In a year that we celebrated the return of Sleater-Kinney, it is only fitting that more and more bands influenced by the iconic trio are emerging – or at least say they’ve been inspired by them. But for London-based trio, Doe, they spent hours upon hours spinning Sleater-Kinney records as well as those by fellow ’90s rad bands Pavement and Weezer. Taking their love of riot grrrl, grunge, and alternative music of that era, Nicola Leel (vocals/guitar), Matt Sykes (guitar), and Jake Popyura (drums) decided to form Doe in 2013 in order to replicate the sound.
In a short time, the trio have produced four releases, consisting of singles and a couple of EPs. They’ve taken those four efforts and put them together on a single LP, aptly titled First Four. The album has already been released in the UK on Special Subject Records, and now it’s getting the full treatment in North America with Brooklyn’s Old Flame Records launching the record next Tuesday, February 24. And to help promote the album, Doe will be playing a handful of shows in New York City and area beginning Saturday, performing five shows within the five boroughs and another one in New Brunswick, NJ. Tour dates are below.
On their debut full-length, Doe‘s music can best be described as post-punk-pop music. It has the edginess of 90s punk but the music is hook-laden. The closest comparable might be Swearin’ and Joanna Gruesome, which are most evident on tracks like the opener “Let Me In”, “Unrested”, “Nowhere Girl”, and the excellent “Julia Survived”. The Sleater-Kinney influence can be heard throughout the album, as well, most noticeably “Oh, Nostaglia” and “Broken Souvenirs”, although the trio keeps things a bit more restrained compared to Sleater-Kinney, who have been known to shred a few good riffs in their songs.
Another artist that you can hear is Liz Phair – the early, indie-rocker version that is. Similar to the great singer-songwriter, Leel holds nothing back in her songwriting, sharing her deepest thoughts and calling out the people who have made her life and others’ lives difficult. At the same time, there is great wit in the album, especially during the songs that recall their youth (such as “Late Bloomer”).
First Four is an enticing album that reveals the tremendous promse of Leel, Sykes, and Popyura. In such a short time, Doe have crafted 13 clever songs that are surprisingly engaging. In all the time they were spinning the riot grrrl and grunge records of my youth, they were studying on how to respect the artistry of the era, and they’ve done so with tremendous success. This is a young band to watch.
For those in the UK, First Four can be purchased now at Special Subject Records. For those in North America, the album comes out on Tuesday, February 24. Limited edition cassettes can be purchased at Old Flames Records and get it on Amazon. And NYC residents, don’t forget to catch them live over the next week.
2/21: New York, NY @ Pianos
2/22: Brooklyn, NY @ Baby’s All Right
2/23: Brooklyn, NY @ Palisades
2/25: Brooklyn, NY @ The Grand Victory
2/26: New Brunswick, NJ @ The Court Tavern
2/27: Brooklyn, NY @ Shea Stadium
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