BY | D.BEALL She’s in her car in Georgia, driving around and smoking something fabulous. Her voice is laidback, a stark contrast to the nails on your chest screeching she’s been known to do. Buzzbin is talking to Julia Kugel, lead singer and guitarist for The Coathangers, a post-punk psycho-pop group of fine-ass young ladies who have been garnering a bit of buzz lately. Their second album, Scramble, came out last year, and it’s a record that stands out- originality, attitude and a whole lot of barking and hollering is the name of the game here. Songs like “Gettin’ Mad and Pumpin’ Iron” along with their self-titled first album’s hits like “Nestle in My Boobies” and “Don’t Touch My Shit” show you how fun these chicks can be. The band is an acquired taste and can be annoying at times, the kind of annoying that’ll piss off the right kind of people. You can tell they’re big Sonic Youth fans (as if the track “Sonic You” wasn’t enough of a clue). Kugel’s Kim Gordon-on-crack vocals in “Toomerhead” are pretty mature and worthy of real respect. Like all good punk noise bands, they can still barely play their instruments, but banging it out ain’t a crime. “Time Passing” has some truly inspired strange vocal rhythms that could have been a post-punk classic and, who knows, it still might be. Cute girls, cool girls, there’ll be pictures of them on your little brother’s wall soon enough. I ask her how old they all are and she messes with me a bit (“We’re 16 years old. We’re 18 years old. We’re old enough to drink.”) and it reminds me of the record’s fluctuating maturity. So where do these strange young hip chicks come from? Julia tells me, “We wanted to call ourselves Abortion Rules but we decided on The Coathangers because it’s more subtle.” You mean it’s not about fashion and closet space? “You’d be surprised how many people are confused by that. A lot of moms think we’re about clothes.” She smiles. What do The Coathangers think The Coathangers sound like? “We sound like a shitty rock n’ roll band.” She giggles. “We all come from different backgrounds. My personal influence… I would say that we’re post-punk which means you can do whatever.” The history of the band is a little funny; it seems to me that the Coathangers did quite a bit to not “make it” as a serious band, but did it anyways thanks to people basically hounding them, a story that’s a far cry from the tales of the fame hungry whores in your favorite group. “The band started as an art project. We were just making shit up.” Julia explains, “Candace (Jones, keyboard) and I lived together. I always played guitar and she played piano. Stephanie (Myer, drums) stole a drum set and put it in our living room. We would have Margarita Mondays where everybody would come home and we’d sing about, um, margaritas. We just got excited about it, and were like ‘let’s get a practice space’- really dumb like that. But we did, and some people heard us and said we should play a show and we’re like ‘no’, we don’t think so. But we played a few anyways and the rest is history.” She’s humble enough. “We did luck out. We got signed three years ago to Suicide Squeeze (home of Modest Mouse). They had asked us to do some 7 inches with them (they’ve done 7 to date, but not all with Suicide Squeeze). We literally ignored their emails, didn’t think they were real, but eventually we realized they were.” They recorded Scramble last year and I want to know how they’ve changed since their self-titled debut. “The first record was surreal. We were like children, in middle school it was more vulgar and loud and abrasive because we didn’t realize anybody would hear it. With Scramble we were in high school and it felt more real; it felt like we were actually a band. Perhaps it was a lot more pressure, so we wanted to be better musicians. I wanted to play guitar this time rather than, well, hit it and hope it works.” Stories abound about The Coathangers live. They’ve been known to switch instruments on stage, bake cookies, have balloons and basically make the show like a child’s birthday party, if the kids you know curse and talk about their breasts. “We used to do goodie bags and baddie bags. We would fill up the baddie bags with cigarette butts and trash and hand ‘em out. We still do balloons sometimes. It got stale to us.” She looks back on those days fondly but with a look into the future. “In a way, our biggest challenge has been to ignore criticism, positive or negative. People have said we’re the reason women shouldn’t be allowed to vote (among other things). People say good things, too.” She tries to ignore all of it, which is good advice for a band that’s doing their own thing. They share songwriting duties within the group not with their fans. “We really don’t have a leader or somebody who’s like a visionary. We have separate ideas that we come in with. We don’t like having a timeline, everything has to feel natural otherwise it feels forced and we hate it.” They’ve played good and bad shows. “Some of my favorite shows are outside. It just feels odd to be plugged in and see, like, trees,” she laughs. What’s a bad night for The Coathangers? “We got cut off in Carbondale, Illinois. We waited all day to play and they cut the sound before we really got into it. They shut our mics off. Shit like that. If the promoter is a dick or something, it usually has nothing to do with the people.” In a little while they’re headed out on a 5 week tour, playing with bands like Golden Bones and the Thermals, going as far from home as Seattle and returning home to work on their new record, tentatively titled Larceny and Old Lace. “We’ll see. We’ve written about 10 songs for it. We’ll be recording in December,” she says. The live show isn’t to be missed. “It’s so fun and it’s a catharsis. When you’re recording you hear it over and over again and you dissect it and you kill it. That’s why we record live. If we were tracked separately we would die.” In Cleveland, they’re playing Now That’s Class on November 10th. “Now That’s Class is like our home in Cleveland. We were there on our very first tour. We’ve watched it evolve.” Go see ‘em and pick up Scramble; Buzzbin predicts good things for these girls, at the very least, it certainly won’t hurt your coffeeshop credibility.