Hear First: The Coathangers LIVE

An album premiere from the Atlanta punks, with a foreword written by Cory of Minus the Bear.

Hear First is Talkhouse’s series of album premieres. Along with streams of upcoming albums—today’s is The Coathangers’ LIVE—we publish statements from artists and their peers about the mindsets and impressions that go into, or come out of reflection on, a record. Here, Cory Murchy of Minus the Bear discusses what he loves about The Coathangers’ latest which you can listen to right here as you read.
—Amy Rose Spiegel, editor-in-chief, Talkhouse Music

A good live band can prove difficult to capture on a recording. Sure, all the technical boxes are easy enough to tick off (performance, audio quality, mix, track listing, etc.). But what it really needs is that extra something special to make it feel like you are in the room experiencing the magic of a live show firsthand. A spark that is created by a group of people on stage, and the interaction between them and the audience that make for a worthy snapshot in time. It needs heart. It has to be real.

Luckily for us, The Coathangers don’t just contain that spark but rather come across like a walking bonfire. Their collective blaze wasn’t whipped up overnight, either; they’ve thoughtfully stoked and fed that fire for more 13 years and have spent much of that time on the road honing their skills at turning any room into their own personal party. That’s 13 years worth of schlepping gear from van to venue and back again night after night. Thirteen years of driving mile after mile to get to the next show on time, only to deal with drunk audience members, shady promoters, and disinterested sound engineers. Thirteen years of getting up on stage in spite of it all, playing through whatever pain was on offer for the day, and for the length of your set being able to bang and crash and sing your way into people’s hearts…all the while trying to maybe mend your own a little bit in the process. For The Coathangers, it’s also clearly been 13 years of friendship built on a shared experience. You know, 13 years of life and all the ups and downs that go with it. Experience that isn’t manufactured, it’s lived, and, oh, how The Coathangers have done some living.  There’s heart behind what they do.

My band, Minus the Bear, recently had the good fortune of bringing the Atlanta-based trio out on tour for a few weeks this spring, and It was apparent from the get-go that it was going to be a match made in heaven. Both bands share a record label, Seattle’s venerable Suicide Squeeze Records, as well as a work ethic that has consistently kept us both on the road and in the studio throughout the years. We’ve both carved out our own little path in the music industry that works for us on our own terms, and we’ve both earned a loyal following of fans. Both bands—and this is important—really want you to have fun at our shows. Night after night, The Coathangers delivered the goods, and then some. As a main support act, it can be hard to warm a crowd that is just there for the headliners, but, every time, The Coathangers walked off stage they left a trail of converts in their wake. Their performances were always a lesson in pure fun and honest raw energy. You can’t help but smile, and you find your head nodding along and hips swaying before you even know it. The Coathangers are the real deal.

Recorded over two nights at Alex’s Bar in Long Beach, California, The Coathangers LIVE is a perfectly captured snapshot of a working band in motion. It finds guitarist/vocalist Julia Kugel, bassist/vocalist Meredith Franco, and drummer/vocalist Stephanie Luke in peak form, and showcases each one at their finest. You can tell the dynamic on stage is good: That’s something you just can’t fake, and the crowd showed up for a fun night and it’s apparent throughout the recording. The whole room is clearly enjoying themselves, and that shines through in the simple suggestion by Julia to “smile” at the opening of the album. That moment has her bandmates audibly cracking up to her affirmation that the crowd was “doing a great job.” The recording has that special quality of honoring the band as they are, a veritable force to be reckoned with and one that is going to have a good time doing it. With or without you.  

The Coathangers are really good at being a band, and they’ve managed to capture that spirit here. But don’t take my word for it. You should really just check them out live. — Cory Murchy, Minus the Bear

You can do so on The Coathangers’ tour dates, below:

TUE MAY 29 – Brunswick GA, Tipsy McSway’s (TICKETS)
WED MAY 30 – Jacksonville FL, Jack Rabbits (TICKETS)

FRI JUN 1 – Tampa FL, Crowbar (TICKETS)
SAT JUN 2 – Gainesville FL, High Dive (TICKETS)
SUN JUN 3 – Pensacola FL, Vinyl Music Hall (TICKETS)
TUE JUN 5 – New Orleans LA, Santos (TICKETS)
WED JUN 6 – Houston TX, White Oak Music Hall (TICKETS)
THU JUN 7 – Austin TX, Barracuda (TICKETS)
FRI JUN 8 – San Antonio TX, Jack Rabbit
SAT JUN 9 – Dallas TX, Club Dada (TICKETS)
SUN JUN 10 – Oklahoma City OK, 89th Street(TICKETS)
TUE JUN 12 – Kansas City MO, Record Bar (TICKETS)
WED JUN 13 – Davenport IA, Raccoon Motel (TICKETS)
THU JUN 14 – DeKalb IL, The House Cafe (TICKETS)
FRI JUN 15 – Indianapolis IN, The Hi-Fi (TICKETS)
SAT JUN 16 – Nashville TN, The Basement (TICKETS)

THU OCT 18 – Leeds UK, Hyde Park Book Club
FRI OCT 19 – London UK, Moth Club
SAT OCT 20 – Birmingham UK, Actress & Bishop
SUN OCT 21 – Brighton UK, Sticky Mikes
TUE OCT 23 – Roubaix FR, La Cave aux Poètes
WED OCT 24 – Utrecht NL, DB’s
TUE OCT 25 – Copenhagen DK, Stengade
FRI OCT 26 – Gothenburg SE, Oceanen
SAT OCT 27 – Stockholm SE, Bar Brooklyn
SUN OCT 28 – Malmo SE, Plan B
WED OCT 31 – Berlin DE, Urban Spree

THU NOV 1 – Hamburg DE, Nochwache
FRI NOV 2 – Leipzig SE, Conne Island
SUN NOV 4 – Vienna AT, Arena
MON NOV 5 – Munich DE, Kranhalle
TUE NOV 6 – Nurnberg DE, Club Stereo
WED NOV 7 – Karlsruhe DE, Alte Hackerei
FRI NOV 9 – Charleroi BE, Eden
MON NOV 12 – Paris FR, Supersonic
TUE NOV 13 – Angers FR, Le Chabada
THU NOV 15 – San Sebastián ES, Gastropote Market
FRI NOV 16 – Madrid ES, Wurlitzer Ballroom
SAT NOV 17 – Lisbon PT, Sabotage

In their thirteen years of existence, Atlanta’s tireless garage punks The Coathangers have cranked out five full-lengths and well over a dozen singles, splits, and EPs. Their latest is The Coathangers LIVE. (Photo Credit: Jeff Forney)