I’ve got a new record to tell you all about: it’s the slammin’ EX’S WITH BENEFITS! If this music sounds extra familiar, it’s gonna be because you recognize the singer Dmitra Smith from her other band, Static People, whose album I sent you just last fall. She’s in two bands! They’re even based in two entirely different locations—Static People (and Dmitra) are based in northern California, but she travels to Seattle intermittently to play with this other rad band, Ex’s With Benefits (for the record, yep—they do spell it with that apostrophe)! The two bands have a lot in common—Dmitra has a pretty distinctive style and voice—but where Static People was a bit more of a fun poppy-punk band, Ex’s is a bit more of a serious Riot Grrl-ish punk-rawk band. The other particularly notable thing about this band’s members is that their drummer, Alex, used to be in the band Green River—that’s right, one of the first grunge bands ever. Green River members went on to form Pearl Jam and Mudhoney after they broke up. Which basically makes Alex Seattle royalty, and this is his newest project! (I first met Alex because he co-starred in a film recently featuring another Band Mom band, Tennis Pro—the movie is Big In Japan and you should check that out too!) You don’t want to skip this one. Dmitra’s voice also reminds me a bit of Marissa from Screaming Females (especially when it comes to that deep throaty tough-lady growl), and their lyrics can get pretty acerbic and political. Fans of Sleater-Kinney will find a lot to love here too. We already tied for #19 Most Added on CMJ last week; now it’s time to get serious about spinning the crap out of this thing!!
EX’S WITH BENEFITS
Stone Boat Records
Ex’s With Benefits formed in 2012 when Alex Vincent (founding drummer of the seminal Seattle grunge band Green River, other members of which went on to form Mudhoney and Pearl Jam) had written some music for possible future recordings by Green River that never materialized. Not wanting the music to go to waste, he held on to them hoping, at the very least, to hear what they sound like with vocals put to them.
He reconnected with a high school friend, Dmitra Smith, who was an amazingly powerful vocalist in San Francisco band Static People, and sent some of the songs her way to see if she’d be able to put something on top of them out of sheer curiosity. The “sheer curiosity” became a real collaboration almost immediately when everything just clicked. Her slasher/siren-song vocals on top of the power-pop/punk/rock riffs meshed together in perfect combination.
Soon to join afterwards was Frenchman extraordinaire Pascal Faivre on guitar, followed by rumbling Dave Place on bass.
Produced by Phillip Peterson (Tennis Pro) and recorded over four days at Jack Endino’s Soundhouse Recordings in Seattle, the album embodies the urgency and energy of its members, who live in two different states and share the bittersweet reality of coming together for precious time to make music. As the cherry on top, they were thrilled to have legendary music giant Steve Fisk (Nirvana, Soundgarden, Harvey Danger, Beat Happening) mix the record.
Recorded mostly live with minimal overdubbing, Bad Hotel offers 12 tracks filled with angry satire, caustic wit, sex and hot headed critique of recurring themes that continue to perpetuate themselves in our 21st century world.
Over the four days this album was recorded, the band bled, sweated, screamed and laughed a ton. Nothing is promised in art or life. We still believe in DIY, punk rock and truth by fire. We can sleep when we’re dead.
“They’ve set the bar very high for Seattle album of the year.” – Northwest Music Scene
“That’s rippin stuff!” – Mark Arm, Mudhoney
RIYL: Static People, Bikini Kill, L7, Screaming Females, Sleater-Kinney
Start With: 1, 4, 9 FCC 2, 8, 10, 3 for the very strict (“Goddamn”)
Contact me for a download link if you’re a radio rep!