Screaming Females Breathe New Life Into A Lost Video-Making Art

It’s time for you to start paying attention to Screaming Females. Stalwarts of the New Jersey basement punk scene (specifically, the New Brunswick division), Screaming Females have been pumping out catchy, and often heavy, melodic punk songs for nearly a decade now, operating almost entirely independently during that time. They’ve toured with big names like Dead Meadow, played countless shows with fellow Jersey basement-punkers Night Birds, and have made records with some pretty heavyweight producer-engineers, including Steve Albini.

Their newest record, Rose Mountain, is great, and also has another link that metal fans should appreciate: it was produced and engineered by Matt Bayles, also known as the man who helmed Mastodon’s first three masterworks (Remission, Leviathan, and Blood Mountain). The pairing has resulted in my favorite album of theirs to date – Bayles gave their gritty riffs the sonic teeth I always wanted them to have.

All this to say that the band has a new video for the song “Hopeless,” which features some pretty creative oldschool technical tricks; namely, frame-by-frame animation. The video was shot digitally, from which the band struck a 35mm print negative, a technique of which I’ve not heard of being done in music other than when Frank Zappa shot 200 Motels on videotape and then had 35mm prints made, back in 1971. Usually nowadays, even when big Hollywood movies are shot on 35mm film, like for example Wolf of Wall Street, they are edited and distributed on a digital medium – not the other way around.

So off the bat, kudos for Screaming Females for experimenting with film technology for a music video (it’s not cheap to get film prints struck, either). But then they really went all out, according to director Lance Bangs:

We did this bonkers approach of editing everything, then getting it turned into an actual 35mm negative, then we had movie prints made, then Marissa spent days obsessively scratching, bleaching, and hand animating the 5400 individual frames. After that we rescanned it all, and synched it up to the audio. To our knowledge I don’t think anyone has bothered to go through all of that hassle for a video before.

That’s truly insane. I really can’t think of a single artist who has put that much literal blood, sweat, and tears into a music video (see the image above!). I’m not crazy about the song as much as others on the album, but am blown away by the band’s efforts on this truly unique video. Check it out:

And here are some other, decidedly riffier and heavier cuts from the new album below:

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Max is managing editor of Gear Gods.