Fresh Tracks! – The Dead Women / Vier
by Tony Porreco
Welcome to Fresh Tracks, a new column where we here at Hometown Sounds highlight the latest in noteworthy releases from DC artists.
For the first installment of Fresh Tracks we present Vier, the debut studio release from punk dynamos The Dead Women. German for the number “four”, the EP’s title embodies a clear reference to Vier’s four songs. But the word is pronounced “fear”, so we can only wonder if there’s any relationship between the way you say the album title aloud, and The Dead Women’s dark, nervous punk rock. Vier will be available for streaming exclusively here at Hometown Sounds for its first two days in the world, but will be available for download at the group’s Bandcamp page beginning on August 14th. Enjoy!
Recorded and mixed by Michael Dawson at Elohino Productions.
Cover art and photograph by Nancy McInerney.
Written and performed by The Dead Women.
1. “Trouble Breathing”
2. “Arms and Legs”
4. “I Am Delusional”
About the Album
All of Vier was written during ’11 and ‘12 (the first year following the band’s formation), but previously existed only in the form of rougher demos. Wanting to document some of their earliest material with a strong set of recordings, The Dead Women found themselves driving north to Lincoln Park, New Jersey this past April to work with Michael Dawson at Elohino Productions. (Mark Pry, drummer for The Dead Women, met Dawson during a period when they were both freelance contributors for Modern Drummer Magazine.)
Vier begins with “Trouble Breathing”, a track based on a choppy, syncopated guitar riff and a brooding set implying a narrative of finding oneself pitted against the odds. The verse’s vocal melody and drums fit neatly inside the space carved out by guitar parts, resulting in a bumpy rhythm that achieves the sonic equivalent of rolling over bumpy terrain. It’s the number vocalist/guitarist Mark McInerney says regularly evokes the biggest response when the band plays the DC club circuit.
“Arms and Legs” and “I Am Delusional” both channel the aggressiveness and zip of punk standard bearers such as Bad Religion and Social Distortion, but with the twist of a sound that eschews these bands’ domineering guitar crunch in favor of tones with more fuzzy mid range.
The one real curveball on Vier is “Summer”, a lilting 3/4 ballad whose lyrics pair recollections of relational frustration with the observation of how the heat of the months can feel like an insufferable eternity. This unlikely pairing of experiences function as a poignant reminder of how simultaneously experiencing multiple life stressors can be so much worse than running into them independently of one another.
Despite its brevity, Vier is a release that doesn’t skimp on the details of a good recording, whether it’s the extra texture of the acoustic guitar that springs up in the verse of “I Am Delusional” or McInerney’s layered vocals (either doubled or harmonized), which are spread tastefully over the EP, and lend the tracks a distinct bite.
Concerning what’s next for The Dead Women, the release of Vier is really just the start of a continued flurry of activity for the band. They’ve booked studio time at Beat Babies Recording Studio (Woodstock, MD) for 8/31 and 9/1, where they plan to punch out a live recorded full length. On the subject of differences between the tracks on Vier and the songs the band plans to record next, according to McInerney, you can expect an even heightened emphasis on time signatures (one of the songs is in 5/4!), dynamics, and tempo. “[These] are all important factors in my songwriting now because I know we’re capable of doing it well. Earlier on it was more about writing a catchy tune. And that is what’s reflected in this EP.”
A week after their recording session, they’re slated to perform at the 35th Annual Adams Morgan Day Festival alongside other prominent DC acts such as Ugly Purple Sweater, Asheru, and Paperhaus. In the more immediate term, catch them this Wednesday at DC9 with Möbius Strip, opening for Austin, TX indietronica act The Octopus Project. Also in the meantime, be sure to stop by AdMo’s The Black Squirrel on Sunday evenings, where the band curates and hosts an excellent and increasingly popular live music series.