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I Am A Working Woman, Hear Me Roar

 There are record albums and songs that resonate to an unexpectedly great extent, not only because these songs are musically excellent but also because they clearly possess timeliness in regard to social change. In 1972, when Title IX’s educational protections for young women became the law of the land, Helen Ready roared out with her ubiquitous hit song, “I Am Woman”. 


In 1980 and 1984 respectively, as more women took careers seriously wearing dress-for-success suit outfits to work and more women were the sole breadwinner, two very popular tunes were “9 to 5” and “Manic Monday”. 

 

Austin singer-songwriter Grace Pettis just may hit similar musical gold this year with a timely societal  message. 

 

The title track of her latest album called “Working Woman”, released two days before Mother’s Day but which was written and produced last summer, addresses the pandemic re-realization that women’s work for corporations and for their own families not only remains undervalued but disproportionate to the amount shouldered by many men. Last year, homeschooling while working remotely often fell to the moms! So did covid safety, for example negotiating adult friendship “pods” and the children’s playdates, revealing lingering stereotypes that mothers should and do possess more social skills and more responsibility for familial caution than dad. 

 

With a rocking beat that sounds like an army of one almost ominously march-marching to speak up at the office about her work load on Monday morning, the title track “Working Woman” sets the tone for an album that motivates and entertains. 

 

In the vein of “9 to 5” and “Manic Monday”, Pettis’s empathic, mischievous and even rueful humor delightfully sustains the tradition here of consciousness-raising through self-recognition lightened by gentle sarcasm. 

 

“I Ain’t Your Mother” is the most all-out example of Pettis’ funny sense of humor that stings its target, in this case a spouse thinking every domestic responsibility belongs to his wife. 

 

Grace Pettis’ voice, an exquisitely soulful voice that brings to mind Mickey Guyton, Ann Wilson, Pat Benatar (and on “Tin Can”, Sia’s Chandelier”!) rather than a typical folk or country singer’s voice, makes the listener sit up and take notice. 

 

The warmth and strength of her pipes conceivably could make sympathetic listeners feel less isolated as they struggle with injustice. Male allies will feel good about Pettis’ music too. 

 

Her ample use of background vocals and esteemed folk colleagues including The Indigo Girls,  creates a sense of community. There are just so many great, appealing voices here. Women (and allies), you are not alone.

 

That a new phase of the woman’s movement has been taking place since March 2020 seems to resonate throughout this album. 

 

With only 2% of music producers being female, her non-binary band and team speaks volumes for Pettis’ commitment to feminist needs in the wake of this new phase of activism. Her band consists of: Ellen Angelico – Electric Guitar + Pedal Steel

, Megan Coleman – Drums, Ryan Madora – Bass Guitar, Kira Small – Organ + BGVs, 

Mary Bragg – BGVs and producer, and Rachael Moore, engineer.


-- Jill Blardinelli

 

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Danilo Melds Thick Electronica, Smooth R&B On 'All I Want' EP

Danilo’s “All I Want” EP is classic late-night makeout music, and there’s not a damn thing wrong with that. Bedroom R&B in all senses of the term, every track is carefully constructed, showcases Danilo Riggs’s lovely tenor and righteous songwriting chops, and has every intention of getting in your pants.

As for the actual music, if the lyrics are a bit one-note on the subject of horizontal samba, the composition more than makes up for it. There’s true thick funk on “Liberty,” dense, almost synthwave production backing “Bringing it Back” and churchy organ and a slowdance ballad rhythm on “So In Love Master.” Danilo shows real understanding of all those forms, keeping them tied together tight in service of the EP’s overall vibe rather than getting lost in the details. 

At the heart of it all is Danilo’s voice. A clean, soulful tenor capable of soaring to Raphael Saddiq-level heights, it sets clear, sweet melodies for the eclectic songwriting to build around. It’s a voice to make even a lonely listener smile as it ranges across the register without missing a note.

 

Between the superb vocals, interesting songwriting and righteous commitment to makeouts past and future, we’re happy to recommend “All I Want” to anyone who has romantic aspirations this summer, or for that matter just feels like a sweet groove of an evening. “All I Want” is Danilo’s first EP, and we at The Deli are excited to see what comes next.

 

-- Matt Salter

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Kitty Coen Cultivates a Holy Sound in New Single

 Kitty Coen encapsulates a slew of sounds in her latest single, Holy. She proves that she has no barriers, displaying an ability to induce dancing, headbanging and hypnotic swaying all within a three-and-a-half minute stretch. Though many artists and genres come to mind when listening to Kitty Coen, she has undeniably formed her own musical identity and we should all be extremely excited about what the future holds for her. 

After seeing Kitty perform live for the first time a little over a year ago, I remember thinking of her as a more rock n’ roll version of Mazzy Star. But after listening to more of her music, and with every new single, the scope of artists that I’m reminded of continues to grow, including acts like Billie Eilish, Stevie Nicks, Tame Impala and David Bowie. “Honestly, genre isn’t something I think about when creating my music…I’ve gotten everything from ‘grunge-country' to 'electro-pop', so I try not to think about genre and just make the music that I believe expresses the moment best,” Coen said. In modern music, genre-blending and embodying many influences are more prominent than ever, but finding cohesion and originality can be a struggle. For Coen, finding this balance doesn’t seem to be a challenge at all. 

What makes Holy stand out amongst her other releases is the fact that it leans, perhaps, a bit more heavy on the rock side of things. The song features a prominent guitar part that hooks you in from the beginning, as well as a disco-ish drumbeat that really drives the song forward in the second verse. Of course, as the song’s energy builds, so does the intensity of Kitty’s vocals, showing off her dynamic singing abilities. She provides some backstory into the creative process of Holy, saying “I met up with a friend after months of not playing music with anyone during quarantine and he started laying down a guitar riff. I was just kind of improvising and came up with a melody I liked and the phrase ‘holy with a broken heart.’ From there I used sounds and tones that reflected the feeling of transcending and floating while still making it slap.” Indeed, she makes the song “slap.” One of the things that really makes Holy a great song is that it constantly feels like it’s going somewhere new. The textures, overdubs, and energy continuously build and there isn’t a dull moment throughout the duration of the song. 

The fact that she only has six releases under her belt is mind-boggling. She continues to prove that she has no creative limitations, and it wouldn’t be surprising at all if she is one of the next breakout artists from Austin. Stay tuned for her debut EP to gain even more insight into the Kitty Coen experience.


-- Quinn Donoghue

 

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