By: Alli Dempsy | Decemeber 12, 2023
Punk music is, and has always been, multi-dimensional. Cycling through several eras and waves, the genre’s blanket expands multitudes, and is constantly reinventing itself time and time again. Brooklyn-based punk newbies Rosso Rosso don’t want to tie themselves down to one type of sound too early, and their new single “Mamatomy” proves they’re already eager to push the limits of their band.
While attending college in Western Massachusetts, vocalist Conor Newton met drummer Kieran Scannell and bassist Dan Penner-Hashimoto. As students, they formed their first band together, playing at parties and other small town events. After relocating to New York, the trio started to practice with friend Mike Palmieri, eventually playing their first gig as Rosso Rosso in 2022.
The band previously put out their first two singles, “The Stoned Ape Hypothesis” and “Burlap Tuxedo,” on a small EP — “Burlape Tuxpothesis” — back in April of this year. “Mamatomy,” their third release, dropped on Sept. 13. Inspired by the societal perils born out of toxic masculinity, Palmieri roars out a passionate cry against negative male stereotypes that are often met with silence. Scannell provides a heavy, kickling drumline, backed by a melodic duo of noisy guitar tones and a driving bass — reminiscent of The Strokes’ “First Impressions of Earth” era.
Compared to Rosso Rosso’s other released songs, “Mamatomy” is angrier and more traditionally, clash-y punk. With “Burlape Tuxpothesis,” the band takes a lighter, more indie approach, drawing inspiration from early 00s rock acts like The Fratellis. From beginning to end, the songs fade into acts, taking the listener on a journey through their shifting sounds and cinematic lyricism.
“We're maybe hurting ourselves by trying not to be cohesive and cover as many sounds as we can, but I think it does have a sort of unified approach, which is lo-fi punk rock energy,” said Newton. “We have so many songs we haven't recorded at this point I think they have a little bit of a different flair. We're trying as many things as we can within the confines of our four instruments.”
Newton and Palmieri, the two songwriters of the group, bring different approaches and styles to Rosso Rosso lyrics. With the entire band bringing a well-versed variety of inspirations to the table — mixing jazz, 90s alternative rock and even Broadway numbers — the songs go through multiple cycles of drafting and recording. The final product may sound nothing like the band’s original idea, but they see the change as a sign of growth.
“The first iteration of the song, I can't even go back and listen to it anymore,” said Palmieri. “But we’re very proud of how it came out.”
“A lot of clunkiness in these first few songs probably comes from us trying to distill our live sound and our live energy into a single as much as we can,” Newton said. “ I think when we get up on stage, we want to get up right into it and draw energy from the crowd. With punk music, more than almost any other, community or style tends to get people moving together.”
Having limited live experience from playing in their first project, Rosso Rosso wants to channel the fun and goofy drunken energy from their college band’s gigs, while also showing their now-refined seriousness as a full-fledged punk outfit.
“I try to envision the crowd as Wile E. Coyote and myself as an Acme anvil at all times,” Newton laughs. “I think we're just trying to have fun up there and we want everyone else to be having fun. So I think that if we seem like we're having a good time, it'll be infectious.”
They’re progressively booking gigs in their home city of Brooklyn, connecting with the borough’s large-yet-intertwined network of bands, photographers and artists. Already hitting venues such as Our Wicked Lady, Arlene’s Grocery and The Bowery Electric, the band is feeling the love from the community that has welcomed them in with open and warm arms — the support fueling their sets.
“A lot of bands take themselves too seriously,” said Palmieri. “We love music but can get in our own heads, but when we’re on stage, we're here to have a good time. That’s the name of the game.”
The band’s next single, “Niamh,” is set to drop on Dec. 1, with a release show at Brooklyn’s Hart Bar planned for Dec. 6. You can find “Mamatomy,” and Rosso Rosso’s additional music, on your favorite streaming service.