Alt-punk-folk-rocker Lily Vakili premieres the lead single, “She Wants What,” from her new EP Set of Seven.
Engineered and produced by David Amlen of Sound on Sound Studios, Set of Seven displays the brilliant talents of The Lily Vakili Band: Ben St. Jacques (lead guitar), who co-wrote “She Wants What,” Cecile Williams (backing vocals), Joel Dorow (harmonica), Jim Tyndal (bass), and Gordon Kuba (drums).
Now based in New Jersey, Vakili was born in Honduras, grew up in an Irish-Iranian family, and lived in a variety of interesting locations: Honduras, Florida, Puerto Rico, Iowa, and Thailand. She explains, “I was born in Honduras during a military coup, and my Iranian-born dad, a boxer, artist and scientist who traveled the world studying diseases in tropical plants, had to walk over bloodied soldiers in the hospital to welcome me to the world. He’s always said that set the stage for everything else in my life.”
Later, Vakili trained as a dancer, and then left home to hook up with a theatre troupe in Minneapolis, followed by working as an actress, summer stage director, choreographer, corn detasseler, night nurse, human rights researcher, and waitress. Somewhere in there she found time to become a lawyer, and a mother of three.
Commenting on her peripatetic tour through life, Vakili says, “When you grow up as a citizen of the world, you learn that the universe is open to you. There are definitely drawbacks to moving around so much, but the upside is that you’re able to inhabit and observe different cultures and environments and draw inspiration from them. You learn to live freely, and you sort of realize life is not lived in a single location, but in your mind.”
Eventually, it struck her that she needed to pursue her creative instincts. Her mother, who was in the early stages of Alzheimer’s, spoke words of Sibylline impact. According to Vakili, “I told my mom that I had to get back to a creative life, and even said I don’t think I can go on if I don’t,” she says. “My mom looked at me with her steady, clear, blue green eyes, and said, ‘What’s stopping you? No one else will do it for you.’ That was the moment of my liberation.”
Not long after, Vakili released Lake City/Next 3 Exits, followed by Meadowlands, followed by forming her band, allowing for more sonic scope and dimension.
“She Wants What” opens on dirty, snarling guitars flowing into a bluesy alt-rock melody spiked with punk muscle, as Vakili’s fierce, penetrating voice infuses the lyrics with visceral energy and wickedly delicious scowling textures.
“She’s at a tractor pull / Hot dog in her hand — a mouthful / Death metal tats all the way down / Warning you stand back cuz / She wants what / She wants what / She wants what she wants.”
The brawny rhythm rides a dark cavernous bassline and hammer-of-the-gods drums, raw and crunching. Searing, grimacing licks from St. Jacques’ guitar add fulminating accents, as the assertive voices of Williams and Vakili deliver charring vocal harmonies. A moaning rumbling breakdown, with Hephaestus-like drums and blistering guitar licks, leads to anabolic dynamism of vast proportions.
“She Wants What” sizzles with raw throbbing colors, sassy brio, and prodigiously dangerous vocals. This song is laced up and locked in!