“You Wouldn’t Know it… it’s Pretty Underground”: Niche Music Genres You Might Not Know

Dazey and the Scouts- Queercore

Dazey and the Scouts- Queercore

I’m proud to say I have a fairly diverse music taste. I´m one of those people who, when asked what music they listen to, can confidently say they listen to almost everything. However, despite this fact, I can’t diagnose any music with its genre for the life of me. One time, I tried to challenge myself by figuring out what type of music a band I discovered recently, ¨Dazey and the Scouts,¨ was. I thought it must be punk, indie, rock, or some combination of those, considering the screaming and damnation of society in general. So I looked it up and found it was listed as, get this, microtonal jazz quartet. Since then, I’ve given up on the whole genre business; that is until I found a website, Chosic, which has a genre finder feature. Obviously, I spent days exploring it and while I was there, I found some pretty interesting stuff.

Queer Core
The first artist I researched was the aforementioned, ”Dazey and the Scouts” (D.A.T.S), and it turns out my initial prediction was right! They are listed as indie pop/Boston indie (HA! Take that Wikipedia). I was intrigued to discover they were also listed as being something I had rarely heard before: Queercore. Queercore is a subgenre that is derived from its parent genre punk. Punk, by my definition, is a type of music characterized by its hatred for society and all its wrongdoings, and its loud, fast, and angry nature. Queercore is all of that, but with a focus on how terribly society treats the LGBTQ+ community or queer struggles in general. One of my favorite songs from D.A.T.S album Maggot is ¨Sweet Cis-teen¨ a raw, vulnerable, piece about a member’s struggle living in society as a gender non-conforming person, specifically their issues with trans-excluding radical feminism. It’s a dagger to the heart in the best way and evokes this sorrowful rage that turns you inside out. In other words, a stellar song that I highly recommend. Some other awesome queercore artists are Teenage Halloween, Gay for Johnny Depp, the Butchies, and the Degenerates.

Riot Grrrl
One of my favorite parts of “Sweet Cis-teen,” besides its luscious bass line, is the final segment of the song, a spoken word poem that sounds like it was performed through tears. This is a common practice among another genre, one of my favorites, riot grrl. This came about in the 90s and was a way to broadcast artists’ messages to the general public. A big part of the riot grrl revolution was women starting these bands together as a way to challenge the boy-dominated punk scene. They didn’t care about whether or not they sounded good or were experienced (this is a compliment, I swear), they cared about spreading feminism and connecting girls from all over. It was an incredibly cool movement, flawed of course, but really interesting. These bands often overlapped with queercore, grrrl love being a popular topic. Some of my favorite riot grrl bands include Bikini Kill, Le Tigre (also queercore), Sleater Kinney (which has that girl from Portlandia), Bratmobile, Veruca Salt, X-ray Spex (featured in the recent motion picture Wendell and Wilde), and The Raincoats.

Veruca salt – Riot grrrl (spotify)

Lilith is somewhat of a debated topic among some – some being myself debating with myself. I started looking up all of my favorite artists and a lot of them shared this label. My brain immediately developed its own definition. Lilith became, in my head, this perfect genre. Kind of folk-y, but not twang-y. Kind of country, but not at all. Kind of sweet, summer, little girl lying in the sun, barefoot in the river and then in an air-conditioned corner store, kind of songs. This feminine, comforting, and empowering genre that defined my childhood now had a name. Then I looked it up, and apparently, it’s not really a genre at all; every artist that was described as Lilith performed at the Lilith Fair (1997-1999, 2010), or was similar to musicians that performed at the Lilith Fair. I’m still defining it in my own whimsical little way, because I can, so there. Lilith is kind of the exact opposite of riot grrrl in terms of message, but in overall powerful femininity they are quite similar. My favorite Lilith artists are The Blake Babies, Sara Barellis, The Weepies, Indigo Girls, and the Cardigans.

The Weepies- Lilith (Spotify)

Music is so infinitely cool and complicated and diverse, and if you’re ever bored, it provides hours of entertainment. So, dare to enter the genre-verse, and discover your own unique soundtrack.