Posts Tagged ‘Sub Pop Records’

On Friday, September 18th, 2020, Sub Pop will release L7’s “Smell the Magic:” 30th Anniversary Edition, the fiery, American grunge pioneers’ second album. L7 were formed by Donita Sparks and Suzi Gardner in 1985 Of their meeting and on hearing Gardner play a tape of her songs in progress, Sparks described it as “one of the happiest days of my life” with a clear synchronicity in the music they were each interested in creating. At the time, Gardner was also active as a poet. The punk rock duo brought Jennifer Finch on board as bass guitarist and Anne Anderson on drums.

This 30th-anniversary edition of the ‘90s underground rock classic includes all 9 songs from the album, remastered and available together on vinyl for the first time ever! A multitude of rock music scenes populated the expanse of Los Angeles in 1989: hardcore punk, industrial goth, roots rock, and Sunset Strip hair metal, to name a few. L7 fit into none of them, creating their own unique blend of punk and hard, hooky rock loaded with humour and cultural commentary. Originally released in 1990, Smell the Magic is a landmark of ’90s feminist rock.

But making a mark on the LA underground rock scene was more challenging than it seemed.
Originating out of art punk circles in 1985, L7 played countless poetry readings, drag shows, art happenings and punk rock dive bars. They were nothing short of perseverant.

Having already released one album, eponymously titled, L7, the band was touring up the West Coast when they began to meet like minded artists affiliated with Sub Pop Records. The band managed to score a phone number for the imprint, and convinced label founders Bruce Pavitt and Jonathan Poneman to come see them live.

That show would take place a couple of weeks later in 1989 at an arts center in Seattle. The stage was finagled out of folding tables, and friends recruited to work a smoke machine (members of the group Cat Butt) decided to drop acid before attending to their duties. This led to a thick fog filling the entire venue and the band’s performance could hardly even be seen. L7 were convinced they blew it. Instead, they got signed: Sub Pop may not have been able to see them, yet, but they could hear them and asked if L7 would do a recording for their monthly Singles Club.

Later in the year, the band went into the label’s go-to studio in Seattle, Reciprocal Recording and in one day recorded “Shove,” “Packin’ a Rod,” and “Fast and Frightening.”

Released in January, the single’s A-side “Shove” would kick off the 1990’s with a bang and L7 would have an underground hit on their hands.

The band was then given the go ahead to record a full EP. The buzz from their Sub Pop’s Singles Club release was almost immediately palpable.

A few months after “Shove,” L7 continued with recording the EP—later expanded into a full-length album with three cover songs (“Packin’ a Rod,” “Just Like Me,” and “American Society”). They recorded again with Reciprocal’s producer, Jack Endino, and later Michael James and Ramones-producer Daniel Rey in Los Angeles.

This 30th-anniversary edition of the ‘90s underground rock classic Smell the Magic includes all 9 songs from the album, remastered and available together on vinyl for the first time ever! Originally released in 1990, Smell the Magic is a landmark of ’90s feminist rock.

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This 30th-anniversary edition of the ‘90s underground rock classic Smell The Magic (which originally came out as a six-track 12″/nine-track CD) includes all nine songs from the album, remastered and available together on vinyl for the first time. A multitude of rock music scenes populated the expanse of Los Angeles in 1989: hardcore punk, industrial goth, roots rock, and Sunset Strip hair metal, to name a few. L7 fit into none of them, creating their own unique blend of punk and hard, hooky rock loaded with humor and cultural commentary. Originally released in 1990, Smell The Magic is a landmark of ’90s feminist rock.

“Smell the Magic: 30th Anniversary Edition” is now available from Sub PopLP preorders through megamart.subpop.com and select retailers in North America will receive the limited Loser edition on clear with high melt orange, blue, and grey vinyl.

Releases September 18th, 2020 Sub Pop Records

During the extended stay-at-home order of the last few months, Marika Hackman felt that creating a covers record was a way of exploring new sound ideas and expressing herself without having the pressure of the blank page. She recorded and produced “Covers” between home and her parents’ house, then got the legendary David Wrench (Frank Ocean, The xx, Let’s Eat Grandma) to mix it. David also co-produced her excellent 2019 record Any Human Friend. In contrast to her last two albums (including 2017’s I’m Not Your Man), this collection of songs is more akin in tone and feel to her debut We Slept At Last, with a darker and more introspective sound. On Covers, we hear Marika’s emotive voice set against sparse arrangements of guitars and strings with the occasional synth or scattered drum groove.

