It does my heart good to see that Washington, DC still plays for keeps with guitar-bass-drums punk created in an independently produced, communally minded context. The scene’s legendary DIY tradition — think Bad Brains and Minor Threat of the 1980s, and Fugazi, Bikini Kill, and Nation of Ulysses in the 1990s — may seem quaint in indie-rock’s current Coachella period, but as the question of the day turns back to “Which side are you on?”, it’s worthwhile to have Priests in your corner.
This activist-minded quartet has been paying its dues for several years, finally deeming next week the right time to release a proper debut album, Nothing Feels Natural. Two videos (below) for tracks off the new album offer a good indication of the breathless, gleeful punk tradition that Priests inherits. However, the just-released title track demands your attention right now. Katie Alice Greer’s melodic vocal and the band’s finely calibrated attack elevates “Nothing Feels Natural” to the unexpected status of post-punk anthem — a stand-out in what’s sure to be an important album of 2017.
Next week, Priests kicks off a North American tour in Brooklyn to promote the new album. But first, they join in the many protest events scheduled in Washington, DC this Inauguration Day Friday with a benefit show Greer organized that also includes Waxahatchee (solo), Sadie Dupuis (of Speedy Ortiz/Sad13), Pure Disgust, Marc Ribot, Flasher, and Free Children of Earth.
PRIESTS ON TOUR: Jan. 20 – Washington, DC @ The Black Cat: NO THANKS Benefit Show
Jan. 28 – Brooklyn, NY @ Brooklyn Night Bazaar
Feb. 3 – Philadelphia, PA @ Everybody Hits
Feb. 4 – Boston, MA @ Great Scott
Feb. 6 – Montreal, QC @ Casa del Popolo
Feb. 7 – Toronto ON @ Silver Dollar Room
Feb. 8 – Detroit, MI @ UFO Factory
Feb. 9 – Chicago, IL @ Beat Kitchen
Feb. 10 – Madison, WI @ Rathskeller
Feb. 11 – Minneapolis, MN @ 7th Street Entry
Feb. 15 – Vancouver, BC @ 333
Feb. 16 – Seattle, WA @ Vera Project
Feb. 17 – Portland, OR @ Disjecta
Feb. 18 – Eugene, OR @ The Boreal
Feb. 19 – Oakland, CA @ Starline Social Club
Feb. 20 – Los Angeles, CA @ The Echoplex
Feb. 22 – San Diego, CA @ Che Cafe
Thu. Feb. 23 – Phoenix, AZ @ Valley Bar
Fri. Feb. 24 – Tucson, AZ @ 191 Toole
Sat. Feb. 25 – Santa Fe, NM @ Meow Wolf
Mon. Feb. 27 – Austin, TX @ Barracuda
Tue. Feb. 28 – McAllen, TX @ Yerberia Cultura
Wed. Mar. 1 – Houston TX @ Walter’s
Thu. Mar. 2 – New Orleans LA @ Siberia
Fri. Mar. 3 – Tallahasee, FL @ Wolf’s Den
Sat. Mar. 4 – Atlanta, GA @ Drunken Unicorn
Sun. Mar. 5 – Durham, NC @ Pinhook
Sat. Mar. 11 – Washington, DC @ Black Cat
A sociology professor living in upstate New York, Leonard Nevarez is patiently waiting until his kids are old enough for a family roadtrip to Maryland Deathfest. He blogs at musicalurbanism.org and is writing a book about Martha & the Muffins and the late 70s/early 80s downtown Toronto music scene.