I have a bigger crush on Potty Mouth than any other band in 2014… by a lot. They are an amalgam of all of the catchiest trends of subversion to come out of ‘90s alt rock. They’re all about the fight to re-write the genders of our society. And they’re super tight with my good buddies in Mean Creek. (And some of them are even into post-structuralism.) I first met the Western Massachusetts quartet last August, about three weeks before their debut LP, Hell Bent, came out on Old Flame Records. At that point they’d already played Philly twice, at the Rotunda and Golden Tea House in West Philly. Since then, they’ve hit up Johnny Brenda’s, Boot & Saddle, and Kung Fu Necktie, during what seemed like a whirlwind year of touring. Well, touring is finally about to wrap June 14th at Silent Barn in Brooklyn, but their second-to-last stop will have them returning to Boot & Saddle this Friday (Friday the 13th, nonetheless) with Swearin’. I recently got a chance to reconnect with Abby and Ally and meet newest member, Ali, to talk about how the band’s evolved since their first LP dropped and what can be expected of their current configuration.
Izzy: So the last time we chatted was last summer. You’ve been through quite a bit since then, with your debut LP officially dropping and a ton of touring. What have been the highlights of the past year?
Abby: We’re in the middle of our first full US tour and it’s been amazing. Getting to play/explore so many new places is definitely a big highlight of this year. We also have a new guitarist, Ali Donohue, so now there are two Ali’s/Ally’s in the band.
Izzy: It’s been a while since Hell Bent has been out, so I’m curious what is currently your favorite track? I fucking love “The Gap.” To me, it sounds like if Liz Phair had been the frontwoman of The Eyeliners (Hopefully that’s not insulting…)
Abby: My favorite song to play off Hell Bent is “The Spins” because the dynamics of the song allow me to move around a lot while playing.
Ali: I really enjoy playing “The Better End.” It’s the only song I sing in Potty Mouth and it’s really fun.
Ally: My favorite song to play off of Hell Bent is probably “Rusted Shut.” It’s just so fast and fun. We usually play it somewhere near the beginning of our set because it’s a really energetic way to start things off. And I love your Liz-Phair-meets-The-Eyeliners reference to “The Gap” – definitely not insulting! Abby’s vocals get the Liz Phair comparison a lot, but I’ve never heard The Eyeliners comparison before. I used to listen to them all the time! Actually just sort of forgot about them until I read your question. Now you’ve inspired me to listen to them again.
Izzy: What are your thoughts on the current state of the music industry? The spirit of riot grrrl seems to be making its presence known more than it has in quite a few years and, not to jinx it, there seem to be more badass (whether sonically or simply existentially) female artists out there than there have been in a while, not to mention Kathleen and Kathi reuniting.
Abby: I still think the music industry is very limited, not just in female musicians but also writers, producers, bookers, etc. It’s great to bring attention to these things but I wish we were at the point where being a woman in this industry wasn’t a novelty.
Izzy: Last time we chatted you mentioned that you were good friends with local peers Mean Creek, who are actually some of my closest friends in music. What do you think of their recently released Local Losers, their most catchy, badass, and “punk” effort yet? The last time I talked to Chris he seemed very excited about the band transitioning into a more aggressive sound, resembling the kinds of acts that they grew up on.
Ally: Mean Creek’s new album rules! My favorite song off the record is definitely “My Madeline.” I love Aurore’s lead guitar parts. They are so incredibly catchy — almost like they were taken straight from some of the best early ‘90s alternative rock songs. There are some parts of the record that also really remind me of X, especially with Chris and Aurore’s dual vocals. I think the band has done a really great job mixing more aggressive ‘70s punk vibes with super hooky ‘90s indie rock sounds.
Izzy: This is a Philadelphia-based publication and you actually played the City of Brotherly Love and Sisterly Affection a number of times over the course of the past year. What are your thoughts on the city? Any particular favorite memories?
Ali: I love Philadelphia even though I don’t spend that much time there. There are so many bands from Philly right now that I’m way into, like Swearin’, Radiator Hospital, Batty, Marge, The Holidays, so Philly holds a special place in my heart for that reason.
Izzy: What do you have planned for the second half of 2014? What are you most excited about?
Abby: We’ve been working on a lot of new material and we plan to record a second full-length this fall.
Izzy: Finally, what would you tell PHILTHY readers to get them to come out to your June 13th show at Boot & Saddle?
Ally: We’ll definitely be playing a few brand new songs at the Boot & Saddle show — and IMOW, they’re a lot better/heavier/catchier than the stuff on Hell Bent. Our new guitarist, Ali, also adds a slightly different vibe to the whole live mix. She tends to use more fuzz than Phoebe did, so even familiar songs from earlier releases might sound a little different. Either way, seeing any band live is always a different experience than just listening to their recorded material — so if you like loud guitars with lots of fuzz, powerful drumming, and non-stop hair whipping — then perhaps you should consider coming to this show. Oh — and Swearin’. Because they RULE.
Izzy: Oh, wait, I just realized that the show is going to be on “Friday the 13th.” What are your thoughts on the pseudo-holiday? Any particular traditions you partake in on the occasion?
Ally: Hm, didn’t even realize that it fell on Friday the 13th! No, we don’t have any weird rituals for the occasion. This show will actually be the second to last show on a five-week tour we’ve been on. So far, it’s been the smoothest, funnest, most problem-free tour we’ve ever been on – so hopefully those good luck vibes will continue despite the superstition surrounding the “holiday.” Thanks!