Black Bra is an experimental goth rock outfit based in Nashville, Tennessee, fronted by Beth Cameron and backed by band members Miles Price on bass, Tyler Coppage on drums and Jesse Case on synthesizer. Their self-titled LP, out July 17, 2020, via YK Records, is a striking debut that confronts darkness and grief in its most liminal phases.
Cameron got her start in music playing in the band Fair Verona in high school. After the band signed a record deal upon graduation and subsequently broke up in 2001, she moved forward to other musical ventures. She formed Forget Cassettes in 2002 and released three albums (Instruments of Action, Salt and O Cursa) under that moniker over the course of a decade.
During a hiatus, Cameron longed for a clean slate from Forget Cassettes and to prove that women in their thirties and beyond still hold creative value. Cameron began writing, brought other musicians into the mix, and thus came Black Bra in 2017. The group played their first live show in 2018.
After creating demos at home with Price, the album was recorded in just a few days at Battle Tapes Studio by Grammy award-winning producer Jeremy Ferguson (Cage the Elephant, Lambchop), mixed by Roger Moutenot (Yo La Tengo, Sleater-Kinney) and mastered by John Baldwin (Emmylou Harris, Public Image Ltd.).
It was born out of years of intensive therapy and explores themes of hypocrisy, death, loss, inheritance and the feeling of irrelevance in the context of the world today. Opening track “When I Was a Young Girl,” which details childhood trauma and release of the mental hold it can take on a person, served as the catalyst for the entire body of work. “Modern Feminist” is a critique on modern feminism—and who it leaves out in its quest for supposed equity. Closing track “Wave Goodbye” came from a time when Cameron lost several close women in her life. Penned the night beloved Nashville rocker Jessi Zazu of Those Darlins died, it’s about relenting control to fate and letting go, featuring prevalent, haunting vocals that whisper, “You can come home if you want to.”
The record's soundscape is rooted in Cameron’s earlier punk work but delves into art rock and grunge territory, feeling most expansive in its quieter moments that seem to hold up the weight of the themes it explores. It's reminiscent of PJ Harvey and Amnesiac-era Radiohead. Texturally rich and delightfully complex, Black Bra weaves personal and political strife into a cohesive narrative that shines a light on the private process of embracing the past to reach a place of being more empathetic to oneself.