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Raincoats, The

Formed in 1976 while Gina Birch (bass) and Ana Da Silva (guitar and vocals) were at Hornsey Art College, The Raincoats were a London-based female (apart from occasional drummer Charles Hayward) band of post-punk musical experimentalists and feminist lyricists with a somewhat flexible line-up.

The Raincoats were built on the dissonant blueprint of their punk rock contemporaries The Slits. When Palmolive left The Slits, The Raincoats recruited her as their drummer, and with classically-trained violinist Vicky Aspinall their all-female unit was complete.

In 1980 a disgruntled John Lydon declared that “rock & roll is shit. Music has reached an all-time low. Except for The Raincoats”.

Palmolive departed after the first record, but The Raincoats pushed further forward with their mesmeric 1981 follow-up Odyshape. Using the Balophone, kalimba and African thumb piano they’d found in junk shops while touring America, it mixed post-punk and free jazz with world music and featured Robert Wyatt.

But after 1984’s Moving, they split up.

While working in her cousin’s antique shop in Notting Hill in 1992, Ana met Kurt Cobain, whose interests in The Raincoats led to 1996’s Looking In The Shadows and a series of gigs.

Ana Da Silva
Vocals, guitar, keyboards
Gina Birch 

Vocals, bass
Vicky Aspinall 

Vocals, guitar, violin
Palmolive (Paloma Romero)
Charles Hayward 

Ingrid Weiss