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Los Angeles based singer songwriter Phoebe Bridgers has been described as Elliott Smith meets Gillian Welch. Her unique voice has been featured on ABC Family’s Switched At Birth, Sons of Anarchy and an IPhone commercial. Pasadena Weekly says, “Bridgers has made a name for herself in that scene in relatively short time thanks largely to the quicksilver beauty of her voice; sweetly vulnerable, it also has a tensile strength that beguiles listeners.”
Bridgers has played her own brand of alternative folk all over Los Angeles, including the Troubadour, the El Rey, the Roxy, Genghis Cohen, Hotel Café, The Coffee Gallery Backstage, the Claremont Folk Festival and the Grand Ole Echo. According to LA-Underground, “Phoebe Bridgers’ “Waiting Room” was the heartbreaker tune of the year. It’s brilliant. She’s something special.” Music blog American Pancake says, “Phoebe’s tender performance mildly freaks you out and breaks your heart at the same time…utterly beautiful.”
Since graduating from the Los Angeles County High School for the Arts in 2013, Phoebe has performed and recorded both in Los Angeles and Nashville. She has collaborated with friends and mentors including Terra Naomi, Rob Waller, Noah Gunderson and Chad Gilbert. Her latest project is a 7” limited release of three songs, produced by Ryan Adams, released on April 28 and available on PaxAm.
“Passed you on a side street/Brushed across your wrist like a razorblade.” Those are the first lines from ‘Try,’ the second track off Soccer Mommy’s Fat Possum debut, Collection. It’s also a perfect encapsulation of the band itself: quietly catchy, surprisingly confrontational, the kind of music that sneaks up on you and makes a permanent first impression. Soccer Mommy is the project of Sophie Allison, a nineteen-year-old Nashville native and musical wunderkind. Sophie built her reputation as a DIY artist, recording her own songs and releasing them for free on Bandcamp over the last few years. Collection compiles the best of Sophie’s Bandcamp work as well as a few new songs, written, mixed and produced herself.
The songs portray an artist fully-formed, mature far beyond her age. Sophie sings of toxic relationships, infatuations, and all the experiences of being a teenage girl. Or, as Sophie describes her subject matter, “crush stuff with a hint of bad to it.” There’s a playfulness to the music that belies the sophisticated nature of the songcraft. The songs can be sweet, they can be happily melancholic or melancholically happy, but they always cut deep. They belong on playlists and mixes, to be shared among friends and belted out during road trips. Collection is destined to be a favorite record. These perfect pop gems have power.
‘Allison,’ a gorgeous meditation on the bittersweet feeling of hurting someone you love while pursuing your own dreams, showcases Sophie’s talent for home recording, with multi-tracked vocals layered to perfection. On ‘Out Worn,’ a searing takedown of the desire for male validation, Sophie sings, “Not the girl that you thought I’d be/ My makeup stains all your white tees/ Bite my nails ‘til my fingers bleed/ And I can’t always hide.” The song is relatable and anthemic, striking the perfect balance between anger and sugary pop bliss.
There’s a freedom and a joy to this music, and Collection stands as an excellent to a powerful new voice. Critics may decry the end of guitar music, same as they have for over thirty years. The fact remains that as long as records like Collection exist, there will be no shortage of young artists bashing their hearts out on guitars for years to come. “You can’t say indie rock is dead,” says Sophie. “It’s just being taken over by women.”