Beloved Brooklyn band Chumped devastated fans with their sudden hiatus in 2015. Seemingly on the brink of a mainstream breakthrough, the quartet called it a day right as they were getting started. But out of the remnants of Chumped, the band Katie Ellen was formed, featuring singer/guitarist Anika Pyle and drummer Dan Frelly.
Today, Katie Ellen announced the release of their debut album, Cowgirl Blues, on Lauren Records on July 14, 2017. NPR premiered the first single off the record, "Lucy Stone", saying "The song takes its name from the 19th-century abolitionist and suffragist Lucy Stone, who was lovingly dubbed "the orator" for her natural ability to inspire action through her speaking and writing. It's clear that Pyle has drawn influence from that notion — that standing up for yourself and recognizing situations for what they are, not only what they should be, is radical. It appears that Katie Ellen's self-assurance grew from the demise of Chumped, a life lesson in and of itself. Each chapter is new and exciting and different when change is acted upon."
Cowgirl Blues is now available for pre-order from Lauren Records and summer Katie Ellen tour dates will be announced soon.
01) Drawing Room
02) Wild Heart
03) Lucy Stone
04) TV Dreams
06) Sad Girls Club
08) Houses Into Homes
09) Cowgirl Blues
10) Bleeding Heart
Shortly after the disbandment of their critically acclaimed indie punk band Chumped in early 2016, lead singer Anika Pyle and drummer Dan Frelly started katie ellen as a fuzz pop two-piece. The duo went on to release a three-song demo on Jeff Rosenstock’s Quote Unquote Records, and a 7” on Lauren Records, then recruiting friends Anthony Tinnirella (guitar) and Eric Sheppard (bass) to round out the sound and record their debut LP – Cowgirl Blues.
Cowgirl Blues is ten songs of twangy, pop forward indie punk with subtle country underpinnings, showcasing Pyle’s knack for punchy, melodic songwriting familiar to fans of Chumped while exploring more dynamic and intimate arrangements that nod to contemporaries like Waxahatchee, Alvvays, All Dogs and Pinegrove. Pyle notes 60s girl groups, Patsy Cline and Jenny Lewis as writing influences which bloom amidst she and Frelly’s longstanding dynamic, Tinnirella’s clean and classic guitar leads, Sheppard’s tasteful bass and Beach Boys-esque harmonies.
The name Katie Ellen is an adaptation of Pyle’s great grandmother’s radio stage name – Kaytee Ellen. “She was a young mother who defied expectations by pursuing a career in journalism in the 1950s,” says Pyle. “When she tried to take her identity, Kaytee Ellen, to other creative endeavors, a legal battle ensued and the courts determined that the radio station she worked for (KTLN) owned her namesake, and thus in many ways her professional and personal identity.”
“Calling the project katie ellen felt like taking something back from a structure of ownership that put profit before my great grandmother as a person and deemed her on-air personality disposable and replaceable by any other woman. It also lent me a bit of creative anonymity to try new things and explore my own identity, especially as it pertains to autonomy, femininity and vulnerability.”
That sentiment permeates Cowgirl Blues, a record steeped in the discourse between freedom and commitment. Pyle notes, “I wrote the record at the end of a formative creative project and an eleven-year relationship that lasted for much of my young adult life. It represents, to me, the reimagining of identity and the search for personal truth, a process that can be harrowing if you discover that what you want defies people’s expectations of your gender, your sexuality, and your future. If following your truth requires upheaval of the normative and the status quo, stay and you could be happy but you will always be at odds with yourself. Go and you accept a path of rebirth and constant negotiation, not always ‘happy’ but wild, free and true.”
Cowgirl Blues is out July 14, 2017 on Lauren Records.