Jun 24, 2021
By Caleb Campbell
Photography by Lauren Withrow
Texas-based singer/songwriter Alex McArtor has already shown songwriting skills well beyond her 18 years of age with her previous two EPs and her steady stream of stellar new singles. Fans remember her from when we premiered “House On The Bay” late last year. However, her latest work, the expansive new EP Welcome To The Wasteland, represents her most symphonic and expansive work yet.
As McArtor enters adulthood, she takes the record as a chance to reflect on her waning teenage years, tributing all of her growth and the artists that have shaped her music. In McArtor’s words, she describes the record as an attempt to “find a world between bands like Echo & the Bunnymen and those classic country artists like Townes Van Zandt.” She’s already shared “Broken Bone” and “Bras and Jeans” from the EP and is now back with one final taste before the full EP releases: her new track “Stranger,” premiering with Under the Radar.
“Stranger” represents one of McArtor’s most sprawling efforts yet. The track unfolds with cinematic drama, backed by shadowy rushes of strings and a spellbinding vocal performance from McArtor. With a slight country twang to her vocals and guitar, McArtor ambles down the song’s abandoned backroads, placing “Stranger” in the lineage of outlaw country. Yet the sweeping drama and moon-lit desolation equally bring to mind McArtor’s post punk influences, now with an added southern gothic twist. McArtor is already proving herself to be an uncommonly adept songwriter, shapeshifting around her influences to incorporate them into something all her own.
“Stranger” was inspired by walking along country roads at night thinking about my life,” McArtor explains. “The EP was written in East Texas. The sky is stunning there and the moon is always on display. You can always trust it to light your way back home. One of my favorite things is the shadows that the light of the moon casts when it shines through the trees. A lot of the time, they look like faces to me. Also, the way the shadows move with the wind as the leaves blow creates this sense of paranoia. It feels like the shadows are watching you… I wanted this feeling to be present in my love song to the moon and the big lights in the night sky.”
Check out the song below and watch for the Welcome To The Wasteland EP, out on June 25th.