This year, we had the insane pleasure of sitting down to chat with Throwawy for an imperfect Fifth podcast recording session. In fact, it was our very first one. We were honored then to speak with her, and even more honored now to be laser focused on her most recent release, a full-length titled What?
A collection of 8 high energy songs, What? boasts a relatable string of lyrics and an inviting disposition, despite the heaviness of the topics and the cadence with which the vocals are delivered. Titles like “Bonatan Jyers”, “The Brilliant Society of the Illustrious Mule”, and “I Work!” draw you in, with the unexpectedly wonderful blend of theatrical, edgy instrumentals (“The Revenge Society”) and attitude keeping you in place. As each new track begins, a sense of urgency — and, at times, insanity — appears for a moment, and then you relax into the layers of energy blasting from the speakers.
Definitely do not try to enjoy this album right before bed.
For more about the artist, check out our podcast episode under your first listen to the album!
Dori Freeman’s new album titled Every Single Star is a perfect follow up to her 2016 break out year. Produced by Teddy Thompson this album features a sparkling voice over simplistic instrumentals allowing her Appalachian style to fully shine through. The powerful way she talks about heartbreak in so many of the tracks allows you to feel a connection to the pain she has been able to withstand, leaving hope for women who are in similar situations. Though Freeman’s personal life has changed between the release of her first album to this one, her message remains clear as she is loyal to the roots that have gotten her this far in music.
Choosing to sing about motherhood and the music industry itself Freeman is able to bring to light a little-discussed topic in the business. Taking on the role of the contended mother instead of a rejected lover Freeman speaks to her experience making this album by saying, “Musicians that are also moms and have to juggle touring and being at home and spending enough time with your child; that’s something that’ really hard for me to find balance in.” In the track “Like I Do” she expresses her love for her child singing, “nobodies gonna love you like I do” a lyric I’m sure almost every parent can relate to. The song plays an important role in her need to include her daughter into the album without making it all about her; a charming tribute this song is definitely one to take note of.
Providing a classic feel Freeman does an exceptional job making her songs sound like they’ve been around for ages in a comfortable and quintessential way. As a listener, you will often experience hints of Reba McIntire, Loretta Lynn, or Dolly Parton through the old twang and lofty notes of the tracks. This is most noticeable in songs “How I Feel” and “Darlin’ Boy” with the way she utilizes the instrumentals to accentuate her lyricism.
The most unique track on the album is definitely “2 Step”, where produce Thompson joins in for a duet with Freeman, creating a mystical blend of dazzling harmony. As a song about dancing, it’s no wonder the track sets forth a desire to stand up and let yourself loose as the music flows through you with a strong mountain soul.
Creating an album with songs of all emotions, Freeman has done what so many artists strive to do in crafting a complete story of songs to settle into. Her sophomore album Every Single Star should definitely not be overlooked and will provide endless hours of joy and powerful feministic inspiration. Be sure to catch the release of Every Single Star and to follow Dori Freeman on Instagram.
Kansas City-based favorites Madisen Ward and The Mama Bear have done it again with their new release, a delightful full-length titled Started With a Family, which — to their credit — it did entirely. And they’ve packed it to the brim with their signature robust, at times raspy, and beautiful vocal harmonies. “Saturday Morning Cartoons” opens the collection, beginning with a beautiful sentiment of current and future happiness. But hang on through to the end and you will either be slightly disturbed or just completely worried about your future. Nonetheless, they speak truth and continue to do so through slower second track “Hell Better Make Room”. “Never Met a Mutha” begins with a soundscape similar to Death Cab’s “I Will Follow You Into the Dark”, however it blossoms into a folk song that seems to be a testament to Mama Bear, though it could be easily applied elsewhere.
“Botticelli” slows things down again, a bit of a detached option from the relatable side of things. “Back to the North” has an interesting melody, prepping us for the more intricate “Started With a Family”, in which Madisen Ward addresses his family specifically. It’s simple, beautiful, and elegant in a way. Stemming from it is “Guts n Glory”, a bit more graphic than its predecessors, however still very relaxing in its disposition. “Crackle Lyn Wood” possesses both a clever name and a beautiful video, which can be seen below.
