L7

Heavy Alternative Rock • United States
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One of the most well-known grunge bands, L7 are an all-female Los Angeles group who combine punk, metal, and grunge into their sound and were often heavier than many of their contemporaries. Formed back in 1985, their earliest works were primarily punk-oriented. However, albums like Bricks Are Heavy and Hungry for Stink displayed the band's music getting progressively heavier and darker; regardless, their no-nonsense punk attitude would still manage to follow them throughout their entire career. Furthermore, one of their most unique traits is that almost every member serves as a lead vocalist for different songs.

L7 disbanded in 2001, but have since reformed in 2014 and are now touring again. Their current line-up is the same as their classic early 90s one: Donita Sparks on vocals and guitar, Suzi Gardner on vocals and guitar, Jennifer Finch on bass and vocals, and Demetra Plakas on drums.
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L7 Discography

L7 albums / top albums

L7 L7 album cover 4.33 | 2 ratings
L7
Heavy Alternative Rock 1988
L7 Smell the Magic album cover 4.00 | 2 ratings
Smell the Magic
Heavy Alternative Rock 1990
L7 Bricks Are Heavy album cover 4.43 | 5 ratings
Bricks Are Heavy
Heavy Alternative Rock 1992
L7 Hungry for Stink album cover 4.50 | 2 ratings
Hungry for Stink
Heavy Alternative Rock 1994
L7 The Beauty Process: Triple Platinum album cover 3.75 | 2 ratings
The Beauty Process: Triple Platinum
Heavy Alternative Rock 1997
L7 Slap-Happy album cover 3.00 | 2 ratings
Slap-Happy
Heavy Alternative Rock 1999
L7 Scatter The Rats album cover 3.00 | 2 ratings
Scatter The Rats
Heavy Alternative Rock 2019

L7 EPs & splits

L7 live albums

L7 Live: Omaha to Osaka album cover 4.00 | 1 ratings
Live: Omaha to Osaka
Heavy Alternative Rock 1998

L7 demos, promos, fans club and other releases (no bootlegs)

L7 re-issues & compilations

L7 The Slash Years album cover 4.00 | 1 ratings
The Slash Years
Heavy Alternative Rock 2000

L7 singles (0)

L7 movies (DVD, Blu-Ray or VHS)

L7 Reviews

L7 Hungry for Stink

Album · 1994 · Heavy Alternative Rock
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Unitron
Hungry for Stink is the fourth studio album from grunge/heavy metal/punk band L7.

While Bricks are Heavy showcased a blistering grungy punk-infused metal sound, L7 followed that album up with a more dark and sludgy offering in the form of Hungry for Stink. The band still serves up aggressive no-nonsense punk metal, but there is more of a focus on sludgy dirges and darker atmosphere. A good comparison would be My War/Slip It in-era Black Flag and UltraMegaOK-era Soundgarden.

Once again Donita Sparks, Suzi Gardner, and Jennifer Finch all contribute lead vocals on some of the songs. As opposed to "One More Thing" from the previous album, Finch does lead vocals on two of the most aggressive songs this time around. These are "The Bomb" and "Shirley", which are two of my favorites. Just take a listen to those lyrics on "The Bomb", now that's what I call rebellious punk metal. The aforementioned songs as well as another favorite of mine, "Freak Magnet", of course also have some killer razor-sharp riffs to back up the vocal attack.

All these tracks have that take-no-bullshit attitude that is part of what made Bricks are Heavy such a masterpiece. Many of the songs are much darker and more sludgy though, with some of them being killer tracks as well. "Baggage" is one of these, definitely misanthropic sludge metal at it's best. The haunting finale "Talk Box" is also a highlight. However, I don't think all of the songs of this sound have the same lasting effect as the songs with more attitude.

While I think the album could have done with more punk metal songs, Hungry for Stink is still a killer album. It's certainly an album for a darker mood, to sit alongside grunge albums more in the vein of Alice in Chains. Hope you found this review helpful, feel free to comment!

