SLUT PILL, Slut Pill, CASSETTE

“When are periods coming?!” Paulina Vazquez (drums/vocals) asks her bandmates Carrie Carter (bass/vocals) and Mitchella Phipps (guitar/vocals) during an interview on the leftist podcast Trillbilly Worker’s Party, based in their shared mountain town of Whitesburg, Kentucky. They all cackle like a coven in-sync.

Carter, Phipps, and Vazquez formed their “contraceptive rock” band Slut Pill in early 2018 around the same time they founded Girls Rock Whitesburg, East Kentucky’s first Girls Rock Camp, an international arts and social justice organization for female, non-binary, and trans youth that couples musical education with workshops in healthy relationships, leadership, and sex-ed. Spiritually, Slut Pill shares the values and vibe of Girls Rock: empowering and vulnerable, playful and no-fucks-given, skillfully executed but with a DIY off-the-cuff attitude—and above all, brashly feminist. Influenced by bands like Chastity Belt, Vivian Girls, and noncompliant, Slut Pill’s sound ranges from riot grrl agro to riff-heavy rock to spirited beach punk, and is energized by their close friendship.

Slut Pill’s eponymous debut album comes after shows with Philly’s Long Hots, Birmingham’s Lee Bains III + the Glory Fires, Irvine, KY’s Senora May, and a December 2019 gig opening for Kentucky country darling Tyler Childers. Stylistically, Slut Pill has more in common with power rippers and fellow all-women trio Long Hots, and the anti-fascist punk of Lee Bains, but Carter, Phipps, and Vazquez are all grounded in traditional music too. Phipps, a Whitesburg native, is a self-taught multi-instrumentalist and teaches traditional music in after-school and summer youth programs. Carrie Carter was born and raised in an old-time music family in Red Bush, KY, and continues to play and teach fiddle lessons. And Paulina Vazquez, originally from Omaha, NE, grew up dancing classic Ballet Folklórico Mexicano at her aunt’s Latin-American museum and now performs with Cornbread & Tortillas, a collective of Latin-American and Appalachian artists.

On Slut Pill, instrumental surf-rock bangers like “Sixteen Minutes” and “Surftastic,” which showcase Phipps’ eviscerating guitar riffs over Carter’s creative bass lines and Vazquez driving drums, are sandwiched between songs like the propulsive “Whitesburg Snob,” which Vazquez says was written about “the fragile, toxic, male ego” as it manifests in their small town. They chant in a harmonized sing-songy playground taunt, “You think you’re a king…wow.” The song “Get Fucked,” effectively reimagines 9 to 5, if Dolly, Lilly, and Jane were anarchist black jeans-wearing punks. “It’s for every boss you’ve ever hated,” they say. With its sludgy, Black Sabbath-reminiscent riffs, “Stiff Cookie” is a “cock-rock way of expressing how sick and tired we are of excuses being made for abusers and allowing them to take up TOO MUCH SPACE. We want a future where we hold each other accountable for our actions. If something’s fucked, speak up & speak out.”

Slut Pill’s songwriting process is a collective catharsis. “We’d get to band practice and just be talking and think, this thing made me mad—can we just sing about it? It’s very simplified and literally what we are all thinking all the time.” Their anger and frustration stemming from their respective experiences as young women/queers in rural Appalachia in the late-capitalist era is tempered by a heavy dose of snark and lighthearted self-awareness. Their band name was born when the alarm for Carter’s (a married new mom, trying to avoid becoming a mother of two) birth control would ring during band practice, and Phipps would facetiously call it her “slut pill alarm,” referencing jokes her college roommates would make about the pill. Though the topics of Slut Pill’s songs are often earnest and delivered in Phipps’ caustic vocal style, they’re laughing at themselves too, and having a hell of a lot of fun in the process.

“Pearl Party,” the album’s finale and catchiest song, was inspired by the pyramid scheme phenomenon in which women shuck oysters on Facebook Live for hours at a time, simultaneously auctioning off the pearls for much more than they’re actually worth. In Whitesburg, a local Pearl Party maven was accused of using her winnings for nefarious purposes. Nearing the end of the track, Phipps calls out, “We all know Paula sells her pearls for pills/Gotta make some money to pay these bills/Gotta make some money to buy these pills” as Carter & Vazquez respond triumphantly in the drum break, “SLUT PILL!”

“Slut Pill is a wild-ass concoction of anti-patriarchal snot, twanged-out bop, and sparkle-eyed wit, the dope-smoking satirists of the hippest holler in the East Kentucky coalfield.” -Lee Bains III

released January 24, 2020

$9.99

In stock

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