Screaming Females

Don Giovanni Records Showcase

Screaming Females

Sammus, Outer Spaces, Worriers, Bad Moves

Sat, February 4, 2017

Doors: 7:00 pm / Show: 7:30 pm

First Unitarian Church

Philadelphia, PA

$15.00

This event is all ages

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Screaming Females
Screaming Females
Screaming Females had such a clear goal for their new album that it became almost a mantra: they wanted songs that were concise, crisp and melodic. That’s exactly what the New Jersey punk trio delivers on Rose Mountain, their sixth LP, due in February on Don Giovanni Records.

The album is a milestone in a number of ways. Not only does Rose Mountain reflect a new approach to the band’s songwriting, the LP marks the first time Screaming Females have worked with an outside producer, and comes as the trio celebrates 10 years together.

“I’m very pleased and proud of us as a band for playing together for so long,” says singer and guitarist Marissa Paternoster, who formed Screaming Females in 2005 with bassist Michael Abbate and drummer Jarrett Dougherty.

Their longevity helped prompt the concise-crisp-melodic mantra for Rose Mountain. Although melody has always been a central part of the band’s music, the musicians have often layered them into massive thickets of interlocking sound on previous albums. They were ready to try something more streamlined with the 10 new songs on Rose Mountain.

“Our last three releases were dense musically,” Dougherty says. “This time, we tried to really hone in on what was important about the songs and get rid of what wasn’t important.”

The trio decided the vocal melodies were particularly important, and were careful to leave room for them while they were writing the new songs. “Before we got to that point where we had a complete, complex, intricate thing instrumentally, we stopped and said, ‘Let’s not finish this off, let’s let the vocals finish this off,’” Dougherty says.

The restraint they showed in writing the tunes didn’t affect the riveting intensity the band brought to playing them. You can hear it on “Empty Head,” the taut, lean album opener. It’s there in the interplay between serrated guitar and a buoyant bassline on “Triumph,” and in the airy verses that build into a tough, determined chorus on “Wishing Well.”

Many of the songs on Rose Mountain deal with Paternoster’s ongoing battle with chronic mononucleosis, which became so severe in 2012 that the band went on hiatus from touring for nearly a year. “I just could not get my act together,” Paternoster says. “We had to take time off, I couldn’t sleep, I wasn’t eating.”

Writing about the pain and uncertainty that accompanied her illness proved cathartic for Paternoster, who was already paying more attention to her lyrics than she did in the band’s earlier days.

“A lot of time it was just an afterthought, and I would just punch in whatever fit phonetically,” she says. “From playing hundreds of shows, I’ve realized that people do actually listen to the words. And if they’re going to take the time to listen to the words I’m singing, then I ought to take just as much time to write something that’s well thought-out.”

If leaving room for Paternoster’s vocal melodies was part of the band’s strategy for Rose Mountain, working with producer Matt Bayles was the other part. With a deeply rooted DIY streak, Screaming Females had self-produced their previous releases (with Steve Albini engineering their 2012 LP Ugly and the 2014 concert album Live at the Hideout) before overturning a long-standing, self-imposed rule and deciding it was time to bring in outside help. “What’s the best way to challenge yourself as an artist? Do something you told yourself you’d never do,” Dougherty says.

Bayles is perhaps best known for his work on albums by heavy metal acts like Mastodon and the Sword, which helped make Screaming Females confident in their choice: they figured he would be right at home with a loud, raucous band. Bayles joined the group in New Jersey to offer advice on composition before the musicians spent a month recording the album with Bayles in Seattle. They delved more deeply than ever before into the intricacies of guitar tones and drum sounds, and experimented with subtle touches that you wouldn’t expect on a Screaming Females album: listen for the organ buried beneath the terse guitars on “It’s Not Fair,” or the eerie, distorted tack-piano that brings the title track home.

“It’s definitely the most eclectic record in terms of instrumentation and dynamics that we have done to date,” Paternoster says.

It’s a fitting way to celebrate 10 years together, a period that has taken the band from playing basement shows in their hometown of New Brunswick to touring with the likes of Dinosaur Jr., Ted Leo & the Pharmacists and Garbage, who teamed with Screaming Females to record a cover of Patti Smith’s “Because the Night.” They’ve been featured on NPR and performed on Last Call With Carson Daly, building an audience without losing the focus and drive that inspired them in the first place.

“It’s pretty amazing that the three of us have been this committed this way,” Dougherty says, and Paternoster agrees.

