Origins is a recurring new music feature in which we task an artist digging into the influences behind their latest single.
On September 14th, Slothrust will release The Pact, the fiery alt-rockers’ fourth LP. The album, which was produced by Billy Bush in Los Angeles, was recorded with the confidence that comes with not being crunched for time. Unlike with their past three LPs, the LA-via-Boston three-piece had time to experiment with this effort, leading to what they’ve described in press materials as a true “studio album.”
Billboard previously debuted The Pact’s lead single, “Peach”, and today Consequence of Sound offers its follow-up, the deliciously bratty “Birthday Cake”. Against jaunty acoustic strums, frontwoman Leah Wellbaum juxtaposes the helplessness we feel as adults with the freewheeling rowdiness of a child’s birthday party. The band’s signature crunch rolls in as she adopts the sneering swagger of a kid unconcerned with consequences: “It’s your party, treat me how you want,” she sings. “Your mother and your aunt don’t care for me, anyway.” Throughout, she sings numerous times of not caring—not caring about promises, about aftereffects, about being manipulated. Whether she means it or not remains ambiguous.
“Childhood really appeals to me, the way one’s inner child can look at the world with curiosity, as opposed to the hardness of adults,” she told Billboard, and the sentiment is right at home here.
Stream “Birthday Cake” below.
For more insight into the recipe that gave us “Birthday Cake”, Wellbaum has detailed the track’s Origins.
Childhood Birthday Parties:
Some of my most vivid memories are from childhood birthday parties. I went to this girl Olivia’s birthday party when I was five and her mom hid these plastic eggs all over the yard with rubber dinosaur figurines inside. I was obsessed. There was a piece of yarn connecting one egg to another and her yard was like a big web. Parents did amazing things for their kid’s birthday parties. Using imagery from them felt like the right way to illustrate the feeling of having decisions made for you by other people, for better or worse.
PJ Harvey has inspired me to forget about who I think I am as an artist and just be whoever I want to be in the moment. In writing this record I embraced many adjacent selfs and stepped away from the idea that I had to be the performer. This really opened up my writing process. PJ is brave and listening to her records made me want to take more risks and be less attached.
When I close my eyes and listen to this song I get the sensation of a strange impromptu circus. A truly wild event that happens with little regard for the discomfort of the animal or human performing. The idea of a “circus freak” has always really stuck with me.
Sometimes I feel like a puppet. There are moments I am mad about it and others that I surrender to it. The lyrics in “Birthday Cake” explore both sides of that. In the end we are all our own puppet master, really.
I wrote this song on the island of Nantucket off the coast of Massachusetts a couple of summers ago when my girlfriend and I were visiting her family. I remember sitting outside in the grass with my classical guitar and playing that guitar intro part over and over. I remember the grass was so green it looked like it was glowing. I grew up in Massachusetts and the summertime there holds creative energy for me.
The Pact Artwork:
The Pact Tracklist:
01. Double Down
04. Walk Away
05. Birthday Cake
06. For Robin
07. The Haunting
08. New Red Pants
09. Fever Doggs
10. On My Mind
11. Some Kind of Cowgirl
12. Travel Bug
Slothrust will be touring North America this fall in support of the new LP. See their full list of dates below.
Slothrust 2018 Tour Dates:
09/14 – Los Angeles, CA @ The Lodge Room
09/15 – San Francisco, CA @ Bottom of the Hill
09/18 – Boise, ID @ Olympic
09/19 – Spokane, WA @ The Bartlett
09/20 – Seattle, WA @ Barboza
09/21 – Portland, OR @ Mississippi Studios
09/22 – Bend, OR @ The Volcanic Theatre
09/24 – Salt Lake City, UT @ Urban Lounge
09/27 – Denver, CO @ Lost Lake
10/14 – Sacramento, CA @ Aftershock Fest
10/19 – St. Louis, MO @ Blueberry Hill’s Duck Room
10/20 – Kansas City, MO @ recordBar
10/23 – Madison, WI @ High Noon Saloon
10/25 – Minneapolis, MN @ 7th Street Entry
10/26 – Milwaukee, WI @ The Cooperage
10/27 – Chicago, IL @ Lincoln Hall
10/28 – Louisville, KY @ Zanzabar
10/30 – Columbus, OH @ The Basement
10/31 – Indianapolis, IN @ Hi-Fi Indy
11/01 – Nashville, TN @ High Watt
11/02 – Atlanta, GA @ Purgatory At the Masquerade
11/03 – Asheville, NC @ The Mothlight
11/07 – Richmond, VA @ The Camel
11/08 – Washington, DC @ Rock & Roll Hotel
11/10 – Boston, MA @ The Sinclair
11/11 – Albany, NY @ Jupiter Hall at Lucky Strike Social
11/12 – Buffalo, NY @ Rec Room
11/13 – Toronto, ON @ The Legendary Horseshoe Tavern
11/15 – Philadelphia, PA @ Johnny Brendas
11/16 – Brooklyn, NY @ Music Hall of Williamsburg