Bitch Face
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Bitch Face

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Introducing ... Bitch Face

Their name raises eyebrows, and their songs were forged in personal strife. But don’t mistake local trio Bitch Face for some angsty shock band.

It’s more of a smirking emotional exorcism, and a return to roots for Adam Armstrong, the group’s frontman and driving force.

“The music I’ve been wanting to play for years now has been a stripped-down, grungy, noisy punk rock,” says Armstrong, who also drums for the more formalistically complex prog-rock band Antigone.

For a forebear to Bitch Face, think Nirvana – a longtime influence of Armstrong’s (but “the dirtier stuff,” he says, like “Tourettes” and “Territorial Pissings.”)

Indeed Bitch Face is a jolt – full of bluster, lean songwriting and lyrics so painfully, horrifically honest, it strikes some as comical.

Rounding out the band are two familiar faces from El Paso’s music scene: Ralpheene drummer Mike Peregrino and Antigone’s original bassist, Jeremy Ford.

In a studiedly unstudied way, the three have recorded Armstrong’s songs, which he wrote over six months while licking some psychological wounds after the intense end of a relationship.

“All of the songs are about my ex, so that’s very cliché, but I didn’t have any plans to put together a band, and I haven’t sung or played guitar since I was 15, so I just did it out of necessity because I went through a really traumatic period,” he says.

But what started out as a jam-like side project, meant to bleed Armstrong of some of his psychic trauma, clotted into a proper band. Bitch Face debuted last month at the Black Market and will release “Not So True Love,” a six-track EP, this Thursday, July 5, at The Percolator.

Showgoers can expect a sensory onslaught. “Night Life,” a kiss-off to the ex sarcastically encouraging her to enjoy her newfound freedom, alternately broods, fusses and rages. Other songs show the same potent cocktail – raw pathos threatening to break out of tight song structures.

And in a page from Andy Kaufman, Armstrong tells black-as-death jokes in between songs.

“It helps me relax if I tell jokes and not take myself too seriously,” he says.

Then there are the lyrics. A song called “Straws” bears the charming chorus: “I want you f*cking dead!” It’s a usual-enough punk sentiment, but also catchy as hell and especially caustic when put in a relationship context. Others get more detailed.

“They sound almost juvenile because they’re so direct,” Armstrong said. “I didn’t write lyrics, by the way. I recorded the music and just free associated with the mic on and said whatever came to mind, and that’s what I ended up keeping.”

Armstrong says one collaborator walked away from the project, citing discomfort with the subject matter, but the current lineup doesn’t seem to mind.

“I think they’re great,” Ford said of the lyrics. “They catch people’s attention, that’s for sure. If it offends them, oh well. It is what it is.”

Peregrino says the lyrics of “Straws” have gotten some laughs from crowds so far.

“I like them – they’re fun,” Peregrino says. “For someone who doesn’t know the story, they’re funny.”

The lyricist doesn’t mind the laughter, even though his words come from a real place. To Armstrong, a 31-year-old English teacher who studies psychoanalysis, it illustrates the ambiguities of emotion.

“It doesn’t bother me at all,” he says. “In fact the laughter – and naming the band Bitch Face, having goofy lyrics that are also dark – is a way for me to try to capture this strange feeling I’ve been having for almost a year now, of being relieved but also sad and trying to heal, and so humor is part of healing.

“So I think it’s great that I can get these feelings out and also not bum other people out but have them all kind of enjoy it in the room.”

And what about that band name?

“This is probably important,” Armstrong says. “The name has nothing to do with the content of the lyrics. I think a couple of my friends misunderstood that. They thought I was being hateful because so many of the songs were about my ex. Actually the name is something that my friends used to say in high school when we saw a girl who had a really snobby, mean look on her face – I think lots of people use it …

“For a while I had been joking about it, but I never took it seriously. But then I thought, why the f*ck not, if I’m supposed to have fun anyway?”

