Screaming Females’ “Power Move” is a well-deserved uppercut of thrilling punk prowess, born from the blood and sweat of basement shows and beer-stained jeans. The New Brunswick, New Jersey band was born in that scene, that ever-inspiring punk community, and this record, the trio’s third but first released via a label (Don Giovanni), thunders along on the strength of singer and guitarist Marissa Paternoster’s booming voice and Jarrett Dougherty’s slaughterhouse drumming. Paternoster shreds solos with seeming ease and her voice, the child of Corin Tucker and Karen O, often careens into a raging, throaty scream. “Power Move,” awesome in its shocking intensity, features Screaming Females on top of their game.
“We never really talked about what we wanted the sound to be like,” Dougherty says of the band’s origins. “I’m adamantly against bands that decide what they want to sound like before they play together. You don’t get a union of people playing together [like that].”
Up until this point, Dougherty and the rest of the band were adamant about keeping the DIY ethic, including releasing their own material, but also booking their own shows. Making the transition to label life, Dougherty says, was “definitely difficult. Joe [Steinhardt], who runs Don Giovanni, asked us forever to release a record. We were always like, ‘No, no, no.’ Then Joe just showed up in Washington, DC and was like, ‘I’m gonna follow you guys home and convince you to do a record with us.'”
It worked—he put the band at ease and they agreed to go with the label, which of course frees up time for Dougherty, who was basically acting as the band’s manager. “It got to the point where we had everything to do on our own, and it felt like we were being maxed out.”
Dougherty says that Screaming Females would not have been assembled if it were not for the supportive punk DIY community that exists in New Brunswick. “New Brunswick is a big-time basement-punk machine,” he says. “We wouldn’t have been the band we are without that. We’re on tour right now, but the day before [we left] for tour we went to a really awesome basement show. With the people we hang out with—it’s how we learned to operate as a band. I feel it’s a lot harder to do that if you don’t have a community of people who’ve done it before you. You know, ‘Here, let me give you this dude’s phone number,’ like that. It totally informs us.” (Tom Lynch)
Screaming Females play October 5 at Hideout, 1354 W. Wabansia, (773)227-4433, at 9pm. $8.