Breathing new life into the songs she’s chosen, Marika reimagines work by some of the world’s most beloved artists such as Radiohead, Grimes and Elliott Smith. It’s a suitably varied collection, but Marika’s intimate delivery and soft, nuanced and atmospheric touch to production, thread them all together effortlessly.

Marika explains how she came to choose the material: “When it comes to covers, I like to pick songs which I have been listening to obsessively for a while. It gives me a natural understanding of the music, and lets me be more innovative with how I transform it.”

First single “Realiti” is a stripped back piano and guitar based version of the Grimes classic from her most celebrated album Art Angels. Marika’s take is a total reinvention and yet it feels wholly her own. Muna’s “Pink Light” from their 2019 record Saves The World is a slice of dark pop, reminiscent of The Cure. In Marika’s hands, it’s a remarkably seamless switch-up to convert these into slower, brooding soft jams. Marika’s version of Air’s “Playground Love” is one of the highlights, taken from the soundtrack the group composed for Sofia Coppola’s coming of age The Virgin Suicides, the result being a moodier, disorientating reworking of a classic modern moment.

Final track “All Night” sees Marika tackling one of the standouts from Beyonce’s Grammy-nominated Lemonade. Again, Marika flips the song on its head. Joined by a choir of stacked vocal harmonies, Marika’s voice transcends to conjure a deep emotional resonance.

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Adventurous and versatile, Covers continues Marika’s lineage in turning each body of work into a new take and perspective on her creative vision. She twists and turns, always surprises, and is never afraid to wear her heart on her sleeve. It remains anyone’s guess to imagine where she will head next.

Releases November 13th, 2020

2020 Sub Pop Records

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Today Metz shared the video for the second single off Atlas Vending, “Hail Taxi.” If Metz’s current mission is to mirror the inevitable struggles of adulthood, they’ve successfully managed to tap into the conflicted relationship between rebellion and revelry with the song’s tactics of offsetting their signature bombast with anthemic melodic resolutions. “‘Hail Taxi’ is about looking back. The lyrics deal with the idea of reconciling or coming to terms with who you were and who you’ve become,” shares frontman Alex Edkins. The stunning video, directed by A.F. Cortes, heightens these themes and expertly captures the same intensity as the alternately brutal verses and beguiling choruses of “Hail Taxi.” Of the video, Cortes says, “I wanted to tell a simple story that captures the song’s overarching theme. The idea of longing for the past creates many visual motifs and I wanted to create a piece that feels timeless and conveys a sense of isolation, highlighting that while we can hide our feelings, we can’t run from them.”

Atlas Vending, the band’s most dynamic, dimensional, and compelling work of their career will be released on October 9th. Bolstered by the co-production of Ben Greenberg (Uniform) and the engineering and mixing skills of Seth Manchester (Daughters, Lingua Ignota, The Body) at Machines with Magnets in Pawtucket, Rhode Island, Atlas Vending, the band’s fourth full-length album, sounds massive, articulate, and earnest.

Preorders of Atlas Vending are now available from Sub Pop Records.

“Hail Taxi” by METZ from their album Atlas Vending (Release Date: 10/09/2020)

Father John Misty’s “To S.” b/w “To R.” is the singer’s double A-side contribution to Sub Pop Singles Club Vol. 5, and his first new, original, studio material since his acclaimed 4th album, 2018’s “God’s Favorite Customer”. These gorgeous, meticulously rendered tunes were recorded at Fivestar Studios and Funky Monkey Soundhaus NoHo in Los Angeles, produced by Dave Cerminara and The Haxan Cloak, mixed by Cerminara, and mastered by Adan Ayan at Gateway Mastering.

