Atlanta punk band The Coathangers might have formed as a joke for a local house party, but the level of cult success they're enjoying internationally is certainly nothing to scoff. These kickass women took their name from the crude abortion method, and that punk ethic carries through to songs like "Don't Touch My Shit," and "Nestle My Boobies." Now 11 years and five albums into their career, the sound has evolved and there are elements of surf and a sort of elevated garage-cool in there. The band hits Tucson on Tuesday, so we spoke to all three musicians about the six albums that altered their lives.
1. Stephanie Luke (aka Rusty Coathanger, drums, vocals):
Refused—Shape of Punk to Come: This album was so ahead of its time as far as pushing the envelope with what bands can and cannot do on a "punk" album. The lyrics were inspirational and yet crass and tough while the music itself made you want to punch holes into the wall because it was so full of drive and meaning. Getting to tour with them was surreal because their live show exhibited the exact same feeling and motive the album did. Really amazing musicians and people.
2. At the Drive-In—Relationship of Command: Again another really different album ahead of its time. This came out in 2000 and really set the stage for hardcore/punk/scream/political bands to really emerge and grab everyone's attention. There was nothing contrived or corny about this band they were the real deal. Extremely hard hitting music that you could relate to, and again, really important, addressing lyrics that I personally related to. Explosive and driving, meaningful and intelligent album to me.
3. Meredith Franco (aka Minnie Coathanger, bass, vocals):
Neil Diamond—Touching You, Touching Me: I grew up listening to Neil Diamond because my aunt is a super fan but I never really got into it until my adult life. He has brought my family closer!! And I love this record because it doesn't have any of his popular songs...
4. Delta 5—Singles and Sessions 1979-1981: I listened to Delta Five when we first started the band. I remember hearing "mind your own business" for the first time...I thought it was amazing! I love the kind of chant singing and they have 2 bass players! They have definitely inspired me.
5. Julia Kugel (aka Crook Kid Coathanger, guitar, vocals):
Pixies—Surfer Rosa: This record blew my mind the first time I listened to it. It was punk and country and rooted in something visceral and raw. The Pixies were so experimental and inclusive of each other on the record. And the interplay of the vocals was just magical ... the hard and soft. I listened to that record over and over when I got it. Still sounds ahead of it's time.
6. Wire—Pink Flag: Short songs. Pink Flag is the quintessential record in my music library that employs the sheer power of the short song. The 30-second song. Brilliant. Another record I've listened to hundreds of times. It has a punk feeling with post-punk boundary pushing. Catchy hooks and snotty attitude. It's spastic and fun. It showed me that breaking the rules was crucial in making music.
With Tyvek, Fred Thomas, and Foxx Bodies at 8 p.m. on Tuesday, Feb. 14, at Club Congress. 311 East Congress St. $8-$10; 21+.