“I’m wasting away my life and gifts on being a piece of shit.”
There’s self-deprecation, and then there’s what Laura Stevenson does. While some songwriters have playfully toyed with their own ineptitudes in love, friendships, or life in general throughout their music, Stevenson full-on lives in it. If you ever catch her live show—and you should—make a drinking game out of every time she introduces a song by saying, “This next song is a sad one.” You’ll be lucky to be able to walk out of the venue of your own accord.
On her last album, the under-appreciated Wheel, Stevenson mused in one song about being content to sit in a room while the building burned around her: “I wouldn't mind if you left me here, standing on the other side of a locked door in a big, big fire.” Tragic, fucked up, and even oddly beautiful, but not a new thing for her. Over three albums now, Stevenson (who—not to blow up her spot—is actually an incredibly warm and kind person) has been spinning this gift for dark poetics.
But “Jellyfish,” her new single from her forthcoming fourth album, Cocksure, is next-level self-loathing. Stevenson goes right for her own gut from the very first line: “I’m fucking hideous and spiteful when I’m left to my devices.” And it doesn’t get much brighter from there. She goes on to call herself lazy and a loser before ending with “I’m wasting away my life and gifts on being a piece of shit.” Jesus Christ, what a dark line. What a dark song.
While the inward jabs are cutting, Stevenson’s true gift is taking this melancholy and making it sound upbeat and fun. She is the undisputed champion of writing feel-good feel-bad songs. Listen below, and all hail the master, whether she’ll admit it or not.
Cocksure is out on October 30 via Don Giovanni Records. Pre-order it here and catch her on tour. Dates below. Cocksure is one of Noisey's things we're excited about for the rest of 2015. See all the other stuff we're looking forward to here.
Wed/Oct-14 Washington, DC – Rock & Roll Hotel
Thu/Oct-15 Carrboro, NC – Cat’s Cradle
Fri/Oct-16 Atlanta, GA - Masquerade
Sat/Oct-17 Jacksonville, FL – 1904 Music Hall
Sun/Oct-18 Tampa, FL – New World Brewery
Mon/Oct-19 Orlando, FL – The Social
Wed/Oct-21 New Orleans, LA – House Of Blues Lounge
Thu/Oct-22 Houston, TX – Rudyards
Fri/Oct-23 Dallas, TX – Gas Monkey Bar & Grill
Sat/Oct-24 Austin, TX – The North Door
Mon/Oct-26 Phoenix, AZ – The Rebel Lounge
Wed/Oct-28 San Diego, CA – The Casbah
Thu/Oct-29 Los Angeles, CA – Echo
Fri/Oct-30 San Luis Obispo, CA – SLO Brewing Co.
Sat/Oct-31 Sacramento, CA – Harlow’s
Sun/Nov-01 San Francisco, CA – Rickshaw Stop
Tue/Nov-03 Seattle, WA – Tractor Tavern
Wed/Nov-04 Portland, OR – Dante’s
Fri/Nov-06 Salt Lake City, UT – Kilby Court
Sat/Nov-07 Denver, CO – Hi-Dive
Sun/Nov-08 Omaha, NE - Slowdown
Mon/Nov-09 Des Moines, IA – Vaudeville Mews
Tue/Nov-10 St. Paul, MN – Turf Club
Thu/Nov-12 Chicago, IL – Subterranean
Fri/Nov-13 Nashville, TN – The High Watt
Sat/Nov-14 Akron, OH – Musica
Mon/Nov-16 Newport, KY – Southgate House Revival
Tue/Nov-17 Columbus, OH – Rumba Cafe
Wed/Nov-18 Philadelphia, PA – The Foundry @ Fillmore
Thu/Nov-19 Boston, MA – Middle East Downstairs
Fri/Nov-20 Kingston, NY – BSP Kingston
Sat/Nov-21 New York, NY – Webster Hall Marlin Room