The Ballroom Thieves - Calin “Callie” Peters (vocals, cello, bass), Martin Earley (vocals, guitar), and Devin Mauch (vocals, percussion) - have announced their latest full-length album Unlovely will be released on February 14, 2020 via Nettwerk Records. With subject matters ranging from female empowerment and the destruction of patriarchy, to love in a committed relationship, to their fury about the current state of American leadership, this collection of tracks is the distillation of the band's personal and political passions.
Songs like “Vanity Trip” and title track “Unlovely” boil over with exasperation and disgust, rage and resentment running through every line in protest of today’s global status quo.
“I understand that many of us are tired of talking about what we call politics, and some don’t feel that songwriters should be writing about the state of the world,” says Peters. Adding, “but, it’s also personal, as my entire life has been negatively affected by the way things are run. Most of the people that have ever been in charge represent the tiniest piece of the American pie: the rich, straight, white, male, born in the USA slice. If a person is missing any or all of those titles, they are treated as less than worthy. After all this reprehensible American history, we can agree this place isn’t built for the rest of us, and the rest of us make up more than 99% of the people. We stood by and waited for change, we trusted that our leadership had our best interest in mind, that they weren’t just setting it up for themselves, but we were mistaken.”
As the first album entirely co-written by Peters and Earley, save for Peters’ song “Pendulum,” Unlovely is also a tangible reflection of their evolution from band members to life partners. “Figuring out how to write as a writing team has been something of an adventure,” says Earley. “We used to create songs more separately but found that we complement each other well in almost every sense of the word, including songwriting. Most of the songs I brought to the table were inspired by our dreadful news cycle but tend to involve some sort of hopeful or romantic spin, whereas most of Callie's songs are about smashing the patriarchy and destroying evil forever."
Incorporating musical styles that range from Motown to classic rock and metal, Unlovely maintains the recognizable, nostalgia-tinged sound of The Ballroom Thieves’ previous outputs while pushing a heightened brashness. Since the release of their first EP and debut full-length, A Wolf in the Doorway, The Ballroom Thieves have consistently and skillfully crossed genres, joining artists like CAAMP, Langhorne Slim and Shakey Graves to bridge the gap between folk, rock, and soul. With Unlovely, thanks in part to frequent collaborator Ariel Bernstein, the trio took it a step further and grew their instrumental arsenal, amplifying their signature energy and eccentricity. "Ariel has been a great friend of ours for years now," says Earley. "He's a talented musician, engineer, and unlicensed band therapist, so when we decided to expand our touring party, he was the unanimous first-round draft pick."
Engineered and produced by Jerry Streeter (Brandi Carlile, The Lumineers, Vance Joy), Unlovely was recorded in and around the northeast, predominantly at HearStudios in Camden, Maine.
It’s their unique brand of powerful and harmonious music, while never shying away from topics and ideas they are passionate about, that has charmed fans around the country. Their catalog has amassed over 85 million streams and they’ve gained a loyal live following, selling out shows and earning festival spots at Boston Calling, Newport Folk, Moon River, Mountain Jam, and Calgary Folk. Ultimately, Unlovely sets the stage for The Thieves to continue to impact listeners everywhere.