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Album Review: The Coathangers ‘Nosebleed Weekend’

The Coathangers

Punk is dead. Grunge is dead. Riot Grrrl is definitely dead. In fact, music involving guitar distortion and gargled lyrics died on April 4th ’94. That’s what some people will have you believe at least. Of course, those people are wrong. The Coathangers are a very alive punk band from Georgia and they are f*cking fab. The band formed as a joke in 2006 and 10 years on they’ve released their fifth studio album ‘Nosebleed Weekend’. What can we say about ‘Nosebleed Weekend’? Well it’s a trip to say the least, and a really fast trip at that. So pay attention, because this one is going to whizz by quick!

We begin our journey with Perfume. This is the musical equivalent of driving along a highway in a convertible with all the wind in your hair. This track is sleazy as hell with its throbbing bass lines and marvellous distorted harmonies. The beauty of The Coathangers and much of the music coming from their label, Suicide Squeeze records, is that it’s fundamentally simplistic. It’s drums, some guitars, and a vocalist. But it’s bloody good!

The chorus in Excuse Me launches with raw vocals and hyper drive distortion that kind of melts your face off.”

Perfume is followed by Dumb Baby. This is definitely a contender for best ‘Coathanger song title (although Nestle In My Boobies is probably still the winner). Anyway, Dumb Baby is a great name for a song because its very honest, babies are really dumb. With a boppy riff and growling vocals, this track has some wonderful lyrics if you want to gently admonish someone. It also involves a great bluesy solo.

Taking the sound to a more frantic pace is Squeeki Tiki. With songs like this, you could be mistaken for thinking that Le Tigre is still making music. This track involves actual squeaky toy noises. So it’s automatically fantastic. It could actually be a B-52s’ song in a way, with the high pitched vocals, assortment of whacky noises, and quick pacing. Also the visual of a ‘squeeki tiki’ is adorable…

The following track Excuse Me is the Daria theme song Pt 2 (not really, but that would be cool). It starts off with muggy lo-fi vocals and a slower tempo to the whirlwind of Squeeki Tiki. The bass line is super sexy as it accompanies the verses. However, the chorus launches with raw vocals and hyper drive distortion that kind of melts your face off.

The album’s fight song is Make It Right. It sounds like a song that James Dean would listen to as he drives down a dirt road, with a baseball bat, because he’s really pissed off. The hand claps and chorus of “oooos” are the highlight of this very cool track.

“With it’s gritty stylings and lyrics, it’s very reminiscent of bruised, bloodied, and cigarette smoking Veronica at the end of ‘Heathers’.”

Not to be confused with rap anthem Nosebleed Section by Hilltop Hoods, Nosebleed Weekend is a track so buzzy with distortion that it may have been recorded in a beehive. The chorus is sardonically brilliant as the girls spit, “It’s alright/yeah it’s okay/got a nosebleed weekend headed your way.” If someone ever sings this song to you, you’re in big trouble! With it’s gritty stylings and lyrics, it’s very reminiscent of bruised, bloodied, and cigarette smoking Veronica at the end of ‘Heathers’ – Most definitely the crowning jewel of the album.

Continuing with the theme of slight aggression is Watch Your Back. This is a fine little number, and super freaking catching. Though threatening, the little hook of “back/you can never go back/you can never go back!” is terrific. With counter melodies, guitar slides, and tribal percussion, this is a real standout track. It also marks the halfway point of the album, and tells the listener that there’s no going back now. You have well and truly entered the ‘nosebleed weekend’.

If you belong to a coven of witches and are looking for an anthem to play to your enemies, then Burn Me is a great contender. The track is so witchy with its dark bass line and riffs that it may put a spell on you. Or maybe a hex. Also, the line “you’re so dramatic/Wishy washy” should also be more frequently used in the common vernacular.

Down Down is not a cover of the Coles’ jingle ad, it’s far cooler than that (although, if Coles did want a grunge makeover and renamed itself just ‘Cole’ then maybe it would work). There’s a lot of angst in this song and some major time signature warping at the midway point. This album, and this track especially, does a really great job of reflecting maddening mood swings. It encapsulates that state of being when you’re angry and sad at the same time, but you don’t want people knowing you’re feeling anything at all. So you brush it off, “It’s just the way that it goes/don’t worry about me/I don’t need you at all”.

“With just enough bite in humour to balance it all out, The Coathangers prove once again that punk is most definitely not dead!”

Hiya is a great little track about longing. Kind of reminiscent of the themes of Boyfriend by Best Coast, “all I want is for you to say hiya”. As you can probably tell, this album is dealing with a lot of strong feelings, which is most definitely reflected in the variance of the sound as much as the lyrics. It changes from sweeping melodies, to angry yelling, to plain gloomy bass lines. It’s a great exploration of the capabilities of lo-fi punk sound.

We end this journey with the viperous Copycat. Urgh. Copycats. Everyone hates those guys. This song is a snarling, snapping criticism of such plagiarists. There also seems to be a hint of a vibraphone, which is very exciting. Although, it could just be a regular glockenspiel. Nevertheless, this song is for sure dedicated to every snake in your life. The best part of this track soars in at about 3:20, with drippy vocals singing praise for Hollywood. It’s such a sarcastic celebration of L.A fakeness, and it’s completely amazing.

Phew! With 13 tracks and a run time of 38 minutes, it really is a quick album. We weren’t kidding when we said to pay attention. Anyway, this a solid little chunk of an album dealing with a lot of emotions in a really empowering way. With just enough bite in humour to balance it all out, The Coathangers prove once again that punk is most definitely not dead!

Album Rating: 4.5

The Coathangers Album Artwork