U.K. trio Big Joanie arrived on London’s DIY punk scene to fill a vacancy for Black femme voices. Now they’ve announced tour dates in support of their second album Back Home which will feature a stop at The Echo in Los Angeles on Mar. 30 and The Observatory in Santa Ana on Mar. 31. They released their debut album Sistahs back in 2018 and since then they’ve worked alongside and performed for some seriously iconic punk acts — from Bikini Kill and Sleater-Kinney to IDLES.
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Comprised of Stephanie Phillips (guitarist), Estella Adeyeri (bassist), and Chardine Taylor-Stone (drummer), they define a whole new evolution of riot-grrrl era rock that’s been mixed with melodic synth-fueled post-punk. Last year saw the release of their sophomore album Back Home, a sprawling and at times passionately anthemic collection that ruminates deeply on the notion of “home” as a space that’s constantly redefined for Black and brown people (especially those living in colonialist or post-colonial countries).
“We were really ruminating on the idea of a home and what it means,” Phillips said. “It’s about the different ideas of home, whether that’s here in the UK, back in Africa or the Caribbean, or a place that doesn’t really exist; it’s neither here nor there.”
Its stunning crescendo of sonics on album opener “Cactus Tree” reveals Big Joanie’s love of losing itself in ardently orchestrated guitar clashes. While songs like “In My Arms” and “Your Words” pummel away in a gallop of earnest riffs and momentous percussion. Other standouts on their second album include the riotous hammerings that grumble from “Happier Still”; the guitar-twanging hopefulness of “Today”; and the electronica-sprinting final track “Sainted.” Big Joanie also made waves with a cover of Solange’s “Cranes in the Sky” which was released on Jack White’s Third Man Records.
Now that they’re heading out on tour the band has big plans in expanding their live sound. Especially after spending time on tour with the likes of Sleater-Kinney and Idles, as they’re aiming to be bigger and louder. Which fits plenty of the music on Back Home which at times feels like it’s about to swallow you up both melodically and emotionally.
See Big Joanie at The Echo in Los Angeles on Mar. 30 and The Observatory in Santa Ana on Mar. 31.
Visit Big Joanie on their website, Twitter, and Instagram to stay updated on new releases and tour announcements.
Words: Steven Ward
Listen to “Happier Still” and other new tracks by Big Joanie below!