Abukhodair solo EP transitions into punk world
“I miss those loud punk shows. That was a really unique part of Duluth.” - Lyla Abukhodair, Homegrown Music Festival Field Guide , May, 2021
Singer, songwriter and guitarist Lyla Abukhodair may not have been able to dive into the Duluth punk scene during the COVID-19 pandemic but she was able to make a record filled with the stuff.
Abukhodair released her debut solo EP Your Mom Hates Me Now on June 8 - a record that promises to help bring those loud, cathartic, high-energy shows back to the Northland as fast as possible.
The four-song album is departure for Abukhodair who fronted the eclectic folk ensemble NorShore Summit for more than two years. But while the sound of this solo release is vastly different, the free-wheeling spirit of the old band burns bright, which helps connect the two projects.
On this outing, Abukhodair is backed by a versatile three-piece rock band featuring Adam Herman and Tarek Makky of the Slamming Doors and drummer Matt Groom. There are no fiddles or tambourines - just flat-out rock and roll.
And it seems punked-up rock suits Abukhodair better than the hippy groove. Her voice is a powerhouse. It’s clean, strong and direct like the siren on a police car chasing speeders down Garfield Avenue. It’s best for everyone else to get out of the way.
Your Mom Hates Me Now features songs that could break kitchen windows, burn a stack of Family Circle magazines and rip holes in a fine dinner dress. The record has a turn-of-the-millenium pop punk sound but Abukhodair’s songwriting has far more ambition and depth than Blink-182 or Good Charlotte.
“I lost myself just looking for you. I’m way up here with nothing to do but sing these sad, sad songs,” she sings on the blistering title track. “Where am I gonna surround ourselves with shiny things and see what the New Year brings?”
These aren’t songs about raunchy, late night backyard parties or getting drunk at the beach, these are songs about love and all its difficult questions. While the band mines the skate punk sounds of the 2000s, Abukhodair summons the ghosts of women-who-rock trailblazers like Liz Phair, Mary Lou Lord and Tonya Donnelly with tight, introspective writing.
“No Idea,” the EP single, celebrates insecurity with a roar. The song is filled with questions: “Have I lost it all?” asks Abukhodair. “What am I supposed to do with you running inside my head with no shoes?”
The answer is found in the song’s raging conclusion: “I have no idea who I’m supposed to be.”
Change and transition never sounded so confident.
As the pandemic subsides and live music returns, it appears Abukhodair is ready to lead the charge into that underground punk world looking for more songs, even deeper questions and maybe an answer or two.