Slouch, Toxic Bitch

Nina Mashurova

Toxic Bitch is an explosion: a relief valve for the highly pressurized feelings of self-loathing, frustration, shame, rage, anxiety, and resilience that get pushed down while trying to live as a queer / gender non-conforming person.

The West Coast has long been a strong queercore holdout, and Slouch are of the currently thriving Oly punk scene, having shared bills with G.L.O.S.S. (with whom they also share a guitarist), S.B.S.M., and Ragana.

Toxic Bitch, Slouch’s first full EP, is driven by the tension of trying to reconcile equal and opposite forces: a wrathful desire for scorched-earth destruction and a desperate, blistering hunger for survival. “Trich” pleads, “Oh, you know / You’ve got to strengthen at the / knees that hod your body / the body that we’ve built / Don’t let that body crumble under all the shame and guilt // Create your own salvation.” When you’re part of a population regarded as socially abject, feelings of self-destruction aren’t an anomaly, they’re a rational internalization of the signals you’re sent on a daily basis. Songs such as “Learning to Live” acknowledge that and rail against the victim-blaming that often comes with mental health discourse: it’s about trying to work on those feelings while also accepting that they exist and they are not a choice.

“N/A/G – Not A Girl” channels the violence and fury of dysphoria and misgendering into an uncompromising demand for recognition: “Dishonor my gender / dishonor me // ignore my wishes, label me as ‘she” / but refuse to see my sister how she wants to be seen.” Reality is shaped by perception; perception is shaped by funhouse mirrors; Slouch is shattering all of them, screaming “this isn’t me / this is not reality.”

All this turmoil is made tangible through unrelenting drums, screeching heavily distorted guitar, and thick stormclouds of fuzz and noise, forming visceral hardcore that’s bruised and ready to bruise. Slouch might be a Toxic Bitch, but they want you to know it’s only because the Toxic Hellworld made them this way.

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