Little Hag Debuts New Album ‘Leash’ - Stream It Below | Under the Radar | Music Blog for the Indie Music Magazine
Sunday, June 16th, 2024  

Little Hag Debuts New Album ‘Leash’ - Stream It Below

Read the Band’s Exclusive Track by Track Guide

Sep 24, 2021 Photography by Ali Nugent Bookmark and Share

Asbury Park, N.J.-based self-described “bitch rockers” Little Hag have shared their debut album Leash, out everywhere via Bar/None Records. Some may recognize frontwoman Avery Mandeville from her own self-released EPs, but just as quarantine was shutting everything down Mandeville signed with Bar None Records and reinvented herself as Little Hag. Joined by Matt Fernicola on lead guitar, Owen Flanagan on drums, Chris Dubrow on bass, and Noah Rauchwerk on keys, Little Hag put out a compilation of old tracks, What Happened to Avery Jane? in 2020 and followed with their excellent Breakfast EP earlier this year.

Leash represents the band’s first official full-length effort, pulling together hints of indie rock, ‘50s pop, some bar band swagger, and a healthy dose of punk bite for a standout offering. If you’ve been following Mandeville you likely will recognize a handful of tracks here, like “Get Real” or “Blood,” but these are rebuilt from the ground up into new beasts entirely. These older tracks are also joined by a host of other highlights, including the anthemic opener “The Whole World,” the sweeping nostalgia of “Cherry” and the intimate acoustic balladry of “Devil’s Dishes.”

Anchoring each song is Mandeville herself. Her trembling howls are at once brazenly honest, gloriously profane, and undeniably magnetic, taking on everything from heartbreak to the misogynistic men that occupy the music scene. Avery is willing to be messy, to be nasty, to be vulnerable, and to be powerful, proving herself on Leash to be a rare songwriting talent and a true rock star presence.

As she describes the record, “It’s a sarcastic but seriously cynical pop rock soundtrack for the dropouts and the disappointments; for that moment when your head hits the pillow and you relive your every shortcoming and mistake.”

Check out the full record below and read the band’s exclusive track by track guide through the album here.

The Whole World: An anthem for being overwhelmed by the expectations of others and having no desire to give them what they want, written during the early quarantine days. Communication is a burden that drains Mandeville’s will to remain a figure in other people’s lives. And yet, as soon as friends stop checking in and the invitations stop coming, she’s attention starved and desperate for the things she pushes away.
Cherry: After getting dumped by the only person she ever really cared about, Avery reflects on the snapshot memories of the relationship; the things she leaned on, and the not always healthy ways in which we cope. The lyrics are filled with nostalgic moments where the banal meets the impossible, like holding the hand of a lover that’s not yours to hold, and trying to bend sea and sky just to feel peace. “Living like you’d notice if I stopped,” she belts to the one who is no longer obliged to listen.

Blood: 10 days late with no end in sight, Avery opens this brutal track with her Rite Aid purchases: rainbow hair clips and a pregnancy test. She begs for her period while sitting in court and slinging breakfast at her diner job, complaining; “Work just kicked my ass, I wish it’d kicked my guts. I better see some blood.”

Leash: “Owners start to look just like their dogs,” Avery sings. The dog in question that’s running amok and taking up all her time is her own depressive thoughts, tethered to impulsivity and self-doubt. To get up and make something of your day or to succumb to the desire to stay in bed begs the questions; who’s walking who?

Red: In the early throws of quarantine, Avery just wants to be touched and feel safe and for everyone else to stop pissing her off. Most people are disappointments.

My Last Name: After an ex unexpectedly gets married soon after they split, Avery contemplates what her life could have been. The hindsight nostalgia of their experience together consumes her, making a trainwreck of her sanity.

Get Real!: In another takedown of the patriarchy, Avery unloads her disdain for shitty bar promoters, misogynist sound guys, and every dude who ever gave her unsolicited post-set “advice.” Nobody asked you shit!

Brass Knuckle Keychain: After a hell week of getting stalked by a perverted old man and fielding snide sexual remarks from the local police department as well as the NYPD, this song wrote itself. Avery was facing the idea that this stalker could make good on his heinous threats of attacking and killing her. And worse, the people who should have been protecting her were coming up short. Her fear turned to anger. As car keys jingled in hand, she walked to her car and whispered the melody into her phone, “Walking with my pepper spray, I dare someone to fuck with me.”

Schlub: Stuck in a revolving door of losers, Avery submits to the notion that dating is an arbitrary game with no happy ending. Love is bullshit, and what’s worse; she might be a broke, dead-end loser herself. At some point, we look around at a party and make eye contact with some random idiot, and then we give them our hearts forever. It’s that haphazard.

Devil’s Dishes: What started as a misheard Spoon lyric (“I will no longer do the devil’s wishes” from Paper Tiger) became an expose of feeling equal parts like no one believes in you and like maybe you’re a fraud after all. How can she be seen if she’s a fictional character, a ghost of her own life?

Wet Brain: In the year of our lord 2020, Avery puts up a boundary with someone that she has to let go of. She looks back on the memories of their relationship when she was a teenager and his battle with substance abuse after a late night call that brought it all rushing back.


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