Tag Archive: “PWR BTTM”

Another week has rolled by and as summer slowly creeps up, literally skipping a season I feel haunted with images of death all around me. These dreams I have, these insane world we live in, have me looking over my shoulder every 5 minutes expecting death’s tap on my shoulder which I’d follow up with an elbow to the face and a push kick. For some reason I’m reminded of the myth of Hercules & Alcestis, wondering if there’s anyone that would attempt to wrestle me from death’s grip. These are the things that go through my mind from time to time for no apparent rhyme or reason, which is why I have the distraction that is music. Whether it’s good or bad, it puts me in a different mood.

Photo: Ebru Yildiz
Photo: Ebru Yildiz
PWR BTTM: Pageant
PWR BTTM: Pageant

Sometimes there’s a band like PWR BTTM that’s capable of putting you in different mood. In 2016 you couldn’t help but hear about the duo, who performed throughout the year and whose live shows were always considered epic performances. The duo released their debut long-player Ugly Cherries back in September of 2015 and finally release their second album Pageant (Polyvinyl Records). The album is rife with songs wrapped around catchy melodies and hooks, all the while keeping true to who they are. Members Liv Bruce and Bruce Hopkins have their respective instruments but aren’t against sharing those guitar, drums, and vocal duties. The album opener “Silly”, misleads listeners with that opening guitar line repeating itself having you think this could be some glam-metal episode until the band circles around into a full-frontal assault handling instruments like weapons piecing together an outrageous dynamic explosion. But then “Answer My Text” rolls through with vocals and a guitar leading the way before it shifts with a fuller sound as other instruments are added. I’m willing to address the elephant in the room only because for me it’s only 8 inches tall. PWR BTTM may consider itself a “queer punk duo,” and it’s an easy tag for those quick to place the band under the heading of just another sub-genre but if I’m going to be real here, it just doesn’t matter. The band’s sweet lyricism revolves around love, the butterflies you feel at the bottom of your belly, heartbreak, and just a sheer joyful abandon. When the band sings “Answer my text you dick” over a cheerful melody, they’re cleverly confronting everyday courting issues with humor.

The more laid back “LOL” has a vocal delivery which I can’t help but draw a comparison to Shudder To Think’s Craig Wedren, holding those high notes you probably wouldn’t imagine. “Now Now” follows suit there as well. When you hear “I’m gonna beat myself up…” for the first time you might just hear it as well. The band is just as clever with its lyricism though, “I’m going to beat myself up for beating myself up / I’m going to take my lunch money for beating myself up.” The upbeat track cunningly juxtaposes the lyrics with its music. There’s a playful side to the band which is obviously bound at the proverbial hip with a serious one. “Kid’s Table” deals with that awkward stage between childhood and being an adult while “Oh Boy,” probably one of my favorite tracks, again deals with love. Did I say ‘my favorite’? I may have to retract that because the incendiary “Big Beautiful Day” has me dancing and jumping around like 12 year old. Again. And again. And again. PWR BTTM’s Pageant is a thoughtful release. They’ve avoided the sophomore slump, but for them it seems that was an easy task to accomplish.

From one duo to another, this time around we have Girlpool, a self described folk punk band from L.A. While the members Cleo Tucker and Harmony Tividad eschewed drums on its previous release (from what I’ve listened to) on their new album Powerplant,(Anti-), they’ve come to embrace it within the folds of this release. But percussion is not what they’re all about though, it’s the relentless harmonies between these two musicians that cut through every single track here. While what Girlpool can keep this listener’s attention, I can’t help but think if they’re haunted by those that came before them. Semblances of another L.A. band That Dog comes to mind. While they were big on rocking things out, Anna Waronker and the Haden girls were also big on the harmonies when they fit well. Not that this is a direct comparison, but it’s more of an observation. And you could recognize what may sound Lush(ful) not unlike Miki Berenyi’s vocal delivery. But regardless, on Powerplant, the band does have the songs. The sultriness of the opening “123” starts the song off before the belt out into mid-tempo summer night’s dream here. But it’s “Sleepless” that gives you the sugary sweetness of their voices, cutting through headphones or speakers that will leave you in a haze.

