The Modern Savage is a five-piece alt-pop band from Anchorage, Alaska fronted by guitarist Jenni May Toro.

The group formed 2011 and has since become a local favorite in its home state, landing choice opening spots for national headliners including Jane’s Addiction and Silversun Pickups, and being named the “Best Indie Band” by the Anchorage Press for five years running. “I’m captivated by powerful front women like Kim Gordon, Patti Smith, PJ Harvey, and Karen O. Watching videos of and reading books about these iconic women has been a huge source of inspiration for me while living in such a remote location as Alaska,” Toro says. 

On January 27, 2017, The Modern Savage will self-release its second and latest album, Unwilling Participants. Produced by Brooklyn’s James Frazee (Patti Smith, Sharon van Etten, Esperanza Spalding), the record was written in the period following the end of Toro’s marriage and explores the dualities of life and the shades of grey in between “good” and “bad.” “My advice to others in a similar situation: Talk about it. Be vulnerable. In our idealistic, social media based, projection of happiness it’s easy to feel intimidated by life’s imperfections. Life is imperfect. People want to help. They want to offer their support and love,” Toro says.

“Straight and Narrow,” the first song to be revealed from the album, Toro uses a Jazzmaster-style guitar powered a Fender Deluxe and a Fender Deluxe Reverb, that showcases her unique playing style. “I’ve played classical guitar since I was a child; as a result I don’t often use a pick,” she says. The song is one of several tracks on Unwilling Participants where Toro faces the fact that even in bad times she is still the same romantic she as always. With its upbeat melodies and catchy chorus of planning for “next time around,” it also hints at her underlying resilience and strength.

Check out “Straight and Narrow” below, and keep your eye out for The Modern Savage’s Unwilling Participants in January.