Nicole Dollanganger is astonishingly gifted and utterly terrifying. Her sweet, instantly memorable melodies feel like they could have been honed at Sun Studios or the Brill Building rather than a bathroom in rural Ontario, but her lyrics paint astonishing portraits of horrific violence, forbidden longing, and secret pain. The "Flowers In The Attic" reference in her stage name is only the tip of the iceberg - after hitting play you're equally likely to be confronted with lyrics describing nostalgia for the smell of rotting corpses as you are disarmingly sweet odes to the joy of pet ownership. The unassuming ease with which she shifts between extremes has attracted a devoted following which shows appreciation by collecting her home-recorded albums and hand-drawn zines, posting fan art on Tumblr, and mailing her their teeth and locks of hair. "Natural Born Losers", her newest album, found her stepping out of the bedroom for the first time.
Her remarkable voice, now rendered with diamond-sharp clarity, delivers her harrowing songs with white-hot intensity. The work she did with friends in their basement studios broke her sound wide-open –during gentler moments, it sounds like Doom Metal Mazzy Star, or like Tammy Wynette fronting Explosions in the Sky. Elsewhere, it's haunted by searing feedback and distant, thundering percussion that echoes stated influences like Type O Negative, Samhain, and Morbid Angel. It's like heartland music for a dystopian hellscape; a Dolly Parton of despair.
After hearing an early demo version of the album, her friend and contemporary Claire Boucher, aka Grimes, reacted strongly: "This blew my brain up so hard that I literally started a label to fucking put it out because its a crime against humanity for this music to not be heard," she said when asked for comment.
"Natural Born Losers" was the debut release of the new Grimes co-founded label, Eerie Organization, in October 2015. Throughout November 2015 Dollanganger supported Grimes on the Rhinestone Cowgirls Tour and later in March 2016, AMC's The Walking Dead aired one of Dollanganger's unreleased songs in episode 81 "Twice As Far".