The Urge to Break Your Skull

The Coathangers' hook and crook

The Urge to Break Your Skull

Atlanta girl gang the Coathangers stole my heart during South by Southwest this year, conjuring memories of two of my favorite bands: the Red Aunts and Thee Headcoatees. All four switched instruments, and all four sang, sounding like they were screaming at each other in a bar.

"It's not really ever planned," says drummer Stephanie Luke of their switch-ups. "In the beginning, we were so busy learning our instruments. Then it was like, 'I don't want to sing and play this. Who wants to do it?' It's whatever suits the song."

Latest album Scramble is a screaming good time, with songs about puking, arthritis, and other assorted day-to-day WTF?-ness. Check them out at Mohawk tomorrow night with locals Woven Bones and La Snacks, and prepare to rage. I asked Luke about the stories behind some of their songs.

"Stop Stomp Stompin'": [Bassist] Meredith [Franco] had this upstairs neighbor who was the tiniest little man, but he would stomp around all day and all night and drive her bonkers. So we wrote this song, then he ended up moving.

"Arthritis Sux": Meredith has rheumatoid arthritis, and it's amazing how she pushes herself. She's the smallest Coathanger, and plays this bass that weighs a billion pounds. It's frustrating for her to deal with that so early in life, so we were like, "Let's get mad about it."

"Gettin' Mad and Pumpin' Iron": I was dating what you would call an asshole for about two years. His name is Travis and you can definitely put that in there. [Guitarist] Julia [Kugel] wrote the song, which was sweet, because she literally wanted to break his fucking face. So, it was a way to release that energy. Our songs aren't changing the world, but the energy we produce are from these real experiences. Every night, no matter how tired we are, we go apeshit because we're feeling it.

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