At its inception, Philadelphia garage rock four-piece Louie Louie was a project that served to stretch vocalist/guitarist Emily Robb’s ownership over her own musical endeavors.
“It’s the first time I’ve done something not under the wing of a far more experienced person,” she says. “And in a historically super male-dominated arena like rock ‘n’ roll, it’s incredibly freeing to have written this record on our own, just the four of us.”
Robb spent four years in the splintering psych group Lantern, which she formed with her then-boyfriend Zachary Devereux Fairbrother after the two met in music school. Lantern released a handful of EPs and two proper full-lengths, all of which mixed the shadowy ‘60s rock nostalgia of artists like Dirty Beaches and Ty Segall with straightforward, rockabilly blues. In 2013, she began working with a newly formed group, Myrrias, serving as bassist and vocalist for the experimental project that included members from Break It Up and Arc in Round. Myrrias was a much more ambient project than Lantern, one with an all-woman cast that helped Robb realize what it was she wanted to build with Louie Louie.
Last winter, she began pulling her sister Jenna out of her 9-5 job early each day so that the two could sit side by side on drum kits in their small Philly practice space. Once Jenna had the basics down on drums, Robb moved back to guitar and recruited Leslie Burnette on electric organ and Emily Eichelberger on bass, both of whom she knew from serving tables. “It was really fun, totally basic and yes, 100% new,” she remembers of coaching this newly defined group of musicians through some initial fundamentals and simple covers.
One year later, Louie Louie has refined a sound that is equal parts sweet, doo-wop styled harmonies and swift kickass post-punk. They’re debuting it in a full-length release with, Friend of a Stranger, which will come out on Feburary 10 via Born Losers Records.
Robb says, “Do It In Your Mind,” the latest single from the album, is a song to “shake the anger out.” This is made abundantly clear through the guttural roar that leads into the track, and easily pushed on through with a raw, post-punk kick drum and punchy vocals. “I speak from several different peoples’ perspectives in the song. Mostly, it’s about breaking free and getting to know oneself more,” which is what she’s accomplished by starting Louie Louie in the first place.
Listen to “Do It In Your Mind” below, and lookout for Friend of a Stranger next month.