Thursday, March 21, 2013

Suicide Squeeze drops Coathangers/Nu Sensae split, preps new White Woods release

Posted By on Thu, Mar 21, 2013 at 9:35 AM

Atlanta punks the Coathangers pay tribute to the late Derek Shepherd (shown above) with Dereks Song.
  • Courtesy The Coathangers
  • The Coathangers' newest track pays tribute to the late Derek Shepherd (shown above).

While the Coathangers have been tearing up the roads, their label, Seattle's Suicide Squeeze Records, dropped a split single featuring the Atlanta foursome and Vancouver grunge rockers Nu Sensae and announced the April release of a 7-inch by guitarist Julia Kugel's solo project, White Woods.

The Coathangers' offering on the new split, "Derek's Song," is a tribute to Seattle power-pop musician Derek Shepherd, who passed away last August. The band is sadly seasoned now when it comes to eulogizing friends in song, as "Jaybird" from the 2011 album Larceny and Old Lace was about the late Jay Reatard. Lyrically, Stephanie Luke candidly pours her heart out about the life and death of a true rock and roller, admitting at the end that Shepherd and his friends should have "listened to scars." Musically, and seemingly ironically, this is one of the Coathangers' more upbeat tunes, making it one of the strangest juxtapositions of sad lyrics and glad music since the early years of Elvis Costello and the Attractions. Perhaps the intention of this dance-worthy tune is to pay further tribute to Shepherd, whose lasting testament includes a stint with Peter Case produced power-pop outfit Plastic Letters. Assumed intentions aside, "Derek's Song" is one of the sharpest, catchiest, and most honest tunes in the Coathangers' growing musical canon.

Label and split-mates Nu Sensae mix nothing but doom with their gloom on "Throw." Lead singer and bass player Andrea Lukic's frantic vocals cut through a fog that barely conceals a wall of sludgy sound built on the solid drumming of eligible bachelor Daniel Pitout. The group manages on this and earlier tracks to mirror some of its best Pacific Northwest forerunners while still sounding fresh and vital. If songs like this and cuts by scene peers like White Lung and labelmates Peace are any indication, Nu Sensae earned its musical chops in a blossoming scene, just like the Coathangers did locally in 2006.

As the newest Coathangers record is arriving in record stores, one member's second solo offering is being promoted by both Suicide Squeeze and the fashion world. The A-side of Kugel's second 7-inch under the White Woods moniker, "Big Talking," first emerged on the Web last week when it was given a glowing review by the fashionistas at Refinery 29. While Kugel belted out her half of the call-and-response chorus of "Derek's Song," she's much more subdued as a vocalist and guitarist on "Big Talking," which weaves a beautiful sonic dreamscape. "Big Talking" b/w "Corner Town" is available now for pre-order and is expected to drop on April 2.

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