Atlanta-based country rock four piece Neighbor Lady started because singer-songwriter and guitarist Emily Braden wanted some friends to help her play her stormy songs. So she enlisted guitarist Jack Blauvelt, bassist Merideth Hanscom, and drummer Andrew McFarland, to support her ridiculously beautiful voice, and dark, twangy compositions.
Their first album, Maybe Later (out May 11, 2018 on Sacramento label Friendship Fever) is short and sweet at seven tracks, but each of those songs is distinct and potent, varying from sorrowful ballads to indignant, catchy jams. The first single, “Fine,” is a dusky ear-catcher, rife with steel guitar. They just released the album’s breeziest song, an aloof breakup tune called “Oh Honey,” which also got a very charming video. They even had the balls to name the album’s opener “Let It Bleed,” whose layers and resonance smolder like a campfire. They’ve come out the gate with a fiery, fully-formed world of their own.
Here, the foursome each choose two songs to play at their own funerals. Together, it’s a cool and pretty dark mix, ranging from classic pop like John Lennon and The Beach Boys, to Girls’ “Hellhole Ratrace” and a freak-pop cover of a traditional Irish folk song.
“Instant Karma,” John Lennon
JACK BLAUVELT: When I lived in Athens, Georgia, I had a bike but no bike lock. I painted the words “Instant Karma” on each side of the bike’s frame, and for the five years I lived there that bike was never stolen. I’ve always lived my life by the golden rule and am a firm believer in karma. Or, I don’t know, maybe I just had a shitty bike.
“Sleepwalk,” Santo & Johnny
BLAUVELT: Every time I listen to this song I picture credits rolling. What better way for my movie to end than with this whimsical little ditty tucking me in to bed?
“Hellhole Ratrace,” Girls
EMILY BRADEN: It’s a reminder that life is shitty sometimes, but you’ve got to go see, and do, and laugh, to make it less shitty.
“I’ll Keep it With Mine,” Nico
BRADEN: Every time I hear this song it reminds me of the first time I heard it. It was springtime, and there was a breeze, and I was sitting by the river. It was beautiful. This song sounds exactly like that feeling.
“Rainbow Babe,” Luna
MERIDETH HANSCOM: “Rainbow Babe” is a snapshot of a carefree young woman being young and whimsical. I’m definitely not carefree or whimsical—rather, I’m a tornado. My personality is very similar to a spiraling and chaotic tunnel of air. I have a loud voice and I talk with my hands. I have a slight speech impediment and my brain moves a mile a minute; I often feel like I can’t get my words out fast enough. I’m a lot. But, it would be cool to front that [I’m a rainbow] at my funeral.
“All I Wanna Do,” The Beach Boys
HANSCOM: This song is about wanting to bring love to people. It’s also very redemptive. All in all, the thesis of my life is that I’m a golden retriever—I’m outgoing, friendly, blonde, and I love a good walk around the block. I can relate to wanting to bring love to people.
“Many Roads to Follow,” The Nerves
ANDREW MCFARLAND: I was introduced to this song and The Nerves by my friend Graham when we sang it together for his mom’s birthday. I really love it. For me, it’s come to be about how friendships and relationships join and split and cross paths in beautiful and inexplicable ways. I love the attitude that shit just happens, and there’s not a plan, and you just have to roll with it and keep living your life.
“The Parting Glass,” The Lentils
MCFARLAND: “The Parting Glass” is an old Irish folk tune usually sung at funerals. I sang it at my granddad’s funeral and it’s been really important to me ever since. I love The Lentils’ version because it’s a unique and freaky take on such an old tune—and the freaky and unique parts of life are the best.
NEIGHBOR LADY’S DEBUT RECORD MAYBE LATER (FRIENDSHIP FEVER) IS OUT MAY 11, 2018.