When the Los Angeles-based rock group Giant Drag released it's debut full-length, Hearts And Unicorns, in 2005, fans were immediately taken by frontwoman Annie Hardy's playful and fearless crush of the innocent into the profane. She intentionally subverted her image - pigtails with large, bashful eyes and an almost childlike voice - with brawny guitar noise and provocative songs like "You're Full of S*** (Check Out My Sweet Riffs)" and "YFLMD." (I'll let you look up that second one).
It proved to be a potent mix that landed Giant Drag a deal with Interscope Records, on-stage performances with The Jesus And Mary Chain, and appearances at Coachella and other major festivals. But after repeated fits and starts on a followup, the label eventually dropped the band and nearly a decade passed before Giant Drag self-released it's second and final album, Waking Up Is Hard To Do. That was in 2013.
In the four years since, Annie Hardy has endured unimaginable grief. After dropping out of the music business, she attempted to settle down and had a baby, a boy named Silvio. But in March, 2015, her infant son died of SIDS when he was just 17 days old. Then, less than a year later, her partner and father of her son, Robert Paulson died of a drug overdose.
Hardy pours this unfathomable heartache and her search for healing into her first solo album, called Rules. "After my son died, it all had to come back out," she said in a prepared statement announcing the record. "Writing these songs saved me."
On the album's first single, "Want," Hardy trades her grunge and groove-heavy guitar noise for something more akin to '70s folk-rock jams. The lyrics are acutely plain-spoken. "I want my baby back," she sings. "What else can I do? I want my baby back. If I can't have him I don't want you."
"Want" features Don Bolles from The Germs on drums and Stephen McBean from Pink Mountaintops and Black Mountain on guitar. Rules is out on Full Psycho/American Primitive Records on April 7. The full track listing is below.
- Jade Heim
- Impossible To Love
- Shadow Mode
- High Forever
- Go Hey Ruku Sake
- Blood In Blood Out
- Jesus Loves Me