Dig Yourself is available 3/30 on Topshelf Records.
Crockpot Pop. It’s not a term you’ll be instantly familiar with, but it is a somewhat perfect descriptor of Philadelphia quartet Queen of Jeans. Intentionally tongue-in-cheek, the self-ascribed term was coined by the band to chronicle the haphazard nature of their core ingredients. They are a slew of sounds and influences in a juxtaposition that somehow strikes balance, sculpted over time into the refined and tenacious outfit they are today.
Prior to releasing their self-titled debut EP in early 2016, founding members Miriam Devora, Matheson Glass, and Nina Scotto had all played in other bands, but as had been all too common a practice a few years ago, were often accessorized and handed a tambourine instead of a guitar. The three visualized a new project on their own terms, and finalized their lineup with drummer Patrick Wall. Queen of Jeans instantly took root, earning praise for their aforementioned debut that showcased their glowing eye for detail. Along the way, they garnered attention from the likes of Wild Honey Pie, who called it a “welcoming beacon in the night” and Clash magazine, who labeled it a “riot of attitude and colour.”
Overwhelmed by the positive response, they vigorously developed their live set, testing it out in their hometown and on the road DIY touring, which eventually led to bigger opportunities. Those included WXPN's XPoNential Music Festival as well as Made in America and SXSW, all of which was rounded off by a full US tour alongside heavyweights Balance & Composure and From Indian Lakes - no small feat for a band with just one EP to its name.
Honing their sound through those experiences, the band crafted their debut LP with palpable care and consideration in the time since their first release. The result is Dig Yourself, out March 30th via their new home of Topshelf Records. It is a marked leap forward, a decadent and decisive nine-track record that immediately feels like a coming-of-age.
“The more we played, the surer of ourselves we became, but we also continued to encounter a lot of misogyny, “ the band expressed. “After a while, walking into venues to be greeted with comments like, ‘get your hand stamped if you’re the band’s girlfriends’, gets tired. But we didn’t let it deter us, if anything it continued to ignite a new, more assertive energy that has only continued to empower us. With Dig Yourself, we were finding the confidence and willingness to share more vulnerable and emotionally honest music, which served as both a cathartic exercise as well as our call to arms.
“This album is really the story arc of a relationship, be it with another person or simply the relationship you have with yourself,” they continued. “We chose an album name with a split meaning - to ‘dig yourself’ could mean to love yourself; rally behind yourself, or on the flip side, ‘dig yourself’ is a motion to try a little harder, find what’s there beneath the surface, explore your behavior and figure out what you’re actively trying to reveal to yourself.”
Dig Yourself is as much a reflection of inter-and-intrapersonal relationships as it is the story of the band’s evolution by its own right, exploring the ups and downs of life in its assurance, annoyance, paranoia, resignation, and ultimately re-evaluation.
“We started this out just drinking beers and playing songs in Nina's attic, not expecting very much,” the band says. “We were lucky enough to get a few shows in the beginning to start working out our live set in Philly, and we were overwhelmed by the positive response we got, which encouraged us to do some touring and led us to bigger shows.”
Those bigger shows included WXPN's XPoNential Music Festival as well as Made in America and SXSW, all of which was rounded off by a full US tour alongside emo heavyweights Balance & Composure and From Indian Lakes - no small feat for a band with one EP to their name.
Honing their sound through those experiences, the band then crafted their debut LP with palpable care and consideration in the time since the release of that EP. The result is Dig Yourself, out February 23 via their new home of Topshelf Records. It is a marked leap forward, a decadent and decisive nine-track record that immediately feels like a coming-of-age.
The album begins with what sounds like an audible intake of breath, building a crescendo into the record’s playful opening number, ‘More To Love.’ While such a thing often precedes a bout of reckless abandon, here it steadies the whole ship. From there, the dazzling debut full-length grows and expands via the surest of hands, the attentive care they possess always a pertinent aspect of their work, no matter how raucous or, alternatively, restrained, things get. ‘U R My Guy’ is steely, scintillating guitar pop, with Devora’s flamed voice at its most vivacious. The band’s counter-balance is perfectly exhibited on that track’s follow-up, as ‘Heads Turn’ proves to be a swaying four-and-a-half minute ballad that shifts the temperature immediately.
That balance between quiet and loud, light and dark, is crucial. Where previous releases have tended to evoke nostalgia-based descriptors, Dig Yourself is more detailed and distinctive. It exudes the same sense of romantic rumination, delivered with a hearty crunch and a wonderfully endearing bite, but winds up being something altogether more holistic. It is the sound of a band truly seizing their moment and moving into to a territory all their own.
Sitting as comfortably next to the likes of Angel Olsen and Mitski as it does the harmonic and iconic doo-wop pop groups of yesteryear, Dig Yourself is a vibrant and vital debut, one that seems to reveal a little more of itself with each listen.
“We really wanted to stay true to the lo-fi sound of our EP,” the band say of the new record, “but we were also aiming for a maturation in both the songs themselves as well as the production. This record is an extension of where we started and our growth-in-progress as a band.”