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“To S.” and “To R.” follows Father John Misty’sOff-Key In Hamburg”, his first live album, released in March of 2020, and Anthem +3, a collection of covers of songs by Leonard Cohen, Yusuf/Cat Stevens, and Link Wray was released July 2020. Combined, Off-Key In Hamburg and Anthem +3 raised over $100,000 for multiple causes including The Recording Academy’s MusiCares COVID-19 Relief Fund, CARE Action and Ground Game LA. Father John Misty is also selling his infamous “Poem Zone” t-shirt via his official webstore, with August proceeds from the store benefitting his touring crew.

Released August 17th, 2020

2020 Sub Pop Records

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LOMA is Emily Cross, Dan Duszynski and Jonathan Meiburg. We met on tour and made a secret pact to start a band together. Then we made an eerie and beautiful album way out in the country in Texas. Then, we made another. Don’t Shy Away comes out 10/23/20.

There was never meant to be a second Loma record. The collaboration between Cross Record’s Emily Cross, Dan Duszynski, and Shearwater’s Jonathan Meiburg released their challenging and brilliant debut album back in 2018, which topped our list of our the year’s best albums, and drew near universal acclaim. The gruelling tour that followed culminated at Sub Pop’s SPF 30 Festival and ended with Emily leaping from the stage, and heading straight for the sea. That was originally meant to be that – no more records, no more Loma. As Emily recalls, “it was the biggest audience we’d ever had. We thought, why not stop here?”. As you can probably guess from the fact you’re reading this, that wasn’t quite how the story ended. Courtesy of Brian Eno loving their music, the members pursuing their own projects, and a return to Texas, Loma were inspired to keep going, and the result is Don’t Shy Away, the band’s second album, out in October through Sub Pop.

Ahead of the release, this week Loma have shared “Ocotillo”, the first single to be lifted from “Don’t Shy Away”. Lifting its name from a cactus-like plant native to the deserts around the border of Mexico and the USA, the band were inspired by the somewhat precocious nature of the plant.

Band Members
Emily Cross, Jonathan Meiburg, Dan Duszynski

“Ocotillo” by Loma from their album “Don’t Shy Away” Release Date: 23rd October 2020 on Sub Pop Records.

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Washed Out’s air conditioning still works, if “Purple Noon” is any indication. Vaporous and immersive, the airy new album from songwriter, multi-instrumentalist and producer Ernest Greene’s pet project is a cool, ultra-modern cave of powdery Chillwave luxury and leisure that harkens back to Washed Out’s debut EP, Life of Leisure. That record established the artistically restless Greene as one of the genre’s up-and-coming visionaries, before he started experimenting with stylish synth-pop, full-band psychedelia and hip-hop and samples, not to mention his creative adventures in audio/visual splendor and animation.

To see him assume the role of Bryan Ferry is an unexpected twist, as the young man’s fancy turns from escapism to widescreen romance on Purple Noon. “Too Late” is suave and seductive, with breathy vocals, gentle finger snaps and soft throbs setting the mood, as “Face Up” commits the sweetest taboo of slow dancing with Sade. Drinking in the breezy island grooves and languid beats of Ibiza, “Paralyzed” and “Time to Walk Away” lay around poolside, while the lush and dreamy “Hide” is pure ‘80s pop pleasure that tastes like New Order. Have a fruity cocktail. It’s Purple Noon somewhere.

Almost a week out from the release of Purple Noon, so I thought I’d share another snippet. This song is called “Hide” and its another one of the slightly darker moments on the album. While I wouldn’t go as far as saying that Purple Noon is a concept album, it does focus solely on one major theme. It basically examines the various stages of a love-affair – from an initial meeting, to early infatuation, all the way through the heartbreak of when things start to fall apart. “Hide” is about that place in a relationship where its unclear whether its best to just try harder to make it work or to just completely cut ties and move on…

Washed Out  the album “Purple Noon” (Release Date: 8/07/2020 on Sub Pop Records

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Bully are one of the most exciting punk bands of the past decade. 2015’s Feels Like and 2017’s Losing didn’t necessarily reinvent anything, but its fuzzy, melodic rock songs were consistently invigorating, with Alicia Bognanno’s raspy voice packing a major punch. Bognanno is behind the boards again for her new record “Sugaregg”, but this time she’s joined by a producer for the first time, John Congleton—not the worst choice for your first co-producer! Even after just one spin, it’s clear that Bognanno hasn’t taken her foot off the punk gas pedal. Her third album and second for Sub Pop is empowering, unrelenting and utterly gripping, with a chance of raw explosiveness at any moment. Even the more subtle numbers like “What I Wanted” and “Prism” will leave a cloud of exhaust smoke and tread marks.