There’s no double-guessing what this band is doing here as they attempt to lure you in with beautiful melodies and harmonies, and their lyrics probably wouldn’t matter to the casual listener. I can’t help but think that on “It Gets More Blue” they use their voices as additional instruments the way most don’t. Singing along with instruments giving more emphasis on melody and notes. Powerplant may not change the world but it’s a welcomed reprieve from so much within it.

Photo: Molly Matalon
Girlpool: Powerplant

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The One That’s Like Inception

On this episode: Luke starts a nasty rumor about beloved Canadian Recording artist Drake, Brian can’t stop talking about Chris Gethard, there’s a segment inside of a segment inside of a segment, Luke and Brian talk about Zelda, Brian can’t stop talking about Idris Elba, Brian swears for the first time ever on the podcast and Luke needs a neckbrace after head banging too hard to all of Brian’s songs.

Every week Ghettoblaster feature writers (and dear cousins!) Brian LaBenne and Luke LaBenne bring you fresh new songs with the hopes of introducing you to some that you may consider to be the best song ever.  Both Brian and Luke have no idea what songs the other has picked, so what you are hearing is their genuine reaction to listening to the songs together.  Also, if you enjoy this episode, head to ITunes to subscribe and rate our podcast with the highest rating available to you.


Songs Played on The One That’s Like Inception

Hiccup – Lady MacBeth and Miss Havisham from Imaginary Enemies out March 24th on Father/Daughter Records

Fleet Foxes – Third of May / Odaigahara from Crack Up out June 16th on

Real Life Buildings – Tare from Significant Weather out April 21st on Lauren Records

Spiral Stairs – Dance (Cry Wolf) from Doris and the Daggers out March 24th on Nine Mile Records

Downtown Boys – Somos Chulas (No Somos Pendejas) out now on Sub Pop

No Vacation – Mind Fields from their upcoming album due in June on Topshelf Records

B Boys – Energy from Dada out May 19th on Captured Tracks

PWR BTTM – Big Beautiful Day from Pageant out May 12th on Polyvinyl

We’ve all been there when someone doesn’t answer a text, but that’s not what this is about. The PWR BTTM duo share the second single “Answer My Text” off their forthcoming album Pageant out May 12th on Polyvinyl Records. Singer Liv Bruce’s sarcasm isn’t missed here and when he belts out “Answer my text you dick!” you have a pretty good idea of where this track is going. It’s difficult not to fall in love with this band.




It’s Valentine’s Day and what better way to start your day than with a new track from PWR BTTM, you know, that cross-dressing duo that do nothing more than kick out the jams every single fucking time! “Big Beautiful Day” is the lead single off of PWR BTTM’s second album Pageant dropping on May 12, 2017. The new album will be the band’s first release for Polyvinyl Records, which we’re anticipating with a fervor. The video is a glam-filled, indie world dream, which has the band playing an energy-enriched house party. The band takes its brand of punk/pop to another level but also refuse to constrain itself for masses. That seems to be just fine by them and also makes us all the better for it.



The  power-pop of the cross-dressing PWR BTTM is strong. Strong enough to warrant a US tour with Ra Ra Riot. Having recently wrapped up a tour with Mitski and Palehound, the New York punk duo are ready to share their unyielding musical ferocity with new audiences. The band’s Ugly Cherries release found it landing on multiple year end lists for 2015 and have won fans over with their energetic performances. I’m a fan, you should be too!

Hitting the road again, they’re sure to gain much more this time around. Listen to songs off Ugly Cherries here:


* = w/ Ra Ra Riot, Sun Club
% = w/ Ra Ra Riot, And The Kids
^ = w/ Ra Ra Riot

01.22.16 – Seattle, WA @ The Vera Project (w/ Lisa Prank, Boyfriends)
01.23.16 – Portland, OR @ Mississippi Studios (w/ Car Seat Headrest, Aan)
01.24.16 – Arcata, CA @ The Bat Cave (w/ Persephone)
01.25.16 – San Francisco, CA @ Rickshaw Stop (w/ Dude York, Try The Pie)
01.26.16 – Los Angeles, CA @ Bootleg Theater (w/ Upset, Post Life)
01.28.16 – San Diego, CA @ Hideout
01.30.16 – Eugene, OR @ The Boreal

