Tuesday, January 03, 2006

Uk Riot Grrrl records and friends : Voodoo Queens

Band: Voodoo Queens
From: UK
Year: early to mid 90's

Who: The line up changed a bit from record to record: Anjali – vocals guitar *, Ella – guitar *, Steffi- drums, Anjula - bass, Jane – violin, Mary – bass, Rajni- keyboard, Sunny – drummer
*appeared on all records

Where are they now?: Ella Guru is a painter and has played in such bands as The Deptford Beach Babes, Sexton Ming and is (was?) also in The Tasty Ones.
Anjali went 100% solo creating her own brand of surf-exotica garagey electronic 60’s inspired psych pop and her records carry just her name Anjali.

Why this band: Here is a quote from Anjali on her site about the Voodoo Queens.

“As with any scene, be it Hip-Hop or Death Metal, Anjali was soon to discover that Riot Grrrl was fraught with contradiction & in-fighting. Not that it really mattered; Riot Grrl's merry noise was soon to be replaced by U.S boy-angst, the major-label subsidised Foxcore of L7 & then bizarrely Brit-pop & lad culture, leaving behind a string of legendary gigs & singles.”

There is surprising little to be found on line about Voodoo Queens IE: Their band history or discography for that matter but looking at the three records I own it is easy to peg them for a Riot Grrrl type band. All three singles are all based around the color pink, have hand drawn art on the cover, reflect grrrl issues, and all of the record / band info is written out by hand.

The artwork alone equates to a very basic DIY girl code meaning one could look at any one of these records and associate it to the very same kind of imagery found in any Riot Grrrl zine at the time.

Musically and I would say this about most of the grrrl groups happening in the UK at the time, these bands all had more of a 60's garage vibe then any of the grrrl bands in America. Stripped down, raw as shit, sprinkled with screams, and most importantly the lyrics (most of the time) carried a strong female message or feminine outlook.

Listening to Anjali's recent very 60's inspired solo work it makes even more sense to me now that all the Voodoo Queens records reflect a super fuzzed out guitar sound, primal beats, and a crunchy organ to thicken their sound up even more. Anjali's voice is big and belty with an equally as powerful scream; a perfect mix for anyone looking for the less whiny side of the quintessential riot grrrl-esque war cry.

Here is a list of the records I have:

1) The best of the bunch is "supermodel-superficial" 7” on Too Pure with the B-Side of "chocolate (melt in your mouth) " This record is a must have as far as I am concerned.

2) "kenuwee head" 7” single with a B-Side of "my little guitar baby + girl solo" (song plays backwards!) on Too Pure. Bonus quote from cover art: “Who needs boys when you have guitars”

3) "eat the germs" 7” single with the B-Side of "Hairy 26h" This is another GREAT record and the "eat the germs" is in the vein of the early Hole but dynamically is more interesting, dramatic, and all around BETTER.