Screaming Females — UglyPosted by Kat Taylor
I am woman, hear me… scream? Well, in this case, it’s more of an emphatic warble. Screaming Females frontwoman Marissa Paternoster may be pint-sized, but the impressive range of her powerful pipes set this New Jersey punk trio apart from the multitude of bands springing up all over the East Coast independent punk underground scene.
Amidst the shredding and fast-paced rhythms, Paternoster keeps up beautifully and still sounds like she’s doing her own thing. Being a female in a male-dominated scene and profession may be tough sometimes, but this chick is tougher. Her gutteral growl demands attention and takes center stage in every song. With all eyes on her, it could go unnoticed that she is actually the only female in a band called Screaming Females.
The band has been around for seven years, so it’s no surprise their fifth album, Ugly, finds the group sounding more polished than ever. Although the band claims it’s totally not important, it’s worth mentioning they enlisted the help of long-time musician and audio engineer Steve Albini–yeah, it’s kind of important. These are seasoned rockers with more than 700 live shows under their belts, a true testament to the level of energy they can sustain.
The album begins with the single, “It All Means Nothing,” which was released back in February and followed by a week-long stint of back-to-back shows. This high-energy exercise in nihilism is not only rife with hooks and builds, but the lyrics are interesting as well. After a rant about smashing mirrors, she claims “I’ll break that curse and show you what I’m worth/It all means nothing.” Even though she’s barely uttered the first few lines of the song, the strong cadence of her voice would suggest the opposite.The first real “scream” appears about midway through the album on “Tell Me No.” Apparently, she couldn’t wait. Among the thrashing and reverb, Paternoster lets out an screetching, “Noooo!”
Ugly, while noisy and commanding, is a fine benchmark for the local punk scene and the genre as a whole. A good way to pass the time before they barrel through a venue near you, this album is likely to become a mainstay in many a punk portfolio.