Posted: February 12, 2022 in MUSIC

Screaming Females and Noun singer/guitarist Marissa Paternoster recently released her first-ever solo album, “Peace Meter“, which came out December last year via Don Giovanni Records. The announcement reads: Marissa Paternoster began writing “Peace Meter” immediately after arriving home from a west coast tour cut short due to COVID. Alone in her deceased Grandmother’s empty home, Paternoster sent the skeleton of a song to Andy Gibbs from the metal band THOU with the hopes that he might be able to extrapolate on the original idea. Andy sent his accompaniment back, and that process continued for the bulk of the first wave of quarantine.

As the songs developed, Paternoster decided to include two other musicians whom she admired: long time friend Shanna Polley of the NYC-based band Snakeskin on backup vocals, and the cellist Kate Wakefield from the Cincinnati-based band Lung. All parties recorded their parts within their respective homes. Once the songs seemed fully realized, they were mixed by Eric Bennett, one of Marissa’s oldest friends and closest collaborators, who was also quarantined at home alongside his mixing studio.

This LP is the final project of that collaboration, between four US states, a year of isolation, panic, and uncertainty – all the while never writing together in the flesh. Paternoster has long since found her niche, her people, and her voice. it’s under her name is because it’s more searchable, she laughs, but it does seem like a benchmark in her career. The concise, 31-minute, nine-track album is inexplicably new. It’s subtly supernatural, with Paternoster’s haunting vocals carrying through an acoustic/electronic folk realm, articulating an unfamiliar yet comforting sense of calm.

The first single is “White Dove,” which finds Marissa going in kind of a psychedelic folk direction, to great effect. It’s a far cry from Screaming Females, but her voice is as unmistakable as ever. Listen and watch the Joe Steinhardt-directed video.

The Screaming Females guitarist delves into haunting acoustic/electronic song writing on her solo album “Peace Meter“, expanding her sonic palette and typically raging approach—but not without the help of her musical community.

Before she released seven full-length albums with her punk band Screaming Females, another four under her solo moniker Noun, and getting listed as one of “100 Greatest Guitarists of All Time,” singer/songwriter Marissa Paternoster didn’t have much hope for musical success.

“I spent a lot, if not all, of my teenage years being very afraid,” she shares. “I thought because of my gender, and then knowing full well that I was gay, that those things were going to keep me from ever being in a band or just being happy. I felt trapped.”

But the all-consuming urge to play guitar and be in a band kept her going. She absorbed every Smashing Pumpkins riff possible at her childhood home in New Brunswick, New Jersey, and then discovered the anarchic punk women of the ’90s riot grrrl scene—which changed everything. She thought, “They exist, they’re out there. Maybe there is this little, tiny chance that I can find those people too.”

Paternoster says that the album’s production was basically a 50/50 split between her and Gibbs. He took the originally morose, down-tempo “I Lost You” and infused it with a happier, up-tempo beat—it’s the track Paternoster says she’s most proud of from the collection. Throughout the project, “he would even manipulate the vocals. He used them as an instrument that he could add modulation to, which added texture to the songs.” The weird, Cocteau Twins kind of blurred line between analog and electronic instrumentation, she says, was mostly a product of Gibbs’ influence.

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