02.03.16 – Grinnell, IA @ Grinnell College

03.02.16 – Albany, NY @ The Hollow *
03.03.16 – Boston, MA @ Paradise *
03.04.16 – New York, NY @ Webster Hall *
03.05.16 – Philadelphia, PA @ Union Transfer *
03.06.16 – Washington, DC @ 9:30 Club *
03.08.16 – Carrboro, NC @ Cat’s Cradle *
03.10.16 – Savannah, GA @ Savannah Stopover Music Festival
03.11.16 – Atlanta, GA @ Aisle 5 *
03.12.16 – Birmingham, AL @ Saturn *
03.13.16 – Nashville, TN @ Exit/In *
03.15.16 – Houston, TX @ Walter’s *
03.15.16 – 03.20.16 – Austin, TX @ SXSW
03.19.16 – Fort Worth, TX @ The Live Oak %
03.21.16 – Phoenix, AZ @ Valley Bar %
03.25.16 – Santa Barbara, CA @ SOhO Restaurant and Music Club %
03.31.16 – Vancouver, CAN @ Biltmore Cabaret %

04.03.16 – Salt Lake City, UT @ Urban Lounge %
04.04.16 – Denver, CO @ The Bluebird Theater %
04.06.16 – Kansas City, MO @ Riot Room %
04.07.16 – Minneapolis, MN @ Triple Rock Social Club %
04.08.16 – Chicago, IL @ Lincoln Hall %
04.11.16 – Columbus, OH @ A&R Music Bar %
04.12.16 – Millvale, PA @ Mr. Smalls Theatre %
04.14.16 – Toronto, CAN @ Lee’s Palace %
04.15.16 – Montreal, CAN @ Le Ritz %
04.16.16 – Geneva, NY @ The Cracker Factory ^


Best Albums (in order):

Jeffrey Lewis & Los Bolts – Manhattan 

The Lower East Side’s last great hope, at the top of his game.

Courtney Barnett – Sometimes I Sit And Think and Sometimes I Just Sit

Aussie lass writes a smarter, catchier, and more enjoyable album than any of the boys this years.

Roadside Graves – Acne/Ears

Jersey road warriors return on top-flight label for more of their invigorating and introspective Northeast Americana.

The Front Bottoms – Back On Top 

Local boys make good, sign to major label, don’t suck.

Night Birds – Mutiny At Muscle Beach

The best HC album of the year, bar none.  Tuneful, fast, angry, powerful.

Yo La Tengo – Stuff Like That There

These sexagenarians don’t show any sign of slowing down or losing their edge on this delightful album of covers and reinterpretations.

Beach Slang – The Things We Do To Find People Who Feel Like Us 

Jimmy from Weston gets a second life on one of the best punk albums of the 00’s.

Various Artists – Have Moicy! 2: The Hoodoo Bash*

The original Have Moicy! was just the best folk album of the rock era (according to Robert Christgau) and invented freak-folk and anti-folk. The followup features a mostly new cast of characters (except for the ageless Peter Stampfel) and captures a bit of the same magic.

*I didnt hear Have Moicy 2 until a few days ago and usually I don’t list records that I haven’t lived with for a while, but this is so good – and long-awaited – that I had to include it.

Screaming Females – Rose Mountain

After years of producing themselves live in the studio, the New Brunswick trio gets a producer and adds a bit of production value. And you know what? It sounds great.

PWR BTTM – Ugly Cherries 

Gay duo from Brooklyn who bring Pansy Division into the 00’s with a much needed dose of queerpunk irreverence and attitude.

Worriers – Imaginary Life

While women have come to dominate pop and R&B, they’re not doing so bad in the basement scene either, as this sassy, intelligent, rockin’ album proves.

Best Shows (alphabetical)

Better Call Saul

Doctor Who



Jessica Jones

Madame Secretary

Major Crimes

Mr. Robot

The Middle

Teen Wolf