The Coathangers - Nosebleed Weekend (Cover Artwork)
Staff Pick

The Coathangers

Nosebleed Weekend (2016)

Suicide Squeeze

The Coathangers do not give a fuck now, nor have they ever. But what started as a joke seamlessly developed into a credible band. With Nosebleed Weekend, the trio delivers tighter, stronger and more confident songs than ever before.

On their first experience recording outside Atlanta (and in Los Angeles), The Coathangers still play primarily garage punk but lace it with other influences, most noticeably surf rock riffs (and in one instance a destroyed squeaky toy). Singer/guitarist Julia Kugel has always played simple melodies, choosing memorable repetitive single notes or chords. That’s not to say she doesn’t let loose when the opportunity presents itself, such as on “Excuse Me?” She’s allowed this freedom because of her band mates. Meredith Franco’s bass lines remain muscular as ever (“Watch Your Back”) as does Stephanie Luke’s drumming. Both are constantly adjusting to whatever a song calls for, even the softer “Copycat.” Contrast is a word that so perfectly defines The Coathangers. Luke and Kugel’s vocals are so different from one another but are effective in their own rights. Luke’s deep, powerful voice is the more outright threatening while Kugel’s happily plays innocent. That is, before absolutely devouring your ears. She’s like multiple voices in your head but with all of them acting as the devil. “Down Down,” the album’s best track, and the aforementioned “Excuse Me?” demonstrate the control these women have in even the most cacophonous states.

While rooted in strength, Nosebleed Weekend is not without its vulnerability. Early songs tout a bratty attitude such as, “I still love you, darling, but you’re so dumb, looking like a little baby, should be sucking your thumb.” But the devil-may-care brashness turns somber as the record progresses. When Luke sings, “I ain’t mad, I’m feeling down [...] that’s the way that it goes” you can feel both her pain and apathy hitting all at once. The lyrics aren’t positive, usually quite the opposite. But they’re delivered with such bravado, it’s easy to overlook the deeper meaning.

The Coathangers have remained underground for too long, even after their last two excellent releases. Hopefully their fifth album changes that. They are so unique and unforgiving but without losing what makes them enjoyable. Nosebleed Weekend couldn’t have been made by any other band. Frankly, it couldn’t have been made by The Coathangers five years ago. This is the result of three women who have perfected their sound, now it’s our job to listen.