With Saskatoon firmly ensconcing itself into the Weird Canada scene, bands like Aunty Panty – who are by no means anything resembling an easy listen, thank god – are finally getting the attention they deserve.
Formed by Shavonne Somvong and Tiffany Paige, the Panty is a minimalist grrrl rock duo that doesn’t skimp on the snot. And while they acknowledge that they are certainly filling something of a void in the local scene, drummer Somvong is quick to point out that the band could have happened anywhere.
“It was sort of a long process, which eventually materialized very quickly and genuinely,” says Somvong on the formation of Aunty Panty. “As young girls we both idolized the queer/riot grrrl/feminist/progressive art communities that were happening in Olympia, Portland, and beyond in the 90s. It was very much a dream for both of us to eventually somehow contribute to that movement. We haven’t known each other too terribly long, but when we first met, most of our conversations were us gushing about obscure music that we both liked.”
“So, in a sense we are trying to create something that’s lacking in Saskatoon, but at the same time we’d probably be doing the same thing if we both lived elsewhere than Saskatoon.”
While Aunty Panty certainly recalls the faux-glamour and ovaries-out rage of ‘90’s bands like Bikini Kill, their stripped down drums-and-guitar attack brings to mind modern-ish bands such as The Famines.
And on their self-titled EP, Aunty Panty spit through six songs of cathartic, sloppy party ragers – an aesthetic that Somvong admits the duo more or less stumbled into and knocked over.
“We started out playing together in January 2010 on a random collection of half broken instruments,” says Somvong. “Our lack of experience and ability to play technically is a contributing factor in the raw smashy sound. The EP is a collection of those first songs we wrote.”
“Our songs are about gluttony, cults and heartbreak – our favourite things,” she continues. “Our lyrics aren’t meant to be taken literally, but are used more as a vehicle to scream, moan in anguish, express visceral blood curdling emotion.”
And, according to Somvong, Saskatonians won’t have to wait too long for Aunty Panty’s next summer beach punk party.
“We’re shooting a music video for Panty Stain in Tiffany’s hometown of Domremy this weekend,” says Somvong. “We’re opening for the Nü Sensae and White Lung Saskatchewan dates in July. And we are planning a short tour with two New Zealand bands Hissyfit and Onesies this June that will takes us to ground zero of the riot grrrl beginnings – the west coast of the U.S.”
“Hotdogs too, always love and hotdogs!”