NOBRO - Set Your Pussy Free
“…currently one of Canada’s most incredible punk bands…” —Exclaim!
“…driving, stomping rhythm section with wailing guitar solos and gritty, hollering vocals… comes at you fast and hard. Packed with electric adrenaline…chant-worthy lyrics, these women are challenging sexism in the genre with their fun ‘get the fuck out of here’ attitude…” —NEXT Magazine
Due out October 27th on Dine Alone Records, Montreal modern-punk outfit NOBRO’s debut full-length record Set Your Pussy Free is a caustic, celebratory, glorious party-punk firework show. Produced by Dave Schiffman (PUP, Rage Against The Machine), it’s a record about the ecstatic pursuit of personal escape and liberation even as the walls are closing in, a 21st century power-punk analog of Born To Run that rages against modern life’s restrictive pressures and dares them to a game of chicken. If a hurricane is bearing down on NOBRO, they’re spitting into it, arm-in-arm, with middle fingers raised.
The latest single is road-dog punk-rock anthem “Where My Girls At” which recounts the band’s formation and early days playing the dive bar circuit, selling t-shirts out of garbage bags and building the bonds that have taken the band to where they are today. “Where my girls at, where my girls at?/Gonna start me a rock and roll band!” vocalist and bassist Kathryn McCaughey calls on the jubilant chorus.
“It’s an upbeat anthem where heartbreak takes a backseat to girl power and rock ‘n’ roll,” she explains. “Instead of wallowing in love’s disappointment, you can pick up a guitar and call on your girls. This celebration of sisterhood and female empowerment is a reminder that with friends by our side, anything is possible – even starting a band on a whim.” Through the weeks of 12-hour studio days, McCaughey was still working full-time at a bar at night. The desperation in my voice on the record is real,” she grins. “It was a struggle, but I felt like I stayed true to myself, you know?” NOBRO’s collective joy is just as palpable, showcased in their new music video.
Bandmates Kathryn McCaughey (vocals/bass), Karolane Carbonneau (guitars), Lisandre Bourdages (keys/percussion), and Sarah Dion (drums) make clear that they aren’t interested in playing by whatever rules have been set around them. NOBRO were playing a show the day after the United States Supreme Court overturned the right to access an abortion in the country. The four women were shaken and furious, but that night McCaughey led a righteous toast against the decision: “This next song is dedicated to setting our vaginas free!”
It was a spur-of-the-moment response to the news, but the phrase stuck with McCaughey. It began to feel like something more than a throw-away slogan. It felt like something deeper, a defiant rallying cry to kick against the exhausting struggles of life. “As a musician or artist or even a woman, you have to throw off the weight of societal pressures and expectations, especially as you get older,” says McCaughey. “You have to take risks and chances.” NOBRO is the space where the quartet gets to take those risks and chances. It’s a place for cultivating power and happiness in a hard, mean world. That means the stakes are high. “Music is where we lift each other up,” McCaughey continues. “I wish it was more like a fairy tale. We just want this fucking thing to work. But we’re all gonna succeed together, or we’re all gonna fail together.”
NOBRO wrote most of SYPF with Toronto-based producer Thomas D’Arcy (July Talk, The Sheepdogs, Yukon Blonde), and Schiffman joined the band in Montreal for nearly a month to prep and record at Mixart Studios in the dead of winter. “We allowed ourselves to go in crazier directions, just to see where it would take us,” says Bourdages. She adds that because of how it was recorded—live off the floor, all four members playing at the same time, mistakes and all—this new LP represents who NOBRO are more than any other release.
“Where My Girls At” follows tongue-in-cheek romp “Let’s Do Drugs” which has crashing percussion, gnarled guitar lines, and raspy vocals. “A ‘dumb’ rock song about getting older,” McCaughey states that “it’s about wanting to have one more wild night, while having no business doing so and failing miserably. Musically it’s a middle ground between maybe ‘(You Gotta) Fight For Your Right (To Party)’ and ‘Dirty Deeds Done Dirt Cheap’ but only the dumbest bits of those songs, distilled into something even more dumb. It’s like shotgunning a beer then immediately puking on yourself.” It’s accompanied by a raucous music video.
Accumulating years of work, hundreds of shows, and thousands of miles since 2014, McCaughey, Carbonneau, Bourdages, and Dion have been building NOBRO into one of the most fierce and exciting bands in Canada, now riding the momentum from a string of blazing singles and EPs, capped with 2020’s Sick Hustle and 2022’s Live Your Truth Shred Some Gnar. Listeners big and small have been taking note: Iggy Pop played their track “Bye Bye Baby” on his BBC Radio 6 show, and a fictional band in the Netflix series The Imperfects covered their songs. Aside from taking their raucous live shows to every dive bar across Montreal, the band has also toured across North America and Europe with PUP, Alexisonfire, Billy Talent, Fidlar, and The OBGMs. In May 2023, they opened for Blink-182 at Toronto’s Scotiabank Arena.