Soccer Mommy – Sometimes, Forever Review

It’s been nearly four years now since Sophie Allison exploded into acclaim with the release of her debut full length album Clean, an album that detailed the tragedy and heartbreak of long distance relationships and teenage love. She perfectly captured the constant battle of desire and despair of those formative teenage years when everything feels like the greatest tragedy known to man. Allison was 20 when she released Clean, and now sitting at 25 the demons that she’s always battled with still reside within her but with age has come wisdom about what she needs and in what design.

What set apart Allison’s debut album from the rest of the Americana indie rock heartbreak albums of the time was not just her intimate songwriting but the production of how she gave life to her tracks. From the raw and crystal clear sound of opener “Still Clean” with its sparkly guitars and interjecting synth swirls, to the crashing waves of feedback on “Scorpio Rising”, the trickery was subtle but helped create a wooden forest of sometimes unsettling and often graceful soundscapes. On her sophomore album color theory Allison often leant into elements of shoegaze she’s so often referenced, like on the expansive “yellow is the colour of her eyes”. Now this time with electronic wizard Daniel Lopatin aka Oneohtrix Point Never at the helm of production, Allison’s sound has entered a new dimension of spectacular. The usual chugging guitars and backing band are in full force as the album opens with “Bones”, which moves from solitary ballad to grand orchestra of love induced soundscapes with twinkling guitars and distorted rises, this is Soccer Mommy turned up to 11. You can’t help but recall every intimate moment you’ve spent with someone you truly care for as the drums crash and the synths swirl on “With U”, becoming absorbed in the beauty of its grandiose expression of love. Lopatin’s electronic background comes out in full force on “Unholy Affliction” with the distorted synth-bass and hip-hop tinged drums battle out for which instrument can be the most demonic, helping bring a true darkness to Allison’s sound that’s only been hinted at before. Allison is older, wiser and more compelling now than she’s ever been, with her sound growing at an exponential rate, showcasing just how devastatingly beautiful Allison’s work really can be in the hands of a production magician.

Growth and appreciation is what this album is all about. Letting the past go, facing the demons you thought would once bring you down with a new sense of adversity and triumph. And growing to allow yourself to be loved by others. “I’m trying to be someone you can love and understand, but I know i’m not” Allison sings on opener “Bones” facing the self-doubt of her ability to be who she wants to be. And eventually growing tired of the lifestyle she now leads, “I’m tired of the money and all of the talking at me, I’m barely a person, mechanically working” she declares on “Unholy Affliction”. Allison was just 18 when she released her debut tape For Young Hearts, her entire adult life has been swallowed by the forever churning wheels of music stardom; and at this point she just wants to be able to be herself. Eventually facing some of her darkest moments on the Billie Eilish infused and sci-fi horror driven “Darkness Forever”. “Darkness forever, a cold sinking ocean, I want to feel the warm of relief, the devil is chasing hard on my tail” she sings and it seems as though all could be lost to the weight of the world around her. Allison not only instills the feeling of overwhelming dread but submerges you right into it, allowing all its despair to wash over you in a wave of synthesisers and searing distorted guitars.

But like a phoenix rising from the ashes Allison finds a light to hold onto, exploding the second half of the album open with the brit-pop stadium rock driven “Don’t Ask Me”. It’s got the big riffs, distorted guitar lines and a soundscape that Kevin Shields would take a double take at and wonder if he could use it on the forever, never fourth MBV album. For all the twists, turns and expansions that this album has taken so far though Allison decides to take it back to familiar ground on “Fire In The Driveway” with a stripped back moment that although is centered around the feeling of wanting to move on, does almost the opposite with the pacing of the album, slowing it down from the momentum it was building.

However like any compelling mystery, this proves to be a red herring as the following “Following Eyes” opens up a new side of this album that’s been lurking in the shadows waiting to emerge; the horror. “Beneath the half moon, the witching hour had me bound, an apparition, called to me without a sound” sings Allison over the skulking guitar lines. A long time Buffy The Vampire Slayer fan, Allison abstractly details a calling of an evil force pulling her in as she can’t escape the evil glare that follows her every move; the prominent backbone of many a Buffy encounter. On the surface its Allison showcasing her adept storytelling ability of the supernatural, but within lies something more evil than anything, the demons that bury themselves deep within us waiting to emerge. Allison has always put her emotions at the forefront of her work and now she uses them to detail the abstract, a sign of a truly brilliant songwriter.

