Are Cherry Glazerr The Riot Grrrls We Need Right Now?

Our Review: L.A. garage rockers release feminist rocker classic, swing by bowery ballroom

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The phrase fashionable feminism gets a very bad rap, bringing to mind the idea of white bread celebrities or even just the very square people in the next cubicle bandwagoning in on the coolness of territory once splatted with the history of struggle and drawn with the rough edges of political movement. But if those in fashion can't get feminism, then who will keep the feminists fashionable? Hell, even Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie, author of one the latest wave's ur-texts, believes in "the transformative power of really good lipstick," per New York. Which might have been why Hedi Slimane commissioned Clementine Creevy and her band, Cherry Glazerr, to pen a song for the Saint Laurent's woman's show, back in fall 2014. Their answer, "Had Ten Dollaz," was a blisteringly well-put together piece of garage rock and one where Creevy refuses to deadpan but, instead, moans: "I know that you notice my ways/And I feel, I feel your gaze."

On their first record since, and second overall, Creevy remains both adamantly interested in exploring life in the male gaze as much as looking for a way to dig out. Opener and lead single "Told You I'd Be With the Guys" wears that struggle on its title, a line that instantly brings to mind the title of another single about women persisting inside male space. Like Lana, Creevy enters the song from a place of loneliness, alienation, despair: "I was a lone wolf," she snottily barks out before turning her register into a mournful pining: "I thought I lost my pack, where are my ladies?" Creevy's ability to vocally embody both—the lone wolf, comfortable among men, the central figure the "Cool Girl" monologue and the bestfriend in a ground of bestfriends that, like wolves, keep a careful eye out on each other in the club—is a talented accomplishment of her register. The way she organizes these pop cultural products into a statement is what makes Apocalipstick a vital piece of the feminist rock tradition.

It is a vitality that is rooted in an everyday negation of gazes, of suggestion, of even noise that does not belong. On their debut, Haxel Princess, released before Creevy was even out of high school, strips of garage rock float in and out its low-fi production, uncovering pure gems ("Haxel Princess," "Teenage Girl") amid wobbly bass lines and suspiring moments of pop catchiness inside of the oddest moments ("Grilled Cheese," of course). Apocalipstick cannot help being more polished, the record deal with the indie powerhouse Simply Canadian brought the band to both a very iconic studio with producers who have made very iconic albums. Creevy, the only member of the band to stay on after Haxel, is remarkably able to keep everything intact… On the brilliantly quotidian study "Trash People," for instance, newcomer Sasami Ashworth brings a menacing wobble that darkens Creevy's portrait away from irony, giving her room to belt: "We wear our underpants three days in a row/My room smells like an ash tray." Creevy, high school graduation nonetheless, remains unchanged as a singer, keeping her pitched enunciations where she needs them ("My carpet smells like beer forever, forever, ah, ah, ah").

I had the chance to swing by Glazerr's show at the Bowery Ballroom and the years in between their last release does not appear to have diminished their growing fan base. "Told You I'd Be With the Guys," which also has an music video to its name, shot in gorgeous slow motion by Riley Blakeway, becomes almost a Led Zeppelin, with Creevy carrying both Jimmy and Robert on her backs like it's no big deal. The band is still a tight trio, along with Ashworth, they are joined by a Tabor Allen, powerhouse of a new drummer but now have sound that can fill an arena.

Apocalipstick is out now!