“Baby Bulldog is who I am - a masculine butch
person making music, writing about women.”
Baby Bulldog (aka Steph Barker) is a one-woman project from LA via New Hampshire.
All performed by Baby herself from behind her drum kit, the tracks are queer love stories told with the everyday lyricism of Courtney Barnett and the scuzzed out pop hooks of the Yeah Yeah Yeahs.
In bringing queer narratives to the front, Baby is part of a seismic shift in the pop paradigm. Like contemporary artists Julien Baker and Pronoun, Baby Bulldog feels absolutely no reason to add to rock and pop’s unhealthy overload of hetero-normative stories and writes autobiographical tracks about female protagonists without thinking twice.
“A time came to just fucking do it”. she says.
"Lonely" was written in the aftermath of the collapse of a long distance relationship, when Baby was rueing the hours spent on Amtrak trains and dissecting the many reasons that things fell apart. Driven by a quicktime drumbeat and a relentless riff, you can almost feel the wasted hours slipping away before the track breaks into a resurgent chorus directed at her fickle ex and gives way to a drum solo where Baby demos her unmatched musicality. Somehow you get the feeling she's gonna be just fine...
"Rodney is my car, and he is a god damn hero. In all seriousness though, this car was the saving grace in maybe one of the worst moments of my life..."
Baby Bulldog's PT Cruiser is more than just an LA traffic dodger, it's the symbol of the end of an era, an era revisited in the six tracks on the artist's sophomore EP, Rodney.
After the collapse of a relationship, Baby was left stranded in LA paying double rent and without a car - a prerequisite for a touring drummer based in the world's most notoriously car-centric city. Things were looking down, until 7 weeks into a 9 week tour drumming for Coast Modern, Baby's friend called to say an old professor was letting go of a PT Cruiser for $250. She laughed, paid the cash and inherited the filthy wagon with 'fading paint on the hood, a fucked up grill and a huge rusting dent on the driver's side bumper..."A new life as a single owner of a silver PT Cruiser had begun. "...I was in love," she says.
Rodney is immortalized on the EP's opening track, a rattling West Coast driving anthem that fuses surf rock with Baby's signature lo-fi punk stylings. That relationship-recovery song quickly leads into an exploration of the break up, as "Lonely" accuses her ex of a want-me-when-you-need me mentality and "Everyone But Me" describes the distant detachment watching someone move on over the internet. "I Rly Rly Like U" is a blast from the past, a pop jam taking Baby back to the early days of intoxicating infatuation, while "Work On Things" is a shout out to the post-breakup introverted creative phase that yielded the Baby Bulldog sound. "In The Morning" closes out the EP with Baby getting used to waking up alone...
Put together, the Rodney EP describes a quintessential experience - the demise of a relationship not just leaving you with a broken heart, but a shitstorm of life problems as well. Lucky for Baby, she found Rodney...
Rodney press image