Talkhouse Contributing Writer Mish Way is the frontwoman of the band White Lung. Her freelance work can be found in The Guardian, Dazed & Confused, Salon and VICE, amongst others. She prefers writing about sex over music. You can follow her on Twitter here.
For me, punk music has always been very sexual. Whether I’m performing or just listening, it’s all summoned from that sector of my brain. Now, this is going to sound like a sweeping generalization (and, it is), but boys make punk differently than girls make punk. It’s kind of like the way we fuck. Boys fuck differently from the way girls fuck. A girl will always play with you, fuck you back with power and feed off your movements. It’s very perceptive, intuitive and mercurial. And that’s how girls play punk too. But a boy has the tools to lay into you, over and over and over and over, slam, slam, slam. Sometimes it’s sweet and eager. Sometimes it’s tough and overpowering. Both sexes have the capability to embody the roles of one another. It has less to do with biology than just embodying a masculine or feminine approach. I’m not talking the archaic idea that feminine sex is passive and masculine is aggressive, I’m talking a female eroticism vs. a male one. We go for it differently. (See Terri Sutton’s 1989 Puncture article “Women, Sex & Rock n’ Roll.”) But that’s the great thing about both music and sex: fluidity. As a woman, sometimes I find it great to get fucked in that boyish, aggressive way and that’s how (some) boys play punk.
The debut LP from Austin’s Ghetto Ghouls reminds me of being fucked that way. Slam. Slam. Slam. And it’s good. I’m not talking bullshit jackrabbit fucking that makes you want to recoil. Ghetto Ghouls are a good fuck.
A good fuck grabs you right from the start. It’s aggressive and manipulative. It’s powerful, confident and raw. Ghetto Ghouls start off fucking you hard. The first track “Peepshow” warms up tough and unrefined. The verse grows with a classic punk progression and the chorus hits hard, the drums rolling and punching while the blown-out vocals follow a step behind. It’s messy, yet totally militant. Like a good fuck, Ghetto Ghouls don’t stray too far from the “formula,” but they vary things up with enough uniqueness that you are definitely captured. “Atomic Bomb” sounds like an unreleased Dicks b-side, while “Living Alone” swings and chugs and plays with you: “I’m living/I’m living alone/I don’t know what to do” singer Corey Anderson whines like a relentless teenage boy. But the best track is “Roofshit” because it’s tenacious and chaotic yet drives forward with a crunchy, tough bass line that fills the space around the spastic guitars and vocals. A good fuck always fills the space around the room. A good fuck makes you forget that the room even exists.
The album ends with “Simple C” (which, at almost four minutes, is the longest track on the album). The song almost sounds like the Strokes back when the Strokes were actually the Strokes. “Simple C” sounds like the band improvised the whole thing on the spot, like the bass player just started thumbing a punk-blues riff and the band all jumped in, stoned, stupid and happy, and figured it out. At the end of the song, you can hear one of the four members mumble, “That was cool. I like that. That was, like, a little bit different…” Just figuring it out as you go along. Very punk. Very sex.
But the Ghetto Ghouls are really, truly a great punk fuck because they hit you hard, smart and confident for 23 minutes, then they get off and go, leaving you wanting more. (Number one rule of “punk” bands: you should always leave your audience wanting more. Never exhaust them. This also goes for sex too, boys. Get perceptive. If you have that coke dick thing going, just give up and try again in the morning when the baby laxative wears off.)
Ghetto Ghouls are a young band so they haven’t really learned how to really fuck like men yet. However, they have the tenacity and the skills to be really great in bed eventually. Good one, boys. That was real nice.