Screaming Females, Waxahatchee

Screaming Females

We've been a band for 5 years. We used to do everything ourselves but these days a bunch of friends help us out with stuff. New Brunswick, NJ has the best basement shows in the world but the cops have been making it pretty tough lately. Here is a more official write up from our publicist.

Last year, Screaming Females toured relentlessly in support of their critically acclaimed third album Power Move. Their hard work landed them spots opening for Dinosaur Jr., Throwing Muses, and Jay Reatard, plus dates touring with Arctic Monkeys and the Dead Weather. The year brought them to a wider mainstream consciousness, gaining attention for their punk rock sensibilities and their raucous live shows driven by front woman Marissa Paternoster’s famed guitar heroics.

But Screaming Females’ success did not come overnight: it came after four years of playing over 300 self-booked shows at nontraditional show spaces, sleeping on floors around the country, self-releasing their first two albums, and breathing new life into the New Brunswick, New Jersey DIY basement show circuit. And on their forthcoming September 2010 LP, Castle Talk, the trio proves their abilities as more than just a pint-sized guitar shredder. Castle Talk showcases their growth together as a unit, as a band, with some of their most complex and confident songwriting to date.

“Power Move was the first record that a lot of people had heard by us, and after that came out a lot of people had the same reaction, that Marissa is a woman who can play guitar solos,” says drummer Jarrett Dougherty. “But we are more than just that simplistic observation and I think this record shows that.”

Castle Talk was a recording plagued with delays and mechanical errors but overcoming setbacks is nothing new to the band. After five years of self-management, perseverance definitely becomes a honed trait. The band’s strict touring schedule didn’t allow for extra time to go back into the studio once issues with the analog tape machine came to light. Suddenly a three week recording and mixing schedule had to be squeezed into just a single week. In the end the band thinks the less-than-ideal session added to the energy of the recording.

“Our deadlines didn’t really allow for problems so when they arose the three of us and the engineer, Eric Bennett, really had to band together. That sense of urgency and the push to overcome the obstacles really left its mark on Castle Talk in the best possible way,” says Jarrett. “A lot people ask us about our influences and expect us to cite older, famous bands but watching our friends and peers in DIY bands across the country overcome all kinds of problems is really what pushes us forward and helped us get through this latest recording.”

The Screaming Females story starts in New Brunswick in 2005, with Marissa on guitar and vocals, Jarrett on drums, and Michael Abbate on bass. With no all-ages venues in town, the band met their biggest obstacle at the start: finding places to play. But the solution (if there is no venue to play, create your own show space in your basement) was the driving force behind the DIY work ethic that would eventually propel the band forward; the grassroots approach born out of necessity in New Brunswick ultimately developed into a mindset that the band now prides itself on.

In 2006, the band self-released Baby Teeth, followed by a second self-release in 2007, What If Someone Is Watching Their TV? Simultaneously, learning from trial and error, plus inspiration from reading Our Band Could Be Your Life, the band booked hundreds of shows in DIY spaces, houses, cafes, and side-of-road co-ops. Power Move was Screaming Females’ first full-length with any label (or any outside help, really), released by New Brunswick label Don Giovanni Records. The label mirrors the band’s values, champions their hometown, and most importantly, is run by their friends.

In 2010, the band has continued their non-stop touring, including a February tour with Jeff the Brotherhood, two tours with fellow Jersey punk Ted Leo and his band the Pharmacists, a national headlining tour, and a spot on the Village Voice’s annual Siren Fest. The band says that thus far the highlight of 2010 was the sold out Don Giovanni Records showcase in February at Bowery Ballroom, which filled one of New York City’s biggest venues with the energy of a New Brunswick basement show. The remainder of 2010 will bring another national tour and the band’s first trip to Europe.

Waxahatchee

Katie Crutchfield is a natural at writing confessional pop songs. Since picking up the guitar as a teenager she has spent the better part of her young adult life travelling the country to play basement shows for feminist punks with bands like P.S. Eliot, Bad Banana and The Ackleys, all of which she sang for. Crutchfield and her twin sister Allison started these bands in high school, inspired by touring bands that would pass through Alabama, as well as a local community-run show space called Cave 9 where they both volunteered. The sisters were best known as P.S. Eliot, a band that developed a cultish underground following until disbanding in 2011. Deciding to go it alone, Crutchfield became Waxahatchee and released her debut album American Weekend in 2012 and its lo-fi acoustic guitar-pop songs made for one of the year's best unsung records.

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