Atlanta punks release infectious new EP, 'Parasite'

“I don't want parasite, eating me from the inside out!” Julia Kugel screams on “Parasite,” the leadoff track on a new EP of the same name from Atlanta punk-rock trio the Coathangers.

Kugel said she and her bandmates — bassist/singer Meredith Franco and drummer/singer Stephanie Luke — wrote the song last October at the height of the election season. The song's concept “can apply to a lot of stuff, like parasitic people and relationships,” Kugel said recently by phone.

But mostly, the inspiration for “Parasite” came from actual parasites. “Literally, we had parasites,” Kugel said. “They can't tell you where it came from. It could be from water, food or a dog's mouth. You don't really know. Parasites make you tired because they live in the top of your digestive tract. They feed off sugars and just deplete your body of energy. They eat you from the inside out.”

Just before the Coathangers went into a writing session for the Parasite EP, Kugel found out about the parasites. “I told the girls, because we'd been joking that maybe we have mono or something. We were always craving sugar and always really tired. Turns out, that's what that was about,” she said. “I felt a difference the second day I started taking this homeopathic parasite medicine — tree bark or something. I woke up and wasn't tired.”

Performing the song now serves as a release for the band (“It's so fun to be so mad about it,” Kugel said), and that cathartic quality comes through in much of the Coathangers' music, whether on raucous early releases or more nuanced offerings, like last year's Nosebleed Weekend.

“I think [catharsis] is basically the only reason to do it. We have all these pent-up feelings, and we get to do this and release all that energy and channel it in a positive way,” she said. “If I was on the street singing [‘Parasite'] I'd be a psycho, but because I get to do it with Meredith and Stephanie [onstage], then I'm just singing a song. It's an interesting dynamic that happens when you're onstage. You can express the psychotic parts of you, and it's accepted and cool, and other people observe it and they release theirs at the same time.”

Kugel and her bandmates, who will perform at Ace of Cups on Wednesday, Aug. 2, also visit rock camps for girls to inspire a younger generation to pursue that same cathartic experience.

“It's very inspirational for us to see these little girls screaming,” Kugel said. “At one [rock camp] I passed out a bunch of microphones, and I would point to every girl and she'd just scream her face off. We were all crying by the end of the show.

“When you're a little girl, you're taught to be quiet and sweet, and screaming and being aggressive or assertive was looked down upon. For me, when I was an adult and started screaming, it was so eye opening and important for my development. To see that in these younger kids is so cool. It's very touching.”