Seattle's Thunderpussy have won a lot of local fans since they formed in 2013, and one of those is Mike McCready. The Pearl Jam guitarist is so taken with their sound, which blends classic-rock muscle with soulful vocals and punk energy, that he agreed to produce their debut seven-inch – and even make a cameo appearance on the track "Velvet Noose," premiering here.
The song builds from a dance-y verse to an anthemic chorus, on which vocalist Molly Sides belts out, "Can you hear me breathing?/When you watch me swinging/From that velvet noose." According to guitarist Whitney Petty, the title "was gleaned from a Twisted Sister documentary, where one of the band members was talking about getting too content, too comfortable with material gain. The song is about when the things you own begin to own you." McCready duets with Petty on the fiery outro, putting an exclamation point on the track's defiant message with one of his signature screaming leads.
When they showed up to McCready's studio to record "Velvet Noose" and its companion track, "No Heaven," Sides, Petty, bassist Leah Julius and drummer Ruby Dunphy found the guitarist to be an extremely enthusiastic collaborator. "He had already learned [the songs] from the shitty cell phone recordings we had sent and was musing over arrangements and augmentations," Petty explains. "As we lay down the tracks, he paced the room; fist raised in rock salute, head banging. He plunked along on the piano, and hopped on the guitar anytime he had the chance, content to add whale noises, rhythmic strums, and of course, a blistering solo at the end of 'Velvet Noose.'"
"Thunderpussy is my favorite new band, and it was an honor to work with them on these songs," McCready told Rolling Stone in a statement. "'Velvet Noose' is an amazing and catchy rock song that deserves to be heard. Live, they have an incredible energy with amazing musicianship. All four women are as talented as they come."
The "Velvet Noose"/"No Heaven" seven-inch will be out Friday, and that night McCready and Thunderpussy will play the first of two benefit shows at Seattle's Showbox. The Pearl Jam guitarist – and recent Rock and Roll Hall of Fame inductee – will appear with his tribute band Flight to Mars, which honors veteran British hard-rock outfit UFO, and Thunderpussy will open both gigs.