A year of touring might encourage other bands to step away for a while. But for hardcore band Scowl, 2022 only told them to keep going. Aside from playing at Coachella and Sick New World earlier this year, the Santa Cruz band’s latest EP, Psychic Dance Routine, declared they weren’t planning on stopping anytime soon.


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Alongside singer Kat Moss, members Malachi Greene, Bailey Lupo, Cole Gilbert, and Mikey Bifolco are hardcore through and through, something that couldn’t be more clear in their music. And while they certainly show range, especially on Psychic Dance Routine, they specialize in continually tearing holes through the roof of venues with sheer noise.

Nothing else quite shows off the band’s intensity like “Opening Night,” the lead single to the EP, better described as their warcry for how much damage they will do to your speakers. By the sound of the guitar at the beginning, it wouldn’t be a surprise if they used knives over guitar picks for how violent it gets. But Moss repeats, “This is part of the plan” on the track, reaffirming they know what they’re doing as she snarls through the guitars.

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“Shot Down” shows Scowl is always out for blood, with Moss’ demonic growling intensifying on an even shorter runtime than “Opening Night.” At times, the drums sound more like gunshots than wood banging against metal while they play a game of red light green light with the guitars. For hardcore listeners, the song’s back-and-forth speed might sound reminiscent of material from groups like Fugazi. But Scowl updates what those bands did years ago with pitch-perfect quality to the recording.

On top of having played two shows at L.A.’s 1720 and Anaheim’s Chain Reaction this past weekend, the band just had their EP’s title track remixed by Nuovo Testamento, who morphs the already slower-paced single into a glitzy synth-pop song reflective of its name. But the remix shouldn’t distract from where the band’s priorities lie.

In Moss’ words, Scowl is all about performance. “This is both literal and figurative, as the band has been on tour practically all of 2022,” Moss said. “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.”

darker waves
Darker Waves 2023

Psychic Dance Routine should prove Moss and Scowl are to be taken seriously, who, above all else, are going harder than most bands out.

Words: David Sosa

Psychic Dance Routine by Scowl is out on all streaming services. For more on new music and tickets to their current tour, follow them on Instagram and their website.

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