Lizdelise on Performance and Nostalgia (1/29 at JB’s)

“We just want it to be a party before we take a break-y… a short break,” says Lizzy of Lizdelise during a recent phone chat.  They’re referring to the...

“We just want it to be a party before we take a break-y… a short break,” says Lizzy of Lizdelise during a recent phone chat.  They’re referring to the Philly-based experimental pop group’s headlining show this coming Sunday, January 29th, at Johnny Brenda’s.  The gig, which also features locals Samryebread and Queen Rat, is going to be Lizdelise’s last local one for a little while, while they work on some more new music with Wye Oak’s Andy Stack, who recorded the band’s most recent single, “WMN,” which dropped last summer and has since had a number of remixes released as an EP in December.  “Working with him was incredible and the first time we ever worked with someone from outside of the group,” Lizzy says of the group’s experience working with Andy, although admits that they weren’t necessarily surprised by how well they gelled: “Andy’s the best!  We’ve been fans of Wye Oak forever, and he’s had his hand is so many cool things!”

2022 was a pretty big year for Lizdelise — who have been making music since 2014 — in general, in addition to their latest single.  They also embarked on their first North American tour and played their first show at famous hometown haunt Union Transfer, when they provided support for Algernon Cadwallader last October.  “It was wild!  It was really, really cool!” says Lizzy of the tour, which had the band playing with a slightly new lineup that allowed them to more fully realize their current sound: “It was the first time we toured as a four-piece; we had a synth player with us.”  They also tell me of an especially inspiring show at White Oak Music Hall in Houston, Texas, which turned out – much to their surprise – to be packed: “It was a great reminder that all expectations go out the window when you’re on tour.”  And as far as their UT debut, Lizzy tells me that not only was it totally great (“It was really cool, big dream-come-true vibes!  It was a total dream!”), but that playing the 1,300-capacity room helped the band to see themselves in a new way: “I do a lot of performing with dance companies – I play music, I don’t dance – that’s often in a big theatre setting, so doing that show I felt like we were digging into the full production of our live show.”

In the time since then, however, you may have seen Lizzy around town in a very different format.  They’ve been testing out new material with solo performances, something that they tell me really takes them back quite a few years: “I’ve always found that to be a cool, fun way to try newer stuff.  It reminds me of when I first started playing out in Philly, in basements with a looper…  When I first started playing out around Philly and touring, it was definitely in the indie folk arena, which it’s kind of shifted away from.”  “Playing material live is the only way for me to test it,” says Lizzy, but also admits that playing in this format can also be a little bit scary at times: “I’m almost revisiting writing on an acoustic guitar.  For me, I feel like it’s nostalgic and, because of that, it feels even more vulnerable.”

While this Sunday’s show will serve as a celebration for Lizdelise’s fanbase and hometown, Lizzy does tell me that the group will be exploring some new things as well, including some of those new songs they’re working on with Andy Stack, and their ever-evolving live show: “I’m really psyched to keep building on our live set and the live visuals.  We’re really honing in on our live sound, but then figuring out how that translates to visuals.”  In addition to the live visuals, they also tell me that they’re very excited to make more music videos in the near future, especially for these upcoming songs, which Lizzy tells me both the band and a filmmaking friend of theirs are very anxious to get to work on: “We’re really excited about these new music videos.  Liz Charky – my friend of over ten years, who did the “Sweet” video with us – heard the new songs and was like, ‘I wanna make videos for these songs!  I have to do it!’”

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During the day Izzy Cihak teaches transgression, subversion, and revolution at Temple University. At night he haunts Philthy's best venues to cover worthwhile acts for Philthy Mag. Morrissey is everything to him and, in their own heads, all of his friends see themselves as Zooey Deschanel.