“People were torpedoing a hollow plastic penguin back and forth across AS220. At one point during our set I looked up to see people dancing in a circle around the penguin. By the end of our set, someone had lost a tooth to the bird, and another person ended up with two black eyes. It was wild.”
This was the view from onstage at Hairspray Queen’s EP release this past January at AS220.
With frantic, heavily reverbed vocals from the get-go, Hairspray Queen’s self-titled EP is a fast-moving, raw piece of vintage punk rock. With straightforward, always distorted dual guitars, bass and pounding drums, the EP captures a concise vibe that lends a sense of urgency and plain-spoken truth to the times we live in.
The Hairspray Queen EP was recorded at Converse Rubber Tracks in Boston and mastered at Distorted Forest Studio in Smithfield. “We went for a very heavily compressed and processed, almost bright sound with it,” the band says, “that echoes some of the bands and records that most heavily informed our writing process for those songs.” Despite being a studio recording, the record does retain a clear picture of what the band is like live and has a stripped-down quality that sticks to only the most necessary parts, allowing it to be recreated in a live space.
Hairspray Queen also gets to the point, with three of the five songs falling under two minutes. “Shorter songs say and do what they need to and leave no room for filler,” the band says. “Every idea gets exactly as much time as it needs and then it’s gone before it gets old.”
While a casual listener to Hairspray Queen might label the band as punk, the band’s members do not feel the need to be explicitly political in their music: “We feel like punk is just a genre of music like any other; any genre or art form can be political or be completely devoid of politics. Our music is deeply personal, reflecting ourselves and our day-to-day experiences, and because of this it carries inherent political themes.”
With bands such as Downtown Boys, Math the Band, Zero Holds, Neutrinos and Harvey Garbage holding down Providence as a place for quality punk rock, Hairspray Queen fits right into a like-minded scene. But the band points out that diversity in the music scene is what they have come to appreciate in Providence. “A good bill is any bill that people get excited about. The bands don’t have to sound similar, they just have to be good. We’re pretty big fans of mixed bills, as it’s given us opportunities to play with some really incredible bands.” A successful night, they continue, “is one where everyone who was there enjoyed it, and goes home sore, deaf and wanting more.”
September 16 with An Albatross • The Met • Pawtucket