Bodies and Control and Money and Power is the laundry list of a title that introduces the debut album from Washington, D.C., punk band Priests. Each capitalized letter is outlined in white atop a rage-red album cover, and the lyrics of vocalist Katie Alice Greer deliver the promised goods with fiery invective. Identity politics, the government's monopoly on violence, and dwindling privacy figure prominently in Greer's words, all dispatched by a band based in the seat of federal power. D.C. leader of lefty politico rock 'n' roll Ian Svenonius deals similar rhetoric via transcripts of faux-séances and generally oblique agitations, but Priests' protests are more straightforward. Bodies and Control and Money and Power runs less than 18 minutes, leaving little room for vagueness, and each abrupt track suggests a band honed live on stage.
My memory of Priests' performance at CMJ last year includes a whirlwind of leopard print, Greer mocking the heavy sponsorship presence at 285 Kent, and the impression afterward that my festival experience had just crested. Hearing Priests' new album is like reaching the other side of a needed tumult. Greer's husky delivery is a flash flood with devastation in its wake, while wily guitar riffs sputter over punchy backbeats before expiring. It's all very tough and assaultive, but, like a Komodo dragon bite, the venom lingers, agitating listeners long after the attack.
Thu., June 19, 8:30 p.m., 2014