Singer-guitarist Kim Shattuck has navigated the cesspool of Los Angeles rock & roll with fierce, unerring grace for decades, first with cult-roiling ’80s garage pop provocateurs the Pandoras and, since 1991, as leader of gloriously adept power trio the Muffs.

Shattuck’s considerable musical capabilities and offbeat, slightly geeky stage persona have long since established her as one of this town’s top rock practitioners and news of her latest incarnation, the Coolies, alongside longtime Pandora cohort Melanie Vammen and renown East Coast bubblegum trash pop princess Palmyra Delran, rates as a new, smasheroo wrinkle in pop culture’s slightly mildewed fabric.

Their new record Uh Oh It’s the Coolies is a marvel of eccentric, brash stomping garage explorations (fraught with idiosyncratic song arrangements and sorta ‘Happy Jack’-ish vocal backgrounds) but it’s got a unusually sharp edge.

“Harder edge?” Shattuck responds during a trifecta email exchange. “I’m going to say that most people are saying it’s more mellow, and then you will be getting an A+ because you have good taste in lyrics and listen to them.”

Lyrically, there is an evident element of disapprobation dancing along the blade of the Coolies bubblegum dagger and, in light of the fact that all Coolies earnings go to the ALS Association Golden West Chapter (funding research for neurodegenerative disease amyotrophic lateral sclerosis AKA Lou Gehrig’s disease) and Shattuck’s recent reveal that ALS runs in her family, it casts a far more meditative spirit on the Coolies otherwise sunny, playful rockability.

The band ardently upholds rock & rolls primary characteristics — celebration and disimprisonment — and they manage it with an emphatic ka-pow that reflects its long-simmering origin.

“We met her [Palmyra] in 1986 on a Pandoras tour,” Vammen says. “She’s been coming to Muffs shows for years, Kim sang on some of her records and I play guitar in her West Coast band.”

Initially conceived last spring, the three wasted little time.

“The band really happened fast,,” Delran says. “Once we decided to do it and picked the name, we were like ‘Duh! Why haven’t we done this yet?’ It took around 3 seconds to all agree.”

All three women contribute in a decidedly ecumenical fashion—a true three headed monster.

“All the best bands have to have more than just one strong songwriter,” Shattuck says. “And we all write, so we are good.”

“It’s very much a group collaboration,” Delran says.  “If someone doesn’t like something, we try something else — there are no egos involved, that’s a waste of time and it’s a beautiful thing to work this way.”

The results are equally appealing and satisfying, and Uh Oh it’s the Coolies is a luminous  volley of high quality, full on female-fueled rock & roll. For all its stylistic ’60s tradition-bearing, the songs are loaded with urgent psychic and emotional intel, resonant messages delivered with a positive super-charge. And they are already looking beyond the EP to a full length, where, Shattuck reckoned, they will “most likely be more in touch with our arty side.”

“We’re going through stuff now and are all very excited about round two,” Delran said.

The Coolies are a powerhouse outfit, one unafraid to reach out and try for farther — to a beyond-the-horizon territory most artists couldn’t conceive of. Celebrate with them — rock & roll is all about the now and that’s precisely where the Coolies dwell.

“It’s so much fun collaborating with my badass sisters, there’s nothing we can’t do,” Vammen says. “More to come baby!”

Uh Oh It’s the Coolies is out now via Wicked Cool Records.

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