When The Dollyrots entered the studio in late 2013, the punk pair of Kelly Ogden [vocals, bass] and Luis Cabezas [guitar, vocals] brought someone else along for the ride. Ogden was actually pregnant with the couple’s first child River throughout the entire process, making it unlike any recording experience they enjoyed this past decade. As a result, they tapped into something very special for their fifth full-length album, the aptly titled Barefoot And Pregnant [Arrested Youth/Hunnypot Records].
“Well, our goal for 2013 was to make a new record and have a baby,” smiles the frontwoman. “We accomplished both. It’s straightforward punk rock. We didn’t overthink anything, and nobody was looking over our shoulders. The end result is an album that shows where Luis and I are at right now. It’s honest. The album literally grew as my belly grew.”
That said, a raw vitality courses through each of the tracks. With production by the band and John Fields [Jimmy Eat World, Miley Cyrus, Andrew WK], The Dollyrots’ signature spirit shines through in snappy guitar riffs, irresistible hooks, and punked-out percussion courtesy of none other than Stacy Jones. Despite bouts of morning sickness and exhaustion, Ogden would record vocals at home in a closet, capturing an intimacy like never before, while Cabezas took over the engineering duties himself.
“It’s a little rough around the edges in a good way,” he explains. “It’s playful, but it doesn’t sound too computerized or digital. It nods to our influences. We really made it sound as vinyl-y as it could.”
That organic power comes through on the title track and first single. Kicking into a fast beat, it quickly morphs into a sly and sharp anthem. The writing even happened as the duo drove home from a Pixies concert in Los Angeles.
“Kim from The Muffs was on bass, and I was not going to miss that,” laughs Ogden. “After seeing her kill it that night I was inspired to write a funny punk song about being pregnant. The phrase Barefoot And Pregnant has some negative connotations though. It makes you think of fifties housewives who had no option other than to stay home barefoot and pregnant in the kitchen. We feel totally the opposite about pregnancy. It’s an F-U to the idea that when you have a kid your life is over and that’s all women are good for. We’re not afraid to flaunt parenthood and still rock.”
And rock they do. “First World Anarchist” emanates a riotous energy as it hilariously examines what Ogden refers to as “the only anarchy most people experience in the States and the UK”, i.e. breaking arcane societal rules like wearing white after Labor Day.
Simultaneously, the band financed the effort through PledgeMusic, receiving overwhelming support from their diehard fan base and keeping everyone updated on each step of the process. Not only did they meet their goal, but five percent of the excess profits will be donated to MusiCares.
“We knew the album couldn’t suck, because people had already pre-ordered it through Pledge before recording began,” Cabezas goes on. “The fans have become family. It’s a direct relationship that’s helped us as artists because we’re not responsible to anyone but them. Even though we weren’t on the road last year, by making an album this way we got closer to everyone who believes in us because we owed them a kick-ass record.”
They’ve built this incredible audience through tireless touring and recording. Forming in 2000 while still teenagers, they’ve become true punk stalwarts. They released their debut Eat My Heart Out in 2004 via Lookout Records followed by 2007′s Because I’m Awesome and 2010′s A Little Messed Up both for Joan Jett’s Blackheart Records. Then, the band dropped their self-titled fourth album on their very own Arrested Youth Records. Along the way, they played the Vans Warped Tour a staggering seven times and saw placements on CSI: NY, Easy A, Raising Hope, Disney’s Brave, Greek, and numerous other films and television shows.
At the end of the day, there’s a heartfelt message at the center of Barefoot And Pregnant. “The fans know everything we do so completely,” says Ogden. “I hope the music inspires them to do whatever they feel passionate about in life. I want them to feel empowered to be themselves because great things can happen when you allow yourself to follow your animal instincts.”