I used to stumble upon great bands all the time, but these days -- thanks to a busy life and what seems to be a glut of indie bands that don't float my boat -- those glorious moments of musical discovery seem few and far between. So, when Marissa Paternoster and her bandmates, Jarrett Dougherty and King Mike, walked onstage to open for Jay Reatard (R.I.P.) last year at Johnny Brenda's in Philadelphia, I wasn't expecting anything. Having recently watched quite a few bands of "kids" play their instruments like they were electronic gadgets just bought at Radio Shack, I wasn't prepared to be impressed. Instead, I was feeling cynical and jaded when the trio picked up their instruments that night.
Maybe it's because I'm a drummer, but I am hard on rhythm sections. I want a bass player and a drummer to have a "thing" -- an intangible something that glues them together through twists and turns. Jarrett and Mike have that in spades. These guys give off a Watt/Hurley vibe (and while you'll find I throw around Minutemen references on a nearly daily basis, I don't often go *that* far). Layered on top of all that glorious rhythmic tension and release is Paternoster's guitar. Good god, this woman can play. Her riffs are dark and minor, and when the whole band hunkers down and lets it rip, you'd swear it was 1984 and SST ruled the world.
And all of this brings me to their new record, Castle Talk. It's as good or better than last year's Power Move, full of that punk-rock, angular roar that hooked me in so hard at the live show. The vocals aren't "pretty," but you never worried about that with the Minutemen, did you? So don't fret about it here either. Instead, bask in the glow of a power trio that has their shit together so much better than than those other kids and their gadgets.
VIDEO LINK: "Bell" from the Power Move album.
MYSPACE LINK: Screaming Females MySpace page.