WORMBOYS: Smalltime.

The North of England is home to some wonderful bands and musicians. Too many to mention, but today I’m going to focus on Leeds based Wormboys.

How do you describe their sound? Can you pick up any influences? What makes them standout? There aren’t enough hours in the day to describe them, but I’m on my lunch break at work so I have limited time but I’ll do my best to make this make sense!

Smalltime only has 3 songs on it, but don’t let that small detail put you off. There are hints of 90s Grunge on this record (the song Worm reminds me a little bit of Something In The Way by Nirvana in some parts) but Wormboys are a band that are confident in their sound and know exactly how they want to sound. There are 4 of them in the band, and each of them are just remarkable at what they do. It may only be a 3 track EP but those 3 tracks show you exactly what this band are made of.

There also elements of the Riot Grrrl movement on this record, and I think it’s most apparent on the euphoric Tree, which closes the record. I don’t feel like I’m listening to a band from 2023 when I listen to this record. I feel like I’ve been thrown back to the early 90s in the midst of all the greats such as Garbage (best band of all time), Bikini Kill, Hole, Babes In Toyland. Wormboys have such a solid sound and with one listen of this record I can confirm that the chorus of Tree will be stuck in my head for the rest of the day.

Wormboys are the noisy Queer band I’ve been looking for; there’s no other band out there that sounds like them. Now, I know this contradicts what I’ve said above about the 90s sound but there’s no current band around that has this sound like this. I just love how care free the sound is and you really pick up on this on Something Pretty. They make the kind of music I wish I had when I was in college and secondary school- trying to find my way. I made to adulthood but god knows how! You’d definitely expect to hear their music in a Student Union bar that has a questionable sticky floor along with questionable drinks on offer. There’s a lot of fun in their sound and a lot of depth. You can’t help but be in awe of Jake and Ruth compliment each other on the drums and bass. You’ve got Sop and Harry on vocals/guitar, and their vocals together are nothing short of heavenly and again, you really feel this on the song Worm.

This is only their second EP but it sounds like a band who have been at this for decades. Everything about this EP is worthy of your time and attention- the songs are just effortlessly slick, and that lo-fi sound, and that DIY ethic attached to it really comes across. If this record moves you, then go back and listen to their other stuff- it’s as equally mind-blowing. When you play the songs through headphones, you can really hear the sound fully and truly appreciate the lyrics and songs in general. I highly recommend playing Tree as loud as your ears can stand through headphones; just so you can really pick everything that’s going on in this song. There’s a lot but by no means is it overwhelming. If anything, it’s comforting. The loudness and the tender moments on the record are exactly why I love this band, and why I’ll probably be obsessed with this EP. The shifts in moods on the songs and the way the band just compliment each other with their own styles and sounds is just an absolute joy to listen to.

The band are heading out on a small tour starting this Friday: (please come to Manchester!)

Jan 27 Wharf Chambers Cooperative Club, Leeds
Jan 29 The New Adelphi Club, Hull
Feb 06 Little Buildings, Newcastle Upon Tyne
Feb 07 The Hug and Pint, Glasgow
Feb 10 Rad Apples, Dundee
Feb 11 Wee Red Bar, Edinburgh

The EP also comes out this Friday, and I’ll end this with a gorgeous quite from Ruth about touring, which I think is so important: “It’s been life-affirming to headline shows around the country, consistently warmly received by crowds of queers and weirdos who are angry and upset about all the same shit as us.”




If I had the money to buy all the merch and records of bands that I love due to shows being cancelled, I really would. It breaks my heart to see them struggle because of the virus; their music is their life. It pays their bills; it keeps them going. Their music keeps me going. All I can do is write about them- all I can offer is words, and it just makes you feel helpless. Then you have absolute selfish fuckers buying everything in the shops that they clearly do not need, and other have to struggle. Not to mention the government vocalizing zero concerns for homeless people. But why would the fuckers start caring now? If it doesn’t make you angry, then you’re part of the problem. And with this anger, it brings me to the wonder Axetone from Miami.

 I don’t know anything about the music scene in Miami, but if the Punk scene sounds anything like what Axetone give us, then sign me up! There’s this gnarly sound that just oozes pent up aggression and I love it. They’ve got this wonderfully brutal sound- it reminds me of Bikini Kill slightly. There’s a nod to Riot Grrrl here, but at the same time Axetone just give us something so heavy and furious. You absolutely cannot help but play this so loud you’ll feel as if your ears are going to bleed.



 Axetone haven’t been going long, and with only a couple of releases up on their Bandcamp page (with one being demos that are incredible!)  you’d think it’d be tough to get something meaningful out about them. Thing is, when a band is this good, it’s an absolute honour to write about them. Their newest release came out at the start of March, and these handful of songs are so powerful and the sheer urgency in the songs just makes you want to trash shit and jump around in your room, and probably annoy neighbours with your stomping. Here For You Here For Me is such a great record, and it’s perfectly made up of angst filled songs that will get you right in the gut. This is not for the faint hearted or for those who want awful, sickly love songs. That shit isn’t welcome here; give us this beautiful and unpolished noise any day!

 Michi has such a distinctive voice, and the way the vocals are screamed out just make you want to scream them right back. There is so much power and determination here, you cannot help but let it consume you. Take the opener, Emotional Dishes; it touches on mental health in such an unfiltered way and it then goes right into Hot Pocket which exposes just how fucked society is. This is band that are hugely observant of what is around them and their community. A huge community feel is what you get from this band, and their unity with each other is what makes their sound. There’s this tightness but not in a polished way, but in a way that you know that the band totally get each other, and the bond goes deeper than music. For a band to get that feeling across so early one is something to really pay attention.