L7 Bricks Are Heavy

Album · 1992 · Heavy Alternative Rock
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Unitron
L7 - Bricks are Heavy

"Bricks are Heavy" is the third studio album by grunge/punk/heavy metal band L7. Starting out as mainly a punk rock band with some heavy edges, L7 became one of the leading bands in the grunge scene by the time they released "Bricks are Heavy". However, in recent years, they've seemed to have lost a lot of their popularity which is a shame. Personally, this is easily a grunge classic.

Combining the heavy metal of bands like Motorhead and Girlschool with classic punk rock into a punchy aggressive grunge sound, L7 is easily one of the most metal-oriented grunge bands to my ears along with Soundgarden and Alice in Chains. The album mostly got popular due to the radio-friendly 'Pretend We're Dead', which I personally find to be the weakest on the album. I find the strongest songs to be the heaviest ones as the album opens up with one of my favorite tracks, 'Wargasm', which begins with a classic-sounding metal riff. Most of the album has a great balance of fast punk-metal tracks and slower and more punchy songs like 'Scrap' and 'Diet Pill'. The songs of the latter really slither along and pound the riffs into your head. The former also get stuck in your head especially with the spit-fire speed of 'This Ain't Pleasure' and 'Mr. Integrity', which are probably my favorites on the album. The latter has some interesting tribal percussion that actually fits nicely.

Guitarists Donita Sparks and Suzi Gardner and bassist Jennifer Finch all contribute lead vocals on the album, and they all perfectly fit the music they play. They all have aggressive sometimes snarl-y vocals, which is perfect for punk-y heavy metal and grunge. Jennifer Finch especially gives a great vocal performance on the slow melancholy 'One More Thing'. Gardner and Sparks both really have a snarl to their vocals, especially in the last three songs on the album. I personally have a difficult time not banging my head to the combination of punk-infused metal riffs and Gardner's take-no-bullshit vocal attack in 'This Ain't Pleasure'.

Overall, "Bricks are Heavy" is definitely an essential grunge album along with other classics like "Dirt" and "BadMotorFinger". However, "Bricks are Heavy" is an album I highly recommend to any fans of heavier punk, grunge, and metal. If you enjoy any of those three genres, do yourself a favor and check it out. Hope you found this review helpful.

Feel free to comment!

L7 L7

Album · 1988 · Heavy Alternative Rock
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Necrotica
If you haven't listened to L7, I can't blame you. They were one of the many rock acts of the 90s who had one or two big hits and then fell off the face of the map. For these rock/metal babes, that song was "Pretend We're Dead," one of the finest anthems of apathy and alternative coolness that came out around then. There could have been worse L7 songs to get so popular, but as with many bands who only have a few major hits, the track doesn't really represent every side of the band. If I told you that L7 was a huge influence to the punk-based riot grrrl movement and you only had the slow grungy riffage of "Pretend We're Dead" as proof, you probably wouldn't believe that statement. No, at the core, L7 are really punk rockers. They came out of the L.A. punk scene (even guesting on Bad Religion's Suffer!) and their early work definitely reflects this. While everything they did from Smell the Magic onward marked a transition from punk to straight-up metal, their debut album is pretty much a full-fledged punk album.

Right off the bat, one of the most impressive things about L7 is the band's chemistry. Drummer Dee Plakas wasn't on this recording, being preceded by Roy Koutsky for this release, but the rest of the line-up are perfectly matched as they blaze through each track. As is typical for many classic and hardcore punk albums, many of the songs on here are short bursts of energy that, despite their length, still leave quite an impression. One listen to the Suzi Gardner-written "Bite the Wax Tadpole" shows just how intense and energetic this band were in their early years. The screaming from Gardner and Donita Sparks is bloodcurdling as it combines with hard-hitting riffs and much faster speeds than in the band's later material. There are some notable exceptions to this, such as the slow-building and lengthy "Uncle Bob" or the more vocally seductive and grunge-inspired "Snake Handler," but for the most part, this is just fast straightforward punk music. Hell, "Metal Stampede" pretty much adopts a thrash tempo during a few sections!

