Aligned with contemporary punkers like Mannequin Pussy and Speedy Ortiz, while channeling ‘90s grunge and alt-rock bands like Hole and Veruca Salt, Los Angeles’s Ramonda Hammer is instantly identifiable thanks to a dark and moody edge of their own.
With their video for new single Better View — exclusively premiering here at Kerrang! — the band showcases the best of what they have to offer musically, while dabbling in alcohol, Scrabble, plantlife, strange interpretive dancing, and, eventually, a pretty nice view.
“Better View is about various fantasies and realities that two people find themselves in when they are trying to get to the best version and perspective of each other,” explains frontwoman Devin Davis of the song’s lyrical content. “It also explores identity — how two people can lose themselves in each other…and identity in the sense of how people feel in their own bodies. That being said, I think emotions and personal qualities have no gender; strength isn’t masculine and nurturing isn’t feminine. Two people in love just put all their non-binary puzzle pieces together and see what kind of picture it makes.”
Meanwhile, director Tess O’Connor tackled the project from a visual standpoint. “For me, the story of an ambiguous couple climbing to the top of a building represents the non-linear journey of a relationship in which you’re forever learning and re-learning yourself and your partner,” she explains, “with the rooms they enter as the various stages we might find ourselves in: gamesmanship, nurturing, chaos, etc. In the choruses, I tried to convey that there are always two (or more!) perspectives within a relationship — once in a while they cohere and we get to achieve a better view of our own selves and the people we love.”
Devin and bandmates Justin Geter, Andy Hengl, and Mark Edwards have long been active in building L.A.’s community of queer-fronted bands. As public and upfront as they aim to be, with Devin’s brash lyrics leading the way, their grunge-inspired music still brims with introspection.
The band has lodged an accumulation of nihilism, resentment, determination, and acceptance into their music since the release of their previous EP, Destroyers, as evident in Better View and recent single Hoax.
This is apparently the result of Devin’s cathartic experience of coming to terms with co-dependency, a tendency towards over-analysis, and her first queer relationship. She consequently pours all of her energy into every song, in ways that seem both freeing and frustrating.
“I don’t write lyrics about sex too much, but it’s an important part of attraction, understanding identity, and the difference between hetero- and queer relationships,” Devin admits. “Especially a queer relationship with a person who doesn’t identify with the body they were born into.”
Ramonda Hammer’s upcoming album, I Never Wanted Company, collates every possible human emotion into a hot ball of organized chaos and rage. Check out the album artwork — reminiscent of the art that can be found on some of our favorite angsty ’90s alt-rock records — below:
Set to release on June 14 via New Professor Music, the album is now available for pre-order.
Managing your mental health isn’t easy, says YONAKA’s Theresa Jarvis, but time away from your phone helps to keep negativity away…
From Ultramega OK to King Animal, we rank grunge titans Soundgarden’s weirdest, wildest and best offerings…