(Learning Curve) Athens grunge-pop trio The Powder Room has had a rough couple of years. After the release of its debut album, Curtains, the band’s touring schedule was marred by chaos when its tour van suffered a devastating break-in and, later, spontaneously burst into flames. Both of these incidents ended up costing the band thousands of dollars in damages and lost equipment.
The group’s sophomore full-length, cheekily titled Lucky, features a picture of that burning van right on the cover. The memorable image sets the tone for the album, a lean collection of bitter, noisy anthems for people who might feel the need to punch a wall or scream their lungs out into a pillow to help them get through a shitty day.
Guitarist and vocalist Gene Woolfolk has mastered the art of seething rage; his vocal performances feel like something sinister is bubbling up under the surface. Of note is album opener “Vanburner,” which showcases Woolfolk’s ability to switch between a nuanced delivery and a full-on primal scream.
The album is also mixed incredibly well—it will make your crappy laptop speakers feel like 5.1 surround sound (note: Do not listen to this album on laptop speakers). Songs like the blues-rock throwback “Workaround” and Nirvana-indebted closer “Abort” highlight the strong instrumentals of bassist Bubba McDonald and drummer Patrick Ferguson. Lucky is The Powder Room’s best work to date, and a strong contender for the best local heavy-rock release of 2016.
THE POWDER ROOM Local sludgy noise-rock trio.
MULTICULT Noisy post-punk band from Baltimore.
VINCAS Local downer-punk band featuring snarling guitars and doomy, psychedelic flourishes.