Show stats: Thursday, July 5, The Percolator, 217 N. Stanton, Bitch Face with The Black Coats and Half Breed Lovers, $5 cover with EP.
- What's Up Magazine




Introducing ... Bitch Face

Their name raises eyebrows, and their songs were forged in personal strife. But don’t mistake local trio Bitch Face for some angsty shock band.

It’s more of a smirking emotional exorcism, and a return to roots for Adam Armstrong, the group’s frontman and driving force.

“The music I’ve been wanting to play for years now has been a stripped-down, grungy, noisy punk rock,” says Armstrong, who also drums for the more formalistically complex prog-rock band Antigone.

For a forebear to Bitch Face, think Nirvana – a longtime influence of Armstrong’s (but “the dirtier stuff,” he says, like “Tourettes” and “Territorial Pissings.”)

Indeed Bitch Face is a jolt – full of bluster, lean songwriting and lyrics so painfully, horrifically honest, it strikes some as comical.

Rounding out the band are two familiar faces from El Paso’s music scene: Ralpheene drummer Mike Peregrino and Antigone’s original bassist, Jeremy Ford.

In a studiedly unstudied way, the three have recorded Armstrong’s songs, which he wrote over six months while licking some psychological wounds after the intense end of a relationship.

“All of the songs are about my ex, so that’s very cliché, but I didn’t have any plans to put together a band, and I haven’t sung or played guitar since I was 15, so I just did it out of necessity because I went through a really traumatic period,” he says.

But what started out as a jam-like side project, meant to bleed Armstrong of some of his psychic trauma, clotted into a proper band. Bitch Face debuted last month at the Black Market and will release “Not So True Love,” a six-track EP, this Thursday, July 5, at The Percolator.

Showgoers can expect a sensory onslaught. “Night Life,” a kiss-off to the ex sarcastically encouraging her to enjoy her newfound freedom, alternately broods, fusses and rages. Other songs show the same potent cocktail – raw pathos threatening to break out of tight song structures.

And in a page from Andy Kaufman, Armstrong tells black-as-death jokes in between songs.

“It helps me relax if I tell jokes and not take myself too seriously,” he says.

Then there are the lyrics. A song called “Straws” bears the charming chorus: “I want you f*cking dead!” It’s a usual-enough punk sentiment, but also catchy as hell and especially caustic when put in a relationship context. Others get more detailed.

“They sound almost juvenile because they’re so direct,” Armstrong said. “I didn’t write lyrics, by the way. I recorded the music and just free associated with the mic on and said whatever came to mind, and that’s what I ended up keeping.”

Armstrong says one collaborator walked away from the project, citing discomfort with the subject matter, but the current lineup doesn’t seem to mind.

“I think they’re great,” Ford said of the lyrics. “They catch people’s attention, that’s for sure. If it offends them, oh well. It is what it is.”

Peregrino says the lyrics of “Straws” have gotten some laughs from crowds so far.

“I like them – they’re fun,” Peregrino says. “For someone who doesn’t know the story, they’re funny.”

The lyricist doesn’t mind the laughter, even though his words come from a real place. To Armstrong, a 31-year-old English teacher who studies psychoanalysis, it illustrates the ambiguities of emotion.

“It doesn’t bother me at all,” he says. “In fact the laughter – and naming the band Bitch Face, having goofy lyrics that are also dark – is a way for me to try to capture this strange feeling I’ve been having for almost a year now, of being relieved but also sad and trying to heal, and so humor is part of healing.

“So I think it’s great that I can get these feelings out and also not bum other people out but have them all kind of enjoy it in the room.”

And what about that band name?

“This is probably important,” Armstrong says. “The name has nothing to do with the content of the lyrics. I think a couple of my friends misunderstood that. They thought I was being hateful because so many of the songs were about my ex. Actually the name is something that my friends used to say in high school when we saw a girl who had a really snobby, mean look on her face – I think lots of people use it …

“For a while I had been joking about it, but I never took it seriously. But then I thought, why the f*ck not, if I’m supposed to have fun anyway?”

