The road to where Beth Ann McDowell has landed as a rising indie artist has been long and winding. Her prescience for the unexpected and weird, underground and marginal, has taken her from starting her musical career as Littlefoot in an underground DIY space doing an industrial Heart cover set to creating music with indie producer darling R. Walt Vincent, known best for his works with Liz Phair and Pete Yorn. Hearing McDowell’s ethereal, dreamlike vocals on previous recordings while under the artist name Littlefoot, you could easily mistake her for Julee Cruise or Kazu Makino of Blonde Redhead; but on her latest releases, “Killers Of The Early Morning” and “Where The Calm Things Are”, both on her upcoming album “The Sim is Real,” she taps into her rich and arguably stronger lower register, and showcases what she’s truly made of both as a songwriter and a vocalist. She attributed her shift in great part to Vincent and their friendship which was inevitable after the two met to discuss recording at a Carbone’s near McDowell’s home in Saint Paul, Minnesota and they hit it off immediately.
“He seemed to really ‘get’ what I was trying to do with this album, and he seemed to really get me. We both have this very dark and sarcastic sense of humor, and so to hear from someone as talented and renowned as [Vincent] that he loved my vocals, loved my songs… it inspired me so much after a bit of a dark age.”
The two of them envisioned that “The Sim Is Real” would be a sort of ode to the 90’s, while remaining somewhat psych-y and modern. McDowell was thrilled that he felt she had a quality both as a person and musician that was ‘from another time.’ “I’ve always felt that I’m not in the right decade. But I suppose maybe everyone feels that way.”
“Where The Calm Things Are”, the latest single release, is arguably the darkest and most potent song on the album. With a heavy, buzzing bass line akin to, rightly, 90’s alternative rock, with McDowell’s voice at times dancing lightly on it, at times matching it in its thick, syrupy hum, this song stands out on the 10 track album. It is available for streaming on all platforms, you can listen to it on Spotify here:
Her album, “The Sim Is Real”, is out April 15 on all platforms.