Song of the Day: Welcome Strawberry, “You in Your Rare Ugliness” (2022)

While I've seen Oakland, CA's Welcome Strawberry billed as a solo project, their self-titled debut full-length—released last last week—is credited more like a duo, with a number of other vocalists contributing to assorted tracks. Quite an impressive set of tunes, the approach blurs the lines between shoegaze, dream pop, and indie/alternative rock; while wandering through an almost experimental pastiche of influences that also dips into atmospheres of pop and jazz and post-punk and more. Dreary, swirly, and droning, but with moments of energy—dense, but also bright, so neither lo-fi nor over-polished. It would actually fit in well with a lot of what I've heard coming out of the Pittsburgh scene in recent years, too.

"You in Your Rare Ugliness" is the immediate standout for me: jangly and direct without oversimplification. There's just something hypnotizing about it that grips a little tighter. Very nice album in its entirety, though. A seamlessly lush blend of contrasting emotional colors that feels like it would somehow work as well on a summer day as an autumn night...

Welcome Strawberry is available on 100 cassettes from Cherub Dream Records (San Francisco), or 150 CD-Rs from Les Éditions Autonomes/Too Good to be True (France)—and notice that the two formats have completely different artwork/packaging! You can also grab mp3s from either link, or stream via Spotify, Apple Music, etc.