Femme Fatale Punk Rock

This is Civet

Civet-01B

Suzi Homewrecker, Jacqui Valentine, Ms. Liza Graves, Roxie Darling

Well, this was Civet, at one time. Civet is a punk rock band from Long Beach, CA, formed by sisters Ms. Liza Graves (vocals/guitar) and Suzi Homewrecker (guitar). The current line-up includes Jonny Grill (bass) and Christian Riersgard (drums). But, I love this promo pic. I posted about Civet on my other blog, but, I’ve been listening to them a lot this week, so I want to post about them here, too. I’m hoping that, by listening, the band will somehow be prompted to release a new album. I’ve done this with other bands, and, I’m pretty sure it worked.

Read my original post HERE if you like, but, this one’s the same, only better!

Civet plays “femme fatale punk rock”, and are inspired by bands like The Runaways, The Distillers, riot grrrl pioneers Bikini Kill, and Motörhead. That’s what they say, but, I say they sound, more specifically, like Brody Dalle (circa The Distillers) fronting Social Distortion, except that Grave‘s vocals are snarled with more snot-itude. These sisters are hardcore punks under all that pretty. Their tattoos should’ve been a clue. Civet released three albums of gritty punk before being signed by Rancid‘s Tim Armstrong to his Hellcat Records label, where they have since released two more (amazing!) albums: Hell Hath No Fury (2008) and Love & War (2011).

I stumbled upon Civet in 2011, shortly after Love & War was released. I liked them, but, in 2012, I re-discovered the band, and, loved them. They were my 6th post on my other blog. This week, I’ve been re-re-discovering Civet, and, I’m loving them even more.

Civet‘s first three albums [Graceland (2001), Civet (2003) and Massacre (2005)] featured good punk rock, but, the songs lacked strong hooks, and, as such, I haven’t really embraced them as much as I have their latest two releases. However, it should be noted that Civet‘s original drummer, Brenna Red, who left the band in 2008, went on to front her own cool punk band, Fiction Reform.

Hell Hath No Fury (2008), Civet‘s debut on Hellcat Records, delivered better melodies, as well as a more polished sound that didn’t forsake the band’s gritty edge. The line-up featured the rhythm section of Jacqui Valentine (bass) and Danni Harrowyn (drums). “Hell hath no fury like me / Once my love, now my enemy,” Liza declares in the furious title track, then spews her anger out at cheating lovers (“Alibis”), lazy sons of bitches (“Son of a Bitch“), and (mostly) other relationship woes. “All I Want”, co-written with Tim Armstrong, is a Rancid-esque ode to sisterhood. I used to think the song was very Social D-ish, but, I didn’t know that Rancid‘s frontman co-write it, and, now that I do, I hear the Rancid influence. Well, I hear both. Other favorites are “You Got It”, “You Don’t Know Me”, “Bad Luck”, and “Take Me Away”, but, all 14 tracks are good. Great album, but …

Love & War (2011) is a minor punk rock masterpiece. The line-up, pictured above, featured the rhythm section of Jacqui Valentine (bass) and Roxie Darling (drums). Civet‘s sound was tighter and tougher, and their hard-driving punk was stacked with killer hooks. The CD version includes 14 awesome tracks, but, three stand out …

1. “L.A. Nights” – This blistering rocker, the album’s 1st single, is Civet‘s love letter to kicking it out in SoCal’s punk mecca: “C’mon baby let’s paint this town red / Get messed up the way we like it.” This track ranks up there with “City of Angels” by The Distillers as one of punk’s best about that town.

2. “Love & War” – This blazing track, about love gone bad, is my favorite Civet song. Liza snarls her raspy vocals, non-stop, over a thunderous backbeat, through the verses and choruses, taking a quick breath only for Suzi‘s brief solo. Exhilarating! Definitely the best song Mike Ness never wrote!

3. “Come On (I Wanna Be Your Girl)” – This catchy rocker takes its inspiration from legendary proto-punkers The Stooges. The song’s driving riff is re-worked from that band’s 1969 classic “I Wanna Be Your Dog”, but, sped up. I would love to hear Civet cover the original song, or “Search and Destroy” from 1973’s Raw Power.

If you’ve never listened to Civet before, start with any one of those three tracks, then, indulge yourself with more badass punk about L.A., bad girls, and broken relationships on Love & War. “Sunset Strip” and “Summer of Hate” are the next best tracks, followed by “Buy My Love”, “I’m Not The One”, the Runaways-ish “Reap What You Sow”, the Rancid-esque “Can’t Go Back”, and the garage-y ballad “It’s The Truth”. A video was produced, featuring the band’s current line-up, for You Get What You Pay For“, but, it’s my least favorite track. Finally, the MP3 version adds three B-sides that are as good as most of the original 14 tracks. My favorite is “Bad Girl”. Phenomenal album!

Interesting fact: Civet is pronounced “si-vette” not “siv-it”.

Civet was started with the intention of being the “toughest all-girl rock band”. And, they were. But, when Valentine and Darling departed while touring to support Love & War, they were replaced with guys. The intention, now, is to become the best punk band that Civet can be, but, not necessarily the best “all-female” punk band.

This is Civet, now …

Civet-05B

Suzi Homewrecker, Liza Graves, Christian Riersgard, Jonny Grill

And, this is a civet …

Civet-02B

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9 thoughts on “Femme Fatale Punk Rock

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  5. Hi Chris!
    Wow, I am really excited that I stumbled across your blog while Google searching my “old” name! Thank you so much for the kind words you wrote about Civet, that appreciation means so so much to me, and Liza too…
    LA Nights and Love & War are also my very two favorite Civet songs… They mean so much because I wrote them and feel very connected to those songs. To know that you admire them is very cool.
    Anyway! I have a new band! That is why I am writing you, so I can share that love of punk rock once again!!! I am fronting this time, with a few amazing fucking guys who round out our sound – I would like to send you a copy of the ep we are releasing… Do you have an addy I could send that to?
    Nice to e-meet you, ha
    Thanks again for the luv
    Xoxoxox
    Suzi

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