Stella Donnelly touring, SXSW & NYC included (listen)
25-year old singer-songwriter Stella Donnelly has been getting attention with the release of her 2017 debut EP via Healthy Tapes, Thrush Metal. After playing in a few bands, including Bells Rapids and BOAT SHOW, in her native Australia, Stella struck out on her own for Thrush Metal, and so far the endeavor seems to be paying off. Her sets at Australia's BIGSOUND festival and conference earned her glowing reviews from Rolling Stone Australia, who called them "two of the festival’s most talked-about," and won her the inaugural Levi’s Music Prize at the festival's end. She's also opened shows for Alex Lahey, has an opening slot for First Aid Kit lined up later this year, and filled in on guitar and keys for Methyl Ethel at Falls Music and Arts Festival late in December.
Thrush Metal's five songs are minimal, featuring Stella's voice backed only by guitar, but they don't suffer at all for lack of instrumentation. At times comparisons to fellow Australian Courtney Barnett are hard to avoid, especially on first track "Mechanical Bull," but I also heard some Fiona Apple in Stella's voice, particularly on final track "A Poem" - and mostly her voice sounds entirely her own. On "Mean to Me," Stella's jazzy inflections make the song an EP standout, as does the power in her voice. "Boys Will Be Boys" is a moving exploration of rape culture that Stella wrote briefly about:
"Boys Will Be Boys" is my attempt at making sense of society's tendency to blame the victims of sexual assault and rape and make excuses for the perpetrators. It was also my way of dealing with certain events that were occurring in my life at the time. The video itself was intended to express the burden of victim blaming and sexual assault on the victims themselves as the mundane aspects of life go on. A song is just a song but at the very least I hope it will open up difficult yet important conversations between family members, friends, government bodies, organisations and most importantly, boys and men.
Stella will be performing at this year's SXSW, and she has some other shows lined up while she's stateside, too. She'll stop in NYC to play Elsewhere Zone One on March 19; tickets are on sale. See all of Stella's upcoming dates, watch the video for "Boys Will Be Boys," and listen to her EP below.
Stella Donnelly - 2018 Tour
3/19 Elsewhere Zone One - Brooklyn, NY
3/22 The Empty Bottle - Chicago, IL
3/26 Moroccan Lounge - Los Angeles, CA
3/27 Barboza - Seattle, WA
4/5 The Croxton Bandroom - Thornbury, VIC, Australia*
4/6 The Croxton Bandroom - Thornbury, VIC, Australia*
5/17-5/19 The Great Escape - Brighton, UK
* - opening for First Aid Kit