If you've spent any time over the past few years digging into Southern punk, the credentials boasted by Bobby Michaud are likely to leave you slack-jawed and salivating.
For more than three years, his drums have served as the concussive fuel for Brain F≠'s blistering hardcore dynamo. The band's ascent to near perfection on 2011's Sleep Rough was one of several key factors in the Queen City's garage rock and punk reinvigoration. Today, the scene blossoms with brazen acts pushing purposefully in various directions, producing music that suddenly rivals that of the South's more respected punk enclaves.
Shortly after Sleep Rough's release, Michaud moved on to Raleigh where he held down kit duties for Double Negative, the veteran outfit whose fleet fuzz and fury sprees have made them revered in underground punk circles. But not even this productive and illustrious role could lock him down for long. He relocated to Atlanta where he signed on as the fifth drummer for Wymyns Prysyn, a band that brutalizes kinetic hooks with dense distortion and ragged momentum. Few groups twist the divide between garage and punk with such gleeful power. Michaud couldn't be better suited for his new role.
"Being involved in the bands I've been in has totally informed who I am and what I continue to do," he offered via email, as Wymyns Prysyn roars through a three-week tour that will have taken them all the way to Chicago before ending up at The Milestone on June 30. "It's allowed me to meet so many incredible people and open my eyes to different worlds of music I was otherwise unaware of. Obviously, that all comes into play with any of the music I'm involved in. I count myself very lucky to be in bands with people I love because otherwise there's no point. I just hope that I can stay in enough people's good graces long enough to keep this shit up. It's definitely tumultuous and taxing at times, but it's a fucking blast."
Wymyns Prysyn began as an outlet for Andrew Wiggins, who lends his guitar to the mangled momentum of Atlanta punk mainstay Hawks. His new outfit — formed in 2010 — borrows its hefty Southern-fried sludge from Hawks, but Wymyns Prysyn is more manic than menacing, roughing up listeners but never knocking them to the ground. Solidifying this sound has been a bumpy process. Wiggins began the group with two dudes who have since moved on. He then hooked up with bassist Josh Feigert, who has provided reliable rhythm despite the constant shifts at drummer.
"Hawks makes me want to write songs that are simple, concise, short and with good hooks," Wiggins explains. "The way that band writes songs is so convoluted and tiresome and frustrating for me, and although I am fulfilled with the end result, this band basically started out of frustration with that process. When Josh joined, he brought a whole different element and we needed to adjust to each other's writing styles. We wrote a few stinkers as a result, but we're getting on the same page now."
All this cross-pollination has served Wymyns Prysyn well. Last year's Booze Void cassette is a blur that bridges heady psych-rock squall and punishing punk onslaughts. And while Michaud isn't featured on the collection, it's easy to see how his agile attack could boost the band's power, a point made clearer by a pair of demos released in December. "Grave," the more thrilling of the two, builds with distorted abandon to a triumphant chorus. "I want to miss you when you're gone!" Wiggins cries, his voice echoing through spectral reverb as it strains to be heard above sinister, slashing riffs. The mood is mixed, making it hard to tell whether he wants the relationship to end with good feelings, or if he just wants it to end. Playing the middle ground — between emotions, between scenes, between genres — is what makes Wymyns Prysyn work.
"Because of this straddling of lines, we are able to play with so many more bands and not contrast too much," Feigert says. "I try to take the energy of punk up a level and add some complexity to where a lot of hardcore bands fall short."
Drawing from various strains, Wymyns Prysyn has gelled into one of the region's more powerful punk outfits. As for the future, the band is excited to bring Michaud fully into the fold. After this tour, they will write some songs for a new LP and keep things moving.
"We're tight," Wiggins says. "We're killing it every night. We're getting along, and I can't wait to get home and start banging out some more songs."