Release Date: Apr 15, 2016
Record label: Suicide Squeeze
Genre(s): Pop/Rock, Alternative/Indie Rock
The Coathangers do not give a fuck now, nor have they ever. But what started as a joke seamlessly developed into a credible band. With Nosebleed Weekend, the trio delivers tighter, stronger and more confident songs than ever before.On their first experience recording outside Atlanta (and in Los Angeles), The Coathangers still play primarily garage punk but lace it with other influences, most noticeably surf rock riffs (and in one instance a destroyed squeaky toy).
The Coathangers’ transition from raw to razor-sharp was essentially complete by 2014’s Suck My Shirt, but Nosebleed Weekend displays an even greater capacity for churning out maniacally captivating tunes. On this fifth album, The Coathangers haven’t compromised a bit of the defiant edge that made the band such subversively charming rookies. Only now, 10 years in, The Coathangers have everything nailed down tight enough to withstand a hurricane.
The curse of making it look easy is that you get taken for granted. (Duh, right?) You might notice more dynamic shifts in the Coathangers’ fifth album, Nosebleed Weekend, if there were any seams showing. But that would mean it would be a weaker record. This is why the idea of art being interesting and art being good don’t always intersect — the Coathangers haven’t managed to accrue much of a myth over their nine-year existence, unless you count Bradford Cox doing the cover art for their self-titled 2007 debut.
The Coathangers recently became the first band in some 35 years to make a record at Valentine Recording Studios, a North Hollywood landmark that once played host to luminaries ranging from Bing Crosby to The Beach Boys. So how did these Atlanta punks re-christen the studio’s vintage microphones? By squeezing squeaky toys into them. The chorus of “Squeeki Tiki” exemplifies what The Coathangers have been doing better than pretty much everyone for the past decade: blowing off the rules in the name of fun, and making damn catchy records almost as an afterthought.
Ten years and five full-lengths in, The Coathangers play midsized clubs, but their snotty denim-punk would still feel at home in your city's finest DIY basements and other assorted ne'er-do-well hangouts. As before, guitarist Julia Kugel and drummer Stephanie Luke trade vocal responsibilities. Luke's throaty snarl casts shade on dumb boys on the heavier garage numbers.
On their fifth album, 2016's Nosebleed Weekend, the Coathangers have shaken off the reckless amateurism that marked their early recordings. If they don't sound "chops intensive," by now, there's no question that these women can play their instruments with agility and enthusiasm. And there's less punky abandon and more solid, straightforward rock & roll on Nosebleed Weekend, though "Squeeki Tiki" and "Watch Your Back" prove they're still in touch with their inner troublemakers.
Since forming in Atlanta, Georgia 10 years ago, the punk-propelled The Coathangers have released four albums and numerous singles, including 2014’s scathing cover of The Gun Club’s Sex Beat, while at the same time building a devoted following (including loudest champ Kim Gordon) through relentless gigging. For their fifth album, singer-guitarist Julia Kugel, bassist-singer Meredith Franco and drummer-singer Stephanie Luke ventured to North Hollywood to record with producer Nic Jodoin at the legendary Valentine studio, which once welcomed The Beach Boys and Bing Crosby and had been closed since 1979. The change of scenery manifests in the album’s wider sonic palette as the trio embrace classic pop (Down Down), garage-rock (Had Enough), surf punk (Watch Your Back) and even resemble a grunged-up Heart on Perfume.
When Yankees reliever Andrew Miller threw a 2-2 slider, it was supposed to hit the catcher’s glove. Then the ball hit a bat and shot back toward Andrew Miller’s pisiform bone, which shattered. It’s a minor bone, if a body has space for minor anatomy. To a lefty pitcher, it’s inessential to throwing a baseball.
We've somehow reached a decade since Atlanta noisemongers The Coathangers first appeared, emerging from scrappy beginnings to become firm favourites of garage rock sophisticates everywhere. Fifth album Nosebleed Weekend offers a few more tweaks – a new wave tinge here, a post-punk shimmy there – and its many peaks are pretty damn impressive. They're best at their noisiest (Down Down switches from bluesified twitches to a soaring chorus without batting an eyelid; Dumb Baby simply runs rampage across an angular, Bratmobile-esque seethe) but in all honesty there's rarely any let-up.
Nosebleed Weekend is the second Coathangers record without keyboardist Candice Jones, the follow-up to 2014’s Suck My Shirt, and if there’s one takeaway it’s that their sound has grown leaps and bounds in confidence. Without keyboards to fall back on their playing has gotten more adventurous and more sure-footed. The Coathangers have been going for ten years now, but the trend of female-fronted garage rock being incorporated into the mainstream lends itself best to their current output.