“I lost myself to a dream I had” she sings on “Still”. Well it looks like now she may just have found herself again, and the version of herself that she’s found is the most daring and enigmatic we’ve seen yet. Bowing the album about in true Soccer Mommy fashion, Allison summarises her trials and tribulations into one last nostalgia inducing diary entry that washes over you like a wave of serenity. Allison has always been a voice of her times and she’s never showed it more vibrantly and expansively than on Sometimes, Forever. “Got pain in my back, 22 going on 23” she sings on “Feel It All The Time” and i couldn’t have put it better myself.

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Soccer Mommy announces new album ‘Sometimes, Forever’, shares new single

Photo by Sophie Hur

Soccer Mommy has announced her third full-length album, Sometimes, Forever, the follow up to 2020’s color theory, which is set to be released on June 24th via Loma Vista. Pre-order here. The new album was produced by Daniel Lopatin of Oneohtrix Point Never and features “Shotgun”, the lead single from the album.

Listen to the new single below!

A press release said about the album:

It sees Allison once again tapping into the turn-of-the-millennium sensibilities she’s known for, as she advances her self-made sonic world beyond the present and into the future with experimental-minded production, an expanded moodboard of vintage touchstones, and some of her most sophisticated songwriting to date. Inspired by the concept that neither sorrow nor happiness is permanent, Sometimes, Forever is a fresh peek into the mind of an artist who synthesizes everything — retro sounds, personal tumult, the relatable disorder of modern life — into original music that feels built to last a long time. Maybe even forever

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Tracklisting

01 Bones

02 With U 

03 Unholy Affliction 

04 Shotgun 

05 newdemo

06 Darkness Forever

07 Don’t Ask Me

08 Fire in the Driveway

09 Following Eyes

10 Feel It All The Time

11 Still

Soccer Mommy has also announced a run of UK/EU dates, see below. Tickets available here.

31st August – Nottingham, UK @ Rescue Rooms

1st September – Brighton, UK @ Chalk

3rd September – Bristol, UK @ Trinity

5th September – Köln, UK @ Bumann & Sohn

6th September – Hamburg, DE @ Molotow

8th September – Stockholm, SE @ Slaktkyrkan

9th September- Oslo, NO @ John Dee

10th September – Copenhagen, DK @ Loppen

12th September – Berlin, DE @ Frannz Club

13th September – Bremen, DE @ Lagerhaus

15th September – Amsterdam, NL @ Bitterzoet

16th September – Nijmegen, NL @ Merleyn

17th September – Brussels, BE – Rotonde @ Botanique

18th September – Paris, FR @ Petit Bain

20th September – Manchester, UK @ O2 Ritz

21st September – Cardiff, UK @ Tramshed 

22nd September – London, UK @ O2 Forum

23rd September – Birmingham, UK @ The Castle & Falcon

24th September – Glasgow, UK @ Queen Margaret Union

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Sister Lucy shares debut single “Dream”

Sister Lucy aka Abi Sinclair has today shared her debut single “Dream”, the first from her upcoming EP set to be released later in the year. The South-London based singer-songwriter is also known for her video and photography collaborations with the likes of Semi Precious, Krush Puppies, Hussy, Thallo, Bat and Ball and OiVa Voi.

On her debut single Sister Lucy evokes the likes of early Angel Olsen and soccer mommy through her underlying grunge aesthetics and slow-chugging chord progressions. Her insecurities surround her, “I only wanted to be wanted, to be good enough”, feeling as though she can never quite be the person she’s supposed to be. “You still dream, when i’m here” she declares on the chorus and it’s this devastating line of realisation that makes Sister Lucy’s debut single so captivating. What a way to mark your debut.

Listen to the new single below!

