Whenever anyone tries to inform me that "punk rock is dead," I point to one of my fave bands, the Screaming Females, and say not as long as they’re still alive. And alive they are: on April 3, the New Brunswick, NJ trio will be releasing their fifth album, Ugly. To prepare for it, they’re playing a series of shows from the east coast to the southeast to Chicago.
The Screaming Females have been an integral part of this generation of basement punk bands, and are one of the major artists on their DIY-punk, New Brunz-based label, Don Giovanni Records. And rightfully so; though frontwoman Marissa Paternoster may be small in stature, she has one of the biggest and most interesting voices in contemporary indie/punk rock. Her unpredictable, sometimes anthem-like vibrato is the main ingredient to the distinctive sound of the Screaming Females, who stand out in a genre where it can be all too easy for bands to sound eerily alike.
Her fearlessness in tackling guitar solos is also impressive. In an old NYMag profile of the band, Paternoster recognizes the staleness of shredding these days, saying, “The guitar solo is a dangerous thing to perform or even consider. It’s such a dated, cheesy thing. It’s hard to do it in a way that doesn’t come off as corny.” And yet, she’s managed to somehow bring it back, with an erratic picking style that compliments her simultaneously forceful and wobbly voice.
For those of you in NYC, the Screaming Females will be playing the annual Don Giovanni Showcase at the Music Hall of Williamsburg this Saturday, February 12. They’ll also be playing a bunch of free shows at record stores and bookstores, where the 7” of the single “It All Means Nothing” will be for sale. If you can't make it, here the link to a clip from a recent Tiny Desk Concert they played on NPR, where they start with the new single off Ugly.
Screaming Females official website
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