Listen to "Rusted," the First Single from Fuzz Outfit Stiff Kiss

Listen to "Rusted," the First Single from Fuzz Outfit Stiff Kiss

Femmepunk for the modern age

Femmepunk for the modern age

Text: Carolyn Hanson

Kyle Duke and Steph Butchko of Stiff Kiss met each other at a summer music program at New York University while both were still in high school, so it’s natural the two, both 20 now and attending the Clive Davis program at that same school (the program that recently garnered attention for the success its Pharrell-approved student Maggie Rogers,) would begin making music together. What’s resulted is something we’re lucky to have: no-holds-barred, turn-it-all-the-way-up rock.

“Rusted,” the debut single by the duo, is what happens when two people have true creative chemistry. It’s not an overly complex track, nor does it need to be. The two wrote, performed, and produced the track together in its entirety, but the grit and confidence in Butchko’s vocals and the distinct style of Duke’s distortion-heavy guitar prowess are what make the song a stand out in the genre of female-fronted punk. Butchko doesn’t sing “I cannot be trusted” meekly and softly, with her heart on her sleeve, she declares it, with an attitude that screams screw you if you don’t like it. “Rusted” is unabashedly feminine with an edge that dictates its femininity not define it.

The vast discographies of the past that hold influence on both songwriters shines through. Immediately, comparisons to female punk legends Bikini Kill and X come to mind, but comparisons to male-fronted bands are just as valid; Nirvana is as present in the guitar as anything. “Rusted” isn’t riot grrl as we’ve come to define it, or classic hardcore, or grunge–it’s femmepunk for the modern age. Genre-blending isn’t just acceptable: it’s what makes this track one you want to listen to 10x in a row.

"Rusted" is now available on Spotify, Bandcamp, and Apple Music.

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