Release Date: Jun 17, 2016
Record label: ATO
Genre(s): Pop/Rock, Alternative/Indie Rock, Alternative Pop/Rock, Indie Rock, Alternative Singer/Songwriter
Google the phrase “grunge revival” and the search engine will automatically suggest additional words based on global behaviour. You’re inevitably prompted to search for “dress”, “fashion”, “bands” and then every year going back to 2010. What it doesn’t add is “a period of time when female artists created fuck-you guitar rock about life, love and anything else they bloody wanted to without taking any shit”.
Margaret Glaspy’s first album is a fabulous miniature, clocking in at just 34 minutes, that gets better every time you listen to it. It’s clearly a singer-songwriter record in that it’s the thoughts of one person, no matter how personal – the third track, You and I, opens with the stark declaration “Tonight I’m a little too turned on to talk about us / Tomorrow I’ll be too turned off and won’t give a fuck” – but it’s also a rock’n’roll record. It’s not maximalist: there’s plenty of space between the drums, bass, guitars and Glaspy’s voice, which is sometimes resigned, sometimes yearning.
Those of us who’ve followed Glaspy’s development these past few years via a series of self-produced live YouTube performances might find her long-awaited major label debut something of a jolt. Dirtying up her clean, soulful guitar pop is a move as brave as it is smart: Emotion and Math is powered by guts and guile. Glaspy’s lyrical eye is unflinching and much of this record documents stark self-doubt alongside a series of dead-eye recriminations.
Margaret Glaspy grew up playing fiddle and trombone and listening to early-’00’s Top 40 pop. She hung around in the Boston folk scene after briefly attending Berklee College of Music and eventually settled amongst New York’s singer-songwriter community. Along the way, Glaspy released a pair of EPs, beginning with Homeschool, a solo-acoustic offering that highlighted her compelling, nasally warble.Several years later, Glaspy has arrived with her full-length debut Emotions and Math, a collection of compact grunge-rock and breezy torch songs that mark a decisive departure from the quiet, spare softness of her past recordings.
After kicking around the East Coast for several years and issuing a pair of warmly received EPs, California native Margaret Glaspy landed a deal from Universal-affiliated ATO Records to release her debut LP, Emotions and Math. With an introspective, lyrical style that feels rooted in the traditions of the early-'70s singer/songwriter era but with an edgy, decidedly modern delivery, she presents an interesting hybrid. From her home base in New York, Glaspy quietly honed her material, gigging around the city and demoing a complete early version of her album from her Brooklyn apartment.
If you would've asked Carl and I that we'd still be writing this feature a few months ago, we would've been surprised. But we just can't help ourselves, seeing as this year has been exceptionally rich in terms of album releases. So how did we fare with our monthly "leftovers" this time around? Well ….