With ‘Gimme 5!’ we take a peek into the collections of artists we admire. The premise is simple: artists WE like share 5 records THEY love.
There was an instant familiarity when I first heard the Marigold EP by Stella And The Very Messed. It all made sense when I found out that Stella Maxwell of Cruiserweight fronts The Very Messed. Cruiserweight was a pop punk band from Austin that had a great run in the first decade of the 2000s, and the distinct voice of Maxwell was (is!) one of the draws of that band. Together with Cruiserweight alumn Dave Hawkins, she started this new project which is not pop punk, but semi-acoustic and equal parts indie pop, ’90s alternative and americana. It’s more layered and, for lack of a better word, more mature than the music of Cruiserweight, but just as accessible an enjoyable. It’s the kind of music Maxwell’s voice seems made for. In addition to Maxwell and Hawkins, the band also includes Chris Nine (Karaoke Apocalypse, Manhole) and Donnie Adkinson (The Letters Organize, Whores), with Nik Snell (The Cutaway) and Sam Rich (Black Books) recent additions for live shows.
The video for lead single, and my personal favorite on the EP, The Feeling premieres today. The video is an arts and crafts stop-motion piece of creative brilliance. Sonically, The Feeling is a song made for spring with its gently strumming guitars and catchy forward moving bass line. Lyrically and vocally, the song pulls at the heartstrings with its dark and deeply personal undertones. “And now I drink myself to bed and I cry myself to work,” Maxwell sings, and “How can you really miss what you never really knew? I get the feeling, I do || How can you really miss what you never really had? I know that feeling, I do.” [post continues below]
For this week’s Gimme 5! Maxwell provides insight in the influences of Stella and The Very Messed. One thing that stands out in these picks is the personal nature of these albums, and how this also reflects in the Marigold EP. Enjoy reading and listening! You can purchase the EP on cassette or digital here.
1. Andy Shauf || The Neon Skyline
“I listened to this album so much over the last year, and it definitely influenced the songs on Marigold in more ways than one. Every song is connected around a central story, there’s a ton of heartbreaking self-awareness in the lyrics, and the production is really sparse. I’ve always been involved in recordings where every bit of space was filled with sound, but The Neon Skyline is a perfect demonstration of less is more.”
2. Liz Phair || Whitechocolatespaceegg
“Liz Phair is the absolute best at cheeky sarcasm, but it’s always done in a way that seems casual and not too biting until you start dissecting. She’s incredibly smart, but she doesn’t throw it in your face, you know? She just seems like someone you don’t want to piss off at a party. (side note: When I finished writing Ain’t No Baby, I realized quickly that it was an homage to Liz Phair, but certainly not because I’m as talented of a writer, by any means.)”
3. Caitlin Rose || The Stand-In
“My friend Chase introduced this album to me back in October, and it’s perfect pop songwriting. Also, I hate the “pop” moniker, because it implies “songwriting by committee” for some people. As far as I know, Rose is the composer behind her songs, and she deserves a zillion dollars for each one. You can sing along immediately, and the lyrics are simple but clever.”
4. The Long Winters || Putting the Days to Bed
“Sometimes I get lost with figuring out who I want to be as a songwriter. Trends change, your tastes change, your creative flow waxes and wanes. Any time I feel lost, I revisit The Long Winters, and it snaps me back into place. John Roderick sings his truth, and it’s incredibly refreshing. Also, I’m a big fat sucker for a key-change chorus.”
5. Stealers Wheel || Stuck in the Middle With You
“Okay, so this is a song, and not a whole album. Truthfully, I am not familiar with any other songs by this band. But if you want to know what was stuck in my head when I was trying to articulate to my band how I wanted our song The Feeling to sound, this was it. I asked for the climbing bass line, driving acoustic guitar strumming and hand claps. The band reigned me in, thankfully, or else we might’ve gotten sued.”