Now, if you’ve been frequenting this site over the course of the past few years, you’ve likely come across a number of posts featuring New Brunswick, NJ-based JOVM mainstays Screaming Females, comprised of Marissa Paternoster (guitar, vocals), King Mike (bass) and Jared Dougherty (drums). And as you may recall, the trio cut their teeth playing their hometown’s renowned all-ages basement scene; however, with the release of 2012’s Steve Albini-engineered Ugly, 2014’s forceful live album, Live from the Hideout and 2015’s Matt Bayles-produced Rose Mountain, the Central New Jersey-based band received wider exposure from NPR, Last Call with Carson Daly and MTV. Adding to a growing profile, the New Jersey-based punk rockers have toured with a number of internationally and nationally known acts including Garbage, Throwing Muses, Dinosaur, Jr., The Dead Weather, Arctic Monkeys, Ted Leo and The Pharmacists, JEFF the Brotherhood, Little Lungs, Cheeky, The Ergs, Shellsshag and others.
Interestingly enough, 2015’s Rose Mountain was a decided change in songwriting and recording approach, with the band writing arguably some of the most concise, melodic and accessible material they’ve released, while retaining the blazing guitar work and muscular insistence of their previously recorded work. Up until relatively recently, some time had passed since they had released new, original material, and while “Black Moon,” continues their ongoing collaboration with Matt Bayles, it also reveals a band that’s restlessly experimenting with their songwriting approach and sound. Unsurprisingly, “Black Moon” finds the band crafting material with a forceful conciseness with razor sharp hooks — but thematically, the song also reveals a band that’s simultaneously meshing larger metaphors of a post apocalyptic earth with the universal experience of a relationship that ends in an embittering and frustrating fashion.
All At Once. the band’s seventh full-length studio album is slated for a February 23, 2018 release through Don Giovanni Records and the band reportedly set out to write an album in the spirit of a salon-style gallery show, where the larger pieces provide an eye-level focal point to a galaxy or smaller works — and as a result of a more expansive thematic reach, the members of the band openly and decidedly focused on experimentation with arrangements and song structure to evoke the energy and spontaneity of their live sets. As the band’s Mike Dougherty explains of their motivation “When you’ve been a band for 12 or 13 years, the resources can dry and you just go back to what feels comfortable. The other option is that you develop stuff that a younger band would not have been able to do.”
The album’s first official single “Glass House” finds the band practicing a sense of restraint in which the band embraces simplicity as Paternoster plays two relatively simple riffs in a 90s grunge rock song structure — quiet verses, loud, rousingly anthemic hook, quiet verse. But along with that, the song features some of Paternoster’s most melodic vocals of their catalog. “A song like ‘Glass House’ is something we knew we were capable of, but it took a while to fully embrace,” Paternoster says in press notes. “It’s something very simple — just bass, drums and twos simple riffs. In the past, I might have insisted on adding more. Practicing self-restraint is something I have consciously been trying to do.”
The recently released video for the song may be among the most surreal and artfully done videos they’ve released to date, as it cuts between the members of the band brooding and pensively sitting in a rather sparse room, Paternoster singing the song in dramatic lighting and a butler, who arranges vases — before smashing them over each band member’s head.