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New releases from Amanda Palmer, Stella Donnelly

14:09 May/14/2019

"A lot of the themes on the record are about being alone and facing the slings and arrows of existence. I write about abortion, I write about motherhood, I write about miscarriage. It's not an easy record."

Amanda Palmer

On March 1, the Geelong Women Unionists Network kicked off a week of International Women’s Day celebrations in Victoria. A week later, on the day itself, acclaimed U.S. singer-songwriter Amanda Palmer released her “hyper-personal, accidentally feminist, extremely direct” new album. Describing it, she said: “My personal life unfolded, along with abortion, and facing off with the world as a mother, right alongside the rise of [US President Donald] Trump and the extreme right in America. And it made telling the truth feel essential. I think it’s the sharpest, most effective political tool we wield right now, as women.

Amanda Palmer is constantly busy with one project or another, but she hasn’t released a proper solo album in seven years until now. There Will Be No Intermission is her third proper solo album ever, and it follows 2012’s Theatre Is Evil, which Amanda made with the Grand Theft Orchestra. It’s also a much different sounding album than the rock-oriented Theatre Is Evil. The songs on There Will Be No Intermission are more somber, often with just Amanda and her piano or Amanda and her ukulele, and the stripped-back arrangements help put Amanda’s lyrics — which are especially powerful on this album — in the forefront. In Amanda’s words, “The rise of global fascism alongside the spreading fire of #MeToo has forged a louder megaphone for all women, and we’re all seeing that radical truth is infectious. I feel more urgency than ever to share the naked truth of my experiences.

Stella Donnelly: Beware of the Dogs

If you've known someone who's ever seen Stella Donnelly live — at one of the festival appearances on her busy schedule, maybe, or opening for an artist like Natalie Prass — you've known someone who's told you you've got to listen to Stella Donnelly. Her debut EP Thrush Metal (2018) was full of quietly searing accounts of her life as a young Australian woman, and she's getting a little bit louder with her first full-length. Donnelly has built a band for her first international headlining tour, and Beware of the Dogs hums with the lacerating lyrics and loping rhythms of songs like "Tricks." (Jay)

Between Amanda Palmer’s latest and this debut album from Australia’s Stella Donnelly, it’s a good week for albums that resonate in the #MeToo era. Beware of the Dogs takes its sonic cues from twee-ish indie pop, but there is nothing lighthearted about this album lyrically. She issues warnings like “Are you scared of me old man? Or are you scared of what I’ll do? You grabbed me with an open hand, the world is grabbing back at you” (“Old Man”), she sings bluntly about rape and victim-blaming (“Boys Will Be Boys”), she discusses those awkward political debates with conservative relatives during the holidays (“Season’s Greetings”), she tackles everyday sexism (“Tricks”) and religion-based sexism (“Watching Telly”), and she sings proudly and unsubtly about a vibrator (“Mosquito”).

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