For this week’s Music Video Monday, we’ve chosen to highlight not only the video but the outlet that made it possible: Screaming Females as presented by the A.V. Club.

A.V. CLUB – UNDERCOVER

Chances are, even if you don’t know it, an A.V. Club article has popped up in your Facebook feed, generally being promoted by its “sister site”, The Onion.

Five years after he founded The Onion, Stephen Thompson launched an entertainment section, focusing on movie and music reviews, that was soon christened The A.V. Club. The section was originally seen as being secondary to the publication’s main focus, fake news stories but Thompson has credited one of the reasons that The Onion was able to expand its distribution nationwide, as it was easier to sell advertising next to movie reviews and concert listings than satirical news items.

Both The Onion and The A.V. Club made their Internet debut in 1996, during the early days of the internet, but both continued their print versions until December of 2013, when they shifted to a pure online format. Digitally, both sites rapidly expanded their viewership and today they receive nearly 10 million unique hits a day.

The A.V. Club’s “Undercover” feature is something they started many years ago. In January every year, writers there come up with a list of 25 songs and they invite bands in to their offices to do cover versions of these songs. Every time one is performed, it is crossed off the list. So bands that come in later in the years have an increasingly small list to choose from. Here is a list of some amazing covers from years past if you would like to check it out. Gwar performing (and waxing eloquently) about Kansas is certainly not to be missed.

SCREAMING FEMALES

Another one not to be missed is a more recent addition by the Screaming Females. If you don’t know the Screaming Females, you probably weren’t in a garage band in New Jersey. And who WASN’T in a New Jersey garage band back then?! (OK, maybe that’s just us.)

Several bands have emerged from that sweat and beer filled scene from the early 2000s and Screaming Females is one of the best of them. Formed in 2005 by lead singer and guitarist Marissa Paternoster, bassist Mike Abbate and drummer Jarrett Dougherty, Screaming Females has released five full-length CDs and continue to play shows across the United States and Europe. In 2009, Screaming Females got their big break when they opened for Jack White’s Dead Weather. The band went on to play alongside Arctic Monkeys, Throwing Muses and Dinosaur Jr.

SPIN Magazine had this to say about Paternoster when they named her one of the Top 100 Guitarists of All Time: (a list that also included names like Prince and Kurt Cobain)

Even after five Screaming Females albums, it’s hard not to feel unexpectedly smacked upside the head by Marissa Paternoster’s guitar, which — like her bracing singing voice — still sounds way too massive to be wielded by any human being without superpowers and way too confident to fit comfortably within the confines of indie rock. If Sleater-Kinney joined forces with J Mascis in a New Jersey basement to channel late Black Flag and early Smashing Pumpkins, they might come up with something approximating Paternoster’s maelstroms.

When the A.V. Club invited the Screaming Females into the studio, about half their yearly list was already taken, so the pickings were sparse. When they picked Taylor Swift’s bubble gum pop megahit, “Shake It Off”, we were quite surprised. And even MORE surprised by how much ­Paternoster’s haunting vocals and the band’s overall punk-influenced sound would take a track which ranks somewhere close to dental work and make it something really worth listening to.  Give it a chance right now:


Can we say “We Told Ya So” now?  Drop us a line on Twitter to let us know what you think.

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