Lana here, your resident Stateside weirdo. For those of you who haven’t ventured to the grungy basements of post-Puritan America, the Boston DIY punk scene is definitely worth checking out. Like a prized thrift-store necklace that’s tinted with genuine livelihood, Boston’s punk scene is quite the cherished basement find. Post-grad storage rooms riddled with septum piercings and undercuts become your Friday eve hang-outs. It is a very supportive artistic community; often audience-goers have nearby jam sessions themselves, sporting a backpacked guitar to catch the end of their friend’s 10pm set.
All too fittingly, I first met Dazey and the Scouts’ frontwoman Lea Elizabeth Jaffe and rhythm guitarist Brennan Wedl at a DIY venue called Steadygrounds, chatting after a set of experimental electronica and fractal frog-like projections. They told me about her and Brennan’s new project, that I should come see their show sometime; a nearby punkhead piped in with hefty encouragement.
In Boston, word of mouth with regards to live sets is hugely important. In fact, Dazey and the Scouts started off as nothing more than an ephemeral live set phenomenon. Whispers of their performative glory wafted amidst Boston punks’ cigarette smoke; far off-cries of F***, Marry, Kill were heard emanating from a nearby basement. In answering the studio-dweller’s inquiry as to who this unapologetically third-wave feminist four piece was and what they sounded like, all that could be shown was a glimpse into an especially impassioned moshpit-filmed DIY set.
Accordingly, Dazey and Scouts released their identity-celebrating feminist-queercore album this past Valentine’s Day. Denouncing the need for cigarette-smoking sadboys and comedically perverse Tinder conversations, Maggot provides a window into the frustrations of punk-loving twentisomethings – in dating boys with strange fetishes, coping with the ups and downs of Lithium-laden life, and breaking free of the all too shackling gender binary.
Frontwoman Lea Jaffe’s emotive voice is wonderfully captured in their latest studio album, through the theatrical, shriek-interspersed opening track of “Groan,” to the tender-fervent dichotomy of title track “Maggot”. Dazey and the Scouts pair Heart-esque prodigious vocals with unashamedly aggressive surf beats, rounding their sound with deceptively docile vocal harmonies, math-rock guitar tapping, and the live-show-like satirical discourse and unabashed shouts of bandmates Brennan Wedl and Otto Klammer.
Maggot provides a fantastically coherently comprehensive sound, going from the Bikini Kill 4×4 group-shouts of “Nice Nice” to the 60s-surf-rock inspired sound of “Wet.” The Scouts’ record thoroughly encapsulates their wickedly engaging live performance; the raw, real spontaneity that pervades lyrical and melodic compositions and spur-of-the-moment interjections are crystallized in a highly playlist-able, definitely danceable, heckuva debut.