The Best Albums of 2013, #14

band01Potty Mouth, Hell Bent

Liz Phair. Helium. Fuzzy. Juliana Hatfield. That Dog. Velocity Girl. Bratmobile. Heavens to Betsy. The Spinanes. SF Seals. I absolutely loved American indie rock circa 1991 to 1995, especially the music that featured women singers, but especially ones who sang in a detached, flat sort of way. That style seemed to die with the 1990s, and though I kept on listening to most of those artists, I had never really noticed any younger bands carrying on that quirky sound of raucous guitars and sloppy singing. That is until this year when a story in Maura Magazine compelled me to check out a Massachusetts band called Potty Mouth. Although the story mentioned some sort of “pop punk” revival, when I listened to Hell Bent on their Bandcamp page I didn’t detect a trace of punk whatsoever. All I heard was simple indie rock circa 1992 – more Pavement than punk – and did it ever sound dead on. Not only that, though, but these four young ladies bring colossal hooks amidst the distortion and bored singing: “Black and Studs”, “Sleep Talk”, and “The Spins” form a mid-album core that burst with lively little melodies, while “Shithead” is reminiscent of Elastica’s emasculating 1995 classic “Stutter”. This debut is sloppy enough to compel a music critic to quip that Potty Mouth would benefit from some tightening up, but really, would they? Nah, keep it loose, ladies. Develop that songwriting, but keep that amateurishness, that unbridled energy. Deep down that’s the key to this album’s likeability. And after all, we all know what happened to Liz Phair once she decided to try to sing well.