The Universal Truth of Screaming Females

The Universal Truth of Screaming Females

words & photos: Ansley Lee

These are the facts:  Screaming Females is a punk rock band from New Brunswick, New Jersey comprised of Marissa Paternoster, Jarrett Dougherty and (King) Mike Abbate. They’ve been a band for thirteen years and All At Once (out Friday) is their seventh studio album. 

Throughout their musical career the appeal of Screaming Females has remained apparent. Their music lends itself to an ambiguity and over arching truth that manifest from a moral compass for inclusivity and accessibility. “I think what I can say is that as I’ve grown older and we’ve been band for thirteen years, I’m not very interested in it singing about myself or my life, and I want to be able to make the kind of songs that everyone can dip their toes into and be interested in, across a wide spectrum of people who come from different places and have different life experiences and that’s definitely something that I’m thinking about lyrically for every song," Paternoster said.

Listening to Screaming Females is a break from existential emotional labor, to take on something that’s more of an observation than a emotional exploration. All At Once is a collection of experiences, that speaks to many rather than a singular. Lyrically, the record approaches narrative from an archetypical stance and is open to the inconclusive. 

"The time we spend at home with personal experiences is so limited so it’s really hard to draw a picture of what your personal life is like, because your personal life just becomes being in a band, which is totally interesting, it’s just like- is that what I want our songs to be about?" Paternoster asked. "Not really- I’m not sure it’s universally relatable or interesting for our listeners”

There’s an overall intention that links each song together. It’s an invitation to sit and watch, rather than experience, which garners empathy through showing and not telling. That, in itself, is reflective of the band’s live shows. Shows are high energy and expressive and engages participation in the spectacle. And this latest record is an invitation for anyone and everyone listening to partake in a form of that magic. 

Lastly, if you need a pick-me-up here’s a clip of Paternosterand I talking about her dog: