I thought I was being proactive. I patted myself on the back for keeping myself so organized and forward-thinking when I spent a full day in January going through nearly every local concert calendar, venue by venue, marking down in my planner all the upcoming shows I might be interested in going to. Now, when I open the gold-flecked planner adorned with the words “I Am Very Busy” (ha!), I see painful reminders of experiences that didn’t happen. Eventually, I stopped opening it at all but I’ve dusted it off and am now staring at the rectangular square allotted for Monday, April 27. The sole event marked in the box reads “Soccer Mommy & Emily Reo @ Neumos.”
In February, Sophie Allison released her sophomore record under the name Soccer Mommy. Titled color theory, the record is a triumph that sees Allison ambitiously evoke a wide palette of melancholic emotions. Allison has said the album depicts three central themes that are represented by three colors: blue, representing sadness and depression; yellow, symbolizing physical and emotional illness; and gray, representing darkness, emptiness, and loss. It’s a more sorrowful tone than the sunny power-pop of her debut but no less catchy, enjoyable, or critically acclaimed.
Hence, this tour was supposed to be a big one for her. After spending the past couple years opening for major name artists like Vampire Weekend, Wilco, Stephen Malkmus, Mitski, Kacey Musgraves, Jay Som, Slowdive, Frankie Cosmos, Liz Phair, and Phoebe Bridgers, not to mention her performances opening for Bernie Sanders' rallies, this tour was supposed to be her moment to headline an international tour. Instead, well, you know what happened.
With touring at a halt, Allison has gotten creative and decided to release specialized music videos for color theory track “crawling in my skin” for a few of the cities she was unable to play on tour. Fans from Minneapolis, Chicago, Toronto, Austin, and Seattle will all get to see an 8-bit version of Soccer Mommy “perform” in their city. Directed by Bella Clark, who also helmed the 8-bit video for “bloodstream,” the clips depict the band in various semi-recognizable city locations.
For Seattle’s “show,” Soccer Mommy performs underneath a sort of Space Needle meets the Great Wheel hybrid while, deep in the Washington forests, a crowd dances along. “When going over site options, we were interested in what would be fun to build out, but also what is offbeat, what is spooky?” explains Clark. “Everyone knows the Space Needle, but Seattle also has this sort of ET, Bigfoot, werewolf energy that we wanted to incorporate!"
“Quarantine for me has basically consisted of playing video games on my gameboy, watching Firefly and Buffy, and writing and recording demos," Allison tells KEXP in a statement. "I’ve gotten to do a lot of cooking with my roommates which is fun. I’m missing tour but decided to try and focus on writing and relaxing while I can’t be on the road.”
Allison adds, “I hope this little 8-bit performance can hold everyone over until the tour can happen."
It may not be quite the same as staring up at the band while drinking a cold beer amongst a group of passionate fans at Neumos but I’ll channel Bernie Sanders and just say, “Let me thank Soccer Mommy for the music."
color theory follows 2018’s Clean and is out now via Loma Vista Recordings. Below, watch the Seattle performance of “crawling in my skin” as well as Soccer Mommy’s KEXP in-studio performance from 2018. The Minneapolis, Chicago, Toronto, and Austin performances are also available to watch.
Sophie Allison follows her acclaimed debut album Clean with a cover of the 1998 country crossover hit
Soccer Mommy's Sophie Allison chats with KEXP about dropping out of NYU to pursue music, dry shampoo, and her background home recording.