But really, it's the three main members of the band who make it kick so much ass. Jennifer Finch already displays her talent on the bass guitar with her speed and even versatility (impressive, considering she's the youngest member of the band and was in her early 20s), while Suzi and Donita just rip through these songs with ease. Their guitar tone is just fantastic here, maintaining both clarity and sort of a buzzing rawness that keeps the distortion levels quite high. Songs like "Let's Rock Tonight" and "Uncle Bob" are cases in which the amount of guitar feedback is one of their main draws. Roy also does a good job on the drums, providing some good fills here and there; however, it's pretty obvious why Dee would come in soon, as she truly does a better job behind the kit. Ultimately, the one thing that holds the album back from being a classic is probably what you'd imagine it is: L7 didn't fully develop their sound at this point. The chemistry is there in spades, but there's a slight lack of personality in some of the tracks; this would be fixed right up with Smell the Magic.

But still, L7 is a fantastic record. It's a short but memorable blast of punk rock energy that, while perhaps not being the best representation of their sound, certainly shows how much their time hanging out with Bad Religion and Epitaph Records paid off. What it lacks in depth and maturity, it makes up with sheer intensity and rawness. When you get down to it, this is a really fun album, and just as worthy of multiple repeats as much of L7's other work. If you like 80s/90s punk music or want to hear a huge component in riot grrrl's development, this is up your alley.

(Originally published on Sputnikmusic.com)

L7 Bricks Are Heavy

Album · 1992 · Heavy Alternative Rock
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Vim Fuego
What do you know about L7? C’mon, what’s the first thing that pops into your head? It’s four girls right? Well done. Makes no difference to the music though. Get past that simple, yet distracting fact, and what are you left with? Well, it’s dirty, grungy punk/rock.

Far too much was made of the “all-girl” gimmick when this album first hit the shelves. This band was no gimmick. It’s not like L7 was a manufactured band, like Vixen or Cycle Sluts From Hell, nor were any of the members even vaguely pretty or sexy. What this band did which very few other all girl bands of the time did was play their own instruments and write their own music. Influenced by west coast punk and the blossoming grunge scene, in particular Nirvana’s ‘Bleach’ album, L7 wrote simple songs with big riffs, pithy lyrics and gang vocals. Thankfully, all four band members have deep voices, so there’s no annoying banshee shrieks here. If anything, they all sing flat.

OK, so the female thing does raise its head occasionally. “Diet Pill” in particular is very pre-menstrual, bloated, lethargic and cranky. “One More Thing” is like a lingering migraine which just won’t fuck off, droning through your skull. “Everglade” targets big idiots in mosh pits who do their best to hurt people instead of just enjoying the music. “Wargasm” features a sample of the world’s most annoying woman, Yoko Ono, screaming her head off, and deals with the male preoccupation with fighting and violence.

It’s hard to pick a highlight. “Shitlist” and “Wargasm” stick out because of the anger, “Mr Integrity” sounds like The Cramps on steroids, while “Slide” and “This Ain’t Pleasure” race by at high velocity.

Infinitely superior to the two L7 albums which followed, ‘Bricks Are Heavy’ is one of the few albums of its era to successfully combine punk and grunge, and maintain the vigour of the former and still retain the bleak realism of the latter.

