Heartbreaking Bravery

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Tag: Laura Daegling

Surfer Rosie – EP 1 (EP Premiere)

The last time we heard from the Laura Daegling-led project Surfer Rosie, they’d just released “Worms“, an explosive whirlwind of frustration and engaging dynamics. Daegling had already more than proven to be a songwriter of worth via Sun’s Out Bummed Out, whose “Cut All My Hair” ranks as one of the finest songs of the past few years. Surfer Rosie provided an opportunity to showcase a much spikier side of Daegling’s arsenal and the hints the band’s been providing leading up to their first proper release — via the increasingly excellent Good Cheer Records label — have all honestly conveyed one simple truth: this EP’s a monster.

Each of the record’s four tracks comes brimming with the same kind of hard-won anxiety and relentlessness that informed “Worms”. “Nerves“, the EP’s opening track, has already been unveiled and sets the tone for a tense and embattled run of songs that don’t shy away from showing a spirited resilience, even as defeatism seeps through the cracks. From that opener onward, EP 1 often sounds like the band’s alternating between a chaotic, mid-sprint catharsis and the gasp-of-breath relief that accompanies the exit and provides a window back to a more stately composure.

“Gilly’s Dream” provides the latter of those two modes throughout and manages to stand out in a short collection full of uniformly strong efforts. By far the calmest track the EP has to offer, “Gilly’s Dream” conjures up a dream-like haze that’s hard to unravel and even harder to want to escape. Subdued, understated, and exuding a near-paradoxic confidence, the song’s an unlikely — and deeply unassuming — spellbinder. It’s also a near-necessity on an EP that has a penchant to wrings emotional responses out of its listeners at intense and unapologetic volumes.

The back half of EP 1 continues to offer up gems, with “Resting Place” and “Chugger” both easily defensible candidates for Surfer Rosie’s best song to date. Whether it’s the gorgeous 80-second intro to the closing track or the hushed extended outro section of “Resting Place”, the band continues to prove their mastery of dynamic composition. At their most muted, the songs find a deep well of strength that manages to make both the narratives and the compositions stick.

Occasionally, when the EPs at its most absorbing, it can feel like being flattened. Instead of terror, though, the feeling that it provokes is reassurance. It’s that same quiet redemption that defines EP 1 and makes Surfer Rosie a band deserving of a great amount of care. In a seemingly unending barrage of detachment that’s taken over various subgenres of punk, it’s refreshing to have a testament to sincerity and openness. At the end of the day, both EP 1 and Surfer Rosie feel like a ceaseless, unpredictable fire that better an exceedingly cold room. We should all consider ourselves lucky to have the opportunity to stare at the constantly shifting embers and be affected by the glow.

Surfer Rosie – Worms (Stream)

A little over half of this week has passed and it’s seen great new songs surface from the likes of Grey Gersten, Slowdive, Jesse, The Sea Life, VAJJ, Doghouse Charlie, Swimming Tapes, TOPS, Now, Now, Sheer Mag, Swiftumz, Kazyak, and Cutty Flam. That same stretch also produced Surfer Rosie’s outstanding “Worms”, a fine introductory track to an incredibly promising new project.

Last year this site was fortunate enough to host the premiere of Sun’s Out Bummed Out’s “Cut All My Hair“, a song that’s refused to relinquish its vice-like grip on my brain ever since. Laura Daegling, the songwriter responsible for that project, is back at it again with another new outfit: Surfer Rosie. Formed as a Pixies cover band, the quartet eventually morphed into something else entirely and they’re offering a glimpse at what’s to come with “Worms”.

Spiky, atmospheric, and a little bit vicious, “Worms” is a contained burst of oft-kilter pop, dressed up in a decidedly punk aesthetic. It’s a simple, effective, and even gripping work, making the absolute most of two minutes and injecting that time with a distinct personality. Invigorating and galvanizing in equal measure, its easy to see why Good Cheer Records — a label that continues to make all the right choices — has tapped the band for their debut release. While further details have been kept quiet, “Worms” will go a long way in filling that silence. Give into its minimalism for a maximal effect.

Listen to “Worms” below and keep an eye on this site for more updates on Surfer Rosie.

Sun’s Out Bummed Out – Cut All My Hair (Song Premiere)

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One of this site’s first posts of the year was an introduction to the tantalizing hyper-skittishness of Ubetcha and it set the tone for the months to follow. 2016 has been extraordinarily generous in its offerings from new acts making their way out into the world for the first time. From the triumphantly withdrawn powerpop of Mo Troper’s Beloved to the razor-sharp cacophony of Cadet Kelly, the past six months have been overflowing with acts who already seem primed to break out into larger roles. Sun’s Out Bummed Out — the new project from Blind Lovejoy‘s Laura Daegling — can now be added to that growing list.

“Cut All My Hair”, taken from the project’s debut digital single, is Sun’s Out Bummed Out’s first song and demonstrates a sense of identity and understanding that a lot of seasoned bands fail to achieve. From a wispy opening section, the song blossoms into something that embraces an array of influences from the wave of psych and proto-punk that came in on the heels of the British Invasion to the kind of bedroom pop that carries greater weight and greater substance than what the genre’s most streamlined offerings typically provide.

Beyond the ancillary production and general aesthetic, Daegling proves to be a very adapt lyricist, deftly navigating the spaces between self-doubt and begrudging confidence. Of course, the narrative of “Cut All My Hair” wouldn’t be half as effective if it wasn’t grounded by a head-turning sincerity in its fiercest moments. Whether the song’s tipping towards hope or despair, there’s never a lack of conviction; Daegling keeps the song’s loftiest goals within arm’s reach before finally bringing the song home in an effective and affecting cyclical moment.

By that climactic final moment, Sun’s Out Bummed Out seems more than ready to be termed a legitimate force. Every single facet of the song seems necessary to its success, each piece perfectly aligned to constitute a whole that nears the transcendent. It’s a beautiful piece of music from a commanding voice that demands to be heard. One can only hope that a very big audience decides to quiet down enough to listen.

Listen to “Cut All My Hair” below and keep an eye on the site for further updates on Sun’s Out Bummed Out.