Punk rockin’ Screaming Females riding wave of accolades

By MIKE CHAIKEN

EDITIONS EDITOR

The punk rock trio known as Screaming Females released its latest album of punk rock, “All At Once” in February. The effort quickly picked up a slew of kudos from press and fans.

For instance, at www.Philly.com, the group’s seventh effort was described in a headline as “the punk record you need to hear right now.” MotherJones.com declared “All At Once” as “Screaming Females’ best album yet.”

Screaming Females will play Space Ballroom on Sunday, April 7.

The band’s singer and guitarist Marissa Paternoster said, “It really feels good” to receive the accolades. “We worked really hard on it.”

However, Paternoster (who is joined in Screaming Females by the rhythm section of “King” Mike Abbate and Jarrett Dougherty) said the group didn’t set out to earn praise from the press.

“Music journalism is weird,” said Paternoster. “I’ve never read a review and wanted to get a record.”

Instead, she has always been one to buy a record after she liked a band’s live show.

When they were recording, “All At Once,” however, Paternoster said the New Brunswick, N.J.-based band did feel they were moving in a new different direction with the songs. But they also knew they were not moving so radically that they would risk losing longtime fans.

Despite the band’s growing success and nationwide press, the group prefers to keep everything DIY rather than vying for the attention of a major label.

“We don’t think there’s any reason to not be in control,” said Paternoster. “We want to be autonomous over our likeness and music and what we say and do.”

And at this point in their career when it comes to the music business, she said, “We know what to do.”

Plus, Paternoster said keeping their career DIY, allows the band to care for and take care of all the people behind the scenes that make things happen.”

“This is more than just a business,” said Paternoster, “We care about (community behind us).”

The three members of Screaming Females have all been friends since they were pretty young, said Paternoster. But they didn’t start off becoming a punk rock trio. Punk rock was there, said Paternoster, but they played in other combinations with other musicians. In the end, the trio format seemed like the best fit—especially this combination of three musicians. Paternoster said she, Mike, and Jarrett are able to get things accomplished in a healthy and creative manner.

Paternoster said the trio format also has some musical advantages. With just a guitar, bass, drum, and vocal combination, “it forces you to think about your instrument…. (and discover) what is the best way to handle the song.”

The sound of Screaming Females fits squarely in the punk rock realm. .

And punk rock is where Paternoster draws her influences. She cited older punk bands from that tradition such as Patti Smith, X, Wire, the Wipers, and the Germs (“L.A. stuff”) as favorites. She also listened to grunge, such as Nirvana and Hole before moving onto bands like the Pixies. When she moved to New Brunswick, she actively tasted the live punk rock scene as well.

“Punk rock is a huge part of my life,” said Paternoster.

For fans coming out to the Space Ballroom, Paternoster said repeat customers shouldn’t expect a repeat of the last show they saw. “We do a different set each night,” said Paternoster.

Additionally, when Screaming Females hits the stage, Paternoster said, “We bring a good energy… We offer a fun and safe night.”

Screaming Females perform at Space Ballroom, 295 Treadwell St., Hamden on Saturday, April 7. Doors open for the all-ages show at 7 p.m. with the show beginning at 7:30 p.m. Thou, +HIRS+, and Space Camp also are on the bill. Tickets are $13 and $15.

For information, go to www.ScreamingFemales.com or www.SpaceBallroom.com

The Screaming Females play Space Ballroom in Hamden on Saturday.

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