If you’ve been introduced to Sabrina Teitelbaum you probably knew her under her former stage name, BAUM. But now the LA-based former pop musician is a turned retro ’90s rock artist named Blondshell. This genre shift is not much of a drastic change for her personally, in fact, she kind of saw it coming. The 25-year-old musician has always loved grunge, with her childhood favorite band being The National. When making pop music as BAUM, she may not have self-actualized at that point, but something felt incomplete.
“There was just this thing that didn’t quite make sense,” Teitelbaum says. “I listened to all of this grunge and rock from the ’90s, but I was making pop music. It just didn’t quite add up. It made more sense for me when I started making this music because it’s what I love.”
Though for Teitelbaum, Blondshell was more than just a stylistic change. She felt completely different as an artist. The singer-songwriter started her last project when she was 18 and in the seven years since she feels a lot has changed.
“It was sort of all the stuff that I had been wanting to say but didn’t know how to say it,” Teitelbaum says. “I think it’s just a matter of getting older and knowing myself more.”
Starting this new project, Teitelbaum has released six songs as Blondshell, all sharing similar themes of self-exploration, addiction, grief and relationships, among other things. On her most recent release, “Joiner,” we’re welcomed into Teitelbaum’s complexity and vulnerability. From reverberating guitar strokes to an enchanting, yet mysterious chorus, “Joiner” captures Blondshell’s essence.
“Joiner is about being caught between a couple of feelings or perspectives,” Teitelbaum says. “One being I love somebody who’s not doing healthy things for themselves and I want to help them and make the situation better. The other feeling being, why do I have to be responsible for other people, why do I have to be responsible for myself and be the ‘healthy one.’”
Her debut track “Olympus,” released in June 2022, immerses you in the complicated feelings of a toxic relationship and thus a toxic relationship to substance. With a classic alt-rock hazy guitar introduction and lyrical expressions of guilt and longing, this track encapsulates Teitelbaum’s direction for Blondshell. It only made sense for the track to be the first she released under Blondshell.
“Olympus felt like it couldn’t be as specified. It had a little bit of everything from the album. It was just nice because it was the first one I wrote for the album.”
Coming April 7, “Blondshell,” her self-titled debut album is set to be released. On her forthcoming record, Teitelbaum continues to not shy away from the deeply vulnerable themes in her previous releases — all of which are to be featured on this work except her Spotify single. The artist sonically draws from Smashing Pumpkins’ “Siamese Dream” and Hole’s “Live Through This” mainly in the guitar work. Notably, Teitelbaum also cited much of the early 2000s New York indie-rock scene like The Strokes, Yeah Yeah Yeahs and Interpol as an inspiration.
While in anticipation of her record release, Blondshell is currently on a North American tour supporting Suki Waterhouse.
“[Waterhouse] has been so welcoming, and her whole band and everything,” says Teitelbaum. “So it’s been really fun and the crowds have been awesome.”
On January 31, Blondshell will make a stop in D.C. with Waterhouse at the Black Cat. The show is already sold out. Learn more about Teitelbaum and Blondshell’s music by visiting her website here or follow her on Instagram @Blondshell.
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