Featuring the brittle, introspective songs of singer/songwriter Taylor Vick, Boy Scouts emerged in 2010 with the sparse mini-album garagebandaid. Accompanied mainly by acoustic guitar and the occasional drums or glockenspiel, her bedroom folk remained a solo pursuit until 2019's Free Company. Her first studio recording, the album arranged her dreamy reflections for a full, electric band and included collaborators. Raised in California's Central Valley, Taylor Vick started playing the guitar in the fourth grade. Having grown up on country music, and inspired by acoustic acts like the Dixie Chicks and Michelle Branch whom she heard on the radio, she soon started writing her own songs. Named for the recording app she used to make her Boy Scouts debut, the seven-track garagebandaid was written and recorded entirely by Vick, who shared it online in January 2010. She relocated to the Bay Area before recording more songs. The three-track Boy Scouts EP 3 appeared in 2015 and was followed a year later by her first full-length, Homeroom Breakfast. Released in the first half of 2017, the EP C Sides included songs in various stages of completion. Later that year, the mini-album Hobby Limit was still written, performed, and recorded entirely by Vick. It received cassette releases by Oakland-based Processional Cross in the U.S. and Super Fan 99 in the U.K. Another EP, Mood Rings, arrived in 2018. Working with collaborators for the first time, the breakup-inspired full-length Free Company was co-produced by Vick and singer/songwriter Stephen Steinbrink, who also played on the album. Released by Epitaph imprint Anti- in August 2019, its other guests included Rose Droll (piano) and drummers Nikolas Soelter and Chase Kamp on limited tracks. She followed it with a North American tour in support of Jay Som. ~ Marcy Donelson
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Alternative & Indie - Released August 30, 2019 | Anti - Epitaph
A longtime D.I.Y. musician from Central California, Taylor Vick makes her Anti- label debut with the breakup-fueled Free Company. It arrives nine years after her first record under the Boy Scouts alias. Working with collaborators for the first time, she recorded Free Company with singer/songwriter Stephen Steinbrink in his makeshift studio in a rented shipping container (Container Studio), qualifying it also as her studio debut. While the recording quality is a couple steps up from the voice memos and home recordings of her prior releases, the songwriter was already presenting rich, sometimes beguiling full-band arrangements on her songs, if tracking them all on her own. Here, Steinbrink played drums, bass, and synths on parts of the album, which also includes appearances by a few others, including Rose Droll on piano. What remains constant from Boy Scouts' prior material is the pastel-colored, hopeful quality of Vick's vocal tone, melodies, and chord structures, even as her lyrics come to terms with harsh realizations. That quality can be heard right from the album's sunlit opening guitar hook on the mid-tempo "Get Well Soon," a song about reaching a point of stalemate when trying to help a loved one ("Got a thought of you/Do you have one too?/I hope you think of you/'Cause we all want you to"). Vick's double-tracked vocals on the song separate into harmonies in its languid, lilting chorus. Lilting melodies are a trait of Vick's songwriting, also present on crunchier, more up-tempo songs like "Expiration Date" and "Cut It." Even with its distortion and vague pop-punk sensibility, the latter is still delicate and contemplative under Vick's direction. Hard on herself as well as her partner at times on the album, it closes with the downcast ballad "You Were Once," which summarizes their standing with "We were like a sticker/Permanent only for some patch of time." Mournful but far from bleak, it features sustained, girl group-styled backing vocals and an echoing guitar countermelody in addition to its restrained rhythm section. Taken together, Free Company is a moving and pleasingly head-bobbing set, and its clarified sound presents the songwriter in her best light to date without over-polishing. ~ Marcy Donelson
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