 With one listen, I just became obsessed. I love the Punk feel. I love the Riot Grrrl tones. I love the way that they are so brutally honest with the lyrics and how annihilating yet freeing the music is. I just love everything they give. The force on Toxic Womb and Wolf/Sick Head is vital, and just reinforces why we need bands like this, and thank fuck they exist.

 Here For You Here For Me is out RIGHT NOW!

An ode to Riot Grrrl:”She’s a rocker dressed like a killer, she’s got lips like wine not sugar.”

As much as Punk and Shoegaze mean to me, there’s always been another movement in music that has meant the world to me. A movement that I feel, was just as vital as Punk. A movement that has the same values as Punk, and is as equally as influential.

Punk basically started in New York. That’s the heart and soul of it. Fast forward a couple of decades in Olympia, Washington. Female fronted bands developed a DIY ethic (much like Punk) and were making their own sound. Creating their own movement that moved like a hurricane. So powerful and as I said, so important. Without this movement, where would we be? Thing is though, I feel most have forgotten about this movement. That now all women must do now to sell records is strip off and sing songs that mean nothing.

I don’t want to write this as a THIS IS WHAT RIOT GRRRL WAS. If you know, then you know. If you don’t, then get to know. Go listen to Heavens To Betsy, Sleater-Kinney etc. Go listen to them. They will show you what music truly is. Play with angst. Play with passion. For gods sake play with HEART. Have something to believe in, and carry it with you. Make some noise.

For me, Riot Grrrl was something entirely sacred. I explored the world of Riot Grrrl because I was a HUGE fan of Le Tigre. I went back and explored the past projects of Kathleen Hanna, which of course, led me to Bikini Kill. That was it. I was hooked. Transfixed. I was old enough (12 years old) to understand why people were mad at society. I was angry too. As a kid, I was constantly bullied all through secondary school. So music was my outlet. Music was the thing I turned to in order to gain some kind of sanity in my life. I needed something I could use that no one could take from me. All my hell and fury was coming out of the songs by Sleater-Kinney, Bratmobile and The Butchies. I felt part of something. I had no voice to unleash all of this, so music did it for me. Punk did it and Riot Grrrl did it. As did Garbage but you already know that.

I favoured Sleater-Kinney above all. I have no idea why, I just did. I connected immediately to their songs. I fell in love Carrie Brownstein. I wanted to be as tough as her so much. Instead, I was just a lost sensitive cause who had no idea what to do. Sleater-Kinney were more than just a Riot Grrrl band. And yes, I was beyond pissed off when they broke up in 2006. I’m not mentioning it. I live in false hope that one day..one day. I know it won’t, but still. You’ve got to cling onto something. I loved Sleater-Kinney because every word of despair that was falling out of the speakers and into my ears was providing me with hope, of sorts.

The whole Riot Grrrl movement helped me come out. For years and years I struggled with it- internally. Hating yourself because of who you are is not living. Thing is, my mum isn’t even homophobic so what was I scared of? So much. In time, as I listened to more and more Riot Grrrl songs with older ears- I found the courage to do it. Mainly because I found so much comfort and security in a band that stemmed from the Riot Grrrl movement-Gossip. Their debut record, That’s Not What I Heard had songs on it that I felt “Oh holy shit…” towards. Fast forward a few years and Standing In The Way Of Control dropped. I followed the band up and down the UK. I skipped lectures at Uni to see them anywhere and everywhere I could. I met them and I felt like..I don’t know. I can’t put it into words. So in 2008, I had the guts to come out. Sure I did it by text message to my mum, but I was in a different country. She likes to mock me for how I did it. Sometimes, the most daunting thing in life is really the easiest thing to confront.

Without being exposed to Riot Grrrl I don’t know what I would’ve done. I probably would’ve remained being an empty shell that never knew what she wanted to do with her life. In my last year of Uni, I did a module called Women In Journalism and I did a presentation on Riot Grrrl and fanzines. I’ll admit I fucked it up a bit. Mainly because I decided at last-minute I hated everything I wrote so I just did my presentation off the top of my head. Besides, it was an excuse to listen to some of the bands all over again and pass it off as “research.” Maybe I’ll go back to appreciating Riot Grrrl everyday when Beyond Pink but their new record out this year. Here’s hoping.

All too often the press will deem a woman as being a “bitch” if she is as honest as the likes of Shirley Manson to Brody Dalle to Courtney Love to Kathleen Hanna to Joan Jett. They fail to acknowledge that they are STRONG musicians and have influenced so many. Their words have tended to souls and saved lives. How does that make someone a bitch?! Sure a lot of angst was flying around, but it wasn’t angst that was like “MY JEANS DON’T FIT ME.” It was angst towards society and how they were (and still are) putting women down, ignoring topics such as rape and domestic violence. The whole Riot Grrrl movement was a platform for women from Washington and beyond to stand up and say “THIS ISN’T RIGHT, AND WE WON’T STAND FOR IT NO MORE.” It may be over in a music sense, but the struggle is still there. You’re shot down if you call yourself a Feminist and you are looked at as if you have 6 heads when you speak freely on taboo subjects such as rape. FUCK.THAT. You can try to shut them up all you want, but it won’t work. Music is more powerful than you can wrap your head around. I wish the Riot Grrrl movement would occur once more. We bloody need it.

Maybe we’ll never have a movement like this again, who knows. But I’ll be forever in debt to the bands involved. Not just for the music but for their words and courage. The zines they created and the music made showed that the whole DIY ethic is something you can never and should never compromise.

Never compromise your art and all you believe in. Ever.