For many, talk of all-female rock bands begins and ends with such punk-inspired groups as the Slits and the Raincoats, ’90s Riot Grrrl acts like Bikini Kill and Bratmobile, or maybe the Valley-connected Fanny, among others. Now music fans can add to that discussion by including the Western Mass. rockers of Potty Mouth.
Featuring members Abby Weems (guitar, vocals), Ally Einbinder (bass), Phoebe Harris (lead guitar) and Victoria Mandanas (drums), Potty Mouth formed in 2011 after Einbinder and Harris discussed starting a band during an overnight writing retreat. Einbinder already had experience from playing in local groups Outdates and Honeysuck, but it was Harris who came up with the new band’s name.
“Brace yourselves,” she says. “I was on the toilet when it came to me. The Bratmobile reference is impossible to ignore, but I also felt that it had some relevance beyond that parallel.”
While the “Bratmobile reference” alludes to the 1993 album Pottymouth by the aforementioned Pacific Northwest punk band, Harris is right when she claims Potty Mouth the quartet is relevant beyond such an easy comparison.
On records like the Sun Damage 12-inch EP or even the “Bad Bad” demo, the group conjures a propulsive mix of hook-filled melodic punk featuring Harris’ “reverb drenched single string guitar leads,” and Weems’ attitude-inflected vocals.
“Lyric-wise, all my songs are based off of things I feel or have observed and then put into a context that everyone can relate to,” Weems says. “I want people to be able to listen to our songs and get pumped because something they feel is being expressed in a really fun way.”
Still, according to Harris, there have been some listeners who have been unable to get beyond Potty Mouth’s youthful and all-female lineup.
She says, “People constantly ask about our ages, assuming that we are this teenage girl novelty band. If we were men, people wouldn’t be so shocked at the fact that we make great music, and they wouldn’t need to turn us into some novelty just to admit to themselves that they like our band purely for our musical abilities.”
Issues of lineup may soon take a back seat to the music as the band heads into the studio to record a full-length album with a U.S. tour already booked for January, and a European tour scheduled for May through June of 2013.
“We made a goal for ourselves during the summer that we would have enough songs for a full-length record by the winter,” says Weems. “So that meant other than ‘Shithead’ and ‘Black and Studs’ we planned to have eight new songs, and we’re almost there. I’m in the process of coming up with one more song to make it an even 10. We’re scheduled to record in December.”•