Bully thrives in discomfort. The disconnect between “normal,” actualized and idealized ideas of life rages through their music. The pull toward a spiritually-dead life as a milkman, emotional stasis in the face of outward turmoil, trying and failing to even understand your own mind; these spectres haunt and propel Bully’s music. On the band’s new single, “Every Tradition,” the second off of their forthcoming album, “Sugaregg” (out on August. 21st via Sub Pop Records), Bully leans into the underlying conflict of their music. With incendiary guitars and Alicia Bognanno’s sneering delivery, the band unleashes an anthem for anyone finding themselves out of step with the expectations that are placed on them

“Every Tradition” by Bully from their album “SUGAREGG” (Release Date: 21st August 2020 on Sub Pop Records)

Bully’s “Hours and Hours” is the latest standout from Sugaregg, her incredible new album.

Alicia Bognanno offers this about the song, “‘Hours and Hours’ is about my mother and I finally figuring out our relationship. She and I had a really hard time connecting growing up and at times felt like it would never happen. Over the past five years we have become best friends, she is now the very first person I call when I am at my absolute lowest and has saved my life. I realize now how similar we are and how that probably had everything to do with why we had a difficult time with each other growing up. I wish I knew sooner how much we could relate but am eternally grateful that we have figured it out now and I’m just so thankful to be on good terms, I love her dearly.”

Bully will release “Sugaregg” on August 21st, 2020 worldwide through Sub Pop Records.

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There was never meant to be a second Loma record. The collaboration between Cross Record’s Emily Cross, Dan Duszynski, and Shearwater’s Jonathan Meiburg released their challenging and brilliant debut album back in 2018, which topped our list of our the year’s best albums, and drew near universal acclaim. The gruelling tour that followed culminated at Sub Pop Record’s SPF 30 Festival and ended with Emily leaping from the stage, and heading straight for the sea. That was originally meant to be that – no more records, no more Loma. As Emily recalls, “it was the biggest audience we’d ever had. We thought, why not stop here?”. As you can probably guess from the fact you’re reading this, that wasn’t quite how the story ended. Courtesy of Brian Eno loving their music, On December 26th, 2018, Emily Cross received an excited email from a friend: Brian Eno was talking about her band on BBC radio. “At first I didn’t think it was real,” she admits. But then she heard a recording: Eno was praising “Black Willow” from Loma’s self-titled debut, a song whose minimal groove and hypnotic refrain seem as much farewell as a manifesto: I make my bed beside the road / I carry a diamond blade / I will not serve you. He said he’d had it on repeat.  The members pursuing their own projects, and a return to Texas, Loma were inspired to keep going, and the result is “Don’t Shy Away”, the band’s second album, out in October through Sub Pop.

Ahead of the release, this week Loma have shared “Ocotillo”, the first single to be lifted from Don’t Shy Away. Lifting its name from a cactus-like plant native to the deserts around the border of Mexico and the USA, the band were inspired by the somewhat precocious nature of the plant. As the band explain, “Ocotillo is a graceful, spindly plant that flowers extravagantly after rain—but it lives in places where it doesn’t rain for months, even years. It’s not hard to identify with it“. The track is instantly intriguing, the band continuing their collaborative approach to writing, and shaping their creativity into something that’s both dense and dextrous; even as it gets loud and jarring it always seems to maintain it’s propulsion, always flowing, always moving, never standing still. The track seems to build around the prominent bass, as flourishes of brass, woodwind, percussion, and vocals drift in and out of earshot. Lyrically, it seems to channel the freedom that often comes with moments of chaos, “lead me to another life. All my ties are broken, I’m in wonderful disarray”.

The return of Loma feels like a second chance, a band who could so easily have slipped between the cracks, returning to give us the chance to make them realise just how loved they are, cherish their return, it’s a triumph.