L7 Bricks Are Heavy

Album · 1992 · Heavy Alternative Rock
Cover art Buy this album from MMA partners
Necrotica
L7 were never really much of a riot grrrl band, no matter how many people tried to lump them into that category. Sure, their music had the same themes of female empowerment and sexuality, but the music is where things really differed. While they started with a more hardcore punk-tinged musical framework like their contemporaries, the 90s saw L7 enter a new phase with more metal and grunge influences. Suddenly, the band seemed closer to Alice in Chains and Melvins than they did to Bikini Kill or Bratmobile. Plus, let's face it: L7's focus was more on quality music than simply pushing a message to a male-dominated music scene... or at least there was more of a balance. These were ladies that not only clung closely to their feminist ideals, but made kickass albums in the process. Of course, their stage antics also played a part in their success during their 90s heyday. Guitarist/singer Donita Sparks was usually the main cause of the controversy, particularly in 1992; first she pulled down her pants during a performance on the British variety show The Word, and then she threw her tampon at the audience during the Reading Festival after the audience threw mud at the band. Her words were classic: "Eat my used tampon, fuckers!"

Needless to say, 1992 was the biggest year for this quartet. After the successful sophomore album Smell the Magic, L7 decided to make their sound heavier and more sludgy for their breakthrough record Bricks Are Heavy. Just as its popularity and acclaim might prove, this really is the band's finest recording; it has the best mixture of all the band's sounds and eras, as well as having the most diversity in its songwriting. Punk, heavy metal, and grunge are all given equal attention throughout, and so is every member for that matter. Just like with The Beatles or Queen, every member of L7 sings at some point on this album, three of the four members being featured prominently on lead vocals. This is, in part, why Bricks Are Heavy works so well... the band always feels like a single unit. The guitar/guitar/bass/drums setup is quite standard, but everybody gets a chance to shine. Plus, the lack of flashy instrumentation actually works to this band's advantage because of this tight chemistry.

Consistency is easily this album's biggest strength. From the tight riffing of the punk-influenced "Wargasm" to the off-kilter 9/8-time playing of closer "This Ain't Pleasure," everything is where it should be. Each member who sings is also the writer of her own respective song as well, each having her own vocal and songwriting quirks. My personal favorite is bassist Jennifer Finch; her songs "Everglade" and power ballad "One More Thing" are two of the most inspired tunes on this thing, particularly the former with its instantly mosh-worthy main riff. Of course, the song that people remember the most from Bricks Are Heavy is Donita Sparks' big hit "Pretend We're Dead." The song does provide a nice opportunity to relax after the one-two punch of "Wargasm" and "Scrap," this time focusing more on melody than outright heaviness.

Complementing all of this is a nice helping of tough and pissed-off vocals, definitely a more punk-inspired aspect of the band. Political issues ("Wargasm"), the aforementioned female empowerment ("Everglade," numerous others), freeloaders and lazy people (Suzi Gardner's anthem "Slide"), stress and anxiety ("One More Thing"), and other lyrical themes are addressed, all conveyed through very aggressive anthems that don't tend to hold these opinions back. But again, what makes it all work is how convincing the musicianship and songwriting are. No matter what side of each matter you sit on, you can always rely on the heavy and energetic musical accompaniments to keep the enjoyment going; this is certainly more than I can say of some of the riot grrrl bands I've heard. L7's presence and charisma on Bricks Are Heavy are very rare for the grunge movement they were part of, and make each song a treat... even if not every song completely works.

The only (somewhat) glaring problem is that the album may be a little too consistent. The music blends together occasionally, and the power chords and constant grungy distortion gets a bit old from time to time. But eventually this issue starts to leave you when you give the album repeated listens. Bricks Are Heavy has an enormous amount of replay value... not just for the little nuances that may have been missed the first time around, but for just the sheer enjoyment of the each riff, each of Demetra Plakas' inspired drum fills, each of Suzi's fun solos, and just the overall creativity of each tune. If you're even remotely interested in grunge, punk, or metal music, Bricks Are Heavy is almost essential. These angry no-nonsense babes are gonna kick your ass, but you'll want to keep getting back up and taking the punishment all over again.

(Originally published on Sputnikmusic)

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