Lead vocalist and guitarist of Screaming Females, Marissa Paternoster, names influences that most indie rockers wouldn't whisper to their friends. She said that she spent her formative years "like most teenagers" listening to Nirvana and that she had one long period when she listened to almost nothing but The Smashing Pumpkins.
But this kind of information just goes with the territory for Screaming Females, which is an unapologetic alternative rock trio that just happens to write really great songs in a genre that most music fans see as being left for the dogs.
When I first heard their music, I thought, "Wow! This group has a great vocalist and a great guitarist."
But then I watched one of the band's hilarious videos (check out the B-movie-flavored "It All Means Nothing" on YouTube) and realized that those two fantastic musicians were one person. Paternoster has the vitality of Karen O and the shredding capability of Nick Zinner (Yeah Yeah Yeahs members), all wrapped into one 5-foot-1-inch package.
The most exciting thing about this band, for me, is that none of their moves seem calculated. The rocking riffs, the spiraling solos, the gothic vocals, the nihilistic worldview - it all makes perfect sense for musicians who grew up in the '90s listening to Soundgarden and Sleater Kinney. They're not trying to play '80s cause it's cool, they're not trying to incorporate dub-step cause it's new, they're just playing what they want to play and kicking ass with it.
Just listen to "Ugly" and enjoy fun, epic rock done well. And then realize that they have four more full-length albums that you probably haven't heard yet.
DOWNLOAD NOW: "It All Means Nothing," "Doom 84."