Song Of The Week: Pity Sex—“Burden You”

By Grace Guimond

Although Detroit, Michigan gets a lot of love as one of the most musically influential cities of the past 50 years (which it absolutely deserves considering, at minimum, genre-defining acts like The Supremes, Aaliyah, and Eminem), it has become increasingly hard to ignore its neighbor, Ann Arbor. Only an hour away, the city of 350,000 has seemingly absorbed some of Detroit’s talent by association or osmosis, particularly during an emergent punk-rock scene in the 1970s, 80s, and 90s (which included acts like Iggy and The Stooges, noise rockers Wolf Eyes, and Andrew W.K).


Album Art for White Hot Moon

With that once-explosive Michigan scene in mind, it is not hard to see where Pity Sex, another Ann Arbour export, get their inspiration. The lo-fi lovin’, shoegazey (albeit not by their own admission) quartet –  who signed to Run For Cover Records in 2011 and released their first EP in 2012, followed quickly by their debut full length Feast of Love in 2013 – have a hard and heavy ‘90s alt-rock influence. Vocalist and guitarist Britty Drake, for one, has called their sound, “Dinosaur Jr. mixed with The Cranberries.”

So it makes a lot of sense that the band points to Sonic Youth and Yo La Tengo as sources of inspiration for their upcoming 2016 sophomore White Hot Moon (set to be released April 29), whose second single “Burden You” was premiered by Nylon Magazine on February 10th. The drum-heavy “Burden You” shows off a (slightly) softer side of Pity Sex, pairing Drake’s ethereal musings with some dreamy riffs in a way that really brings out the vulnerability hinted at in the band’s past releases (but taken to a new level here). In classic Pity Sex fashion, the song is overlain with fuzzed out guitar, vocal trade-offs with bandmate Brennan Greaves, and lyricism fraught with self-deprecation, and is held together by Drake, whose celestial voice carries us from the first sludgy note to the last grain of feedback. When asked about the meaning behind the song, Drake stated that it was about, “the burden of loving someone when it’s not convenient.” With lyrics like “I’ll always think of your lips when I’m moving mine against his,” “Burden You” holds true to the band’s emo roots – thus picking up where Feast of Love left off –  while simultaneously perfecting the juxtaposition that originally put them on the map: a wall of sound fuzz forced against clean, pure vocals.


Featured Photo via NPR [taken by Joel Rakowski]


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