You’ll have to take it up with Kim Gordon as to which gender invented punk rock, but regardless of the answer, the truth is that women still face discrimination in the music industry.
Female rockers from Boston-based bands like Lady Pills, And The Kids, and Dent have no time for such antiquated narrow mindedness (and honestly, is there a better breeding ground for kickass punk rock than ignorant social norms)?
Added to the list of local female rock musicians this year is Boston-based band Crumb’s vocalist and guitarist Lila Ramani. While Crumb’s sound bears little resemblance to the previously mentioned groups, these women all share a common objective: to prove that females can make rock music.
“When I was 14, one of my music teachers told me to stop playing guitar like ‘a girl,’ so I would consider this EP to be a response to that teacher – me shredding guitar like a girl for all my ladies,” Ramani said of Crumb’s first self-titled EP, which will be officially released on September 2nd.
The group, comprised of Ramani, Jesse Brotter, Brian Aronow, and Jonathan Gilad, met at Tufts University and have collaborated on other projects such as Bad and Blue, JG and The Funky Bunch, and The American Symphony of Soul, among others.
“I consider guitar to by my main instrument and vocals secondary,” said Ramani, a statement that mirrors the resonant guitar melodies and distant, nonchalant vocals heard on the EP.
Growing up near the polluted Gowanus Canal in Brooklyn, Ramani hopes “some of that griminess creeps into the music.” Crumb’s album artwork is an abstraction of the sewage-filled canal – an apt visual for a band that considers its sound a blend of psychedelic and rock.
Although Ramani pointed to wintertime as one inspiration for the EP, Crumb seems to also reflect the lazy, bittersweet ease of late summer in Boston. Cold in connotation but warm and hazy in sound, “Bones” begins the EP with floating guitar cycles and unassuming drums, while the day-dreamy quality of the song is contrasted with lyrics about frustrated lovers and restlessness.
The second song, “Vinta,” follows a similar pattern of push and pull between song and lyrics. Ramani sings, “Sadie thinks if she had the time she could make it big living out her prime / The city once was a place to thrive, now the city’s gone but her mind’s alive.” Lyrics lamenting unachieved dreams and impending doom coupled with a complex but graceful melody is suspended with intermittent pauses. At the end of the song, the calm rhythm is overtaken as Ramani shreds “like a girl” and Gilad bangs away a jumbled rhythm on drums.
All three songs incorporate eloquent guitar and keyboard melodies alongside lyrics of discontent that create a tug-of-war between gloomy moods and gentle sounds that emphasizes both aspects of the songs.
If this EP is an indication of what’s to come from Crumb in the future, then Boston should definitely keep this band on its radar. And who knows, maybe Ramani’s old music teacher will listen to Crumb and realize what it truly sounds like to play guitar like a girl.