The holy trinity of unflinching introspection, emotional devastation and roaring guitars have officially joined forces, like an indie rock justice squad here to slay your heartbreak and loneliness, fight for your right to be vulnerable, and ensure there aren't too many guys on the festival line-up.
I am, of course, speaking about Phoebe Bridgers, Lucy Dacus and Julien Baker who today, announced their cheekily titled supergroup, boygenius and released three new songs.
The collaboration, a braintrust of three of the most folk-Americana adjacent leaders of indie rock's revolution of women and queer artists, makes such profound sense in terms of their sound, sensibility and subject matter, that it's almost a sensory overload to imagine their visions and stories stacked on top of one each other. All three women are epic storytellers: masters of tightly zooming in on discrete emotional experiences, often those fundamental to being a young woman. They casually drop devastating lines of poetry like loose pennies, and give language to the types of pain and loneliness that are hardest to speak of. Over the last two years, all three have released critically-acclaimed breakout albums: Dacus' Historian, Bridgers' Stranger In The Alps, and Baker's Turn Out The Lights, each a unique and full emotional world.
But their collaboration isn't an overload. It's pure gold, with one artist emerging in the foreground of each song, supported and emboldened by the other two. "Stay Down" is rooted in Baker's signature full-throttle sonic swells, religious mythology and self-building melodies, laced with taught strings and piano. Bridgers takes the lead on "Me & My Dog," a gentle, sparse track that conjures the bizarre state of desperation that can follow a breakup: "I want to be emaciated / I want to hear one song without thinking of you / I wish I was on a spaceship." Finally, Dacus breaks our hearts on "Bite the Hand," which starts with her warm crooning about doomed love, and ends in a cascading three-part harmony, with all three women's voices flowing over and under each others, repeating the line 'I can't love you / like you want me to."
The supergroup formed this summer after Baker, Bridgers and Dacus announced their upcoming tour, kicking off in November (they'll each perform solo, rather than as boygenius). "When we met, Lucy and Phoebe and I were in similar places in our lives and our musical endeavors, but also had similar attitudes toward music that engendered an immediate affinity," Baker explains in a press release. Bridgers adds: "It seemed obvious to record a 7-inch for tour… when we got together… we worked so well together, that we decided to make a full EP." Each artist brought one finished song to the project, and then together fleshed out the full 6-song self-titled EP, which will be released November 9 on Matador Records.
The fact of these women finding and building off each other feels like the natural result of how a few women mavericks became a trend, then a tide and now a full-fledged musical movement transforming who rock is created by and for. And now that you've had a listen to the trio's new stuff, pre-order the EP here.
Photography: Lera Pentelute