Screaming Females – Ugly

Do you remember being an angry teenager?  Maybe you painted your fingernails black or kept your hair in your face or wore Doc Martens in the summer; whatever you were doing it was because the man was keeping you down and your parents didn’t understand you, right?  For some of us it was high school, for some it was middle school, and others are still angry.  Screaming Females are still angry.

Ugly sounds like the type of thing you would hear at a party in the basement of the cool kids’ house.  It is the album that is turned up too loud while those kids smoke stolen cigarettes in the corner.  I am not trying to be particularly negative; I just want to paint you a picture.

Screaming Females sounds like college radio punk rock.  They are the too-cool-for-school, I’m-from-New-York-so-you-wouldn’t-understand-type of rock.  I would bet my paycheck that the cast of Girls has been to at least three of their shows.

But, it is not exactly how you are imagining it.  Ugly is indie punk rock, but it is polished.  In fact, the music is very polished.  The band is completely buttoned up and the music is really catchy and really great.  The songs are not so much sing along as they are toe-tapping jams.  Occasionally, there is a little bit of surf rock that comes through on Ugly, but for the most part, this album is straightforward indie punk.  It is not too heavy and it is not too easy.

Marissa Paternoster’s voice has a vibrato to it that is reminiscent of singers of the 20s and 30s.  It adds a depth and difference to Screaming Females’ brand of punk and sounds like nothing I have ever heard.  I would imagine that her voice is polarizing; you will either love it or hate it.  I love it because it is so drastically different than anything that is out there.

Will Ugly become my new favorite record in my collection?  No.  Will I spin it ever now and then just to mix things up?  Absolutely.

And if for some reason I find myself divorced and dating a roller derby girl, I am pretty sure that knowing this band will give me some cred.

My favorite track: Doom 84

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