If you’ve ever needed a song to listen to quickly in a bar bathroom while plotting your escape from The Worst First Date Ever, consider Sharkmuffin‘s pissed-off garage-punk homage to the courting ritual, “First Date.” Atop a minute-long rage blackout of distortion, vocalists Tarra Thiessen and Natalie Kirch harmonize sweetly before telling off “drunk bros who just wanted to fuck.” Flavorwire is pleased to premiere the song, off the Brooklyn band’s forthcoming debut LP, Chartreuse.
“First dates have come a long way from my pre-teen ideal of going to the mall, goofing around, and then chatting on AIM later that evening,” Thiessen says. “These days, with everyone swiping right for love, they’re defined by the first day I try to take someone home or vice versa. I actually don’t have too many fun disaster stories, except for that one time a dude pissed in my brand new bed, and that wasn’t even on the first date.”
Kirch hasn’t fared much better: “My worst date that comes to mind was with a friend of a friend’s boyfriend. I met him briefly at a potluck and he seemed nice enough. Turns out he had no passion or drive, thought Gone With the Wind was about wolves, and that telling me there was a ‘bitchiness about me’ that he ‘found attractive’ was a compliment. He gained a couple of friend points when he bluntly commented on the fact that we were not hitting it off at all. He promptly lost those points when he still tried to sleep with me after.”
As Nora Ephron famously proclaimed, “Everything is copy.” And so, life’s emotional shrapnel comes to define Sharkmuffin’s raw and rowdy debut, which features such tracks as “Tampons Are For Sluts” (which is somehow not already the name of a Tacocat song).
“Chartreuse is mine and Natalie’s favorite color, but it’s also a liqueur whose recipe is only known by two monks, and each monk only knows half the recipe and has to keep it a secret,” Thiessen says. “All the tracks are really bright, in your face, and obvious like the color, but all lyrically deal with relationship dynamics involving things that for better or worse were hidden from each other.”
Musically, Chartreuse draws inspiration from bands like The White Stripes, The Ronettes, Nirvana, and Hole. As coincidence would have it, the latter band’s former drummer, Patty Schemel, would help the band reach total relentlessness in sound. When their drummer Janet LaBelle injured her arm prior to the band’s West Coast tour and recording sessions last February, Kirch and Thiessen spread word for a session drummer in Los Angeles. Schemel reached out.
“When I was 12, Hole and Nirvana were the first music videos I ever downloaded off KazZaA, and I remember the moment I saw her drumming and feeling like, ‘Holy shit, that is the most powerful and sexy thing I’ve ever seen, and I have to be in a band,'” Thiessen says. “So it completely blew my mind when she emailed us after her friend Bonnie saw the Facebook post that we needed a drummer for a session and a couple shows. I even joked about that happening a couple days earlier when we first found out Janet might not make it. I was like, ‘Maybe Patty Schemel still lives in LA, how can we get her number?’ The universe was listening!”
Sharkmuffin’s Chartreuse is out August 7 via State Capitol/Little Dickman Records.