On G.L.O.S.S.’s demo, Sadie Switchblade broke down gender constructs with a forceful, incisive roar. Her new solo project under the name Dyke Drama is comparably subdued, taking a more insular approach than the fire-branding hardcore whiplash of her Olympia band’s debut. It’s a more singular effort — she played virtually every instrument on the thing — but the less overtly political message doesn’t make her words any less rousing. While the lyrics this time around are more applicable to universal feelings like heartbreak and regret, they yield just as much power whether they’re shouted or caressed out lightly.
Dyke Drama’s first EP, Tender Resignation, is filled with perpetually hungover, lovesick songs — Switchblade invites a Replacements comparison with a “Westerberg” tag on Bandcamp and, while that’s certainly apt, her solo work reminds me more of brandished punk contemporaries (and fellow Best New Band honorees) Beach Slang, who also share a fixation with reflecting on the past as a means to get better today. There are still hard times, but the hardest ones seem to be in the rearview mirror — she says as much on the appropriately titled “Hardest Years.” Later, on the scuzzily romantic “In Your Truck,” she reminisces: “Sidestep the puke and broken glass — no longer tied to that track/ Suicidal patterns get hung out in the past.” There’s still more than enough downtrodding here — “I wasn’t born to lose/ It’s just the thing I do best” — but it’s tempered with a reservedly positive outlook. Even when Switchblade’s crying in a bathroom stall on the closing track of the same name, she seems determined to march on: “Don’t worry about me, I do just fine/ I’m just puttin’ in my time.” That kind of resolve is invigorating, and makes for some great music. Listen below.