Friday, November 27, 2009

Hangin' Out with The Coathangers

I found these guys, or girls rather, today, and after hearing their song "Toomerhead," I had to check them out at a place where I could here more from them. The girls I'm talking about? The Coathangers, an experimental post-punk rock group that I'm proud to say comes from right here in Atlanta.
Comprising members Julia Kugel (guitar and vocals), Meredith Franco (bass and vocals), Candice Jones (keyboards and vocals), and Stephanie Luke (drums and vocals), The Coathangers deliver a solid punch to the gut of post-punk Slits-style rock with Bikini Kill type vocals. Don't let that be your deciding factor, though. These girls may share some similarities with Bikini Kill, but like their bio says, they'd rather "crack jokes with Andrew W.K. than sip tea with Kathleen Hannah and her crew." That's ok with me though, since I love Andrew W.K. as much as Bikini Kill (and my sister entered to his song "She Is Beautiful" at her Bat-Mitzvah). One thing I learn, though, while reading the Hangers' reviews on their site is that, although receiving reviews by such publications as,, and Creative Loafing, I have yet to read an in-depth review that truly exposes The Coathangers through their unique sound rather than stringing a few words together that sound nice. That is gonna change today, right here.
So I guess I'll take it from the beginning. While it was "Tommerhead" that originally attracted me to their new album Scramble, I was soon blown away with some of the other tracks on the CD. Case in point, "Stop Stomp Stompin'," track three on the album, which starts out with a very Slits-inspired drum beat by Luke which I love. I've always liked minimalist drumming (one of the reasons I love Meg White so much), and here Luke says more through her minimalist drumming than most people would be aware of. Right on top of Luke's beat is Franco's bass, a strong backbone for Kugel's weird, yet interesting guitar notes. While Jones's keys are scaled back a little here, she can be heard along with the other three delivering Bikini Kill-style vocals. While these girls must hate to be called Riot Grrrl, I see it not as a label for them, but mainly as one of their possible influences.
Their next track that I listen to, "Bury Me," seems to go beyond the Riot Grrrl sound, encompassing also Babes in Toyland, Pixies, and L7 (at least to my ears). While there is an undeniable proto-punk influence here, with vocals like Bratmobile's Allison Wolfe, Kugel's guitar chords have become more melodic than Riot Grrrl really allows for, and Jones's keys here add to the melody, making it a thicker track than the previous. Luke's drumming too, mixes with Franco's harsh bass notes to provide a Doors-like sound under the proto-punk guitar work and vocals.
I think one of my favorites from the album, though, is the very next track, "Dreamboat." Here Jones shines, her keys providing an easy, yet strong melody that Kugel solidifies with her riffs. Luke's drumming is Pixies meets The Slits, and Franco's bass work is Stooges and Raincoats-inspired. A fantastic track the exudes melody and tact, rhythm and power. A definite must-hear single, at least in my book.
"Dreamboat" is followed by the last track of my review, "Pussywillow." This song is definitely one where Franco's bass prowess is showcased, and again the Hangers seem to have altered their sound to something different. Now, rather than hearing Bikini Kill and L7, I hear Robots in Disguise, an all-female electropunk group. The Coathangers are not copying RID, but to drastically alter their sound style from The Slits and Bikini Kill to The Doors and Robots in Disguise just speaks to their versatility, and their talent. Luke's drumming now sounds Pixies-led, and with Kugel's sparse notes, and the lack of a prominent key section, I'm floored that The Coathangers can make such an amazing change in just 2 seconds. This must be killer at their live shows, and I hope they play here again soon, cuz I'll definitely be in the crowd.
These girls are so far more indie than major, and perhaps that's they wanna keep it. But if I heard them, and I worked at SONY or Geffen, I'd try everything I knew to get them to sign with me. Brilliant work girls.

Sounds Like: Bikini Kill, The Slits, Pixies, Robots in Disguise, The Doors

Key Tracks from Scramble: "Pussywillow," "Stop Stomp Stompin'," "Dreamboat," "Bury me," "Toomerhead"

Check out The Coathangers more at: and

No comments:

Post a Comment

Popular Posts