Track Of The Day: Petrol Girls – ‘Monstrous’

​”This is not all of me / I choose the parts you see” reveals Petrol Girls‘ vocalist Ren Aldridge in the opening lyrics to the band’s latest track, ‘Monstrous’. Stretched over visceral riffs and piston-like percussion, Ren’s lyrics compliment the single’s accompanying video (filmed by Martyna Wisniewska), which shows Ren and her band mates sharing intimate moments both on, and off stage during their tours with Refused, Thrice and La Dispute.

Ren articulately explains the feelings that inspired ‘Monstrous’: “(The track) is about feeling mined and drained and too much and not enough and, ultimately, monstrous. It’s also about how I sometimes feel on stage or on social media. Sometimes I find fronting a feminist band too much pressure from too many different directions.” Whilst Ren’s insecurities are laid bare here, with the band’s cathartic backdrop of noisy guitar and knockout drumming, ‘Monstrous’ feels like a lesson in spine-strengthening self awareness.

Petrol Girls are currently on their UK tour, and are set to headline Oslo in Hackney tonight (16th Jan – event details here). The band will then head to Scotland and Ireland later this month, before heading off to play European shows in February. They’ll also be visiting North America for the first time, where they’ll be playing SXSW and New Colossus later this year. 2020 looks set to be another successful year for these feminist punks.

Watch the video for ‘Monstrous’ below and follow Petrol Girls on Facebook for more updates.

Petrol Girls UK & Ireland Tour Dates 2020
Jan 16: LONDON @ Oslo
Jan 17: NOTTINGHAM @ The Bodega
Jan 18: MANCHESTER @ The Deaf Institute
Jan 19: GLASGOW @ Nice & Sleazy
Jan 21: BELFAST @ McHughs
Jan 22: DUBLIN @ Whelan’s
Jan 23: LIMERICK @ Kasbah Social Club​

Kate Crudgington
@KCBobCut

Track Of The Day: Petrol Girls – ‘Big Mouth’

Always at the forefront when it comes to fighting for equality and fair representation; Petrol Girls have shared a powerful new video for their new single ‘Big Mouth’. Supporting the ongoing defamation case for Solidarity Not Silence – a group of women who are being silenced for speaking out against the behaviour of a man in the music industry – their new single is a necessary shout-back and a call to arms to support their activist sisters.

Vocalist Ren Aldridge explains more about the track’s context: “[Big Mouth] focuses in on voice as a physical sound that comes directly from our bodies, and also more generally as self-expression. There’s a lot of politics around who is heard and what that means, and many marginalised groups are only tolerated when they’re quiet. When they refuse this containment and control, they’re met with attempts to silence them.”

“Just one example of this is the defamation case which aims to silence the Solidarity Not Silence girls…whilst the case is ongoing, we are limited in what we can say about it, but encourage everyone to spread the word and donate to the crowdfunding campaign for their legal costs. They are determined to not allow their case to set a precedent for silencing marginalised voices in the music industry and beyond. There’s no legal aid for this kind of case – they need money to pay for their legal representation in order to pursue justice. You can get a Solidarity Not Silence t-shirt, as worn by Joe in the ‘Big Mouth’ music video, here.”

As well as Ren’s own powerful voice, the new single includes a sample of Poly Styrene’s iconic intro to X-Ray Spex’s ‘Oh Bondage! Up Yours!’- with lyrics that still resonate with activists and musicians over forty years later. ‘Big Mouth’ is taken from Petrol Girls’ upcoming album Cut & Stitch, which will be released on 24th May via Hassle Records. A companion Rough Trade Publishing ‘Edition’, written by Ren, is also available to pre-order via the band’s official store.

The band will be touring extensively from the beginning of May, including in-stores at Rough Trades in the week the album is released, tours with War On Women and La Dispute, plus appearances as festivals like The Great Escape, 2000trees and Roskilde. Watch the video for ‘Big Mouth’ below and follow Petrol Girls on Facebook for more updates.

Kate Crudgington
@KCBobCut

ALBUM: The Joy Formidable – ‘AAARTH’

As guitarist and vocalist Ritzy Bryan explains: AAARTH is what happens when you stop “giving a fuck about things that don’t matter”. The Joy Formidable‘s fourth album is an aural plunge in to freedom and self-exploration, and brims with the trio’s trademark alternative sounds. The record is set to be released via Hassle Records on 28th September.

