• Song of the Moment

    Song of the Moment: “Night Shift” by Lucy Dacus

    Lucy Dacus writes the kind of songs that I immerse myself into slowly, one note at a time, or measure by measure, word by word. It’s easy to miss her complexity at first, wowed as you are by her voice and storytelling. “Night Shift” is a slow-building breakup anthem that ends in a furious crescendo. At the beginning of the song, Dacus’s voice is soft and sweet and vulnerable. You want to hug her. By the end, she is pure anger and anguish (while also looking to an as-yet-unrealized future), and you kind of want to back away but not really, because you’re staring. You’ve got a 9 to 5,…

  • Artist Spotlight

    The Bluesey Jubilance of Maya Banatwala and Heavy Hinges

    On New Years’ Eve–with the most glacial January in recent memory just around the corner–I was warmed all the way through at the Northside Tavern by Maya Banatwala, her bluesey singing voice and stunning stage presence, and the sheer rockin’ talent of her band, Heavy Hinges. Maya fronts the blues- and gospel-inspired rock band on vocals and ukulele; the other band members include Dylan Speeg on guitar and vocals, Andrew Laudeman on bass guitar, Kirk Hunter on lead guitar, and Brian Williamson on drums and percussion. I caught up with them all two weeks later, on the coldest and darkest day of the winter. Theresa: is it too cold for…

  • Album Reviews,  Band Information

    Fatty Cakes and the Puff Pastries: A Grrrl Band Who Understands

    Take one listen to Fatty Cakes and the Puff Pastries’ eponymous album (released November 9 and produced by Alice Bag), with its playful synthesizers and insistent guitar and drums, and vulnerability will not be the first thing to come to mind. Take another listen, however, and you’ll realize that this is a grrrl band who understands. What do they understand? Panic attacks, for one thing: the opening track, “Panic Attack,” is an homage to anxiety in all its unpredictable terror. “I’m a weirdo, I’m a weirdo, I’m a weirdo, I’m a weirdo” captures the repetitive bully that is a negative thought that will not go away. They understand fear in…

  • Artist Spotlight

    Laura Dolan is Driven

    by Theresa Kulbaga Laura Dolan is Driven Laura Dolan and I are driving through Helltown in her vintage silver Corvette. Windows down, wind in our hair, a perfect warm September Sunday. Laura’s black vinyl jumpsuit, fingerless gloves, and blonde hair—cropped in front, long and loose in back—rival the car’s red leather interior for sheer badassery. She shifts the stick as she talks to me, puts pedal to the metal. “I’ve always loved music that makes me want to drive fast,” she tells me, shouting a bit above the noise of the wind and the engine. “I know I have a successful song when it makes me press the gas.” Laura,…

  • Album Reviews

    Screaming Females in Ink and Bronze

    All At Once is largely about the importance of art; the lyrics evoke color and line and material in a way that had me Googling artists and pondering the risks and rewards of painting and being painted, seeing and being seen.