THE COATHANGERS SLAY ON ‘SCRAMBLE’ DUE IN APRIL

n less than three years, The Coathangers, Julia Kugel (guitar/vocals), Stephanie Luke (drums/vocals), Candice Jones (keyboard/vocals), and Meredith Franco (bass/vocals) have grown from a band of girlfriends buying the cheapest instruments an Atlanta pawn shop could offer, to a group of formidable, adaptable performers. The quartet has shared the stage or toured with bands such as Deerhunter, Atlas Sound, Jay Reatard, The Strange Boys , The Black Lips and The Vivian Girls among others.

Here is the group as a group, an unbreakable unit – the chemistry and magic of all component parts interacting – all the girls or none.

You could look at them and think they’re this way or that, but they will not conform. These are four really different people who have bonded beyond the point of just being friends. You might think you can pin them down, but they don’t care. Their fashion isn’t contrived, their music feels like music for music’s sake because that’s exactly what it is natural, voluntary, spontaneous, impulsive, intuitive and entirely better for it.

“We write all the songs together, trying everything out within a day; we switch instruments, waste time, thrive on building pressure,” says Julia Kugel, “every song is an art project, a starting over, a Scramble.”

Songs like “Bury Me” and “Time Passing” use chanted vocals to approach a kind of personal sloganeering – like Huggy Bear, shot with syncopated voices, but minus the political fury. In “Pussywillow,” the melodic chop of the guitar brings the chorus, “This means nothing to you. It means nothing to me, too. To me, me.” lifting the call-and-response action from bratty disgust to melancholy realization, then back again.

There’s a definitive strength in the scrambled vernacular of the band’s songwriting. Do they bring the party, as rumor has it? Absolutely. It’s an exhausting time. But what these ladies’ have to give, both performing live, and on record, leads to a beautiful exhaustion: a feeling both empty and full, like at the end of intense physical activity, when your body is burned, yet charged.

Strip away the music-biz pretense like that and it leaves you with only the things that are simple, stunning, and true. The Coathangers are one of those things. Start the party.

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