Show stats: Thursday, July 5, The Percolator, 217 N. Stanton, Bitch Face with The Black Coats and Half Breed Lovers, $5 cover with EP.
- What's Up Magazine




Bitch Face frontman Adam Armstrong explains the unnerving final seconds of his band’s new album, “Mrs. Pride & Mr. Fear,” which pulse like something from the ’80s movie “Scanners.”

“I enjoy writing things that end up making people slightly uncomfortable,” he says. “I purposely put two notes together that shouldn’t belong together. I pursue dissonant chords a lot. I thought that sound was so eerie and creepy. I didn’t want to use something that made them feel nice at the end; I wanted to make them feel weird.”

That subversive streak runs through the local band’s whole aesthetic, from their name to their music and visuals. The album’s cover art by local Aziz Atiya shows a cartoon dog wearing red lipstick, earrings, horn-rimmed sunglasses and a pink fur-lined collar; their press photo (left) portrays the trio as a nuclear family, with the bearded Armstrong playing the part of Mom, his lipstick every bit as red as the dog’s.

Bitch Face paradoxically can make you want to smirk, cry and mosh to their thrashy, catchy post-punk hooks. All three reactions should rightly occur Friday, Aug. 16, at a CD release show at Lowbrow Palace. The 10-song album surpasses the band’s two previous, self-recorded EPs in terms of both composition and clarity.

“I’m most proud of this CD of the three that we’ve done because I think that we’re all better players,” says Armstrong, who founded Bitch Face last summer. Drummer Mike Peregrino (also of Ralpheene) and bassist Farrokh Farrokhnia (formerly Fluxion, Enferma, The Strangler Fig) round out the family.

“Mrs. Pride & Mr. Fear” marks the first time the band has worked with an outside producer: Ross Ingram, a local sound engineer who previously played with successful Austin bands Paperwork and The Blistering Speeds.

“I couldn’t believe what he was able to do with the space in my house,” says Armstrong, who also drums for Antigone. “Farrokh called it ‘guerilla-style recording.’ We spent an hour on drums, then, ‘OK, let’s go play.’ We spent one or two takes on each song – three or four takes, at the most, on one song of the album.”

The speedy recording didn’t undermine the quality. That’s clear from the outset on album opener “When the Moon Hits Your Eye,” a track that appeared on an earlier EP and appears here in crisp, glorious high fidelity.

“Baby, do you love me? / Baby, do you want me / Baby, do you want to marry me?” goes the catchy chorus, lyrics that would sound at home on a ’50s serenade were it not for the screaming. Or the clanging guitars and crashing hi-hat. Or the clinching lyric: “Maybe have a couple of f*cking kids!?” Cue the primal scream.

The song could either play as a bitter farce of romance, courtship and settling down, or a sweet-and-salty wedding song for the twisted-minded. That satirical ambiguity can be found on “Agro-Culture,” an anti-homophobia anthem told from the perspective of a homophobe, or “Yes Sir,” the song whose lyrics gave the album its name.

“I still don’t write lyrics – I free-associate,” says Armstrong, a high school English teacher who studies psychology recreationally. He says his lyrics often reveal to him what had been weighing on his mind without him knowing, but as for “Yes Sir,” he declined to say who the real Mrs. Pride and Mr. Fear might be.

Finally there’s the closing track, the brooding rocker “Nightlife,” whose last jarring minutes are a nod to the “secret tracks” of the CD age, when bands like Nirvana (a big influence on Bitch Face) would end their albums with dozens of sequential silent tracks, followed by odd aural Easter eggs or entire songs.

In that subtle way the band nods to its forebears, but Bitch Face is wholly of the moment.

“The next record we do is going to alienate some of the people who like us now,” Armstrong says. “There’s some stuff I’m writing that’s weirder and heavier than anything I’ve probably done before.” - What's Up Magazine




Bitch Face frontman Adam Armstrong explains the unnerving final seconds of his band’s new album, “Mrs. Pride & Mr. Fear,” which pulse like something from the ’80s movie “Scanners.”

