our main aspiration is to get a van, stay on the road and keep making music that we like to listen to.

DT: Do you guys like touring or sticking around and playing shows in Austin more?

SS:  They both have their pros and cons. Touring is a total blast because you get to show different people your music for the first time, which usually gets a very honest reaction. That’s something you never get at home, and it’s usually very exciting. 

Playing at home is just as sweet though because it’s very relaxed, and you get to play with all of your friends’ bands. We have so many great bands in Austin right now, too. It almost feels like we’re on tour when we play on different bills because everyone here has a very unique voice.

Shivery Shakes is a local band whose sound combines a mix of ‘60s pop and ‘90s rock. Shivery Shakes is currently recording their new 7” record on analog tape to stay true to their vintage sound. 


Photo Credit: Chelsea Purgahn | Daily Texan Staff

Somewhere deep in the expanses of the Austin music scene, between the shaggy-haired garage rockers and the hushed voices of indie pop is a band whose sugary tales of youth are as swoon-inducing as its amps are joltingly loud. This band is Shivery Shakes.

Founded in 2011 by William Glosup, Shivery Shakes is best described as a mix between the jangly rock of ‘90s band Pavement and the oh-so-cool ‘60s pop feel of Roy Orbison.

“I feel like we occupy a unique space in that because if you went to a typical Austin indie pop band show, we would be too loud and raucous for that, but if you go to a garage rock show we would be the most sweet sounding band there,” drummer Marcus Haddon said. “It wouldn’t sound rough at all.”

Shivery Shakes is made up of Glosup on vocals and guitar, Haddon on drums, Andrew Penmer on bass and Ryan Hall on guitar. 

Since the band’s formation, Shivery Shakes released an EP in March 2012 and recently changed its lineup. The band is now gearing up to record a new 7” record. Like the first EP, the band has decided to record the 7” on analog tape rather than through a digital recording program.

“At the end you have a physical artifact of your work,” Hall said. “You actually have that reel. That’s something more disparate from you and files on a computer.”

The band feels its efforts to record through a process often hailed as outdated aids it in creating a more vintage sound.

“I’m really attached to recording analog, I think, because even though we’re writing modern pop songs, the production style and the sounds we’re achieving are what make it more of an homage to ‘60s music,” Glosup said. 

A quick listen to “Stay Young” instantly evokes the warmest visions of wasting away an afternoon in your friend’s backyard. This special retro-tinged, upbeat brand of music sets the band apart from the typical pop band. 

“I think Will’s lyrics play into it a lot,” Penmer said. “They try not to be too generic. It’s very straightforward what he’s singing about.”

Indeed Glosup’s lyrical delivery keeps the music grounded in the present, complete with complaints about minimum wage and hangovers that sound exactly like your best friend filling you in on last night.

“We’re not like revivalists,” Hadden said. “It’s not like a revivalist band that you’re supposed to hear and go, ‘Oh, is this some band from the ‘60s I don’t know about?’ You should know it’s from right now.”

It’s easy to hear the influence from both ‘60s and early ‘90s indie pop music in Shivery Shakes’ dreamy background “oohs” and “ahs” over sunny surf-rock guitars, but an element of modernity in the band’s songwriting remains at the forefront of its sound. 

“I think we’re taking the straight ahead approach of making modern pop music that maybe draws some from the past, but I think that’s always kind of just been like the modern youth experience and what it’s like living today,” Glosup said. “That’s what all the songs are about. What it’s like kind of being young today. Trials and tribulations and maybe some fun stuff too.”

Shivery Shakes plays Saturday night at Hotel Vegas for the Growl EP release show.

Printed on Thursday, January 31, 2013 as: Shivery Shakes rocks Austin