AAARTH bursts in to life with the sound of ‘Y Bluen Eira’. Sung entirely in Welsh, it’s a powerful, all-encompassing track; permeated by waves of Ritzy’s buzzing guitar, Rhydian’s brooding bass and Matt’s heart-thumping percussion. ‘The Wrong Side’ follows, pushing through with steady grace before the thunderous ‘Go Loving’ breaks in. It’s a solid example of the band’s ongoing ability to pause and punch in all the right places.

Acoustic guitar and distorted bass lines sit perfectly next to each other on ‘Cicada (Land on Your Back)’, whilst Ritzy’s hushed vocals on ‘All In All’ provide a moment for quiet, ambiguous reflection about the “something missing”. The track’s pay off hits at the three minute mark in the form of swirling, atmospheric riffs and crashing drum beats. ‘What For’ bleeds in afterwards, leaving no room for respite. The same can be said for ‘The Better Me’, which rips and roars for just shy of four minutes, and hosts an incredible outro that will be the highlight of future live sets. It’s a song about “self-acceptance, living with your mistakes and appreciating how we all make up the whole and have something different to offer” Ritzy extrapolates.

The melancholy ‘Absence’ follows, acting as a calm interlude before the raucous ‘Dance of the Lotus’ kicks in. It’s easily one of the strongest songs on the record, with its immense drop-ins and wonderful guitar wails. Penultimate track ‘You Can’t Give Me’ rings out with orchestral elements and buzzing guitar for a full five minutes, before ‘Caught On a Breeze’ closes the album with more belting percussion, rumbling bass lines, and filthy guitar riffs.

AAARTH is a fierce new collection of songs that reinforces The Joy Formidable’s seamless ability to keep the momentum going with (what feels like) minimal effort. A decade after the release of their debut EP, A Balloon Called Moaning, the trio are still releasing sharply produced, thunderous sounds that are best appreciated at full volume, or in the flesh on a live platform. Don’t miss out on their in-store gigs at Rough Trade (dates below).

AAARTH is released on September 28th on CD, LP, limited boxset, Indie retail exclusive vinyl & Rough Trade exclusive vinyl. Pre-order here.

The Joy Formidable Live Dates 2018
Sept 29 – Rough Trade in-store, Nottingham
Sept 30 – Rough Trade in-store, Bristol
Oct 01 – Rough Trade in-store, London East

Kate Crudgington
@KCBobCut

EP: Petrol Girls – ‘The Future Is Dark’

Defiant, driven, and militant in their cause to give the voices of their sisters a platform; Petrol Girls have shared their latest EP The Future Is Dark (released via Hassle Records). It’s a blistering collection of anti-patriarchy, anti-capitalist anthems that will inspire listeners to stand up, speak out, and be counted.

The EP is named after a Virginia Woolf quote that writer Rebecca Solnit uses as a starting point for her essay ‘Woolf’s Darkness’, in Men Explain Things To Me. Solnit writes about accepting uncertainty and not fearing the dark or the unknown. Her sentiments reflect Petrol Girls’ unwavering belief in the strength of sisterhood, and speaking out against oppression.

The riotous ‘Survivor’ opens the record, and is inspired by the growing movement against sexual violence. Vocalist Ren’s powerful voice declares “It was my anger that kept me alive” over thrashing guitar riffs and heart-thumping percussion. It’s another much needed shout-back track, dismantling the damage caused by pervasive and traumatising sexual assaults. The slightly softer, but equally as striking ‘Sister’ follows – championing the power of sisterhood. It’s a reminder to cherish and nurture relationships with sisters from all walks of life.

The track ordering on The Future Is Dark sends just as seminal a message as the individual songs that form it. It begins with feelings of anger and isolation (‘Survivor’), fades in to relief, support and recovery (‘Sister’), before closing track ‘Strike’ reinforces the need to keep fighting, and to persevere against forces that continue to oppress us all (even if you fuck up from time to time).

Petrol Girls are experts at taking their anger and transforming it in to a force for change, self-expression, and most importantly – reassurance for listeners who need love and guidance in such turbulent political times. The future may be dark, but with Petol Girls around, it’s certainly not void of hope.

Order your copy of The Future Is Dark here.
Follow Petrol Girls on Facebook for more updates.

Kate Crudgington
@KCBobCut