Lande Hekt has spent nearly a decade fronting the UK indie-punk band Muncie Girls, but after recording some songs on her own in 2019 with Ben David from The Hard Aches engineering/mixing, she self-released the solo EP Gigantic Disappointment and now she has released her first solo album, Going to Hell, on the awesome Philly queer punk label Get Better Records.

Going to Hell very much feels like a "solo album" in that the music is more scaled-back and folky than Muncie Girls and also that the lyricism is much more personal. Not that Lande didn't write personal songs in Muncie Girls -- one of their best songs, "Jeremy," is a "big fuck you" to her father who she hadn't spoken to in ten years -- but Going to Hell is even more introspective, and it remains that way for its entirety. The whole record functions as a concept album about Lande finally coming out as a queer woman after hiding that side of her for years, and as she recently told Upset, "["Jeremy"] was slightly terrifying, but this was more exciting than scary."

"Even if I’d tried to make a record that wasn’t about coming to terms with being gay, it would have been about that," she said in the same interview. "Even if it’s not the main topic, a lot of the songs are about either coming out or looking back to times when I was trying to pretend to be straight." She adds that, as a teenager, her own internalized homophobia caused her to try to bury the fact that she was gay, but after spending a decade in the punk scene and seeing the constant support for queer people and queer artists, she realized "that this is the coolest thing ever, that I do want to accept this part of myself."

The album channels a whirlwind of emotions, but ultimately it's a celebratory record, and the songs sound as hopeful and triumphant as the messages within them. They're also some of the best songs Lande has ever written. Her voice soars on this album, her melodies get stuck in your head, and the overall feel is warm and welcoming, making repeated listens feel both requisite and rewarding. It's not a punk record like Muncie Girls, but it has the rawness, honesty, and DIY values that come with spending a decade in the punk scene. You can tell that she really means every last word on this album, and that's what makes it so powerful.

Going To Hell is out now on Get Better Records. Stream it and watch the video for "Whiskey" below.

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