“I enjoy writing things that end up making people slightly uncomfortable,” he says. “I purposely put two notes together that shouldn’t belong together. I pursue dissonant chords a lot. I thought that sound was so eerie and creepy. I didn’t want to use something that made them feel nice at the end; I wanted to make them feel weird.”

That subversive streak runs through the local band’s whole aesthetic, from their name to their music and visuals. The album’s cover art by local Aziz Atiya shows a cartoon dog wearing red lipstick, earrings, horn-rimmed sunglasses and a pink fur-lined collar; their press photo (left) portrays the trio as a nuclear family, with the bearded Armstrong playing the part of Mom, his lipstick every bit as red as the dog’s.

Bitch Face paradoxically can make you want to smirk, cry and mosh to their thrashy, catchy post-punk hooks. All three reactions should rightly occur Friday, Aug. 16, at a CD release show at Lowbrow Palace. The 10-song album surpasses the band’s two previous, self-recorded EPs in terms of both composition and clarity.

“I’m most proud of this CD of the three that we’ve done because I think that we’re all better players,” says Armstrong, who founded Bitch Face last summer. Drummer Mike Peregrino (also of Ralpheene) and bassist Farrokh Farrokhnia (formerly Fluxion, Enferma, The Strangler Fig) round out the family.

“Mrs. Pride & Mr. Fear” marks the first time the band has worked with an outside producer: Ross Ingram, a local sound engineer who previously played with successful Austin bands Paperwork and The Blistering Speeds.

“I couldn’t believe what he was able to do with the space in my house,” says Armstrong, who also drums for Antigone. “Farrokh called it ‘guerilla-style recording.’ We spent an hour on drums, then, ‘OK, let’s go play.’ We spent one or two takes on each song – three or four takes, at the most, on one song of the album.”

The speedy recording didn’t undermine the quality. That’s clear from the outset on album opener “When the Moon Hits Your Eye,” a track that appeared on an earlier EP and appears here in crisp, glorious high fidelity.

“Baby, do you love me? / Baby, do you want me / Baby, do you want to marry me?” goes the catchy chorus, lyrics that would sound at home on a ’50s serenade were it not for the screaming. Or the clanging guitars and crashing hi-hat. Or the clinching lyric: “Maybe have a couple of f*cking kids!?” Cue the primal scream.

The song could either play as a bitter farce of romance, courtship and settling down, or a sweet-and-salty wedding song for the twisted-minded. That satirical ambiguity can be found on “Agro-Culture,” an anti-homophobia anthem told from the perspective of a homophobe, or “Yes Sir,” the song whose lyrics gave the album its name.

“I still don’t write lyrics – I free-associate,” says Armstrong, a high school English teacher who studies psychology recreationally. He says his lyrics often reveal to him what had been weighing on his mind without him knowing, but as for “Yes Sir,” he declined to say who the real Mrs. Pride and Mr. Fear might be.

Finally there’s the closing track, the brooding rocker “Nightlife,” whose last jarring minutes are a nod to the “secret tracks” of the CD age, when bands like Nirvana (a big influence on Bitch Face) would end their albums with dozens of sequential silent tracks, followed by odd aural Easter eggs or entire songs.

In that subtle way the band nods to its forebears, but Bitch Face is wholly of the moment.

“The next record we do is going to alienate some of the people who like us now,” Armstrong says. “There’s some stuff I’m writing that’s weirder and heavier than anything I’ve probably done before.” - What's Up Magazine


Discography

We have released 2 EP's ourselves that were exclusively sold at shows: 'Not So True Love' & 'Agro-culture' were recorded very simply and have a very punk-rock sound.
Our newest LP 'Mrs. Pride & Mr. Fear' was released in August of 2013 and can be found on iTunes, Spotify, Amazon, CD Baby, and many other digital music sites.

Photos

Bio

We are a 3 piece garage/punk band from El Paso Texas. We formed in 2012 and play for fun and to spread the joy of raw noisy power that inspired us as kids.