Dream Nails have just dropped a mighty new single – ‘Kiss My Fist – a punkrock marching anthem, railing against homophobic violence. The track comes from their self-titled album, now scheduled for release in September, on Alcopop! Records.
Guitarist Anya Pearson says:
“As a queer woman, I live in fear of violence every day because of my sexuality and the way I look. We were all shocked by that image of queer couple Melania Geymonat and Christine Hannigan, who were left bloodied and bruised by a group of teenagers for refusing to kiss on a London bus.
In the UK anti-LGBT hate crime has surged in the past five years. On the one-year anniversary of that attack, we are releasing Kiss My Fist in honour of all the queer people of this world trying to get from A to B without getting beaten up. Our message to homophobes and transphobes is clear: ask us to kiss again, and we will eat your brain”
Theatre review by Lorna S Myles – Sugar Coat at Vault Festival, opening night 10 March 2020.
When I heard that LW faves Dream Nails’ guitarist Anya Pearson was appearing in a punk-pop feminist “gig theatre show,” with music inspired by Le Tigre and VerucaSalt, well, this sounded like the kind of thing I should investigate. After all, I am a woman-of-rock, and my 4real answer to the question “which album first got you into music?” is “The Sound of Music soundtrack.” And I remain a fan of the musical format, and I stand by it!
However, I confess I had some fears as to whether a feminist coming-of-age story was entirely the entertainment I was looking for at the current time. Y’know, what with the world falling apart in every direction, with the failure of democracy, the destruction of the environment, meanness and selfishness and infectious diseases and everything… was I in the right space to listen to stories of heartache and loss and good/bad sex etc? Would it feel trivial? Would it be too earnest? Would I just want to go home and inventorise my tea bags etc?
It turns out, though, that Sugar Coat was exactly what I needed.
Viewers, I hadn’t smiled all day. But from very shortly after the band started playing, the corners of my lips turned up, just a little bit, and then a bit more, and oh, it was wonderful.
So you have a four-piece band – two guitarists, a bassist, a drummer – all womxn. And you have the protagonist, who occasionally joins them on vocals, and mostly just tells her story, walking around in front of them, talking to us all like we’re her new best friends she just met at a bar and is entertaining us with the story of her life. She’s fucking funny, though her story is sad and painful at times. And the band members double as the voices and faces of people she tells us of – her first boyfriend, problematic shags, her mother, flat mates at Uni and so on.
And, because it’s a “music play”, every few minutes there’s a song. But it’s a song played by a feminist punk rock band, right there in front of you, like you’re at a gig in a subterranean amphitheater. And they move from punk to grunge to funk to pop to riot grrrl, and every song and every lighting decision reflects and enhances the mood, and we’re right there in her story, feeling it, but never getting too intensely-intense. There are poignant moments, there are difficult moments, but before it ever ever gets too earnest or sends you spiraling off into introspection or awkward memories, there’s a beat or a wry look or a comment about toast sliding off your lap and landing peanut butter side down on the floor, and everyone laughs, and everything feels light again.
And I thought about how sometimes, when life feels fraught and on the brink of collapse, what is needed is an escape into a warm room. Not escapISM, not a pretense that everything is OK; but an acknowledgement of pain, through experiences shared frankly and in the context of a hilarious night out with someone you just met.
Anyway, this did it for me.
It’s on until this Sunday 15th March, with performances at 7:30pm each night and a matinee at 4:30pm on the Saturday. And it gets my vote, for an hour and a half of blessed respite combined with an invigorating dose of “fuck the patriarchy!”
Sugar Coat – part of the VAULT Festival 2020 – is a riot grrrl-themed play with a live band. Produced by Emma Blackman, and starring Anya Pearson (Dream Nails‘ amazing guitar shredder) as musical co-director, guitarist and actor. Described as a “powerful feminist gig performance that follows the coming-of-age story of a young woman, spanning across eight years of sexual highs and lows, from nineties shag bracelets to 21st century non-monogamous relationships”. Sounds like a must-see!