Soccer Mommy shares new single “rom com 2004”

Photo by Monica Murray

Soccer Mommy has shared new single “rom com 2004“, her first new music since last years color theory. The new single was produced by 5x Grammy-nominated producer and songwriter BJ Burton (Charli XCX, Bon Iver, Chance The Rapper, Empress Of, Miley Cyrus).

Incorporating elements of glitch-pop, soccer mommy breaks into her most experimental sound yet. Still with her sultry vocal style glazed over the top, the track bursts into her usual euphoric pop-rock style on the chorus only to come crashing down as fast as it rose. The spirit of soccer mommy is as clear as ever but this time she’s treading the waters of new sonic seas.

Speaking on the track Sophie Allison said:

“I wrote this song a while back and made a poppy demo for it. Then I told BJ to destroy it.”

Listen to the new single below!

Smoothboi Ezra makes sad songs for sadbois

Photo by Leon McCullough

In a bedroom in Greystones, Ireland, Smoothboi Ezra spent isolated days and nights crafting their latest EP, Stuck. A collection of songs that seem sombre on the surface, but dig deeper and they try to understand the sadness they’ve been dealt. The sound is sparse, consisting mainly of just a guitar and Ezra’s voice, but this only further brings out the deep intimacy of their sound. Evoking the spirit of those early Soccer Mommy tapes, Ezra has both honed in their sound to resemble their biggest influences whilst simultaneously evolving their songs to become grander in their emotive palettes. Ezra’s music also offers an often overlooked insight into relationships, being both non-binary and on the autism spectrum, Ezra is trying to bring about more representation for neurodivergent and non-binary artists through their music and stories. We asked Ezra a few questions to get to know the smoothboi behind the songs.

Over what time and where was this EP recorded?


Between July 2020 and February 2021 all recorded in my bedroom.

 What has your last 12 months looked like?

Binge watching a bunch of different TV series, crocheting a lot, basically doing any type of arts and crafts between writing and recording my EP.

 You explore relationships and their eventual fallout on the EP, is the writing process somewhat therapeutic for you? Or is it more diaristic?

It’s a mixture of both, writing is my therapy – releasing it into the world is like releasing it from my brain.

Your songwriting is also very vulnerable lyrically, what allowed you to be this open with your music?

I don’t know how to be any other way when I’m writing. It’s easier to be vulnerable in my writing and tell the truth than to make things up.

What was the best part about recording this EP and what was the most challenging? 

The challenge is knowing when I’m finished with a song and to stop working on it. I just like making music so I like the whole process.

Your sound has a very melancholic undertone to it, is this something you try to achieve with each song or is that just a sound you naturally gravitate towards?

I’d say it’s a sound I naturally gravitate towards.

 Who inspires your sound? 

Musicians like Eillott Smith, Phoebe Brigers, Kate Bush, Haley Heyenderickx. They’re the musicians I listen to and I would love to sound like.

Do you think there needs to be more representation of non-binary and autistic artists in the music industry?

I think anyone who wants to make music should make music and be listened to, we definitely need to amplify more neurodivergent voices.

And if so what do you feel needs to be done to achieve this? 

The media should be open to covering more diverse artists. Venues need to be more accessible to all abilities. We should get more used to listening and giving platforms to autistic people who are not able to mask. I’ve seen that most autistic people in the media that are given airtime are able to mask to be more neurotypical passing, which is a comfort to neurotypical people. Autistic people who don’t have the capacity to mask deserve the same opportunities.

What will it be like playing those first shows again when they’re allowed?

It’s going to be exciting and I can’t wait.

What have been some of your favourite live memories so far? Both playing and gigs you’ve attended

When I supported Orville Peck two people came up to tell me that they loved my music and then they came to watch me at my first headline gig in Whelans (Dublin) later in the year, that was really nice. One of the first gigs I went to was The Front Bottoms and it still remains one of my favourite gigs along with Haley Heyenderickx.

If anything, what is something you’d like to change about the music industry? 

We need to do a better job of amplifying more neurodivergent voices and musicians and creatives of all types.

Stuck EP is available to stream everywhere and buy now.

Merpire announces debut album, shares new single “Village”

Merpire, aka Melbourne based singer-sonwriter Rhiannon Atkinson-Howatt has announced her debut album Simulation Ride to be released via Warner’s ADA on 23rd July. She has also shared new single “Village” along with an accompanying music video directed by Nick Mckk.

