The Coathangers Bring a Riot Grrrl Revival to Noise Pop

Along with FEELS, The Flytraps, and Death Valley Girls, they showed The Independent that ladies of punk rock are alive and well.

The Coathangers (Photo by Jeff Forney)

The Coathangers’ name alone is enough to entice the uninitiated by mischievously invoking the band’s pro-choice stance.

This assertiveness permeates beyond the name of the female-fronted punk rock band comprised of guitarist-vocalist Julia Kugel, drummer Stephanie Luke, and bassist Meredith Franco in graffitied white jumpers. The Atlanta trio — who occasionally shuffle roles— don’t mask their ferocity, although they do revel in the silly. (The final song of their show at The Independent on Monday night, “Nestle in My Boobies,” gleefully tells a partner to “show them titties love.”)

Playing favorites from their latest album Nosebleed Weekend, The Coathangers headlined with three other garage punk bands, essentially forming a much-desired riot grrrl package.

FEELS — which recorded its sophomore album in six days — began the night with its own assertiveness in a hook-abundant guitar plea to “Tell Me” to move on or hang around. Like in its opener, the Los Angeles quartet pounded out a rock frenzy at rapid-fire speed amid flashes of melody for the remainder of its relatively brief set.

Singer-guitarist Laena Geronimo, bassist Amy Allen, guitarist Shannon Lay, and drummer Michael Rudes have side projects but insist they put their best ideas into FEELS, and it showed in their mighty performance.

The Flytraps upped the rock ante with vocalist Kristin Cooper and her rock n’ roll scream-and-tongue wag that at the very least, deserves a spot on a music listicle. In true rock form, she occasionally struck the guitarist knee pose, played with her back to the stage floor, then started a small mosh pit during Death Valley Girls — home to former Flytraps member Laura Kelsey.

“Hey motherfuckers,” Cooper said in the set introduction. “We love tequila.”

Where Cooper showed her vocal power in the moderately-used rock scream, Death Valley Girls frontwoman Bonnie Bloomgarden put her wailing, piercing voice to work in the group’s far-out brand of rock.

The Los Angeles quartet’s self-labeled “dystopian punk” comes out in occasional psychedelic keyboard chords and metal riffs akin to a rock sacrament. Fitting for a group that bonds over haunted locations and paranormal explorations.

All four groups fall under the Burger RecordsBurger-A-Go-Go tour, which continues along the West Coast until March 4 and which is especially worth checking out for riot grrrls of past, present, and future.

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