Robert Christgau: Dean of American Rock Critics

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The Coathangers

  • The Coathangers [Rob's House, 2007] **
  • Scramble [Suicide Squeeze, 2009] A-
  • Larceny & Old Lace [Suicide Squeeze, 2011] **
  • Suck My Shirt [Suicide Squeeze, 2014] A-
  • Nosebleed Weekend [Suicide Squeeze, 2016] A-
  • Live [Suicide Squeeze, 2018] **
  • The Devil You Know [Suicide Squeeze, 2019] A-

Consumer Guide Reviews:

The Coathangers [Rob's House, 2007]
The reason they're so mad is they just want to have fun ("Nestle in My Boobies," "Parking Lot"). **

Scramble [Suicide Squeeze, 2009]
Limited chops combined with sizable brains propel these Atlanta girlfriends toward a minimalist aesthetic--postpunk in the angular Gof4 tradition that femme bands long ago realized left room to squeeze high voices in edgewise. The hooks are riffs or chants rather than tunes, and no less catchy for that. Usually these women are mad but sometimes they're sweet and often they're droll. The sound is so scrawny it can wear on you, meaning their 34-minute album is probably two songs too long. But there's only one I'd scrap. A-

Larceny & Old Lace [Suicide Squeeze, 2011]
The meat remains, the sauce does not ("Go Away," "Jaybird") **

Suck My Shirt [Suicide Squeeze, 2014]
Their keyboard player threw it in seven years after they started learning their instruments, and who can blame her? In rock and roll, the chasm between a lark and a career is wider than ever. So the other three women plighted a troth with their catchiest, toughest, angriest, most sexual batch of songs yet--a few times they're even sweet, which I always sensed they had in them because they always preferred passion to cool. Unlike some promising bands I could name but won't (who might TPC be? SSG? CYHSY at a stretch?), they don't think punk is the gateway to prog. Johnny Ramone and Kathleen Hanna, we thank you. NOW and NARAL too. A-

Nosebleed Weekend [Suicide Squeeze, 2016]
Although they have the balls to open their breakthrough album with the midtempo songpoem "Perfume," this all-woman Atlanta trio are ready to rule American punk, as they proved when they set a roomful of Bushwick coolsters moshing on April Fool's Eve. Live or on record, hoo-hooing guitarist Julia Kugel and gravel-voiced drummer Stephanie Luke are happy to cheerlead a happy mob through three-chord dithyrambs of fury, frustration, and love hard love: "Hiya," "Dumb Baby," "Make It Right," you bet. Of course there are slower ones--even the Ramones did slower ones. "Perfume" could turn into a singalong quick. A-

Live [Suicide Squeeze, 2018]
As ever, it's easier to be a great live band than to make a great live album, but fans will love how rough this is--I do ("Watch Your Back," "Hurricane," "Squeeki Tiki") **

The Devil You Know [Suicide Squeeze, 2019]
Improbably matured into punk careerism, this initially amateur, always all-female quartet-turned-trio has slowed down by an estimated half a tad. But not counting the anthemic "F the NRA" (right, they don't actually say "F"), the lyrics--to the disinherited "5 Farms," the disconnected "Bimbo,"' the homophilic "Hey Buddy," the junkiephobic "Stranger Danger," the lithium-enabled "Lithium"--don't clear up until you consult a cheat sheet. This doesn't matter much for three reasons: because they have the gift of catchy, because we always feel they're on our side, and because splitting the vocal leads between stentorian baritone drummer Stephanie Luke and squeaky soprano guitarist Julia Kugel-Montoya imparts a dynamic range and novelty value matched by no other punk band, grrrl or otherwise. A-

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