PWR BTTM are a Brooklyn-based duo composed of drummer Liv Bruce and guitarist Ben Hopkins. They also both sing, trading off lead vocals, or sometimes singing together. They are queer performers who use the band as an extension of their constant work to help people — queer or otherwise — feel less alone in the world. Ugly Cherries achieves that goal and more, combining the theatricality of show tunes with punky riffs. Beyond that, their lyrics are scathingly honest, leveling everything in sight — self included.
Self-dubbed “genre-queer” (this is a great pun), the duo have already released a handful of singles from the album, including the pop-punk tenderness of the title track, and the playful, prickly bop “Dairy Queen.” Earlier this year we premiered “West Texas,” which includes a great George Strait allusion and builds a combustible riff into the epiphany: “I’ve been trying to play it cool, but I still love you.”
Today NPR premiered the latest song off the record, “1994,” a brief, surging two-minute reflection on desire, time, and loss. It builds off a veering, warped synth and wordless hums, before erupting into a full-blown guitar solo that ends up conveying volumes more about the emotion in this song than the lyrics can. Listen below and also go listen to all their other older songs like I just did — Ugly Cherries is easily one of the year’s strongest debuts.