A Pretty Mess is an American punk rock band from Los Angeles, CA, formed in 2006. The band, currently, is Dee Skusting (aka Dmess) on lead vox/guitar, Meghan Mattox (ex-My Ruin, Naked Aggression) on bass/vox, and Mel McFail on drums/vox. Shawn Gaitlin, on lead guitar, was once a member as well, but, the details are sketchy. A Pretty Mess plays aggressive ’80s hardcore punk, an era whose influence is obvious from cover songs the band has recorded, such as “Bloodstains” (Agent Orange), “Kids Of The Blackhole” (The Adolescents) and “Red Tape” (Circle Jerks). But, with Dee’s raw vocals and the band’s fierce punk, The Distillers, pre-2003, come to mind. A Pretty Mess has shared the stage with many well-known punk bands, and has even performed “Cherry Bomb” live with Cherie Currie herself on vocals.
A Pretty Mess, to date, has released an EP, We Are The Damaged Youth (2007), and an album, Filthy Poor (2011). However, the difference between the two releases is two songs and four minutes, and, both are worth hearing. “This Rock & Roll will kill you!” Dee warns in the EP’s opening track, “Rock & Roll”. Maybe, but, I think releasing all that rage saves Dee from killing herself. In “Far Behind”, Dee barks, frustrated: “Everyone fakes it / I’m so far behind!” And, in “Broken Promise”, which opens with a Kim Deal-esque bass line and ends with a Johnny Rotten-ish snarl, she admits defeat: “I have nothing else to give!” Finally, in “Damaged Youth”, Dee finds comfort, at last, in rebellion: “We are the damaged youth / Fuck all your guides and rules.”
On Filthy Poor (2011), A Pretty Mess still stands defiantly behind their ’80s punk worship, and thankfully so. Dee’s angered Dalle-esque wails make you want to scream along with her in every shouted-out chorus, joining in her rebellion. In “Empty Streets”, Dee rallies a disillusioned generation with a fist-pounding chant: “This is it now (don’t look back) / What you knew (what you had) / Is just a memory (of the past) / It was never meant to last!” In “Despair”, she adds: “Don’t live your life / On despair, yeah!” And, in “Lost City”, she makes her declaration: “I will stand and fight / For what’s right!” But, what fuels her fight, I wonder? Well, in “Walk Away”, Dee rages out against a father who abandoned her: “Don’t.. you.. walk.. away! / I.. won’t.. be.. OK!” That song is sadly affecting, despite its bouncy pop/punk beat. Other great songs are “2nd & Hill” and “Tonight We Drown”, as well as the aforementioned Agent Orange and Adolescents covers. I would love to hear A Pretty Mess kick out Agent Orange‘s punked-up version of “Pipeline” (as a bonus track or something). A second EP, Wasteland, is available with their Limited Edition Tour Package. I would love to have it, but, maybe later.
Watch the video for “Empty Streets” here:
2007 – We Are The Damaged Youth [EP]
2011 – Filthy Poor [Album]
2012(?) – Wasteland [EP]