Concert preview: Diminutive Screaming Females singer Marissa Paternoster is a towering giant with a guitar in her hand.

By Columbus Alive
From the September 26, 2013 edition

Marissa Paternoster, guitarist/singer for the Jersey-based punk trio Screaming Females, might cut a diminutive figure onstage, but put a guitar in her hand and she turns into a towering giant.

The band’s latest studio album, Ugly, is packed with a ragged assortment of crunchy guitar riffs; Paternoster can conjure a stampeding herd of pachyderm one minute (the appropriately titled “Doom 84”) then fire off a lick that spirals to the heavens like a just-lit bottle rocket the next.

Songs explore everything from a fear of dying alone (“Something Ugly”) to the ills of rampant commercialism (“I want to buy everything you sell,” sneers the frontwoman on the four-minute guitar tantrum “It All Means Nothing”).

But even the much-improved songwriting is secondary to Paternoster’s growing six-string prowess, and it’s a glorious thing when she steps back from the microphone and lets her instrument roar.