Screaming Females Play at Toad's Place on Oct. 9

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Screaming Females

8 p.m. Oct. 9. Toad's Place, 300 York St. $10. (203) 624-TOAD, toadsplace.com.

 

Screaming Females have only been home for a day after a two-and-a-half week European tour, so Marissa Paternoster is just slightly off her diurnal schedule. The jet-lagged 23-year-old guitarist/vocalist is fairly ragged after a relentless overseas pace and time shift on the return trip.

"The way back is weird because you go back in time," says Paternoster from her New Brunswick, N.J., home. "I was up until what felt like 4 a.m. and it was really 9 p.m., so, yeah, I feel awful."

Paternoster is hesitant to hang a tag on Screaming Females' latest tour, but the circuit has specific focal points. Primarily, the New Jersey punk trio is road testing songs for their impending fifth album, the follow-up to last year's Castle Talk, tweaking the material in advance of their December recording sessions.

"We're looking to play our new songs and have them develop identities," says Paternoster. "We'll get them good and tight so when we record, we'll be able to give them the best performance that we possibly can."

Another possible angle involves the band's first two albums, 2006's Baby Teeth and 2007's What If Someone Is Watching Their T.V.?, which are being reissued on vinyl by their label, Don Giovanni. Given the long out-of-print works' early October release date, it's natural to assume the Females will reintroduce some early songs into their repertoire.

"That's a really good idea," says Paternoster with a laugh. "We play a different set list every night, and aside from playing newer stuff to hone that material, we usually play one or two songs from the first two albums but not many. Now that the reissues are coming out, maybe we should play a little bit more."

Screaming Females have been perpetually busy since their 2005 formation, when Paternoster and bassist Mike "King Mike" Abbate were still in high school; older drummer Jarrett Dougherty came slightly later. The band was an immediate sensation in the city's underground house show network, where gigs are held in private homes to circumvent the 21-plus bar scene; they quickly expanded to the East Coast and the rest of the country.

"It's weird to grow into adulthood in such a unique situation and actually having that rare opportunity to do exactly what you wanted to do in your youth," says Paternoster. "I'm really grateful and happy to, as corny as it sounds, fulfill a dream. We've been touring and playing music together for six years. It's an intense relationship; it's like having a job, but you eat, sleep and spend every waking minute with the same people. The longer we've been together, the better we've gotten at spending time together without wanting to kill each other."

The trio's DIY ethic was evident when they self-released their first two albums, signing with Don Giovanni in 2009 for their third, Power Move. Last year, just before the release of Castle Talk, Paternoster released her debut solo album as Noun, garnering as much glowing press as the Females' albums.

"I was interning at the studio where I made the record, so whenever the engineer and I had free time, we would do the Noun stuff for fun," says Paternoster. "It just happened every so often, so it turned out taking a really long time; there wasn't any deadline or demand for it, it was just fun, but it turned out really well. I was really happy with it."

Screaming Females' pummeling sound combines the thunderous yet supple rhythm section of Abbate and Dougherty and Paternoster's incredible ability to harness power, dissonance and melody, reminiscent of similarly gifted players like Sylvia Juncosa, Carrie Brownstein, Curt Kirkwood and Kurt Cobain.

"This might be lame, but my primary influence was probably Billy Corgan. That's why I wanted to have this grandiose guitar sound, like Boston or something," says Paternoster laughing. "When I was 15, I found out about Sleater Kinney and Bikini Kill and I was like, 'I don't want to listen to this egomaniacal guitar tripe anymore, I want to be punk.' So I started listening to X and Pylon and Huggy Bear and getting into being real. Listening to Smashing Pumpkins and Radiohead when I was a kid, reaching peaks of success like that was unfathomable. I thought, 'I'll never be like those people, especially since I'm a girl.' But when I learned about punk, I was like, 'Screw those guys anyway, I can play whatever I want.' The combination of those two elements kind of led to the way I play."


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