Don’t Shy Away is out October 23rd via Sub Pop Records

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The Baltimore duo of Victoria Legrand and Alex Scally had established themselves as effortlessly sublime dream-pop adepts by the time of their third album, but they hadn’t yet embraced the production values that might convince people who weren’t reading mp3 blogs. Teen Dream, Beach House’s Sub Pop debut, was the sound of a band going for broke at that exciting moment before they know what they’re really capable of achieving. Recording in a converted church with producer/engineer Chris Coady, whose credits span Amen Dunes to Yeah Yeah Yeahs, the pair demonstrated a rare balance of preaching to the choir and pulling in new converts. The spidery guitar lines, dimly lit organ tones, and sparse drum machines remain.

But there’s also much more attempted: crystalline Fleetwood Mac–style harmonies, shoegaze-teetering crescendos, even kitchen-sink piano balladry. Each of the 10 songs could’ve been a single, and the physical edition’s accompanying DVD offers pleasantly warped videos for all of them. It was still dream pop, all right, right down to the “Twin Peaks”-echoing lyrical hook of the bleakly glamorous “Silver Soul.” But it was dream pop that could entice Jay-Z and Beyoncé out to a gig. Beach House have a well-earned reputation for not changing much, but on Teen Dream, they came into their own, and ushered the languid reveries of Galaxie 500, Mazzy Star, and Cocteau Twins into the current Instagram decade.

Beach House’s bleary-eyed dream pop is a soothing after-sun for the mind. The cymbals crash like waves on a deserted beach in late-summer, when the shadows are longer, the air is cooler and the carefree excitement of the previous months is replaced with a sedated satisfaction. Victoria Legrand’s contralto voice feels more shadowy than anything peak season would have allowed, whilst Alex Scally provides the flickers of brilliance that keep the whole record warm and alight, like a campfire under the starry skies.

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Where to start is out today, crazy to finally be putting out the first single of the third record after three years of work. It feels insensitive to be releasing music at a time like this as I don’t want to take up space from everybody sharing important information on how to stay active and informed on racial inequality. I’ve pushed the release back as far as I could and for many reasons I’ve gotta bite the bullet and put it out into the world. With touring not being an option for the foreseeable future, all musicians have right now to keep their jobs going is social media to promote music. I’ll continue to post ways to stay active alongside posts about the single and record to come, as we all should keep doing. Injustice for people of colour has been an ongoing issue since day one and all of us that have never experienced the pain and prejudice that happens daily in the black community need to make not a week or a month, but a lifelong commitment to stay active and work towards equality.

Yes indeed, you read that headline right. Bully will release “Sugaregg”, her third album, worldwide on August 21st through Sub Pop Records. The 12-track effort was produced and mixed by John Congleton and Bully’s Alicia Bognanno, with additional production and mixing by Graham Walsh, recorded at Pachyderm Studios in Cannon Falls, Minnesota, and Palace Sound in Toronto, Ontario, and mastered by Heba Kadry. You can now watch the official video for the cathartic lead single  “Where to Start” right here. The visual is directed by Alan Del Rio Ortiz and Bognanno.

The single, “’Where to Start’ boasts Bully’s characteristic high-energy snarl, as growling guitars lead into Bognanno’s raspy-throated condemnation: “I don’t know where to start/I don’t know where to start with you.” Decidedly more jangly guitars then usher us all the way into the guts of the song — a mixture of sweet and sour, soft and frustrated,

Preorders of “SUGAREGG” are now available from Sub Pop. The limited Loser edition on a translucent blue w/white “smoke” colored vinyl. Meanwhile, preorders in the U.K. and Europe through select independent retailers will receive the Loser edition on transparent red vinyl. There will also be a new t-shirt design available.

About Bully’s “SUGAREGG” A very old saying goes that no one saves us but ourselves. Recognizing and breaking free from the patterns impeding our forward progress can be transformative — just ask Bully’s Alicia Bognanno. Indeed, the third Bully album, SUGAREGG, may not ever have come to fruition had Bognanno not navigated every kind of upheaval imaginable and completely overhauled her working process along the way.

“There was change that needed to happen and it happened on this record,” she says. “Derailing my ego and insecurities allowed me to give these songs the attention they deserved.”