“Lightning Kids” holds its spot as the second to last track on this incredible folk album. It doesn’t have quite the pace we expected for having the term “lightning” in the title, but also leaves a lasting impression with its introspective lyrical content. The duo rounds the album out wonderfully with “Little Mountain”, showcasing Mama Bear’s (Ruth Ward) timeless, heartbreaking vocals. That packs a powerful punch, and we’re going to go ahead and hit “repeat” for a while.
Incendiary, vengeful, and all-around kickass: The first full-length album from New Zealand powerhouse Miss June slams from start to finish. Brimming with fiercely punk riot grrrl anthems and self-deprecating moodiness, Bad Luck Party spans captivating rock methodsacrosseras; from the stadiums of the early 80s to 90s alt-rock radio hits alike.
What do you get when you cross the youthful rebellion of 00’s pop-rock with contemporary punk? The answer is opening track “Twitch”; a smoldering, mile-a-minute plunge into the inferno that is Bad Luck Party. The first single of Bad Luck Party dropped in May of 2018, it acts an effective launch into the zeitgeist of the album, with dripping, electric fuzz stacked behind racing drum fills. “Twitch” especially stands out on BadLuck Party because it could fall first, central, or middle on the album’s track listing, and its catharsis would be perfectly timed regardless.
With track two – titled “Best Girl” – Miss June welcomes us into the first of many sarcastic rejections of the drags of femininity. A tongue-in-cheek nod to the album’s title, the chorus chants again and again: “It’s a bad luck party and nobody wins but me”, as voiceovers from vocalist Annabel Liddell whisper gossipy taunts over the anxiety of a tight snare.
Bad Luck Party never takes a breather, yet it does breathe a satisfying range of moods and dynamic differentiation. Tracks “Anomaly”, “Orchid”, and “Double Negative” are moody, narrative-focused, and feature toned-down vocals relative to their accompaniments on the album. Heart-swelling anthem “Anomaly” takes you right to a high school football stadium, where a protagonist fawns over a crush, with just a tinge of jealousy. Following suit in the spirit of reflective indie influences is “Orchid”; a pensive look into a dirty mirror that shatters if you stay too long. The lyrics of “Orchid” offer some of the clearest feminist commentary on Bad Luck Party, deftly melded with wracking heartache, as Liddell croons: “Ma says it’s easier for men to move on / There’s plenty of fish in the sea for a shark”.
The middle track on the album, “Double Negative”, is a simmering, melancholy beacon that carries with it an emotion not found many other places on Bad Luck Party; the urge to mourn. A cavernous cello carves out the space around Liddell’s vocals, creating a landing space for her regrets as she tosses them over the edge: “There was no time to talk”. An eruption follows, with any remaining boundaries combusting into unresolved questions.
There are more songs on Bad Luck Party album guaranteed to triple your heart rate than not. An anthem of repudiation, “Please Waste My Time” is arguably the wildest and most fun on Miss June’s spectrum of alt-punk. Just before her breakneck squeals send the chorus into chaos, Liddell’s contrasting shouts of “You make me feel old” break the tension, expertly shifting from frenzy back into musicality. On “Two Hits” and “Aquarium”, Liddell lobs rapid, ear-splitting screeches in rapid pace, demanding the forefront of attention, even over the thundering, metal-style guitars. Second-to-last song “Scorpio” is no less thrashing, but is marked by the softer, melodic singing of a ballad as opposed to the ravenous contempt wreaked on earlier tracks.
“Enemies”, a single released earlier in 2019, opens gradually and dramatically, drudging through a nightmarish yet fascinating landscape of stinging feedback and reverbing leads, before trenching into Liddell’s warning lyricism. This track is an ode to massive stadium rock acts of the past like Metallica, as well as extant subgenres like metalcore– all with Miss June’s defining riot grrrl explosivity. Matching the doom of “Enemies” is final track “Polio”, a finisher welded together with every trick in Liddell’s arsenal: Cautioning whispers give way to spoken directness, gradually ascending into screeching ferocity; nearly eclipsing the deafening crash of the surrounding scape.
