Today Soccer Mommy – twenty-year old Nashville native Sophie Allison – announces her debut album. Following a series of DIY Bandcamp recordings and last year’s Collection, Clean is Allison’s journey out of her bedroom and into the studio with a full band and an incredible record produced by Gabe Wax (War On Drugs, Deerhunter, Beirut) and mixed by Ali Chant (Perfume Genius, PJ Harvey). “I’d never made a full album before, just EPs and random tracks thrown together. I wanted it to be a lot more cohesive than the rest of the stuff that came before,” explains Allison. “I wanted to make something that was a full piece of my life, that addressed similar themes and held together as a whole.” The result is Clean, an album that presents Soccer Mommy as a singular artist, wise beyond her years, with an emotional authenticity of her own. Clean will be released on March 2nd via Fat Possum – pre-order the album HERE.
“I don’t want to be your fucking dog,” sings Allison on “Your Dog,” the first single out today. Over knotty, distorted guitars and churning bass, she is equal turns confrontational and vulnerable. In the Weird Life-directed music video, what Allison describes as the song’s ‘soft anger’ is perfectly captured. “The song comes from a feeling of being paralyzed in a relationship to the point where you feel like you are a pawn in someone else’s world. The song and the video are meant to show someone breaking away and taking action, but at the same time, it’s only a quick burst of motivation. It’s a moment of strength amidst a long period of weakness.”
Sophie Allison got her start in the local Nashville DIY scene, going to shows and hanging out with other musicians, though she kept her own songwriting secret. “I’ve played music since I was six,” says Allison, “and I always wrote songs just for myself. I did it for fun, posting songs on Tumblr, Bandcamp, and Soundcloud. I didn’t think anyone would notice.” All that changed the summer before Allison left for college at New York University. She bought a Tascam digital recorder and began to experiment with production, pushing the quality and craft of her songs to new heights.
Allison decided to start releasing her songs for free on Bandcamp under the name Soccer Mommy in 2015. A buzz began to grow, leading to live shows, a record deal, and 2017’s critically acclaimed bedroom-recorded compilation Collection. “I realised that I could do this full-time,” says Allison. “It was either quit school now and do it, or stop growing as an artist. It was now or never.” So Allison took the plunge. She quit school, moved back home to Nashville, shifting all her focus to music. She toured with Mitski, Jay Som, Slowdive, The Drums, and more with no signs of slowing down.
The higher production values Soccer Mommy chose to incorporate on this record play to Allison’s strengths, highlighting the maturity and growth of her songwriting. The music gains clarity and power, losing none of the trademark intimacy of her Bandcamp work, something Allison credits to days spent recording in Wax’s home studio. “It still felt do-it-yourself,” she says. “It was like being in a nicer bedroom, with better quality stuff. It was a natural progression. I’d always wanted my music to sound this way, I just didn’t have the means before.”
Clean is an emotional album, heavy on themes of growth, isolation, and change, but balanced by a lightness of touch, and with hooks to spare. “Still Clean” is a stunner of an opening track, with the signature warmth of Allison’s voice coupled with one of her best refrains. Her growth as a lyricist is most evident on “Cool”, a sharply observed character study describing an aloof stoner girl, so cool and untouchable, and the agony she inflicts on her boyfriend. “Flaw” is the comedown from a song like “Cool.” A melancholy ode to lovesick self-loathing that finds ecstasy in sadness. “Scorpio Rising” crystallizes these themes of identity, jealousy, and the desire to be someone else. Clean – the cohesive record Allison dreamt of making – is a true step forward, a strong and mature album from an artist just coming into her power.
1. Still Clean
3. Your Dog
5. Blossom (Waiting All My time)
6. Last Girl
8. Scorpio Rising