Earlier this year, we told you about Screaming Females and their latest contribution to the music world: a Steve Albini recorded live album, Live At The Hideout. It hasn’t been an excruciating amount of time since the album announcement, though it may have felt like it for some fans, but the wait is now over and the band has proven their worth once again.
Screaming Females are widely regarded by fans as a live band. Their studio stuff is killer, but where they really slay is the stage so it only seemed fair that they put out a live album to really drive that notion home. With thirteen songs topping out at just over an hour, Live At The Hideout takes you to a dingy club in Chicago and makes you feel as if you’re at risk of taking a fist or two to the eye.
The album starts on an interesting note with a minute long introduction that focuses more on a story about the MC’s jacket and his baseball history than the band. Once you get past the appropriately titled MC Intro, the band kicks into Leave It All Up To Me, a well-loved hit from their 2012 release ugly. They already prove with the first track that they’re not the kind that will calmly pump out stale sounding studio copies. Instead, they tease, they jam, they fool around. They also happen to have one of the most talented guitarists out there right now, and she gets time to shine.
One such example of the guitar prowess comes with Lights Out. The song leaked online days ago and gave fans another taste of Screamales’ all around talent. Marissa Paternoster nearly blows out her voice, screaming as only she can, but if anything can top that howl, it would be her guitar work. Taking a lengthy solo on the last leg of the song, Paternoster leads her bandmates through a fast paced jam before drawing out the last breaths of the song. If you listen closely, you can hear bassist Michael Abbate matching her speed as he plucks out a new melody all on his own. Just as you think the song is over, a little voice informs the crowd that the band is indeed Screaming Females from New Brunswick, New Jersey.
It’s hard to believe that same shy speaking voice is the same one that wails throughout the rest of the album, truly powering through on Starve The Beat. You can almost hear as she wraps her mouth around the microphone.
While the rest of the album powers on, we all get a quick break with Little Anne, a song that the band has recently been throwing into setlists in order to gradually start their encores. Perhaps it was also meant as a break for Paternoster’s voice, which was sounding slightly strained by the set’s finale as the band reached the 2007 fan favorite Boyfriend. The song typically ends with a lengthy screaming session, featuring the lyrics, “While you sit on the fence, I will burn in hell.” Instead, you can hear Paternoster step back from her mic and take some pauses to gain control.
In all of its glory, I will say that one poor element of the album was the sound quality. While Live At The Hideout definitely sounds better than any bootleg or YouTube rip you can score, it all comes across a little flat. If you’ve ever had the pleasure of seeing the band for yourself, you’ll know that sharp, crashing cymbals are a staple of their live sound. Screaming Females are lucky to have a great drummer in Jarrett Dougherty and it was unfortunate to not have a deeper range to listen to.
That aside, Screamales have definitely given the world a taste of their authenticity.
Live At The Hideout officially comes out on April 8th but if you order it now, you can already download the album from the Don Giovanni Records website. And if the album isn’t enough for you, there is also a chance to catch the band on the road as they embark on their tour with the Julie Ruin.
Reviews published prior to February 23, 2015 used a 1-5 star rating system.