Alice Austin's music career has taken her from her native Vermont to her adoptive Los Angeles--and nearly every place in between. Her latest single, "The Ward”, (a collaboration with producer and musician David Drouin) is very much a reflection of what has always been Austin’s forte: the “between”.
Material she recorded and co-wrote with previous groups such as Boston incarnation The Lavas (2006-2009) and Vermont’s earliest all-female 90s powerhouse Zola Turn (Brick Red Records, 2000-2002) draws on a vast corpus including retro garage icons such as Shocking Blue and Jefferson Airplane, a peppering of 90s indie rock artist PJ Harvey and the twangy delights of vintage country queen Wanda Jackson.
And so too her solo work: Austin’s self-produced and self-engineered first full length album, “To A Star in the Yard”, followed by “Left One in the Rain” (an EP produced by Patrick Avalon), “Cowboy Summer”, “Dirt and Helicopters” (both produced by Robb Torres), and her two most recent singles, “Cirrus” and “Lookout Mountain” (self-produced) all move from country to indie to rock and back again.
2021’s “The Ward”, yet another blend of multiple ingredients, is no less worthy of praise than any of her previous work. It's an experimental take on classic country, adding a darker twist. And, somehow, as Austin purrs through the lyrics, she also expertly infuses this grounding of some mythical heartland into an ethereal, surfy sound. Austin herself describes the single as “a product of the beach at night, drawing inspiration from “the starry rhythm of the tides.” It is also an Austin that many of her newest fans might not even recognize.
These fans know her as the lead singer of Black Sabbitch - a band with exactly one musical influence but a complex creative agenda: to embody the authenticity of formative 1970s metal, making blatant it’s latent feminine swagger by crowning themselves “the all female Black Sabbath”. Black Sabbitch is, according to The New Times, "redefining the cover band."While Black Sabbitch brings Alice Austin all over North America and Europe to express the most extroverted and raucous aspects of her personality, her solo career continues to satisfy an intimate artistic expression that has only deepened through the polarity of her experiences. In short, her new single, “The Ward”, is classic Austin, that is to say a piece which flies expertly across genres to create a tantalizing listen.
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