Performance Dates Tuesday 10th March – Sunday 15th March 2019, 19:30 (Matinee Saturday 14th March, 16:30)
Location VAULT Festival (The Forge), Leake St, Lambeth, London SE1 7AD
Our favourite punk witches DreamNails are kicking off 2020 with their hotly-anticipated first studio release, ‘Text Me Back (Chirpse Degree Burns). And it’s sounds amazing! A perfectly captured punk parcel giving us a tantalising taste of what’s to come from their album this spring!
We caught up with the ‘Nails (Janey, Lucy, Mimi and Anya), on the road today heading off on tour …
We are mega-excited to hear your first studio-recorded release! Tell us more.
This summer we took a Dream Nails holiday up to Liverpool to sit in a hot studio with Tarek Musa from Spring King and lay down ten beautiful tracks for our first full-length LP. It was a magical, albeit intense, process and we’re really proud of what’s come out of it!
Congratulations on signing with Alcopop! Records. What made you feel they were the right match for you?
They really respect our DIY ethics, the importance of our connection with our fanbase and respect us having 100% creative control. We just clicked! We love some of the bands signed to Alcopop! like HappyAccidents, Peaness and Cheerbleederz so it’s nice to get an invite to the punk family dinner table.
So the hot gossip is that ‘Text Me Back’ was inspired by two of the Nails being ghosted by their Glastonbury festival crushes … what messages would you like to send those heartless ghosters now?
One says: “Thank you for being our completely oblivious romantic muses. What can we say, we’ve learned and grown but sometimes even now when our phone bleeps, we jump out of our skins.” The other says: “Mate you were off your nut.”
You’re off on a megatour with Anti-Flag, and have an album on the way … any more exciting plans for 2020 you can tell us about?
Antiflag is awesome, we’re currently in Lisbon about to go and sample some nata. Then we’re going to Madrid, Barcelona, Milan and some other cool spots. We will be embarking on a headline tour running up to our album launch show in London on April 23 at Oslo, Hackney! Catch us all around the UK!
Now you’re starting to break through the DIY ceiling and share your witchy pop with a wider audience – what advice would you give to fledgling DIY bands who want to follow in your footsteps?
When you commit to being in a band, commit to regular rehearsals. Once you unlock that magic, you’ve got to keep the momentum going! And get some merch as soon as you can. Our Hex the Patriarchy patches are pretty much the only way we can pay for our rehearsal studio in the first place!
Catch Dream Nails on tour:
JAN (supporting Anti-Flag) 08 Lisboa, Portugal – RCA Club 09 Madrid, Spain – Caracol 10 Vitoria, Spain – Kubik 11 Zaragoza, Spain – Sala López 12 Barcelona, Spain – Estraperio 14 Milan, Italy – HT Factory
10 Cardiff, UK – Wales Goes Pop! 11 Leicester, UK – Shed 23 London, UK – Oslo – Album Release Show 24 Bristol, UK – Louisiana 25 Reading, UK – Are You Listening? Festival 26 Southampton, UK – Heartbreakers
DIY punk witches Dream Nails have scooped the 2019 LOUD WOMEN Hercury Prize for their album ‘Take Up Space’ – available on Bandcamp.
The prize was announced in a ridiculous DIY ceremony broadcast on Facebook live, by Cassie and her son Dylan.
The Hercury Prize is judged by Team LOUD WOMEN, who whittled down a Top 12 from nearly one hundred albums by UK-based self-identified female and non-binary artists released in the twelve months from July 2018: that’s albums released on any format, with any level of industry distribution. This year’s shortlist was:
Big Joanie – Sistahs (Nov, 2018)
Brix & the Extricated – Breaking State (Oct, 2018)
Desperate Journalist – In Search of the Miraculous (Feb, 2019)
Dream Nails – Take Up Space (Jan, 2019)
Neneh Cherry – Broken Politics (Oct, 2018)
Grace Petrie – Queer as Folk (Sept, 2018)
Little Simz – Grey Area (March, 2019)
Muncie Girls – Fixed Ideals (Aug, 2018)
Petrol Girls – Cut and Stitch (May, 2019)
Queen Zee – Queen Zee (Feb, 2019)
She Makes War – Brace for Impact (Oct, 2018)
Trash Kit – Horizon (Jul, 2019)
Dream Nails accepted their award on tour in Madrid!
Effy Mitchell has just launched ‘Double Dare Ya’ on the world – the results of a documentary project interviewing bands and organisations that make up the UK’s current feminist punk/riot grrrl scene in 2019. It’s a brilliant piece of herstory capturing our scene right now.
LOUD WOMEN’s Cassie Fox was included (with a very sore throat at the time so she’s by far the most quiet woman in this!)
Interviewed bands / organisations : Peach Club Cheerbleederz Fresh Punks Dream Nails Penance stare Witching waves Cult Dreams Lunar Sounds Fig by four ZALU Babe Punch Farting suffragettes Suffrajitsu Noise and the naive Loud Women (Cassie Fox) Sounds for the cause ( Rynn ) Bomb the twist records ( Sarah ) Girls rock Edinburgh ( Caro and Fiona )
Featured bands + organisations + other contributors: Maid of ace Against me! Pussy liquor GLOSS FISTY MUFFS I, Doris Guttfull Petrol Girls Wet Brain Hooligans
Girl gang Leeds
Women in music Nottingham
Cramond island of punk
With the Christmas party season firmly behind us, it’s safe to say that January is a difficult month to get right. Resolutions are at risk of being broken and that person you promised yourself you’d become hasn’t yet materialised. But, you know what? Fuck that. Use these three compilation albums to reassert yourself, KonMari the hell out of your music collection, remind yourself how to say ‘no’, and make you want to start (another) band.
With a change in how we consume music, compilation albums can revive that feeling of buying a CD, rinsing the fuck out of it, listening to songs you know and finding new gems. Like: when I bought ‘Now 34’ from a shop in Sunderland just so I could listen to The Spice Girls, but then discovered Bon Jovi and Belinda Carlisle.
So, yeah, just like that, but it’s 2019, and I’m kicking off with Hell Hath No Fury Vol 2 by Hell Hath No Fury Records. El Knight has compiled 18 bangers for our aural delight. Available now from Bandcamp for £4, of which 50% of proceeds will go to Future Festival 2019, a three-dayer close to Bristol with music and performances by trans and enby artists plus practical and political workshops and more! The album compliments perfectly. Tracks selected from artists such as Wolfgirl, Gender Chores, Colour Me Wednesday, DreamNails, BigJoanie, Charmpit are definitely at the more political end of the spectrum. Listen carefully, and use these as your inspiration for 2019, create your own manifesto and don’t take any bullshit. Turn Big Joanie’s No Scrubs up to eleven and crack open your bullet journal during Dream Nails’ DIY.
HERESY by Ankara-based community, Chaos, I Am Your Mistress (CIAYM), opens with SecondhandUnderpants single ‘Your Little Bitch’. If BarbaraStanwyck started a band, this is what it would sound like. This dark and head-banging opening track is bound to annoy neighbours, so make sure to play it LOUD and LATE. The digital album is available on Bandcamp for the devilish price of €6.66. Proceeds go towards supporting women and other marginalized genders in underground music. The album also features tracks from REVULVA, CrypticStreet and TwinPigs. It’s worth emailing the address on the BC to request the CD, because then you get two extra tracks from GUTTFULL (The Power and That’s What He Said)!
Last, but not least, get your chops around Birds Of A Feather Vol 2 by Anthrax (UK). And before you ask, no, it’s not an album of duets by Pauline Quirke and Linda Robson with Lesley Joseph on the lute. Rather, it’s of the classic punk, head-banging-greatness variety. But, it’s loud, proud and inspiring, with tracks from Zombie Met Girl, Kiss Me, Killer, Bratakus, and loads more! Such a great offering from Anthrax (uk) on Grow Your Own Records, it’s out now on Bandcamp, as a digital album or CD. Don’t forget to hold it, embrace the joy and kiss it before putting it back neatly into its jacket.
So, there you have it. There’s enough here to keep you going for a few months. Go forth, find new favourites, enjoy the tracks you know and don’t forget smash the patriarchy.”