October 3, 2012

EP: Potty Mouth - Sun Damage

Four girls from Massachusetts started your new favorite band. 

Critics love to create parallels between old and new artists. And because there have been countless independent movements and questionably-named genres in the last half-century, critics have more material than ever to draw connections between, for example, an obscure band from the sixties and a new garage rock, lo-fi band. Every review I've read of Western Massachusetts four piece Potty Mouth has cited at least two other bands. The comparisons range from the older with riot grrrl veterans Team Dresch and Bratmobile to the more recent with one critic finding veins of Grass Widow pulsing in their music. I'm not saying any of this is bad – all of the bands mentioned are incredible artists and could have acted as influences for the girls. Maybe it's because of my younger age and my music knowledge is only so vast, but what I heard in Potty Mouth was something entirely new and unique to our generation.

Potty Mouth is composed of girls Abby, Victoria, Phoebe, and Ally and have been around for just about a year. Their first EP just came out this summer on a joint venture between Ride the Snake (also home of THE LE SIGH favorite CUFFS), Puzzle Piece Records, and Feeble Minds Records. Titled "Sun Damage", the cover of the record depicts each girls as a pastel colored skeleton and one even sports the London's Girls Get Busy's logo on a denim vest. And in a way, that image kind of embodies the whole sound of the record - sweet, but also pretty tough. They might have the same punk roots as riot grrrls past, but they employ a more controlled sound that gives way to occasional yelps and sing-a-longs. It's hard to pinpoint their exact sound – think nineties indie darkness, some surf rock guitar, and maybe a tiny bit of Courtney Love (lead singer Abby sounds a little bit like her). On the opening track, "Hazardville", vocalist Abby laments on living in suburbia and sings, "This is my town/it's one big sleeping pill." Hey, that sounds like where we're from. The topics Potty Mouth sings about are issues any girl can relate to – "Kids" is a stubborn statement on not wanting to grow up and despite "Superfriends'" positive title, it sounds like it's about a friend or a significant other who is kind of an asshole. But, Potty Mouth isn't always serious – "Dog Song" is literally just about a dog, who I'm assuming is Lilly, the dog credited in the vinyl's packaging as "the original lonely girl" and whose image makes an appearance on Potty Mouth's t-shirts.

The final song on the 12" EP is "Girls XL", the song that could be considered the most overt riot grrrl reference. Over the four girls thrashing, Abby sings (and howls), "I won't apologize/for doing what I like/For getting in the way/Of a man's a play." Although this song is wonderfully girl positive, Potty Mouth hasn't specifically identified themselves as a riot grrrl band. And they don't have to. In 2012, it's been almost twenty years since the original movement and girls are constantly wishing they weren't infants when it first took place. But we now live in a time where bands like Potty Mouth, and many other bands and musicians, can casually sing about feminism without making a specific statement about it. It's not as strange or rare for a band to be solely composed of girls as it once was. And that's pretty huge.

Basically, Potty Mouth might be my new favorite band and my roommates are probably going to kill me for listening to this EP so many times (little do they know it's to subconsciously jump start our impending band).


Support Potty Mouth in all kinds of forms on their bandcamp.

Written by Emily Thompson