On the new single Merpire is humbly honest, speaking on themes of self-doubt she draws a portrait of an artist with sincerity at the forefront. Smooth instrumentation backs Merpire’s naturally cool lowkey vocals. Honing in the sound of those early Soccer Mommy tapes with a grungier outburst, Merpire achieves indie brilliance.

Speaking on the new single Rhiannon said:

This loosely inspired the idea of it taking a village to nurture someone. Sometimes I would get so caught up in self doubt, seeing qualities in people that I didn’t think I had, that I forgot to see what qualities I had that they might love me for. I constantly put pressure on myself to be happier, more energetic, more sociable. I didn’t see myself as an interesting person without that or without my music and when I was feeling tired or withdrawn I’d beat myself up about it, not feeling worthy of company and thinking I was just a boring person who happened to be a musician (and punt people around on a boat in the gardens apparently?!). This affected my relationship. I didn’t believe someone could be in love with me when there seemed to be way more interesting people out there.”

Listen to the new single below!

Tracklist:

  1. Village
  2. Lately
  3. Brain Cells
  4. Habit
  5. Dinosaur
  6. Sink Interlude
  7. Easy
  8. Heavy Feeling
  9. Old Vein
  10. Sink In
  11. Yusiimi

Smoothboi Ezra announces new EP ‘Stuck’, shares new single

Photo by Nicholas O’Donnell

Smoothboi Ezra, the songwriting project of Greystones, Ireland based Ezra Williams, have today announced their new EP Stuck, set to be released on June 11th. They have also shared a tender new single of the same name with an accompanying music video directed by Arthur Studholme and starring non-binary couple El and Lauren.

Ezra’s latest EP ‘Stuck’ takes a closer look at the intricacies of relationships. Written during lockdown to a soundtrack of Angel Olsen, Soccer Mommy and Haley Heynderickx, the EP recalls a formative relationship with sensitivity and maturity scarcely attributed to young people. Speaking about the title track, Ezra says: 

“‘Stuck’ is a song about being in a relationship with someone you care a lot about but you know it’s not going to work out. It’s an unsaid mutual agreement that you can feel the relationship ending but you’re both waiting on the other person to end it.” 

Watch the new video below!

Tracklist

  1. Stuck
  2. Without Me
  3. You
  4. Palm Of Your Hand

Soccer Mommy releases color theory demos

Photo by Jessica Mlinaric

Soccer Mommy have shared 6 new demos of songs that appeared on their sophomore album color theory. Read our review of the album here. They have also announced a new Deluxe Binder LP edition of the album, kept in a school binder that includes flexi-discs of the demos as well as various stationary items.

Earlier in the year Soccer Mommy launched a ‘Soccer Mommy and Friends’ single series in which she swapped covers and remixes with other musicians such as Beabadoobee, Jay Som and MGMT’s Andrew VanWyngarden.

Listen to the new demos below.

beabadoobee – Fake It Flowers Album Review

Dirty Hit – 2020

Bea Kristi, the Phillipines born, London based singer-songwriter has spent the last couple of years building up an online base of dedicated fans, thanks to her slew of bedroom-pop orientated slew of EP’s. Following from the likes of Clairo, Soccer Mommy and Snail Mail, Kristi has helped in the revival of the guitar ballad for a new generation. The chorus filled guitars and dreamy melodies of 2019’s Loveworm showed an emerging songwriter that played into the intimate side of a song, creating emotion through vibrant soundscapes and affection filled lyrics. On her debut album Fake It Flowers Kristi’s songwriting is as potent as ever, whilst expanding her sound out to incorporate a more grunge fuelled drive.

