Heartbreaking Bravery

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Tag: Rose Mountain

Screaming Females – Empty Head (Stream)

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All of the evidence Screaming Females have been providing us of late seem to indicate that their upcoming album, the exquisitely titled Rose Mountain, could easily become their finest work to date. While most people seem intent on calling Ugly their crowning achievement, the debate over their previous “best record” had been endless. Even with Ugly in the mix, the separation between that record and, say, Power Move, isn’t all that sizeable. All of their records are absurdly strong pieces of work that feel gargantuan and genuinely complete, yet the songs they’ve been teasing Rose Mountain seem to exceed even that absurdly high level. “Ripe“, “Wishing Well“, and even “Let Me In” (the B-side to “Wishing Well”) all rank among the best songs the band’s ever done and that winning streak’s being extended with their most recent teaser track, “Empty Head”.

As was the case with “Wishing Well” and “Ripe”, the band seems to have opted to eschew their more abrasive tendencies to create something that pushes their arresting melodic sensibilities to new extremes. Bandleader Marissa Paternoster seems to be dragging her main project towards the realms that occupied the extraordinary Holy Hell, the last album from her solo project, Noun. There’s an undeniable pop bent to “Empty Head”, which features yet another chorus that finds the band swinging for the fences and connecting with a startling emphasis. It’s a less intimidating affair than a lot of the band’s past work but yet another indication that basements simply won’t be enough to contain this band or their sound. If Ugly was their breakthrough effort, expect Rose Mountain to push them into even higher echelons. Just don’t expect them to lose sight of their roots. For all they’ve accomplished in terms of stature, Screaming Females are still a band who are very comfortable with where (and who) they are.

Listen to “Empty Head” below, with it’s brilliant Paternoster time-lapse art video, and order Rose Mountain as soon as it’s out from Don Giovanni.

Screaming Females – Ripe (Stream)

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To close out tonight’s posting spree, there’ll be a few more gems in this introductory paragraph and then another look at Screaming Females‘ upcoming Rose Mountain to bring this bout to a close. Darlings teased the casual sprawl of the noise pop that’ll undoubtedly be populating their upcoming Feel Better with “Mein the Sky“, a track that single-handedly ensure Feel Better‘s status as a record to be met with anticipation. A curious pair of videos surfaced in the just-now-released clip for Jawbreaker’s classic “Boxcar” and a shadowy night drive provided the visual template for Total Control’s future classic, “Flesh War“. On the full stream front, Kid Wave unleashed torrents of shoegaze-inspired noise-punk with their incredible Gloom EP, which deserves to be regarded as one of the year’s best. Then, to top everything off, Screaming Females dug their nails and teeth deep into the vicious “Ripe”- and in doing so, earned the last feature spot of the night.

“Ripe” accompanied the announcement of Rose Mountain (due out via Don Giovanni on February 24), the band’s follow-up to 2012’s career-best effort, Ugly. With “Wishing Well” having already provided a first look at the band’s upcoming record- and especially with “Ripe” augmenting it- the band’s trend of continuously topping themselves seems set to continue. Guitarist and vocalist Marissa Paternoster seems to be experimenting with a subtle restraint that’s paying massive dividends for the new batch of songs thus far, allowing the coursing energy of the music to be emphasized more fully than ever before. Unsurprisingly, Paternoster’s riffs remain as blistering as ever and her vocal delivery’s still incredibly impassioned and laced with a staggering amount of conviction.

Jarrett Dougherty’s drumming’s still as powerful as it is precise but the work King Mike lays down on bass is easily among the best of his career. Paternoster and Mike trade riffs with a deranged glee, building “Ripe” into an unshakable basement punk bruiser. At some point over the course of the song’s three minute and 17-second run time, it seems like “Ripe” lights a fire underneath itself, pushing everyone in the band to play like their lives depend on equally fiery performances. This eventually leads the trio straight into one of the best bridges they’ve concocted, aided by some brilliant production work that rivals what Albini managed to accomplish with Ugly. By the time “Ripe” comes to its severely punchy conclusion, Screaming Females have outrun another grenade blast of their own design. Should all of Rose Mountain live up to the promise of its first two tracks, 2015 will have a very early Album of the Year contender.

Stream “Ripe” via the somewhat disconcerting video below and make sure to pre-order Rose Mountain from Don Giovanni as soon as it’s a possibility.