Step Sisters just released the music video for “Waste My Head,” from their Berserker album. The title of the album is appropriate, signifying the harsh-textured energy radiating from the band’s music, which slides neatly into the noise rock (aka noise punk, aka scuzz-rock) genre. Although frankly, the label noise rock is annoying, condescending, and imprecise. For what it’s worth, I prefer garage punk.
Step Sisters started out as The Volts, the musical project of Nate Smith (drums) and Adam Swafford (guitar, vocals), who, in 2014, were on the hunt for musicians to fill out the band. Enter Matt Johanson (bass) and Clint Wilson (guitar, vocals) who were invited to take part in a practice session cum try-out. The result was instant chemistry and shortly thereafter The Volts were playing venues in Nashville.
For whatever reason, The Volts tag was changed to The Polish Falcons, followed by Step Sisters. With some new material, the band recorded their first EP, called Thick, in a makeshift studio in an unfinished (but under construction) brewery. Once the EP was done, the band laid down tracks at another location for “Your Picture,” “Nerve War,” and three other songs.
Dropped in February 2016, Thick gained beau coup acclamation from media outlets. The band went on a tour covering the Southeast, Mid-West, and East Coast. During the tour, the Step Sisters landed a development deal with Warner Bros. Records that later fell apart because of “creative differences between the band and label.” Just a guess, but “creative differences” was probably music industry code for the label going all Queen of Hearts.
Berserker was recorded at Battle Tapes Studio in Nashville, with Jeremy Fergeson. Nearly all the dozen tracks were laid down in four days.
“Waste My Head” opens with a scalding riff leading to a lashing post-punk flavored melody full of down-and-dirty buff guitars. The rhythm aches with Jovian pulsing energy, as the pulsing bass and hammer of the gods drumming fan the flames of impetus. Smith’s smashing accents on the cymbals are just about right, always, filling in the sonic gaps with sizzling brass.
A rattling drum bridge sets up a viscous, hefty psychedelic-flavored guitar solo brimming with lingering slo-mo cyclonic oomph. The vocals, with an edgy reediness, punctuate the sheer get-up-and-go density of the torrential harmonics, infusing the tune with needed luminosity.
“Waste My Head” is heady music, bursting with dominant condensed colors. Step Sisters definitely know how to pummel the atmosphere with muscle-bound tones.