Accidental Guest

Clean Girls – ‘Despite You’ LP
Guitarist Chris Tracy, bassist Stephanie Monohan, and drummer Stephen Reader play in a band called Clean Girls. They work 40+ hours a week in New York City, then come home to cramped apartments in the outer boroughs. Any show they play or studio time they book involves car rentals two ways, and due to the competition for space and resources by every other piece of shit jobber band in town, they can only find time to practice once a week. Despite You was recorded in 10 hours because that’s what they could afford. Then they had to get on the subway the next morning with hundreds of assholes and push their way back to the desk. What you’re hearing on this record is commuter rage, bile ducts welling up, and frustration breaking apart. Maybe it’s transferring onto you, the listener. People do what they gotta do to get it out. Some folks go to the gym, some do yoga, some go online and troll strangers. Some drink or drug themselves into a stupor. Chris, Stephanie and Stephen play in Clean Girls instead. They are their own safety net, trafficking in a brand of heavy, noisome music that was discarded long in the Lower East Side’s rapidly-gentrifying past. These three met at the radio station at the College of William and Mary. Years later, they traded Williamsburg, Virginia for Williamsburg, Brooklyn. The jokes stop there. Following two self-released 12” EPs (2012’s American Mothers and 2013’s Last House), their debut full-length Despite You loads up nothing but skull splitters, eight swings of lumber directed at your teeth, eight reasons to be on your knees, frantically picking through your blood on the floor. Too flailing and wild for hardcore, too focused on a frontal attack to qualify as black metal, the band finds themselves at the same crossroads as did so many outfits at the turn of the ‘90s, too gauche for the past and unable to cram themselves into any labeled box. One arm is stuck in swampy, Southern-inflected doom riffage and the other arm and both feet are flailing in a barrage of blast beats, kinetic feedback, rusty torrents of noise and pained screams trying to break free before that tornado touches down. Oftentimes, they are too late, riffs disintegrating in a greasy cloud of energy and rage as soon as they ring out. On more than one occasion, you can imagine them chewing through that arm and stumbling away into even greater danger. Red-eyed and delirious from the deprivation of the niceties of the Western world, Clean Girls are here to upset you. Despite You blots out the sun in a congested, congealed 31 minutes of unanswered protest. The stress never breaks. The new day must begin, ready or not, until we are all ground into the dirt.


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