Little Scream Finds Kismet and Hope In New Single “Disco Ball”





Photo Credit : Zach Hertzman // DOWNLOAD HIGH-RES

With Speed Queen being released a little over a month from today, Montreal’s Little Scream is sharing another slice from the forthcoming album. “Disco Ball” follows earlier singles “Dear Leader” and “Still Life” and arrives alongside a short story of kismet that resulted in the song and album’s creation—one involving a Flying V guitar, an antique store in the American heartland, and creating hope out of feelings of hopelessness.

“In late summer of 2017, I was driving to the Chicago Midway airport after a visit to my family in Galena, Illinois,” says Laurel Sprenglemeyer (Little Scream). “The sky was ripe with colored clouds. Everything began to vibrate, and I felt a steady flow of ideas working their way into melodies. I made a U-turn on the single-lane highway; I had just passed an antique mall in Elizabeth, Illinois. I vowed to myself that if they had a guitar, I would buy it. There on the second floor next to Oktoberfest beer steins and a Victorian needlepoint cushion sat a white Flying V guitar. It was covered in grey logos for UV Vodka and looked like it had languished in someone’s basement bedroom after a few failed attempts at ‘Smoke on the Water’. I talked them down to $150. I canceled my flight in the parking lot then drove to the nearest quiet road I could find. I sat in a small clearing near the Apple River and began to write this album.

‘Disco Ball’ is one of the songs that was born musically on the country road after I bought the Flying V guitar. It incorporates many of the observations from being on the road with the last album, feeling a sense of recognition in the down-and-outness of the places we visited. Identifying with that sense of having been duped for following your dreams in every closed shop window we passed. Thinking about how that book The Secret must be responsible for a countable percentage of the subprime mortgage crisis. Thinking about struggling as a musician, but having that be the thing that allows me to make a disco ball out of all the smashed mirrors of my past. Taking all of this and thinking about how to make an anthem of hope for times when you feel you have nothing.”



On her third album, Little Scream offers us a reflection on class and poverty in America. Speed Queen began as bits of prose written while touring her last album across North America. The title, which alludes to the opiate crisis, actually refers to a washing machine. Little Scream says, “When you’re struggling, nothing says you’ve made it more than getting your own washing machine. Speed Queen is about the dream of making it, and feeling desperately close but missing it.”

The album is gently accusatory. She doesn’t let herself or any of her listeners off the hook. In “Privileged Child”, she reminds wealthy people who like to adopt the style of the poor and working class that “poverty’s a feeling money just can’t buy.” On “Dear Leader,” she reminds those opposing migration that “when the waters rise, it’s gonna be you, Miami,” warning them that when they’re needing help, “…you will ask your God, but he’ll be busy getting risen, and the rich will be too busy buying stock in private prisons—that’s where they’ll send you for talking about socialism.” The biting commentary served with a sense of humor softens its presentation but doesn’t detract from its power. This is a theme throughout Speed Queen, where humor and warm heartedness prevail despite some of the darker subjects touched upon.


 Montreal-based songwriter and guitarist Laurel Sprengelmeyer has been playing music under the moniker Little Scream since 2008. In 2011, she released The Golden Record, which Pitchfork dubbed “a stellar debut” and NPR called “an absolutely captivating record.” It was included in NPR’s Best Albums of 2011 list, and the New York Times evoked its “hints of the divine,” including Little Scream as one of the best new acts to follow at SXSW. Her second album Cult Following, which features guests including Sufjan Stevens, Mary Margaret O’Hara, and Sharon Van Etten, earned Little Scream new band of the week status from The Guardian and received five stars from Bust Magazine. Cult Following included the catchy Prince-inspired single “Love As A Weapon” which, according to the liner notes, she and her sister hoped would buy their mom, a cleaning woman in Illinois, “unlimited gift certificates to the Red Lobster.”

Since the release of Cult Following, Little Scream has stayed busy as a member of Richard Reed Parry’s Quiet River of Dust, touring with and co-writing songs from the albums Vol. 1: This Side of the River and Vol. 2: That Side of the River. A natural collaborator, she has appeared as a vocalist and/or guitarist on recordings for The National, The Barr Brothers, Will Butler, and Saltland, among others. She has appeared on two Red Hot compilations as well as charity singles to benefit the ACLU, Planned Parenthood, and Standing Rock.



Well it hurt too much to pray for it
So I sold my shit to pay for it
Now I’m ragged and I’m lean
Bearing the dead weight of a dream

But I remember it well and I remember it clear
That moment I said I’ve gotta get outta here
Singing that Holiday tune
Drinking whisky alone in my room

A drunken train wreck with a sense of direction
Gonna make it outta here despite your affection

Said if I don’t break free, then it’ll break me

But the sun doesn’t shine in the back of that hall
And everybody scatters when you start to fall
Well if you crack that mirror when you hit the wall
Baby, go and make yourself a disco ball
Let your light scatter and fall
Through it all

When I first started out, people said I was bold
They didn’t realize I was running from the fear of getting old
And visions of my future self
With a cigarette hanging out of my mouth
And a hairnet on in some kitchen down south
My potential soaked in gin
Talking about what I could’ve been

So I sold myself to the American dream
I got a predatory loan with my spirit on lien
They say “you can make it if you try”
Then they’ll stand around watching you dying

And I see the luck drying up wherever I go
Vacant windows, foreclosed homes
I may be lost but I am not alone

So if the sun doesn’t shine in the back of your hall
And if everybody scatters when you start to fall
Well if you crack that mirror when you hit the wall
Baby, go and make yourself a disco ball

And let your light scatter and fall
Let your light scatter and fall
Through it all



01 Dear Leader
02 One Lost Time
03 Switchblade
04 Disco Ball
05 Still Life
06 Forces Of Spring
07 No More Saturday Night
08 Speed Queen
09 Don’t Wait For It
10 Privileged Child


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