Monday, November 9, 2015

Punk trio MARY & THE IMMACULATE REJECTIONS release new EP; performances scheduled for November

In the early days, punk rock was many things: loud, fast, unrefined, rebellious and obnoxious, all in defiance of what was popular at the time. While that influence has never entirely faded, 2015 sees few bands embrace the gospel of the Germs or the Cramps quite as dearly as Mary & the Immaculate Rejections.

Singer/guitarist Mary Lemanski started her professional music career at age 11, playing the pipe organ, of all things. Since then, she's released multiple albums' worth of original music online, placing in various songwriting contests and earning showcases all over the country for her works in various genres. And all the subtlety and nuance she's spent the last 16 years mastering are promptly thrown out the window from the time the first buzzsaw guitar roars through the speakers on her band's new EP.

Actually, "You're My #1," muscular riffing aside, is a very sweet love song, showing kinship with The Damned's undeniable sense of both melody and harmony. The sweetness of the opener leads nicely into the PG-lechery of "Stoplight Romance," a Fleshtones-inspired romp about the fun of flirtation.

But it's with "Telemarketing Song" that Lemanski's sardonic side comes out. "I hate people / 'cuz people suck" she helpfully explains during the song's chorus, and it's not at first clear which end of a telemarketing call she's speaking from. While the song may end on a positive note, it's a delightfully snotty singalong and sets up the EP's three final tracks.

"Living Free" is equal parts bittersweet remembrance of a past relationship and winking self-deprecation. "Not cool then and still not now / It's just emo," Lemanski drolly intones as bass and drums send the song into a swing-beat breakdown. "Just like me, not cool then, not cool now."

Finally, "All I Need Is Myself" closes the album on a defiant, aggressive note. "You think you're something," Lemanski spits, "But I'd rather be all alone / than spend more time with you." The song oozes classic punk rock attitude and panche, and when the vocal slides off pitch in the last chorus, it's the icing on the cake.

With Lemanski having opened for the likes of Marky Ramone & the Speed Kings, D.I., Val Emmich, and Rev. Norb & The Onions, and bassist Harold Bertolis and drummer Andy Trello having served as the powerhouse rhythm section from Springfield bands Rotten Monster and The Stifs, both Mary and her Immaculate Rejections are no strangers to the stage. On November 14, they will hold an EP release show at Springfield's suitably grimy Black Sheep Cafe, bringing the full weight of decades of obnoxiously catchy rebellion onto their audience. Lemanski will also do a solo electric performance in Chicago at Elbo Room the following evening.

SAT 11/14 @ Black Sheep Cafe, 1320 S. 11th Street (Springfield, IL)
Mary & The Immaculate Rejections (EP release show)
with SAP, Los Injectors and Rotten Monster
7pm // $5

SUN 11/15 @ Elbo Room, 2871 N. Lincoln (Chicago, IL)
Mary Lemanski solo set
7pm // $9

SAT 11/28 @ Eagle's Club, 1035 N Vanderbraak Rd. (Green Bay, WI)
Rev. Norb and the Onions, Mary & The Immaculate Rejections, Phylums, Beach Patrol, Sons of Kong, Urban Descent.
7pm // $6

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