Bait Bag. Photo by William Trevaskis

“The whole reason for the existence of the band was the urgency we were feeling in 2018,” said Courtney Naliboff, singer and bass player in the North Haven-based feminist punk trio Bait Bag. “It occasionally ebbs and flows, but it’s been pretty consistent urgency around the same terrible thing.”

That thing being the treatment of women and our rights.

The other two women in Bait Bag are Fiona Robins on guitar and vocals and Claire Donnelly on drums (and shouting).

On Friday, they’re releasing their debut full-length album, “Confident, Sloppy, and Loud.” Several singles and a couple of EPs preceded it.

I spoke to all three Bait Bag members just five days after the Supreme Court overturned Roe v. Wade, and all were struggling with it. But there’s one thing that helps all of them, and that’s making and playing music. In fact, they put out the song “My Body My Choice” in 2020 and will likely start playing it live again. All the proceeds from sales of the single were donated to Planned Parenthood of Northern New England.

Donnelly said that performing and engaging with people provides an outlet for her rage and keeps her motivated. “For us, it’s figuring out how to have the endurance to keep on speaking up and doing what we can.”


As for “Confident, Sloppy, and Loud,” the album covers all the bases when it comes to empowering listeners with red-hot rock bangers like “Dress Code,” “Mind Magic,” Hot Garbage,” “Entropy” and “Cramp Couch.” Heck, they even suggest devolving and returning to the sea in “Selkie Song.” Can’t say I blame them.

There’s also a tune called “Splinter” with a slowed down, waltzy beat that has Robbins singing about post break-up self reliance.

In “Bar Fight,” a live track, Naliboff sings about wanting to start a bar fight and then starting a revolution. “I can either sing about going out and starting a bar fight or I could go out and start a bar fight. And it’ s much better if I just sing about it,” said Naliboff. “That’s been our m.o. all along, to say the stuff that’s just under the surface and to try to get it out because people want to talk about it and want to relate to it.”

Cover of “Confident, Sloppy, and Loud!” by Bait Bag. Album artwork and wardrobe by Alexa Floresta. Album cover photo by Penrose Trevaskis

One of the tracks I’m most drawn to is “Deus Ex Machina,” which Naliboff wrote in 2020 about the pandemic and the feeling of not knowing how any of us were going to get through it. But that wasn’t the only thing on her mind. “Trump was still in office at that point, and we didn’t see the way out. We need an exit plan, and it’s gonna be something big and crazy, and it still feels like that and it’s been two years,” said Naliboff.

I told the band that “Deux Ex Machina” also registers to me as a song about the Supreme Court decision, and I asked the band if they had any message for Sen. Susan Collins, given her role to confirm Brett Kavanaugh in 2018.

Naliboff said she doesn’t have words that are appropriate to print but is working on a related song based on a malapropism she heard Donnelly use. Instead of stream of consciousness, Donnelly suggested a scream of consciousness. Naliboff loves this and is off to the races with writing a song she hopes to finish before the band leaves for its tour next week.

“The premise is gonna be each verse is sort of this nightmarish scenario that turns out to be real, like modern times,” explained Naliboff.

Bait Bag’s tour starts on July 15 in Rhode Island and ends on July 29 with a show at Sun Tiki Studios in Portland.

You can purchase “Confident, Sloppy, and Loud” on their Bandcamp page (, and if you go to one of their shows, you can pick it up on cassette, which they’ll also have available online if there are any left after their string of summer dates. The album will also be on streaming platforms.

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