Track Premiere: “Your Elbows” by stepmom

OKC's resident pink-hued four-piece gets playfully weird on new single

Yes, stepmom identifies as an all-female band. The quartet’s aesthetic and imagery are thinly veiled commentary of gender roles. Songwriter Lindsey Cox‘s lyrics stem from her experiences as a woman. It’s all part of a conscious effort to represent a historically undervalued demographic of the music industry. However, it is a grave mistake to think this relegates stepmom to a niche.

If anything poses a risk of typecasting the group, it is the “orchestral dream punk” label it uses to describe its colorful swath of sound, but that risk is low. There is so much room in its sandbox of alternative music that the band members seem set to build new castles for as long as they want, each one a new song with relatable thoughts to explore. And no, you don’t have to be of any particular gender to enjoy.

Take the delightfully weird new single from the group, “Your Elbows”, which releases worldwide today. It’s an undeniable ball of bells-and-whistles fun, and you can tune in now at the player below in this Make Oklahoma Weirder track premiere.

A chipper swirl of surfy electric guitar, groovy organ synth, and jellybean rainbows awaits listeners on “Your Elbows”, a decidedly whiz-bang bop that packs an earful of surprises within its three-minute runtime. As its bounce house collage art hints, this is a light-hearted number that allows itself to loosen up and get more than a little goofy.

Fans of past stepmom songs will recognize fingerprints here. The tempo changes and start-stop performances recall “Scary Stuff” while the madcap energy and nontraditional rock instrumentation of “Vampires” live on in the band’s cavalcade of chirpy instrumental stings. The latter features a variety of oddball auxiliary percussion, including triangle, cowbell, and other noisemakers, but the band has just as much fun with pure silence.

The song’s title comes from a line in the chorus which sings, “I thought of your elbows every day.” It’s an odd detail to fixate upon, but that’s the nature of the track. A neighboring line, “The gap in my front teeth is getting wider,” can be taken literally or metaphorically, and its meaning remains a bit of a mystery either way. What the song does make clear is its concept about someone not wanting to reveal too much of themselves, and the playfulness of “Your Elbows” echoes this in how it toys with perception.

Women can be disproportionately discouraged from embracing their weirdness, in art or otherwise. It’s refreshing, then, for a band like stepmom to go there, to remind listeners that all humans, both in bodily form and compelled action, are pretty strange creatures when one lingers on the notion. If this has any shades of feminism, it’s only by the virtue that the creative minds behind this song belong to women, and that’s how the band has operated so far. These are human experiences, and, like stepmom, they are best expressed fully out of the box.

The new release coincides with a live show tonight at Opolis in Norman. Catch stepmom with Keathley at this all-ages show. Doors at 9 pm, show at 10 pm, and cover is $7.

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aka Jarvix, the Chief Executive Weirdo of Make Oklahoma Weirder. His out-of-the-box music coverage has been published by the Oklahoma Gazette, KOSU, and The Oklahoman among others. He also makes DIY music as a solo multi-instrumentalist live looper in his spare time.

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