Rock and pop music both have their fair shares of celebrity females -- big names, superstars, and super divas. The music scene would be flat-out boring if it was left to the boys. 2010 wasn't any exception -- but while Lilith Fair was canceling shows and Miley was sucking down bong hits, these thirteen ladies -- all of whom made notable, memorable concert appearances in Seattle in 2010 -- were hard at work making the year's most exceptional music.
*An important side note: Yes, Lady Gaga is awesome. The Fame Monster is awesome. She had an awesome 2010. She'll have an awesome 2011, '12, '13, '14... She's even too awesome for this list. We're just going to give her the Honorary Obvious #1 and move on to make room for some others...
13. Sharon Jones: Sharon Jones and the Dap-Kings, one of the best neo-soul revivalists playing music right now, made such a successful record, April's I Learned the Hard Way, that some of us grew frightened of how much radio play it got. The exposure was well-warranted though -- Jones proved that not all divas are young blonde bimbos, and her earth-shaking vocals sold out the Showbox SoDo in June.
12. Andrea Estella: New Yorkers Twin Sister appeared on the scene this year with their psychedelic Color Your Life EP, headed off by the freewheeling single "All Around and Away We Go." Lead singer Estella's vocals are equal parts romantic haze and steely attitude -- during the band's first visit to Seattle at Neumos in October, Estella commanded the stage with her feminine mystique. Aside from the obvious Victoria Legrand, she may be the best vocalist doing the dream pop thing right now.
11. Corin Tucker: Here in the Northwest, the Sleater Kinney girls will never stop being cool. But Corin Tucker shot herself back into the spotlight this year with 1,000 Years, her succinct and steadily rocking solo debut. At her band's October show at the Showbox, Eddie Vedder even showed up to pay his respects to the riot grrrl.
10. Sarah Barthel: Phantogram produced Barsuk's most glowing release of the year, Eyelid Movies, and sold out not one but two shows at Neumos. Fans are rightfully enraptured by vocalist Barthel's wispy, haunting voice, her sexy stage presence, and the unavoidable fact that she is a total babe.
9. Joanna Newsom: How to follow up two critically-adored records with a bang? If you're Joanna Newsom, you go balls-out and release a triple-disc of zestful, gorgeous, innovative songs. Newsom followed up the much-anticipated release of Have One On Me with one of indie-rock's most drool-inducing lineups -- Newsom with guest opener Robin Pecknold. The duo's stop at the Moore Theatre in August was one of Seattle's most flawless shows of the year -- Newsom was charming, fresh, and convivial.
8. Kristin Gundred (call her Dee-Dee): Indie rock's sexiest foursome in 2010 was California's Dum Dum Girls, whose Sub Pop Records debut I Will Be earned raves across the board for its cool, splashy tunes and sassy, hardcore attitude, most notable in frontwoman Dee Dee, who's a modern-day, more sophisticated Joan Jett. The girls made several stops in Seattle this year, including an opening set for the Vaselines at Neumos, a headliner at the High Dive, and a blowout opening spot for Vampire Weekend at Marymoor in August -- think sexy outfits, sugary harmonies, and a perfect representation of girl power.
7. Bethany Cosentino: With her posse of rock star boyfriend Nathan Williams and Snacks the Cat, Cosentino made stoner girls the new It Girls of indie rock. As an added bonus, Best Coast's debut album, Crazy For You, was actually really good, with innocuous, irresistibly sunny melodies and the most laid-back feel-good of all attitudes. Gobs of fans turned out to see her the night before Halloween at Neumos.
6. Marnie Stern: Marnie Stern's third record on Kill Rock Stars, Marnie Stern, was one the year's most blistering and candid. There's nothing timid about Stern, and she continues to prove that girls can shred just as hard (or in her case, harder) than the boys -- local fans saw that much close up when she played the Vera Project in November.
5. Régine Chassagne: Arcade Fire's The Suburbs was a triumph, and the Chassagne-sung tracks are some of the loveliest, like "Sprawl II," which the band performed on Saturday Night Live in November. Chassagne's pixie-ish voice is sweet and lucid, playing as a perfect foil to husband Win Butler's aggressive, throaty vocals. The couple's band blew up big time this year -- enough to find themselves headlining the Key Arena in September.
4. Alexis Krauss: It's doubtful that any other girl embodies bad-ass as much as Sleigh Bells' Krauss does at the moment. Krauss is a killer shrieking banshee of a vocalist, and without her, bandmate Derek Miller would just have a bunch of screeching guitar and samples. The above music video for "Infinity Guitars" only cemented Krauss' status as Indie Rock's It Girl. Sleigh Bells made a couple stops in Seattle this year, including a spot opening for Yeasayer at Neumos in April that left certain viewers with whiplash.
3. Victoria Legrand: Beach House's Teen Dream is topping many a list at the end of this year -- it's romantic, it's dreamy; listeners have swooned without even getting through the entire record. Live, vocalist Legrand is a lioness, pounding her keyboards, tossing her hair, and projecting her unforgettable vocals -- she has arguably the most memorable voice in indie rock right now. At the band's sold-out show at Neumos in April, Legrand's mesmerizing performance captured the audience into a hazy hypnotism.
2. Robyn: Call her the hip kids' Gaga. Robyn's Body Talk produced the year's best pop music, with compelling dancefloor gems like "Hang With Me" and "Dancing on My Own." At her sold-out stop at Neumos last month, the Swedish singer put on a master class in pop performance -- confident, edgy, on pitch, powerful, and joyfully acknowledging to her fans, Robyn proved herself to be the people's pop star.
1. Janelle Monáe: Monáe is a pint-sized diva, she's an industry princess, she's frighteningly talented, she's a born performer -- she's our generation's James Brown. Monáe's The ArchAndroid doesn't seem to be missing from a single Best Of list at the end of the 2010; she followed the album's release with a stint opening for Of Montreal. At the tour's stop at the Paramount in October, she blew the headliners out of the water with a simmering set that brought some audience members to tears based on its pure brilliance and promise.