The Coathangers have one of the funniest and prototypically punk rock formation stories I’ve heard in recent memory. As the story goes, the Atlanta-based band formed when the then-quartet of guitarist and vocalist Julia Kugel (a.k.a. Crook Kid Coathanger), bassist Meredith Franco (a.k.a. Minnie Coathanger), drummer Stephanie Luke (a.k.a Rusty Coathanger), and keyboardist Candice Jones (a.k.a. Bebe Coathanger) decided to start a band for the sole purpose of being able to hang out and play parties — and they weren’t going to let the fact that none of them actually knew how to play an instrument get in the way of their having a good time. Sonically speaking, the quartet’s earliest songs walked a tightrope between abrasive dissonance and a primal minimalism.
In the seven years since their formation, the Atlanta-based band have released four full-length albums and have gone on a number of North American and European tours, which have cemented their reputation for writing incredibly catchy songs and for unruly live shows. Sometime before the recording sessions for the band’s fourth, full-length effort Suck My Shirt, an effort which derives its time for an incident involving the salvaging of spilled tequila from a shirt, the band went through a lineup change, as Candice Jones left the band, turning the band into a trio. And although over the past few years, the band have managed to continually refine their sound, Suck My Shirt reportedly manages to reveal a refined songwriting approach as well — and you certainly hear that on the album’s latest single “Follow Me.” The song maintains a raw, spontaneous simplicity and fury but it seems streamlined and more direct. It’s no frills, no bullshit, balls-to-the-wall rock that spiritually channels AC/DC and the Ramones — and these days such primal immediacy seem sadly so very rare yet so very necessary.
The official video for “Follow Me” is hilarious as it features a gender bending, cross dressing group of men (and one man dressed up as a horse, because — well I have no idea) joyously lip synching the song in what appears to be The Coathangers’ rehearsal space — that is until they’re caught by the band, who walks in and catches them in a rather embarrassing and hilarious situation. Before the ladies could even ask “what the hell is this?” the horse stampedes out, actually envisioning himself as a majestic horse.