Three States is the opening track from The Smittens’ new record City Rock Dove. A brave and bold track written by Dana Kaplan, it features the shift in his vocals front and foremost, which were recorded over 2 years during the course of his gender transition. It’s a farewell to his former higher vocal parts with The Smittens, a reckoning during a time of tumultuous change and a glimpse of a brighter future.
Dana explains further:
“Three States is a coming out/transition anthem, I wrote this song amidst a need to capture the complexity of identity, politics, and everything so many of us get caught in between. There’s pressure on all of us to conform to certain standards, and it’s nearly impossible not to internalise the toxicity. The idea of three states came to me while driving back to Vermont after being at NYC Pride. It’s a window into vulnerability, fear, determination, growth, and ultimately, better living through modern day medicine. There’s beauty in complexity. What’s holding you back? What worlds are you caught between? May we all find the spaces in which we belong. Fuck the binary, baby.”
The Smittens are a 6-piece indiepop band that make upbeat and introspective tunes, tinged with vulnerability and optimism. While sonically the elements of multi-layered harmonies, countermelodies and ba-ba-ba singalong hooks still play a large part in The Smittens’ approach to songwriting, as each of the 4 main songwriters has grown, the overall perspective of the songs seems a bit moodier, and more serious. They’ve long since left behind the label of being a ‘cute’ or ‘twee’ band since their debut album 15 years ago.
City Rock Dove is instead an album of transition, ennui and nihilism; honing in on personal politics and gender queerness. The album contends with the turbulent changes of modern America serving only to cement the status quo - and it’s not just the outside world that’s changing either: The Smittens are also singing about the changes in themselves and taking a hard look inside. Gary Olson (Ladybug Transistor) returned to mix the new album, having been instrumental in helping develop the richer textures first seen on 2016’s Love Record Breaker EP.
The band is friends first and open-hearted indiepop revolutionaries after that. Max Andrucki, Missy Bly, Colin Clary, Dana Kaplan, Holly Chagnon, and David Zacharis switch up instruments, song-writing, and singing to create catchy, harmony-driven pop anthems and queer love songs—always brilliantly lyrical, and often brazenly political. They’re based in Burlington, Vermont and in New York City. City Rock Dove is their 6th studio album, and third release with Fika Recordings.
The Smittens will be in the UK late July playing dates in Cambridge, London and Sheffield before performing at the Indietracks Festival in Derbyshire.
“The vocal arrangements sound great, the reverb 1950s guitar sound wonderful. There will be no dancing at the indie disco to this and its all the better for it… Arguably their most important album to date.” Neon Filler
“each and every song they write is a rampant musical pleasure – they could force a smile on the sourest face.” Bearded Magazine
“To pull off diversity in sound is a feat in itself, but to do so with a coherent sound is pure magic. Somehow, The Smittens do just that without any sign of strain. May they continue with equal exuberance.” The Big Takeover