The 60s are back in a way you less expected, The Coathangers brings some of the decade’s psychodelic and girl groups elements and mix it with some angsty punk music, the final product is their latest video for “Down Down”.
Go ahead and call The Coathangers a girl group if you like. They won’t mind. Julia “Crook Kid” Kugel and her band-mates are nothing if not students of rock history, and they recognize the great ’60s girl groups for what they were: pioneers, occasional proto-punks, subversives armed with attitude, artists not too sweet to be tough (and vice versa) and loud, clear voices in an industry that hasn’t always been kind to women. Moreover, it’s possible to draw a line straight from the music of tough-minded minimalists like The Shaggs and The Slits straight to the Coathangers’ primeval sound. The Coathangers aren’t running from any of that. They honor their antecedents in the best way possible: with smart, sharp, straightforward, gutsy songs and performances.
But calling the Coathangers a girl group is a little reductive, too. The Atlanta trio has always drawn from a broad range of influences: catchy, brutal ’70s punk, vintage bubblegum pop and movie soundtracks, Motown, garage rock, even confrontational comedy and performance art. That’s all made apparent on Nosebleed Weekend, the band’s fifth album, and one that critic Robert Christgau dubbed a breakthrough. (“Ready to rule American punk,” the Dean wrote of the group in his top-marks review.) “Down Down”, the single from the set, suggests the band has developed a taste for early grunge as well. The Coathangers’ razor wit has always been in place — this is a group that once named a song “Shut The Fuck Up” with less irony than you can imagine — and now their ambition is evident, too. The Coathangers spike “Down Down” with a radical mid-song break in rhythm and groove; it’s audacious and snotty, and it works perfectly.