Before you make assumptions and lump singer-songwriter, multi-instrumentalist, and all-around badass babe Mitski into the category of tortured-soul Dylan wannabes, know that she is anything but. Written by a woman who’s risen above the pretentious murk of modern-day folk, her November release Bury Me at Makeout Creek (named after a line Milhouse uttered The Simpsons) embodies the psyche’s messy side, luring lovers of gritty and vulnerable songs to the land of milk and honey.
Emerging from the hazy Brooklyn DIY scene, Mitski tells us herself, via email, that she wanted Bury Me to tell the truth. “I realized I would never be what people want me to be,” she writes. “[That] seems to be the theme of the album. I’m angrily refusing, but only because I tried for so long to be accepted. I’m heartbroken, acting strong.”
While most of the chord progressions are left in the hands of her guitarist, she wrote the entire album on her own guitar, a foreign instrument for her, picking it up at the same time she got to writing. “I wanted to be able to play shows without lugging around a piano,” she says.
She bravely fronts her band, wields a bass, and sings her guts out.
Of her recent solo tour, she tells us it was exhausting in ways she didn’t anticipate, and soft moments on the record complement the full-band noise in spite of the fact that, according to her, those moments generally aren’t what venues want.
“When a big crowd comes to the show just to get drunk and ignore you while you pour your heart out, it can feel pretty bad,” she says.
Those experiences made her want to become a better musician who can “take those big waves in stride,” and now she plans to tour with Hundred Waters and Screaming Females. As to whether she’ll learn to ride the ups and downs of working, she recently tweeted: “I count 45 people who expressly want to see me eat shit. I write down 45 ways I will be of use to the world, and then I head to work.”