Scowl has quickly made a name for themselves as one of the most vivid and hard-working acts in the rock world. Since the release of their debut album, How Flowers Grow in late 2021, the band has become a powerful force to be reckoned with. Lauded for its reality-driven, aggressive blend of hardcore-punk, the critically-acclaimed album opened up new doors for the band, including a non-stop touring schedule. As new music began to take shape, it was no surprise that experiencing most of their lives on the road would greatly influence the next phase of Scowl.
Enter Psychic Dance Routine.
Since forming in 2019, the band has consistently eschewed being pigeon-holed, moving far beyond the confines of what a typical “hardcore” band is considered. Floral motifs lace their artwork and merchandise, they’ve notably toured with diverse acts like Limp Bizkit and Destroy Boys, and one of the most talked about tracks on How Flowers Grow was a melodic number with a saxophone solo. On Psychic Dance Routine, Scowl continue to push the boundaries of their sound and artistic presence, now laying somewhere between hardcore and alternative. As the band puts it, “it’s like Negative Approach meets The Breeders.”
In September 2022, the Santa Cruz, California band traveled to Pennsylvania to seclude themselves in the studio for a week, recording with Grammy-nominated producer Will Yip at Studio 4. Working with Yip was a completely collaborative experience as he not only brought life to these songs, but greatly encouraged Kat Moss as she worked on her elevated vocal style found across the record. The highlights and challenges of performing, whether in the studio, on tour, or in the act that is life, became a recurring notion on the five track EP.
As Moss states; “I chose to revolve the main theme around performance. This is both literal and figurative, as the band has been on tour practically all of 2022. My perspective of being consumed as the version of myself that is ‘performing’ has shifted dramatically, while simultaneously grappling with the experience of being a feminine artist in a world that doesn’t always take you seriously.”
Lead single “Opening Night” sets the stage marrying edgy melodies with dynamic riffs. Stylistically, Scowl evokes the same feeling as first hearing bands like Sonic Youth and The Strokes, making sounding cool seem almost effortless. “Shot Down” encompasses the battle of fear versus confidence in both lyrical and sonic form, as the band teeters between circle-pit ready moments and sugary hooks. The most vulnerable and pivotal moment of the EP comes in the title track “Psychic Dance Routine.” Moss and the band emphasize their capability of writing a striking indie-alternative song filled with breathy vocals, lush melodies, and a fundamental introspective for the entire release.
“The best way I can define Psychic Dance Routine is that it represents the mental gymnastics or ‘dance routine’ one might have to participate in order to telepathically project their feelings or emotions to another person because they no longer have the ability to express themselves with words” comments Moss on where the title derives. She concludes, “The overarching theme of this EP lies heavily in the definition of the name— I wanted to lyrically express feelings of alienation and loneliness as well as questioning my own reality. I made an effort to speak more with metaphors as I wanted these topics to be relevant to other people.”
On Psychic Dance Routine Scowl has exemplified their ethos of being true to themselves through creating innovative song structures and personable lyrics. Their ability to be genre fluid intersects with their up for anything attitude, whether that means playing in a fast food drive-in parking lot or hitting the stage at Coachella. It’s all just part of the plan for the ever-evolving band that is Scowl.
01. Shot Down
02. Psychic Dance Routine
04. Opening Night
05. Sold Out