Dead Sara – Dead Sara
Rock music is no longer a blood sport in which only men can participate. Thanks to a long line of women rockers from decades past who lit the world on fire and blazed their own trails, it is now acceptable (though still somewhat uncommon) to see female fronted rock and metal bands. Those that are gutsy enough to venture out on to the stage are illuminated by spotlights and greeted by a sea of hungry fans. Yet the women that sing or play instruments of their choice are doing so much more than performing. They have picked up the ‘musical’ battle flag for their generation, and Dead Sara is one of the bands leading the charge!
Numerous bands have come out of Los Angeles, California. But very few have the uncompromising talent and the potential to change the face of music in the same way that Nirvana did with grunge in the early 90s. What sets Dead Sara apart from their contemporaries is their ability to seamlessly incorporate influences from the genres of classic rock, blues, folk, metal, punk, and gospel; fusing them all together to develop a brand new sound “” somewhere in the vein of hard rock, but with an explosive kick!
Founding members, Emily Armstrong (lead vocals) and Siouxsie Medley (guitar/background vocals), have been friends since they were teens and have been playing together ever since. Furthermore, adding a spark of pure magic to the band, Chris Null (bass) and Sean Friday (drums) round out the four piece line-up with a rock solid rhythm section.
Since 2008 with the release of their EP, The Airport Sessions (with former bassist Dan Kelly and drummer Jarrod Alexander), Dead Sara has been doing much more than just kicking ass and taking names. In 2012 they released their first full length studio album, Dead Sara, produced by Noah Shain (Atreyu, Skrillex) on their own label, Pocket Kid Records.
Riding high on the popularity of “Weatherman,” the album’s first single, Dead Sara has already gained air play on both terrestrial and Sirius/XM satellite radio stations. They have racked up thousands of miles touring, and in the process amassed a growing army of dedicated fans. Sharing the stage with veteran bands such as Bush, Dead Sara has already booked shows on summer tours with The Used and Chevelle. They will also be a featured band at this year’s Vans Warped Tour, and will play on the same bill as Black Stone Cherry, SainD, Godsmack, Pop Evil, and Art of Dying at The Rock 106.9 WCCC’s Big Gig in Hartford, CT in May.
While this band is fronted by a dynamic duo “” Armstrong’s vocals would not be out of place among musical heavyweights such as Janis Joplin (Big Brother and the Holding Company), Ann Wilson (Heart), Melissa Etheridge, Stevie Nicks (Fleetwood Mac), and Joan Jett. And, Medley wields her axe with unstoppable feral driven intensity creating edgy and pulsating guitar riffs. Make no mistake, Dead Sara is not to be written off as another chick band. They are a straight up balls to the wall rock band that plays rock n’ roll the way it was meant to be played – honest, gritty, unapologetic, and LOUD!
“Whisper’s & Ashes,” the album’s premiere track, is a mid-tempo survival anthem about self realization, heartache and potential regret, while learning from past mistakes before finally finding some sort of peace and moving on. Vocally, Armstrong exudes power and strength:
What’s my mistakes, that comfort me
Mysteries lead the blind guessing to explain
While I’m, safe from the wreckage, my memory’s torn
On what is worth fighting for
Then I’m safe from the wreckage, I don’t feel safe anymore
Just floating above the earth, alone
Medley provides some deliciously heavy distortion on guitars, while Friday delivers with some powerful beats, and Null with an equally tight bass line.
The track “We Are What You Say” only needs two words to describe it – contained chaos. Inspired by many of the “major label executives who suggested [the band] develop a more pop-friendly sound,” Dead Sara decided to ignore their suggestions and stay true to their musical vision and themselves (ReverbNation). Armstrong instead, offers a polite “fuck you” in response as she sings:
Brought down by somebody else’s lack of education
Shouldn’t be you that it hurts
But I took all the advice that I could take
Before I thought to give up
I bet you thought I’d give up
If this is Dead Sara’s version of “pop,” even the hardest of rock fans will gladly take it! With hi-hats, a strong backbeat, a hypnotic bass line, catchy guitar riffs, and generally a positive vibe that could musically be compared to a phoenix rising from the ashes, this song evokes feelings of hope and fortitude. Armstrong also can’t help but inspire listeners to become more than they are. By taking a page from her book, anyone can apply the following lyrics to his or her own situation: “You can’t back down kid, back down kid…You can’t back out now, back out now/ We are what you say/ We are not what you think.”
“Weatherman” the album’s first single, is also the first song that the group collaborated on together. Filled with plenty of punk attitude and rock heft, Medley makes her guitar growl with raw adrenaline-pumping riffs. Friday initially explodes on his drums, but then is able to harnesses that intensity while still maintaining driving innovative licks. Null rages and smolders on his bass, and Armstrong’s vocals are so magnetic, she can sing a melody one moment and then unleash a scream with enough attitude that would make Courtney Love (Hole) proud. For anyone who finds “Weatherman” a bit ambiguous, Armstrong says that it is about “having your own voice and being heard. Standing up for your rights, and taking back what is yours. Freedom!” (Buzzbands.LA). Belting out the phase, “Go for the kill!” That exactly what this band does “” successfully combining elements of hardcore punk and alternative, as well as rock and metal. This is a song that is guaranteed to get stuck in your head for days!
“Monumental Holiday” is another song that rocks as hard as “Weatherman”. Beginning with the familiar sound of feedback, reminiscent of the good old days of grunge, Dead Sara adds their own 21st century spin. This track also showcases Friday’s abilities with some enjoyable monster fills and some in your face rock drumming. It is satisfyingly frenzied, angry, and raw.
In addition to the album’s faster tracks, there is also an assortment of mid-tempo and slower tunes.
Most notably, “Face to Face” which is a southern flavored ballad. It is a song about feeling “stuck” in a failing relationship, trying to figure out what to do, and the discovery of self in the process. There are so many intense emotions in this song “” frustration, anger, pain, and even some love. Not only does Armstrong capture these feelings, but she is able to evoke them in the listener. Especially during the part where she screams, “Am I dead, am I dead, am I dead to him? \ Well, Baby, baby, baby, here I am.” She truly sings from her heart and is able to move an audience in the same way that Janis Joplin could.
“Sorry For It All,” another ballad which was initially released on their EP, Airport Sessions, rounds out the album. Relationships are never easy, and sometimes even when people are in love things end. Occasionally, some find their way back to each other. Most just move on or find a way to heal and/or survive with a broken heart. Opening with a solid bass line from Null, Armstrong turns into a breathy siren on this track which exhibits her versatility as a singer:
This song is not for you, its for everything I wish I could be
Behind closed doors is where I stand, closed windows, one more chance
And you are sorry for it all
I can’t, nothing is my fault
Dead Sara is what all rockers have been waiting for – a band that finally cuts like a knife through all the corporate cookie cutter mediocrity that has been flooding the airwaves for the last few years! This album is one eargasmic experience after another. Dead Sara makes their listeners want to brave the mosh pit in order to become completely engulfed in the emotions and raw energy that their music puts forth. They are not a band, they are an experience.
Many consistently argue that punk is dead, and rock is on life support at best. However, thanks to Dead Sara and a few other bands, rock may just have gotten the shot of adrenaline it so desperately needed. After listening to their album, it’s easy to see why, according to Rolling Stone Magazine, Dead Sara has been “approved” by both Courtney Love and Grace Slick (Jefferson Airplane). But, there is only one way to see what all the fuss is about ““ check ‘em out for yourself!Dead Sara - Dead Sara,