By Don Giovanni
June 11th, 2021
Body of Work (1990-1995)
Riot Grrrl might have gotten all the press, but the ’90s underground scene was full of bands challenging the patriarchy, gender roles, and sexism. California’s Spitboy was among the most fierce and uncompromising of these bands.
The all female band created a monster sound to frame their words – a heavy ’90s post-hardcore explosion with hints of Fugazi and Fuel. This isn’t music for measured debate, this is raw, unfiltered emotion, channeling years of frustration and agony. While vocalist Adrienne Droogas was capable of a bluesy Gary Floyd-esque wail, as in opener “Seriously,” she’s at her best with throat-shredding howls, like in “Isolation Burns” or “In Your Face.”
There are bits of subtlety throughout the collection, however, like in the intertwining vocals on “Interdependent” and “Violent Tongue” or the roiling, tension-filled “Fences.” While the guitar is an angry wall of emotion, the rythmn section is mixed heavily up front, especially in the later songs, which wouldn’t sound out of place on pre-weird Dischord Records.
Did listeners at the time pick up on this? I don’t know. I remember getting the Spitboy/Los Crudos split and thinking it was the most frantic hardcore I had experienced, a welcome antidote to the metalcore flooding the scene at the time.
The limited edition red marbled vinyl collects the uncompromising band’s entire discography, and all proceeds will be donated to the National Women’s Law Center. While the problems and attitudes Spitboy cataloged are still around, these frenzied songs act as a reminder that there are always people looking for solutions, or at least exposing them and expressing their pain for all to see (or hear).