New Audio: Lillian Frances Shares a Coquettish Road Trip Anthem

Lillian Frances is a Sacramento-based singer/songwriter, producer and self-professed “sonic collager.” Inspired by the creative and imaginative nature of children, Frances’ work generally isn’t bound to genre or style conventions. Her work frequently meshes and blurs genre and style lines, often within the same song with lyrics sung in English and Spanish.

Frances’ 2018 EP Timeism featured a sound that some have compared to LordeSylvan Esso, and Billie Eilish — and received praise from NPR’s Heavy Rotation, Indie Shuffle, and Cap Radio.  She supported the EP with appearances across the state and regional festival circuit with sets at  Sacramento PorchFest, the Davis Music Festival and the Davis Cherry Blossom Festival among others. Adding to a growing profile, Frances has opened for Sylvan Esso — and she has played alongside Shakey GravesSage the Gemini, and Lexi Panterra.

The Sacramento-based artist released her full-length debut Moonrise Queendom back in 2020 and the album featured “Raincheck Summer,” a breezy and forward-thinking, summery pop confection centered around a coquettish and mischievous push and pull — and a deep, timely sense of irony: A summertime bop for the summer in which you never actually saw anyone. Interestingly, underlying the song’s bold playfulness and irony, the song as Frances explains “explores the idea of authentic connection.”

This February, Frances did something she had been dreaming of for years: She finally moved out of her parents’ home and into her own apartment. The pandemic had been in full swing for about a year, and she was — understandably — champing at the bit to get out of the way-too-close quarters with her mother, father and sister.

When she moved, the Sacramento-based artist was overwhelmed by what she describes as a beautiful wave of freedom. She felt as though she could go anywhere, do anything, be anyone (within reason) — and so she did.

Week after week, Frances would jump into her Chevy Volt and head to some new outdoorsy location, usually revolving around rock climbing, like Joshua Tree, CA; Smith Rock, OR; Red Rocks, NV; and so on. Through her road trips, the Sacramento-based artist experienced a level of freedom, adventure and romance that reminded her of what it’s like to be truly alive and present.

Those road trips wound up informing and influencing her latest single “Direct Sunlight.” Around the time, she started writing the song, she was figuring out how to be a good plant mom — i.e., figuring out where in the house is the sunniest? shadiest? how much water? etc. — she was figuring out how much sunlight and care, she really needed.

Written, recorded and produced by Frances, “Direct Sunlight” is a breezy pop confection centered around skittering trap-like beats, atmospheric synths and glistening bursts of mandolin paired with Frances’ coquettish, come hither delivery. The song captures the feeling of being on the road — perhaps for the first time in some time — and the sense of adventure and possibility that every single trip brings with it. Add it to your road trip playlist.