Various Artists, First Gear: Feminism in the Northeast (A Compilation) | Music Feature | Seven Days | Vermont's Independent Voice

Seven Days needs your financial support!

Various Artists, First Gear: Feminism in the Northeast (A Compilation) 

Album Review

Published August 7, 2013 at 9:19 a.m.


(Stick Shift Records, CD, digital download)

Earlier this year, Kelly Riel, bassist for local riot-grrrl punk band Doll Fight!, founded a new record label, Stick Shift Records. The imprint’s stated mission is to actively promote the presence of women in punk — traditionally a male-dominated arena — both locally and regionally. To that end, SSR presents its debut offering, First Gear: Feminism in the Northeast (a compilation). The 13-song collection features bands from all six New England states, as well as New York. But inclusion on the comp is based on more than geographical requirements. Every group on First Gear not only shares SSR’s DIY and feminist ideals but has at least one woman or one queer member. In that sense, SSR’s debut comp represents kind of an exclusive club, one made even more so given just how hard it rocks from start to finish.

Following a brief intro track, the comp gets under way with a blistering cut by Connecticut’s Damn Broads called “In Their Hands.” A vitriolic, high-tensioned rant against, well, pretty much everything, it’s a worthy opener.

NYC’s, self-described “queer grumpy transsexual punx” Penguin lighten the mood with a catchy, 1990s-tinged track called “Not Finished.” That tune sets up “Damage,” by Massachusetts-based pop-punks Potty Mouth, who are likely the best-known band on the comp.

First Gear’s first Green Mountain State offering doesn’t come until southern Vermont’s Get a Grip check in with the grinding hardcore anthem “Words of Hate.” Even considering the blunt approach favored by most bands on the comp, it’s the most explicitly aggro cut of the bunch.

Riel’s own band, Doll Fight!, drop in two tracks later on the previously unreleased scorcher “Swarm.” Snarling and bass driven, it’s a comp highlight. Burlington’s Poxy round out the Vermont delegation with the brisk, brief “Planning My Funeral.”

While the trio of VT bands hold up well alongside their regional counterparts, the comp’s best moments generally do come from beyond our borders. Those include “Cool,” a Bikini Kill-lite cut by NYC trio Thundera, and “Antlers” from Connecticut’s 404ERROR, the latter perhaps the most polished song on the comp.

Still, Vermont is well represented on First Gear, which is a roundly impressive collection of punk and hardcore music and a fine introduction to the state’s newest imprint, Stick Shift Records.

First Gear: Feminism in the Northeast (A Compilation) on Stick Shift Records is available as a name-your-price download at

Got something to say? Send a letter to the editor and we'll publish your feedback in print!

About The Author

Dan Bolles

Dan Bolles

Dan Bolles is Seven Days' assistant arts editor and also edits What's Good, the annual city guide to Burlington. He has received numerous state, regional and national awards for his coverage of the arts, music, sports and culture. He loves dogs, dark beer and the Boston Red Sox.


Comments are closed.

Since 2014, Seven Days has allowed readers to comment on all stories posted on our website. While we’ve appreciated the suggestions and insights, the time has come to shut them down — at least temporarily.

While we champion free speech, facts are a matter of life and death during the coronavirus pandemic, and right now Seven Days is prioritizing the production of responsible journalism over moderating online debates between readers.

To criticize, correct or praise our reporting, please send us a letter to the editor. Or send us a tip. We’ll check it out and report the results.

Online comments may return when we have better tech tools for managing them. Thanks for reading.

Keep up with us Seven Days a week!

Sign up for our fun and informative

All content © 2022 Da Capo Publishing, Inc. 255 So. Champlain St. Ste. 5, Burlington, VT 05401

Advertising Policy  |  Privacy Policy  |  Contact Us  |  About Us  |  Help
Website powered by Foundation