Since arriving in Philadelphia from St. Louis five years ago, Erin Dillard has woven her way through the fabric of the indie music scene. She’s worked at piano bars and played basement shows under the eye-catching name emospacebird.. She’s mastered the art of home recording, notably on the self-titled album released two years ago, and graduated from solo electric-guitar-and-synth performances (like we saw in her appearance on the lockdown livestream series Unprecedented Sessions) to a rollicking and ever-evolving live band.
This 2020 interview with Melissa Simpson will give you a rundown of who emospacebird is and how they got here; this week’s Key Studio Session gives you a glimpse at what the future might hold for the singular psychedelic indie rock soul fusion they make. Joined by Chris Thornton on guitar, along with drummer Jamie and bassist Tati, Dillard takes the band through a selection of highlights from the recent album 20-Twenty Dark Ages. It documents a time of personal and societal turbulence, of anger and change and frustration and rediscovery. But it does so with an eye towards hope and joy.
The slick and lively instrumental “Hangover Cure” gets us going, followed by the punchy riff rocker “Scapegoat,” which recalls heavier moments of Skunk Anansie and Jeff Buckley. This leads beautifully into the epic “Yelnatz Life,” a proggy and poetic dreamscape with a hell of a key change at the mid-way point. Wrapping the set, “Play By Play” spends the first half as a bop that breaks down the classic stages of the one-night stand, then explodes into an expressive coda with Dillard and Thornton swapping groovy licks, Steely Dan style.
Watch the full performance below, and check out a gallery of photos from the session by Megan Matuzak. For more music, dive into emospacebird.’s Bandcamp discography.