The 10 Sexiest Women in Indie Rock: 2012

It's not fair to be this good-looking and this talented.

by Alex Heigl

Sexiness comes in many different forms, and one of my favorites is a woman with a guitar. Sometimes, though, they have microphones or keyboards or drums or cellos or accordions instead, and those are all my favorites, too. I guess what I'm saying is that I have a real thing for awesome women indie rockers. By the time you get done with this list, you will too. Note that all of these women put out (or will be putting out) an album this year, so go buy them and listen as you gaze longingly at their respective visages. 

10. Malin Dahlström (Niki & The Dove)

Niki & The Dove are Swedish, and none of them are actually named Niki. But as you listen to their stuttering, glitchy music and Dahlström's seductive, pouty vocals, you'll find yourself less worried about the accuracy of their nom de guerre and more about how you're going to sell your possessions and travel across the world to follow the band like they're Phish or possibly the McRib. Those Swedes and their cheekbones.

Listen: "DJ Ease My Mind"

 

9. Megan James (Purity Ring)

Purity Ring is the sound of getting weirdly aroused in a haunted house. There's nothing overtly sexy about their music, except for maybe the coquetteish nature of James' vocals, but their dense, layered music is eerily seductive, like a half-remembered wet dream you're kind of scared might have turned into a nightmare if it had gone on longer. "Drill little holes in my eyelids that I might watch you sleep" from "Lofticries" is the perfect lyric to sum up their bewitching sound: devoted, romantic, and deeply unsettling.

Listen: "Obedear"

 

8. Haim

We caught up with Este Haim at SXSW this year, and she dropped the following piece of sex advice: "Word to the wise: if you want to get in the pants of the Haim girls, just buy us food." Since then, this trio of sisters (Alana and Danielle are the other two) have continued to catch eyes and ears alike with their mesmerizing blend of R&B-styled girl-group harmonies and expansive, hypnotic beats. You would well-advised to internalize that advice.

Listen: "Forever"

 

7. Brittany Howard (Alabama Shakes)

I was at Alabama Shakes' CMJ show last year (their first time playing in New York), and like literally everyone else in the audience that night, I left nursing a crush on frontwoman Brittany Howard. Howard instantly owns any stage she sets foot on with a combination of some truly heroic pipes and some pretty fierce guitar playing to boot. She may not have thought she'd make it to twenty-two (as she sings in "Hold On"), but at only twenty-four, she's got the kind of lived-in sexiness of someone far beyond her years.

Listen: "Be Mine"

 

6. Bethany Cosentino (Best Coast)

Best Coast's fuzzed-out garage rock is endearingly sunny, as the line "We were born with sun in our teeth and in our hair" from "The Only Place" might indicate, and Cosentino's playful vocals add miles of cheery sexiness to the group's joyful California vibe. The group's most recent album, The Only Place, creeps away from the distortion and reverb that kept Cosentino's voice so hidden on the group's early releases. Listening to it is like watching one of those high school movies where the shy, artsy girl turns out to be smokin'.

Listen: "The Only Place"

 

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