I first encountered New Brunswick shredders Screaming Females six years ago at World Cafe Live. In retrospect, the tidy and proper venue was an unlikely spot to see a punk rock power trio that, up until that point, had been fixtures on the basement and house show circuit. But paired with alt-rock icons Throwing Muses, the energy was electric and the fit couldn’t have been more perfect. I was an instant convert, and have seen them in all manner of settings since: a brutally crowded Pi Lam show, a glorious New Years’ eve gig at Johnny Brenda’s, numerous appearances in the First Unitarian Church basement.
As far as the current punk landscape, the Screamales’ playing is unparalleled. Frontwoman Marissa Paternoster is a remarkable guitarist with a powerful voice, and backed by drummer Jarrett Dougherty and bassist Michael Abbate, the band creates a wall of noise and fuzz and melody and lightning-fast playing, no fuss no muss. Their A.V. Club covers are incredible (from Sheryl Crow to Taylor Swift) and Paternoster dabbles in compelling side pursuits (like Noun, which recently played one of Sebastian Petsu’s Double Decker Music Series shows). You could probably, were you so inclined, trace their lineage through bands like Dinosaur Jr. and PJ Harvey and whoever else came before. But to me, Screaming Females songs sound like Screaming Females, and they’re all the awesomer for it. Continue reading →