Selena Chambers

Writer. Surrealist grrl.

So…my 13-year old self just swooned through the future to fall into my 39-year old arms as a major dream has come true… 

I will be writing the 33 ⅓ series installment on the band that changed me forever–Babes in Toyland–and their seminal album Fontanelle! 33 1/3 Books made the announcement this afternoon, revealing their next 15 picks from an open call of 400 submissions earlier this year.

Coming Fall 2022, here’s a short summary of what you can expect:

Babes in Toyland was one of the most influential and forgotten bands of the 1990s. Despite creating a unique brand of sisterhood that inspired fans to create Riot Grrl and legendary bands such as 7 Year Bitch, Bikini Kill, and yes, even Hole, the Babes’ story seems to only exist as footnotes to other more famous figures. The all-girl band rode the wave of the Minneapolis grunge scene crafting a unique sound composed of self-taught instrumentation and unabashed banshee raging vocals. Their stage presence was enigmatic, their lyrics vitriolic, and their Kinderwhore fashion ironic and easy to emulate. But what made them most inspiring was their ethos. 

While all female, the band insisted their music wasn’t a political statement but a personal expression. They would dismiss labeling their act as feminist but their actions sent a positive message of what a matriarchal system within music could look like. But then they let the patriarchy in via their major label contract with Warner Bros., and the unique frission of the Babes would never be the same again. Now, almost 30 years after their most seminal record, Fontanelle was released, the legend of the band is being resurrected and respun to reclaim their proper space and context in the history of music and women in rock.

I’ve been a long-time fan of this series, and getting to share my love of the Babes with the series editors and readers is an amazing opportunity that has left me humble and excited to write again. I am so excited to see the other albums and the wonderful range on display–Maria Callas, Kendrick Lamar, George Michael, and Britney–and really can’t believe I’ll have a contribution among them. I can’t thank 33 1/3 enough for including me!

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