Recording and Athens

So we are recording a new full length. We have been in the studio for a few days. Recording lets you know just how bad you actually are. You would figure that playing nearly every night for the last 2 months would make it so that I could play these damn songs.

Athens is one of our favorite towns. They are talking about us!


The Screaming Females
w/ Grape Soda, Witches
Monday, Nov. 3

The other day, I realized that I hated music, and that music is the worst. To test this theory, I went over to my friend’s house to make sure.

First up was the auspicious debut of Grape Soda, which is comprised of the brotherly duo of Mat and Ryan Lewis, otherwise known as half of the animation-pop band the Buddy System. The brothers Lewis flip the script here, with Mat Lewis switching out his drum kit for a funky old organ and Ryan opting out of his harmonic position on guitar in favor of a seat behind the drums. Facing each other and engaging in some psychically aligned super-stares, Grape Soda was a good palate cleanser to kick the night off: minimal pop jams, all under a nice lo-fi blanket of delay. Without having to divide his energies between vocals and drums, Mat’s vocal melodies popped out with surprising range and force. If frame of references like this are your vibe, then: Young Marble Giants with Arthur Russell producing. Quieter than Quiet Hooves and a perfect way to ramp up the evening for what was next.

And what came next was...ridiculous. The Screaming Females of New Brunswick, NJ are one of those bands that people watch with their jaws on the floor, only tearing their eyes away from the stage to look at each other to confirm they are seeing the same thing. So you’ve got a very Minutemen-y rhythm section (in their more straightforward moments) backing up a frontwoman named Marissa Paternoster. Let’s get the insignificant details out of the way: Ms. Paternoster stands no taller than five feet. She is very much like Prince in this respect; also, she shreds like a motherfucker. We’re talking old-fashioned, blues-based all-out wailing, with some Greg Ginn-inspired noise thrown in for good measure. And her voice? Forget it: quavering throaty moans punctuated by utter shrieks. The Screaming Females are the perfect cross pollination of guitar-god heroics and DIY basement fun, and they do a ripping Neil Young cover. If that’s not enough for you, you are uninvited to my birthday party.

Rounding out the whole hamjam was Witches. Cara Beth Satalino, upon moving to Athens a few years ago, set herself apart as a singer/songwriter by wisely chosing electric guitar over acoustic, so it was inevitable that she would eventually get a band together. Very much in line with the other bands of the evening, it seems like Witches would be hanging out together just as much if they didn’t happen to be a band. The relatively newly formed group hasn’t gelled perfectly yet, but punk has never been about perfection anyway, and in the meantime it’s neat to watch the group develop and build on what is already a solid foundation of '90s indie rock and roll. The centerpiece is Cara Beth’s melodic holler, which displays a gift for communicating melancholy in unexpected ways.

Watching all these kids - friends, brothers, men, women - have such a great time in an intimate setting changed my mind about music. It’s pretty good...in fact, sometimes it’s really great!

Jeff Tobias

The comments of the article are pretty sweet as well!


The day after this show I overheard a couple kids talking outside of Flicker. The conversation snippet I heard was this:

"Hey, speaking of shredding. . . "
"Yeah, I heard! Screaming Females, right?"
"Yeah. Wow."

Pretty impressive that the word "shredding" is now itself indicative of Screaming Females - and word got around fast.

Michelle Gilzenrat - music editor
November 10, 2008 - 5:33:27pm (EST)
They deserve it! Also worth noting: the above photo was totally staged.

Jeff Tobias -- Homepage
November 17, 2008 - 4:44:58am (EST)

1 comment:

Sarah said...

Athens really is a music mecca, and it doesn't get more down-to-earth, either.

I met of Montreal outside of one of their gigs there once. Totally out of it, totally chill.

It was nice.