It was when the world stopped during the early days of the pandemic in 2020 did singer/songwriter Sabrina Teitelbaum found her sound and voice for her current project as Blondshell. The self-titled album is due on April 7th and the singles that have been released thus far, have garnered high praise. Teitelbaum recommitted to guitar and revisited the galvanic 90s alt-rock of Nirvana and Hole, that helped shape the sonics of the music on the album, while featuring lyrics that screamed her truth with clever writing and directness. Songs like the previously released “Kiss City,” features lines like “I think my kink is when you tell me that you think I’m pretty,” a witty expression of learning to state desire or “I think you watched way too much HBO growing up,” as heard on “Joiner,” a blunt address of formative damage. “There were a lot of things that I was running away from—mainly loneliness, self-esteem stuff,” Teitelbaum stated. “I always want to make people feel like they have more power and control and peace because I know what it feels like to want that for myself. I know how music has helped me get there,” she said. “What I’ve realized I need to do is write realistically, and try to not bring shame into the writing. Each song gave me more confidence. I hope the songs help people in that way, too.” Teitelbaum grew up in New York City raised primarily by her single dad, who was a classic rock music fan. During an era of sleek teen radio pop, her most formative childhood obsession was the Rolling Stones. Piano and guitar offered a means of processing the instability around her. “I had a lot of really big feelings, but I had learned as a child that I couldn’t really express them,” Teitelbaum stated. “Performing and writing ended up being the only place where I could get any feelings out.” In high school, she discovered new indie-rock bands by scouring the websites of Bowery venues with her fake ID in hand—teen fascinations that instilled in her a love for lyrics with specificity and intensity, particularly as learned from The National, whose lyrics “informed a lot of the way I write.” While attending USC and studying in their music program, she would begin creating and performing dark pop songs under the name BAUM, and released a number of EPs that garnered her recognition for her honest portrayal and assessment of socio-political topics ranging from body positivity and eating disorder to queer love. Blondshell recently completed a tour opening for Suki Waterhouse and will embark on her own headlining tour later this year.
Sabrina Teitelbaum spoke with B-Sides host Pete Mar about how it just took getting older and living life to understand how to be vulnerable in her songwriting, how the 90s alternative rock sounds from the likes of Smashing Pumpkins and others organically fit the music on her self-titled debut album and more.