At a time when the record label is no longer king and the term indie now more correlated to a musical genre than to distribution origins, New Jersey noise-rock outfit Screaming Females is working successfully as a DIY project, as it has since its inception in 2007. Bowl-haired, sour-faced singer-guitarist Marissa Paternoster, bassist Mike Rickenbacker and drummer Jarrett Dougherty remain indigenous to—and strong supporters of—the New Brunswick basement scene, a punk-rock platform that’s given birth to everyone from the Bouncing Souls to Vivian Girls. Though it just released its fourth full-length record, Ugly, on hometown imprint Don Giovanni, the trio has long booked its own shows, and self-released all of its previous efforts since 2007’s Baby Teeth.
The group’s sound—an edgy, squalling combination of Sleater-Kinney’s heavy-hitting grrrl vocals and Dinosaur Jr.’s melodically distorted alt rock—is best caught onstage, with the highly energetic, tiny and rather androgynous Paternoster hunched over her guitar as she rawwwks out, sporting (and likely sweating profusely in) a churchy black-and-white collared dress. These dates, hot on the heels of the new album, extend a series of higher-profile shows that have boosted Screaming Females out of New Jersey’s cellars and lofts and into the spotlight. We daresay the group’s getting comfortable with success.—Rachel Brodsky