For those interested in punk rock without a Y chromosome, selections have long been lacking, making the arrival of overseas import Batrider that much more welcome.
Led by the disgruntled feral croon of singer/guitarist Sarah Chadwick, Batrider marshals noisy, writhing post-punk that sounds like P.J. Harvey with a head cold. Hazy with Chadwick's deep, throaty vocals, the band's jagged guitars crash like test dummies, sending shards in all directions, and the music's lumbering pulse suggests those elongated slow-motion moments before impact.
Formed eight years ago in New Zealand, the group moved to Australia and then London while undergoing lineup changes that have left Chadwick as the sole original member. Although often grueling, the frequent moves have helped shape the band.
"In London, we were relatively isolated in terms of being surrounded by people in bands we like," she said. "But I think that was amazing in retrospect, too, as it gave us the chance to get our heads around a new lineup with no pressure and no critique, which I found quite stifling in Australia."
Batrider is supporting its third album, this summer's "Why We Can't Be Together." Ever prolific, Batrider recorded the album in two sessions, distilling 38 songs into the 14-track album. The trio has already recorded the tracks for the next album as well.
"We work really fast. We are generally a three-take band, with more emphasis on vibe and feel, rather than musicianship," Chadwick said. "We are pretty relaxed when we record. I seem to always be extremely hungover whenever we do, which seems to make it way better in that I'm so busy just concentrating on staying alive, that I forget to stress about how it sounds."
Chadwick says the title of the current album isn't so much about a breakup as it is a come-on.
"It was kinda meant to make someone fall in love with me, but it didn't " not even a little bit," she said. "It's about wanting what you can't have, not being satisfied with what you do, wanting more than your fair share. It's about wanting who you have, but also who you don't. It's about never feeling good enough and wallowing in that, and not wallowing in that. Someone's face lighting up your mind. Feeling guilty. Being stuck. Knowing what you have to do, even though you really don't want to. Knowing what's right, even though what's not could be so much better."
Batrider with El Paso Hot Button perform at 9 p.m. Wednesday at Opolis, 113 N. Crawford in Norman. "Chris Parker