Maddie Ross Slays on Debut EP

Maddie Ross, fresh out of the USC music program, dropped her debut EP Television Is My Friend last week, bringing a fresh (and refreshing) voice to the femme rock scene. Though it’s Ross’ first release, Television Is My Friend is anything but novice work. For an EP, these five songs pack a powerful punch. The songwriting is excellent, the production is clean, and the overall sound and tone have good heft without being overbearing.

The EP starts out with “Not Your Only”, the most clean-cut song of the five. With sharp verses and a call-and-response type of chorus, it’s a fun and appropriate opener. Follow-up “Talk Talk” is by far the highlight of the bunch. It’s got a nice weight akin to the Black Keys’ “Thickfreakness” at many points, breaking into thoughtfully executed noise-pop by the chorus. The noise is tight and controlled, giving an aspect that could run off the rails a strong focus and therefore more power. Next up, “Cross Another Heart” slows things down, but barely. Ross keeps up the pace but lowers the intensity. The songwriting is top-notch through the EP, but “Cross Another Heart” has the most notably beautiful lyrics. “Ghost Town” takes things to Lykke Li territory with an edgy semi-ballad that escalates in force as the song goes on. “Grow Up” finishes off the album nicely, calling back to the heavy guitar riffs of “Talk Talk” but with a bluesy edge. It’s a punchy ending with enough angst to bite just enough, but not so much to take things overboard.

That’s really what’s so wonderful about this EP; where Ross could have taken things way too far, she keeps it controlled. It’s a smart EP and a powerful start for Ross. She falls into a fascinating intersection of genres, pulling sounds and concepts similar to Vukovi, Meg Myers, Lykke Li, and even Kate Voegele. Television Is My Friend is a promising EP for what comes next, but for now, Ross has two feet on solid ground and has gotten her music off to a perfect start.

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