Aural Fixation: Six Girls, One Couch

Litter Brain On Their New Album, Nope

Maggie Grimason
4 min read
Six Girls, One Couch
Litter Brain (Courtesy of the band)
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“I think it’s kind of important in our story that none of us knew what the fuck we were doing,” Jett Bullock said from the middle of a small army of women crowded on a sofa in the casita behind Liza Bley’s house where Litter Brain practices. The six-piece all female punk power house started more than a year ago when Bley yelled out of a car window at Alicia Hermanny, “Do you want to be in my band?” Although she had never played bass before, Hermanny said yes. It had been 6 years since Bley had sat down at a drum set and Sam Andrews was recruited too, though she was new to guitar. Rounding out the group is Bullock shouting on vocals, Beth Hansen on bass and Becki Jones on guitar. “I wanted to play bass, but they already had two bass players. Story of my life … always the guitar player,” Jones, who also handles guitar in Weedrat, laughed from her sliver of the couch.

“I had never been the front person in a band,” Bullock points out, but her tenure in Arroyo Deathmatch, which she played in along with Hansen, “gave me the courage to scream on my own,” she said. Bley is also very active in the local music scene as the bassist for Rudest Priest and the promising new outfit Pantygram. “We had to invent our own way of describing musical terms to each other because we didn’t have a foundation of musical terminology to rely on.

We’re still inventing ways to communicate those things to each other,” Hansen said. Their range of experience, however, has not been much of an impediment to the women of Litter Brain. In fact, they recently recorded their first full length,
Nope, at Push Drive Studios. They all make a point of giving shout outs to chief recording engineer, Lee Sillery after which Hansen adds, “But tell him to get toilet paper. Six girls using Taco Bell napkins?” Bley follows that with “So much for girl power” and they all break out in laughter.

It was a joke, obviously, because there is a power very evident around Litter Brain. Of the handful of shows they’ve played, roughly half have been benefits and at every one of those shows when Bullock asks the crowd to sing along to the emblematic “Ride,” they do. And loudly. “The community has always been really supportive of what we’re doing. That’s something I notice at every show,” Hermanny observed. “We went into this project just wanting to be friends and have fun. And other people feel that in the performance somehow,” Hansen added. The band’s convictions are evident in the line-ups of those shows, too. “When we book shows we’re pretty cognizant of the other bands we’re playing with and making sure we’re playing with bands with women in them [and] with people of color,” Bley pointed out.

Part of what’s irresistible about Litter Brain are their deeply relatable lyrics—about being catcalled, the drudgery of working retail, menstruation—as well as things like dropping your phone in the toilet and slow drivers, which Bullock sings about with vehemence. “I feel like half of our songs are really important and the other half are really silly,” Bullock said of the contents of
Nope. And more then that, there’s something truly inspiring about seeing a group of women, largely self-taught and still learning, achieving something magical, whether they’re playing on a stage or they’re set up on the dirty carpet of a punk house.

When I ask what’s next for Litter Brain Bley breaks out a printed calendar of the month of August and explains they’re going on a West Coast tour. In the background of the recording someone screams, “Summmer touuurrr!” and they discuss loose plans that may take them as far as Seattle. But before that, the six-piece will play a tape release show near the end of February for
Nope with New York City’s La Misma headlining. For information on that show, check out Litter Brain’s Facebook page.

On tape or live, Litter Brain is injecting some real intensity and thoughtfulness into Albuquerque’s punk scene. “There’s no rules and that’s what punk is to me,” Hermanny said. That no rules ethos is part of what makes them fun. Really fun. Take every chance you can to sing along with Litter Brain.
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