Personal is the political for riotous punk band The Coathangers
- Credit: Archant
Hailing from Atlanta, there’s something quite endearing about the ramshackle way The Coathangers have crashed towards their fourth albums, Suck My Shirt.
The three piece punk band – consisting of bassist Mereditch Franco (aka. Minnie Coathanger), guitarist Julia Kugel (Crook Kid Coathanger) and drummer Stephanie Luke (Rusty Coathanger) – originally formed in 2006 alongside now-departed keyboardist Candice Jones on a whim during nights spent together drinking margaritas and listening to records.
Having barely rehearsed for their initial shows, the group nonetheless found fans in garage rock group The Black Lips, who invited them on tour and set them on course to bring their raw yet sweetly melodic guitar sound to the masses.
“We’re quite nice people, you guys probably shouldn’t advertise that,” says Kugel ahead of their show at the Shacklewell Arms this Saturday. “But when it comes down to it, Atlanta’s quite a tough town.
“You have to be on guard and not get taken advantage of on the streets – people get shot. So we already come from an attitude of, ‘F*** you man, what, you want a fight? My friend will cut you!’”
In playfully-named hits such as Don’t Touch My S***, Nestle In My Boobies and the brilliant new single Drive, there is a distinct British tang to their punk roots and Kugel admits a passion for bands like Gang of Four – “a more cerebral takes on the punk ideology”.
Another obvious attribution of their sound could be made to the Riot Grrrl groups of the early 90s, though The Coathangers do feel their all-girl lineup too often sees them looked to as modern day spokespeople for the movement’s ideals.
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“We’ve all had to bone up on our Riot Grrrl knowledge because we, for some reason because we’re female musicians, are supposed to be experts on feminism, female punk rock, Riot Grrrl and that stuff.
“When we starting getting interviews, people were like, ‘You don’t know this?’ and I was like, ‘No I don’t, because I didn’t start a band to answer a bunch of questions about feminism!’”
Such objections aside however, the brand of angst-laden rock captured on Suck My Shirt, which is out now, shows the band are really quite happy to kick against any oppressive walls of society – as long as it’s on their own terms.
“I think it ends up being the personal is political,” says Kugel. “You don’t have to say f*** the government or whatever, you just kind of live it and it ends up being political. I don’t have to say I’m a feminist, I am a feminist because I’m doing whatever the f*** I’m doing.”
The Coathangers play the Shacklewell Arms this Saturday (Nov 15). Visit shacklewellarms.com.