Updated: Feb 21
equality factor: an inspiration by the punk and riot grrrl bands
based in: Los Angeles, California
label: Sub Pop
I love reissues, I love the nostalgia they generate, I love that time passes and the feeling for some records from the past continue to generate magical things at any age. I talked about it some articles ago when PJ Harvey made a vinyl release of her second album "Rid of Me", reissues are the best remedy for music lovers.
L7 belonged to a collective of American girls bands that in the 1990s constituted a kind of female solidarity and revitalized feminist postulates through a punk rock ethic. They created their own identity not only through their music but also through their image, and their message, and although the girls from Los Angeles did not identify directly with the movement, they were considered one of the most important bands of the feminist collective Riot Grrrl, something like "the punk rock of politics". Donita Spark, founder, and singer of L7 was an involuntary leader for feminism in the music scene, and she is considered a great influence for the Russian feminist punk-rock collective Pussy Riot.
“Always been a hard rock band with lots of different influences and a punk sensibility.”
Suzi Gardner - L7 Guitarist
Today, thirty years after the release of their second and iconic album "Smell the magic" Los Angeles-based band remastered the album for the occasion, an album that until today is considered by Rolling Stone magazine as one of the 50 Greatest Grunge Albums of all time, placing it in 37th place over great bands of the genre such as Soundgarden, Alice in Chains or Black Flag. Despite hailing from sun-kissed California and not rainy old Seattle (the cradle of the grunge), the girls of L7 became one of the few artists from the independent label "Sub Pop", which did not belong to the northern city of California.
The first single of the album "Shove" was a line in the sand.
"Smell the magic" is a confrontational album with punk rock and heavy metal sound at the same time, however, it is considered a grunge record. It is a piece with great self-critical wit, a powerful album that in combination with the artistic talent and the power of the female factors of Donita Spark, Suzi Gardner, Jennifer Finch, and Demetra Plakas demonstrated to everyone that girls could be fun and at the same time impressive within the world of rock. Immediately, the album became an album that would be served as an inspiration for many of the girl bands that would later come along like Garbage, Bikini Kill, even Veruca Salt.
"She's so clitoral she doesn't need balls"
Lyric of "Fast and Frightening".
"Smell the magic" was a feminist album without making the genre a sales strategy, or anything close to it. Songs like "Fast and Frightening" where Donita Spark sings "She's so clitoral she doesn't need balls" made the band from Los Angeles form an artistic concept that was 100% connected to reality, something that although it symbolized thoughts and communicated to a whole generation of young people, at the same time it positioned many people in the industry in a context that was impossible to dominate and understand. That was the feminist authenticity of "Smell the magic".