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Judy G.

CD of The Week

Week of 4/24/23

    Blondshell - Blondshell (Partisan)

    One of the more buzzed-about new artists in the indie rock world this spring has been Blondshell aka Sabrina Teitelbaum. Teitelbaum has actually been in the music biz for a while now, though, having tried her hand at the Pop songwriting game and released poppier tunes under the alias BAUM for a few years. However, during the early lockdown days of the pandemic, she realized the music she’d been making didn’t match what she wanted to say or sound like. Inspired by ‘90s grunge and guitar heroes like Billy Corgan, she reinvented herself with Blondshell, writing and recording an album’s worth of personal, raw rockers.

    Blondshell tackles navigating relationships in your early 20s as well as Teitelbaum getting sober and trying to make sense of this time her life, all set to fuzzed-out, Hole-influenced electric guitars and Nirvana-era dynamics. "Veronica Mars" opens the record and name-drops the beloved teen private eye while touching on the wrong life lessons that can be imprinted on you by your favorite TV characters ("Logan's a dick/I'm learning that's hot”) then quickly wraps with a wild, squealing guitar solo. The slow burner "Kiss City" is the most romantic and optimistic moment on the record, as Teitelman sings that “I think my kink is when you tell me that you think I'm pretty."

    “Salad” is an epic revenge fantasy with roaring guitars building tension behind Teitelbaum, who declares, “You'll make a killer of a Jewish girl.” The tale of potential vengeance who against a man who did her friend wrong includes the awful, heartbreaking kicker of a lyric: “And she took him to the courthouse/And somehow he got off/Then I saw him laughing/With his lawyer in the parking lot."

    That Logan Echolls influence unfortunately comes back around again in “Sepsis,” where Teitelbaum describes a relationship with a dirtbag boyfriend that she can’t quit. "I'm going back to him/I know my therapist's pissed/We both know he's a dick/At least it's the obvious kind.” The jangling “Joiner” is another collection of knowingly bad relationship choices.

    Those ‘90s guitar tunings are on display on “Olympus” as well as the power chords of “Tarmic,” which features an awesome ripping guitar solo. The album closes with the haunting “Dangerous,” a highly understandable portrait of social anxiety in the COVID age, as Teitelbaum declares, "When I leave the house/Anything can take me down."

    At nine songs in just over a half hour, Blondshell packs in quite a bit of 20-something drama and nostalgic guitar crunch. It’s also one of the best introductions to a (sort of) new songwriter thus far in 2023.

    Blondshell will be in Philadelphia for a sold-out show at PhilaMOCA on July 21st.
    Review by Joey O.

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