After her highly-touted Brooklyn punk band Chumped parted ways, singer-songwriter-guitarist Anika Pyle launched a remarkable new project called Katie Ellen, which first caught our attention when they opened for Cayetana and Mannequin Pussy at PhilaMOCA back in January of 2016. The pace was slowed down and the content amped up, with Pyle using midtempo anthems to reflect on womanhood, societal expectations, mental health and other concerns that are both talked about a lot in the music scene but at the same time not nearly enough.
In the year and a half since, Katie Ellen has played a lot locally, recorded with Kyle Pulley at Fishtown’s Headroom Studios, and this week announced their debut LP Cowgirl Blues. The record is out July 14th on California label Lauren Records — you can pre-order it here — and with the news comes a new recording of the band’s very first demo, “Lucy Stone.” No, it’s not about the Philadelphia artist of the same name, it’s named for an 1800s abolitionist and advocate for women’s suffrage, and from the opening lyric, Pyle is questioning normative gender roles: “Well, I don’t want to have your children. Does that make me less of a woman?”
It’s a level of candor that keeps up across the record — there’s a song on there called “Sad Girls’ Club” that’s been a standout since the first time I saw the band, a reflection on embracing our collective vulnerability — and “Lucy Stone,” which you can stream below, provides a perfect introduction to what is sure to be one of the year’s standout LPs.
For an extra sneak preview of Cowgirl Blues, check out Katie Ellen’s “TV Dreams” 7″ single below — both of these songs also appear on the record, and you can read a review of it by our Chad Snyder here.
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