Bloomington’s Amy Oelsner and Erin Tobey are ones to branch out, having each grown roomy solo catalogs that call on punk rock, pop, and folk in varying proportions. Brenda’s Friend feels like a natural convergence point for the two songwriters.
As a pair, Oelsner and Tobey have been making music that’s big and scuzzy, rhythmic even where there’s no guiding percussion. Last spring they released their debut tape, Under the Shrub, full of crunchy guitars and gorgeous two-part vocal lines with the occasional thump of a drum. Now they’re gearing to release a follow-up, a punchy six-song EP called House Down.
Like a warning, a huge kickdrum beckons in the title track, also the EP’s opener—but there’s no adequate preparation for the play of these two voices. In call-and-response fashion they paint a picture of unrest, Tobey’s smooth vocals a seamless match for the grit of Oelsner’s. Over fuzzed-out power chords they repeat the question, “Who left the door wide open?” and it’s as much about the heart as it is a house. There’s something reckless and perfectly impure in the sound, their voices controlled but totally eager under the kettle cry of a second guitar as the duo insist, “We’ll always dance.” The song cuts out after just two minutes, a good tease for what’s bound to be an electrifying record.
House Down is due out May 27 on Winspear Records.
Brenda’s Friend tour dates
16 Bloomington, IN at The Bishop
25 Columbus, OH at 2071
26 Detroit, MI at Trumbullplex
27 Grand Rapids, MI at The DAAC
28 Chicago, IL at The Hideout
29 Bloomington, IN at Void