Our Women Crushes in the Music Industry

Today is International Women’s Day, but let’s make one thing clear: while it’s great to highlight the achievements of one demographic of people once a year, it should not be ignored that women are achieving incredible things every. day. of. the. year.

However, why not take this opportunity to draw some extra attention to the women/femme identifying people in Chicago’s music scene? Here’s our list of just a few women who are kicking ass in the Chicago music community.

Azalee  Cano
Cano at the Rockefeller Center in New York City

Azalee Cano is a festival coordinator at Full Terror Assault Open Air, a freelance event coordinator and merchandiser, and a former marketing assistant at Reggie’s Rock Club in the South Loop. She currently organizes the marketing street team for Ruido Fest, and has worked at a variety of festivals besides Full Terror Assault, including Riot Fest, Lollapalooza, and North Coast Music Festival.

“She’s so inspiring to me because, regardless of lacking resources or whatever difficult thing the universe throws at her next, she is always willing to build something from the ground up and work incredibly hard to make her vision a success. She works so hard because she genuinely wants to create something cool, never expecting handouts or anything in return,” said Miranda Sherman, a co-worker and friend of Cano’s.

 

Amanda Flores
Flores performs with Rosaries at a Halloween show

From playing in two bands to booking shows to advocating for inclusive spaces for women and the LBGTQ+ community, Amanda Flores does it all in the Chicago music community. She is the frontwoman of doom band Rosaries and the frontwoman and guitarist in dark folkwave band Buried in Yellow.
Flores also books successful DIY shows under the name Flores Negras Productions.  Her insane lineups combine a unique variety of local metal bands and DJs.
Finally, Flores is one of the co-founders of Chicago Women Warriors,  a group that aims to help people suffering from sexual, physical, or emotional abuse, regardless of their gender, race, or beliefs.

Claudia Guajardo
Guajardo performs with Shitizen at the Fallout
Photo by Glegoz Photography

Claudia Guajardo is the frontwoman of Chicago punk band Shitizen and a designer at NEONBOMB. With Shitizen, Guajardo has released three EPs and played countless shows. From my Facebook feed alone, it seems that there’s a hardly a weekend where Shitizen isn’t performing!

At NEONBOMB, Guajardo re-sells, customizes, and upcycles one-of-a-kind designs that include t-shirt dresses, studded jackets, and DIY tank tops and cropped shirts.

“Claudia is the most determined person I know. Even when the heat and gas in her apartment [i]s shut off in a Chicago winter and she’s worked all day into the night ,she still finds the hours to pursue her passion-putting together custom clothes for her line and writing lyrics/organizing stuff for her band. She’s been through a lot in life pertaining to abusive men and poverty but she’s found a way to channel all the negativity in her life into creativity. Never have I seen such energy and life in a person, especially in someone who has been through so much turmoil,” said Adam Galanski Guajardo’s boyfriend.

Ashley Holman
Holman performs with So Pretty at Dimo’s Pizza Wicker Park
Ashley Holman is a traveler, an activist, and a guitarist and frontwoman in So Pretty, a Chicago femme punk/grunge band. Holman is supportive of local musicians of all genres, and she demonstrates this by frequently playing shows that feature mixed-genre lineups. Her dedication and passion for music are just some of the driving forces that contribute to So Pretty playing local shows nearly every damn weekend.
Melissa Homman & Caroline Lavin
Lavin’s marriage proposal to Homman in their Punk Rock Yearbook photo booth

 

Melissa Homman and Caroline Lavin are the multi-talented women behind LEAP Photography The duo captures all the intimate, rowdy, and unbelievable moments that happen at local punk, metal, and hardcore shows.

 

In addition to doing live event photography, LEAP also shoots weddings! Leap Wedding Photography is a great example of the photographers’ versatile skills. While their punk rock pictures convey immense energy, their wedding photos are serene and sentimental.

To top it all off, Homman is a gifted graphic designer, and Lavin is a welder.

Oh, and did we mention that Homman and Lavin are also an adorable engaged couple?

Alicia Maciel
Maciel poses with an article about Fifty50 Shows in DePaul University’s The DePaulia
What doesn’t Alicia do? From being the manager of The Chicago Vibe, Chicago’s college student/young adult media outlet, to booking shows with her non-profit organization, Fifty50 Shows, to being a talented photographer, loyal friend, and dedicated student at DePaul University, Maciel is a jack-of-all-trades in the music industry.

“Working with Alicia is awesome. I consider her more of a friend than anything and I think that’s what really sets her apart from other people,” said Jesse Flores, bassist of Karma Wears White Ties, a band that Maciel has booked through Fifty50. “Rather than just communicating through the phone, she actually makes an effort to hang out with the bands she works with and I’ve even made some new friends in other bands because of that.”
 Lily Reagan
Lily poses while performing with XEUTHANIZEDX
Photo by LEAP Photography

Lily is the drummer of sludgey hardcore band XEUTHANIZEDX and a creator of customized guitar pedals at Acrid Designs.

Lily is one of the driving forces in XEUTHANIZEDX. She gets the merch made, takes the initiative to book shows, and drives four hours round-trip just to get to Chicago to play with her band for one night. You can catch Lily beating up some drums (and beating up people in the pit) at La Bodega tomorrow night.

At Acrid Designs, Lily makes incredible custom guitar pedals out of virtually anything. She’s converted Playstation controllers into fuzz pedals and often uses handpainted boxes and stickers to custoize her pedals.

While we’re featuring incredible femmes, we feel we should mention that Lily’s girlfriend, Brenda, is also an incredible artist! You can check out her custom pins, jewelry, paintings, prints, and more here.

Lili Trifilio
Trifilio performs with Beach Bunny
Lili Trifilio is a guitarist and frontwoman in surf pop band Beach Bunny. Her charming personality is infectious; the sweet persona she emits while performing captures the attention of everyone in the room.

 

On a personal note, Beach Bunny tunes are some of my favorite jams, and many of them make an appearance on my “get sad bitch” Spotify playlist. Additionally, Trifilio has always a pleasure to work with. Whether it’s while writing a review on Beach Bunny, playing their new single on my radio show, or just asking for a quote or interview, she shows appreciation for all the work that I, and others in the music industry, do.
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