Riff-wrangler Kermit Lyman III has been walking that Motörhead line between punk rock and heavy metal over the past couple decades in the Philadelphia scene, making noise in bands like Wally, Slumlord and the original incarnation of Thee Nosebleeds. And then he met Sheena Powell.
A punk rocker at heart with a love for The Stooges and The Ramones, Powell’s voice is vibrant and versatile. She can soar along to the strange keys of 80s metal — I definitely hear some of Iron Maiden’s Bruce Dickinson in her — but she can also belt the blues with gusto. After some jams, the chemistry was undeniable, and Sheena and Thee Nosebleeds was born.
Debuting on Mischief Night of 2014 at West Philly’s Millcreek Tavern — a set documented in the Kick Out The Jawns live EP — the band went on to record the Electric Church EP in 2015 with bassist Kevin James Cooper and drummer Chris “Doc” Kulp, followed by their 2016 full-length debut, The Revolution Will Be Amplified. They’ve spent the years since gigging all over town, sharpening their live set, and writing new material, some of which gets its first airing in the band’s Key Studio Session.
As you can see and hear from their performance in WXPN studios, every element of Sheena and Thee Nosebleeds is a force to be reckoned with. Kulp’s drumming is complex and intricate, but constantly in forward-motion (and shoutouts to him for being the first drummer to bring a gong into the studio, you can hear it in action on “Death’s Headqüarters”), while Lyman’s licks and leads are rapid fire and dazzling when appropriate, but sometimes they coax more intensity out of a less-is-more approach (his solos on “Honey and Hot Sauce” showcase both approaches). Powell’s voice, as we said, soars; it commands, it compels, and it does so with an remarkable dynamic range. And not to rest on his laurels, Cooper’s basslines take the lead more often then most punk bassists, leaping beyond root-note patterns into galvanizing runs.
Listen to the band’s set in its entirety below, and catch them live tonight at Johnny Brenda’s when they open for RunHideFight’s record release show. Details and more information can be found at the XPN Concert Calendar.
Sheena and Thee Nosebleeds, The Key Studio Sessions