Bad Canoes - Sisterhood is Powerful (Cover Artwork)
Staff Pick

Bad Canoes

Sisterhood is Powerful (2014)


What makes Bad Canoes' debut EP so exhilarating it that it embodies the very spirit of punk rock itself without falling prey to any of the trappings. Rarely do debut come this fully formed.

Featuring Marissa Paternoster of Screaming Females on vocals, the band eschews the traditional guitar/bass/drums set up of standard punk and leans more towards the frantic, spastic, side of early Sunset Strip punk. Songs aren't presented as morality lessons or even as coherent tales. On "Doggie Bone" Paternoster shreds her vocal chords with a blood curdling scream before howling "Do you, do you, do you dare me to eat/ doggie bone!" The song could be about the non—event of a dog being hungry, it could just be spasmodic collection of shouts, or it could be the ploy of someone operating at a higher level of understanding. Just like Black Randy's "I slept in an arcade" or the Screamers' "Vertigo" you could study these tracks for weeks and still not totally get what's going on— but something is undoubtedly there.

Paternoster is on fire. She flicks her vocal delivery between all manner cadences. One moment she's screaming like a murder victim, and then, on "6666" she adopts a chilling tone while she details her Satan—baby before suddenly snapping to an almost—Janis Joplin wail. It also helps that as she approaches the top end of her lungs, her throat flickers, making her sound like a bird, similar to the famous style of the titanic Ari Up.

But, this isn't only Paternoster's show. The band, which is a drum, bass, and keyboard bring their A—game. At times, when the keyboard takes over, the band sounds sort of like the soundtrack to a demented funeral home. On "D'arcy's Boots," the drums and bass lock together in a winding grove that is loopy, snappy, and has tumbling rumble of Mike Watt. Often, less traditional bands will have one instrument take over the proceedings. Not so here. This band is four ladies all on the same page, operating at optimal creativity. This band is weird, wild, and dangerous.

Without question, one of the most exciting debuts of 2014.