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Charming Snakes

Often a band with a great name will ruin it all by making mediocre music, but luckily the Charming Snakes create an whip-smart noise-pop fusion that more than does justice to their catchy moniker. The Snakes started out in the Lone Star state as a duo, consisting of bassist Lacey Swain and singer-guitarist Ruben Mendez. After moving to Washington in 2001, the band became a quartet with guitarist Joe Arnone and drummer Kellie Payne. Like a more melodic version of Seattle brethren the Coachwhips (who broke up recently, we are sorry to report), the Charming Snakes use the same kind of distorted vocals that John Dwyer uses but with a poppier, softer guitar washes in the background. The arrangements of the Charming Snakes’ debut full-length Ammunition call to mind Washing Machine-era Sonic Youth, and even boasts ’50s touches like handclaps and na-na-na’s like the Kim Gordon/Kim Deal stunner on Washing Machine’s “Little Trouble Girl.”

Ammunition was released this week on Dirtnap Records. The Snakes are currently on tour around the West and Northwest to support the album. For more information on the Charming Snakes’ spring tour, visit

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