“At the end of the day, what we really try to do is challenge ourselves musically, so that the three of us remain interested in this project we love very much,” she says. “Hopefully we can continue to do so and make music for as long as it’s feasible for us to do so.”
Sammus
Sammus
SAMMUS (Enongo Lumumba-Kasongo) is an Ithaca, NY based rap artist, producer, and PhD student in the Department of Science & Technology Studies at Cornell University. Known as much for her rousing stage presence as she is for her prowess as a beatmaker and lyricist, Sammus has spent the past several years cultivating a strong following of activists, hip hop heads, punks, and self-proclaimed nerds and geeks, among others. As noted by the Los Angeles Times, Sammus “has a gift for getting a message across.” Now ready to make her Don Giovanni debut (while remaining tied to NuBlack Music Group), she is poised to cement herself as an artist who consistently thinks outside boxes and dances across lines (and does other neat things with geometrical figures).

In addition to managing a full-time music career, Enongo has spent the past eight years as a public-school and college level educator. After graduating from Cornell University in 2008 with a double BA in Sociology and Science & Technology Studies, she was accepted into the national teaching program Teach for America and placed in Houston Texas, where she taught elementary math and science between 2008 to 2010. In the fall semester of 2011 she returned to Cornell as a PhD candidate to pursue an interest a wide array of sound studies topics, including sound and gaming as well as the identity politics of community studios. As an academic in training and very-vocal feminist, Enongo has produced articles for publications such as Bitch, For Harriet, Sounding Out!, and The Mary Sue related to issues of race, hip-hop, gaming, and feminism.
Outer Spaces
Outer Spaces
The genesis of A Shedding Snake can be traced back to the solo ventures of Cara Beth Satalino in the mid to late 2000s while she attended SUNY Purchase. Satalino’s somber, solitary songwriter aesthetic was later informed by her tenure playing in the Athens, GA based rough-around-the-edges power trio Witches until they disbanded in 2012. Following the break up, Satalino's focus was directed back toward her solo material, and what would become Outer Spaces. Relocating to the artistically fertile city of Baltimore, Satalino formed a solid lineup for the group, including fellow Purchase College alums Chester Gwazda, who had previously produced Satalino's solo recordings, as well as albums by Future Islands, Cloud Nothings and Dan Deacon and Rob Dowler of the bands Tides and Nuclear Power Pants. The band had the opportunity to participate in the Matador Records Singles Going Home Alone 7" series, and released the Garbage Beach EP via Salinas Records in 2014. A Shedding Snake is Outer Space’s debut full-length effort. The album is one of transition for Satalino. Some of the material was composed back when she lived in Athens and, stylistically, it shows: there’s some definite Murmur-era Michael Stipe and Peter Buck influence in aesthetic and songwriting. But Satalino bridges the gap from what’s in her rear-view to her present. “Moving to a new place is a chance for a clean slate in a way, and I think that the songs on this record reflect that feeling,” she says. "It's a record about moving on, moving past, moving forward, and moving toward."
Worriers
Worriers
Worriers are a melodic punk band from Brooklyn, New York. The band’s music is centered around the songwriting of Lauren Denitzio, with the help of friends Mikey Erg, Rachel Rubino, Audrey Zee Whitesides, John McLean, Lou Hanman, and Nick Psillas, among others. They have released records with Don Giovanni, No Idea and Yo-Yo Records and toured with Beach Slang, Against Me!, The Falcon, Smith Street Band, and more. Described as "a masterfully crafted punk record" by the Village Voice, Worriers' first full-length "Imaginary Life" was produced by Laura Jane Grace of Against Me! and was released on Don Giovanni Records in 2015.
Bad Moves
Bad Moves
Formed in Washington, D.C. in the summer of 2015, Bad Moves is David Combs (guitar), Emma Cleveland (bass), Katie Park (guitar), and Daoud Tyler-Ameen (drums). On November 18, Don Giovanni Records will release the band’s self-titled debut EP. It includes four songs recorded at Lurch, a studio run by Danny Saperstein (Flasher) and Owen Wuerker (Big Hush).

Combs, Park, and Tyler-Ameen each have a proven background writing melodic, punk-informed songs as members of Spoonboy, Hemlines, and Art Sorority For Girls respectively. Bad Moves was conceived as a way to stretch out a bit: to take a melody and break it down, to see if a hook might thrive in a different style or context. As a result, the music takes subtle inspiration from power-pop, new wave, and garage without being too on the nose. The songs are a little downcast, but not without a sense of humor -- and while the subject matter is rooted in the members' experience in D.C., the sentiments are often universal. Bad Moves summons a bit of cautious optimism in the face of wack day jobs, skyrocketing rent, and decaying expectations.
Venue Information:
First Unitarian Church
2125 Chestnut Street
Philadelphia, PA, 19103
http://www.philauu.org/