Philadelphia indie trio Lizdelise, led by singer/songwriter/guitarist Liz De Lise have garnered local acclaim since their inception in 2014. Rounded out by bassist and collaborator Mark Watter and drummer Alyssa Resh, the group is preparing to release their new collection of sounds Body on Sheer Luck Records. The four songs are Lizdelise’s most fully realized masterpieces yet, reminiscent of St. Vincent, Japanese Breakfast and Dirty Projectors.
“These songs feel like a neat little timeline of my mental health, and subsequently, my queer journey,” explains De Lise, who uses she/they pronouns. They continue, “part of this album is embracing my body as inevitable, but mutable, and not separate from who I am as a person… but also not the ruler of who I am. So much of my body dysphoria came from/comes from trying to perform a typical representation of what it means to be a beautiful (cis) woman, and ultimately, a sexually appealing (cis) woman, which news flash, I can’t be, because I ain’t one!”
Songs “Fire” and “Take It” were written before De Lise started talk therapy and an SSRI. “I’d been feeling out of control of even the smallest things, like how to communicate who I was, and that yielded a lot of social anxiety,” De Lise says. “My black and white thinking was off the charts. I was sure that the only way to move ahead was to burn it all down, or empty everything out of my head.”
“For Nobody” was inspired by a Mitski performance. “She was so in her body while also being beyond her body. That was the first time I really recognized the link between my mental health and gender identity. So much of my anger came from this inability to be who I knew I was but couldn’t explain, partially because of how limiting language usually is, and because for a while I didn’t feel like I’d had a precedent for what gender fluidity actually was.” De Lise credits Watter with helping to draw out the emotions of her story into the song. “Mark is really great at reimagining and embellishing on an auto-biographical story to add to the drama of an experience – he encouraged me to embrace the hyper/surreality of the worlds we were making.”
Lead single “Sweet” marks the end of De Lise’s struggle to make peace with their identity and opens the door to their next chapter. The song shifts the focus to “the womxn/non-cis-men closest to me, and feeling this fierce need to protect and prevent harm,” they explain. “It was the first time I let myself feel this intense, scary feeling, and also acknowledged that I’m not a scary person for feeling this way. Sweet and fierce are so intertwined.”
The four tracks on Body encompass De Lise’s journey to accept their body, to not be obsessed with it, or abuse it, or let others use it to define them. The themes feel imbued with new relevance in 2020, and it’s as exciting to listen to Lizdelise work through them on the album as it is to think of where they’ll go next.
Listen to “Sweet”
Listen to “Take It”
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