About Sharptooth

From the mid-2010s onwards, this Baltimore quintet performed brutal metalcore and hardcore punk with a lyrical focus on themes of social injustice. The band initially formed as a punk-pop four-piece comprising guitarists Keith Higgins and Lance Donati alongside drummer Conor Mac and bassist Phil Rasinski. In 2014, when looking for a dedicated vocalist, they settled on the classically trained Lauren Kashan, a regular attendee of gigs on the local heavy scene since 2008. She agreed to join under two conditions: the music needed to be heavier, and she wanted to write the lyrics. The group concurred and Kashan began to instill her inimitable passion, integrity, and personality to their sound. Since school she'd experienced knock-backs when offering her vocal talents to other bands in this male-dominated genre. Kashan had eventually joined her first group, at age 21, while compromising on the vision that Sharptooth ultimately allowed her to fulfill. With a history of drug addiction and as a rape survivor, her involvement in hardcore punk -- first as a fan and then as a performer -- provided catharsis and a platform to help others who had experienced similar pain. The debut Sharptooth EP, August 2015's self-released Chompers, hinted at what was to come from the act, but was still perhaps rooted in the more accessible punk-pop genre. Kashan would later comment that she'd joined an act focused on writing about boy-girl relationships, and that there was so much more that could be said in a song. In general, the band admitted that the 2015 Baltimore riots also played a big part in formulating their musical path. The powerful Chompers track "Give 'Em Hell Kid" was an early indication of this. Plowing this furrow on the D.I.Y. live scene helped to create attention for the band in the right places, and within two years, they'd signed a management deal with Vanna's Davey Muise and a label deal with Pure Noise Records. Setting out their stall with a combative late-2017 single, Sharptooth pulled no punches from the start of their relationship with Pure Noise. "No Sanctuary" followed, battling against homophobia, while the title track of their debut LP, October's Clever Girl, was a strident declaration against sexism. From early 2018 to summer 2019 the band toured heavily -- multiple times in the U.S., also encompassing European and Canadian dates -- stopping only in April 2019 to record what would become their second album, 2020's Transitional Forms. However, by the release of November 2019's mental health awareness-themed single "Mean Brain," it was clear that a rhythm section reshuffle had taken place. Matt Hague had replaced Mac on drums, while Peter Bruno had replaced bassist Rasinski. "Die for the Government," a one-off single for Hopeless Records, followed before the campaign in promotion of Transitional Forms got into full swing. ~ James Wilkinson

Baltimore, MD, United States
October 20, 2012

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