“SUGAREGG” roars from the speakers and jumpstarts both heart and mind. Like My Bloody Valentine after three double espressos, opener “Add It On” zooms heavenward within seconds, epitomizing Bognanno’s newfound clarity of purpose, while the bass-driven melodies and propulsive beats of “Where to Start” and “Let You” are the musical equivalents of the sun piercing through a perpetually cloudy sky.

On songs like the strident “Every Tradition” and “Not Ashamed,” Bognanno doesn’t shy away from addressing “how I feel as a human holds up against what society expects or assumes of me as a woman, and what it feels like to naturally challenge those expectations.”

But amongst the more dense topics, there’s also a light-heartedness that was lacking on Bully’s last album, 2017’s Losing. Pointing to “Where to Start,” “You” and “Let You,” Bognanno says “there are more songs about erratic, dysfunctional love in an upbeat way, like, ‘I’m going down and that’s the only way I want to go because the momentary joy is worth it.’”

The artist admits that finding the proper treatment for bipolar 2 disorder radically altered her mindset, freeing her from a cycle of paranoia and insecurity about her work. “Being able to finally navigate that opened the door for me to write about it,” she says, pointing to the sweet, swirly “Like Fire” and slower, more contemplative songs such as “Prism” and “Come Down” as having been born of this new headspace. Even small changes like listening to music instead of the news first thing in the morning “made me want to write and bring that pleasure to other people.”

An unexpected foray into the film world also helped set the table for Sugaregg when Bognanno was asked to write songs for the 2019 movie Her Smell, starring Elisabeth Moss as the frontwoman of the fictional rock band Something She. “It got me motivated to play music again after the last album,” she says. “I loved reading the script and trying to think, what music would the character write? People asked if I’d play those songs with Bully but the whole point was for them to not be Bully songs. It was nice to get my head out of my own ass for a second and work on a project for someone else,” she says with a laugh.

A highly accomplished engineer who ran the boards herself on the first two Bully albums, Bognanno was ready to be free “from the weight of feeling like I had to prove to the world I was capable of engineering a record, and wanted to be content knowing for myself what I can do without needing the approval of others to validate that.”

So for SUGAREGG, she yielded recording and mixing responsibilities to outside collaborators for the first time and trekked to the remote Pachyderm Studios in Cannon Falls, Minn., an unexpected return to her home state. Behind the console was John Congleton, a Grammy-winner who has worked with everyone from St. Vincent and Sleater-Kinney to The War on Drugs and Modest Mouse. “Naturally, I still had reservations, but John was sensitive to where I was coming from,” Bognanno says. “He was very respectful that I’d never worked with a producer before.”

The studio’s rich history (classics such as Nirvana’s In Utero, PJ Harvey’s Rid of Me and Superchunk’s Foolish were recorded there) and woodsy setting quickly put Bognanno’s mind at ease. Being able to bring her dog Mezzi along for the trip didn’t hurt either. “I had never tracked a record in the summer, so waking up and going outside with her before we started each day was a great way to refresh,” she says.

SUGAREGG features additional contributions from long time touring drummer Wesley Mitchell and bassist Zach Dawes, renowned for his work on recent albums by Sharon Van Etten and Lana Del Rey. Dawes and Bognanno met at Pachyderm to work on parts just two days before tracking, “but it ended up being so much less stressful than I had expected and I loved it,” she says. “Zach wanted to be there to help and make my vision happen.”

With 14 songs on tape, Bognanno and friends left Pachyderm thinking SUGAREGG was done. But once back home in Nashville, she realized there was more to be written, and spent the next five months doing exactly that. Moving to Palace Studios in Toronto with Graham Walsh (Alvvays, METZ, !!!), Bognanno and Mitchell recorded “Where to Start” and “Let You,” which proved to be two of the new album’s key tracks.

Ultimately, SUGAREGG is a testament that profound change can yield profound results — in this case, the most expressive and powerful music of Bognanno’s career. “This is me longing to see the bigger picture, motivated and eager for contentment in the best way,” she says. “I hope the happy go lucky / fuck-it-all attitude shines through some of these songs because I really did feel like I was reentering a place I hadn’t been to in a while and was excited to be back there.”

Bully from their album “SUGAREGG” (Release Date: 21st August 2020 on Sub Pop Records.