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Speed Queen is the title of Little Scream’s new album, set to arrive on October 25. It’s a record that Little Scream (a.k.a. Laurel Sprengelmeyer) says is about observing the slow entropy of the US, ruminating on her own low-income upbringing in a flyover state, and, as she says, “taking it all in from the privileged position of being a new Canadian.”
Today, Little Scream shares a slice of escapism from the record, the gently grooving “Still Life”, which paints a picture of “complicated chaos” and “a sophisticated daydream.”
Little Scream on the song and finding personal catharsis:
“Much of my new record Speed Queen touches on class, poverty, and politics. But there are a few exceptions, and all of these exceptions have one thing in common—they all reference painting. I guess painting is my “happy place,” and the thing that gave me a break from the other heavy subject matter. ‘Still Life’ is a song that grew out of a fragment Mike Feuerstack had started and shared with me. I had just been discussing that Manet painting Un bar aux Folies Bergère, and I finished writing the song with the unrequited longing that painting has always inspired in me.
“Still Life” follows Speed Queen’s first single “Dear Leader” and its powerful, star-studded lyric video featuring cameos from The National, Arcade Fire, Superchunk, Holly Miranda, Leif Vollebekk, Mélissa Laveaux, and more. Speed Queen is available to pre-order today from Dine Alone Records on CD and Vinyl.
MORE ABOUT SPEED QUEEN
On her third album, Little Scream offers us a reflection on class and poverty in America. Speed Queen began as bits of prose written while touring her last album across North America. The title, which alludes to the opiate crisis, actually refers to a washing machine. Little Scream says, “When you’re struggling, nothing says you’ve made it more than getting your own washing machine. Speed Queen is about the dream of making it, and feeling desperately close but missing it.”
The album is gently accusatory. She doesn’t let herself or any of her listeners off the hook. In “Privileged Child”, she reminds wealthy people who like to adopt the style of the poor and working class that “poverty’s a feeling money just can’t buy.” On “Dear Leader,” she reminds those opposing migration that “when the waters rise, it’s gonna be you, Miami,” warning them that when they’re needing help, “…you will ask your God, but he’ll be busy getting risen, and the rich will be too busy buying stock in private prisons—that’s where they’ll send you for talking about socialism.” The biting commentary served with a sense of humor softens its presentation but doesn’t detract from its power. This is a theme throughout Speed Queen, where humor and warm heartedness prevail despite some of the darker subjects touched upon.
Montreal-based songwriter and guitarist Laurel Sprengelmeyer has been playing music under the moniker Little Scream since 2008. In 2011, she released The Golden Record, which Pitchfork dubbed “a stellar debut” and NPR called “an absolutely captivating record.” It was included in NPR’s Best Albums of 2011 list, and the New York Times evoked its “hints of the divine,” including Little Scream as one of the best new acts to follow at SXSW. Her second album Cult Following, which features guests including Sufjan Stevens, Mary Margaret O’Hara, and Sharon Van Etten, earned Little Scream new band of the week status from The Guardian and received five stars from Bust Magazine. Cult Following included the catchy Prince-inspired single “Love As A Weapon” which, according to the liner notes, she and her sister hoped would buy their mom, a cleaning woman in Illinois, “unlimited gift certificates to the Red Lobster.”
Since the release of Cult Following, Little Scream has stayed busy as a member of Richard Reed Parry’s Quiet River of Dust, touring with and co-writing songs from the albums Vol. 1: This Side of the River and Vol. 2: That Side of the River. A natural collaborator, she has appeared as a vocalist and/or guitarist on recordings for The National, The Barr Brothers, Will Butler, and Saltland, among others. She has appeared on two Red Hot compilations as well as charity singles to benefit the ACLU, Planned Parenthood, and Standing Rock.
Speed Queen release shows will be announced shortly.