Screaming Females cut the crap

Monday 03rd, August 2015 / 02:04
By Yasmine Shemesh
Screaming Females’ new album Rose Mountain polishes up their sound, and sacrifices none of the aesthetic. Photo: Christopher Patrick Ernst

Screaming Females’ new album Rose Mountain polishes up their sound, and sacrifices none of the aesthetic.
Photo: Christopher Patrick Ernst

VANCOUVER — Screaming Females had a shitty time during their second to last trip to Vancouver.

“We were playing at a big theatre with Garbage…Mike [Abbate] stepped in what we’re pretty sure was human excrement,” laughs singer and guitarist Marissa Paternoster. “He put his feet up on the dashboard to relax after a hard night of work and smeared this really crazy smelling poop across the dashboard. Then as we were driving out the city, we discovered that Mike’s entire shoe was being suffocated by human excrement.”

The New Brunswick, New Jersey rock band, comprised of Paternoster, bassist Abbate and drummer Jarrett Dougherty, make a stop in Vancouver again on August 8th and while they hope to keep their shoes poo-free, they don’t plan on changing too much else. The trio has been self-managing, writing their own music, and driving themselves to gigs for the last 10 years, keeping their DIY roots in tact while churning out album after album of barefaced, howling, guitar rock.

“I think we’ve always operated with this common want to just be able to continue playing with a sustainable kind of dynamic between the three of us and everyone we work with,” Paternoster says. “Our main goal is to not get too ahead of ourselves and just make sure that we are careful in the decisions that we make.”

One of these decisions was to collaborate with an outside producer for the first time on their sixth and latest album, Rose Mountain. Screaming Females enlisted the assistance of Matt Bayles, best known for his work with Soundgarden, Botch, and Mastodon. “He has a really wide understanding of sound,”  Paternoster  says. “He knows how to record a really heavy guitar but he can also record something that’s very melodic and kind of sweet.”

Seeking a challenge, Screaming Females wanted to polish themselves sonically (“cutting the crap,” Paternoster puts it), with a more concise and melodic aesthetic. They recorded for a month, using extra time to experiment with different instrumentations. The unexpected undercurrents of piano and organ that emerge on tracks like “It’s Not Fair” and “Criminal Image,” add a delicateness to squealing vocals, shredding riffs, and thumping drums.

The triumph of Rose Mountain, like Screaming Females’ tenacity, is a credit to the band’s commitment to growing organically without a preconceived agenda, as well as the humility that anchors their wild spirit.

“Honestly, my expectations are just to continue doing what we’ve been doing and [find] new ways to challenge ourselves,” Dougherty says. “Don’t get me wrong, music and touring is fun but it’s not the only thing and it’s never been my primary goal. It’s much more about the feeling of fulfillment and feeling like you’re doing something worthwhile.”

Screaming Females perform at The Media Club on August 8.

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