We’ll just go right into it: This EP is incredible.
Psychic Dance Routine, the new EP released by Scowl on April 7, is a tour de force in the hardcore scene. There are tried-and-true hardcore elements to the band’s songs like fast guitar licks and the distinct punk drum style, but Scowl is refreshing what it means to be a hardcore band in 2023.
Scowl, hailing from Santa Cruz, CA, mixes 1960s Go-go dancing aesthetic with leader singer Kat Moss’ knee high boots and Bridgette Bardot-like hair, and the classic Doc Martens and black skinny jeans of the band, defining their own unique aesthetic. Their style only emboldens their hardcore sound.
Kat’s vocal range is showcased throughout the 5-song record, even starting out on the opening track “Shot Down.” The song comes in hard and fast with guitar slides and a low bassline produced by the band composed of guitarists Malachi Greene and Mikey Bifolco, bassist Bailey Lupo and drummer Cole Gilbert. Kat’s vocals growls into the intro and seamlessly transitions to a different vocal technique with unsettling ease during the chorus; the band follows tout suite, with a melodic sound that contrasts the hard-and-fast style of the first verse. The narrative of “Shot Down” seems to toggle between fear and anger, one compounding onto the other: ‘I want to impress, impressive sound’ and ‘hate you right now.’ Kat’s growls show the frustration, and she even screams it into the mirror in the music video.
Whether it be the steady growl through the societal obsession with technology in “Wired,” or the natural, even tone of “Opening Night,” Kat’s vocals soar over the technical talent of the band.
Watch the music video for “Shot Down” below.
Scowl, part of the “40831 scene”–a name that combines the area codes of the Santa Cruz area with that of Silicon Valley–brings a diverse range and is one of the reasons California’s hardcore scene is thriving in its new era with bands like Bay Area hardcore Drain or Southern California’s soul-infused five-piece band Zulu. Kat’s storytelling is clear that she is speaking to the listeners about her experience performing.
Kat tells Revolver Magazine: “My perspective of being consumed as the version of myself that is ‘performing’ has shifted dramatically, while simultaneously grappling with the experience of being a feminine artist in a world that doesn’t always take you seriously.”
“I made an effort to change perspectives back and forth lyrically because I felt that would have the most impact with the message I was trying to convey.”
This is just the beginning for Scowl. They just finished up a full United States tour with Jesus Piece, Zulu, and Show Me The Body, will be playing Coachella later this month, and have shows scheduled for the United Kingdom, Australia, and more! Check out their website (here) to buy tickets!