(Photo: Steven Rodrigues)
Lindsey Baker wants to grab a few people by the collar.
After years of writing and performing solo acoustic tracks in an almost apologetic fashion, Baker’s latest album under the Guts Club moniker is a full band affair that aims to shake up men who take up too much space, stupid people who waste her time and the type of folks who would talk over her earlier sets.
While the core of the act is still all Baker’s dark and witty songwriting, Guts Club has grown between albums into an electrified act that can command space and bring attention to her work.
“I don’t think it was fully conscious at first,” she said. “It was sort of the result of playing solo acoustic for a little bit. I’ve done it on tour. I’ve done it in different cities and it fucking sucks.”
Baker said that she had trouble getting people to stop their conversations and that didn’t sit well alongside the amount of work she’s put in.
“No one respects the solo acoustic artist unless it’s somebody that pre-exists outside of that performance that they’re doing. No one gives a shit about a girl on a chair with a little parlor guitar. You get like a few creepy dudes but most people wanna just like talk over you,” she said. “I felt like the lyrics were important. While you can probably hear them better and make them out on an acoustic record, to perform them in a bar with a bunch of people talking over you is a fucking bummer.”
On the new album “Trench Foot,” Baker is taking advantage of the fact that her new sound commands people to listen. Across 10 tracks, she fantasizes about skinning people who have wronged her and revels in giving mouth-breathers their comeuppance.
“In my mind I think I’m stronger than I am and I like to think I can fuck up these people who kind of destroyed me in different ways,” she explained, while also revealing that the catharsis of singing about tanning a person’s hide isn’t complete. “I always feel a little bit like shit but I feel better doing this than I would if I didn’t. When songs are about people and saying like ‘I wish I could break your face.’ Those people are never going to hear it and appreciate it the way that they should. They’re never going to be fucked up about it and you’re still going to be fucked up after you say those words. It’s not like I’m cured. But I think people can connect with that.”
Of course, there’s really only one place musically that allows you to casually sing about murder, revenge and unending sadness while still having it be funny. Guts Club’s latest, more than anything else in their discography, calls upon the sounds of outlaw country music. After laying out how her own limitations and trepidation might keep her from fully committing to the sound (“If I could sing like Waylon Jennings I would”), Baker explained how the twisted, but hilarious outlook drew her in.
“Trope-wise that exists in older country, where things are funny but they’re sad. ‘She left me and broke my heart and this bottle’s all I talk to now.’ That’s, like, kind of funny. But it’s also kind of sad. I definitely connect with that,” she said.
As an example, Baker mentioned the Eddie Noack song “Psycho.” In plain text, the song is a warning to his partner about the fact that he’s a murderer. But Noack’s delivery lends the song a funny lilt even as he’s describing acts that should put him in prison.
“It’s very dark, very wound, but it’s like so fucking ridiculous,” she said. “This is fucking hilarious. Am I a monster? No, this is funny.”
And her band is clearly reveling in dancing on that line between creepy and funny by not steering fully into the hill folk sound.
“In my mind, I want to make country music. I realize that that’s not exactly what we’re doing. We have some tropes in place, indicators of country music. I realize it’s not like full-on country but it’s the best I can make country at that time,” she said. “In my mind I want it to be country, but this is as country as it can be while stil existing as Guts Club.”
It’s country enough for our purposes. Give the album a listen below: