Petrol Girls’ explosive performance was a huge highlight of this year’s LOUD WOMEN Fest, as always! If you were there, you may have noticed the enormous banner they performed under – a hand-stitched patchwork of flags, reshaped to proclaim the words ‘NO LOVE FOR A NATION’. This video shows the story behind that banner, made on route across Europe, and culminating at LW Fest in London. Ren explains:
“We shot this video on the way from Austria to the UK for our September tour, via Germany and France. We got a bit of funding from PRS, and, whilst we were limited in the ways we could spend it, we wanted to find a way to feed some of it back into the politics that this song advocates and the community that we’re part of…
Nations create borders and borders create violences like detention, deportation and the denial of safe passage. It is a bizarre and often cruel way of organising societies on the basis of where people happen to have been born. It is those on the edge of this way of defining ourselves that suffer its harshest consequences – refugees, migrants and asylum seekers. It is not acceptable that 18,000 people have lost their lives trying to cross the Mediterranean Sea since 2014, because they were denied safe passage on the basis of their nationality…
We stand in opposition to Fortress Europe but mourn Brexit as the result of populist nationalist politics and a xenophobic, dishonest and at times overtly racist campaign. We are not proud of Britain – we are embarrassed. Above all we are angered by the rise in racism and xenophobia since the Brexit result. We are deeply troubled and angered by the way in which populist nationalism has emboldened racists and fascists across the world.”
Catch Petrol Girls back on the road again this month:
NOVEMBER Mon 4: COLOGNE (DE), Carlswerk * Tue 5: HAMBURG (DE), Grosse Freiheit * Thu 7: BRUSSELS (BE), Ancienne Belgique * Fri 8: PARIS (FR), Elysee Montmartre * Sun 10: MILAN (IT), Alcatraz * Mon 11: MUNICH (DE), Tonhalle * Tue 12: BERLIN (DE), Huxleys * Thu 14: SOLOTHURN (CH), Kofmehl + Sat 16: BARCELONA (ES), La + Sun 17: MADRID (ES), Sala Cool + Wed 20: KIEL (DE), Alte Meierei Thu 21: HANNOVER (DE), UJZ Korn Fri 22: BREMEN (DE), Die Friese * with Refused and Thrice. + with Thrice.
Today’s track of the day is ‘No Love for a Nation’ by Petrol Girls – as heard on Saturday at LOUD WOMEN Fest as they kicked off their UK tour. In their own words:
“This track is our anti-nationalist anthem. As a band, we come from three different nation states – Austria, Lithuania and the UK – and hold no love for any of them. The nation is a bizarre and often cruel way of organising societies on the basis of where people happen to have been born. It is those on the edge of this way of defining ourselves that suffer its harshest consequences – refugees, migrants and asylum seekers. Populist nationalism takes aim at these people, and uses them as a scapegoat for the failings of capitalism and neoliberalism. If history has taught us anything, it’s that we must resist the rise of populist nationalism that is sweeping the planet.”
Seeing Petrol Girls perform at the first LOUD WOMEN Fest back in 2016 was an emotional experience: rage, celebration, comradeship, and pure exhilaration. Punk as fuck. Since then, the band have enjoyed righteous success, including touring with War on Women, and even capturing the interest of the musical High Street with a recent live session on BBC Radio 1. Still punk to the core, they kick off their next UK headline tour this Saturday at LOUD WOMEN Fest. Do not miss! Here’s singer/force of nature Ren Aldridge’s 5 Question Interview …
1. For people who’ve not seen you play live before, what can we expect from you at LOUD WOMEN Fest?
Arguably too much ranting in between very loud techy post hardcore tunes about intersectional feminist, anticapitalist and antifascist stuff. And a pair of piss soaked sequined hot pants. And also a new stage backdrop which we’ll be making in 4 different countries on our way to the UK out of cut and stitched national flags…
2. Fill in the blanks:
“Our sound is like the lovechild of Petty Bone and Refused with a bit on the side from RVIVR”
3. Give us your band manifesto in no more than 20 words.
Ideas like the gender binary/ nationalism are maintained through culture: so music/ culture is one front to attack them on.
4. Who are you most looking forward to seeing play at LOUD WOMEN Fest?
PHHHH that’s really hard because there’s so many incredible bands that we’ve played with before and also a load of new bands that we’re dead keen to check out! I’m gunna say The Baby Seals because they always make me so fucking happy and that nipple hair song is an absolute banger. I also think that a bunch of people singing along to a song about nipple hair is a beautiful thing.
5. What made you want to play at LOUD WOMEN Fest?
We’ve been lucky enough to play Loud Women Fest twice already, and its an absolute honour to be part of it again as it grows bigger and bigger, and makes a meaningful difference to the wider music scene by proving just how sweet a line up can be made from women and non binary people dominated acts. We’ve also discovered some of our favourite bands through this festival – especially Dream Nails who we went on tour with after meeting at Loud Women Fest! Can’t wait to discover more great bands this time round.
14 Sept 2019 at London’s Dome and Boston Music Room looks set to see the biggest (and best?) LOUD WOMEN Fest yet! Here’s the news we’ve been dying to tell you for months … our final* lineup, in no particular order …
*I mean, as final as anything is that could possibly have slight changes here and there in cases of sickness, injury, best friends throwing last-minute weddings, that sort of thing. But pretty damn final I’d say!
Petrol Girls continue to storm the barricades with their empowering and awesome new single, ‘Big Mouth’.
The video begins with a shout out to the Solidarity Not Silence campaign, which continues its fight to defend women who spoke out against abuse. It continues with a backdrop of faces and voices, including CassieFox (LOUD WOMEN’s founder / I, Doris), our beloved EfaSupertramp, and vocalist Chi Chi from German queercore band Hyena Hysteria.
Petrol Girls say of the video:
“There’s a lot of politics around who is heard and what that means, and many marginalised groups are only tolerated when they’re quiet – “keep your voice down/ know your place/ bite your tongue/ you best behave…” When they refuse this containment and control they’re met with attempts to silence them. A perfect example of this is the defamation case which aims to silence the Solidarity Not Silence girls – a group of women who each separately spoke out against the behaviour of a man in the music industry. This song is massively influenced by a series of interviews I did on the topic of voice with various vocalists, including Chi Chi who appears in the video, and Jacob V Joyce who also helped to write the chorus lyrics for this song. For the video we removed my recorded vocals from the breakdown to make space for other people’s voices – this is a tactic we’ve been developing for a while now, which aims to push this classic punk/ hardcore gesture of passing the mic as far as we can. Thanks to Kit, Maryam, Cassie, Chi Chi and Efa for contributing!”
Hard-rocking four piece Petrol Girls are some of the feminist rock scene’s biggest rising acts. They’ve spent the last year bringing their fierce hardcore style and lyrics of cathartic rage to new listeners across the continent on a plethora of tour dates, and all of this has given them the “patchwork of different sounds, ideas and feelings” that inspire their upcoming album Cut and Stitch.
As the title suggests, the album expands on their previous EPs and LPs to give a more angular and experimental style that does indeed sound like a quirky patchwork, but their fiery spirit has stayed very much the same. This is encapsulated in the intro, where a trippy and distorted background drone accompanies frontwoman Ren Aldridge’s ponderings on the music industry and even more existential concepts of creativity as a whole. It’s a clear signpost into a more experimental leaning for the record, which the rest of the interludes reflect. However, it still gives listeners a nice reminder of Petrol Girls’ sharp songwriting abilities and activist instincts, which leads us seamlessly into leadoff single ‘The Sound’. Drummer Zock Astpai’s transition expertly builds tension before dropping into the relentless single, where punky powerhouse riffs soundtrack Aldridge’s frank revelation of feeling unheard as a minority. As one of the bands’ biggest selling points has always been emotional honesty and intensity, this fits them perfectly. But as always, there’s no way for energy like this to go unheard; it demands to be taken seriously with any listener’s full attention.
In contrast with some of the songs on their previous album, Talk Of Violence, which seemed to capture the anger and bargaining stages of the grief and trauma process, a lot of this record’s songs are built on the idea that “sometimes being vulnerable is just as radical as being angry”, as Aldridge told us. This vulnerability is as unashamed as their anger is, from the insecurity turned pride in refusing to conform and assimilate that we see on ‘Monstrous’ to the struggle men face to express their emotions under expectations of toxic masculinity that are explored in ‘Talk In Tongues’. Both tracks prove the group’s commitment to activism in their music, not just through anger but through nuance. Their lyrics show a real struggle that’s matched by their stormy and tense playing, as well as by the pained screaming vocals; there’s a real passion to their entire sound with which the band implore listeners to join them in solidarity.
‘Cut & Stitch’ will be released on May 24th via Hassle Records, and will be available on 12” vinyl and CD. There are limited indie-exclusive and official store-exclusive vinyl colourways, plus a screenprinted sleeve version of the LP and a Rough Trade Edition written by Ren, both exclusive to Bandcamp.
PETROL GIRLS ON TOUR: MAY 02 – SBAM Fest, Wels AT 04 – Ladyfuzz Fest, Brighton UK 05 – Handmade Fest, Leicester UK 05 – 0161 Fest, Manchester UK 09 – The Great Escape Fest, Brighton UK 22 – Anti-Fest, Antwerp BE 23 – Anti-Fest, Amesfoort NL 27 – Rough Trade Instore, Nottingham 28 – Rough Trade Instore, Bristol 29 – Rough Trade Instore, London East 31 – New Cross Inn, London(w/ War on Women) JUN 01 – Hell Hath No Fury Fest, Manchester 03 – Autonomour Space, Glasgow(w/ War on Women) 04 – Red Rum, Stafford (w/ War on Women) 05 – The Cavern, Exeter (w/ War on Women) 07 – Magasin 4, Brussels BE (w/ War on Women) 09 – Booze Cruise, Hamburg DE 10 – Bei Chez Heinz, Hannover DE(w/ War on Women) 11 – Underdogs, Prague CR(w/ War on Women) 12 – Schlachthof, Wiesbaden DE(w/ War on Women) 13 – AJZ Bahndamm, Wermelskirchen DE(w/ War on Women) 14 – Jugendhaus West, Stuttgart DE(w/ War on Women) 15 – Gibus Club, Paris FR (w/ War on Women) 16 – Le Farmer, Lyon FR (w/ War on Women) 18 – Dynamo Werk 21, Zurich CH(w/ War on Women) 19 – EKH, Vienna AT(w/ War on Women) 20 – Kapu, Linz AT(w/ War on Women) 21 – Glockenbachwerkstatt(w/ War on Women) 22 – Bollwerk 107, Moers(w/ War on Women) 28 – Trabendo – Paris, France (w/ La Dispute) 29 – Carlswerk Victoria – Cologne, Germany (w/ La Dispute) 30 – Gorilla – Manchester, United Kingdom (w/ La Dispute) JUL 01 – Saint Luke’s – Glasgow, United Kingdom (w/ La Dispute) 02 – Electric Brixton – London, United Kingdom (w/ La Dispute) 05 – Astra – Berlin – Berlin, Germany (w/ La Dispute) 07 – Conne Island – Leipzig, Germany (w/ La Dispute) 08 – Schlachthof – Wiesbaden, Germany (w/ La Dispute) 09 – Legend Club – Milan, Italy (w/ La Dispute) 11 – 2000Trees Festival, Cheltenham UK 13 – Kliko Fest, Haarlem, NL
Our alltime favourites Petrol Girls have just announced a new album coming out 24 May – Cut & Stitch – and they’ve released a banging first single here, ‘The Sound’, capturing the essence of DIY punk. We are just so into this. The band explain more:
“We are not claiming our own music to define ‘The Sound’ – the track is more like an appreciation of sound as something that’s constantly evolving, and that everyone can use and develop in their own way. It’s a kind of manifesto for the political potential of sound… Make your own noise! Disseminate!’
The album Cut & Stitch is available to preorder now from Bandcamp.