If you’re very lucky, your average life will be peppered with tiny moments of pure glory and joy, fleeting moments that make you feel incredibly grateful just to have the good fortune of being alive. I’ve had a few of these throughout the course of my time on this planet. I won’t bore you with all of them (many of which involve various experiences with nachos), but the one that is pertinent to this particular edition of Hot Rocks is the one time some dude came up to me at SXSW, looked me up and down, then asked me “Hey, are you in The Coathangers?”
If you don’t know who The Coathangers are, then your life is about to get (at minimum) about 30% better (and you can send your gifts of thanks to my PO Box). Made up of Crook Kid Coathanger on guitar (aka Julia Kugel), Minnie Coathanger on bass (aka Meredith Franco), and Rusty Coathanger on drums (aka Stephanie Luke), The Coathangers are an Atlanta all-girl band that, like many of the best of our generation, started out as a joke in 2006. None of the four girls (former keyboardist Candace Jones is no longer in the group) could play their instruments but that certainly didn’t stop them from using their newly formed band as an excuse to have fun, hang out, and party around Atlanta. Somewhere in the midst of having the best time ever, the girls got the hang of their guitars and drums, and started to write catchy, irreverent punk songs with titles like “Nestle In My Boobies”, building themselves a cult following playing art shows and house parties around town.
Cue to eight years later, and the house party band is touring the world with the likes of …And You Will Know Us by the Trail Of Dead, King Tuff, and hometown pals the Black Lips, and have released four albums and several split 7 inches (with Audacity, Nu Sensae, and Heavy Cream, amongst others). Their latest full-length Suck My Shirt, released earlier this year through their long-time label Suicide Squeeze, really showcases the band’s musical growth: their playing is tighter, their songwriting is melodic and hook-ridden, and the topics are headier (the difficulties of maintaining relationships, the loss of love). But that doesn’t mean they’ve lost any of the piss and vinegar that has fueled their music from day 1. Time and experience may have honed their skills but it certainly hasn’t dulled their aggression or their devil-may-care attitude.
The Coathangers may be all grown up, but they still don’t give a fuck. And if they ever need a tambourine player, I will happily dye my hair back to black and follow them until the end of time.
You can catch The Coathangers playing in Brooklyn at Baby’s All Right on Thursday April 17th and in Manhattan at Mercury Lounge on Friday April 18th, both dates with Audacity