True Blossom: Pop for Good Samaritans
On a clear, winter night down a few backroads, and through a barely-lit, crater-ridden parking lot, a band called True Blossom rehearsed at a warehouse practice space. They warmly welcomed me in and offered me candy prior to my interview. Initially, I wouldn’t have imagined True Blossom’s music coming out of a warehouse. I pictured their sound flowing from a purple-lit living room, like a scene straight out of Scott Pilgrim. The airy, dance-in-your-room grooves and melodies True Blossom create are sweet with cavity-inducing lyrics that are catchy, without being generic or corny.
The band consists of guitar player and saxophonist, Chandler Kelley, lead singer Sophie Cox, Keyboard player Jamison Murphy, bassist Nadav Flax, and drummer Adam Weisberg. Kelley and Cox knew each other from high school, but in its entirety, True Blossom fully formed in 2017.
With influences and early sounds like Madonna, Stereolab, Twin Sister, The Tim Weisberg Band, and Charli XCX, True Blossom has fine tuned their sound with a lot of practice. ”We practice a lot, which is helpful, and we get to know each other too. We’re lucky that we get to practice that much, especially all five of us. I think that’s one of our strengths, that we’re able to make time every week to get together,” Says Cox.
True Blossom’s music is quite satisfying and easy to listen to, their thin, synth driven sound with, little or no distortion make the tunes easily digestible, while still being able to revisit. Each listen leads to a new revelation of how the musicians work together. In both True Blossom’s performances, and throughout their debut album, “Heater,” their practice is apparent. The album contains the bliss of dance-worthy tracks such as “ Me & U,” and “Heater.” Meanwhile, tracks like “Flu Punks,” “I Still Hate You,” and “What I Want I Can Never Have,” are worthy of sweetly recalling past crushes. Still others like, “Graveyard Robbers” take on a lullaby nature, in which Cox’s voice is as charming as a siren’s. While songs like “Mutiny,” and “One More Time,” take on the characteristics of all of the above.
Last year, True Blossom toured the east coast, from Atlanta to New York, disclosing that they made it through touring, mostly in part, due to the kindness of strangers. The “series of angels,” is an ongoing band inside joke that I was able to get in on, as they collectively recalled their experience about a Mennonite they met at a coffee shop. They invited him to their show and he invited a decent group of people with him three hours later “It’s hard because people don’t come to your show because people don’t know who you are...He was also very wholesome. He was like a cartoonish idea of a hip kid you would see in Lancaster, Pennsylvania, and asked us to come to his church the next day,” says Kelly.
They continued reminiscing about Baltimore’s strange, labyrinthian alley parking situation. “This dude comes out next door, a sort of grizzled dude glaring at us, frowning, and not moving, and I was thinking ‘Oh great, we have an audience while we plow this car into a wall’ and after 5 minutes, he’d seen enough and starts directing us silently, and then once we pull in, he was gone into the night.” Nadav elaborated the mystery angel’s gym-coach-like aesthetic. “He was the antithesis of Jeremiah” added Jamison. “Angels come in all flavors, man”, added Kelley.
True Blossom shed further light on their reliance on good samaritans and stable DIY venues. “I think so much of Atlanta’s band scene being at 529 is such a gift to touring artists,” says Cox. “The venues in Atlanta, especially the ones that aren’t DIY spaces, with liquor licenses—the equivalent spaces in every other city is just garbage, and the sound is [usually] terrible, and no one cares. They try to screw you [over] and no one wants to play with you. 529 is so good because the comparable venues in other cities are usually just bad. A lot of DIY spaces are sort of unstable. For instance, if we were to go to a DIY space in Philly, they’re going to be closed within the next 6 months,” says Kelley.
Atlanta has had a difficult year, as DIY venues, like The Chiropractor, The Casa Nova, Mom’s House, and Mammal Gallery have either closed or gone on hiatus one by one. “In terms of DIY spaces—places like The Bakery— DIY spaces are great, especially ones that can stick around a little bit longer, because I think it just allows for more artistry, growth, and people to come together. The Bakery and Mammal—while Mammal was running, and Eyedrum too—those places were always DIY, yet solid and established places, but they could have all of these cool things that weren’t exclusively shows. I will miss that if that ever goes away. There’s so much more, in terms of visual art or experimenting with stage design, that those venues allow to happen. I know a lot of people who’ve learned to do sound by working at those venues.” says Flax.
In the future, True Blossom would like to reach an even younger audience “I think young people have it right in that they’re big pop enthusiasts, and we are too as a band,” says Kelley. We are re-entering a time when pop is becoming cool, as long as it’s done right. All-in-all, True Blossom’s range within the realm of dream-pop is impressive, as is their ability to stay true to their genuine sound. You can check out their debut album Heater on Spotify, Bandcamp, or iTunes and stay up to date on upcoming shows via Facebook and Instagram.