Sophie Allison is a Swiss-born, Nashville-based singer/songwriter, guitarist and the creative mastermind behind the critically applauded indie rock project Soccer Mommy. Allison first picked up guitar when she was six — and as a teenager, she attended Nashville School of the Arts, where she studied guitar and played in the school’s swing band.
During the summer of 2015, Allison began posting home-recorded songs as Soccer Mommy and posted them to Bandcamp, just as she was about to attend New York University (my alma mater, no less!), where she studied music business at the University’s Steinhardt School of Culture, Education and Human Development.
While she was attending NYU, she played her first Soccer Mommy show at beloved, Bushwick-based venue Silent Barn. Allison caught the attention of Fat Possum Records, who signed her to a record deal — and after spending two years at NYU, she returned to Nashville to pursue a full-time career in music. Upon her return to Nashville, she wrote and released two Soccer Mommy albums — 2016’s For Young Hearts released through Orchid Tapes and 2017’s Collection released through Fat Possum.
Allison’s proper, full-length debut 2018’s Clean was released to widespread critical acclaim, and as a result of a rapidly growing profile, she has toured with the likes of Stephen Malkmus, Mitski, Kacey Musgraves, Jay Som, Slowdive, Frankie Cosmos, Liz Phair, Phoebe Bridgers, Paramore, Foster the People, Vampire Weekend, and Wilco.
Before the pandemic, Allison, much like countless other artists was gearing up for a big year: she started off 2020 by playing one of Bernie Sanders’ presidential rallies and joined a lengthy and eclectic list of artists, who endorsed his presidential campaign. That year also saw the release of her critically applauded sophomore album color theory, which she had planned to support with a headline tour with a number of sold-out dates months in advance that included a stop Glastonbury Festival and her late-night, national TV debut on Jimmy Kimmel Live!
With touring at a halt as a result of the pandemic, Allison, much like countless other artists recognized that the time off from touring offered a unique opportunity to get creative and experiment with new ideas and new ways to connect with fans.
Combining her love of video games and performing, Allison had a digital show on Club Penguin Rewritten with over 10,000 attendees, who all had to make their own penguin avatars to attend. The show was so popular, that the platform’s servers crashed, forcing a rescheduling of the event. Of course, Allison also played a number of live-streamed sets, including ones hosted by NPR’s Tiny Desk At Home (which she kicked off) and Pitchfork‘s IG Live Series. She also released her own Zoom background images for her fans to proudly show off their Soccer Mommy fandom.
Allison and her backing band then embarked on a Bella Clark-directed 8 bit, virtual music video tour that saw Soccer Mommy playing some of the cities she had been scheduled to play that year, if the pandemic didn’t happen — in particular, Minneapolis, Chicago, Seattle, Toronto, and Austin. Instead of having the virtual shows at a traditional music venue or a familiar tourist spot, the band were mischievously placed in highly unusual places: an abandoned Toronto subway station, a haunted Chicago hotel, a bat-filled Austin bridge underpass and the like. The video tour featured color theory single “crawling in my skin,” a song centered around looping and shimming guitars, a sinuous bass line, shuffling drumming, subtly shifting tempos and an infectious hook.
She closed out 2020 with an Adam Kolodny-directed, fittingly Halloween-themed visual for “crawling in my skin” that’s full of creeping and slow-burning dread that reminds me of Roger Corman’s Edgar Allan Poe movies with Vincent Price.
Allison’s newest album, the Daniel Lopatin (a.k.a. Oneohtrix Point Never)-produced Sometimes, Forever is slated for a June 24, 2022 release through Loma Vista/Concord. The new album reportedly sees Allison pushing her sound in new directions — but without eschewing the unsparing lyricism and catchy melodies that have won her attention across the blogosphere and elsewhere.
Inspired by the concept that neither sorrow nor happiness is permanent, Sometimes, Forever will be a fresh peek into the mind of a bold, young artist who synthesizes everything — retro sounds, personal tumult, the disorder of modern life — into music that feels built to last for a long time. The album’s material is also partly inspired by the uncomfortable push and pull between her desire to make meaningful art, her skepticism about the mechanics of careerism, and the mundane, artless administrative chaos that comes with all of it.
The album’s first single, the woozy “Shotgun” is an infectious banger centered around a classic grunge song structure — quiet verses, explosive choruses paired with layers of distorted guitars, Allison’s achingly plaintive vocals, an enormous hook, thunderous drumming paired with a throbbing groove.
“Shotgun” manages to liken a young romance to a sort of chemical high — but without the bruising and sickening comedown, which always comes after. But throughout the song, its narrator focuses on small moments in a particular love affair that’s imbued with a deep, personal meaning, “‘Shotgun’ is all about the joys of losing yourself in love,” explains Allison. “I wanted it to capture the little moments in a relationship that stick with you.”
Last night, Allison and her backing band performed “Shotgun” on The Tonight Show Starring Jimmy Fallon. After a brief break, Soccer Mommy will be embarking on a couple of Stateside festival dates including a stop at this year’s Governor’s Ball on June 12, 2022.
The band will then embark on a lengthy European tour. For information and tickets, check out the following: https://soccermommyband.com/#tour