From the singles I’ve heard over the last month or so, Screaming Females’ sixth and forthcoming effort, Rose Mountain may arguably be the best album of 2015. Comprised of Marissa Paternoster (guitar, vocals), Jarrett Dougherty (drums) and King Mike (bass), the trio got their start playing in New Brunswick, NJ’s renowned all-ages basement show circuit; but throughout the years, they’ve received quite a bit of attention both nationally and across the blogosphere for material that was comprised of blazing guitar lines and a sprawling, frenetic energy paired with Paternoster’s sneering vocals. And through their almost ten year career, the members of the band have steadfastly held on to the DIY ethos that they were brought up in — in fact, all of their releases were self-produced, although they enlisted the legendary Steve Albini to engineer their 2012 release Ugly and their impressive Live at the Hideout.
Rose Mountain, which is slated for a February 24, 2015 release through Don Giovanni Records marks a major first for the band — the first time that they’ve worked with an outside producer, Matt Bayles, best known for his work with Mastodon and The Sword. And although enlisting Bayles to handle the knobs and dials broke a longstanding self-imposed rule by the band, rules are meant to be broken on occasion — to truly compelling results.
As the band set out to write and record the material that would comprise Rose Mountain, they had a particular vision, which resulted in a decidedly different songwriting and recording approach — whereas their previously recorded material was much more sprawling, the forthcoming album has the band writing and recording songs that are arguably the most concise, melodic and downright radio-friendly/accessible they’ve ever released — all while retaining the blazing guitar work and fury of their previous work.
The album’s latest single “It’s Not Fair” is a scuzzy, churning and forceful dirge that continues the previously released material’s forcefulness. Much like “Criminal Minds,” “It’s Not Fair” sounds as though it owes a debt to the likes of Nirvana, Soundgarden and the Pixies but with a sneering fury. Additionally, the song and the rest of the previously released material off Rose Mountain should put Marissa Paternoster on the map as one of the country’s most impressive contemporary guitarists, alongside the likes of White Mystery’s Alex White and others.
The video for the song features the band performing the song live in a bare studio but it should give you a sense of the raw, feral intensity of their material and of their live set.