The Coathangers’ fifth album, the colorfully titled “Nosebleed Weekend,” which came out this spring on Suicide Squeeze Records, is the most vintage sounding of the Atlanta garage rock trio’s albums so far. Credit, in no small part, goes to the legacy of Jimmy Valentine and his namesake North Hollywood Valentine Recording Studios.
Opened in 1946, until Valentine closed the studio in the late 1970s, Big Bands and artists like Bing Crosby, and then The Beach Boys and Frank Zappa recorded there. Then, the studio sat for more than three decades, just as Jimmy left it.
“We were the first band to go in and record when it reopened. When we saw it we were like, ‘Oh my god, it’s all original,” says Coathangers’ guitarist and singer Julia Kugel. “It was like time had stood still, it was this time capsule. We jumped for joy when we saw it, we were like, ‘Way to go Jimmy!’”
The band — co-vocalists Meredith Franco (bass) and Stephanie Luke (drums) — and in-house producer Nic Jodoin crafted “Nosebleed Weekend,” which varies from garage to grunge and from punk to pop, using the same equipment original garage bands used. Besides the foursome, there seemed to be an extra presence in the place, though.
“Eerie things kept happening like crazy noises, lights turning on and off,” Kugel remembers. “It wasn’t scary. Places and buildings can have their memories. We were never scared, we’d just say, ‘Don’t worry Jimmy, we’re not here to ruin your stuff.’”
“Nosebleed Weekend” marked the first time in the band’s ten year history that the girls had recorded outside their hometown of Atlanta, GA.
“We wrote and recorded all in California,” explains Kugel. “Being out here was so different from being in Atlanta. There’s such a different vibe and experience. Because we weren’t around or friends and family, we were isolated and we just worked. We were very focused.”
The album’s title, however, isn’t inspired by LA’s notorious cocaine fueled party scene. It started with Franco’s tendency for chronic nosebleeds.
“We were on tour, going through high elevations, and it seemed she was getting them every day. The phrase nosebleed weekend came from that, but it could mean a weekend where you party too much… Or you end up punched in the nose from partying too much. It developed into this idea of karma and everything you do coming back to get you.”