What do the members of Generation Z hear when they listen to the indie rock of the '90s? A palate cleanser from today's hyper-digital era? A self-effacing smirk in the face of social media's self-aggrandizement? A time when music was made in sweaty garages and not the blue glow of a laptop?
Maybe it's just cyclical, but it's hard not to hear something potent and intergenerational in the debut album from 20-year-old Sophie Allison, the Nashville singer-songwriter who performs as Soccer Mommy.
Her record, "Clean," sits in the Liz Phair/Archers of Loaf lineage of defiantly untucked-in guitar rock. But her writing has a modern and wary eye toward love and its foibles: "Mary keeps you off her mind / She wants to spend her weekend right / Out with her friends just getting high, like a stoner girl," she sings on "Cool," one of the album's standouts, and she can even find real kinship with a partner's ex on "Last Girl."
She's a notably creative guitar player, too. Songs are built on weird, chiming chords or little fragments of picking and echoes that make her purposefully modest arrangements feel interesting and unique every time.
All the salty Chapel Hill, N.C., and Portland, Ore., Gen-X'ers who worked these sounds in the Clinton era should be thrilled that that young female acts such as Jay Som, Julien Baker, Mitski, Lucy Dacus and now Soccer Mommy are finding new perspectives and vitality within it.
Soccer Mommy, "Clean"
(Fat Possum Records)