WifeKnife unveil mother of all EPs recorded live at a beloved local venue “Live At Our Wicked Lady”

Words by Jason Lee. Photos by Tyler Bertram.

It’s a bloody mess / you’re born in / can’t turn back now / you’ve been sworn in”Wifeknife “Little M”

If you ever had reason to doubt the sheer ferocity of a mother’s love for her progeny or the skull-crushing extremes most mommas would go to to protect their child/children from malevolent forces or how motherhood raises the stakes when it comes to other personal and societal issues then we recommend you give WifeKnife’s new live EP Live at Our Wicked Lady a listen cuz by the end you’ll be asking yourself “what’s more metal than motherhood?” which would be a great inscription for a Mother’s Day card come to think of it…

…esp. when it comes to the throat-shredding ferocity of the Brooklyn metal band’s vocalist/lyricist/high-voltage front-presence Sarah Hamilton cuz while (let’s face it) most rock vocalists are real muthas Sarah’s a mother in the literal sense to an adorable tyke sired by the band’s drummer no less (typical drummer behavior!) a band whose sonics onslaught of raw riffage and fretboard wizardry is fecund enough to lead to an immaculate conception (you’ve been warned!) over the course of the EP’s seven-and-a-half minutes which is more than enough time to do the job…

…and a record on which the line between being a “wicked mother” willing to transform into a feral beast for the sake of their child and being a “wicked mother-you-known-what:” willing to transform into a feral beast for the sake of rocking an audience’s collective faces off is blurred and obscured ..

…with Sarah being a “wicked mother” in another sense too as the de facto matriarch of Our Wicked Lady’s extended surrogate family (read our 2023 interview here) in overseeing social media and private events and plenty of other tasks besides for the Bushwick live music mecca alongside aforementioned drummer Keith Hamilton who happens to be OWL’s co-founder/owner/manager in what’s truly a high-decibel family affair and if this is starting to sound like an elevator pitch for a sitcom along the lines of The Partridge Family meets The Osbournes then set us up a pitch meeting with A&E’s head of programming stat cuz we’d totally watch that show…

…especially if they used WifeKnife’s “Move On” as its official theme song cuz there’s a real shortage of opening sitcom credit sequences featuring thrash-y guitars and primal rhythmic pounding in general but here it’d work perfectly especially when topped off with Sarah’s powerful vocalizing (move over, Fran Drescher!) sounding ever on the verge of spilling over into pure glossolalia but maintaining verbal coherence and introducing some of the series’ main characters like the “voice in my head” that “ain’t no good” and its nameless breakout anti-hero lead with a “black black heart / beneath those blue eyes” thus making the show one of those rare sitcoms that’s just as much a surreal psychological thriller

…with the next track “Little M” introducing the show’s junior protagonist child-star-in-the-making (in more typical sitcom terrain now!) with a bloozy guitar riff bathed in luminous reverb that soon turns to doom-metal sludge as Sarah goes full-on maternal commando in a series of stark cautionary homilies delivered to her daughter warning of all the two-faced liars, cheats, and thieves that’ll attempt to take advantage of her (“this worn out earth don’t deserve ya” indeed) with the key takeaway being “don’t give it away” which honestly is a good lessons for adults to bear in mind too by which time yr mom’s less likely willing or able to “burn the whole thing down to protect ya” but no matter if she’s still around at all you better be damn grateful...

…which speaking of mortality leads into the final track, “Pharmacyde,” a rave-up that takes well-deserved aim at the pharmacology industry and at all those who don’t view health care as a basic human right and don’t blink an eye at mothers having to scrimp and save just to pay for the basic medical needs, nevermind postpartum depression nor the insane cost of raising a little rugrat who may not move out ’til their 30s…

…and finally it bears pointing out how great this record sounds which is hardly surprising seeing as the live sound on the rooftop of OWL (open year-round thanks to its fancy retractable rooftop) is seldom less than superlative with the ever-excellent Ed Guzman working the boards on Live at Our Wicked Lady and if you wanna experience the full-on power of WifeKnife live this is the best possible approximation outside of the real thing and really finally here’s a few words from the band matriarch herself regarding the album and its three songs made available here for the first time…

The show [heard on Live At Our Wicked Lady] was 3/1 at OWL with W4OR3S (20th Bandiversary!), Mustafina, and Ask Carol (on tour all the way from Norway). Recorded live via OWL soundboard, Ed Guzman was the engineer. J.R. Corominas (our new lead guitarist) then mixed and mastered it in his home studio. It was such a special night and one of our strongest shows so it was lucky it was the one we happened to get a recording of. We have two other songs out, recorded at Hive Mind and released last year, and I love them but I think these live recordings capture that raw, wild energy of a WifeKnife show. 

The first WifeKnife song we ever wrote. Simple, fast and furious. We usually start the set with it because it just kinda gives us a real jumpstart, like a bat outta hell. 

A bluesy/sludgy metal love song to my daughter Ruby, nicknamed Little M (middle name Monroe after her wonderfully mischievous great grandfather Monte/ Monroe). “I watch you grow, see you change. Body of love in a world of pain. You’ve only seen the sails, a wreck we’ve left ya, I’d burn the whole thing down just to protect ya.” I actually got choked up singing “Little M” that night, and you can hear it in the live recording at 1:45. At first listen I was a bit embarrassed by it and my cracking voice, but now I don’t mind it. The song is just so personal and emotional for me and that’s reflected truthfully in the recording.

A feverish punk rock rant about the all too often frightening and alienating experience of being sick in America and the lack of decent, affordable and compassionate care for those in need. Keith and I wrote these lyrics together. 

Vocals and lyrics: Sarah Hamilton
Lead guitar: J.R. Corominas
Rhythm guitar: Ramsey Elliott
Drums: Keith Hamilton
Bass: Marcello Ramirez
EP cover photo: Sketchy Deli
Band logo by Miles McNicholas

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