SASAMI: “glory, terror, joy, sorrow, fright, hunger, fulfillment…” (3/26 at JB’s)

“The first album was vegetarian, this one’s an omnivore,” says SASAMI of her sophomore LP, Squeeze, which dropped last month on Domino.  The singer/songwriter (who played synths in Cherry...

“The first album was vegetarian, this one’s an omnivore,” says SASAMI of her sophomore LP, Squeeze, which dropped last month on Domino.  The singer/songwriter (who played synths in Cherry Glazerr from 2015-2018) is chatting with me via phone during a brief break between two headlining jaunts.  Squeeze follows-up SASAMI’s 2019 self-titled debut, and has already been praised by a plethora of notable sources.  NYLON calls it, “An electrifying rock opera,” while Pitchfork characterizes it as, “A collection of tracks that sound like she’s digging her nails into the walls of a black hole in an attempt to escape, her mood alternating between feverish determination and clear-eyed hope.”  While SASAMI drew acclaim for its exceptional adeptness at the whole shoegaze revival thing, Squeeze sees the artist embracing her background as a classically-trained composer, in addition to her loves of the late ‘90s, most notably the kinds of artists who graced the mainstages of Ozzfest and Lilith Fair, respectively (Never have the phrases “nu-metal” and “folk pop” been more comfortably bandied about to characterize the songs of a single album…)

Last month SASAMI released “Make It Right,” the sixth and final single from Squeeze, accompanied by a music video that several members of the crew of Euphoria helped to bring to life (Costume designer Heidi Bivens directed, while assistant costume designer Angelina Vitto styled it, and make-up artist Alexandra French did the makeup.)  The song, which SASAMI previously characterized as, “an ode to Fleetwood Mac’s more tantrum-y vibes with a hair of Crass-y marching snare,” is arguably the most playful the album has to offer, while the accompanying video provides a quirky take on neo-noir and fetish culture, not dissimilar to much of Olivier Assayas’ best work.

SASAMI is now back on the road and she’ll be playing headlining dates through mid-April, including a stop at Johnny Brenda’s this Saturday, March 26th.  Shortly after, she joins Mitski in Europe for a month of dates, before returning to the states to play several weeks of outdoor amphitheaters opening for Haim, including a May 28th stop at the Mann.  I ask her if there are any dates she’s especially anticipating and she tells me she’s, “excited and nervous,” for Europe, but not necessarily for the reasons you might expect: “The audiobook of Red Rising — the fantasy series we’re listening to on the road — is read by a guy with a Scottish accent…  Back when I used to go there on tour, I used to think that was like the worst accent, but I got really into The Fall — this series with Gillian Anderson, which I would highly recommend — which takes place in Belfast, and now I think that’s just the best accent.”  However, she tells me that every experience with her music has something to offer her: “I think every time someone listens to my album or comes to my show or interviews me is an honor…  Every day is a highlight, every day is a peak, every day is a valley.”  And, in terms of what you can expect of the live experience, whether from the coziness of Johnny Brenda’s or the pavilion at the Mann, she tells me, “I would say glory, terror, joy, sorrow, fright, hunger, fulfillment…  I think that every single show is just me as a vessel for God and the devil to wrestle each other, so it’s really not up to me…”

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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.