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Bands to Watch: The Distillers

By: Tim KenneallyDistillers frontwoman Brody Armstrong has a punk-rock-luminaryhusband, a history of drug abuse, and a honey-on-gravel rasp that’seerily reminiscent of a certain grunge diva. Still, any comparisonsto Ms. Love are curtly dismissed. “Courtney who?” theAustralia-bred Los Angeles resident scoffs. “A lot of artists haveinspired me: Wendy O. Williams, Poly Styrene, definitely DebbieHarry, and Siouxsie Sioux.”

Hawking up a sonic gob at mall moshers on their second album, Sing Sing Death House, the band conjures the spirit of ’77 with razor-bladeriffery while Armstrong shouts about urban blight, school shootings, and her troubled youth (mom tossed out her violent dad; Armstrongleft home in her teens). Female empowerment is a recurring theme, though Armstrong denies playing the grrrl card. “I am a feminist,” shesays, “but it’s my brand of feminism.”

So far, that’s meant tactfully ignoring charges of nepotism (the band is on Epitaph imprint HellCat, run by Armstrong’s spouse andRancid main mohawk Tim Armstrong) and brawling with bouncers (“They put me in a full nelson; it was great”). Even with successbrewing–the L.A. anti-anthem “City of Angels” is enjoying heavy rotation at local modern-rock giant KROQ–Armstrong foresees nolack of gripe fodder: “I’m only twenty-three; I’ve got a lot more rage in me.”