Miss June is comprised of vocalist and guitarist Annabel Liddell, guitarist Jun Cheul Park, bassist Chris Marshall, and Tom Leggett. Next month, the group will begin their world-wide tour in celebration of the album’s release. The Bad Luck Party Tourwill kick off in Wellington, New Zealand and October14 sees the band play Brooklyn’s Rough Trade which marks the start of the North American run that includes shows in Toronto, Chicago and LosAngeles. All dates are listed below. Tickets and more tour info can be found here.
Electro-pop-punk duo Lady Lightning co-fronted by Graci Carli and Tony Bush released their debut EP album titled Sleepover in May of this year. The Brooklyn based band receives inspiration from 80’s style pop-rock legends Kenny Loggins, Debbie Harry, and Michael Jackson, and it definitely shows throughout all of the tracks on this first album. Truly a work for those seeking motivation for growth and empowerment, Carli and Bush provide a place to come home and re-energize to.
Woven throughout the tracks is a thread of religious verbiage, seen quite obviously in the first song “Heaven” but also in “Blame” and “Hero” as well. Choosing to drive songs with their upbeat musical styling and intricately woven vocals each track features both a whimsical and passionate air about it; with the message of self-care and appreciation never in doubt. If listening closely you may even be able to find small hints of Bleachers and Fall Out Boy vibes among the tracks, specifically “Hero” and “Lucky Love”.
Perhaps the most unique song on the album though is “Blow”, flashing an angrier beginning than any of the other tracks. The fervor of finally having made it and being able to show off their hard work and dedication provides the basis for the song while still leaving you with an inspired feeling to continue to put the time and effort in.
Rounding the album off with “Enough” the duo goes all out singing about the importance of believing in yourself. As the most up-beat track in the work, it will remind you of every great Disney movie you’ve ever watched. Featuring the lyric that potentially describes the entire album the best, “it’s hard to feel the good if it never gets tough” “Enough” is the perfect ending to an inspiring album.
Phebe Starr is back and brighter than ever with her new EP Ice Tea Liberace which was released on August 30 of this year. Showcasing an impressive musical vision and a wide range of vocal talent this four-song album will be the perfect kick start to your Fall music lineup. With songs mainly centered around a loss of innocence and having to come to terms with growing up, listeners will get a clear sense of Starr’s diverse musical style and opinions on the world.
Choosing to start off the album with its title track “Ice Tea Liberace” you’re immediately dropped into the mystical land Starr will journey through over the course of the four songs. Featuring a renaissance-meets-hip-hop vibe, this track has a unique blend of sound coming in from a wide range of instruments and background beats. The staccato lyricism pushes the song along and provides for a clear focus on the words themselves, a call to the return of an older world, a rebellion against how things are now. “Ice Tea Liberace” is both powerful and original, exactly what you would want from the opening track.
Starr’s next track “Bad News” opens with a tribute to the late Johnny Cash’s “Ring of Fire” before moving toward her sleek and lustrous vocalism. A stark contrast from the first song, this one focuses more on the lyrics than the instrumentation. Drawing the listener’s attention to the chorus with the repetition of the B in Bad is a stylistic technique Starr has mastered and brings out in later songs as well.
The third track of the album, “Break the Law”, starts off a little different with Starr choosing to bring an acoustic-style sound into the mix. “Break the Law” is also distinctive in the strategic use of lyrical pauses letting the beat carry the song. A song to rave to at a basement party “Break the Law” sounds like a cross between Halsey and Billie Eilish with its roots planted firmly in the bad girl world.
Last but definitely not least, the last track on the album “Touch XXX” rounds us off in an emotional yet gentle way as if falling into a pool of perfectly calm water. Showing off her range here, you can truly get the feeling for how strong of a singer Starr really is. The kind of song that makes you close your eyes and feel the music, “Touch XXX” will take you on a ride of pure ecstasy.
Gifting us with a complete emotional journey Starr has succeeded in creating her own world for listeners to soak in. As the sole singer/songwriter on the album, it’s no wonder her true identity shines so clearly throughout the work. The most perfect blend of soul and power, Ice Tea Liberace will have you rebelling against societal norms before you know it. When asked about the new album Starr said, “I’ve constantly been expected to play a role. I think a lot of women have these expectations placed on us. Labels make people feel safe. Social identities make people feel like they have control over life. I’ve learnt those people may feel safe but they aren’t free. I’ve learnt that being outcasted for who you are is more enjoyable than being accepted for something you’re not.”