CINCINNATI -- For most punk rock bands making their home in Washington, D.C. now would probably be a particularly opportune time to rage against the machine.
Especially if your previous work had a decidedly political bent and you prided yourself on taking a stand against injustice and inequality, which is why the first full-length album from D.C.'s Priests, January's Nothing Feels Natural, was a refreshing but surprising new take on the band's strident sound and message.
Watch Priest perform live on WCPO Lounge Acts at 1:30 p.m. Thursday:
Speaking to the Guardian recently, singer Katie Alice Greer said the group was frustrated by critics who insisted that the lyrics on the album -- with sharp, spiky songs entitled "Pink White House," "Leila 20" and the crackling, post-punk title track -- were some kind of a reaction to the current political climate, especially since the group -- which also includes drummer Daniele Daniele, bassist Taylor Mulitz and guitarist Jaguar -- started working on it in 2014.
"The state of the world is troubling to say the least, and deeply disturbing to say the most," said Greer, whose band plays the Woodward Theater on Wednesday night. "No matter who is president of the United States, that will probably always inform what we're thinking about ideologically."
The band has waded into political territory before with songs about the corrupting nature of power and the difficulties of navigating a consumerist culture on their two previous cassette releases and an EP, but on Nothing they turn their focus inward a bit, along with adding some new flavors to their smash-face, notoriously take-no-prisoners sound courtesy of oboes, piano, saxophone and a few disco beats.
Their DIY nature comes naturally as owners of their own label, Sister Polygon, but be careful about trying to lock Priests into labels like "feminist punk" or even "punk," for that matter.
"I don't have weird feelings about accidentally commodifying a subculture that benefits me way more than it benefits the subculture," Daniele told Spin shortly after the album's release. Mulitz added, "I think we isolated ourselves for a while out of distrust of not wanting to be used as a tool to sell the idea of counterculture or the image of it. But if anything, through making this record we've come to learn that it's OK to let your walls down."
In short: Don't label Priests, just sit back and let their throbbing musical attack wash over you.
If all that sounds just like the kind of-brain buzzing kick you need, check out Priests when they visit WCPO's Digital Lounge at 1:30 p.m. Thursday for the latest edition of the Lounge Acts podcast. Before that, check out their show Wednesday night at the Woodward Theater in Over-the-Rhine.
Who: Priests, Swim Team, Blakkr
When: Wednesday, July 19. Doors open at 7 p.m.; show starts at 8 p.m.
Details: $11 advance, $13 day of show, 18+, click here to buy tickets
Where: Woodward Theater, 1404 Main St., 45202; (513) 345-7981