Persona Non Grata
Back in pre-digital days, the EP (“extended play”) record offered more content than the two-track 45 but less than a full album. It remains a viable format today, especially when the music is this good.
Showcasing three well-regarded, young solo artists whose confessional songs range from somewhat rockin’ to mostly folky, boygenius brings together Lucy Dacus, Phoebe Bridgers, and Julien Baker for six unsparing tales of emotional devastation. “Bite the Hand” observes, “I can’t touch you/I wouldn’t if I could,” while “Souvenir” wrestles with self-loathing, asking, “When you cut a hole into my skull/Do you hate what you see/Like I do?” On “Ketchum, ID,” heavenly harmonies connect boygenius to timeless traditions of collaborative music-making, evoking a sense of communal effort that transcends styles and technology.
The wrenching tunes of boygenius feel like the work of old-timers next to Paycheck, the bracing, four-track gem from Amsterdam’s Pip Blom (the name of both singer and band). This engaging vocalist could be the snarkier little sister of Courtney Barnett, shouting, snarling, and clearly enjoying herself immensely on these fizzy, concise rockers. Don’t look for deeper truths—just dig the buzz. There’s plenty more Pip Blom, some of it just as exciting, out there online, too.