The bubblegum pop sound that Kristi has attributed herself to is still present on this album, “Dye It Red” with its driving groove and Kristi’s ever potent lyrics of self worth “And maybe it’s time to change my ways, But that doesn’t include you”. But the feel of this album is that of blending nostalgia with the present. The early 2000’s pop punk sounds of Avril Lavigne can be heard throughout opener “Care” through its punchy guitars and slacker like groove, whilst still infusing the signature chorus filled indie guitar leads. And on “Charlie Brown” the cinematic guitar hits build perfectly to the all out rager chorus lines of “Throw it away” that have all the elements of a Blink-182 Enema Of The State era hit. This expansions of Kristi’s sound is a natural progression for the grunge superfan, who previously stated “I want to live in the 90’s“. Coming out in its harshest form on “Sorry” as the fuzzed up guitars crash in on the chorus, backed by a Nirvana style riff. A short but potent burst of pure raw emotion.

Kristi also explores new textures of her more dreamy and ethereal side on “Back To Mars” and “Emo Song”. The first of which does come to a conclusion rather quickly, leaving you wondering how much more of this sound Kristi could have incorporated if she’d just given it that extra push. But the latter does present some of Kristi’s most nostalgia filled soundscaping to date through its gliding melodies and twinkling synthesisers. Tapping into that 90’s inspired throwback sound that could be found all over fellows contemporary Soccer Mommy’s debut album Clean.

This album is beabadoobee in and out. Not just in the sense of her being the one that created it, but rather laying down every aspect of herself into this album. Her inspirations are clear within the sound but where the honesty of this album really comes through is in the storytelling. One of the saddest sounding songs on the album, “Emo Song” also has one of the most personal stories on the album as Kristi tells the story of how being mistreated in her childhood let to her developing trust issues later in life. “You call me up, and lie again, Like all the men I used to trust, Nobody knows when I was young, I lost myself in cosmic dust”. There’s even reference to self harm on “Charlie Brown” as Kristi explains how a tattoo of Snoopy helped stop her from harming herself. “Back on old habits, That no one knows about, Too bad that Charlie Brown, Has inked you up to slow you down”. It’s this level of intimacy and emotional outpour that helps establish Kristi’s earnestness, creating a truly relatable and authentic songwriter.

Where this album looses its footing however is towards the latter half of the tracklist, almost as if Kristi has used all her impact to on the opening of the album and runs a bit dry of new ideas. “How Was Your Day?” is the second longest song on the album and it really feels like it. At 4:20 it’s not the longest song in the world but after chugging through a multitude of verses, it can become a bit overbearing and dragging after a while. The lo-fi recording of it also feels like a throwback to some of Kristi’s earliest releases, but this late on in the album slows down the pacing and the flow and just feels almost like an unnecessary gimmick. And for all the bravado and show tune-esque emotion that is thrown into “Horen Sarrison” it still seems to spend a bit too much time floating about on a violin sweep or instrumental breakout without offering any real direction for the song. There’s some fantastic use of melody shifting within the track, but too often it leans back on this as a way of prolonging the song out further. The frantic nature of Kristi’s sound returns on closer “Yoshimi, Forest, Magdalene” but the wild flailing guitars and rolling melodies feel a bit too raw and unpolished to finish off an album that has been all about impact and packing a punch.

An album that showcases what beabadoobe is all about, and why you should know her name. That’s not to say it isn’t without its flaws, but it stands as a very solid starting position, ready for beabadoobee to race out into the world and show it what she’s made of.

Soccer Mommy announces ‘Soccer Mommy and Friends’ singles series

Photo by Brian Ziff

Soccer Mommy has announced a new singles series in aid of Oxfam’s Covid-19 relief fund. The series will be released in four volumes featuring Jay Som, MGMT’s Andrew VanWyngarden, Beabadoobee, and Beach Bunny, where each volume will have each artist covering a song from the others discography. The first volume is available now and the rest are available for pre-order here.

In a statement Soccer Mommy said “Oxfam is working with partners to reach more than 14 million people in nearly 50 countries and the u.s. to prevent the spread of covid-19 in vulnerable communities and support people’s basic food needs and livelihoods. women and girls usually bear a disproportionate burden of care in a crisis like this one, and Oxfam has a proven record of helping women cope during and recover after these crises in ways that allow them to be safer and stronger than ever. Oxfam has an anonymous donor who will match the first $5000 we raise!”

The first volume features Soccer Mommy covering Jay Som’s ‘I Think You’re Alright’ and Jay Som covering Soccer Mommy’s Lucy.