8 June, 2021Print
Pom Pom Squad Continues Journey To “One Of 2021’s Fiercest New Albums” With New Track “Crying”
Debut Album ‘Death Of A Cheerleader’, Out June 25
TOUR DATES LATER THIS SUMMER WITH BULLY
Pom Pom Squad’s forthcoming album ‘Death of a Cheerleader’ (dropping June 25th on City Slang Records) has become one of this summer’s most anticipated releases. Of frontperson Mia Berrin, Paste said “indie rock [is] gaining a new voice that we’ll be hearing from for years to come”, and past tracks “Lux” (a “galvanizing treatise on feminine awakening” - The Fader) and “Head Cheerleader” (“a phenomenal lesson in modern grunge” - Billboard) have set the stage for what will truly be “one of 2021’s fiercest new albums” (Nylon). And today the Brooklyn four-piece release the latest taste of what’s to come with “Crying”.
Serving as a sort of unmasking for Berrin, the track tackles the daunting task of facing one’s own shortcomings and darkness while trying so hard to not run away. It also serves a sort of aesthetic binding between the raw, thrashing, cathartic energy of the record and the swelling cinematic inspiration behind it. Also out today is the music video (co-directed by Julia Sub and Berrin) for the track -- a feast for fans of 50s & 60s cinema & film noir, finding Berrin emotionally unraveling and raging in a gorgeous greyscale, overcome with a creeping dread metaphorically brought to life by a barrage of hands adorned with black latex gloves.
“This song is honestly sort of a self-drag. I think during the ‘Ow’ [previous EP] cycle, I convinced myself that through writing these songs I could completely exorcise the demon that was my depression. As It turns out, no amount of songwriting is a substitute for medication and therapy,” says Berrin about the track’s inspiration. “In terms of thinking in a narrative arc, I knew I wanted to write a song that felt like a bridge between the guitar-based world of the record and the cinematic 50s/60s inspired world of this record. Ultimately it became about a meta-feeling - being angry at yourself for being depressed. The character of this song is basically my ego: the part of myself who doesn’t learn, makes the same mistakes constantly, is flaky, can’t admit she’s wrong, is self pitying and who wraps it all up in a bow the color of self deprecation. When I was in college, I joked with my friends that my placement in the 9 alignments was “Chaotic Stupid” which became kind of a persona of it’s own. My dumb-bitch-self. In short, the song is me calling myself whiny. Very glam!”
Director Julia Sub added “This video in many ways is a love letter to the all-consuming act of crying, as well as a confrontation with isolation. Much like the themes in the track, this music video is a reconciliation of internal and external forces — the spaces around us, the spaces inside us and the people that affect us. The swelling of emotion in this beautiful song is visualized through darkness, in an empty movie theater, a warehouse and an old motel. We see this character navigating these spaces just like she is navigating her feelings. The movie theater element is the anchor here, illustrating how examining past experiences and memories can leave us feeling like outsiders looking into our own lives — like watching a movie. My favorite part of this video is how fear is materialized in the form of hands creeping into frame, emphasizing the feeling of being swallowed by the weight of our anxieties. The visual inspiration for this video came largely from old Film Noir aesthetics and the painfully obvious obsession Mia and I have with the absurd and abstract works of David Lynch.”
Equal parts grimy garage rock authenticity and swirling cinematic flourishes, ‘Death Of a Cheerleader’ (produced by Sarah Tudzin of Illuminati Hotties and co-produced by Berrin herself) explores the terrifying yet liberating topics of independent self-acceptance, smashing the white male patriarchy, being okay with not being okay, and fully embracing your own skin for the first time in your life — in a way, learning to become your own special kind of cheerleader. With Berrin at the creative helm, ‘Death Of a Cheerleader’ is a record for those struggling to find themselves and then shouting from the rooftops when they finally do.
Mia Berrin spent her childhood trying to find where she fit right in the world, looking to the pop culture icons on TV in hopes of finding an image she connected to. She connected with the films of John Waters and David Lynch, loved the dark campiness found in Heathers, was in awe of the power of women like Courtney Love and Kathleen Hanna. Growing up as a female of color who would later in her life unearth and embrace her queerness, discussing and reconciling who she is with the perception of who people think she should be, has become a lifelong mission for Mia.
With Shelby Keller (drums), Mari Alé Figeman (bass), and Alex Mercuri (guitar), Mia formed Pom Pom Squad in 2015 and took to the streets of NYC, cutting her teeth playing packed venues alongside the likes of Soccer Mommy, Pronoun and Adult Mom.
But with the COVID pandemic changing the rules of how we all live, followed by the wave of protests against systemic racism and police brutality in the wake of the murder of George Floyd, Mia’s world became more solitary, and she took this time of reflection to pay respect and homage to the people of color who helped lay the groundwork for the musician she is today. The likes of Billie Holiday, Sister Rosetta Tharpe, and Ronnie Spector all ring a bell. All of these components throughout Mia’s life have bonded together, fortifying a talent that for years has shaken NYC venues, and now is set to shake the world.
2021 TOUR DATES WITH BULLY
Aug 20 - Birmingham, AL - Saturn
Aug 21 - Atlanta, Ga - The Earl
Aug 22 - Atlanta, Ga - The Earl
Aug 23 - Durham, NC - Motorco Music Hall
Aug 26 - St. Louis, MO - Off Broadway
Aug 27 - Chicago, IL - The Empty Bottle
Aug 28 - Chicago, IL - The Empty Bottle
Aug 29 - Chicago, IL - The Empty Bottle
Aug 30 - Milwaukee, WI - The Back Room @ Colectivo on Prospect
Aug 31 - Minneapolis, MN - Fine Line
‘DEATH OF A CHEERLEADER’ TRACK LISTING
2. Head Cheerleader
4. Second That
7. Crimson + Clover
10. Shame Reactions
11. Drunk Voicemail
12. This Couldn’t Happen
13. Be Good
14. Thank You And Goodnight