Marissa Lorusso

Three years ago, singer and guitarist Jenna Moynihan saw the words "Daddy Issues" written on the wall at a Nashville DIY venue and assumed — with what seems like utterly charming feminist optimism — that it was the name of an all-girl punk group. Sadly, it wasn't; fortunately, Moynihan chose to recruit some friends to take up the moniker themselves. The resulting trio — which also includes drummer Emily Maxwell and bassist Jenna Mitchell — makes stormy, grungey pop that can be charming and trenchant in equal measure.

There's bound to be a disconnect between our ideals and how well we live up to them, between our optimal self and our reality. This is especially true when our goals require us to sacrifice comfort for progress, or to politicize our personal choices.

The lyrics to "Just A Gwen," from Atlanta pop band Art School Jocks, may ring familiar to women. As guitarist Dianna Settles sings, over slinky, surf-y guitars and a dead-steady beat:

Carry your keys
Between your knuckles
You never know who's trying to follow you home
Smile back and
Say you're sorry
You shouldn't be out this late alone

Energetic and earnest, sweet and punchy — self-described "slop-pop" duo Diet Cig is nothing if not endearing. In "Tummy Ache," the first single from the band's upcoming debut Swear I'm Good At This, singer and guitarist Alex Luciano wields this undeniable charm while singing about the challenges of carving out her own space in a notoriously bro-heavy scene.

There's a sort of mythology about art that comes from isolation: the fable of the artist who, removed from the pressure and commotion of the big city, shuts off distractions and emerges from the woods with a heartbreaking masterpiece. "Frost Burn," the newest song from Half Waif's forthcoming form/a EP, almost fits into this narrative. Nandi Rose Plunkett — the musician and producer behind Half Waif's experimental electro-pop — wrote the song while on a writing retreat in western Massachusetts.

Yung's music is a space of duality: innocence and experience, beauty and pain, darkness and light. Frontman Mikkel Holm Silkjær embodies opposites, too: His music showcases both his maturity as a songwriter and his youth, as he relies on more than a decade of songwriting experience despite being only 21. Both of Silkjær's parents are musical; they put him behind a drum set at the age of 4 and introduced him to the local punk scene as a teen.

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