Screaming Females // Live at the Hideout
Don Giovanni Records
Recommended Track: Starve The Beat
Screaming Females have become pretty tight since I remember them among the sparse and poorly populated Northern New Jersey music scene. I still remember their awful and amazing version of “I Want You Back” by the Jackson Five, and I still think their best goddamn song is “Boyfriend”. I was surprised to see them along Thee Oh Sees, Man Man and The Growlers at FYF a few years back. I figured they had broken up and gone to college to become executive bond investors, or moved to Maryland and slowly evaporated like We Are The Seahorses did. I guess if you like playing enough to shred arpeggios while your fingers are hemorrhaging blood through 900+ shows, your band is eventually going to garner the attention of Steve Albini, who recorded Live at the Hideout.
Screaming Females are my favorite thing to come out of New Brunswick since Fat Sandwiches, and their blend of atonal yet technical string work and demented girl anger brings back all of the lousy times that I’ve spent in that pisspot of a state that I’d rather bury deep into the ground, salting the earth so that the useless and vapid half life of my youth can never rise up to torture me again. Screaming Females is a good band. They’re better live.
To begin our journey into this admirably cohesive live LP, we have the “MC Intro”, which I suggest you skip over because it’s just some douchebag talking about his jacket. The set opens strong with “Leave It All Up To Me”, beginning with shimmering delay that Steve surely frowns upon. If only every band could be Big Black. Alas, it cannot be. There is a smack of nineties and eighties scuzz to some of the middle tracks, breaking into plodding dirges about unpleasant things. Now that I think about it, Platernoster sort of sounds like Misfits-era Danzig with a higher vocal range, backed by The Jesus Lizard. I don’t know where they place their influences, but I suspect they would list them as none at all.
“Starve The Beat” is the standout track on this one. Marissa Paternoster admirably plays guitar much better than anyone I have ever met in my life, while still managing to scream like a cat being run over by a steamroller. The drummer I may or may not have met in high school is in rare form on “Baby Jesus”, aping the mantra-like psycho funk of Talking Heads circa Remain In Light in the verse. Altogether, Screaming Females possess a live energy that was distinctly lacking in Ugly, their last LP effort. Forgo buying that album for this one.