Top 10 Female-Fronted Rock Bands of the 2000s

The turn of the new millennium was a strange time in music. On the one hand, the business was booming on the backs of pop acts like Britney Spears and Justin Timberlake. On the other hand, it was still feeling the ripples of death in the industry, from Kurt Cobain to Tupac Shakur.

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At another crossroads was the world’s understanding of gender. In years to come, the concept would be flipped in many ways and the general public would find itself with a bigger appetite for music from all kinds of artists. In the 2000s, though, many women were still relegated to arenas outside of the rock genre.

Thankfully, though, many persisted in the wake of past groups like Heart and Blondie. Below are 10 such bands, fronted by badass women who can write a song and rock a stage as good as any who have walked the earth.

1. Paramore

Formed in 2004 in Franklin, Tennessee, Paramore is fronted by the powerful singer Hayley Williams. Today, the Grammy Award-winning group is still making headlines.

2. Avril Lavigne

The Canadian-born Avril Lavigne rocketed up the charts in the early 2000s thanks to her debut album, Let Go, in 2002. That LP included the songs “Complicated” and “Sk8er Boi.” Today, the record is the best-selling album by a Canadian artist in this century.

3. Florence and the Machine

Formed in 2007 in London, Florence and the Machine released its debut LP, Lungs, in 2009. Today, the group, which is fronted by Florence Welch, boasts six Grammy nominations and a reputation for hypnotizing rock songs.

4. The Moldy Peaches

Founded by Kimya Dawson and Adam Green in New York City, The Moldy Peaches rose to global popularity in the mid-2000s thanks to the inclusion of its music in the popular film Juno. Their single, “Anyone Else But You” is a fan favorite and the anti-folk band remains beloved.

5. Tegan and Sara

In a way, this twin sister duo from Canada has been making music since the two could gurgle. But Tegan and Sara Quin released their debut album, Under Feet Like Ours, together in 1999 and followed that up in 2000 with The Business of Art. The duo released their latest, Crybaby, in 2022.

6. Yeah Yeah Yeahs

Formed in New York City in 2000, the indie rock group, Yeah Yeah Yeahs, is fronted by the magnificent Karen O. The band released its debut in 2003, Fever to Tell, and its latest, Cool It Down, in 2022.

7. Le Tigre

Formed by Kathleen Hanna after the dissolution of her trailblazing riot grrrl group, Bikini Kill, this electronic rock group has released three records to date, including its self-titled debut in 1999, Feminist Sweepstakes in 2001 and This Island in 2004. In 2023, the band announced its first tour in years.

8. The Coathangers

The Coathangers were formed in 2006 in Atlanta, Georgia. Comprised of Julia Kugel-Montoya, Meredith Franco, and Stephanie Luke, the group continues to rattle bones and impress audiences today. The band released its latest LP, The Devil You Know, in 2019.

9. She & Him

A bit on the more mellow side of the spectrum, the Grammy-nominated duo, She & Him, was formed by actor Zooey Deschanel and songwriter M. Ward. They released their debut LP, Volume One, in 2008, and most recently, the group released the album, Melt Away: A Tribute to Brian Wilson, in 2022.

10. Hurray for the Riff Raff

The Bronx, New York-born artist Alynda Segarra fronts the New Orleans-born indie rock project, Hurray for the Riff Raff. Featuring a haunting, thought-provoking sound, the band released its debut EP in 2007, Crossing the Rubicon, and its follow-up, It Don’t Mean I Don’t Love You, in 2008. The group dropped its latest LP, Life on Earth, in 2022.

Photo by Jim Dyson/Getty Images

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