Stella Donnelly very appropriately released her first full length album, Beware of the Dogs, on International Women’s Day, which fell on Friday March 8th. Since 2017’s Thrush Metal’s release, Stella enlisted a band of some of her best friends to help bring us a commanding commentary on what it is like to be a millennial women.
Stella Donnelly is a self-proclaimed shit-stirrer from Perth, Australia ready to say what needs to be said. Beware of the Dogs brings us 13 powerful tracks about abusive men, sexism, and the power of sticking up for yourself, others, and ultimately, what is right.
Donnelly started writing when she was 16 years old. She grew from singing Green Day covers in her high school band to studying at the West Australian Academy of Performing Arts. Her solo EP was recorded with humble intentions, never expecting the recognition she has since received. The six tracks were never intended to make it big, and now Donnelly laughs at the album art of her sloppily eating noodles. Before she knew it, she was awarded Bigsound 2017’s Levis Music Prize, headed to SXSW, and performing on NPR’s Tiny Desk.
“Boys Will Be Boys” was released on her Thrush Metal EP. In this song about the sexual abuse of a close friend, Donnelly addresses the excuses, blame, and filth of it all. This pre-dated the #MeToo movement given its 2017 release. The track’s message aligns so perfectly with Beware of the Dogs’s feminist agenda that it was included on the latest release. The track takes us to the root of the problem, “Your father told you that you’re innocent / Told ya women rape themselves.” Our patriarchal society is built on gender roles and this song really gets at how that leads people to think in unhealthy ways.
Leading up to the March 8th release, Donnelly released several singles, music videos, and tiny desk performances. One of the early releases, “Tricks,” was accompanied by a Julia Jacklin directed music video. The aussie-femme duo brought a playful video that addresses more serious issues like gender-roles in the music industry and a nationwide pride bordering on racism.
Stella’s favorite track off the album, “Lunch,” is about the disconnect she feels after going on tour. She sings “I get homesick before I go away,” and reflects on how nothing is quite the same after returning home.
Donnelly describes her songs as a way to heal without egging a house. This type of inviting charm mixed with some foul language gives us the perfect balance of wit and edge. Stella Donnelly is the feminist hero you’ve been searching for. A sharp lyricist, authentic, bubbly girl who is far from afraid to speak her mind.
Recommended If You Like: Japanese Breakfast, Angel Olsen, Julia Jacklin
Recommended Tracks: 1 (Old Man), 5 (Tricks), 7 (Lunch)
Do Not Play: 2,3,4,6,9,10,11
Written by Miranda Roberts on 03/13/2019