It has been five long years since we’ve heard from Brody Dalle. In 2000 she crashed onto the scene fronting Aussie punk band The Distillers. A brief go-around with her second band, Spinerette, followed in the late 2000’s and that’s the last we heard. Until now.
In April of this year she broke the silence with her first solo album, Diploid Love.
G—What did you take from punk?
BD—The energy and intensity. It’s dirty, loud and it doesn’t give a fuck. There’s just something about it that got me from the start.
G—I think the “just don’t give a fuck” is what comes across most. As a woman in punk you almost have to give a little less of a fuck because you’re kind of marginalized and seen as something to look at rather than someone who contributes.
BD—Yeah, or you’re not given a chance. But honestly, I have not felt that way for so long. In the early days we’d get up and play, but I’d get off on people giving me that kind of look. It would fuel the fire. These days I don’t really experience that too much.
G—With you branching out solo on your own, do you find that people want to keep you in a place that’s convenient for them stylistically?
BD—Yeah, I think people get attached to a time period in their lives. It may be ten years later, but when they listen to me or see me they want to hear what got them through the hard times.
G—I can see how people who were into the Distillers or Spinnerette have maybe gone through similar things you have.
G—From what I’m hearing on Diploid Love, it sounds like you didn’t try to bring something back but allowed yourself to grow.
BD—I don’t think about what other people want. I just write songs and they turn out how they turn out. When you’re in the studio, you go down very many different avenues until you come to the right place. I just write songs and they become what they become.
G—You can hear that, especially on your first single on the album.
BD—“Meet the Foetus”?
G—Yeah. You’re just being yourself, with no outside influence. It didn’t chase after a particular sound. It felt fearless, which is a lot more interesting to me as a listener.
BD—It’s so fun.
G—I read one comment in an interview that said the influence of your husband (Josh Homme) could be heard in your record. But I didn’t hear that in your music.
BD—I’m not influenced by my husband. I’ve also heard that I sound like Trent Reznor or Garbage.
G—Guilty by association.
BD—It’s just stupid, lazy journalism. I could say that maybe the first Distillers’ record was influenced. I got sick of being compared all the time, so I started to forge my own way.
G—The path of every musician.
The new record feels punk. Saying, “Fuck what’s going on around me, I’m doing this for myself.” I’ve always seen you as kind of on the outside.
BD—Yeah, I’ve always felt that way.
G—Like Siouxsie and the Banshees. Siouxsie started off pretty much on the top of the scene. But when that scene dies, the real artist emerges.
BD—I love her. I had dinner with her once. It was the coolest dinner I ever had. She was just a ball of fire and also so sweet. I opened for her in Orange County, and she was so loving with me. I was about 20.
G—That’s amazing meeting her at 20.
BD—My daughter (who’s eight) just got into Siouxsie and the Banshees.
G—That’s awesome. I think punk rockers make the best parents. How do you feel about being a punk rock parent? I’m sorry to keep bringing up punk.
BD—No, I love punk. I would agree with that, but I don’t want to generalize. Most punk rockers I know have a pretty outward view of the world. A different perspective on life. There’s a lot of acceptance. That said, I’m sure there’s some punk rock parents out there who are shitty.
G—Let’s talk about your video with the baby. You stumble into the room with a child. The baby hops on a fucking dragon and flies around Japan…
BD—Well, the baby goes to a conference where he chooses all the foetuses being born in the future. He shows the babies of the future what the current state of the world is. Then they have a conference to figure out what they could do to make it better.
G—So the baby becomes the hero, and at the end you and Shirley are set free. You guys freak out, jumping around and singing.
BD—They’re not connected.
G—They’re not connected?
BD—No, that was a live-action thing. It was just tacked on the end because I couldn’t honestly afford another minute of animation.
G—So there it is, it comes down to money. Well, those are all the questions I had. Good luck on the rest of your tour.
In the ten years since Swedish sisters Klara and Johanna Söderberg started First Aid Kit, they have been going non-stop. The indie-folk duo got their start when their cover of Fleet Foxes’ “Tiger Mountain Peasant Song” went viral, and have since released four albums, won five Swedish Grammis awards, and brought two of their idols to tears on live television. Following a brief hiatus, and four years after their last record, Stay Gold, First Aid Kit is back with Ruins, a raw account of losing love and finding yourself. In the middle of a North American tour, Georgie talked to Klara and Johanna about the new album and what brought them to Ruins. G—You’ve said in past interviews that Stay Gold was a more put-together, polished kind of album, and Ruins is a lot rawer. What caused that shift? JS—The production of Stay Gold is very lush and elegant, and I think that’s what we wanted at the time. But we started longing for this rawness, this almost lo-fi aspect that we had on our first records. [For Ruins]…our attitude was that everything doesn’t have to be perfect. If we sing a bum note or there’s a little crack
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Garland Jeffreys’ album, 14 Steps to Harlem, grew out of a soulful period of retrospection late in the artist’s life and career. As a veteran songwriter, Jeffreys started writing provocative, ahead-of-its- time, genre-bending songs in the early 1970s, with lyrics focused on everything from relationships to racial diversity to political turmoil. Now in his seventies, the New York musician is looking back on his life with an album that takes on bold topics and includes a title track inspired by his turbulent relationship with his father. Jefferys spoke with Georgie about his latest release, his relationship with Lou Reed and his somewhat unconventional approach to songwriting. Georgie—14 Steps to Harlem is a great album. Garland Jeffreys—Thank you. I’m very proud of the record. I took some chances in recording it but had confidence that it could be something special. You don’t know a record is good or bad until it’s done – then you know. I worked on the album with my co-producer, James Maddock, who’s a great artist in his own right. G—The title track, “14 Steps to Harlem”, stood out to me. I read that it was written with your father in mind. Did the experience of writing about your dad