By Gareth Watkins
CALGARY – There aren’t that many bands out there that can be accused of having a “cult” following. Bands are supposed to have fans, as in “fanatics,” and a much larger coterie of people who just enjoy their music, but not cults. Cults are all fanatics, with no middle ground.
Daughters are a cult band, as much as The Shaggs or The Residents—from the outside a queasy mix of art-grindcore and, later in their career, noise-pop in which the pop sounds like early Nick Cave.
Beginning life in Providence, Rhode Island after the break-up of current members Alexis Marshall and Jon Syverson’s more straightforward grindcore band As The Sun Sets, Daughters released Canada Songs. It twisted the grind template while retaining its sub one-minute song lengths. 2006’s Hell Songs was subtler: the singing was clean and songs sometime broke the two-minute mark. They followed this with Daughters two years later, but by then the rot had set in.
“I got sober,” singer Alexis Marshall says, “and it just seemed that it would be better for my life to walk away… the other three felt that this was a temporary thing and we’ll have an indefinite hiatus, and then there was quite a bit more fighting. It was pretty messy.”
Years later, a long-time fan and collaborator got the band back together for a one-off show in Providence. They “more or less picked up where (they’d) left off” and that gets us to today, when the band are stable for the first time in a long time and working on new material.
They hit the studio last year, but the songs they came out with weren’t up to their standards. Marshall calls them “unfinished,” and expects to have them and therefore a fourth Daughters album done by the end of the year. The songs won’t return to the band’s grindcore roots, he says, but continue the march into maturity that started on Hell Songs and continued on Daughters, when the high-end squall that characterizes math-rock was replaced by a fuller, less discordant sound.
“We’re just a car-wreck made of flesh, and we’re battling each other at all times,” says Marshall.
“The windshield’s smashed and the tires are shot off and we’re at the edge of the road looking at each other and saying ‘we’re going to make it, this is going to happen.’”
Daughters play Dickens as part of Sled Island on June 24.Daughters, Dickens, Sled Island, Sled Island 2017