Stream: Hit Bargain, ‘Capitulate’

Hit Bargain

Named after an Echo Park 99 cents store, Hit Bargain formed after frontwoman Nora Singh met drummer Anton Hochheim and guitarist Mike Barron through a mutual friend. Their 2016 self-titled EP nodded stylistically to L.A. and D.C. hardcore, with songs about gender, politics and “Die Hard,” but the band captured attention with confrontational performances that included Singh standing on the face of a trampling fetishist named Matt. Now Buzz Records will release Hit Bargain’s debut LP, “Potential Maximizer,” on May 11, a 30-minute volley of art-punk written in 2017 during Singh’s “self-imposed exile” in small town, Ohio.

“We didn’t intend to make an L.A.- or California-inspired album, though there is inspiration to be found here, but at the same time Ohio was informative,” says Singh. “It’s the Rust Belt, and like a lot of American cities the main industry has bottomed out or doesn’t exist. The economy is reeling from that. Jobs are being shipped overseas and it’s a red state. Our neighbors had a Trump sign on their lawn and people would try to speak Spanish to me.”

Upon returning to the L.A., the band, rounded out by bassist Sean Monaghan, recorded with Mark Rains (Death Valley Girls, E-40) over three days at Echo Park’s Station House Studio, while Singh was 6 months pregnant. She says the album is a “soundtrack for the present,” with aggressively paced songs about capitalism, consent, “1984,” Trump & Melania, sex tourism and paranoia, among other cultural conundrums.

“I think the appeal is political agitation,” says Singh. “I’m fascinated by power dynamics, but what we want to do ultimately is transcend this dynamic, these scripts, sublimate this pain, and then we want to play. I am playing. I look serious, I sound serious, I mean what I’m saying, but I’m playing. Pretty much everything I say is not meant to be taken 100% seriously … but I’m serious about it.”

||| Stream: “Capitulate”

||| Also: Stream “Hell Is Real”

||| Live: Hit Bargain’s record release show is May 12 at Rec Center with Moira Scar, French Vanilla and Fucked Forever.